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Thursday, October 04, 2012

'Madagascar' Characters to Be Featured in New Online, Mobile Games by Carolyn Giardina

Games are developed through a new alliance between DWA and kids educational game company Jumpstart. Content based on "How to Train Your Dragon" will follow.

Photo: Hollywood Reporter

Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman and additional zoo animals from Dreamworks Animation’s Madagascar franchise will be featured in online and mobile learning content via a strategic alliance between DWA and kids educational game company Knowledge Adventure, which has been renamed JumpStart.

A subsidiary of privately-held Torrance, Calif.-based Knowledge Holdings, Jumpstart also announced that it has closed a new round of financing with Azure Capital Partners, TeleSoft Partners and other investors.

Available on Thursday, Madagascar Online offers learning quests and adventures. Also launching on iOS and Android platforms is a learning game titled Madagascar Preschool Surf ’n Slide.

JumpStart additionally plans to create a new gaming franchise inspired by DWA’s How to Train Your Dragon.

“JumpStart is at the forefront of developing innovative educational games and progressive technology for kids and we are pleased to join forces with them to launch new learning adventures that incorporate characters from DreamWorks Animation franchises,” said Jim Mainard, head of digital strategy for DWA.

Said David Lord, president and CEO of Jumpstart: “We believe the combination of DreamWorks Animation’s premium brands with our learning capabilities will be a win for children and parents.”

The third feature from the Madagascar franchise, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, opened in June. Sequels to Academy-award nominated How to Train Your Dragon are slated to debut in 2014 and 2016.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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Free Webinar, "Video IS the New Textbook", Explores Digital Video's Role in Australia's TAFE Institutions

Echo360, the global leader in campus-wide blended learning solutions, announced that registration is now open for a live webinar, which will explore how video can play a key role in promoting personalized and interactive learning in TAFE courses: "Video IS the New Textbook" presented by Pauline Farrell, Executive Manager, Blended eLearning Solutions, Box Hill Institute Australia:

Tuesday, October 9,
2012 - 12:00 PM AEDT/9:00 AM AWST
 (US: Monday, October 8, 2012 - 9:00 PM EDT/6:00 PM PDT)

Maria Spies, Director of Educational Technology and eLearning at Navitas, Australia's largest private education provider, will moderate the live webinar.

Blended Learning Specialists, TAFE Directors and Instructors are encouraged to attend. During the webinar Farrell will discuss how Box Hill Institute, one of Australia's leading providers of vocational and higher education, is using video to transform a once passive experience into an interactive learning environment by: -- Converting learning material from dull, text-based content into engaging multimedia subject matter.
  • Introducing collaboration into a professor's resource library by pairing video teaching with student activities outside traditional lecture.
  • Evaluating the benefits of blended learning technology as a core practice of education.
  • Using video and blended learning technology to support other TAFE initiatives including flipping the classroom, mobile learning and workplace-based learning.
Participants are encouraged to follow the webinar and interact over Twitter by tagging their messages with the #videotextbook hashtag.
About Echo360
More than one million students in 6,000 classrooms at 500 institutions across 30 countries rely on Echo360 technology to enhance their educational experience. Echo360 digitally records and shares instructional content live and on demand, allowing institutions to reach more students while lowering costs. Through Echo360, students engage with their peers through collaborative tools and review information from instructors online, at their convenience and across various devices. The company has been recognized with a Product Line Strategy of the Year Award from Frost & Sullivan, is CSIA-certified for outstanding customer service, and was named a Visionary Vendor in Educational Technology by IT research firm Basex.

Echo360 is backed by Revolution Growth led by Steve Case, Ted Leonsis and Donn Davis.
Source: Conferencing


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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Back-to-School Guide to Enriching Apps, Games, and Websites

Help bring learning to life during back-to-school time with these learning-rich gems.

Bring learning to life (PDF)

Each school year brings different experiences for each child. Some kids can't wait to master new concepts. Others have a harder time easing back in. No matter what your kids are like, you'll find media in our Back to School Guide to spark their imagination and cement their knowledge.

