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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Huge growth in eLearning in Asia, market report says

"Booming enrolment in online higher education, rapid content digitisation, the rollout of national online education networks and teacher shortages in rapidly developing countries have led to huge demand for eLearning products, according to a just-released market research report on eLearning." continues University World News
 

Photo: University World News

Globally the market for so-called self-paced eLearning products reached US$42.7 billion last year, and is projected to reach US$53 billion by 2018, according to the research report by United States-based international research company Ambient Insight.
 

While the US leads sales, Asia is the second largest market with revenues from eLearning products in Asia projected to reach US$12.1 billion in 2018, up from US$7.9 billion in 2013.
 

Seven out of the top 10 countries with the highest eLearning growth rates in the world are in Asia – Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nepal and Pakistan – with growth in these countries above 30%, the report said.
 

“Myanmar has the highest growth rate in Asia at a breathtaking 50.2%, followed by Thailand and Malaysia at 43.7% and 42.3%, respectively,” said Sam Adkins, chief research officer at Ambient Insight.
 

Revenues will more than double in a dozen of the 21 Asian countries analysed and triple in nine of them, in part boosted by a huge amount of private investment going into learning technology companies in Asia, the report predicted.
 

Countries outside Asia with high growth in eLearning are Ethiopia and Mozambique in Africa, and Slovakia in Europe, with Africa described as the most dynamic eLearning market in the world.
Read more...

Source: University World News


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Huge growth in eLearning in Asia, market report says

"Booming enrolment in online higher education, rapid content digitisation, the rollout of national online education networks and teacher shortages in rapidly developing countries have led to huge demand for eLearning products, according to a just-released market research report on eLearning." continues University World News
 

Photo: University World News

Globally the market for so-called self-paced eLearning products reached US$42.7 billion last year, and is projected to reach US$53 billion by 2018, according to the research report by United States-based international research company Ambient Insight.
 

While the US leads sales, Asia is the second largest market with revenues from eLearning products in Asia projected to reach US$12.1 billion in 2018, up from US$7.9 billion in 2013.
 

Seven out of the top 10 countries with the highest eLearning growth rates in the world are in Asia – Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nepal and Pakistan – with growth in these countries above 30%, the report said.
 

“Myanmar has the highest growth rate in Asia at a breathtaking 50.2%, followed by Thailand and Malaysia at 43.7% and 42.3%, respectively,” said Sam Adkins, chief research officer at Ambient Insight.
 

Revenues will more than double in a dozen of the 21 Asian countries analysed and triple in nine of them, in part boosted by a huge amount of private investment going into learning technology companies in Asia, the report predicted.
 

Countries outside Asia with high growth in eLearning are Ethiopia and Mozambique in Africa, and Slovakia in Europe, with Africa described as the most dynamic eLearning market in the world.
Read more...

Source: University World News


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Understanding math is the first step to learning math

"Pop quiz: Are you good at math? Are your kids?
Answer: Yes.
The only problem is most of people just don't know it. But I know someone who can explain why you're actually good at math." continues San Francisco Examiner.

Simple things like letting kids work together can help their math abilities. 
Photo:  San Francisco Examiner

Big name, big concept
Stanford University's Jo Boaler is a rock star in the math world. When she came to talk to our math teachers in August, you would have thought Bruce Springsteen had just landed at one of our schools. 
There were whispers of "There she is!" and school teachers lined up to get selfies with the mathematician.

And now she's coming to talk to our families. Boaler has a lot to say about learning math and you won't want to miss it.

Contrary to popular belief, there is a massive body of research that indicates math is not about memorization or learning lots of rules. There is no such thing as "math people" or "nonmath people."

A growth mindset
You probably won't calculate a rocket launch tomorrow, but if you spend a Saturday afternoon at a county fair trying to throw a pingpong ball into a small, faraway bucket, you're doing the same thing. Turning that throw into an equation is just the next step.

Now, imagine you've picked up that pingpong ball for the first time. You throw. You miss. Do you give up if you know you have four more tries to get the prize? Most likely you'd adjust your throw on the next try.

This is what call Boaler and other education experts will tell you is a "growth mindset." It's a fancy way to describe that students (and their teachers and parents) need to understand that intelligence is developed -- it's not something you simply have or don't have. If kids focus on how they are improving instead of worrying about how smart they are, they work harder to learn more.
Read more...

