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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

eSN readers candidly discuss mobile learning trends

eSchool News writes,
"Readers say iPads, ‘bring your own device’ policies can be effective if well thought-out ... but they cautioned against believing the iPad hype machine."

Photo: eSchool News

Every few years, new technologies—and the policies that go with them—make a splash in schools, and this year, Apple’s iPad and “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies are all the rage in ed tech.

It’s no surprise, then, that recent stories about these two ed-tech trends—“Schools see rising scores with iPads” and “‘Bring your own device’ catching on in schools”—should be among our most widely read stories so far this year.

Readers expressed overwhelming support for BYOD as a strategy to get mobile learning tools into the hands of more students in a cost-effective way, although some raised questions that need to be considered as schools adopt BYOD policies of their own.

As for our story “Schools see rising scores with iPads” which described the experience of a few California schools that have adopted iPads in the classroom, many readers said the iPad is a new way to engage students—but at the end of the day, it’s just another tool to help students learn … and perhaps some of the hype has gone too far.

Source: eSchool News 

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Upcoming Free Live Webinars June 2011

Check out these FREE online webinars below!

How to Implement Mobile Learning: Practical Considerations.

Date : Thursday, June 02, 2011,
Time : 01.00 PM - 02.00 PM Eastern Time (U.S. & Canada)

Mobile learning should not just be traditional e-learning on a smaller device. So what are the key considerations when planning for mobile learning? For what learning situations is mobile learning a good fit? What are the best uses of mobile learning? How can mobile learning support other types of learning in the organization?

Tom Werner, chief research officer, Brandon Hall Group, will share insights on what to think about when planning for the implementation of mobile learning.

Models of Blended Learning: What Works for Your District
Thursday, June 9, 2 p.m. EDT,
Also available "on demand" any time 24 hours after the event.

We know that districts are being held accountable for more, and being asked to do so with less funding. As a result, districts today are looking for new ways to effectively implement technology that can engage students and boost academic achievement.
Blended learning, the teaching practice that combines both face-to-face and online learning, offers several models of instruction to engage students in and out of the classroom. It has proven highly effective in helping schools and districts address the challenges of student achievement, limited resources, and the expectations of 21st-century learners. It is also the fastest growing component of online learning.

Join us for an in-depth discussion on blended learning led by two experienced practitioners, Pam Willingham and Dorothy Hirata. Hear about the many teaching and learning objectives they are meeting through the implementation of a blended learning program. Also learn how the two districts have grown the level of adoption by their faculty over time by championing accomplishments of the program. You will also hear from John Canuel, who will briefly talk about current online learning trends and how Blackboard can help you address several of your current academic challenges.

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50 Educational Blogs Every Online University Student Should Read

Julia Murphy has been in touch to share with us "50 Educational Blogs Every Online University Student Should Read".

Photo: Sir Learnalot's Knowledge Blog

If you’re studying for a degree online, it might help to know what educators know about online learning — the news, policies, processes, technology, culture and resources that are pushing online education into the future. The following 50 educational blogs you should know about as an online university student are just a smattering of all the blogs available on the Web. These particular blogs are updated, and many have been online since the advent of online learning.

Thank you for mentioning my weblog in your article.

About Sir Learnalot's Knowledge Blog
Sir Learnalot's Knowledge Blog makes all the best knowledge from King Academic's Web Table available to the masses. With a heavy focus on learning through blogging, ye readers shan't be disappointed.

Thanks to Julia!

Source: Sir Learnalot's Knowledge Blog

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Five ways readers are using iPads in the classroom

Dennis Pierce, Editor writes, "Our top story today describes a number of ways that eSchool News readers are using iPads in their classrooms. Also, in something of a surprise, the buzz coming from an annual publishing industry trade show last week had Barnes & Noble, and not Apple, as's top competitor in the eBook market … and college instructor Rebecca M.R. Costello offers five tips for connecting with online students."

eSN readers discuss their experiences using the iPad with their students. Whether you think it’s hot stuff or just fluff, the iPad has caught the eye of many educators. Here’s a list of five ways that eSchool News readers say they’re using iPads in the classroom.

