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Friday, August 22, 2014

Free Webinar - Subject Matter Expert + Tablet = Faster, Cheaper, Better Video Learning Content



Join the Webinar below.
 
Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Time: 10 AM Pacific / 1 PM Eastern (60-Minute Session)

Speakers:
Michael Kolowich, CEO and Founder, KnowledgeVision Systems
Session Description

In this session, we'll discuss a whole new way to gather video learning materials from your subject matter experts. Rather than dragging them to a recording studio, why not put the studio in their hands?
 
We'll introduce you to a new class of tablet-based video production tools that makes it easy and even fun for SME's to share their knowledge with the organization and its customers. You'll walk away with a couple of great new free tools and a lot of insight into how to fit these tools into a learning program.    
We'll cover:
  • New, easy-to-use tools that will let your SME's create content right from their tablet  
  • Best practices for using these tools effectively
  • How to make this content even more effective with easy post-production tools 
  • How to coach your SME's to get the best possible on-camera performance 
Register now

About Michael Kolowich  

A 22-year pioneer in online content, Michael Kolowich is CEO and founder of KnowledgeVision, a platform for creating interactive video learning assets from PowerPoint presentations. Founder of the top website ZDNet, Michael was Chief Marketing Officer at Lotus, led AT&T's new media initiatives, and founded DigiNovations, one of Boston's top digital media production companies. You can follow him on Twitter @MichaelKolowich or email michael@knowledgevision.com


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Top ed-tech stories to watch: Online testing looms

No. 1 on our list of key ed-tech stories for the new school year is the struggle for schools to prepare for Common Core testing.

[Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of stories examining five key ed-tech developments to watch for the 2014-15 school year.] 

Preparing for the exams involves much more than making sure schools have the bandwidth and devices to support every student online. 
Photo: eSchool News

Next spring, new state exams tied to the Common Core standards in reading and math will be given for the first time in more than 40 states—and there are big questions about whether schools and students will be ready.

Students will be taking the exams online, and a lack of technology or training in some schools—especially those in rural areas—could make administering the new tests a challenge.
“We could be in trouble,” Donald Childs, administrator of the Unified School District of Antigo, in north central Wisconsin, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We haven’t had an opportunity to test rural schools that just got wireless access to see if there is adequate bandwidth to administer the exams during the state testing window.”
Childs isn’t alone in his anxiety. A national survey of school technology leaders earlier this year found that preparing for online high-stakes tests was their No. 1 concern, said Keith Krueger, chief executive officer of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a professional ed-tech organization.

CoSN has created a toolkit to help ed-tech leaders prepare for online testing, and many school districts have been testing their network capacity in anticipation of the exams. But there’s a difference between conducting a trial run and the real thing, Krueger acknowledged.
“Everyone’s kind of waiting to see how it goes, and if they’re really ready,” he said.
Preparing for the exams involves much more than making sure schools have the bandwidth and devices to support every student online.
Read more... 

Source: eSchool News


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eLearning: A Global Classroom Story

Kathryn Cave Editor at IDG Connect writes, "We take a look at the potential and promise in eLearning through the decades and around the world."

Photo:One Laptop per Child via Flickr

In 1917 my 11-year old great-grandfather caught a boat from his home in Mombasa, Kenya across the ocean to the Kathiawar peninsular on the western edge of India to attend school. Plumped straight into a world of strict vegetarianism - even in the holidays - this was a vastly different culture. Yet after three years he moved again, to the UK, for still more seismic changes. Finally, in 1922, he made the then mammoth journey to Darjeeling on the eastern side of India, to complete his secondary education. 

In a world long before air travel, or the internet, these distances seem truly incredible, not to mention expensive, but such is the draw of a ‘good’ education. Then, as now, a solid command of English, sat at the very centre of it all. Whilst in the early twentieth century this went one step further as Britain, and all its colonies, were moderated under one system: the Cambridge Examining Board.
 
This saw students tested in subjects like English, History, French, Greek and Latin and offered a common benchmark for everyone; albeit an Anglocentric one. My great-grandfather took his in Junior Cambridge Exam in 1923. And now, nearly a century later, with the help of technology, these exact same learning trends have been magnified out again, far into the adult arena.
 