Source: San Francisco Examiner


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Understanding math is the first step to learning math

"Pop quiz: Are you good at math? Are your kids?
Answer: Yes.
The only problem is most of people just don't know it. But I know someone who can explain why you're actually good at math." continues San Francisco Examiner.

Simple things like letting kids work together can help their math abilities. 
Photo:  San Francisco Examiner

Big name, big concept
Stanford University's Jo Boaler is a rock star in the math world. When she came to talk to our math teachers in August, you would have thought Bruce Springsteen had just landed at one of our schools. 
There were whispers of "There she is!" and school teachers lined up to get selfies with the mathematician.

And now she's coming to talk to our families. Boaler has a lot to say about learning math and you won't want to miss it.

Contrary to popular belief, there is a massive body of research that indicates math is not about memorization or learning lots of rules. There is no such thing as "math people" or "nonmath people."

A growth mindset
You probably won't calculate a rocket launch tomorrow, but if you spend a Saturday afternoon at a county fair trying to throw a pingpong ball into a small, faraway bucket, you're doing the same thing. Turning that throw into an equation is just the next step.

Now, imagine you've picked up that pingpong ball for the first time. You throw. You miss. Do you give up if you know you have four more tries to get the prize? Most likely you'd adjust your throw on the next try.

This is what call Boaler and other education experts will tell you is a "growth mindset." It's a fancy way to describe that students (and their teachers and parents) need to understand that intelligence is developed -- it's not something you simply have or don't have. If kids focus on how they are improving instead of worrying about how smart they are, they work harder to learn more.
Read more...

Source: San Francisco Examiner


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Monday, September 29, 2014

Preparing Students for Writing Success—Free Webinar

Meeting the New Writing Expectations: Preparing Teachers and Students for Success


This event takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.

Writing is the area that has the furthest to go to meet the new ELA standards. In the 2000s, it all but disappeared from most elementary classrooms. Learn how to build an effective writing program that also supports reading development and content learning.
In this webinar, we will discuss:
  • Increasing the quantity of writing throughout the school day,
  • Helping students improve writing by analyzing complex texts,
  • Making the writing process a vehicle of instruction, and
  • Teaching opinion and informative/explanatory writing across the curriculum.
Participants will learn practical ways to teach the major components of a writing program that can fit within time constraints, because they teach more than one skill at a time. 

Guest:  

James W. Cunningham, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Literacy Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Register Now for this free live webinar


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Preparing Students for Writing Success—Free Webinar

Meeting the New Writing Expectations: Preparing Teachers and Students for Success


This event takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.

Writing is the area that has the furthest to go to meet the new ELA standards. In the 2000s, it all but disappeared from most elementary classrooms. Learn how to build an effective writing program that also supports reading development and content learning.
In this webinar, we will discuss:
  • Increasing the quantity of writing throughout the school day,
  • Helping students improve writing by analyzing complex texts,
  • Making the writing process a vehicle of instruction, and
  • Teaching opinion and informative/explanatory writing across the curriculum.
Participants will learn practical ways to teach the major components of a writing program that can fit within time constraints, because they teach more than one skill at a time. 

Guest:  

James W. Cunningham, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Literacy Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Register Now for this free live webinar


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!

Education in China: Online learning is becoming more popular


"NEARLY 7m students began their courses at Chinese universities at the start of a new academic year this month. In line behind them, a new cohort is already cramming for next year’s university entrance-examination, the notorious gaokao." continues The Economist (blog).

But some young Chinese see drawbacks in bricks-and-mortar tuition in China because of a rigid style of teaching, the funnelling of students into courses they do not enjoy, the cost and dim job prospects for many graduates. Small but growing numbers are considering options online.

Internet-based methods of teaching, known as Massive Online Open Courses or MOOCs, are already gaining in popularity in other countries. Typically, MOOCs offer students free access to instructional videos but charge for certificates showing satisfactory completion of coursework. In China, despite deeply ingrained reverence for traditional institutions, the trend is also beginning to catch on.

