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Introducing the Connect Thinking E-Learning Academy


Friday, June 29, 2007

Technology articles by Linda L Briggs

Web-Based Learning at Dalhousie U Connects Canadian Students
Software tools that allow colleges and universities to deliver classes over the Internet, either standalone or as a component of a traditional face to face class, are nothing new. But personalizing the online experience beyond slides can be a challenge.
At a leading institution in Canada, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, students can attend interactive classes online that are complete with slides, voice, white board capabilities, polling, chatting, application sharing, and, soon, live video as well.
Live Classroom, from Wimba, formerly Horizon Wimba, is a Web-based learning environment that enables students and faculty in online courses to participate in highly interactive online sessions. Dalhousie University, with 15,500 students, has been using Live Classroom since 2002. Live Classroom is tightly integrated with WebCT, so students and faculty can log onto the Wimba product without any special password or access codes. (The product can integrate with content management systems from Angel, Blackboard, and Moodle.)

Related links

Open Source Connects Courseware at Rice University
As the Internet rapidly reshapes how scholarly information is disseminated at colleges and universities, an open-source, open-community initiative at Rice University in Houston may portend the future.
Called Connexions, it's an online environment that encourages the creation and sharing of content on virtually any topic in higher education, organized into modules that can easily be incorporated into a course or used for research or study on a particular topic.
The eclectic mix of participating instructors from universities around the world includes universities within the United States, as well as China, Norway, Italy, and Vietnam.
A non-profit project, Connexions' goals include making high-quality educational content available online to all at no cost through the Internet. The project invites authors and educators worldwide to help create textbooks, courses, and learning materials from its global open-access repository.
Connexions was created in 1999 by Rice University Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Richard Baraniuk, who said he always imagined the program eventually reaching across universities, cultures, and languages around the world.

Related link

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 - Newsletter


Here is a study entitled “Giving Knowledge for Free: The emergence of open educational resources”, published by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), and appears in - Newsletter June 2007.

More and more institutions and individuals are sharing digital learning resources over the Internet openly and without cost as open educational resources. The study asks why this is happening, who is involved and what the most important implications are. - Newsletter June 2007

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Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Conference 2007

The theme of the conference, Of Mice, Minds, and Society, explores interrelations among technology, individual cognition, and social cognition. The goal of the conference is to sharpen the community’s perspectives on how these threads of CSCL are interwoven and how they interactively contribute to an understanding of the nature of learning in technology-supported environments.
The community must engage in collaborative knowledge building to help understand the dialectical relationships among technology, collaboration, and learning. The theme denotes the relationship between the technological interface (of mice) that supports individual or group cognition (of minds). It also reflects the larger societal context in which collaborative activity is valued, promoted, and encouraged (of society).
Collaborative activity that is supported by computing resources can achieve its potential to foster creative problem solving, build and extend community, and amplify the resources available to individuals or groups. The theme of the conference reflects our goal to explore how this potential can be achieved .

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Sloan-C Now

The Sloan-C Online Teaching Certificate Program
Anyone who teaches online needs first-hand experience as an online learner to better understand the online learning environment. The Sloan-C Online Teaching Certificate series proves unique in that faculty can take key learnings from the Getting Started and Quality Matters workshops, immediately apply these learnings in a laboratory environment, and receive feedback from both the faculty mentors and faculty peers.

Blended Learning: Driving Forward Without a Definition
Take a look at this 2004 paper, appears in Keith Bourne's blog, May 8, 2007.
Stephen Laster of Babson College (now at Harvard Business School) shares thoughts on defining blended learning.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Editor's Hand Picked Headline News

Does the Web make students smarter, or smarty-pants? by SIRI AGRELL
From Friday's Globe and Mail
As Leslie Chan delivered a lecture about the history of the United Nations to his students at the University of Toronto earlier this year, some pupils took notes on laptops, others dozed and one was busy reading the UN website to verify the dates and figures being presented by his teacher. "After a couple of minutes, he pointed out to me that one of the things I said was outdated," Mr. Chan said. "It was a good example of fact checking, and I welcomed it. But he was so caught up with proving me wrong that he missed the point of the lecture."
Like Mr. Chan, more teachers are having to prepare themselves for confrontations with students who can find a second opinion or contradictory fact at the click of a mouse.
This generation of high-school and university students have been weaned on Google, Wikipedia and a sort of Web 2.0 approach to learning, where information is easily accessible, interactive and up for debate.