Photo: eSchool News

1. For intervention.

Gabrielle Smith from Etna Elementary has been using her iPad 2 in her fifth-grade classroom for roughly two months. Smith purchased the iPad with her own money and without reimbursement to test the device as a model for delivering Response to Intervention (RtI).

“I found an app called Math Drills, to help students with their math facts. After a school-wide math fact program, there were a certain number of students that still didn’t know their addition facts. Essentially, they had trouble with ‘at a snap’ recall of facts,” she explained.

“I put those few students on the iPad app, which gave them the opportunity to practice and then to test themselves. It kept track of their scores and showed their improvement. I’ve had students BEG me to allow them to practice their facts—under normal circumstances, what fifth-grader do you know [who] WANTS to practice their facts? I’ll take it! Each student has showed improvement in the quick recall of facts, and they want to. It can’t get much better than that.”

Source: eSchool News

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Debat i Deadline 2. sektion: Mobilitetsmani

Følg med i denne interessante debat mellem sociolog Mette Jensen og redaktør Timme Bisgaard Munk.
Vært: Jes Stein Pedersen, DR2

Går du i seng med din smartphone? Patter du på din Ipad? Kan folk der elsker deres mobiletefoner og laptops for alvor være til stede, når de er sammen med andre mennesker? Er du også ramt af mobilitetsmani?

Photo: Deadline 2. sektion: Mobilitetsmani
Relateret link
Rejser gør os afhængige af mobiler og nye medier af Maj Bach Madsen 

Kilde: PodFreaks

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New Online Store Offers Arts, Crafts, Education and Fun for Kids

This recently opened store makes it easy to entertain and educate children.

Photo: Vlado
These days, entertaining children is a full time job. It’s important to mix in learning and education with the fun, and that takes a healthy dose of creativity. Implementing favorite activities like arts and crafts is one great way to do that. Parents, grandparents and others are looking for a store that offers the kinds of items that children really respond to.

Thanks to one new store, shoppers now have that go-to place for children’s items. Recently established by entrepreneur Kathy Tiersma, City Buys is an Internet store that provides all kinds of wonderful items that kids are sure to love. The site is available at any time of day to their customers via the web at

Shoppers will find the web store to be quite easy to use. City Buys features a user-friendly interface and a helpful search function that makes the shopping experience enjoyable. Even for those people who don’t have much experience with making purchases on the web, the site proves to be safe and simple.

City Buys offers their customers great deals on arts and crafts, learning and education items and toy furniture. For anyone looking to give their children some fun while also letting them show some creativity, this is a must-visit store.

Source: PRWeb 

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The New Face of Blended Learning by Jolene

Jolene, Dashe & Thomson’s Social Learning Blog writes, "I’ve been creating blended training solutions for years that look something like this:"

My model needs a face lift.

I came across a couple of resources that have me thinking about it. Here’s the gist:

Disruptive innovation (termed as such by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton M. Christensen) brings simplicity, accessibility, affordability, and customization to complicated, expensive, and standardized products and services. Disruptive innovation fundamentally transforms the landscape rather than merely sustain the conventional structure.

Blended learning has this transformative potential and is etched in my brain like this:

Source: Dashe & Thomson’s Social Learning Blog

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iPad: a Game Changer for Blended Learning - featuring Elliott Masie

On June 1, join us for a webinar exploring the why's and how's of offering training content on the iPad.

 Wednesday, June 1, 2011
 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. EDT.

Photo: Elliott Masie,
Chair of the Learning Consortium
and host of Learning 2011
We'll begin with an interview with industry luminary Elliott Masie, chair of the Learning Consortium, where he'll share valuable insights on how the iPad has transformed learning. We'll follow this with the industry premier of Pastiche by Xyleme.

Learn how this revolutionary product allows you to leverage your existing textbook, eLearning, assessment and performance support materials to rapidly create and deploy blended learning iPad applications. If you're serious about the iPad for learning, this is a can't miss!

