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Saturday, February 06, 2016

It's Here! The NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Ed Edition

The New Media Consortium (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) are jointly releasing the NMC Horizon Report 2016 Higher Education Edition at the 2016 ELI Annual Meeting. 

This 13th edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in higher education.  

NMC Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition

The report identifies six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology across three adoption horizons spanning over the next one to five years, giving campus leaders, educational technologists, and faculty a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The report provides higher education leaders with in-depth insight into how trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership, and practice. 

"The release of this report kicks off the 15th year of the NMC Horizon Project, which has sparked crucial conversations and progressive strategies in institutions all over the world,"says Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC. "We are so appreciative of ELI's continued support and collaboration. Together we have been able to regularly provide timely analysis to universities and colleges." 

Download the Report  (PDF)
"This year's report addresses a number of positive trends that are taking root in higher education," notes ELI Director Malcolm Brown. "More institutions are developing programs that enable students and faculty to create and contribute innovations that advance national economies, and they are also reimagining the spaces and resources accessible to them to spur this kind of creativity."

Key Trends Accelerating Higher Education Technology Adoption
The NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition identifies "Advancing Cultures of Innovation" and "Rethinking How Institutions Work" as long-term impact trends that for years affected decision-making and will continue to accelerate the adoption of educational technology in higher education over the next five years. "Redesigning Learning Spaces" and the "Shift to Deeper Learning Approaches" are mid-term impact trends expected to drive technology use in the next three to five years; meanwhile, "Growing Focus on Measuring Learning" and "Increasing Use of Blended Learning" are short-term impact trends, anticipated to impact institutions for the next one to two years before becoming commonplace.

Significant Challenges Impeding Higher Education Technology Adoption
A number of challenges are acknowledged as barriers to the mainstream use of technology in higher education. "Blending Formal and Informal Learning" and "Improving Digital Literacy" are perceived as solvable challenges, meaning they are well-understood and solutions have been identified. "Competing Models of Education" and "Personalizing Learning" are considered difficult challenges, which are defined and well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are "Balancing Our Connected and Unconnected Lives" and "Keeping Education Relevant." Challenges in this category are complex to define, making them more difficult to address. 

Important Developments in Educational Technology for Higher Education
Additionally, the report identifies bring your own device (BYOD) and learning analytics and adaptive learning as digital strategies and technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the near-term horizon of one year or less. Augmented and virtual reality technologies and makerspaces are seen in the mid-term horizon of two to three years; affective computing and robotics are seen emerging in the far-term horizon of four to five years.

The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed by the NMC and collaboratively conducted by the NMC and ELI that engaged an international body of experts in higher education, technology, business, and other fields around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify emerging technologies with a strong likelihood of adoption in higher education. The NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.

The NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution. In the coming months, the report will be translated into several languages by esteemed NMC partners: Chinese (Beijing Open University); German (Multimedia Kontor Hamburg); Japanese (Open University of Japan); Korean (Korea Education & Research Information Service - KERIS); Portuguese (Unisuam University); Russian (Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO); and Spanish (Universidad Internacional de La Rioja - UNIR).
Download the Report  (PDF)  

About the New Media Consortium
Founded in 1993, the NMC is an international community of experts in educational technology -- from the practitioners who work with new technologies on campuses every day; to the visionaries who are shaping the future of learning at think tanks, labs, and research centers; to its staff and board of directors; to the expert panels and others helping the NMC conduct cutting edge research. The role of the NMC is to help hundreds of member universities, colleges, museums, and organizations drive innovation across their campuses. This is accomplished by the NMC performing research that catalyzes discussion, convening people around new ideas, and building communities that encourage exploration and experimentation.  To learn more, visit

About EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative  
The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) is a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to the advancement of learning through the innovative application of technology. For more information on the ELI, visit

Source: New Media Consortium and NewMediaConsortium Channel (YouTube)

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Friday, February 05, 2016

Why kids — now more than ever — need to learn philosophy. Yes, philosophy.