There are the distance learning platforms like the Open University, constant real-time webinars and most importantly of all, Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs’, which mean anyone can glean the ‘benefits’ of a prestigious Harvard (or elsewhere) education, all from the comfort of their own home. In fact, the BBC World Service ran an excellent documentary, ‘The Education Revolution on the impact of all this in emerging regions, like Kenya, a few months back.

Geography: eLearning in Emerging Regions
In the same way the Cambridge Exam Board ruled the roost in its day, today cache comes from affiliated institutions. Now, as then, there is also an especially heartfelt emphasis on education in emerging regions, like Kenya. As James Hanaway, Head of Development at eLearning charity, Camara, explains:

“There is a real ambition to be in school across [all] the countries [we work in, through Africa]. This is the pathway to bettering yourself and there is hunger for education that is a lot more apparent within the kids in the school [than you ever see here in the UK]. They want to absorb everything.”

Dan Oja and June Jamrich Parsons are based in the US and produce eLearning content and solutions. Over the last couple of years they have been building partnerships with companies on the ground in India, Pakistan and the Middle East, to supply technological platforms and premium quality materials:

“The thing that really surprised me was the number of students in private school,” says Parsons. “[And because parents are paying] they want results [this means testing software and materials]. 
Read more... 

Source: IDG Connect


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Webinar: Managing video in your LMS by expert James Cross

Join expert James Cross on Wednesday, August 27th from 12pm - 1PM EDT for a webinar on managing video in your LMS.

How to Manage Video in Your LMS
 


In this webinar, James Cross will cover how large video files can be managed within an LMS, whilst delivering a great video experience for students.
  • How to overcome the technical challenges of managing large video files within your LMS
  • How to ensure a great playback experience for students across all devices
  • How online video can be used as part of online courses


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Top ed-tech stories to watch: eRate gets a facelift

"No. 2 on our list of key ed-tech trends for the new school year is the dramatic overhaul of the eRate, the nation’s school wiring program." continues eSchool News.

[Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of stories examining five key ed-tech developments to watch for the 2014-15 school year. Our countdown continues tomorrow with No. 1.]

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission announced the most significant changes to the eRate, the $2.4 billion-a-year federal school connectivity program, in the program’s 17-year history.

The FCC’s new rules aim to transform the eRate from a telecommunications program into a broadband program that supports the delivery of high-speed internet service within schools.      
Photo: eSchool News


The eRate offers discounts ranging from 20 percent to 90 percent of the cost of telecommunications services, internet access, and “internal connections” (such as routers, switches, and Wi-Fi equipment) to eligible schools and libraries.

Until now, internal connections have been designated as “Priority 2” services and have been funded only after all requests for “Priority 1” services (telecommunications services and internet access) were met. However, that left most schools without any eRate funding for Wi-Fi equipment and other internal connections.

The FCC’s new eRate rules set aside $5 billion in funding over the next five years for the internal connections needed to extend broadband access within schools and libraries.

To spread this funding to the largest number of applicants possible, the agency has taken two key steps: (1) It has limited the maximum discount on these services at 85 percent, and (2) it has placed a $150-per-student cap on the amount of internal connections that schools can apply for within a five-year period.

What’s more, the FCC has introduced a new category of service that is eligible for eRate support: managed Wi-Fi, or “managed internal broadband services” as the agency refers to it.

This change “will allow schools, for the first time, to leverage eRate discounts to outsource major aspects of delivering on-campus broadband connectivity,” said John Harrington, chief executive officer of the eRate consulting firm Funds For Learning. He described this approach as “analogous to a school cafeteria considering bids to manage their kitchen and serve students meals.”

The FCC’s new rules aim to transform the eRate from a telecommunications program into a broadband program that supports the delivery of high-speed internet service within schools and libraries, in order to meet President Obama’s “ConnectED” goal of delivering broadband service to 99 percent of students within five years.

eSchool News is publishing a series of articles examining the impact the new eRate rules will have on schools. You can look for these articles on our home page every Tuesday through Sept. 9.
Read more... 