One startup in the field is a non-profit organisation in Beijing calling itself One-Man University. It is not officially recognised as a university, but it has gained a big leg-up with backing from non-state companies that see MOOCs as a potentially large new market. To attract viewers, 56.com, a video-streaming website, is distributing the service’s instructional videos without advertisements. Since it opened in 2011, One-Man University has acquired 130,000 registered members.
Read more...

Source: The Economist (blog) 


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Education in China: Online learning is becoming more popular


"NEARLY 7m students began their courses at Chinese universities at the start of a new academic year this month. In line behind them, a new cohort is already cramming for next year’s university entrance-examination, the notorious gaokao." continues The Economist (blog).

But some young Chinese see drawbacks in bricks-and-mortar tuition in China because of a rigid style of teaching, the funnelling of students into courses they do not enjoy, the cost and dim job prospects for many graduates. Small but growing numbers are considering options online.

Internet-based methods of teaching, known as Massive Online Open Courses or MOOCs, are already gaining in popularity in other countries. Typically, MOOCs offer students free access to instructional videos but charge for certificates showing satisfactory completion of coursework. In China, despite deeply ingrained reverence for traditional institutions, the trend is also beginning to catch on.

One startup in the field is a non-profit organisation in Beijing calling itself One-Man University. It is not officially recognised as a university, but it has gained a big leg-up with backing from non-state companies that see MOOCs as a potentially large new market. To attract viewers, 56.com, a video-streaming website, is distributing the service’s instructional videos without advertisements. Since it opened in 2011, One-Man University has acquired 130,000 registered members.
Read more...

Source: The Economist (blog) 


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MOOC U: The Revolution Isn't Over

Follow on Twitter as @jselingo
Jeffrey Selingo, Contributing editor at The Chronicle.  

This essay is adapted from his latest book, MOOC U: Who Is Getting the Most Out of Online Education and Why, published 2014-09-02.

Buy this Book

Three years ago, this headline appeared in The New York Times: "Virtual and Artificial, but 58,000 Want Course." We all know the rest of the story. When the artificial-intelligence class at Stanford University started that fall, 160,000 students in 190 countries had signed up, touching off MOOC mania on campuses around the world.

Massive open online courses were heralded as the invention that would disrupt higher education’s expensive business model and would become the next big innovation in the tech world. By the end of 2012, the Times declared it "the year of the MOOC."

But a year later, after a series of high-profile failed experiments using MOOCs, another proclamation from the Times about the massive classes arrived in this front-page headline: "After Setbacks, Online Courses Are Rethought." In the news media, MOOCs had gone from being higher education’s savior to a bust in a little more than a year.

That doesn’t mean MOOCs are dead, however. Far from it. More than six million people have signed up for a MOOC since 2011. Massive open online courses are clearly resonating with an audience looking for instruction on the web. And the format is able to scale education in a way that simply can’t be done on a physical campus.

MOOCs might not put thousands of colleges out of business in the next 50 years, as Sebastian Thrun, a co-founder of Udacity, predicted in 2012, but they are changing how students learn, how professors teach and grade, and how higher-education leaders figure out what differentiates face-to-face instruction from online learning.
Read more... 

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education    


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MOOC U: The Revolution Isn't Over

Follow on Twitter as @jselingo
Jeffrey Selingo, Contributing editor at The Chronicle.  

This essay is adapted from his latest book, MOOC U: Who Is Getting the Most Out of Online Education and Why, published 2014-09-02.

Buy this Book

Three years ago, this headline appeared in The New York Times: "Virtual and Artificial, but 58,000 Want Course." We all know the rest of the story. When the artificial-intelligence class at Stanford University started that fall, 160,000 students in 190 countries had signed up, touching off MOOC mania on campuses around the world.

Massive open online courses were heralded as the invention that would disrupt higher education’s expensive business model and would become the next big innovation in the tech world. By the end of 2012, the Times declared it "the year of the MOOC."

But a year later, after a series of high-profile failed experiments using MOOCs, another proclamation from the Times about the massive classes arrived in this front-page headline: "After Setbacks, Online Courses Are Rethought." In the news media, MOOCs had gone from being higher education’s savior to a bust in a little more than a year.

That doesn’t mean MOOCs are dead, however. Far from it. More than six million people have signed up for a MOOC since 2011. Massive open online courses are clearly resonating with an audience looking for instruction on the web. And the format is able to scale education in a way that simply can’t be done on a physical campus.

