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Introducing the Connect Thinking E-Learning Academy


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Technology Supporting Informal Learning by Stephen Downes

Please take a moment to review this pertinent paper from Stephen Downes - Half an Hour blog, in preparation for the Challenges 2009 conference in Braga, Portugal.

We often talk about games, simulations and other events in learning, but these technologies support only episodic learning. Equally important are those technologies that provide a context for these learning episodes, an environment where students and interact and converse among themselves.
This paper described experimentation in the development of distributed online courses and in software - particularly, the personal learning environment - that support the formation of connections between the far-flung pieces of such courses. This work, in turn, is suggesting and supporting the model of learning described in the first section, that of a course network supporting and informing an ever-shifting set of course episodes, continues
Stephen Downes - Half an Hour blog.

Enjoy reading this paper!

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Knowledge Learning Corporation Launches Blog – An Insider’s Guide To Education For Parents – Lead By Education Expert Dr. Elanna Yalow

Knowledge Learning Corporation today announced the launch of a new education blog, An Insider’s Guide To Education For Parents, hosted by Dr.Elanna Yalow, Executive Vice President, Knowledge Universe, and Vice Chair, Knowledge Learning Corporation.

In the weekly blog, Dr. Yalow will tap into her expertise gained over more than 30 years as an early childhood education practitioner as well as her own personal experiences as a mother, to give parents insight into issues they face today.
And, from time to time, she will call on other industry experts to address the latest trends in research, wellness, work life and other areas of interest to parents.

About Elanna S. Yalow, Ph.D., M.B.A
Dr. Yalow is Executive Vice President, Knowledge Universe, and Vice Chair, Knowledge Learning Corporation. In her capacity she is responsible for supporting the global expansion of early childhood education programs for KU. Previously Dr. Yalow served as President and Chief Operating Officer of KLC, which operates nearly 1800 early childhood education centers in 39 states, including KinderCare Learning Centers and Knowledge Beginnings centers. As President and COO, Dr.Yalow was responsible for center operations, curriculum development and training, quality assurance, marketing and business development, mergers and acquisitions, and new center development, supervising a total workforce of approximately 40,000 employees.
Dr. Yalow is married and the mother of two sons. She is the daughter of Dr. Rosalyn Yalow, 1977 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and/or Medicine.
Read Dr. Yalow’s complete bio at: An Insider’s Guide To Education For Parents.

About Knowledge Learning Corporation
Knowledge Learning Corporation is a leading national early childhood and school-age education and care company, serving more than 250,000 children in the United States and the District of Columbia. Knowledge Learning Corporation’s business lines include early childhood education and care operating under the KinderCare Learning Centers, Knowledge Beginnings, and CCLC brands as the nation’s leading private provider of early childhood education and care through approximately 1,800 community-based centers and employer partnerships; Champions, a leading provider of pre-K-12 supplemental educational solutions, operating more than 600 programs nationwide across core offerings including before- and after-school programs, summer camps and academic science programs. In addition, KLC is affiliated with KC Distance Learning, a leading provider of online learning solutions to school districts and online high school courses directly to families through Keystone National High School and Middle School, iQ Academies and Aventa Learning.
For more information, visit


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LMS service and ICT learning systems work to improve access to information and social services...

One immense power of technology like an LMS service is giving people opportunities that aren't available otherwise. Computer technology--from the internet to communication services like VoIP, to learning tools like Coggno's LMS service--has the power to enrich the personal and professional development of its users. It's just a matter of finding innovative and efficient ways to tap into these resources.

In developing countries, more organizations are adopting learning tools such as online courses and LMS services to benefit disadvantaged sectors of society.
Take Project Rising Women in Argentina, Project SITA in India, or UCLA Extension; three projects with altruistic and ambitious goals.

Related link

About Coggno
Based in San Jose, CA, Coggno is an LMS/LCMS toolkit and marketplace which facilitates the transfer of intellectual property between course creators and those who wish to acquire it. Coggno designs and delivers online solutions for e-learning, training, assessments, and courseware for organizations, corporations, associations, academic institutions, and subject matter experts.
For more information, visit


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Duke University Pratt School of Engineering Launches Online Learning Program, Becomes 1,500th Mediasite Customer

Sonic Foundry, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFO), the recognized market leader for rich media webcasting and knowledge management, today announced its 1,500th customer, Duke University, as the Pratt School of Engineering launches a distance education program powered by Mediasite.

