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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One year of free math software - Grant Deadline: Friday November 30th, 2012

This grant program gives elementary and middle school math teachers the opportunity to use a math program free for one year.

The program is open to U.S. and Canadian elementary and middle school classroom educators (grades 2-8) who teach mathematics.

Contact Information

  • Grant Organization: ExploreLearning
  • Contact URL:
  • Eligibility: Elementary and middle school math teachers
  • Grant Deadline: Friday November 30th, 2012
  • Grant Value: Free software for one year
 Watch our Video 
About Reflex

ExploreLearning Reflex is an award-winning game-based system that enables students of all abilities to develop instant, effortless recall of math facts in all four operations. Reflex’s highly-adaptive technology provides each student with an optimized path from the initial acquisition of new facts through to full automaticity.
The methods used in the system's assessment, instruction and game-based practice are based on the latest research in math fact fluency, and the system's effectiveness in rapidly developing automaticity has been validated through a large set of case studies involving thousands of students from schools across the United States.

Source: eSchool News and ExploreLearning

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Open online course prepares students for biology exam

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

Site of the Week

Open online course prepares students for biology exam

Photo: University of Miami Global Academy
Massive open online courses (MOOCs), which have skyrocketed in popularity in the last year, offer the draw of college classes that anyone with an internet connection can take free of charge. Now, the University of Miami has launched what it calls the world’s first MOOC for high school students—a three-week, six-session class that will prepare students for the SAT subject test in biology.

“We created this from scratch, so we’re pioneers in that respect,” says Craig Wilson, headmaster of UM Global Academy (UMGA), the online high school based out of the University of Miami’s Division of Continuing and International Education. “We recognized a need to help high school students prepare for college, and we wanted to use the MOOC model to give them that opportunity without having to worry about going through a pay-for-preparation aspect.”

About 200 high school students, some as far away as China, were enrolled as of press time to take UMGA’s “MOOC SAT BIO” course via Skype and an electronic classroom platform. The class will air live, allowing students to pose questions in real time—a rarity for a MOOC, according to Wilson.

Source: eSchool News

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Important considerations for blended learning

Meris Stansbury
Meris Stansbury, Online Editor writes, "In today's news, experts say some of the most important considerations for blended learning include finding high-quality resources and ensuring network capacity."

Photo: eSchool News

Finding high-quality resources, ensuring network capacity are key steps, experts say.

As blended learning programs grow in popularity, proponents of the approach—which involves a combination of computer-based learning and face-to-face instruction—say there are a few key considerations school leaders should keep in mind as they set up blended learning models.

Alabama’s Mountain Brook Schools is in its third year of a blended learning program.
“Education is really changing, and we’ve got to change with it—and in order to do that, we’ve really been working hard to … customize the learning of each one of our students,” said Missy Brooks, the district’s director of instruction, during a Consortium for School Networking webinar.

“Blended learning is not all about the technology—it really is a blend of teachnology and instruction, so that the two work hand-in-hand so that we can meet the needs of our students,” she said. The district’s leaders bear in mind that blended learning is facilitated by an effective and intentional combination of face-to-face classroom methods and computer-based activities.

While many agree on the basics of blended learning, Brooks pointed out that blended learning is not:
  • Simply putting a digital device in the hands of teachers and students.
  • Scanning worksheets and uploading them for students to print and complete.
  • Sharing digital versions of class notes.
  • Experiencing a mastering of technology tools.
  • Thinking of students as being simply information consumers.
That last point is especially important, Brooks said. “We have to think of students differently,” she said—“as creators, researchers, investigators, and even designers.”

Source: eSchool News

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thailand could be major e-learning hub in region

Wannapa Khaopa writes, "Thailand has hundreds of international programmes, especially in the country's top performing universities, luring thousands of students from different parts of the world, particularly from the Asean region to come and study in the Kingdom."

Photo: The Nation

Distance education or e-learning can be an opportunity for Thailand to open up a new Asean educational market in which students can spend life at home while pursuing study at Thai universities rather than travelling here.

Associate Professor Chitapa Ketavan, dean of the Graduate School of eLearning (GSeL) at Assumption University (AU) and Assistant Professor Kanda Wongwailikhit, dean of RSU Cyber University faculty at Rangsit University (RSU), also agreed that distance education would become more popular among students as it was more convenient for them to study anytime, anywhere at a lower cost.