About Elliott Masie
Elliott Masie is an internationally recognized futurist, analyst, researcher and organizer on the critical topics of workforce learning, business collaboration and emerging technologies. He is the editor of Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie, an Internet newsletter read by over 52,000 business executives worldwide, and a regular columnist in professional publications. He is the author of a dozen books, and is the convener of Learning 2011.

He heads The MASIE Center, a Saratoga Springs, NY think tank focused on how organizations can support learning and knowledge within the workforce. He leads the Learning CONSORTIUM, a coalition of 240 global organizations cooperating on the evolution of learning strategies, including Allstate, Sears, Bank of America, American Express, Emirates Airlines and the U.S. Departments of Defense and Labor.

Elliott serves as an advisor to a wide range of government, education and non-profit groups. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Skidmore College and as a Board member of FIRST Robotics. He has served as a pro-bono advisor to the Department of Defense and on the White House Advisory Council on Expanding Learning Opportunities.

About Xyleme
Xyleme, Inc. is the leader in standards-based learning content management solutions that enable single-source publishing of training content. Xyleme is 100% XML-based to create massive efficiencies through modularity and reuse. With Xyleme, organizations improve collaboration in content development, reduce time-to-market for customized training and minimize the cost of supporting blended learning.

Source: Xyleme 

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Studies Show Effectiveness for K-3 Math Intervention Program

Don't miss these results of two effectiveness studies conducted by an independent researcher. They found that K-3 students using DreamBox Learning’s online adaptive program improved their math proficiency by 19% over 2 weeks, and 50% over 2 months.

This study focused on second grade students who volunteered to participate in a pilot implementation of the DreamBox Learning instructional product, DreamBox Learning K-2 Math. Twenty-seven second grade students participated in a study to examine the effectiveness of the DreamBox technology on mathematics learning over a two-week period. Students were given a paper-and-pencil pretest on the first day of the DreamBox after-school program. They were then given a parallel post-test on the last day of the DreamBox after-school program. The results were analyzed using a paired-sample or dependent t test and the results were found to be statistically significant with an average improvement in test scores.

This study focused on 369 students who participated in the final research phase of the product’s development. These were students in pre-K through third grade who had volunteered to participate in a pilot implementation of the DreamBox instructional product, and who played at least 3 times.

Why is adaptive learning from DreamBox so effective at building math conceptual understanding and fluency?
  • Research-based pedagogy
  • Adaptive technology that uses ongoing assessment to keep every student in their optimal learning zone
  • Student engagement via content and use of virtual manipulatives
Dr. Tim Hudson, K-12 Coordinator of Mathematics for the Parkway School District, finds DreamBox Learning so effective that he us using it in 18 schools and is seeing dramatic results.

Related links
2nd grade Assessment Study (PDF)
Embedded Assessment Study (PDF)

Source: DreamBox Learning

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Rejser gør os afhængige af mobiler og nye medier af Maj Bach Madsen


Maj Bach Madsen, 
skriver, "Vi køber billetten til flyrejsen over internettet, og i lufthavnen holder vi forbindelsen til dem derhjemme på Facebook, mail eller sms. På rejsen kan vi arbejde eller se film på computeren, og når vi er fremme bruger vi mobilen, så vi kan finde vej og ringe til dem, vi skal mødes med."

Transport og teknologi virker forstærkende på hinanden, skriver sociolog Mette Jensen  i ny videnskabelig bog udkommet på Aarhus Universitetsforlag.

Denne spændende bog stiller det grundlæggende spørgsmål, hvordan den øgede mobilitet påvirker det sociale liv - og finder svarene foretaget i en kvalitativ undersøgelse med interview med 19 danskere om deres oplevelser med mobilitet.

Sociologen peger på den baggrund på, at der opstår en afhængighed af de mobile medier hos det moderne menneske på farten, og at de mobile medier samtidig skaber en livsform, hvor vi bliver inspireret til at rejse mere.

Som at få skåret en arm af
Mobiltelefonen er helt afgørende i den flydende planlægning, som det moderne mennesker hele tiden befinder sig i. Har man glemt sin telefon, er det næsten som at have fået skåret en arm af, beskriver interviewpersonerne.