The Pratt School of Engineering began exploring Mediasite last summer when Dean Tom Katsouleas announced several initiatives to expand the masters program, including introducing distance education for working professionals. Katsouleas came to Duke from USC Viterbi School of Engineering, which operates a robust online lecture program using Mediasite. The staff at Pratt has already launched a six-month elearning pilot in the Masters of Engineering Management program, using Mediasite to deliver online courses to geographically dispersed students.
"By tailoring its lecture capture program to professional masters students and alumni, Duke is differentiating itself as an institution committed to lifelong learning," said Sean Brown, vice president of education for Sonic Foundry. The real advantage of the classroom technology, according to Duke staff, is the flexibility the end user has in choosing how to view classroom content. Additional benefits include ease of use for the instructor and high quality video and audio recording.


Related link

Download this excerpt from "The Distance Education and e-Learning Landscape: Videoconferencing, Streaming and Capture Systems for Learning," Alan D. Greenberg of Wainhouse Research discusses the market for streaming video, webcasting and lecture capture, and Sonic Foundry's leadership in terms of revenue, market penetration and product maturity.

About Sonic Foundry ®, Inc.
Sonic Foundry (NASDAQ: SOFO, is the global leader for rich media webcasting and knowledge management, providing enterprise communication solutions for more than 1,500 customers in education, business and government. Powered by Mediasite, the patented webcasting platform which automates the capture, management, delivery and search of lectures, online training and briefings, Sonic Foundry empowers people to transform the way they communicate. Through the Mediasite platform and its Events Services group, the company helps customers connect a dynamic, evolving world of shared knowledge and envisions a future where learners and workers around the globe use webcasting to bridge time and distance, accelerate research and improve performance. Product and service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of Sonic Foundry, Inc. or their respective owners.

Source: Sonic Foundry

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Survey shows barriers to Web 2.0 in schools

Teachers and students are largely driving the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in schools, but human and technological barriers are holding back the use of these as learning tools in many classrooms, according to a new study.

Commissioned by Lightspeed Systems and Thinkronize Inc., creator of the kid-friendly search engine netTrekker, the study reveals that Web 2.0 technologies are making inroads into schools--but some of these technologies are being adopted faster than others. Online communication tools for parents and students have caught on quickly, but online social networking for instruction has a long way to go.

According to Lightspeed Systems, there is a persistent gap between how today's digital natives learn in schools and how they work and interact outside of school--a trend that underscores the need for districts to keep pace with technological advances and adapt to students' learning needs.

The survey organized Web 2.0 technologies into seven categories related to student instruction and learning environments:

1. Student-generated online content;
2. Teacher-generated online content;
3. Online social networking used as part of instruction;
4. Online learning games and simulations;
5. Student use of virtual learning environments;
6. Digital multimedia resources; and
7. Online communication tools for parents and students (outside of school hours).

Related links
Safe Schools in a Web 2.0 World
Lightspeed Systems
Interactive Educational Systems Design Inc.
Consortium for School Networking
McArthur Foundation

Source: eSchool News

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Introducing Pi Cubed - Visual Math for iPhone and iPod touch

Sunset Lake Software LLC is proud to announce the release of Pi Cubed, a visual math application for iPhone / iPod touch. Pi Cubed uses an interactive math system that has been designed from the ground up for a touch-based interface. Unlike traditional calculators, Pi Cubed lets you construct mathematical expressions, using an interactive menu system, which are then typeset and evaluated instantly.

The use of the entire screen, combined with the capability to lay out equations as they would be written on a piece of paper, makes even complex calculations easy to follow. Common touch gestures, like pinch-zooming and touch-based panning, enhance the entry and editing process.A diverse range of mathematical operations are supported, including logarithms, trigonometric functions, arbitrary roots, exponents, and factorials. Calculations can be stored within the internal database for later reference or editing. Also present within this database are over 150 built-in equations, representing fields that range from finances to fluid mechanics. You can use these equations (with fully annotated variables) for a quick reminder, or you can enter numerical values and directly evaluate the equations.

Related links
Sunset Lake Software
Pi Cubed

About Sunset Lake Software LLC
Based in Madison, WI, USA, Sunset Lake Software LLC is a one-man software company started in 2008 by Dr. Brad Larson with the goal of providing quality scientific and educational software for Mac and iPhone. The company's other current product is Molecules, a free, open-source 3-D molecular viewer for iPhone / iPod Touch. Molecules was the eighth most downloaded free utility in the iTunes App Store in 2008, finding its way onto over 400,000 devices worldwide. All Material and Software (C) 2008-2009 Sunset Lake Software LLC / All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, and iPod, are registered trademarks of Apple Computer in the U.S. and/or other countries. Child's Play is an independent organization and not affiliated with Sunset Lake Software LLC.