MOOCs might not put thousands of colleges out of business in the next 50 years, as Sebastian Thrun, a co-founder of Udacity, predicted in 2012, but they are changing how students learn, how professors teach and grade, and how higher-education leaders figure out what differentiates face-to-face instruction from online learning.
Read more... 

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education    


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Halt the Rapid Decline in Part-Time Higher Education

Photo: Anka Mulder
"In recent years, provision by universities of lifelong learning and professional education has been in sharp decline. Earlier this year, for instance, the Rinnooy Kan Commission in the Netherlands found that part-time higher education is undergoing a dramatic decline." summarizes Anka Mulder, Vice-President for Education and Operations at Delft University of Technology.

In the last few years, Delft University of Technology and other universities have gained valuable experience of online education, including in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). We have found that there is a clear need for this kind of education in wide-ranging areas including cyber security, aviation technology and water management.

The sheer size of MOOCs, with thousands or even tens of thousands of students, means that a treasure trove of data on learning behaviour has been collected. This not only applies to the Delft courses, but also to the other MOOCs offered by our partners within edX.

By analysing this data, we are increasingly discovering how people learn. In alliance with Leiden University, Erasmus University and other leading universities worldwide, Delft intends to conduct research into this.

Lecturers have already learned a lot about what works and what does not work in online education from feedback provided by MOOC students. For example, an interesting observation made during our MOOC on 'Solar Energy' was that students work more effectively in a group than if they try to complete an online course individually. 
Read more... 

Source: Huffington Post UK


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Halt the Rapid Decline in Part-Time Higher Education

Photo: Anka Mulder
"In recent years, provision by universities of lifelong learning and professional education has been in sharp decline. Earlier this year, for instance, the Rinnooy Kan Commission in the Netherlands found that part-time higher education is undergoing a dramatic decline." summarizes Anka Mulder, Vice-President for Education and Operations at Delft University of Technology.

In the last few years, Delft University of Technology and other universities have gained valuable experience of online education, including in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). We have found that there is a clear need for this kind of education in wide-ranging areas including cyber security, aviation technology and water management.

The sheer size of MOOCs, with thousands or even tens of thousands of students, means that a treasure trove of data on learning behaviour has been collected. This not only applies to the Delft courses, but also to the other MOOCs offered by our partners within edX.

By analysing this data, we are increasingly discovering how people learn. In alliance with Leiden University, Erasmus University and other leading universities worldwide, Delft intends to conduct research into this.

Lecturers have already learned a lot about what works and what does not work in online education from feedback provided by MOOC students. For example, an interesting observation made during our MOOC on 'Solar Energy' was that students work more effectively in a group than if they try to complete an online course individually. 
Read more... 

Source: Huffington Post UK


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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mini Maker Faire joins fun, math and science

Follow on Twitter as @clairegalofaro
"The human slingshot hurled a 52-pound first-grader to the top of a track, accelerating with three times the force of the earth's gravitational pull." reports Claire Galofaro, Reporter.

Brody Cherry, 6, climbed out of the cart, red-cheeked and wind-blown, and told his parents he felt like he'd zoomed to the top of a mountain and back.

Jacob Homeroski, 16, left, and Josia Stendel, 14, both on a Lexington Christian Academy sponsored robotics team work on programming their machine at the Maker Faire. Louisville makers, crafters, inventors, evil geniuses, scientists and artists came together for a day of family-friendly fun and inspiration. The fair was held in conjunction with the 6th Annual Nulu Festival held on E. Market Street. 26 Sept 2014  (Photo: David R. Lutman/Special to The CJ)

They brought their son to Saturday's Louisville Mini Maker Faire because he is considering two possible career paths: either a plasma physicist so he can design his own light sabers, or an inventor because he's got an idea for a robotic stick that can morph into any appliance its owner requires.

"This is to show how math and science can be used to build fun things, how physics and engineering can be used in an unusual way," said Bill Cloyd, founder of the Lexington-based nonprofit Newton's Attic, who built the bungee cord-powered homemade roller coaster with a group of high school students. He calls it "The Device," and brought it to Saturday's event along with a tennis ball machine gun and a pumpkin catapult.