International Online Learning
Children and their teachers are already benefiting from online learning communities such as the Oracle Education Foundation's, but there is a real opportunity for richer learning with such systems that is yet to be tapped.
Elizabeth Hartnell-Young of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Nottingham and freelance statistician Karen Corneille of Victoria, Australia, writing in the International Journal of Web Based Communities, describe how they have taken as a case study and investigated how a free, password-protected online community can support children's learning.
"We found that many children engaged readily with the site," says Hartnell-Young. Even those children with less developed ICT skills benefited from interacting with others. She adds that, "educators played a powerful role in mediating learning, managing the communities, setting guidelines for participation, and linking students with outside experts." Such online communities are not yet mature enough to provide a fully rich learning experience, however, the researchers add.

OpenLearn: Mathematics and Statistics
The Open University had long been dedicated to the proposition of providing high-quality educational materials for persons all over Britain and the world. They were one of the first universities to place such materials online, and their OpenLearn website has received high marks from many quarters. This particular section of materials on their site is devoted to providing instructional units in both math and science. Currently, the site contains about 30 different units, and visitors can stroll through these units and take in their materials at their leisure. The units include such titles as “Modeling pollution in the Great Lakes”, “Exploring data: graphs and numerical summaries”, and “Using vectors to model”.

Gizmo: Developmental Math
Students may not always learn in the same way, so teachers can help them by drawing on a diverse set of educational materials and techniques. Math teachers will appreciate learning about this set of developmental math “gizmos” offered on this site. Visitors can select interactive features that cover fractions, linear equations, roots, and geometry. Clicking on each topic will bring up a list of additional “gizmos”, and visitors can look over each one to see which is most appropriate for their students. Each small interactive feature is easy to use, and with the help of the explanatory text, they are all accessible for both teachers and students alike.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Learning for free on the internet by Rob Humphreys, Western Mail

THE Open University holds a particular place in British and higher education history by virtue of its special mission – to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.
Open, in particular, to people who do not have the traditional entry qualifications to university.
The OU does not have a monopoly in Welsh higher education in being accessible to “non-traditional” students (itself a rather anachronistic term, I would contend).
But it is unique in having courses and curricula which are designed exclusively around part- time patterns of study, and, of course, offering maximum flexibility, via distance learning.
Recently almost half-a-million learners worldwide have experienced free learning materials from the OU, via the new OpenLearn website. If you haven’t yet, you should take a look.


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Mobile Learning

Take a look at these papers, appears in Vol 8, No 2 (2007), edition of The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning.
This special theme issue examining mobile learning will help educators and trainers to be better prepared for the use of mobile technology in education and training. The papers in this special issue also help to clarify what is meant by mobile learning, discuss what has been achieved so far in the use of mobile technology in learning, and describe the use of different mobile technologies in education and mobile learning applications around the world.

Mobile Usability in Educational Contexts: What have we learnt?
By Agnes Kukulska-Hulme
The Open University, UK


The successful development of mobile learning is dependent on human factors in the use of new mobile and wireless technologies. The majority of mobile learning activity continues to take place on devices that were not designed with educational applications in mind, and usability issues are often reported. The paper reflects on progress in approaches to usability and on recent developments, with particular reference to usability findings reported in studies of mobile learning. The requirements of education are considered as well as the needs of students participating in distance education; discipline-specific perspectives and accessibility issues are also addressed. Usability findings from empirical studies of mobile learning published in the literature are drawn together in the paper, along with an account of issues that emerged in two mobile learning projects based at The Open University, UK, in 2001 and 2005.

m-Learning: Positioning educators for a mobile, connected future
By Kristine Peters
Flinders University