Although these educators see the growing popularity of online education, there are not many universities with international programmes in Thailand offering online or e-learning programmes. The first e-learning international programme was taught seven years ago in Thailand by AU, but other universities with international programmes have not yet offered this convenient style of education.

Source: The Nation 

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New era of mobile learning is here, conference told

"For the generations of children born in the 21st century, book learning has taken on a whole new meaning." summarizes Rose Simone, Record staff.

Photo: Waterloo Record

Books are now apt to be tablets or smartphones, and they contain more than words and pictures. The new generation of “digital natives,” as Kunal Gupta, chief executive of Polar Mobile calls them, expects to also have fun while learning.

 Gupta, who was speaking at a “Mobilize” conference hosted by the Waterloo-based e-learning solutions company Desire2Learn on Monday at Bingemans conference centre, says the fact that these digital natives are practically born tethered to mobile devices is changing everything.

The conference was attended by about 500 people, including educators and students interested in digital media jobs.

The conference also dealt with issues such as making the learning environment equitable for students from less affluent homes and how to ensure the content on smartphones and tablets brought to school remains appropriate for younger children.

Source: Waterloo Record

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Online learning: pedagogy, technology and opening up higher education

The UK Guardian newspaper held an interesting debate on the hugely popular issue of MOOCs in higher education.
Sponsored Q&A: How can online learning open, widen and formalise access to quality higher education?
Join us on Friday 23 November from 12-2pm GMT to discuss MOOCs and more.

writes, "Higher education has always been fond of its acronyms and they don't get much more prolific than the current four letters doing the rounds. From the December 2011 launch of MITx Stateside to the University of Edinburgh's decision to join the Coursera platform, MOOCs (or Massive Open Online Courses) have barely been off the education news menu.
Nor was the Observer alone in recently asking: "Do online courses spell the end for the traditional university?"

Is online learning the answer to widening participation in higher education?
Photo: The Guardian

Of course, the provision of off-campus higher education is not a recent development. The Open University has championed open and distance learning since 1969 – from its original correspondence courses and late-night TV broadcasts to the latest research and development conducted by its Institute of Educational Technology.

By definition, online learning is the meeting of technology and pedagogy – and universities are still exploring the right balance between the two.
In his 2011 slideshare, Guillermo Ramirez outlines 'five big mistakes of virtual education', from the use of the term massive ("you don't have one course of 250, you have 250 courses of one") to the risk of tech taking the fun out of the education process.

Where do you sit in this debate? And what models are working best for students – and universities? In partnership with the Open University, this week's live chat will consider the new landscape of online learning and how it might open, widen and formalise access to quality higher education. Join our expert panel to talk MOOCs and more on Friday 23 November from 12-2pm GMT.

Source: The Guardian

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Math Tools in Action by Marco Ramirez and Chris Confer

Math Tools in Action is an exciting new DVD series that shows teachers in grades 1-5 how to use anchor charts, journals, and manipulatives to deepen and improve math instruction.

Photo: Stenhouse Publishers

Each DVD chronicles a complete lesson in a real classroom, with expert commentary and teaching tips before and during the lesson.
Click here to preview clips and download the viewing guides!

Chris Confer & Marco Ramirez: Leveraging Change Through Mathematics

About the Authors

Chris Confer
Chris has a passion for both mathematics and teaching children. "My parents were both educators," she explains. "When I was seven years old, one of my favorite activities was playing school with my two-year-old brother Dickey, who amiably played student along with my stuffed animals and assorted toys. . . . And when I learned to love art as a high schooler, I longed to make beautiful bulletin boards, which is what I thought a teacher did. In reality, of course, teaching is very different. I love it.

Marco Ramirez
Marco Ramirez is an award-winning educator who has successfully transformed schools using mathematics as leverage for change. After working eighteen-hour days as a buyer and broker, Marco did some soul searching and realized that he wanted to have more time for family and a life outside of work. His wife, Julie, suggested that he work as a substitute teacher while returning to college.

Source: Stenhouse Publishers and Stenhouse Publishers Channel (YouTube)

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Almost anything’s possible with an iPad by Ryan D. Wilson News Editor

There’s an app for everything, but you can do a lot for free, Garfield Elementary principal Jaclyn Pfizenmaier told community members in showing them how to use iPads in a Chamber-sponsored class Monday night.