The second annual Mini Maker Faire invited thousands of "makers, crafters, inventors, evil geniuses, scientists and artists" to East Market Street, adjacent to the NuLu Festival, to kick off the IdeaFestival. The day is meant to be a miniature version of the original Maker Faire in California, which dubs itself "the greatest show and tell on earth."
Read more...

Source: The Courier-Journal


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Mini Maker Faire joins fun, math and science

Follow on Twitter as @clairegalofaro
"The human slingshot hurled a 52-pound first-grader to the top of a track, accelerating with three times the force of the earth's gravitational pull." reports Claire Galofaro, Reporter.

Brody Cherry, 6, climbed out of the cart, red-cheeked and wind-blown, and told his parents he felt like he'd zoomed to the top of a mountain and back.

Jacob Homeroski, 16, left, and Josia Stendel, 14, both on a Lexington Christian Academy sponsored robotics team work on programming their machine at the Maker Faire. Louisville makers, crafters, inventors, evil geniuses, scientists and artists came together for a day of family-friendly fun and inspiration. The fair was held in conjunction with the 6th Annual Nulu Festival held on E. Market Street. 26 Sept 2014  (Photo: David R. Lutman/Special to The CJ)

They brought their son to Saturday's Louisville Mini Maker Faire because he is considering two possible career paths: either a plasma physicist so he can design his own light sabers, or an inventor because he's got an idea for a robotic stick that can morph into any appliance its owner requires.

"This is to show how math and science can be used to build fun things, how physics and engineering can be used in an unusual way," said Bill Cloyd, founder of the Lexington-based nonprofit Newton's Attic, who built the bungee cord-powered homemade roller coaster with a group of high school students. He calls it "The Device," and brought it to Saturday's event along with a tennis ball machine gun and a pumpkin catapult.

The second annual Mini Maker Faire invited thousands of "makers, crafters, inventors, evil geniuses, scientists and artists" to East Market Street, adjacent to the NuLu Festival, to kick off the IdeaFestival. The day is meant to be a miniature version of the original Maker Faire in California, which dubs itself "the greatest show and tell on earth."
Read more...

Source: The Courier-Journal


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For girls, a rare chance to flex math muscles at MIT

Competition aims to defeat gender stereotypes.

Jennifer Smith, Globe Correspondent writes, "Heads bowed, faces focused on the equations in front of them, hundreds of girls worked furiously on a series of math problems in an MIT lecture hall on Saturday morning."
 

More than 250 seventh through twelfth grade students from around the country took part in the annual Math Prize for Girls competition at MIT Saturday. 
Photo: Boston Globe 

But tens of thousands of dollars in prize money was not the only thing on the line.

Now in its sixth year, the Math Prize for Girls competition is aimed at deflating gender stereotypes that organizers say dissuade young women Photo: from entering technology-based fields.
 
Started by the Advantage Testing Foundation in 2009, this year’s contest brought about 270 girls in grades 7 through 12 from around the United States and Canada to MIT.
 
Zoe Feng, 18, a high school senior in Troy, N.Y., competed in the Math Prize for her second time.
 
“It was intense, but also really fun and creative,” Feng said, adding that “the test requires you to think and approach problems from different angles.”
 
Originally from Hangzhou, China, Feng came to the United States for high school. To her, being a girl never seemed like a disadvantage when she wanted to pursue math.
 
“There’s not a bunch of ‘boys can do better’ in China,” Feng said.
 
Kaiming Sun, 46, of Belmont, whose 15-year-old daughter, Stephanie Zhang, is a participant this year, said the event helps reassure girls that they can be “equally as good as boys.”
 
A female-focused math event is needed to bridge the gap between men’s and women’s involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, also known as STEM, organizers said.
 
“Girls perform as well as or better than boys in math classes in grade school, but there is an alarming drop-off in the number of young women who study math in college and pursue math-related careers,” Ravi Boppana, the competition’s cofounder and director, said in a statement.
 
The Math Prize was created to “debunk gender stereotypes, and to support young women who see higher-level mathematics as a pursuit that is challenging, fun, and incredibly rewarding,” he said.
 
Behind a registration counter, young women bustled in blue T-shirts emblazoned with the symbol for pi. All were alumni from previous events, according to Maria DeVuono-Homberg, the associate director of the Advantage Testing Foundation.
 
