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Introducing the Connect Thinking E-Learning Academy


Thursday, December 13, 2007

The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol 8, No 3 (2007)

Take a look at this paper entitled, Cross-Cultural Delivery of e-Learning Programmes: Perspectives from Hong Kong, by Wong Lap Sang. Wong examines a typically overlooked facet of e-learning, namely cultural hegemony. By examining Hong Kong’s approach to education policy vis-à-vis the importation of cultural artifacts, Wong examines e-learning “from a critical-dialectical perspective.”
Montana State University is the setting for the next paper, Incorporating Screencasts in Online Teaching, by Elaine Peterson. Despite success in teaching a library course online, one component remained a problem for Montana State students: learning the Dewey Decimal Classification System. Peterson reports on the preliminary results of an intervention designed to address this challenge.

Cross-Cultural Delivery of e-Learning Programmes: Perspectives from Hong Kong
By Andrew Lap-sang Wong
School of Professional and Continuing Education (HKU SPACE)
The University of Hong Kong

The growing popularity of e-learning may pose one of the greatest challenges currently facing traditional educational institutions. The questions often asked are how, rather than whether, to embrace this new form of instructional delivery and how to create an appropriate learning environment for the learners. Educational institutions in Hong Kong have the option of adopting programmes or learning materials developed in other parts of the world for local learners, or not. Such an approach of acquiring learning materials is not without risks in terms of the suitability of materials embedded with cultural contents ‘foreign’ to local learners, or in terms of the suitability of assumptions in the communication context.

Incorporating Screencasts in Online Teaching
By Elaine Peterson
Montana State University, USA

Despite success in teaching the class ‘Organization of Information in a School Library Media Center’ (EDCI 545) online, one component continued to be a problem for students, the Dewey Decimal Classification System. To supplement the instruction, a set of simple screencasts was developed to assist distance education students. Benchmarks were established and a beta test conducted. It is expected that the next online class of students will have increased success because of the addition of screencasts. It is suggested that screencasts be considered as an additional tool for online learners across other disciplines, particularly when using databases that have layered sets of information, requiring multiple mouse clicks.

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eSchool News Online

Image analysis gets boost from new science web site
Middle-school science teachers have a new resource at their disposal: SIMPLE Science, an online collection of science activities created by Tucson, Ariz.-based education company Science Approach with funding from the National Science Foundation.
SIMPLE Science lets students explore X-rays of animal skeletons, measure snow and ice cover over time, explore bipedal locomotion, manipulate photographs, diagnose lung disease, and much more. Each topic can be covered in a 50-minute class session. The site is free and is available to anyone with high-speed internet access and a Java-enabled browser.

Google enters UK schools market
Google, the internet search company, is entering the UK schools market - launching a website with resources and news for teachers.
This is the internet giant's latest step into education - as it already has begun to offer online programs and e-mail support for universities.
The free online materials show how to adapt Google Maps and Google Earth for classroom use.
Google says it will support lessons in history, geography and citizenship.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Algebra & Trigonometry

From polynomials to rational expressions, the world of algebra can be a befuddling place.
Of course, trigonometry presents certain challenges as well, what with its sine graphs and inverse functions. Students and teachers of these subjects need fear no longer, as this site offers a guide for smooth sailing through all of these thorny matters. These mathematics resources were designed to complement a textbook authored by Robert Blitzer, and they include a number of interactive quizzes and tests. The materials on the site cover topics like exponents, matrices, and conic sections. Some of the materials are meant to be used as stand-alone educational materials, although visitors should note that some require the actual textbook.

Internet Scout Project

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McGill Life Sciences Library: Resources for Teaching and Learning

McGill Life Sciences Library: Resources for Teaching and Learning

McGill University's Life Science Library has created this very fine online resource for medical educators, students, and other health care professionals.
On the left-hand side of the page, visitors can peruse a list of thematic categories that include "Publishing in the Life Sciences", "Reference Manager", and "Health Statistics" that are worth looking at in detail. The core of the site consists of a long set of links that lead to medical databases, and most importantly, the "ABC of Teaching & Learning in Medicine" articles. These articles cover everything from creating teaching materials to learning and teaching in the clinical environment.