Source: prMac

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Mxit becomes teacher's pet by PAUL VECCHIATTO

Once the bane of teachers and education authorities, instant messaging service Mxit is teaming up with cellphone manufacturer Nokia and the Department of Education to teach learners mathematics. Until recently, children found using Mxit on their cellphones at schools could have the devices confiscated by frustrated teachers, as it was considered a distraction.

However, the use of Mxit as a medium for children to learn in a fun and interactive manner is beginning to surface. The Department of Education (DOE) is leading a pilot project that uses the mobile social network company to deliver mathematics tutorials to Grade 10 learners. This project, “Imfundo Yethu Imfundo Yami”, is a joint venture between the national DOE, Nokia SA and Safipa (a funding portal managed by the Finnish Embassy in SA).
Grade 10 learners – 260 in total – from six selected schools in Gauteng, the North West and the Western Cape provinces will take part in the pilot project. It allows users to receive maths information, to problem solve, as well as to share thoughts and ideas to better their understanding of the math module for Grade 10.

Source: ITWeb

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Edvantage group’s SaaS Learning Management System now available in two versions

Edvantage group, a leading provider of Managed Learning Services, announces today that it has expanded its SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Learning Management System (LMS), Learning Gateway to include two new versions, Enterprise and Professional.

Learning Gateway Enterprise edition provides large organisations with a flexible, comprehensive system for delivering and managing all types of learning methods and resources. Its advanced functionality brings teams, resources, skills and knowledge together to drive employee performance.

Learning Gateway Professional edition provides a single-solution for delivering, managing and tracking e-learning at a lower cost. It's designed for ease-of-use and fast implementation, helping organisations provide maximum learning benefits in minimum time.


About Learning Gateway
Learning Gateway is a powerful Learning Management System (LMS) used to deploy, track and administer e-learning, classroom training and blended learning programmes. Employees, customers and partners gain rapid access to their learning resources from a central portal. Administrators benefit from a streamlined, easy-to-use system with a rich feature set. Learning Gateway is scalable for any size organisation, number of learners and amount of learning resources.

About Edvantage group
Edvantage group is a Managed Learning Service company providing a single-source for corporate e-learning solutions. The company combines industry expertise, learning systems and software, content and customised services to help clients develop employee skills and improve performance. Edvantage group serves local, multinational and global organisations from offices throughout the Nordic countries, Benelux and the UK. For more information, please visit

Source: Training Press Releases

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Let’s Get Non-verbal, Electronically

European researchers have developed a suite of tools to add non-verbal cues to email, phone calls, chats and other channels of electronic communication. It is fascinating work, and the real-world applications are even more compelling, continues ScienceDaily

Digital communication hasn’t the richness of face-to-face conversation because it cannot communicate the non-verbal cues and contextual information that are so important to us all.
But that will not be a problem for much longer. The PASION project, an EU-funded research effort, has developed a suite of tools to communicate precisely this kind of information.

One of the most compelling applications is “augmented social networking”. Over the last couple of years, services like Facebook or MySpace have been growing enormously but there are still things they can’t do. The tools PASION is developing offer new ways of showing your friends where you are, what you’re doing, how you feel; new ways of looking at your friends list, new ways of communicating.

Related links
PASION project. The goal of PASION is to facilitate the functioning of online groups, allowing them to interact in the same way.
The PASION Project: Psychologically Augmented Social Interaction Over Networks

Source: ScienceDaily

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

News about eInstruction’s “Content Meets Technology” Sweepstakes that launches today!

eInstruction, a premier global provider of interactive learning technology, has partnered with Knowledge Delivery Systems (KDS), an innovative provider of online professional development and graduate courses, to announce the Content Meets Technology Sweepstakes.

“We are excited to partner with KDS to provide educators with a chance to win educational tools that enhance student learning,” said Steve Kaye, CEO of eInstruction. “The contest itself is a metaphor for the tremendous possibilities available when great content and great technology come together, like our el Community. We can’t wait to provide the education community with an effective way to share knowledge.”

This innovative contest asks teachers to describe (in 250 characters or less) the online resources they use that contribute to success in the classroom. The teachers’ name, school, grade, and entry, will appear on a Google Map of the world on the sweepstakes’
Web site.