Girls participating in the contest are encouraged to stay in STEM fields and interact with strong role models in those areas, said DeVuono-Homberg.
Read more...

Source: Boston Globe


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For girls, a rare chance to flex math muscles at MIT

Competition aims to defeat gender stereotypes.

Jennifer Smith, Globe Correspondent writes, "Heads bowed, faces focused on the equations in front of them, hundreds of girls worked furiously on a series of math problems in an MIT lecture hall on Saturday morning."
 

More than 250 seventh through twelfth grade students from around the country took part in the annual Math Prize for Girls competition at MIT Saturday. 
Photo: Boston Globe 

But tens of thousands of dollars in prize money was not the only thing on the line.

Now in its sixth year, the Math Prize for Girls competition is aimed at deflating gender stereotypes that organizers say dissuade young women Photo: from entering technology-based fields.
 
Started by the Advantage Testing Foundation in 2009, this year’s contest brought about 270 girls in grades 7 through 12 from around the United States and Canada to MIT.
 
Zoe Feng, 18, a high school senior in Troy, N.Y., competed in the Math Prize for her second time.
 
“It was intense, but also really fun and creative,” Feng said, adding that “the test requires you to think and approach problems from different angles.”
 
Originally from Hangzhou, China, Feng came to the United States for high school. To her, being a girl never seemed like a disadvantage when she wanted to pursue math.
 
“There’s not a bunch of ‘boys can do better’ in China,” Feng said.
 
Kaiming Sun, 46, of Belmont, whose 15-year-old daughter, Stephanie Zhang, is a participant this year, said the event helps reassure girls that they can be “equally as good as boys.”
 
A female-focused math event is needed to bridge the gap between men’s and women’s involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, also known as STEM, organizers said.
 
“Girls perform as well as or better than boys in math classes in grade school, but there is an alarming drop-off in the number of young women who study math in college and pursue math-related careers,” Ravi Boppana, the competition’s cofounder and director, said in a statement.
 
The Math Prize was created to “debunk gender stereotypes, and to support young women who see higher-level mathematics as a pursuit that is challenging, fun, and incredibly rewarding,” he said.
 
Behind a registration counter, young women bustled in blue T-shirts emblazoned with the symbol for pi. All were alumni from previous events, according to Maria DeVuono-Homberg, the associate director of the Advantage Testing Foundation.
 
Girls participating in the contest are encouraged to stay in STEM fields and interact with strong role models in those areas, said DeVuono-Homberg.
Read more...

Source: Boston Globe


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Online Learning is Just as Effective as Traditional Education

Massive open online courses (MOOC) are not only effective, researchers have discovered, they are as effective as what's being traditionally taught in the classroom — regardless of how prepared the students are.

The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning

Researchers' findings have been published, September – 2014 in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning below.

Abstract
We studied student learning in the MOOC 8.MReV Mechanics ReView, run on the edX.org open source platform. We studied learning in two ways. We administered 13 conceptual questions both before and after instruction, analyzing the results using standard techniques for pre- and posttesting. We also analyzed each week’s homework and test questions in the MOOC, including the pre- and posttests, using item response theory (IRT). This determined both an average ability and a relative improvement in ability over the course. The pre- and posttesting showed substantial learning: The students had a normalized gain slightly higher than typical values for a traditional course, but significantly lower than typical values for courses using interactive engagement pedagogy. Importantly, both the normalized gain and the IRT analysis of pre- and posttests showed that learning was the same for different cohorts selected on various criteria: level of education, preparation in math and physics, and overall ability in the course. We found a small positive correlation between relative improvement and prior educational attainment. We also compared homework performance of MIT freshmen taking a reformed on-campus course with the 8.MReV students, finding them to be considerably less skillful than the 8.MReV students.
Read more...

Source: The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning


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Online Learning is Just as Effective as Traditional Education

Massive open online courses (MOOC) are not only effective, researchers have discovered, they are as effective as what's being traditionally taught in the classroom — regardless of how prepared the students are.

The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning

Researchers' findings have been published, September – 2014 in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning below.

