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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Technology brings new tools to classroom by Astrid Martinez

Photo: Astrid Martinez
Astrid Martinez writes, "Technology is everywhere, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities, our homes."

These days it is also in our schools, a part of everyday learning in the classroom.

“We are getting mobile devices in the children’s hands,” said McAllen Superintendent Dr. James J. Ponce. “Bringing it all together along with students and teachers to transform the way we talk about teaching and learning, and making sure that we are at that cutting edge with technology and with learning.”

Dr. James Ponce says his district is doing something many across the nation have not done.
The district secured mobile devices, for all 25,000 of its students.
They're using iPads and tools like facetime to revolutionize the student teacher learning experience.

Children as young as 5–years-old are thriving and loving the idea.
Student: "I have an iPad."
Reporter: What are you playing with?
Student: "The letters."

Digital age makes its way into McAllen Classrooms 

Source: KGBT-TV and kgbt4tv's Channel (YouTube)

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Online learning director assists in publishing an international report

Photo: Rebecca Hoey
Rebecca Hoey, Northwestern College’s director of online learning, is part of a team that recently published a report on the state of international online learning. “Online and Blended Learning: A Survey of Policy and Practice of K-12 Schools Around the World” is available at, the website of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.

The research team found that while online learning has the potential to dramatically change the educational experience of K-12 students throughout the world, the degree to which this potential has been embraced varies widely. While the most progressive countries with respect to digital learning, like Australia and China, have fully online schools serving thousands of students, most countries are making at least some progress in leveraging technology in the physical classroom as well as the virtual classroom.

Online and Blended Learning:
A Survey of Policy and Practice of K-12 Schools Around the World (PDF)

Source: Northwestern College

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Upcoming Twitter Q&A: Emerging Trends in Higher-Ed

View it in a web browser

When? November 30, 2011 at 2 p.m. ET

Join Editor Dennis Carter for a Twitter Hour as he shares his insights on the latest trends in higher-ed, including:
  • How will the newly formed eLearning Congressional caucus impact online education, and will for-profit colleges have more influence than other institutions?
  • The plateauing of online education growth
  • When are colleges’ social media policies too strict?
  • and more!
Send in your questions to @ecampusnews and use the hashtag #ecnedchat

Follow along #ecnedchat and join in on the live discussion and Q&A!

Don't miss this interactive session!

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MBAs plug into remote study

Distance learning is proving to be a popular choice, finds Russ Thorne.

Photo: The Independent

Choosing to get your MBA qualification by distance learning may mean working independently but you certainly won’t be alone in your efforts. The popularity of studying long distance is rising among prospective candidates both overseas and in the UK, with a growing number of institutions offering flexible programmes.

Just as the MBA has evolved over the past few decades, with new offshoots, specialisms and a widening appeal beyond the confines of senior management, so too have the ways in which students access their courses. More than 8,000 students now subscribe to the University of Leicester’s distance learning programmes. Oxford Brookes University offers 200 examination centres in 140 countries for its long-distance learners when exam time comes. For 2011, the number of students signing up to Durham University’s global MBA trebled.

Imperial College Business School has also reported a “significant rise in course registrations” for its MBA programmes, according to a spokesman from the school’s partner, Study Group, which manages the delivery of the distance learning element. This is partly a result of more effective marketing, which may affect all business schools now that insight into a course can be a tweet away, but Study Group also says the economic climate plays a role. The spokesperson says: “Organisations are less likely to want to send their executives to the UK for a prolonged period of time and prefer to offer them flexible working plans and time dedicated to distance learning MBA study instead.”

Source: The Independent 

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

E-Books or Paper Books: Which Is Best For Kids? by Kristina Chew

Photo: Kristina Chew
Kristina Chew writes, "Paper or plastic?
The familiar grocery store check-out lane question could as easily apply to buying books these days. Will it be the paper volume or the hi-tech iPad/Kindle/Nook/e-book reader?"


While more and more adults (myself included) have been foregoing print books for e-ones, people still prefer to have their children read real, actual, paper-paged books. For children under the age of 8, sales of e-book titles have stayed at less than 5 percent of annual sales. In contrast, e-books account for more than 25 percent of sales in some categories of books for adults.