»Klokketidskulturen, som ellers har været en central del af den moderne verden, er på vej ud. Aftaler holdes åbne og ændres i sidste minut,« siger Mette Jensen.

Forskeren ser en tendens til, at vi hele tiden opholder os i en overgang fra et sted til et andet, og at vi har brug for computeren og mobilerne for at kunne navigere i den virkelighed.
Læs mere...

Relaterede links
Smartphones skal hjælpe videnskaben
Internettet ændrer din hjerne
Menneske-robot trigger din psyke

Kilde: og Aarhus Universitetsforlag

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates! Launches K-12 Online Tutoring Services

TutorCircle, an interesting and innovative online tutoring service was launched last week. TutorCircle offers K-12 tutoring in Science, English and Math.
Unlike existing tutoring service providers, TutorCircle takes a different approach to learning.


TutorCircle offers Online Math Tutoring, Physics Tutoring, Chemistry Tutoring, Algebra Tutoring and Calculus tutoring across K-12. Our online tutoring is done by a team of highly qualified tutors. The tutors are handpicked after a series of assessment tests besides their online teaching credentials are also evaluated. This ensures that students get the best online tutoring experience every time they log-in.

Students or parents interested in finding out more about the service can visit –
They can sign up and start taking sessions right away.

About TutorCircle
TutorCircle offers a unique platform to make learning interesting and interactive for students. We offer Online Tutoring, Homework and Assignment Help across grades and levels.

At TutorCircle we have extensively researched online tutoring techniques and methodologies and come up with a tutoring program that is both informative and effective. Our tutoring is customized and is done employing the latest and best techniques in online teaching. We use an interactive whiteboard for our tutoring sessions where a student can draw, write and also shares notes and assignments. Using a headset the student can talk to the tutor. The best part is all our sessions are one-on-one and completely student driven.

TutorCircle has a team of highly qualified and experienced tutors. Besides excellent teaching credentials, our tutors are interested in teaching - something which gets reflected in the quality of our tutoring sessions.

Our sessions are intended to develop the love of learning in a student rather than just giving them ready made answers. We understand each students strengths and weaknesses and tailor our tutoring to help a student learn to the best of his/her abilities.

Source: PRWeb 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Online Instructional Resources: Faculty Development Programs at Michigan State University

The Scout Report writes, "Michigan State University has two dedicated individuals in Lois Rosen and Maribeth Foltz and they have worked tirelessly to create this fine collection of instructional resources from across the web."

These resources are aimed at university instructors, and after they were compiled, they were divided into fifteen major categories and subdivided into 125 subcategories.

The three broad categories here include "Teaching and Learning Resources", "Resources for Teaching in the Disciplines", and "Resources for Teaching to the Competencies". Each of these sections is divided into more manageable areas, like "Social Sciences" and "Teaching for Technology". Each site featured here contains a brief annotation of its primary goal and activities, and instructors new and experienced will stumble on something new on the site.

Source: Internet Scout Project

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Here's what's new on eSchool News site today.

Site of the Week

Photo: edWeb, a professional social network for the education community, has announced a new online professional learning community designed for new teachers, called “New Teacher Help.”
With standardized testing, emerging technologies, reduced budgets, and increased accountability, there is a sense of urgency for new teachers to develop the skills necessary to survive and thrive in the classroom; New Teacher Help will present a series of monthly webinars to help novice teachers quickly learn these skills. Webinar topics will include dealing with difficult parents, making a good first impression, classroom management tips, and more.
The online community also provides tools to help new teachers collaborate, get to know each other, and create an ongoing support network.
Source: eSchool News

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The US Market for Mobile Learning Products and Services: 2010-2015 Forecast and Analysis

The US market for Mobile Learning products and services reached $958.7 million in 2010. The five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 13.7% and revenues will reach $1.82 billion by 2015.