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Editor's Hand Picked Headline News

Don't hang up on students' futures by Ira David Socol

In a classroom with 60 future teachers I tried an experiment. "Everybody have their mobile phones?" I asked. They looked surprised. "OK," I told these Michigan State University students, "you have 15 minutes to receive a text message. The message must say (1) where the person is, (2) what they ate for lunch today, and (c) when they were born."
I offered extra credit if the response came from outside the United States, or if it was in another language. The room was filled with fingers flying across tiny keypads, and quickly we had more responses than students. "What could we do with this information?" I asked. "Graph it? Map it? Analyze it? Translate the French, German, Spanish and Urdu messages?"


ProfCast Lecture Capture Software Adds Logging to Podcast Manager by Dave Nagel

ProfCast has released a new version of its eponymous software designed for capturing and distributing classroom lectures as enhanced podcasts. ProfCast 2.2.0pb4, a public beta of the presentation capture software, includes fixes and enhancements to previous 2.2 releases and is available now for Mac OS X.
ProfCast provides for the recording of live presentations and screen captures. It supports audio playthrough, export to GarageBand, and sharing via iWeb, as well as URL linking and ID3 tags for iTunes U, Apple's university-centric space within iTunes. It also includes an integrated Podcast Manager, which generates and publishes the supporting RSS feed for the podcasts.
Read more

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More students learning online by Stephanie Takach

Almost 3.5 million American students took at least one online course during the fall 2006 term, about a 10 percent increase over the number reported in 2005, according to the Sloan Consortium.
For the fall term at Drexel, almost 4,000 courses have capability of Blackboard Vista, the Drexel online learning service.
"I think that we're safe to say that we're more than just getting our feet wet; [we're] well established to experience online education at Drexel," Associate Vice President of IRT Jan Biros said.
Online education has become increasingly popular on college campuses, and Drexel is taking advantage of these developments in technology. According to Michael Scheuermann, the director of Online Learning, nearly 70 percent of all Drexel students are in at least one section this fall where the professor is actively using Blackboard Vista in their teaching and learning.

Source: The Triangle

Hardware and Software Essentials

Members of the Education World Tech Team share their must-have tech tools for educators. What’s on your list?

Four years ago, we asked members of the Education World Tech Team to tell us about the hardware and software they considered essential to their teaching and/or professional lives outside the classroom. The responses were published in the article Learn to Accessorize: Hardware and Software Essentials. Recently, we wondered how many of the technology tools our experts identified in 2003 were essential in today’s classrooms, and how many new tools our experts had added to the list. So once again, we asked our Tech Team: What hardware and/or software do you consider essential -- or invaluable -- for today’s educator?
Discover what they told us.

Online learning experience suits some students better than sitting in class by DAVID STEINDORF, Ph.D.
I applaud the Times Union's Dec. 2 editorial on the value of an online college education. The point of the editorial was, it seems to me, that establishing universally accepted criteria for evaluating the various online degree programs would greatly assist in debunking the myth that "a degree earned in the virtual world is inferior to a sheepskin obtained in the real one."
I couldn't agree more and, in fact, would humbly suggest that, in certain respects, an online academic experience can, for many individuals, be superior to classroom learning.

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USC Teaching Excellence Colloquium

"Using Breeze for Assessment and Research Collaboration"
By Tena Crews,
University of South Carolina

Breeze software can be used to enhance PowerPoint presentations with audio and to produce online course meetings. More information can be viewed here:

This seminar will provide an overview of how Breeze is being used to not only provide content and online forum for students, but also provide the instructor with a tool for assessment. Using Breeze as an assessment tool allows for specific, individual feedback for students. Using Breeze as a tool for research collaboration with colleagues (in-state, out-of-state, or internationally) will also be discussed. Recorded breeze assessments and research collaborative efforts will be shown as examples.