Photo: Clay Center Dispatch

The first thing someone getting an iPad should do is to set up an Apple or iTunes ID, otherwise there’s not a lot than an iPad owner can do with their iPad, Pfizenmaier said. An Apple ID enables iPad owners to buy and download songs, apps, videos, TV shows, etc., through the Apple store.

An Apple ID can be set up without a credit card and there are lots of free apps and services that an iPad user can access “and not have a penny invested,” Pfizenmaier said.

To demonstrate how easy it is to use an iPad, Pfizenmaier showed videos of a 100-year-old learning to send her first e-mail on an iPad and a 2-and-half-year-old watching a movie with an iPad.

At times, teachers have had to let the kids take the lead and teach them how to use the iPads, Pfizenmeier said. That’s also good advice for other adults learning to use an iPad, she said. Garfield’s iPad class is held from 8:30 to 10:15 a.m. on Friday, and new iPad users are welcome to join them, Pfizenmaier said.

The Chamber of Commerce is also planning a couple more iPad classes in December and January:

Because the first iPad 101 class was completely full Monday, the Chamber of Commerce has scheduled a second iPad 101 Class for Monday, Dec. 10. This session is designed for people who do not own an iPad but are interested in learning more. The class will get chance to use an iPad. Only a few people have signed up for this class of 15.

Session 2: iPad Family will be held Jan. 21, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Garfield Elementary Library. This session is designed for people who own an iPad and are wanting to learn what they can do in a family environment including photos, videos, Facetime, messages, etc. Nine seats are available for this class of 20.

Session 3: iPad Business will be held Jan. 21, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Garfield Elementary Library. This session is designed for business owners/managers who own an iPad and want to learn what they can do to enhance their business including, forms, organization, QR Codes, Facetime, and much more. Thirteen seats are available for this class of 20.

Source: Clay Center Dispatch

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Staten Island public school students displaced by Sandy can take online courses by Jillian Jorgensen/Staten Island Advance

Intermediate and high school students who have been displaced from their homes or their schools by Hurricane Sandy can take online classes to help keep up with their classwork, city schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced Tuesday.


The online courses will be available for students in grade six through 12, in core subject areas and electives including English, math, economics, calculus, world history and Spanish.

Teachers who have experience in online learning will teach the courses, and the New York, Queens and Brooklyn Public Library branches will provide enrolled students with internet access at locations throughout the city -- including on Staten Island. Any students in the borough who don't have internet access at home -- or who cannot go home in the wake of the hurricane -- can take the courses using computers at any Staten Island branch of the New York Public Library.

To enroll in these online courses, students must call 718-642-5885 to fill out an interest form, or they can do so online at
Staff will then follow to determine if students are eligible, and will set up learning plans.


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Will online learning destroy America’s colleges?

Some parts of the American university system work well for their students. The rest are ready for disruption.

Photo: Jon Bruner
Jon Bruner reports, "The American college system is staggeringly large: 2,421 four-year institutions enroll about 18.5 million college students. The proportion of Americans with a bachelor’s degree is at an all-time high — a social victory if they’re able to enjoy a positive return on their degrees, which the Pew Research Center estimates at about $550,000 on average."

And the very existence of that system is threatened, as we are to believe it, by the massive open online course, or MOOC, offered by new ventures from the likes of Stanford, Harvard and MIT. In an essay last week, Clay Shirky compared universities and MOOCs to record companies and Napster: in both cases, the incumbents operated by providing something inconveniently and locally that could be provided conveniently and universally on the web. I don’t agree with the entire essay, but Shirky is absolutely right to point out that the college industry is made up of several markets, and they’ll be disrupted in different ways.

American higher education is deeply divided: it’s outstanding for a relative small handful of students and pretty bad for everyone else. The disruption of MOOCs will likely start at the bottom and move up from there. The question on which we should meditate is: how far up will it move?

Source: O'Reilly Radar 

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Millions enrolling in online courses by Tamar Lewin / The New York Times

 writes, "Teaching Introduction to Sociology is almost second nature to Princeton professor Mitchell Duneier: He has taught it 30 times, and a textbook he co-wrote is in its eighth edition."

Photo: The New York Times

But last summer, as he transformed the class into a free online course, he had to grapple with some brand-new questions: Where should he focus his gaze while a camera recorded the lectures? How could the 40,000 students who enrolled online share their ideas? And how would he know what they were learning?