The US is now the top buying country of Mobile Learning, followed by Japan, South Korea, the UK, and Taiwan. Combined, these five countries accounted for 69.8% of the total 2010 global Mobile Learning market. This dynamic is changing fast. By 2015, these five countries will only account for 40.6% of all expenditures. The highest growth rates are in China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil. By the end of the forecast period, China will be the second largest buying country after the US.

The demand-side analysis in this report forecasts the expenditures for Mobile Learning products and services in eight US buying segments: consumer; corporations and businesses; federal civilian and military government; state and local government; PreK-12 academic; higher education; NGOs, non-profits, and associations; and healthcare.

Related links
Download the Executive Overview (PDF)

Source: Ambient Insight 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Professor Sugata Mitra has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for the Education and Technology Conference 2011

Education and Technology Conference 2011 are delighted to announce that Professor Sugata Mitra of Newcastle University has been confirmed as a keynote speaker.

Professor Sugata Mitra's "Hole in the Wall" experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they're motivated by curiosity and peer interest. His work was the inspiration for the film Slumdog Millionaire.
Sugata addresses one of the biggest issues in modern day education, the fact that often the best teachers and schools simply don't exist in the places where they are needed the most. His experiments have looked at what happens when kids are given self supervised access to technology.
Starting in the slums of New Dehli he provided 'Hole in the wall' access to the internet and observed children teaching themselves not only how to use computers and the Internet but also new languages in order for them to understand and access online resources effectively.
To book your FREE place, visit at

Please take a closer look at this vodcast of Sugata Mitra’s presentation at Blackboard's 2011 Teaching + Learning Conference at University of Leeds last month.

Blackboard Teaching + Learning Conference 2011: Keynote - Sugata Mitra

Source: Webanywhere and BlackboardTV's Channel (YouTube)

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10 Reasons Wireless Internet is Slower than Wired

Laura Backes has been in touch to reminds us about this recently published article below.

There’s nothing like the untethered freedom of wireless internet. Having the flexibility to get online from a variety of locations is a beautiful thing. But why is it that you seem to always be sacrificing speed for the sake of mobility? What is it about wireless internet that slows you down? The following are 10 reasons why wireless internet is slower that wired:
  1. Firstly, wireless signals are subject to interference from physical obstructions like walls, metal objects, etc. This will decrease signal strength and, therefore, overall performance.


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ASTD Unveils Latest Research on Mobile Learning at ASTD 2011

Mobile technology has revolutionized the way people access information. In 2008 for the first time in history, mobile access to the Internet exceeded desktop computer access.

Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand

The implications for the workplace learning and development profession are profound, which is why today ASTD unveiled its latest research on mobile learning at the 2011 International Conference & Exposition – a gathering of more than 8,000 learning practitioners from around the globe.

What does the penetration of mobile technology mean for learning professionals and the learning function? How will it affect instructional design? What influence, if any, will device manufacturers, platform providers, and software developers have on mobile learning’s future?
Read more... 

Related link
Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand is available through the ASTD Store 


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New to E-Learning? Here are Some Simple Steps to Help You Get Started by Tom Kuhlmann

"To a novice even simple things seem complex. And when things appear complex, we can become frustrated or feel like we don’t have the skills to accomplish what it is we want to do." writes Tom Kuhlmann, The Rapid E-Learning Blog. 

I recall years ago when I was learning video production. I felt like my skills were inadequate (which they were). So my instructor told me to record some television commercials and then break them down into pieces to see how they were built. He said that this would help me focus less on the glossiness of the commercials and more on their construction. So I recorded commercials and then built a storyboard around the different scenes in them. I made notes of the scenes, where the edits were, and what might have motivated the edits.

The Basics

Photo: The Rapid E-Learning Blog
In a very simple sense an elearning course is about creating an environment where a person goes from a point of not knowing to knowing. They’re at point A today and tomorrow they need to be at point B. The course is about helping them get from A to B.

Here are what I see as common “chunks” that make up an elearning course.