Mobile learning is variously viewed as a fad, a threat, and an answer to the learning needs of time-poor mobile workers, so does it have a place in delivering mainstream learning? Based on a 2005 comparative research project, commissioned by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework, the paper reports on research into Web-based information about the use of mobile technologies for commerce and learning, which was then tested through 29 interviews with manufacturers of mobile devices, businesses and education providers. The research found that mobile technologies were in common use in some commercial sectors, but their use purely for learning was rare. m-Learning lends itself to new methods of delivery, however, that are highly suited to the ‘just enough, just in time, and just for me’ demands of 21st Century learners.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Videnskabsministeren lancerer national strategi for e-læring

I går offentliggjorde regeringen en national strategi for e-læring med den klare ambition: At Danmark bliver blandt de førende lande i verden inden for e-læring.
Regeringen afsætter mere end 135 mio. kroner over tre år til at skabe en endnu større anvendelse og en højere kvalitet af e-læring. Det skal bidrage til at højne kompetenceudviklingen i hele samfundet.

National strategi for IKT-støttet læring


E-læring, kompetenceudvikling og resultater - Vi har potentialet – nu realiserer vi det
Børn og unge skal motiveres til at anvende e-læring tidligt i livet
De videregående uddannelser skal udnytte e-læring til at nå pædagogiske og strategiske mål
Offentlige arbejdspladser skal være i front, når det gælder anvendelsen af e-læring
E-læring skal være et naturligt tilbud til private virksomheder og deres medarbejdere
Borgerne kan blive dygtigere via e-læring
De gode erfaringer skal dokumenteres, formidles og udnyttes på tværs af sektorer

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Editor's Hand Picked Headline News

Discovery Educator Network

The Discovery Educator Network web site is a place for educators to share ideas, as they connect with other educators from all over the world. The website also offers a variety of resources that are available at varying levels of access.

  • EVERYONE who visits the Discovery Educator Network web site may read the blogs, discussion boards, calendar of events and the Discovery Education Classroom Resource Guide
  • DISCOVERY EDUCATORS have the ability to comment on the blogs, post to the discussion boards, and register for Discovery Educator Network events on the Calendar.
  • STAR DISCOVERY EDUCATORS have access to all of the online tools. They may upload and download activities and materials from the resource library, create their own blogs, publish in the Discovery Education Classroom Resource Guide and have access to exclusive STAR Discovery Educator events. In addition, STAR Discovery Educators receive a Welcome Kit, enjoy regular communication from a Discovery Education Field Manager, have exclusive access to training materials and are eligible to participate in STAR only promotions and contests.


Take Any College Class for Free: 236 Open Courseware Collections, Podcasts, and Videos

If you're interested in specific open courses, you can find a variety on the Web (or through this list below). Usually, those single courses will contain all the materials you need to learn one subject for free.

Related link
List of 100 courses
MIT's OpenCourseWare

Source: The Online Education Database

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

International Conference on e-Learning UiCEL 2007.

Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia and the i-Learn Centre (i-LeC) have the pleasure to host the first International Conference on e-Learning UiCEL 2007.

They invite researchers, academics and practitioners to present their research findings and works in progress within the field of e-Learning. They aim at creating a conference that has high quality discussion that emphasizes quality assurance in content development.

Topics for this conference include, but are not limited to:

  • Multimedia based e-Learning System
  • Multimedia based Instructional Design
  • E-Learning Content Evaluation
  • Content-based and Context-based Learning
  • Content Implementation and Maintenance
  • E-Learning Content Standardization
  • Need Analyisis for Content Development
  • Emerging and Best Practices in Content Development
  • Security and Confidentiallity Course Content


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Preliminary Conference Program Now Available!

On September 24-26, 2007, Brandon Hall Research will be hosting the “Innovations in Learning Conference” at the Marriott Hotel in Santa Clara, California.

This new event is designed to showcase the emerging technologies that are being adopted today to create the next generation of learning.
Don't miss this conference program that describes the innovative sessions they have planned for this conference:
Create and publish your own podcast. Experience the latest in educational games. See how social networking sites are being used for learning. Find out how blogs and wikis can create a culture of learning within your organization. And much more!
This event will maximize the participants experience with innovative tools and technologies and provide them with a glimpse into the future of learning.