Related link

About the Presenter

Dr. Tena Crews, Ed.D. in Business Education from The University of Georgia, is an Associate Professor in Technology Support and Training Management in the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management. Her teaching and research interests include online learning design, development, pedagogy, and andragogy. Dr. Crews is active in numerous professional/academic organizations and recently received the 2006 National Business Education Association Collegiate Teacher of the Year Award.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

eSchool Top News: '... Something needs to be done now'

Complete executive summary in English

Poor showing on international exam prompts calls for better science instruction
National standards, a high regard for teachers and the teaching profession, more equitable distribution of resources, autonomy at the school level to implement reforms, and opportunities to personalize instruction: These are some of the key reasons Finland saw its students earn the highest marks in both science and math on a recent international exam...
The poor showing of U.S. students on the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) has renewed calls to improve math and science instruction to keep the nation competitive in the new global economy.
And in light of the results, many observers say the U.S. has much to learn from other countries...
In other countries, school differences played only a minor part in performance variation. In Finland less than 5% of the overall performance variation among OECD countries lay between schools and in Iceland and Norway it was still less than 10%. Other countries in which performance was not very closely related to the schools in which students were enrolled included Sweden, Poland, Spain, Denmark and Ireland as well as the partner countries Latvia and Estonia. Considering that Finland also showed the highest overall performance in science suggests that Finnish parents can rely on high and consistent performance standards across schools in the entire education system.

Related links

Source: eSchool News

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Education-Focused Streaming Multimedia

Streaming Media Renewed for Arkansas Schools by Dave Nagel

Through a recent agreement between Arkansas Educational Television Network and Discovery Education, schools in Arkansas will have access to Discovery streaming, a service that provides education-focused streaming multimedia content. The one-year deal renews an existing agreement, making the materials available to 1,358 school buildings in Arkansas, according to the companies.

Related links
However, please make sure you check out Discovery Education.
Discovery Education provides engaging digital resources to schools and homes with the goal of making educators more effective, increasing student achievement, and connecting classrooms and families to a world of learning.

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eLearning Papers n° 6 (2007). eInclusion and eLearning

This edition of the eLearning Papers presents four articles that link together the themes of eLearning and eInclusion.
Collectively, the articles provide an illuminating snapshot of the current landscape, covering a spectrum that bridges what is happening at the EU trans-national level and the member states policies, and what is happening at the ‘chalk-face’.
Two of the papers reflect summative perspectives. The paper by Kerstin Junge and Kari Hadjivassiliou provides a comprehensive mapping of the most recent initiatives undertaken by the European Commission and by member states in pursuit of the ambitious goal set to half the digital literacy gaps between “at risk groups” and the average population by 2010. This perspective is complemented by David Casacuberta’s resume of best practices gleaned from EL4EI, a European Union project funded by the eLearning Programme. They conclude that more recent eLearning strategies are moving towards a new paradigm, based on more informal teaching environments.
The remaining articles focus on specific eInclusion scenarios. The paper by Kirsti Ala-Mutka and Yves Punie considers how new models and methods in lifelong learning can help to meet the challenges facing Europe’s ageing society. The paper by Vincenza Benigno, Stefania Bocconi and Michela Ott is pitched at the other end of the learning spectrum, and looks at the issue of Universal Access to Education. It focuses on the strong potential that ICTs offer for reducing discrimination among students.
In the concluding article of this edition of the eLearning Papers Per Arne Godejord outlines how blended eLearning approaches can be used to develop ethical awareness in students.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

eSchool News Online: Video Sites Make Science More Accessible

Inspired by YouTube's success, several new science video web sites have sprung up online
A number of video-sharing web sites have cropped up online, designed to let scientists broadcast themselves toiling in the laboratory or delivering lectures. Fans of the niche sites say they help students and the general public understand the scientific process, allow researchers to duplicate one another's results, and could help discourage fraud. And in the wake of disappointing results on an international science exam, they might even help spark more of an interest in science among U.S. students.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New Article in The European Journal of Open and Distance Learning (EURODL)

Please be sure to check out this paper, appears in the European Journal of Open and Distance Learning.
Date of publishing 22.11.2007.