Brightly-hued picture e-books equipped with sounds and music and animations can be downloaded onto iPads and their ilk, but these also hold distractions like games and apps for doodling, drawing with stars, making music and more. Indeed, Junko Yokota, a professor and director of the Center for Teaching Through Children’s Books at National Louis University in Chicago, thinks that something gets lost in the “translation” of a picture book to a digital format:

…the shape and size of the book are often part of the reading experience. Wider pages might be used to convey broad landscapes, or a taller format might be chosen for stories about skyscrapers.

Size and shape “become part of the emotional experience, the intellectual experience. There’s a lot you can’t standardize and stick into an electronic format,” said Ms. Yokota, who has lectured on how to decide when a child’s book is best suited for digital or print format.

Related links
Amazon Launches Digital “Lending Library”
Can a Bookstore Not Have Books?
The End of the Story: Borders To Close


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Encyclopaedia Britannica stays in touch with new iPad app by Wailin Wong

Photo: Wailin Wong
Wailin Wong writes, "Britannica works to adapt business model to digital information age.
Encyclopaedia Britannica wants consumers to have the world at their fingertips — virtually, anyway."

The 243-year-old company's newest iPad app, released in late October, has an interactive "LinkMap" feature that shows a web of thumbnail images representing articles. Pinching the tablet's touch screen to zoom out displays an increasingly bigger web of interconnected topics. And someone with small, nimble fingers should be able to get the entire encyclopedia onto one screen.

Touch screens on tablets and smartphones "allow for a different kind of engagement with your brand," said Jorge Cauz, Britannica's president. "It's much more intimate because of the ability to zoom in, the responsiveness of the screen … the closeness between the user and publisher. The Britannica brand comes much more alive on these apps than on the Web."

Chicago-based World Book, which caters to students, has introduced educational material for classroom teachers, as well as digital content for the iPad and smartphones. Both World Book and Britannica continue to publish print versions of their encyclopedias, although much of the focus has turned to digital products.

Related link
Visit iTunes to buy and download apps.

Source: Chicago Tribune 

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Study finds more cheating in online education by Brittany Anas

"College students taking online courses are more tempted to cheat, according to a new study that found honor codes are less binding in the rapidly growing online learning sector." summarizes Brittany Anas. 

Honor codes -- mutual trust contracts between students and professors to abide by standards of academic integrity -- can reduce cheating in brick-and-mortar classrooms.

But researchers have found that honor codes are much less effective in online classrooms, with the physical absence of an instructor.

Francois Claude, a University of Colorado senior, said he could see how easy it would be to cheat in an online class.

"No one is there looking over your shoulder," he said

Source: Daily Camera

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Higher education gives a nod to online learning benefits

The coming year of 2012 is set to be a big year for e-learning in higher education as more deals are signed between providers and universities.


A report from the Australian shows that an increasing number of academic institutions are looking to online learning solutions. Further systems are set to be rolled out from next year.

Providers will look towards expanding their reach in the academic arena by making lecture notes available online in an interactive form.

Courses across education, law, health, public policy, business and economics will be converted for online delivery at universities in Australia.

The, a free information resource about e-learning and learning technologies, commented that online learning offers a range of benefits in educational environments and that e-learning systems can make the experience of the user more simple and accessible.

Source: Virtual-College

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Reading to Your Kids: E-Books vs. Traditional Books by Jacelyn Thomas

Today I have Jacelyn Thomas as guest blogger. Please be sure to check out her unique guest post. Guest posts are always welcome, please contact me.

Recently, the New York Times featured an article that emphasized the importance of reading to children. Of course, reading to kids has always been a mainstay in parent-children interaction, but the article noted that such a simple activity could have a profound impact on their educational success later in life. The article cites a study conducted by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which noted:

Fifteen-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 [an international test measuring academic ability] than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all. The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family’s socioeconomic background. Parents’ engagement with their 15-year-olds is strongly associated with better performance in PISA.”