Source: eSchool News  


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Top ed-tech stories to watch: From 1-to-1 to ‘one to many’

"No. 3 on our list of key ed-tech trends for the new school year is the movement toward students using many devices while at school." continues eSchool News.
 
[Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of stories examining five key ed-tech developments to watch for the 2014-15 school year. Our countdown continues tomorrow with No. 2.]
 

Whether they’re bringing their own devices from home or using school-issued technology, students are likely to use several different ed-tech devices throughout the day.
Photo: eSchool News

Marie Bjerede has noticed a shift in the way many educators are starting to think about mobile learning.

It used to be that when school leaders talked about mobile learning, they focused on a specific device and whether it was capable of mobility. Now, more school leaders are “thinking in terms of the students as mobile,” said Bjerede, who is director of the Consortium for School Networking’s Leadership for Mobile Learning initiative.

This shift might be subtle, but it has profound implications for K-12 schools.
To be able to work effectively, “kids, like adults, need different tools for different purposes,” Bjerede explained. For responding to an in-class poll or quiz, a smart phone or tablet might suffice—but for rendering a sophisticated 3D design, a full-fledged laptop might work better.
Results from Project Tomorrow’s annual “Speak Up” survey on education and technology support this idea.
“We asked the students last year to identify for us their preferred device for a variety of academic tasks,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “The results pointed to a differentiation of devices that they wanted to use, based upon the inherent capabilities and roles of the devices.”
For creating a presentation, “kids want to use a laptop,” Evans noted. “Communicate or collaborate with peers: smart phone. Take notes in class: tablet. Read a book or article: digital reader.”
The idea of the ultimate one-to-one device for learning “is, in fact, a fallacy,” Evans concluded. “Kids are multi-mobilists and want to use a variety of appropriate devices for particular tasks.”
Read more...

Source: eSchool News


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Top ed-tech stories to watch: Schools grapple with data privacy

"No. 4 on our list of key ed-tech trends for the new school year is the need for K-12 leaders to navigate a data privacy minefield." continues eSchool News.

[Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories examining five key ed-tech developments to watch for the 2014-15 school year. Our countdown continues tomorrow with No. 3.]  


School leaders must talk openly about privacy and address parents’ concerns proactively, before it’s too late.
Photo: eSchool News
 
After the high-profile demise this past spring of inBloom, a controversial nonprofit organization that aimed to build a national, cloud-based student data system to improve education, school leaders face a puzzle: How can they balance the privacy concerns of stakeholders with the need to collect and analyze information about their students? Amid an onslaught of criticism from parents and data privacy advocates, states that had signed agreements with inBloom began to pull out of the initiative last year, and the group shut its doors in April. Now, ed-tech observers are wondering what inBloom’s collapse will mean for other efforts to personalize instruction using cloud-based data systems.

Zach Williams, director of communications for the Ogden School District in Utah, said his understanding of the new act is that it enhances FERPA, taking it from the age of paper documents to modern technology.

“Technology advances so quickly that it’s hard to write legislation that keeps up with advances,” he said. “I think this act appears to be reiterating that even if it’s a third party that has information, they still need to follow FERPA guidelines, which is something that we take very seriously already.”

Williams added: “The part I really like, as a parent, are the restrictions on advertising or marketing using student data. That’s something that really is important.” The family advocacy group Common Sense Media supports the legislation, calling it “a step forward for fostering student privacy while permitting ed-tech innovation.”
Read more... 

Source: eSchool News  


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Top ed-tech stories to watch: Maker movement makes waves

"No. 5 on our list of key ed-tech trends for the new school year is the proliferation of maker spaces in schools" continues eSchool News.

[Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories examining five key ed-tech developments to watch for the 2014-15 school year. Our countdown continues tomorrow with No. 4.] 


 Rapid advances in technology, such as 3D printers, have allowed students to create much more complex projects. (Stefano Tinti / Shutterstock.com)
Photo: eSchool News


During a special summer camp last month, the Economic Development Center at West Virginia State University was buzzing with activity.