Learning to feel: Education, affective outcomes and the use of online teaching and learning
By Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes, Associate Professor and Dr. Mohamed Ally, Associate Professor
Athabasca University

Research employing an experimental design pilot tested two delivery platforms, WebCT and ElluminateLive, for the generation of affective learning outcomes in the workplace. Ten different organizations across Western Canada asked their call centre/help desk staff to participate in an online course on customer service. One hundred and one participants were randomly assigned to two types of online learning management systems. Data comparing results of the two groups are inconclusive in relation to delivery outcomes, but indicate there is potential for soft skill development and affective gain using online delivery.
Both groups performed well on tests of knowledge regarding appropriate affect in customer service environments. Soft skill assessment showed small gains from time one to time two for participants studying in both platforms. Differences between groups were seen in two observations. There was greater engagement and interaction among participants in the WebCT group. Additionally, the WebCT group yielded higher exam scores, but differences between exam means were not statistically significant.


Source: The European Journal of Open and Distance Learning (EURODL)

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Birmingham mayor seeks low-cost laptops

City reportedly negotiating with One Laptop Per Child foundation to supply $200 computers to 15,000 students

The low-cost XO laptop computer that aims to revolutionize education worldwide could be coming to Birmingham, Ala., students for about the same low cost that officials in developing nations must pay, if a deal reported to be in negotiations goes through.
The Birmingham News reported last month that more than 15,000 children in Birmingham city schools would receive an XO laptop under a tentative agreement new mayor Larry Langford has reached with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) foundation, the organization behind the initiative. The computers would be given to every child in grades 1-8 and would cost about $3 million, or roughly $200 apiece.

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T.H.E. Journal Online!

Biology Teacher Engages Students with Classroom Capture, Multimedia
Can a high school biology teacher record his lectures, post them online, and get thousands of hits to his site in a year? Apparently so, if Okemos High School's Kelly Carrier is an example. The Michigan public school science teacher uses TechSmith's Camtasia Studio to capture portions of his biology and physical science classes, then posts them online so that students can review them later. At five sections a day, with 30 students per section, he teaches 150 students a day--and then reaches them again and again via the online content, if the Web numbers are any indication

Related links
Camtasia Studio
Okemos Public Schools

PreK-12 Leads Electronic Learning Growth
By Dave Nagel

In the United States, the demand for self-paced electronic learning products will hit $13.6 billion by the end of 2007 and will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.01 percent over the next five years. This according to a new forecast from Ambient Insight detailed in report released this week entitled, "The U.S. Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services." An executive summary of the report with further details and definitions of categories is available online at the link below.

Related links
Ambient Insight
Executive Summary: The US Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 2007-2012 Forecast and Analysis

Source: T.H.E. Journal

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Wolfram Demonstrations Project: Visualizing Algorithms and Mathematical Models

Over a thousand mathematical concepts demonstrates in The Wolfram Demonstrations Project from elementary education to front-line research, topics span an ever-growing array of categories and their quality look very impressive. Each example has code associated with it.

Conceived by Mathematica creator and scientist Stephen Wolfram as a way to bring computational exploration to the widest possible audience...
In many ways, The Wolfram Demonstrations Project introduces a new paradigm for exploring ideas. The power to easily create interactive visualizations, once in the domain of computing experts alone, is now in the hands of every Mathematica user.
Demonstrations can be created with just a few short lines of readable code, powered by the revolutionary advances in Mathematica. This opens the door for researchers, educators, students, and professionals at any level to create their own sophisticated mini-applications and publish them online.
The Wolfram Demonstrations Project is part of a family of free online services from Wolfram Research, which includes MathWorld, the world's top mathematics website, as well as The Wolfram Functions Site, WolframTones, and more.