Related link

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Look at the new eLearning video today at the top of my weblog

About Helge Scherlund's eLearning Video Today

This presentation looks at the potential of Activity Theory as a theoretical framework for exploring the changes that occur when e-learning is integrated into teachers practice.

Related links

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Recommended books

Designing Successful E-Learning: Forget What You Know About Instructional Design and Do Something Interesting - Michael Allen's Online Learning Library (Michael Allen's E-Learning Library).

Below is a new interesting book by Dr. Michael Allen.

This is the second volume of six in Michael Allen's e Learning Library a comprehensive collection of proven techniques for creating e learning applications that achieve targeted behavioral outcomes through meaningful, memorable, and motivational learning experiences.
This book examines common instructional design practices with a critical eye and recommends substituting success rather than tradition as a guide. Drawing from theory, research, and experience in learning and behavioral change, the author provides a framework for addressing a broader range of learner needs and achieving superior performance outcomes.
Buy this book

About the Author
Dr. Michael Allen has been named among the 20 most influential training professionals by Training Industry, Inc. for 2007.
Allen has pioneered multimedia learning technologies, interactive instructional paradigms, and rapid-prototyping processes, bringing each forward into leading corporate enterprises. He is the chairman and CEO of Allen Interactions Inc., which builds universally acclaimed custom e-learning, provides strategic learning consulting, and trains e-learning professionals in collaboration with ASTD. Allen holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from The Ohio State University, is a popular conference speaker and a prolific writer.
“Dr. Allen has been both an inspiration and the guiding light for all of us here at Allen Interactions,” said R. John Welsh, vice president at Allen Interactions. “His creative, innovative and performance-driven instructional methods have helped us change many top organizations’ learning paradigms.”
The award recipients were selected and voted for by over 12,000 of their peers on the website and include CEOs, Presidents, Senior Vice Presidents, Chief Learning Officers, Authors, Consultants, and Senior Executives of training companies from a variety of industries, government agencies, and academia.

Related links
Creating Successful E-Learning: A Rapid System for Getting It Right First Time, Every Time
Recommended Books by Dr. Michael W. Allen

Learning and Teaching with Virtual Learning Environments.
By Helena Gillespie, Helen Boulton, Alison Hramiak and Richard Williamson.

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are becoming increasingly common in schools, and it is important for trainees to be equipped with the necessary skills and understanding to use them effectively to enhance learning. This book takes a thematic approach, examining all the key issues from designing and creating a VLE to using one to organise, moderate and assess pupil learning and even to develop resources for learning.
Buy this book

About the Authors
Helena Gillespie has worked in teacher education for 4 years. She has published in journals and books, and has recently completed a book for David Fulton Publishers on ICT in schools. She has a Masters in Education.
Helen Boulton has worked in teacher education for 5 years; prior to this she was an ICT Co-ordinator. She has a Masters in Educational management and is currently working towards her PhD.
Alison Hramiak has worked for 9 years teaching and managing e-learning. She has worked in all three education sectors, schools, further and higher, and has published in journals and at conferences. She has a doctorate in Education.
Richard Williamson has been involved in teaching ICT for 10 years and has pioneered the introduction of VLEs in primary and secondary schools across Nottinghamshire. He has been involved in teacher education for 5 years and is working towards his Masters degree in Educational Leadership and Management.

Related links

Recommended books about Virtual Learning Environments
Virtual learning environment (VLE) by ex-teacher Phil Thane

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Editor's Hand Picked Headline News

Model school prepares for future by Valerie Olander

The $72 million campus, south of Howell in Livingston County, will have a privately owned credit union and cashless convenience store, both geared toward offering students real-world business training and experience. Lansing Community College will have its own eight-classroom wing and students will be able to choose from more flexible scheduling options, with classes being offered for longer time periods on alternate days, evenings, weekends and even summer.

Source: The Detroit News

Report sees online schools as models for reform by Robert L. Jacobson
The growing popularity and success of online learning is an important but "largely unnoticed" trend that reform-minded educators and policy makers could use to much greater advantage as they seek to improve public education in general, says a new report from Education Sector, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C.