In many ways, the arc of Mr. Duneier's evolution, from professor in a lecture hall to online instructor of tens of thousands, reflects a larger movement, one with the potential to transform higher education. Already, a handful of companies are offering elite college-level instruction -- once available only to a select few, on campus, at great cost -- free, to anyone with an Internet connection

To create a Princeton seminar's feel, Mr. Duneier used a video chat room in which six or eight students -- Dipendra was one, others were from Siberia or Iran as well as Princeton -- discussed the readings; students over the course of the week could replay the video and comment.

As with other MOOCs, less than 5 percent of those who enrolled in the sociology course finished it: 2,200 midterm exams and 1,283 final exams were submitted. Some students listened to all the lectures and did all the readings but didn't take exams. There was no reason to do so since Princeton -- unlike Udacity, edX or other universities working with Coursera -- does not give certificates of completion.

Related link
College of Future Could Be Come One, Come All (The New York Times)

Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette 

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The Classroom Is Dead by Robert W. Moje

"The classroom as we know it is dead. It is outdated in helping children meet their full educational potential." summarizes Robert W. Moje, AIA, LEED AP Principal, VMDO.

Photo: Inform

Based on a factory-inspired model, the American classroom was designed to help children receive an adequate, standardized education. The prototypical public school classroom is set up to run 20 to 30students through the same educational obstacle course, at the same pace, with the same intellectual nourishment. The desire is that a certain majority of the class will finish with “passing” results that will help ensure further support and funding for the school. This system is predicated on a percentage-based hope that a child will fall within a certain range of measured intelligence.

But what happens to those students who don’t “pass” or to those who finish with better-than-average results? The classroom model has failed to provide both inclusive and individualized educational experiences for American students, particularly for those at the extremes. The challenge before us is to educate each child and unlock every student’s individual potential as citizens and future leaders.

Source: Inform 

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10 iPhone Apps to Use on Your Family Vacation

Emma Roberts has been in touch to remind us about this recent published article below.

Family vacations are a time of excitement, entertainment and making memories with the ones that you love the most. The technological advancements of modern life are making it easier with every passing year to streamline and simplify many of the things we do, from accomplishing everyday tasks to navigating around a foreign city, allowing us to make the most of each moment as it happens. These 10 iPhone apps will help you turn your mobile device into a pocket-sized tour guide with a few taps of the screen, thanks to the App Store and the ingenuity of the developers who stock it.
  1. TripTracker – Live Flight Status Tracker – Before you get down to the fun and relaxing part of your vacation, you have to deal with the tension of managing the travel arrangements. The free TripTracker app streamlines the process for you, making it easy to check your itinerary, the status of your flight, and your hotel and car rental information instantly.

Many thanks to Emma.
Enjoy your reading!

Source: Summer Nanny 

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Webinar: Using Online Learning to Get More Students Back on the Right Path

Join K12 for this Webinar below.

From Struggle to Success: Using Online Learning to Get More Students Back on the Right Path

Tuesday, November 27th at 2:00PM ET

It started as a plan to address the needs of the large community of home-schooled students in Washington County, Utah. But it quickly expanded to a state-wide school with extra focus on under-performing students.

Today, Washington Online School serves a large population of students who were simply falling behind in a brick and mortar setting and needed the extra attention and focus that online learning provides. Washington Online also serves many students who are elite athletes focused on their training, who require flexible scheduling and pacing of coursework.

You’re invited to attend our webinar featuring Kellie Richin, a teacher for the Washington Online School.  During this 45-minute webinar, Mrs. Richin will discuss how the school has adapted elements of their online learning program to meet the needs of under-performing students, including hiring teachers with vans to carry computer equipment, and meeting with their students in person.

Kellie Richin will discuss these key elements of Washington Online's success:

  • Lessons learned from implementing an online school
  • Tactics for helping students who face test anxiety
  • Incentive programs to encourage students to engage and do their best
  • Demonstrated academic results from the program since induction

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Upcoming Webinars: The Brandon Hall Group

The Brandon Hall Group and BizLibrary Present

Rise of the Machines:
Mobile Learning Comes to Life

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT

Is your organization going mobile? Are you already delivering mobile learning but want to do it better? The rise of mobile learning is easily the largest learning technology trend of the decade and in the last two years the changes in the space have been exponential.

Join David Wentworth, Senior Analyst at Brandon Hall Group and Chris Osborn, VP of Marking of BizLibrary as they talk about the rise of mobile learning and the demographics of mobile adoption. They will also present case studies from companies successfully implementing mLearning.