Search for apps, video games, and websites within the guide — first by age, then by subject and skill. Discover inventive apps for kids struggling with addition, fluency games for advanced readers, websites to help with social skills, and more.

Source: Common Sense Media

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How To Handle Negative Feedback On Your Blog

Hannah Howard has been in touch to remind us about this recent published article below.
Photo: Longhorn Leads

Blogging and social media have changed the ways of marketing for companies because of their ease, outreach and the fact they’re budget friendly. However, with great new marketing ways come new marketing downfalls.

Before blogging and social media were created, if a fan, reader, visitor or customer had a negative comment to make they picked up the telephone, emailed or even wrote a letter. And that’s even if they had the time to do so.

Now disgruntled fans, readers, visitors and customers can rock your world in a matter of seconds with one simple public post on your page. How you handle and react to that negative feedback on your blog is very important because it is now out there for the public to see and can affect your brand negatively or positively.

No one is perfect, and in a world where social media and blogs rule, we are bound to run into a few unhappy people. The only difference in a negative comment or review is that it is public and not private. Handling your negative comment correctly will speak volumes towards your work ethic. When that happens it is important to remember to remain clam, address it quickly, don’t delete it or apologize, take it offline and never take it personally. Good luck and happy blogging!

Related link
Take a closer look at Longhorn Leads blog

Many thanks to Hannah.
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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Coming Soon: New study on mobile technology and education

Large national survey underway with AT&T and the Learning First Alliance. In addition to a public study report, a detailed market research report will also be commercially available.
Data and insights from parents of K–12 students and preschoolers into home and school use of mobile devices
As students head back to school, more of them than ever before will be using mobile devices in the classroom and at home for educational purposes. This fall, leading industry research firm Grunwald Associates LLC will conduct a research study to examine student uses, parent perceptions and family requirements for mobile learning platforms.
The study will be conducted with support from AT&T and in collaboration with the Learning First Alliance, a major national education organization.
Notably, the study will examine parents’ perceptions of how both K–12 students and preschoolers might be using mobile devices and applications as tools for learning even before they enter formal schooling. This unique aspect of the study is expected to provide key insights on tomorrow’s mobile learners—and complement in-depth analysis of older children and teens also featured in the study.

This study is particularly timely now, as school districts increasingly turn to mobile technology to engage students and increase cost-effective learning, using school-provided devices, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or shared-cost models. Among other topics, this rigorous, nationally representative study will gauge:
  • Student use of mobile platforms for learning and other purposes
  • Parents’ willingness to buy their children mobile devices and applications intended for educational purposes
  • Parents’ attitudes about mobile learning at home and in school
  • Parents’ perceptions about the benefits and challenges of mobile learning practices and policies
"Mobile technology is changing daily life for children of all ages," says Peter Grunwald, founder and president of Grunwald Associates LLC." And mobile learning platforms have the potential to engage parents as partners in learning, particularly when BYOD initiatives expect parents to share the costs and responsibilities for their children’s use of mobile devices for learning and school-related activities. Few rigorous studies have explored the fast-changing environment of mobile platforms from the parents’ perspective."
"Grunwald Associates has an unsurpassed reputation for market research into technology trends at ever education level," says Cheryl S. Williams, Executive Director of the Learning First Alliance.   "The findings from this study will be invaluable in informing policymakers, school and district leaders, education technology professionals and industry leaders as they move forward with mobile learning plans."

A public report of the findings is planned for the first quarter of 2013. In addition, a detailed market research package will be available commercially.

About Grunwald Associates LLC

Grunwald Associates is a full-service research and consulting firm whose work has informed the debate on a range of national policy issues. Grunwald offers an in-depth understanding of education and innovation, combined with mastery of state-of-the-art research methodologies. The firm specializes in challenging public and proprietary assignments for nonprofit, corporate and government clients. Services include sophisticated quantitative and qualitative research, including pricing simulation and product configuration, social media and community development, messaging and strategic counsel.
Grunwald has a reputation for research integrity and creativity and has garnered the trust of key national education associations, policymakers and educators.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates—AT&T operating companies—are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s largest 4G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T | DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.