Titled "Laboratories of Reform: Virtual High Schools and Innovation in Public Education," the report urges reformers to recognize that long-sought improvements in teaching and learning already are being applied successfully in online education.
"Virtual schooling is driving the same sorts of transforming changes in public education as Apple's iTunes has been producing in the way people collect and listen to music," the report asserts. "While the importance of effective teaching and learning has not changed, the internet has enabled educators to significantly alter the experience of schooling."

Related link
New report from Education Sector, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C.

Source:eSchool News

University of North Carolina Online Puts Degree Programs Within Reach by Joni Worthington, UNC General Administration

Responding to growing statewide demand for affordable access to quality higher education, the University of North Carolina system is launching the University of North Carolina Online, a central website that provides convenient one-stop access to more than 130 online degree, certificate, and licensure programs offered by the 16 UNC campuses. This vast collection of online UNC degree programs and courses is one of the largest available anywhere in the United States. The official launch date for the new website is July 1, 2007.

Related link
Online UNC degree programs and courses

Elizabeth City State University

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Friday, June 15, 2007

The Real Story: Blended Learning.

Brandon Hall Research has just published a new report.

The Real Story: Blended Learning.
By author Janet Clarey, Sr. Researcher, Brandon Hall Research.

This report is written differently than other reports they have written. For this report, they have collaborated with experts and practitioners, in both the corporate and higher education sectors, to provide you with a rigorous and comprehensive view of blended learning.
Contributing authors:

Ya-Ting Teng, Curtis J. Bonk, Kyong-Jee Kim, Eun Jung Oh, Su Jin Son, Tingting Zeng, and Jingli Cheng provide key findings from a research survey study of HR professionals worldwide to answer how blended learning is addressed in a strategic plan, how the strategies are distributed and practiced, and what advice learning professionals need regarding blended learning. Their findings include projections of organizational spending and needs around strategic planning. They encourage you to share your innovative designs as models and applications of blended learning evolve.

Bill Bruck and Paul Schneider write about the gap between traditional instructor-led programs and e-learning programs and provide examples of how blended learning might be used to reduce time to proficiency or even to serve as a catalyst to bridge the knowledge management gap.

Jim Bertelsen provides an example of blended learning as a default condition, a way to enable lifelong, authentic learning. He provides examples at the university level and the corporate level and outlines new channels and enablers of blended learning.

Michael Sunnarborg provides a snapshot of his experience with blended learning in the corporate environment. In working within blended learning environments at The University of Phoenix, Allen Interactions, and Target, he provides a snapshot of how blended learning impacts the learning professional.

B. Unnikrishnan provides a glimpse of innovative initiatives of blended learning from rural India. While we don’t often discuss physical conditions, population issues, and reach in rural areas, doing so can help us gain an understanding of a broader definition of blended learning.

Related link

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Collaborate! by Matt Villano

Campus collaboration tools are getting more powerful.

Teaching and learning is reaching new heights via powerful (and sometimes, unexpected) collaboration tools: meeting, conferencing, class capture applications - even wikis and open source course management systems. Find your campus collaboration model here.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

K-12 and VoEd students use real-time technology to enhance learning

Audio Visual Innovations (AVI), the industry leader in providing state-of-the-art audiovisual presentation, communication and collaborative solutions, upgraded 93 classrooms within the post-secondary and technical magnet high school with the industries next generation in learning technology.

Imagine students in a classroom with the ability to work from their desks and present the results of their work to the entire class without every leaving their stationary places. The technologies in Atlantic Technical Center's intelligent classrooms are providing students with a new set of learning tools and opportunities.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

ProProfs Launches Free Flashcards Feature With Over 1 Million Cards , the leader in free online learning resources, announces the launch of ProProfs Flashcards, with one of the largest educational flashcard database of its kind.
ProProfs Flashcards is a free, community-oriented service aimed at providing students and educators with ability to study, find and export flashcards by either selecting from exhaustive library covering a wide variety of subjects or by creating their own.
As Sameer Bhatia, president and founder of ProProfs, explains, "Flashcardsare an effective, proven tool to help students register information. ProProfs Flashcards allow us to better provide students and educators with the necessary tools for learning success on the web." As Mr. Bhatia points out, flashcards are often used by students who want to study components of a subject area at "crunch time."