Now that we parents are doubly aware of how necessary it is that we read to our young children, the next question now, with the ever-increasing popularity of e-readers, is what medium we should use to read to them. Another New York Times article reported that adults who use e-readers for their own reading activities prefer having reading to their children the old-fashioned way with print books.

The reasons for this attitude are understandable—many parents find that print books are better at engaging all the sense, including most importantly, turning pages. Other parents noted that reading on an iPad can cause distractions. Children will be more interested in playing games than reading books. The physicality of books thus promotes greater concentration and is, generally speaking, fosters a closer physical, and subsequently, a greater emotional connection with the parent. Parents have also noted that physical books can withstand damage like food and liquid stains, whereas e-readers may not.

Still, there may be advantages in reading to your children using e-platforms. For one, more and more schools, not to mention many jobs, require and encourage a native fluency with electronic media. Getting your kids used to screen technology early in life could give them a leg-up in a world in which only the technologically-savvy will survive. What’s more, using e-readers for young children who are just learning how to read may help them learn faster. Many e-readers offer software embedded into children’s books that highlight words as they are read.

The biggest obstacle when it comes to reading and kids is sustaining interest and developing habits. Given that children are naturally attracted to things with buttons and screens and colors, e-readers may encourage a deeper interest in reading, an interest that will serve them well through their adult years.

What do you think? Should parents use e-readers with their young children? Or is there some value in sticking to physical books?

This is a guest post from Jacelyn Thomas.
Jacelyn writes about identity theft protection for
Questions and comments can be sent to: Jacelyn Thomas 

Many thanks to Jacelyn.
Enjoy your reading!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Survey reveals teens’ experiences on social networking sites

Photo: Pew Internet
Social media use has become so pervasive in the lives of American teens that having a presence on a social network site is almost synonymous with being online.

Fully 95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online and 80% of those online teens are users of social media sites. Many log on daily to their social network pages and these have become spaces where much of the social activity of teen life is echoed and amplified—in both good and bad ways

The findings are detailed in a new report called “Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites: How American teens navigate the new world of ‘digital citizenship,’” from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Sections include:
About the Survey
The data discussed in this report are the result of a three-part, multi-modal study that included interviews with experts, seven focus groups with middle and high school students, and a nationally representative random-digit-dial telephone survey of teens and parents. The survey was fielded April 19 through July 14, 2011, and was administered by landline and cell phone, in English and Spanish, to 799 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian. Black and Latino families were oversampled. The margin of error for the full sample is ±5 percentage points. The margin of error for the 623 teen social network site users is ±6 percentage points.
More information is available in the methodology section.

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project 

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Four new American Chemical Society podcasts shine a light on solar energy

This week's "Site of the Week" highlights four new audio podcasts from the American Chemical Society, explaining the science and technology behind solar power. They're available for schools to use free of charge and are intended to complement the group's magazine for high schoolers, ChemMatters.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has released a series of audio podcasts highlighting the science and cutting-edge technology behind solar power. The podcasts, available free of charge, tell the story of how scientists and students are making progress in harnessing the abundant energy of the sun. Well-suited for classroom use, the first two episodes explain the chemistry behind solar power—an alternative to fossil fuels that could have a larger role in the years ahead as a sustainable energy source for the world. The third and fourth podcasts describe a competition supported by the U.S. Department of Energy called the Solar Decathlon, in which students compete to build the world’s best solar homes.
Read more... 

Source: eSchool News

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Screen test for the online classroom by Sean Coughlan

Is the biggest classroom in the world the screen in front of you?

The screen - whether on a laptop, an iPad, a mobile phone, even that quaint old device a television set - plays a huge part in the lives of young people.

When a student protest ended in London this month, the last knot of marchers did what came naturally - they sat on the edge of the pavement and got out their laptops, glowing like some kind of digital campfire.

Entertainment, socialising and information have become screen-shaped. And a cluster of global online learning projects are bringing education into the frame too.

Photo: BBC News

Among those attracting attention is the Khan Academy, the US-based free online tuition service, which helps youngsters to catch up on lessons and bright children to stretch themselves further.

The combination of broadband, cheaper laptops and iPad-style tablet computers is putting such online teaching services into the mainstream.