Photo: Valerie Strauss
"If we fail to turn second-graders into Socrates, our kids may end up becoming expert at a making a living, but they will be incompetent at creating a civil society." according to Valerie Strauss, Reporter — Washington, D.C and runs The Answer Sheet blog. 

We hear a lot about things kids “must” learn. Indeed, President Obama just announced he was going to ask Congress for $4 billion to fund an initiative to bring computer science to more students. Here’s an argument that there is a more immediate issue that schools should tacke. It was written by Steve Neumann, a writer and philosophile who says he is interested in doing for philosophy what science journalists do for science — “preparing the arcana of academia into a dish digestible by the public.” His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Philosophy Now and other outlets. He blogs at Notes Toward a New Chimera at Patheos.

Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Vatican Palace, Room of the Segnature.  A group of philosophers and scholars within a building.
Photo: The Washington Post 

The idea that schoolchildren should become philosophers will be scoffed at by school boards, teachers, parents, and philosophers alike. The latter will question whether kids can even do philosophy, while the former likely have only a passing familiarity with it, if any — possibly leading them to conclude that it’s beyond useless.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, nothing could be more important to the future well-being of both our kids and society as a whole than that they learn how to be philosophers.

I don’t mean that we should teach kids philosophy the way they would encounter it in college. Adolescents don’t need to dive into dissertations on Plato’s theory of forms or Kant’s categorical imperative. (That kind of study is valuable, too, and should be included in secondary education somewhere, but that’s an argument for another day.) The kind of philosophy I have in mind helps kids become better citizens by turning the classroom into what the philosopher John Dewey called “embryonic society.”

To see why this is vital, just consider the state of discourse in the current presidential election cycle. From issues of racism, economic inequality, gun violence, domestic and foreign terrorism to climate change, the inability of the candidates and their respective parties to engage in fruitful public discourse is a manifestation of our own adult dysfunction writ large.

Consider what Pew Research Center’s series on political polarization found last year:

“Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades. These trends manifest themselves in myriad ways, both in politics and in everyday life.”
I think most of us realize that society is a necessary compromise, and at least pay lip service to the idea that critical thinking and effective communication are virtues essential for its success. 

As we get older  many of us tend to be less open to new information, evidence, and arguments — but we can and should instill the requisite virtues in our children via K-12 education.
“It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,” as Frederick Douglass once said in a different context. In that spirit, then, it’s imperative that our kids become philosophers.

Source: The Washington Post

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Free eBook: 10 Practical Principles for Creating Impactful e-Learning

Photo: Ethan Edwards
Ethan Edwards, Chief Insructional Strategist shares 10 practical principles that should be implemented at any level of complexity to create training experiences that are transforming and memorable.

Instructional designers of e-learning face a constant challenge of how to create learning experiences that actually make a difference. >Too many of the accepted and easy approaches result in e-learning courses that fail to motivate, engage, or empower learners. Sophisticated simulations and technically-sophisticated designs seem out of reach for many instructional designers.

Get the E-Book!

While much can be accomplished in sophisticated development environments, rarely is it the technology that is actually responsible for the impact. Rather, it’s the powerful design ideas that are grounded on some relatively practical and achievable principles.

In this e-book, learn: 
  • 10 practical principles that should be implemented at any level of complexity to create training experiences that are transforming and memorable.
  • Actionable tips to implement these principles into your e-learning designs. 
Get the E-Book!

Related link 
Read Ethan's Blogs

Source: Allen Interactions

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The robots are coming… and they’ll change everything

Take a closer look at Rupert Goodwins’, editor of ZDNet UK,  unique angle on tech change.