Related links

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The schedule for the June/July Innovate-Live webcasts

Explore Innovate-Live Portal, an international membership portal for collaboration, live programs and resources.
It's offer an opportunity to synchronously interact with authors of selected articles in the June/July 2007 issue of Innovate, an open access e-journal published by the Fischler School of Education and Social Services at Nova Southeastern University.
Produced and hosted by ULiveandLearn, featuring Innovate-Live webcasts and Innovate-Live discussion forums, is the interactive centerpiece of Innovate.

The schedule for the June/July Innovate-Live webcasts is provided below.

June 14, 2007

12:00 PM
Authors: Bill Gibbs and Erik Larson
Using Video Conferencing in Lecture Classes

1:00 PM
Authors: Kathleen Roney and MaryAnn DaviesCoaching and Mentoring on the Internet Highway

2:00 PM
Authors: Sarah Lohnes and Charles KinzerQuestioning Assumptions About Students' Expectations for Technology inCollege Classrooms

July 11, 2007

12:00 PM
Author: Howard WachChanging Needs, Changing Models: Instructional Technology Training at BronxCommunity College

1:00 PM
Author: Donald PhilipThe Knowledge Building Paradigm: A Model of Learning for Net GenerationStudents

3:00 PM
Authors: Edward Gehringer, Luke Ehresman, Susan G. Conger, and Prasad WagleReusable Learning Objects Through Peer Review:The Expertiza Approach

To Be Announced (Check the Innovate-Live Portal)
Authors: Helen Sword and Michele LeggottBackwards into the Future: Seven Principles for Educating the Ne(x)tGeneration

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Editor's Hand Picked Headline News

Logging into learning by Sumithra Thangavelu

Globally, the World Wide Web was changing the face of conventional education, with several top-notch universities offering their course streams online. In India, a large number of corporates were providing customised e-learning courses to employees through global and local tie-ups, to better efficiency and bottomlines. And, the industry valued these certifications as much as it did a normal degree.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

The Net Generation Goes to College by Jack M. Germain

In the eyes of students who have grown up with computers and the Internet, the quality of a college's technology has a lot to do with its quality of education. In fact, they'll often view an institution's tech level as a major factor in deciding where to attend college. They're looking for places that provide various media outlets to receive classroom content, however many universities are slow to adapt.


Web Analytics: The Crystal Ball of Customer Behavior? by John Lovett

Web analytics provides a window into customer behavior, actions and intentions that can be harnessed to improve the customer experience and impact revenue. Recent Aberdeen research revealed that the predominant strategy identified by 44% of all online web sites is to use web analytics to gauge customer behavior and drive operational changes throughout their organizations.

NSTA’s latest ready resource: Science Objects

Learning about science isn’t always easy, and teaching various concepts can be quite vexing at times, particularly for newer teachers. Stepping in to provide a bit of assistance, the National Science Teachers Association has created these helpful science objects that provide a bit of a refresher course in each area. Created in partnership with organizations like NASA, NOAA, and the GE Foundation, these interactive features cover Newton’s First, Second, and Third Laws, the origins of the universe, and the universe outside our own solar system. Visitors can also search to discover features that cover coral reef ecosystems, the different kinds of energy, and the ocean’s affect on weather and climate.

Source: The Scout Report: June 1, 2007, Volume 13, Number 21

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Company aims to fill a need with math homework help

Software giant Microsoft Corp. has released a standalone math software product, called Microsoft Math 3.0, that can be purchased and downloaded from the company's web site. The software is intended to help students (and their parents) work through math homework problems together, and it also can be used for classroom demonstrations of abstract math concepts.
Earlier versions of the product were integrated into Microsoft's Student with Encarta Premium software. But Math 3.0 is a standalone product that can be downloaded from Microsoft's web site.
With Math 3.0, Microsoft's software engineers have applied their math expertise to meet what they perceive as a serious need. According to an independent survey commissioned by Microsoft, 77 percent of teachers and 73 percent of parents claim math and science are the most difficult homework subjects for students, while only 36 percent of parents said they felt capable to help their children.