The Khan Academy has thousands of step-by-step videos explaining topics in subjects such as maths and science. It's also interactive, allowing individual students to test themselves again and again and then chart their own progress. On tablet devices, students can write directly on to touch screens.

Photo: BBC News

William Dutton of the the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford says traditional universities have struggled to reconcile their teaching with the way that young people now gather information.

Outside the classroom, in "informal learning", the internet is the first place that many people look for information, whether it's using Wikipedia or searching for some specific detail, says Professor Dutton.

"But universities have not figured out how to integrate online information into courses," he says.

But Professor Dutton expects this to change, with all universities likely to shift, at least to some extent, towards "blended" learning, using both face-to-face teaching and online learning.

Source: BBC News 

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Local children play, learn, build and share at eLearning Cafe by Sabrina Albrecht

Sabrina Albrecht, a teacher at the eLearning Cafe Annex in Incline Village summarizes,  "Every day, home-school children experience hands-on playing to learn at eLearning Cafe Annex in Incline Village.
The sixth grade class studied Newton's Laws of motion this fall and applied their critical thinking skills to build a giant Newton's Cradle. Playing to learn is exactly what they are doing now, with the construction complete."

The student-driven project entailed exploration of theories of movement and energy to discover their dynamics during a physics class at eLearning Cafe Annex.

Photo: Sabrina Albrecht

This is the first in a series of physics courses offered at eLearning Cafe Annex, made possible by anonymous donors who support our mission to provide motivated learners of all ages with advanced educational opportunities, both onsite and online, in an atmosphere conducive to learning, mentoring and socialization.

Source: North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

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Are the Rumors About a Facebook Phone True—And Will It Live Up to Its Competitors?

The rumor mill on Tuesday focused on the social-networking company’s attempts to create a phone—but would a device by Facebook even be worth buying?

Photo: Dan Lyons
Dan Lyons weighs in below.

Why on earth does Facebook want to create a Facebook-branded phone? That’s what you may be wondering after learning that the social-networking company is in the midst of developing a “Facebook phone” that will run a version of Google’s Android operating system and be manufactured by HTC, a leading Android phone maker. According to All Things Digital, which broke the Facebook phone story, this device even has a cute codename—it’s called Buffy, as in the vampire slayer. The identity of the vampire to be slain by this Buffy remains unknown.   

Photo: Daily Beast 

But why is Facebook doing this? Facebook claims to have more than 800 million active members, including 350 million who connect via mobile devices. So why not just create Facebook apps that can run on every phone out there? Facebook won’t say. They won’t even confirm they’re making a phone. They put out a statement saying mobile is important to them and that “every mobile device is better if it is deeply social.”

According to All Things Digital, Facebook originally intended to create its own phone from the ground up, with its own integrated hardware and software. That project must not have worked out, so now Facebook is pursuing a less ambitious Plan B, where HTC makes the phone and Facebook software is tightly integrated into the operating system.  
Read more...      

Source:  Daily Beast                     

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Daily iPad App: Wild Chords by Mike Schramm

Wild Chords is a really amazing app -- at its absolute base, it's an excellent and easy-to-use guitar tuner, perfect for kids or adults. But the real magic of Wild Chords is in actually playing the guitar along with the main game; this game will teach you, chord by chord and string by string, how to strum away some really excellent tunes.

Wild Chords is a really excellent app for the iPad -- it has already won awards in Europe, but just recently arrived on the North American App Store. If you've got young ones who've been looking to start learning guitar, or wouldn't mind figuring out a few chords for yourself, grab a five-string and the app, and see what you think.

Zoo breakout - Learn to play the guitar to save your city

Related link
Visit iTunes to buy and download apps.

Source: TUAW and ovelinbird's Channel (YouTube)

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GRPS evaluates 'blended learning' by Tony Tagliavia

Found some strengths and weaknesses with program.

Evaluators are finding some strengths -- but also some significant concerns -- with "blended learning" in Grand Rapids Public Schools, administrators said Monday night at a school board meeting.

The program, started last school year, blends technology with traditional instruction in many GRPS high school math and social studies classes.

Some students "feel that learning is rushed," the student board representative said.