  • Welcome: some sort of title screen that welcomes the learner
  • Instructions: review of the interface and how to navigate the course
  • Introduction: information about the course and its purpose
  • Objectives: learning objectives and reason for taking the course
  • Section screens: this is the area that holds the core content. Each section can have its own welcome, instructions, content, assessment, and summary
  • Assessment: process to review overall understanding
  • Summary: summary of course objectives
  • Resources: additional content and resources that augment the course and support ongoing learning
  • Exit: next steps and see you later alligator

Source: The Rapid E-Learning Blog

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Classrooms need to enter the 21st Century by Jamel Heard

Being a high school student, technology surrounds me. Take the iPad, for example. It’s a hand-held, touch-screen device, which allows you to use the Internet, call anyone, watch movies, play games and do many more things. Nowadays, even people’s phones are little computers hiding in their pockets just waiting to come out.

Photo: Salvatore Vuono
With all these devices and other technology surrounding students, it is very easy to develop new knowledge at a fast rate. The only problem is, all that technology goes away when we enter the classroom. Some even revert all the way to chalkboards.

We all know education is one of the most important keys to setting a successful path for yourself, but what if that path is being blocked by something you don’t have, and unblocking it is out of your hands? Technology in the classroom is lacking, and students don’t have any control of getting devices to help them learn. What is the world coming to?


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Readers are more likely to skim over articles on an iPad than in a newspaper

Miratech's study analyzes the differences between iPad and newspaper reading patterns. We asked a representative sample of participants to read similar information from a printed newspaper, and from its iPad version. Half the participants were asked to read the iPad first and the other half were asked to read the newspaper first.

Photo: Miratech
Participants in the study were already iPad users, so we avoided any bias associated with learning how to use the iPad (discovering the functions, playing with the zoom, etc.).

They were allowed to freely manipulate both the paper and iPad versions, and we monitored their behavior as they read. We used eye tracking technology to follow their gaze path. After reading, we measured how well they remembered the articles and ads.
See the results here. 

Eye tracking on iPad

Eye Tracking on newspaper

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Best Free Math Apps for Kids

Berna Erol, PhD summarize, "My then 3 year old son wanted to come and join the fun. He hold the phone and started using the applications within seconds. I was mesmerized.
Within days I setup this blog, I really wanted to share my experience with all the parents, anything from how to kid-proof your iPhone, setting up parental controls, to how to connect your iPhone to your TV."

Best Free Math Apps
When it comes to learning, math is like vegetables. Kids either love it, or they hate it. However, whether your child squeals with excitement, or groans with dread at the prospect of crunching numbers, free math apps make mathematics a little more enjoyable. The biggest benefit for parents is that the best free math apps will get students practicing their addition, division and subtraction for the low, low price of free. That’s an equation anybody can appreciate.
Read more


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PeopleMatter Launches Learn Module

PeopleMatter, the only comprehensive talent management solution specifically designed for the service industry and the NRA’s official talent management partner, today launched PeopleMatter LEARN™.

This new module adds an innovative dimension to the PeopleMatter Platform by providing a suite of social, online training tools employers can use to develop, train and test their employees. Easily accessible via the Internet, LEARN delivers a dynamic learning management system (LMS) that embraces the technology of today using video, customizable curriculum, SCORM courses and social media.

LEARN offers many immediate benefits that:
  • Increase training ROI
  • Boost retention
  • Intensify engagement
  • Grow revenue
  • Improve customer service
  • Save time.

PeopleMatter LEARN™ — Collaborative, Online Tools to Train Your Talent

About PeopleMatter
PeopleMatter provides the only comprehensive talent management solution for the service industry. We help employers identify, develop and engage dependable talent to provide exemplary customer service. PeopleMatter's platform of HR tools handles hiring, scheduling, learning, recognition and performance management. Our integrated technology manages the process, so employers can focus on the talent. PeopleMatter. The name says it all. PeopleMatter is headquartered in Charleston, S.C., and on the Web at

Source: IT News Online

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Facebook for Kids? by Mike Anderson

Around 7.5 million children under 13 already use Facebook, but now Mark Zuckerberg wants to make it legal.