High school students Drew Jett and Christian Rohr were sitting in front of a computer, designing a silencer for paintball guns. Fellow student Sully Steele sat nearby, working on a prototype for an arm brace that holds a smart phone on the user’s sleeve until it’s needed—flip your wrist, and the phone slides into your hand. Not just intended as a cool, spy-type gadget, the device was meant to protect users’ pelvic regions from the electromagnetic radiation emitted by their phones.


All three students were using the free, three-dimensional modeling software Sketchup Make to design their creations, and they planned on using a 3D printer to bring their creations to life.

Tools like Scratch, littleBits, and MaKey MaKey give students the ability to design and innovate without having to be experts in computer programming or electrical engineering, said Trevor Shaw, director of technology at the Dwight-Englewood School in New Jersey.
Scratch is a free programming language that lets students create their own interactive stories, games, and animations, simply by dragging and dropping blocks of commands. littleBits allow students to create electronic devices without having to wire or solder pieces together. MaKey MaKey is an “invention kit” that turns almost any object into an input device.
What’s more, 3D printers are becoming cheaper and more accessible for schools, opening up further possibilities for creation. This rapid technological shift “is a real game changer,” Shaw said. “It’s so far out of the realm of what we could have imagined five or six years ago”—and it has had a profound effect on the maker movement.
The rise in the maker movement also coincides with a national focus on bolstering science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to prepare students for the jobs of the future, which will rely heavily on innovation. Schools are using hands-on projects to make STEM subjects more relevant and engaging for their students.
Read more...

Source: eSchool News


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Free Webinar—How to Engage Students in Numeracy

Personalizing Math Through Technology and Differentiated Instruction


Facing more rigorous math standards and expectations, schools are exploring new avenues to engage students in numeracy and address diverse learning needs. Silvestre Arcos, an award-winning math instructional leader, has found that resourceful use of technology can help teachers personalize instruction so that "students at every level can make tremendous gains." In this webinar, Arcos will discuss his efforts to align math instruction with students' learning needs and offer ways that schools and districts can support and scale up personalized-learning projects.

This event takes place on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 2 to 3 p.m. ET.

Presenter:
Silvestre Arcos, founding math teacher and instructional coach, KIPP Washington Heights Middle School, New York City

Follow on Twitter as @silvestrearcos
 
Register for this webinar now


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Current Site and App of the Week - eSchool News August 20, 2014

Current Site of the Week   

Give engineering education a boost.
"TeachEngineering.org is a collaborative project between faculty, students and teachers associated with five founding partner universities, with National Science Foundation funding." continues eSchool News.

Photo: eSchool News

The collection continues to grow and evolve with new additions submitted from more than 50 additional contributors, a cadre of volunteer teacher and engineer reviewers, and feedback from teachers who use the curricula in their classrooms.
 
TeachEngineering.org is a searchable, web-based digital library collection populated with standards-based engineering curricula for use by K-12 teachers and engineering faculty to make applied science and math (engineering) come alive in K-12 settings. The TeachEngineering collection provides educators with *free* access to a growing curricular resource of multi-week units, lessons, activities and living labs.
Read more... 

Apps of the Week

Math app helps young students develop addition, subtraction skills.
 

Name: Mathcubes

What is it? This app helps children enjoy and learn math in an entertaining and fun way. In a short amount of time they will control numbers and solve addition and subtraction challenges
.
Best for: Students 6-8
Price: $0.99
Requirements: iOS 6.0 or later

Features: The exercises that can be found in Mathcubes Addition and Subtraction cover a range of ages that go from 3 years old, to help students become familiar with numbers, up to 8 years old, with combined sums and subtraction operations. In Mathcubes children will see cubes jumping and bouncing around them, they will be able to throw them against each other, pile them up and drop them, interacting at a level never seen before.
Other features include:
  • Adapted to encourage learning through experimentation.
  • Intelligent system of exercises that allows adapting the difficulty to the child’s level.
  • Prizes and rewards to motivate children and encourage its usage.
  • All the exercises are strengthen by a system of utterances that works in several languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.
  • Alternative graphic set prepared especially for children with learning difficulties or visual challenges.
Visit iTunes to buy and download apps 

Source: eSchool News    


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