Photo: IDG Connect

"Risk and reward, credit and blame; the game of consequences defines our life and our business. But what happens to that equation when we abdicate responsibility to the robots?" 
Science fiction is full of rogue automata causing havoc, laying waste to cities or murdering astronauts in their sleep. What’s never shown is the inevitable fallout familiar from real-life disaster - the loss adjusters clipboarding their way through the wreckage, working out who pays for what. But as AI begins to infiltrate the world we actually live in, such concerns are just as much an issue as engineering neural networks - and the way such thinking evolves has very deep consequences for business as a whole.
We’ve had automation in critical systems for decades - next year sees the 80th anniversary for the first aircraft autolanding - but they’ve been limited to very expensive, highly reliable transportation, industrial and medical applications surrounded by professional overseers. That’s changing with the advent of autonomous cars: every major auto maker has prototypes, with upstarts like Google and Tesla leading the way. These machines will be unleashed in the messy, dangerous world of the public highway, and they will inevitably end up in accidents - some fatal. But who’s responsible?
Late last year Volvo came up with an answer that on its face seems both surprising and bold: it is. The company will assume liability for any accident involving its vehicles’ automation. End of story. While this removes a major barrier to adoption, insurance costs easily outweigh the manufacturer’s profit margin over the lifetime of a vehicle - but Volvo isn’t planning on making a loss.
While some accidents are unavoidable, most are due to the sort of driver error automation will eliminate. Autonomous cars could avoid over 90% of current prangs, completely changing the numbers for insurance and reducing its cost, according to one analysis, by a factor of between fifteen and fifty. A thousand pounds a year policy reduced to twenty quid. (Even if you drive home after an evening in the pub.)
If this seems unbelievably wonderful to you, think how unbelievably terrifying this is to the insurance industry, which runs a £6bn book on private motoring in the UK alone.
Read more... 

Source: IDG Connect  

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These technologies are grabbing higher-ed’s attention by Laura Devaney, Director of News, K-12 and Higher Education.

Follow on Twitter as @eSN_Laura
"In this week's news, universities are partnering with the cybersecurity industry to close the skills gap; a survey reveals what online students really want; and colleges in Minnesota try new recruitment and enrollment strategies." summarizes

Catch up on the most compelling higher-ed news stories you may have missed this week.

Each Friday, Laura Devaney will be bringing you a recap of some of the most interesting and thought-provoking news developments that occurred over the week.

I can’t fit all of our news stories here, though, so feel free to visit and read up on other news you may have missed.

Photo: eCampus News

In this week’s news:

Universities look to cybersecurity partnerships
By teaming up with industry cybersecurity providers, universities are hoping to produce more highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals.

Minn. colleges try new recruitment, enrollment strategies
Minnesota colleges have responded to enrollment drops by changing programming, recruitment strategies and enrollment models.

10 must-haves to appease online students
A large-scale survey recognizes often-contradictory demands from students and offers recommendations for programs.

Stanford expands community college success program
The College Perspectives Program uses research-tested methods to increase community college students’ achievement and motivation.

Source: eCampus News 

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World University Rankings blog: your invitation to shape the 2016-17 rankings results

Follow on Twitter as @Phil_Baty
Phil Baty,editor at large of Times Higher Education magazine and editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings inform, "Academics from across the world are being invited to help Times Higher Education develop unique new insights into the global teaching and research landscape – shaping the results of the World University Rankings and providing $10,000 for education charities in the process."

THE today launched its 2016 Academic Reputation Survey, which asks published scholars to outline which institutions they perceive to be the best (both in their country and worldwide), for teaching and research in their specialist discipline. Each respondent will be representing many of their peers from their fields and their country. 

The survey results will make up two of the 13 performance indicators used to create the THE World University Rankings, and related regional rankings, and will form the basis of the separate THE World Reputation Rankings. As well as informing the rankings, the data will also help THE to provide detailed analytical insights into the academic prestige of institutions across countries, regions and disciplines. 

For each survey completed, THE will donate $1 to charity, up to a total value of $10,000. The charities respondents will be supporting are Camfed, STIR and United World Schools, all educational charities supporting developing world countries. 