Other topics include:

  • Mobile for small organizations
  • The need for change
  • Mobile content solutions
  • Video for learning
  • Mobile access option
Register Now! 

The Brandon Hall Group Presents

De-Mystifying the LMS Selection Process

Thursday, December 20, 2012 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT

The LMS marketplace continues to shift and evolve as vendors consolidate and new technology features become available. Deciding to invest in a learning management system isn’t even half the battle. Once they walk through that door, companies are faced with a mind-numbing array of choices. Where do they start? Which system is right? How do you know?

Join Brandon Hall Group Chief Strategy Officer Michael Rochelle and Senior Analyst David Wentworth as they walk you through the selection process, delivering concrete steps and strategies to make the journey to LMS selection far simpler. The session will also include an informative demonstration of Brandon Hall Group’s LMS KnowledgeBase and Selection Tool.

Key takeaways include:

  • Overview of key system functionality and capabilities
  • Best practices in prioritizing system requirements
  • What to look for in product demonstrations
  • Leveraging use case scenarios for system selection
  • How to select the right solution provider as your business partner
Don’t miss this informative session on the intricacies involved in LMS selection.
Register Now! 

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Littleton Public Schools: Teacher & Student Collaboration with Google Apps

Join Tech & Learning and Google on
December 13th at 1:00 PM EST / 10:00 AM PST
for this FREE webinar.

In this webinar team members from the Littleton Public Schools in Colorado will talk about how Google Apps for Education has improved the way that faculty and students work in the district.

Google Apps for Education is free web-based email, calendar & documents that allow for collaborative working anytime, anywhere.

Googler Becky Evans will explain the Google Apps suite and why over 16 million students and teachers have chosen to Go Google at their schools.

You will be able to log in to the event from 12:45PM EST on December 13, 2012.
Register Today 

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

IPad Video Lessons: Review Examines IPad Pete's Video Tutorial Course releases a review of IPad Pete's "IPad Video Lessons" video training course which delivers the IPad training that Apple somehow forgot to include for consumers.

"IPad Video Lessons is a rather remarkable new training course from a man who goes by the moniker of IPad Pete," reports's Tiffany Hendricks. "Pete's program has become extremely popular with IPad customers who upon opening their new IPads were shocked to discover that they don't come with instruction manuals."


Since the IPad's initial release in 2010 is has quickly become a must have technology, having sold over 15 million units and being named by Oprah as her "#1 Favorite Thing”. However, in an attempt to show how "easy to use" IPads are Apple decided not to include instructions on their use.

Hendricks explains the popularity of IPad Pete's training course:

"Obviously, people love IPads, and most tech-savvy folks who have used other Apple products can jump right on to an IPad and get it to do what they want," says Hendricks. "However, IPad Pete realized that there are also a lot of people out there who want comprehensive instructions on how to get more out of their IPads so that they can really dive into all of the features of this amazing technology."

IPad Video Lessons includes over 100 professionally produced videos that are organized in 12 separate learning modules covering every aspect of IPad use from the basics to advanced applications and untapped IPad features few are aware of.

"Many people miss out on the complete IPad experience because they just don't know what these bad boys are capable of," says Hendricks. "IPad Video Lesson is like having a super 'tech geek' buddy right there with you who can explain everything you would ever want to know about your IPad anytime you have a question."

IPad Video Lessons is available digitally online, allowing users to get instant access to the training which they can then consume at their own convenience, learning at their own pace.

Those wishing to purchase IPad Video Lessons, or for more information, click here.

Tiffany Hendricks provides reviews of the best software and digital training programs on her website

Source: PRWeb 

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Online learning in Pakistan by Muhammad Hamid Zaman

Muhammad Hamid Zaman
Muhammad Hamid Zaman summarizes, "The cover story of the November 12 Forbes issue will be about Salman Khan. No, not the one that most Pakistanis are familiar with. This is not the action-oozing heart-throb from Bollywood but the founder of the Khan Academy, a quieter but more effective hero."

The Khan Academy provides free, easy to understand ‘micro-tutorials’ to anyone in diverse topics, ranging from cosmology to art history, mathematics to healthcare. Over the last six years, the Khan Academy has made a tremendous impact, reaching 190 million viewers of its lectures. Among the viewers is Bill Gates, who often quotes Khan and talks about how he uses these lectures to teach himself and his children key concepts in science, arts and mathematics.