It "will be a fight we take on at some point," Zuckerberg said at a conference this week, according to Consumer Reports.
Zuckerberg thinks that opening Facebook up to young children would be a good learning tool for them.

"My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age," he said.
Read more... 

Source: NBC Bay Area (blog)

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Sophia purchases online math tutoring business

Online learning platform Sophia said it has purchased Guaranteach, an online math tutoring business.

Don Smithmier, CEO of Sophia.
Photo by Richard Sennott.
Sophia CEO Don Smithmier said in a statement the acquisition will make his company become “the web’s richest resource for free, credible math tutorials ranging from basic arithmetic to college algebra” for students and teachers.
“The result will be a powerful platform for differentiated instruction and blended learning,” Smithmier said.

Guaranteach has about 23,000 videos on math topics and has been used in more than 50 schools.
Visit Guaranteach at:

How Guaranteach works

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune (blog)

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Free websites use social networking tools to share content

Laura Devaney, Managing Editor writes, "Free websites offer free academic social networking and content sharing for teachers and students. Today's story explores two of those sites.
Do you use Sophia or Wiggio, or another site, in your classroom? What do you like best about academic social networking, and what features would you like to see in the future?"

As social networking and education become increasingly compatible, free websites like Wiggio and Sophia are working to strengthen this bond by providing additional tools for educators and students.  

Wiggio lets users form online groups and provides the tools to create private listservs and web addresses; manage events with a shared calendar; send eMail, text, and voice messages; and manage files in a shared folder.

What is Wiggio?

Sophia is a free social teaching and learning platform that offers academic content to anyone, free of charge. The website, which has been described as a mashup of Facebook, Wikipedia, and YouTube focused solely on education, also lets educators create a customized learning environment in a private or public setting.

Sophia Overview from Sophia on Vimeo.

They are some of the latest websites in what is a growing trend of free social networking sites that can help educators and students collaborate and share content. Another is Edmodo, which launched a few years ago and offers free classroom communication for teachers, students, and administrators on a secure social network.

Source: eSchool News 

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Universal Instructional Design Principles for Mobile Learning

Check out this article by Tanya Elias overviews important “Universal Instructional Design Principles for Mobile Learning.”

The report extends a previous analysis of universal instructional design principles in distance education by applying them to the design of mobile learning. Eight principles with particular relevance for distance education are selected, and their recommendations are discussed in relation to the design of educational materials for a range of mobile devices. The problems and opportunities of mobile learning are discussed as is the need for educators to focus on content design issues rather than on searching for the next new technology.

Source: The international review of research in open and distance learning 

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Collaborize Classroom, a free online learning platform

By integrating Collaborize Classroom into their respective classrooms, teachers can quickly and easily make online discussions a successful part of their teaching approach.

Democrasoft will provide free teaching resources and lesson plans on how to best incorporate educational technology designed to foster online collaboration in the classroom. The resources, produced by educators, include: best practices for facilitating online student communication and subject-specific lesson plans to complement in-class discussions. Teachers can access resources and sign up for a free Collaborize Classroom site at

 Collaborize Classroom, A Free Online Learning Platform For Teachers and Students

Democrasoft's flagship product, Collaborize Classroom, is a free online learning platform that allows teachers to extend their classroom discussions to a structured and private online community. With Collaborize Classroom, students can expand on discussions, assignments and instruction and collaborate online, allowing for deeper participation and engagement, inside and outside the classroom. Thousands of teachers have already signed up for the free platform, which takes less than five minutes to set up.
To learn more, please visit

Related links
6 Simple Strategies to Achieve Dynamic Online Discussions (YouTube)
What Teachers Are Saying About Collaborize Classroom 

About Democrasoft:

Democrasoft, Inc., headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, is a 20-year-old public company with a history of pioneering technology. The company's flagship product, Collaborize Classroom, is designed to complement classroom instruction and engage students in online activities, assignments and discussions that allow for deeper participation inside and outside the classroom. Democrasoft is dedicated to facilitating a vision of online "social networking with purpose."
For more information, please visit

Source: Marketwire and CollaborizeClassroom's Channel (YouTube)

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