The data will, of course, be based purely on subjective judgement. But it will be the subjective judgement of those best placed to understand excellence in teaching and research - academics themselves. And reputation is a powerful currency in global higher education, influencing an institution’s ability to attract talent, philanthropic donations and business investment. 

The data can provide rich and unique insights into the strength of teaching and research beyond simple metrics linked, for example, to research publications or graduate outcomes.
Read more... 

Source: Times Higher Education

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MathType 6.9 for Windows: Office 2016 support and more!

"If you're using Office 2016 you need MathType 6.9" notes Design Science.

MathType™ 6.9 is fully compatible with Office 2016 and Office 365 running on Windows 7, 8, and 10.


MathType functionality with Office:
  • MathType Ribbon Tab in Word and PowerPoint: MathType takes full advantage of Office's Ribbon User Interface making it easier than ever to do equation operations in documents and presentations. Equation numbering and browse features work with all Word equation types.
  • Equations in Outlook: MathType works with Outlook and allows you to include mathematical notation in email. The recipient of your email does not have to use either Outlook or MathType in order to see your equations.
  • MathPage for Word 2016, 2013, 2010, & 2007: Our MathPage™ technology now converts Microsoft Word documents into web pages, properly handling mathematical symbols, and displaying properly for people with print disabilities.
  • Handwritten equations: Enter equations as easily as you would write math with paper and pencil! This feature uses the built-in handwriting recognition in Windows 7 and later.
  • Format Equations: MathType adds its own tab in Word that contains useful commands. One of these, Format Equations, lets you change the font and style of all equations in a document.
...and more. 

Visit the MathType homepage
About Mac Office 2016 support
Microsoft decided to make Mac Office 2016 compatible with Apple's Mac App Store which imposes security restrictions that affect communication between applications, preventing MathType from working with Mac Office 2016 applications such as Word and PowerPoint. Our engineers are working with Microsoft engineers on a solution but it will take some time before it will be available. We will keep you informed as we get closer to release. In the meantime, MathType 6.7 for Mac still works great with Office 2011 for Mac, and MathType is compatible with Office 2016 on Windows. We'll make sure to let you know when that changes.

Source: Design Science

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

February’s Notices of the American Mathematical Society

Photo: Frank Morgan.

"February’s Notices of the American Mathematical Society is dedicated to Louis Nirenberg for his lifelong contributions to mathematics." inform the Editor, Frank Morgan.

"I plan to be a great mathematician": AN NFL Lineman Shows He's One of Us  (PDF)
By Stephen D. Miller

Exploring the Unknown: The Work of Louis Nirenberg on Partial Differential Equations (PDF)
By Tristan Riviere 

Interview with Louis Nirenberg (PDF) 
By Martin Raussen and Christian Skau 

Recent Applications of Nirenberg's Classical Ideas (PDF)
Communicated by Christina Sormani 

WHAT IS... Gauss Curvature? (PDF)  

The Notices is the world's most widely read magazine aimed at professional mathematicians.

Additional resources 
Louis Nirenberg Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 
Biography Louis Nirenberg - The Abel Prize (PDF)

Source: American Mathematical Society (AMS)

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

7 Ways Music Affects the Body: Here's How Science Says Sound Moves Us

If the scope of research on the physiological and physiological impacts of music is any indication, much is known — and yet unknown — about how music affects the human mind and body. “By better understanding what music is and where it comes from, we may be able to better understand our motives, fears, desires, memories, and even communication in the broadest sense,” according to neuroscientist, musician and author Dr. Daniel J. Levitin in his 2006 book This Is Your Brain on Music.

This Is Your Brain on Music:
The Science of a Human Obsession

Levitin asks, “Is music listening more along the lines of eating when you’re hungry, and thus satisfying an urge? Or is it more like seeing a beautiful sunset or getting a backrub, which triggers sensory pleasure systems in the brain?” The truth is that the experience of listening to music is wildly variant. Yet, in recent years, scientists have made huge advances in understanding how the human brain processes music and how sound affects not just the mind by the body at large.