About the Learning First Alliance

The Learning First Alliance (LFA) is a partnership of 16 leading education associations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America’s public schools: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of School Administrators, American Association of School Personnel Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American School Counselor Association, Association for Middle Level Education (formerly National Middle School Association), International Society for Technology in Education, Learning Forward (formerly National Staff Development Council), National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Education Association, National School Public Relations Association, National PTA, National School Boards Association and Phi Delta Kappa International.

Source: Grunwald Associates LLC

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How To Get Your Audience Involved With Pinterest

Hannah Howard has been in touch to remind us about this recent published article below.
Photo: Longhorn Leads
The newest and biggest online craze involves social media, pictures, and pinning. Pinterest is an online vision board that allows users to create their own boards so they are able to pin their favorite finds for inspiration and ideas.
Think of Pinterest as the new way of dog-earing your favorite pages from your favorite recipe book, magazine, or catalogue. It’s no surprise that so many businesses have asked the question, “How can I get Pinterest to work for me?” The best way to use Pinterest for your business is to get your audience involved.

First take a look at both your target audience and Pinterest’s users as a whole. Pinterest users, for the most part, are typically women in their 20’s to mid-40’s. So your goal is to attract that Pinterest population from your audience group. Doing this will single out a certain group, but when it’s done correctly it can, in return, help your business. Your social media manager or the person that typically maintains and updates your Facebook page, blog, and Twitter account is the right person for this job. Your goal is to create a Pinterest page that your audience wants to follow, repin, talk about, and use often; here are ways you can do that:

Source: Longhorn Leads

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Today's video - The Future Starts Now - 2012 edition

Please take a moment to see this pertinent video from the Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education.

"The purpose of the Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education is to contribute to the realization and the development of ICT policy. It shall further cooperate with relevant public and private institutions. The centre will also participate in international cooperation." 
The Future Starts Now - 2012 edition

I hope you enjoy this video!

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Monday, October 01, 2012

‘Embodied learning’ blends lessons with student-computer interaction

First Pennsylvania lab of its kind immerses students in computer simulations for what educators hope is more effective learning.

Photo: eSchool News
In an Elizabeth Forward Middle School classroom, students in an eighth-grade math class spent a recent morning getting into their lesson—literally.

Standing in their socks on a 15-by-15 game board that was projected onto a foam mat on the floor, they waved wands to move brightly colored virtual balls around the space.

They used trial-and-error to figure out what each colored ball did when it came into contact with another.
Did one ball bumping another cause it to multiply? Or did one eliminate another?
The students strove to develop a strategy to beat their opponents.

What they end up doing, educators say, is honing skills related to reasoning, decision-making, and critical thinking.
The teaching tactic is called embodied learning. It blends lessons and human-computer interaction.

Elizabeth Forward educators are implementing it with Situated Multimedia Arts Learning Lab, known as SMALLab Learning, which uses a ceiling-mounted projector, motion-sensor cameras, wands, and a computer to create scenarios in which students can learn by immersing themselves in the lesson.

The district is the first public school system in Pennsylvania to use this educational technology, developed at Arizona State University.

"It’s about getting students out of the standard desk and up and moving," said Todd Keruskin, Elizabeth Forward’s assistant superintendent.

About SMALLab Learning

SMALLab Learning was founded in 2010 with the mission of advancing embodied learning in schools and museums. Our flagship product is SMALLab, the Situated Multimedia Arts Learning Lab. SMALLab was created by an interdisciplinary team of researchers and media experts at Arizona State University, led by Dr. David Birchfield. Numerous agencies supported the core research including the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Intel Research, the Kauffman Foundation, and private donors. In 2010, ASU helped to create a new spin-off company, SMALLab Learning, LLC, founded by Drs. David Birchfield and Mina Johnson-Glenberg.