The mash-up of Google Maps and the teacher submissions is designed to mirror the creation of eInstruction’s new
eI Community, a user community where educators can share stories, ask questions, access lessons, read industry news and much more. Members of the eI Community will earn points based on activity that can be redeemed for educational resources and tools.

eInstruction will select one winner from the following three grade level segments: kindergarten through fifth; sixth through eighth; and ninth through twelfth. Additionally, KDS will select two winners from each of the grade level segments, for a total of nine winners. The sweepstakes is not limited to users of eInstruction or KDS products. It is open to all teachers in the United States.

Three winners will be awarded an interactive prize package from eInstruction that consists of:

  • Interwrite™ Mobi: The first hand-held wireless tablet system designed specifically to facilitate student-centered collaborative learning. The Mobi works like an interactive whiteboard, except you can carry it around.

  • 32-Pad CPS RF Clicker System: Used by millions of students, teachers and professors in more than 400,000 K-12 classrooms and 1,300 higher education institutions worldwide, eInstruction’s popular Classroom Performance System (CPS) provides instructors and students with real-time feedback on student comprehension during instruction.

  • ExamView® Assessment Suite and Learning Series: The perfect complement to the Mobi and CPS, eInstruction’s ExamView Assessment Suite and Learning Series make creating, administering, and even grading assessments easier than ever! ExamView Learning Series puts more than 350,000 unique, high quality assessment questions at your fingertips, thanks to its seamless integration with Interwrite WorkSpace® 8 and CPS software. Updated annually, the questions are specifically aligned to core curriculum topics and state standards in five disciplines: language arts, math, reading, science, and social studies.

  • Interwrite WorkSpace® 8: Used in concert with ExamView® Assessment Suite, Interwrite® Interwrite Mobi™, and CPS, CPS vClicker, PRS and PRS vClicker), Workspace gives you the means to interact with any form of digital content and really connect with your students. Workspace puts over 4,000 digital teaching resources at your disposal, from math to language arts, from arts to sciences, from K-12. But that's just the beginning. Add to that, more than 50 tools for creating, displaying, annotating, organizing, controlling, importing, capturing, recording, and sharing teaching materials. Perhaps most importantly, Workspace can be used with any program, content or curriculum you already have or may choose to use in the future.

  • Free Training, Technical Support, Software Upgrades: To make sure you gain the most benefit from your prize and start getting results quickly, eInstruction provides you with free online video tutorials and webinar training, as well as extensive technical support and help.

Six winners will have the chance to take graduate credit from KDS consisting of:

  • A Three-Credit Online Graduate Course: This course can be taken from a regionally accredited KDS university partner. Winners can choose from sixteen available course offerings including Teaching English Language Learners Across the Curriculum, Challenging Gifted Students and Aiding Students with Learning Disabilities. Each course is available for three months on a self-paced schedule and is accessible anytime, anywhere. Coursework consists of dynamic video-based lectures featuring nationally renowned educators, interactive assessments, classroom-based projects, and discussion forums.

To encourage participation in the Google Map mash-up, eInstruction and Knowledge Delivery Systems will provide participating teachers with a referral bonus. For each teacher they successfully refer, they will receive an additional chance to win (total chances per teacher are capped at eleven per single entry).

All participants must submit their work by going to or and clicking the Content Meets Technology link.

The sweepstakes begins on Wednesday, April 15 at 12:01 A.M. EDT and ends on Friday, May 15 at 11:59 P.M. EDT. Winners will be chosen randomly and announced on Friday, May 22.

For further information on the sweepstakes and eInstruction, please visit

About eInstruction™
eInstruction pioneered the first student response system for the education market during the 1980s. Its Classroom Performance System (CPS) provides instructors and students with real-time feedback on comprehension during instruction. Today CPS remains the leading student response system in education, being used by millions of students, teachers and professors in 400,000 K-12 classrooms and at more than 1,300 higher education institutions worldwide. In 2006, eInstruction acquired FSCreations and integrated its ExamView® and Learning Series content into CPS; so instructors can seamlessly use publisher and proprietary question banks in lesson plans, quizzes and tests with eInstruction technology. The result is an integrated system for instruction and assessment with real-time feedback. In 2008, eInstruction joined forces with Interwrite Learning®, another premier global provider of interactive learning solutions to the primary, secondary and higher education markets. For media inquiries, please contact Christy Oberley at Dittoe PR at (317) 202-2280 ext 16. To learn more about eInstruction’s Interactive Classroom solutions, please visit

About Knowledge Delivery Systems
KDS empowers schools worldwide with dynamic online staff development programs accessible on-demand. The platform delivers engaging video-based lectures from nationally renowned educators, providing interactive discussion forums, blogs, note-taking, study guides, and additional educational resources. The built-in Learning Management System furnishes instant accountability through user-tracking, assessment, comprehensive reporting, and exportable aggregate data. Thousands of educators across the US have qualified for salary increases by completing KDS online courses. For more information, please visit

Google Maps is a registered trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they
are associated.