Source: WOOD-TV

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Monday, November 21, 2011

You Should Follow Me on Mobile eLearning News, NetworkedBlogs,Twitter, LinkedIn or E-learning News on Facebook

You should follow me on Mobile eLearning News here
You should follow me on NetworkedBlog here
You should follow me on Twitter here
You should follow me on LinkedIn here
You should follow me on E-learning News on Facebook here

Check it out today!

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Schools switch to mobile apps to solve maths problem by Jon Kennard

Jon Kennard writes in Learning technologies, "A new suite of smart phone apps has been launched to help students study maths. With over 17,000 downloads in the first year and a place in Apple’s ‘new and noteworthy’ list, schools are finding a new way to solve their maths problem."

Photo: Learning technologies
Educational publisher Collins has partnered with the UK elearning company Epic to create a new suite of Maths’ GCSE revision apps. They focus on numbers, statistics, algebra and geometry to cover the entire breadth of the national curriculum. The apps are already high in the iTunes download chart with interest expected to grow as exam time approaches.

The popularity of the new applications reflects the new learning methods of today’s teenagers. According to Nielsen, 79% of teenagers agree that the ‘first place they look is the internet’ when they need information. Over 50% of this age group now own smart phones with internet access and 38% of teens regularly download apps for their devices.

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What's the ROI of e-learning?

Executive level management expect to see a measurable impact from e-learning. Read this whitepaper to learn more about the value of measurement, how you can meet the expectations of higher management and how you can measure the impact of learning.

Executive Summary
Organisations make investments in e-learning solutions with the expectation that the solutions will have a measurable impact on performance by achieving specific business outcomes. Measuring the value of learning solutions enables organisations to demonstrate the return on investment they make in training. In addition,organisations that measure training are able to increase the contribution of theirlearning solutions using continuous improvement processes that drive higher levels of return through enhanced performance over time.

Why SkillSoft?

With the Kirkpatrick/Phillips methodology providing the framework, SkillSoft created a value measurement process that is comprised of the following steps:


Related link
Learning Re-Imagined, the SkillSoft Blog

Source: TrainingZone and SkillSoftUK's Channel (YouTube)

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New ITIL eLearning Program Teaches Professionals How to Manage IT Systems While Saving Organizations Time and Money

Managing data is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses in this modern, growing, fast-paced world. IT professionals now have another resource to help them learn how to master service management practices, including those found in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®).

The new fourth edition of The Art of Service ITIL® 2011 Foundation eLearning Program shows professionals how to efficiently manage IT system while saving their organizations time and money.

The Art of Service is one of the most trusted sources globally for the career-driven IT professional.
Since the ITIL® 2011 Foundation eLearning Program launched two months ago, nearly 1,000 students are enrolled from dozens of countries.

Photo: Cloud computing pioneer and The Art of Service CEO Ivanka Menken

“The Art of Service approach to IT service management training is inclusive, easy-to-understand and very applicable to the real world,” said The Art of Service founder and CEO Ivanka Menken, a renowned global IT and ITIL® expert.

About The Art of Service

As a cutting-edge IT service framework company, The Art of Service is leading the way in providing high end, client-focused books, toolkits and online and classroom education programs. The company is one of the most trusted sources globally for the career-driven IT professional.
For more information, visit

About the Founder
Ivanka Menken is the founder and CEO of The Art of Service. Menken has spearheaded the company's Cloud Computing Certification Scheme that is becoming the industry benchmark. She is a sought-after speaker at global IT events and has addressed the renowned IT Service Management Forum numerous times on IT service and cloud computing. She recently spoke at the Fusion 11 conference in Washington D.C. on the topic of New Orleans, Haiti, and Brisbane: How to "Disaster Proof" Your Business.

Source: PRWeb

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Infographic: Mobile before mobile

Photo: Dusan Belic
Dusan Belic writes, "Modern smartphones have crossed quite a road. From the first wireless phones to the modern Android devices and the iPhone, the whole industry changed a lot. You’re about to see just how much everything changed from the following infographic, prepared by Float."