Microsoft Math's 3-D graphics help students visualize math and science problems.

Related link

Source: eSchool News

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Report: State standards vary widely

States Found to Vary Widely on Education

Academic standards vary so drastically from state to state that a fourth grader judged proficient in reading in Mississippi or Tennessee would fall far short of that mark in Massachusetts and South Carolina, the United States Department of Education said yesterday in a report that, for the first time, measured the extent of the differences. (See the exclusive
report below).

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in a statement, “This report offers sobering news that serious work remains to ensure that our schools are teaching students to the highest possible standards.” Still, in a conference call with reporters, she said it was up to the states, not the federal government, to raise standards.

Source: The New York Times

Report: Mapping 2005 State Proficiency Standards Onto the NAEP Scales

Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), states are required to report the percentages of students achieving proficiency in reading and mathematics for grades 3 through 8. For each subject and grade combination, the percentages vary widely across states. For grades 4 and 8, these percentages can be compared to the estimated percentages of students achieving proficiency with respect to the standard established by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Again, large discrepancies are observed.

National Assessment of Educational Progress
Commissioner Mark Schneider's Powerpoint Presentation:
Comparing State Proficiency Standards
Comparing NAEP and state proficiency standards

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Recommended books about Virtual Learning Environments

Continuing further on my earlier publishing, below are some excellent books, I thought you may find be very helpful.

Virtual Learning Environments: Using, Choosing and Developing Your VLE.
By Martin Weller

Virtual learning environments are widely spread in higher education, yet they are often under utilised by the institutions that employ them. This book addresses the need to move beyond
thinking about the VLE simply in terms of the particular package that an institution has adopted, and viewing it as a significant educational technology that will shape much of the teaching and learning process in the coming years. Considering how virtual learning environments can be successfully deployed and used for effective teaching, it sets out a model for effective use, focusing on pedagogic application rather than a specific technology, and seeks to provide a bridge between pedagogical approaches and the tools educators have at their disposal. It contains essential advice for those choosing a VLE and encourages all those involved in the deployment of a VLEs to use them more productively in order to create engaging learning experiences.

Related links

International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments: Vol. 1 & 2
Weiss, Joel., Nolan, Jason., Hunsinger, Jeremy and Trifonas, Peter (Editors)

This handbook is divided into four sections: Foundations of Virtual Learning Environments; Schooling, Professional Learning and Knowledge Management; Out-of-School Learning Environments; and Challenges for Virtual Learning Environments. A variety of chapters representing different academic and professional fields are included.

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Virtual learning environment (VLE) by ex-teacher Phil Thane

Look at how education is changing, thanks to Virtual Learning Environments.

Schools have been using computers since the mid-1980s, and distance learning – via radio or TV, by post, using books, disks or tapes – isn’t new either.
In the Australian outback, for example, they’ve had ‘virtual schools’ via shortwave radio since the 1950s.
Recently, learning systems that bring together many existing web-based technology strands, including email, chat, blogs and wikis, have started to come together and VLE (virtual learning environment) is now the abbreviation du jour in school staff meetings.
If you’re a parent, you’re going to see it in newsletters, at parents’ evenings and you might hear the children mention it. Pupils are unlikely to refer to a VLE though – you’re far more likely to hear about Moodle or Learnwise, Blackboard or Studywiz. We’re going to look at the basics of VLEs and how they’re changing modern education.

Related links

Azzurri (Talmos VLE)
Connetix VLE
Etech (Studywiz VLE)
Fronter Open Learning Platform
It’s learning VLE
Learnwise VLE
Moodle open source VLE
Netmedia (Mygrid4learning suite)
Ramesys (Assimilate VLE)
RM (Kaleidos VLE)
Serco (Facility Learning Platform)
Viglen (PC hardware and VLE reseller)

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