First, Pakistani students and non-students, academics and non-academics, can all benefit from quality, free and accessible education. The Khan Academy provides easy-to-understand tutorials on topics of fundamental and applied knowledge in a variety of areas. Conspiracy theorists and water-car supporters can all benefit from some general understanding of thermodynamics.

Same can be said about students who may wish to take a course offered by EdX. Yet, there is also a catch. It is important to realise that online learning can certainly complement but not substitute higher education in Pakistan. The instructors may not realise the training of our students; there are language barriers and certainly, most courses do not incorporate the local cultural, environmental and social context. This may not be relevant in theoretical physics but advanced topics in a variety of disciplines, including public health, agricultural sciences, economics and certainly, policy and humanities need to keep context in mind.

The tendency to jump on the online learning bandwagon without analysis of the content of the course would be counterproductive to say the least and can be disastrous for our already struggling higher education sector.

Source: The Express Tribune

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Afghan women learn through mobile phones

Afghanistan has launched a new literacy programme that enables Afghan women deprived of a basic education during decades of war to learn to read and write using a mobile phone.

The phone is called Ustad Mobile (Mobile Teacher) and provides national curriculum courses in both national languages, Dari and Pashto, as well as mathematics.

Photo: Afghanistan Today

All the lessons are audio-video with writing, pronunciation and phrases installed in Ustad Mobile phones -- and they are distributed free to students.

Photo: Paiwastoon

Sitting on a carpet in a small Kabul classroom with a handful of women learning to read and write, 18-year-old Muzhgan Nazari said the Taliban, who banned schooling for girls during their rule, were in power when she should have started her education.

The free app can be installed on all mobile phones with a memory card slot and a camera. Individual lessons, which will also be made available on the ministry of education website, will teach new words and phrases.

Related links
The ABC gets mobile (Afghanistan Today)

Source: Peninsula On-line

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eBook: 7 visual tools that will leave your learners wide-eyed

Don’t lose your learners’ attention to distractions.
Dashboards, diagrams and photos breathe life into presentations, making them digestible and engaging. Inside this ebook, find 7 tools for adding visuals to your online training presentations for better engagement.
 "With a bit of creativity and some effective tools, you can keep your audience glued to the screen and attentively listening to your dialogue."

This eBook by Tom Bunzel, author of Tools of Engagement, explores how to use tools like Prezi, diagrams and stock images to make your online training more dynamic and engaging.
Download the eBook to discover:
  • Strategies for mastering PowerPoint
  • How to take control of backchannel chatter
  • Webinar tools that create engagement opportunities
  • And more…
Download (PDF)

About the Author
Tom Bunzel specializes in knowing what presenters need and how to make technology work. He has appeared on Tech TV’s Call for Help and spoken at InfoComm and PowerPoint LIVE. He was a “technology coach” for Iomega, MTA Films, Nurses in Partnership and the Neuroscience Education Institute.

He has taught regularly at Learning Tree International, West LA College Extension and and does presentation and video consulting in Southern California. Among his books was “Master Visually Microsoft Office 2007,” and he wrote a weekly column as the Office Reference Guide for Published in 2006, “Solving the PowerPoint Predicament: Using Digital Media for Effective Communication” is a detailed, project-oriented approach to creating effective multimedia presentations.

His eBook, “Do Your Own Ning Thing: A Step-By-Step Guide to Launching an Effective Social Network,” is available.

“Tools of Engagement: Presenting and Training in a World of Social Media” is now available.

Buy this Book

Bill Brandon, the editor of Learning Solutions recommends this book.

He writes, "Although I thought the first half of Tools of Engagement was a bit uneven both in organization and depth, and the last chapter already in need of updating, this is still a book that I recommend as a possible text for use in an “academic” course for managers, executives, public speakers, and professionals in the marketing and corporate communications worlds. There is enough content that an instructional designer can pretty much find a path through it to whatever objectives there are for a course or a curriculum.
As with any print publication that deals with the Web, the Internet, and Social Media, much of the specific content is liable to become obsolete rather quickly. This means that designers and instructors who use the book will need to keep up-to-date on changes in the online world."

Source: Citrix Online

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

New online testing, career resources offered

"The Coweta County Public Library System now offers access to three new websites that assist users with test preparation and practice tests for almost all of the exams out there — including SAT and ACT, GED, GRE and other college exams, occupational tests, and more." reports Newnan Times-Herald.