Here are just a few things science has made clear: 

Music can actually make you smarter. It’s no secret that music has a serious impact on a person’s brain activity — whether that’s how it engages different parts of the brain, how humans memorize tunes and lyrics or how different types of melodies and rhythms can illicit different emotional responses. It’s even been reported that ambient noise, played at a moderate volume, can encourage creativity, and that listening to music can help repair brain damage. 

Yet the news is even better for musicians, particularly those who begin playing an instrument at an early age. According to some studies, music learning can encourage the development of stronger vocabularies and a better handle on nonverbal reasoning. Speaking to News in Health, Harvard Medical School neuroscientist Dr. Gottfried Schlaug even says that the nerve makeup of musicians differs from nonmusicians, citing studies that musicians’ minds have more bundles of nerves bridging the left side of the braid to the right. 

 “When you make music, it engages many different areas of the brain, including visual, auditory and motor areas,”  Schlaug told News in Health. “That’s why music-making is also of potential interest in treating neurologic disorders.”

According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology  in 2013, sad music may not make you breakdown in tears. The findings suggest that music can spark two types of emotional responses — perceived emotion and felt emotion. That means that though sad music is recognizably sad to many, experiencing it is not an emotionally darkening experience. 

After conducting a survey of 44 participants, “The results revealed that the sad music was perceived to be more tragic, whereas the actual experiences of the participants listening to the sad music induced them to feel more romantic, more blithe, and less tragic emotions than they actually perceived with respect to the same music,” reads the study. “Thus, the participants experienced ambivalent emotions when they listened to the sad music.” 
Read more... 

Source: Yahoo Health

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Researchers find birds can theorize about the minds of others, even those they cannot see

"The question of what sets humans apart from other animals is one of the oldest philosophical puzzles. A popular answer is that only humans can understand that others also have minds like their own." writes Phys.Org.

Researchers tested the ability of crows to empathize with others. 
Credit: Copyright: Jana Müller, Universität Wien

But new research suggests that - birds singled out by many cultures as a symbol of intelligence and wisdom - share at least some of the human ability to think abstractly about other minds, adapting their behavior by attributing their own perceptions to others.

The study, "Ravens Attribute Visual Access to Unseen Competitors," was published Feb. 2 in Nature Communications. It found that ravens guarded caches of food against discovery in response to the sounds of other ravens if a nearby peephole was open, even if they did not see another bird. They did not show the same concern when the peephole was closed, despite the auditory cues.

The findings shed new light on science's understanding of Theory of Mind, the ability to attribute mental states - including vision - to others, said Cameron Buckner, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Houston. Buckner is an author of the paper, along with Thomas Bugnyar and Stephan A. Reber, cognitive biologists at the University of Vienna.

Most Theory of Mind research involving animals has been done with chimpanzees and other species closely tied to humans. But while those studies have suggested that animals are able to understand what others see - giving them an advantage in competing for food, for example - they rely on the test subjects' ability to see another's head or eyes, providing so-called "gaze cues." Skeptics argue that animals in these experiments might be responding only to these surface cues, without any real understanding of what others see.

"Thus," the authors write describing the previous state of the research, "it still remains an open question whether any nonhuman animal can attribute the concept 'seeing' without relying on behavioral cues."

Buckner, who focuses on animal cognition, said the researchers avoided that concern in this experiment by using only open peepholes and sounds to indicate the presence of a possible competitor, with the ravens never physically able to see another raven in the context of the experiment.

Ravens are a good subject for study, he said, because despite their obvious evolutionary divergence from humans, their social lives go through several distinct phases, similar to people. In particular, they often defend territories in stable breeding pairs as adults but live in more fluid situations as adolescents.
Read more... 

Additional resources
Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10506
Bizarre bird behavior predicted by game theory

Source: Phys.Org

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