Why SMALLab?
Cognitive scientists have discovered compelling evidence that nearly all of our experiences are in some way grounded in the body. This suggests that the embodied experiences can lead to more effective learning - learning that is kinesthetic, collaborative, and multimodal. SMALLab Learning is at the forefront of this exciting new field of embodied learning.
Who Created SMALLab?
SMALLab was developed over a period of several years by an interdisciplinary team of dedicated faculty and graduate students at Arizona State University's School of Arts, Media and Engineering. SMALLab is a product of the collaborative vision of these designers, educators, researchers, artists, engineers, computer scientists, psychologists, musicians, and dancers.

Source: eSchool News and smallabsocial's channel (YouTube)

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eSN Today: Five ed-tech topics you'd like to see covered--and how we can help

eSN readers say: Give us more free websites, special-ed coverage. We say: Here you go!
You’ve spoken, and we’re listening.

Photo:  Laura Devaney
Laura Devaney, Managing Editor reports, "Today's story comes straight from our readers. During an eSchool News survey, we gave you the chance to identify some topics you'd like us to cover. While we plan much more coverage in those areas, we've pulled together some of our past coverage for your convenience."

Each year, we survey our readers to find out what ed-tech topics you’d like to learn more about. This year, you’ve told us you’d like more information about Common Core standards and testing, free websites and apps for education, special education and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and more.

In response to this year’s survey results, we’ve put together this handy guide to stories and resources we’ve published that pertain to the five ed-tech topics you’re most interested in reading about.

Photo: eSchool News

Free websites and apps for education

New: 10 of the best Apple apps for education in 2012.”
Last year, we presented “10 of the best apps for education,” which highlighted some of the best apps for iPhones and iPods. However, with new upgrades in touch technology, HD and 3D features, and the debut of the iPad, we’ve come up with a new list of the best Apple-based education apps for 2012. This year’s list includes some of the most highly rated apps, both by teachers and by Apple, and features a range that spans from simple math games to a revolutionary special-education app, and from 3D imaging of the elements to secure file sharing for students and teachers…

New: 10 of the best Android apps for education in 2012.”
Last year, we presented “Ten of the best Android apps for education,” which highlighted some of the best apps for Google Android-based mobile devices. Now, with recent upgrades in touch technology and HD features, we’ve come up with a new list of the best Android-based education apps for 2012. This year’s list includes some of the most highly rated apps, both by teachers and by students, and features a range that spans from an innovative and hyperlinked dictionary developed by the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University to an interactive whiteboard app for tablets…

School lunches get a 21st-century makeover.”
With new limits on calories, sodium, and saturated fats, as well as increases in minimums for fruits and vegetables, schools are revisiting their nutrition management. Thankfully, there are software programs, apps, and websites available to help schools, parents, and students make the transition successfully…

Source: eSchool News 

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[WEBINAR] Got MOOC? Register Now!

Don't miss this free webinar!

Why your CIO can solve your MOOC dilemma, analyze your student retention problem and support your flipped classroom.

Thursday, October 4, 2012
2:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Higher education is buzzing about blended and online learning, the flipped classroom and MOOCs. Academics from every discipline have taken notice and are working on strategies to incorporate these concepts into their curriculums and courses. CIOs and technologists should be part of these strategic discussions and work together with academics to bring the best solutions to the table in order to meet the institution’s goals.

Join us for this complimentary webinar event where one innovative CIO puts it all into perspective – when to enter the conversation on blended learning strategy and how to adapt to the latest learning methodologies. Hear from University of Kentucky’s technology leader, Dr. Vince Kellen. As a 2012 Dell Transformational CIO, Vince shares how UK is responding to the uncertainty facing higher education by:

  • Defining a blended learning strategy before buying technology
  • Understanding the value of integrating blended learning technology into an institution's teaching strategy... and not the other way around
  • Responding to the MOOC phenomenon and how technologies like lecture capture can be used to support new programs
All are welcome to register – CIOs, Academic Technologists, Instructional Technologists and Curriculum Designers are highly encouraged to attend.