These resources also provide online courses in several computer applications, resume tools, job banks, and more.

“Learning Express Library” offers more than 800 online courses, tests, and e-books to help searchers find jobs, enhance their careers, get into college and excel in school. There are numerous learning center levels on the site including elementary, middle, and high school plus college and GED preparation. It also features occupational tests such as: health care, civil service/ government, law enforcement, firefighting, EMS, military, and real estate. An additional site found on the Learning Express Library is “Job and Career Accelerator.” This site focuses on areas such as resumes, cover letters, job posting, interviewing skills, and occupations.

Access to these sites can be found at
 If you access the sites from the library, you will simply go the library’s site and click Galileo.

About Coweta Public Library System

The mission of the Coweta Public Library System is to be a vital and dynamic leader in out of the classroom learning by providing opportunities for individual and collaborative learning through the collection and use of resources, services, technologies and programs that meet the diverse literacy, information, literary and lifelong learning needs of the Coweta community.

Source: Newnan Times-Herald 

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How to Attend School Online While Working Full-Time (and not Feel Overwhelmed)

Today I have Brian Jenkins guest blogging. Please be sure to check out his unique guest post. Guest posts are always welcome, please contact me.

According to a report from the State University of New York at Brockport, over 10 percent of college students work over 35 hours a week. Working full-time and going back to school can be one of the biggest challenges of your life, especially if you have kids.
Consider only acquiring new knowledge and skills for your current job if it makes you a noticeably better employee or helps you get a promotion or a raise. Decide how the degree might help you reach your career aspirations.

Online Certificate Programs
Online undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are less expensive than bachelor's and master's degrees and they require less time to complete. If you're going back to school to advance in your career at your current workplace, do your homework on certificate programs and ask your boss if the specialized certificate program you're considering qualifies you for that promotion you're gunning for.
Depending on the job, a bachelor's or a master's degree may not be necessary. Certificates demonstrate proficiency in a specific area, and this may be enough to get you the promotion.

Employer Pays
Many companies have a tuition assistance program designed to assist employees who take courses while working full-time. Typically, the courses you take must relate to your job and you might need to show how the courses will make you a more knowledgeable and effective employee.

Synchronous Online Learning Versus Asynchronous Online Learning
Consider taking asynchronous courses. In these, you're allowed to complete your coursework whenever it's convenient. You communicate with other students and instructors via message boards and email. In synchronous courses you need to log on to your computer at specific times every week. You may have to be online at specific times to have group chats, participate in webinars, be involved in video conferences, or participate in phone call-ins.
Synchronous classes work well for students who can easily schedule specific days and times to participate in online classes. Those with complicated schedules usually prefer asynchronous courses. Asynchronous courses work well for self-motivated students who don't require direct guidance to complete their assignments.

Set Goals
Set daily goals as these will help you stay motivated. At the beginning of each online course, peruse the materials. Break the lessons/assignments into manageable pieces and determine how many pieces you can complete every couple of days.

School Resources
Take advantage of school resources such as orientation, the online library, and study skills training. Perform research online at home through your school's library portal. Many schools provide free online tutoring.
Carefully read the syllabus provided at the beginning of class. The syllabus gives you a feel for the expectations of the class.

Research at Work
It may not be easy to study during your lunchtime or your two breaks at work, but it's easy to research on the Internet during these times and download articles to your laptop to read at home.

Study Area
It's often recommended that students have a dedicated study area; however, occasionally studying in a different setting, such as a different room in the house or outside, can be refreshing and inspirational. If you have a laptop computer, occasionally go to another room and plug it in. Changing the study area especially helps when you get bogged down.

Kids, pets, email, telephone calls, text messages, as well as social networking websites easily take up a lot of valuable time. Don't instantly respond to unnecessary text messages such as "What's Happening?" Use your call display to decide if you should answer the phone during study hours.
Don't respond to each personal email after you receive it. Instead, respond to personal email during set study break times.
If you have kids at home make it clear they shouldn't interrupt you while you're studying unless it's really important. A desire for cheese puffs isn't important!
If you take too many classes at a time, you can easily get overwhelmed. To help you determine the number of classes you should take while working full-time, talk to a school enrollment advisor and find out how much time, including study time, each course will take every week.

Brian Jenkins writes about a variety of topics for jobseekers, including those interested in careers as electricians, for the Riley Guide.

Many thanks to Brian Jenkins.
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