Related links
Wolfram Research (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks

Whatever you do, avoid taking the time to read these papers below:

Learning Science Online: A Descriptive Study of Online Science Courses for Teachers
By Jodi Asbell-Clarke and Elizabeth Rowe

Online education is a rapidly growing phenomenon for science teachers. Using a sample of 40 online science courses for teachers offered during the 2004–2005 academic year, the Learning Science Online (LSO) study examines the nature and variety of instructional methods and activities as well as communication, and students’ perceptions of supports within the course. This research is unique in that it is the first aggregate study of online science courses offered by a wide variety of educational programs. Descriptive analyses suggest the instructional methods employed in online science courses for teachers include frequent use of online discussions and students participated in minds-on activities, including articulation and reflection on their scientific ideas, posing questions, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions from evidence. Hands-on instructional activities were rarely used, and pen-and-paper and collaborative instructional activities were occasionally used. Technology was used primarily for communications such as discussion boards, email, and chat, but there were very few other computer-based tools used within the courses. Students felt supported by instructors, other students, and the course design.
Only available to Sloan-C Members. Become a Free Sloan-C Member

Online vs. Blended Learning: Differences in Instructional Outcomes and Learner Satisfaction
By Doo Hun Lim, Michael L. Morris and Virginia W. Kupritz
University of Tennessee

This study investigates differences in instructional and learner factors between two groups of learners exposed to online only and blended delivery formats, respectively, in an effort to compare learning outcomes and other instructional variables between online and blended delivery methods. Findings indicated that no significant differences existed in learning outcomes; however, significant differences existed in several instructional and learner factors between the two delivery format groups. Discussions about improving online or blended delivery method are presented based upon the research findings.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Common Craft Show

I have recently discovered The Common Craft Show by Lee and Sachi LeFever and I believe that they have a very excellent and helpfull site on the web. Great Job! The Common Craft Show is a series of short explanatory videos in a format they call Paperworks.

Related links
The Common Craft
The Common Craft Blog
Paperworks videos
Explanations in Plain English
Look at the New eLearning Video Today at the Top of My Weblog

About Sachi LeFever

Sachi LeFever is the project manager, video editor, and "chief party pooper". She gets things done. You can find Sachi on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About Lee LeFever

Lee LeFever is the community consultant, communicator and idea guy. You can see the sum of his online world (Twitter, photos, etc.) at or connect to him on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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MIT adapts free online courses for high schools

New secondary-school web site contains OpenCourseWare resources for teaching STEM disciplines
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has created a new web site with free online resources that aim to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction at the high school level.

Related links

Source: eSchool News

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Look at the New eLearning Video Today at the Top of My Weblog

About Helge Scherlund's eLearning Video Today

What is Social Networking by leelefever

A social network service focuses on the building and verifying of online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others, and which necessitates the use of software.
Read more... (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Facebook responds to privacy concerns
Facebook users will have to opt in to a new advertising system. Seeking to keep the peace in its popular online hangout,
Facebook Inc. has overhauled a new advertising system that sparked privacy complaints by turning its users—many of whom are students—into marketing tools for other companies.
Under the changes outlined late Nov. 29, Facebook’s 55 million users will be given greater control over whether they want to participate in a three-week-old program that circulates potentially sensitive information about their online purchases and other activities.

Related links
Facebook is a social utility that connects
you with the people around you.
Facebook is a social networking website, that was launched on February 4, 2004. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, a member of the Harvard class of 2006 and former Ardsley High School student.
Read more... (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Source: eSchool News

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