Connect before, during and after the event on Twitter at #gotMOOC.
Register Now 

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Webinar Tomorrow: A Virtual Backpack of Top Ten Tips for Effective Teaching Online

Check out this FREE online webinar below

A Virtual Backpack of Top Ten Tips for Effective Teaching Online

Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Time: 2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT
Duration: 1 hour
Online learning is proving to be equal if not superior to the traditional classroom setting when measured in terms of faculty perception, student satisfaction, and evidence-based achievement of desired learning outcomes.

In this webinar led by Brenda Watkins and Celeste Fenton of Hillsborough Community College, you will “pack your backpack” with practical strategies to improve student motivation and engagement in your distance learning courses. Administrators of online courses and programs will discover ways to measure effectiveness to determine alignment with program goals and comparability to program courses delivered via other modes as well as professional development models that facilitate stellar online teaching.

This session will serve as an introduction or refresher for instructors new to teaching online, or as a means to encourage fresh thinking for experienced online faculty or administrators charged with evaluating online course/program rigor and effectiveness.

Topics to be “packed” are:
  • The AAA of course design: aligning assignments and assessments with objectives
  • Online course engagement
  • Time-saving strategies
  • Measuring effectiveness
  • Professional Development for Online Instruction

Free Webinar...Register Now!
Space is limited!

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15 Thoughts About the Brain

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

The other day I ran across this cool infographic:
It tells you great facts that you probably had never known about the human brain. Here are the fifteen points it covers:

1.       The brain consists of three parts – The forebrain controls all thoughts, senses, motor functions, emotion and hunger. The midbrain controls auditory and visual reflexes as well as awareness. The hindbrain controls coordination and analysis of senses.

2.       The brain has two hemispheres – Left for analytical thoughts and right for creative thoughts.

3.       The belief that we use only 10% of our brains is a myth- Every portion has a function and is hard at work.

4.       Your brain has 100,000 miles worth of blood vessels – Enough to circle the Earth four times.

5.       Your brain has 100 billion neurons – These cells are known as the grey matter which process information.

6.       Learning a second language before age 5 changes how the brain will develop later in life – These children’s brains are able to produce denser gray matter by adulthood.

7.       If the brain were a hard drive it would hold 4 terabytes of information – 80 Blu-ray discs, 850 DVD-R discs, or enough to hold 4% of the entire Library of Congress’ data.

8.       The world champion of memorization is Ben Pridmore – He is able to memorize the order of a deck of cards in 26.38 seconds.

9.       What you eat affects your brain – One study of one million students in New York showed people who ate a lunch without preservatives or artificial dyes scored 14% higher on IQ tests. Another study showed people that ate seafood at least once a week had a 30% lower occurrence of dementia.

10.    20% of the oxygen you inhale is used by the brain.

11.    Size doesn’t always matter – Einstein’s brain weighed 1,230 grams. Average male’s brains weighs 1,360 grams.

12.    Speaking of Einstein’s brain, scientists preserved it for study – It is split into 240 separate slides for viewing.

13.    Men process information primarily from the left side of the brain – Women tend to use both sides at the same time.

14.    There is truth behind the saying men are rational and women are emotional – Women are more emotional because that have a larger limbic system which regulates emotion. Yet men have a larger inferior-parietal lobule that controls mathematical ability.

15.    In rare cases the brain goes haywire and these occur – Exploding Head Syndrome: Individual hears a loud bang coming from the middle of their head. Phantom Extra Limb Syndrome: You think you have more limbs than you actually have. Sleep Paralysis: The inability to move your limbs upon waking up from sleep because the brain is still in REM mode.
Aren’t those facts interesting? How many of those did you know about before and how many were new to you? I love to learn new things about the working of the brain and body!

Jack Meyer is a regular contributor for

As a detective he wants to spread the knowledge of terrible things that can happen when people don’t fully verify the credentials of a caregiver or any employee. He also writes for various law enforcement blogs and sites.

Many thanks to Jack.
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