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20 Free eLearning Resources

Today I have Karen Schweitzer guest blogging. Please be sure to check out her guest post. Guest posts are always welcome, please contact me.

The Open Content movement has led to the creation of freely available software, web apps, content management systems, and other helpful eLearning resources for educators and students. If you're looking for high quality content that can be used at home and in the classroom, here are 20 sites worth exploring:

Shmoop - This site offers literature, history, and poetry study guides written by Ph.D. and Masters students from top universities. Students use Shmoop to get facts, kick-start an academic paper, and discuss questions with other online learners. Teachers use Shmoop in reading and writing assignments.

Moodle - Moodle is a free Course Management System (CMS) that can be used to create online learning sites. Educators who are new to Moodle and want to get started quickly can take advantage of the site's many tutorials and articles.

Connexions - This Rice University website is a good place to share and view open education materials. Anyone can contribute a chunk of knowledge, course, or textbook. Contributions are split into modules and fully accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

Wobook - Educators and students can publish ebooks for free on this web oriented book site. Wobook accepts PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Open Office documents.

Yudu Freedom - Yudu is a free library of digital content. You can read and buy digital content, and if you have something to publish, you can publish and share your own content.

Momindum - With this free service, you can record your lectures, presentations, or meetings and share them online or offline with other people. Momindum works with a wide range of other resources, including websites, Word documents, PowerPoint slides, PDF documents, and Flash animations.

TeacherTube - This You-Tube style website serves as an online community for teachers and online learners. Educators can upload instructional videos, lesson plan videos, and other visual content. Videos can be made public or shared on an invitation-only basis.

Cramberry - Cramberry is a smart, online flashcard maker with unique capabilities. Users can study the flashcards made by other people or make their own free flashcards. Cramberry tracks progress and can be used by anyone with a PC or iPhone. - This website, which was created by a nonprofit public charity, is becoming increasingly popular for classroom use. posts pros and cons on diverse controversial topics to encourage discussion and critical thinking.

Second Life - Second Life is a popular eLearning resource. This free 3D virtual world has been used in thousands of universities and school systems to teach students about various topics.

Make Internet TV - Created by a non-profit organization, this website offers simple instructions for people who want to learn how to record and publish Internet video. Covered topics include equipment, shooting, editing, licensing, publishing, and promoting.

Chalksite - Designed specifically for teachers, Chalksite makes it easy for parents, students, and teachers to stay connected. Teachers can set up a central spot for all three parties to access grades, assignments, discussions, and more.

Class Marker - This site is the perfect place to conduct online testing. Class Marker can also be used to create and grade quizzes and tests. Special features include the ability to set time limits, link directly to quizzes from a website or email, and have quiz results emailed to you.

GradeFix - GradeFix is a free homework management system for students who want to optimize their schedule. Some of the things that have been accomplished with GradeFix include higher retention and at least half a grade improvement in coursework.

OpenHuddle - This multi-use video conferencing system makes it easy to interact online. Users can chat and send instant messages to one another using video, audio, and text.

Twiddla - Similar to OpenHuddle, this web-based meeting site is great for people who want to be able to browse the web together. With Twiddla, you can share websites, graphics, and photos. You can also brainstorm together on a blank canvas (white board).

Tangler - Tangler is perfect for educators and students who want to create a free, discussion forum. Forums can be made public or private and are fully customizable.

Campfire - This site offers instant messaging for groups. There is nothing to install or configure. Every Campfire chat is easy to start, password protected, and optimized for group chat.

ooVoo - ooVoo is a free system that supports video calls with up to six people at a time. It is the perfect way for online class members to stay in touch.

Dimdim - This online web conference is a great way to create virtual classrooms and deliver live presentations over the web. Dimdim can share synchronized voice, images, video, websites, white pages, and other content to up to 20 people at a time.

Related links

Guest post from Karen Schweitzer who writes for the college database on

Many thanks to Karen Schweitzer.
Enjoy your reading!

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