From the abacus to the Geiger counter to the pocket calculator to the iPad, the infographic takes a look at mobile learning through the years in both reality and popular culture. Here comes…

Photo: IntoMobile
Source: IntoMobile

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Changing the Way Kids Learn by Michael Horn

Photo: Michael Horn
"This year’s math classes for many students in the Los Altos School District in California look radically different from those in the past. Powered in part by the Khan Academy — a non-profit that offers free educational resources such as online lessons and online assessments — the school district is expanding the “blended-learning” pilot it ran last year." summarizes Michael Horn. 

The district’s fifth, sixth and seventh graders will now learn online for a significant portion of their in-class math periods at the path and pace that fit their individual needs. Meanwhile, teachers will coach the students to keep up with their math goals and help them apply the math concepts in small-group and class-wide projects.

Photo: CNBC

Online learning is on the rise in the nation’s public schools. In the year 2000, roughly 45,000 K-12 students took an online course. In 2010, roughly 4 million did, according to Ambient Insight. And according to our projections in the book, Disrupting Class, (co-authored by Clayton M. Christensen, Curtis W. Johnson and myself) 50 percent of all high school courses will be taken online by 2019—the vast majority of them in blended-learning school environments with teachers, which will fundamentally move learning beyond the four walls and traditional arrangement of today’s all-too-familiar classroom.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Ten Steps to Transforming Past Lessons for 21st Century Learners by Michael Gorman

Photo: Michael Gorman
"It is important to look at successful prior lessons and infuse these past successes with technology and 21st century skills. I often refer to this in my Jukebox to iPod presentation. When looking at this transformation it is obvious that technology made a past great idea even better." summarizes Michael Gorman. 

Teachers must realize that they have a vault of awesome activities that have proven to be successful with students. Many times these perennial gems can be reinvented, mixed, and transformed to bring about a new 21st century lesson that will be even more engaging and applicable to today’s digital learner. The more I have worked with teachers, the more I have seen a need to build a concrete method for transforming these past lessons.

I would like to introduce you to Ten Steps to Transforming Past Lessons for 21st Century Learners.

1. Locate that special lesson – Find that successful lesson from the past that you wish to transform. This can be one single lesson or may include a project filled with several lessons. While the form provided has been built for single lessons… multiple forms could be incorporated for an entire unit.

Related links
21 st Century Educational Technology and Learning

Source: Tech & Learning

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Tablet application for assessment books launched by Wayne Chan

Students preparing for exams will no longer need to lug heavy assessment books around anymore, thanks to a new tablet application called Go-easel.
It stands for "Go e-Assessments and e-Learning" or ‘Go Easy Learning’. It is the first application to provide access to over 100 assessment books on Apple iPad and Android-based tablets.

Photo: Go-Easel

The application, launched on Friday by Popular Holdings at its BookFest, can be downloaded free at the Apple App store or at for Android users.

Popular also announced a partnership with SingTel to bring Go-easel into the telco's e-book service Skoob by January next year.

It said Go-easel's launch is in line with the government's move towards more e-learning.

Chou Cheng Ngok, chairman of Popular Holdings, said: "Ultimately, they want to transform the printed books into multimedia in time to come; as they say, the emphasis will be on the tablet.


Related link
Visit iTunes to buy and download apps. 

Source: Channel News Asia 

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Boosting staff efficiency through e-learning by Colin Mcdonald

Colin McDonald, head of Learning, Learndirect writes, "As the economy makes a slow recovery, businesses, and in particular small businesses, have numerous choices to make about how they prioritise their budgets."

Photo: HR Magazine 

According to the Towards Maturity Benchmark Study, training budgets have not fallen as much as feared in the last two years but there has still been a decrease in the budgets of more than half of public sector organisations whereas 34% of private sector organisations report an increase. With employers needing to find ways which give them the best return against their investment, training solutions need to be as flexible and impactful as possible.

With 78% of organisations now using some form of e-learning, and more than half planning to increase their use in the next 12 months, businesses clearly believe learning technologies will help them respond to changing business conditions. Organisations already making the most of learning technologies report significant benefits from this type of learning, including cost savings, time saving and an increase in the volume of learning delivered.

Source: HR Magazine

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