Abstract
We studied student learning in the MOOC 8.MReV Mechanics ReView, run on the edX.org open source platform. We studied learning in two ways. We administered 13 conceptual questions both before and after instruction, analyzing the results using standard techniques for pre- and posttesting. We also analyzed each week’s homework and test questions in the MOOC, including the pre- and posttests, using item response theory (IRT). This determined both an average ability and a relative improvement in ability over the course. The pre- and posttesting showed substantial learning: The students had a normalized gain slightly higher than typical values for a traditional course, but significantly lower than typical values for courses using interactive engagement pedagogy. Importantly, both the normalized gain and the IRT analysis of pre- and posttests showed that learning was the same for different cohorts selected on various criteria: level of education, preparation in math and physics, and overall ability in the course. We found a small positive correlation between relative improvement and prior educational attainment. We also compared homework performance of MIT freshmen taking a reformed on-campus course with the 8.MReV students, finding them to be considerably less skillful than the 8.MReV students.
Read more...

Source: The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning


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Pittsfield: Adult Learning Center announces Distance Learning option

A free Distance Learning option that offers flexible hours and enhanced support for qualified individuals will be available at the starting mid-October. 


The program targets adult students studying for the high school equivalency exam known as HiSET (formerly GED) or preparing for college.

Participants must be age 16 or older and not currently enrolled in high school, have basic computer skills and access to the Internet, complete an orientation, and be able to commit 5 to 10 hours per week to the program.

Students at the Pittsfield Adult Learning Center can also use the free Distance Learning option to combine traditional course work with online learning. Some students may also be able to fast track their preparation for the new HiSET test. 

Located at 141 North St., the Pittsfield Adult Learning Center has an open enrollment policy.

Free classes are offered throughout the day and evening for adult learners who want to pass the HiSET exam, obtain an Adult High School Diploma, learn English as a Second Language, or strengthen basic skills in reading, writing, spelling, math, computer literacy, and college and career readiness.

For more information or to register for the free Distance Learning program, email Barbara LaRocque at blarocque@pittsfield.net.


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Pittsfield: Adult Learning Center announces Distance Learning option

A free Distance Learning option that offers flexible hours and enhanced support for qualified individuals will be available at the starting mid-October. 


The program targets adult students studying for the high school equivalency exam known as HiSET (formerly GED) or preparing for college.

Participants must be age 16 or older and not currently enrolled in high school, have basic computer skills and access to the Internet, complete an orientation, and be able to commit 5 to 10 hours per week to the program.

Students at the Pittsfield Adult Learning Center can also use the free Distance Learning option to combine traditional course work with online learning. Some students may also be able to fast track their preparation for the new HiSET test. 

Located at 141 North St., the Pittsfield Adult Learning Center has an open enrollment policy.

Free classes are offered throughout the day and evening for adult learners who want to pass the HiSET exam, obtain an Adult High School Diploma, learn English as a Second Language, or strengthen basic skills in reading, writing, spelling, math, computer literacy, and college and career readiness.

For more information or to register for the free Distance Learning program, email Barbara LaRocque at blarocque@pittsfield.net.


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Book: The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh

A must for anyone interested in mathematics, as well as for the millions of Simpsons fans worldwide.


In The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, Simon Singh explains how the brilliant writers, some of the mathematicians, have smuggled in mathematical jokes throughout the cartoon's twenty-five year history, exploring everything from to Mersenne primes, from Euler's equation to the unsolved riddle of P vs. NP, from perfect numbers to narcissistic numbers, and much more.
Published on: 2014-09-25
Buy this book

Related links
The Simpsons: One big numbers game
Simon Singh: simonsingh.net
Simon Singh (SLSingh) | Twitter 
Simon Singh (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)  

About Simon Singh
He is an author, science journalist and TV producer. Having completed his PhD at Cambridge he worked from 1991 to 1997 at the BBC producing Tomorrow's World and co-directing the BAFTA award-winning documentary Fermat's Last Theorem for the Horizon series. In 1997, he published Fermat's Last Theorem, which was a best-seller in Britain and translated into 22 languages.  


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New Book: The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh

A must for anyone interested in mathematics, as well as for the millions of Simpsons fans worldwide.


In The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, Simon Singh explains how the brilliant writers, some of the mathematicians, have smuggled in mathematical jokes throughout the cartoon's twenty-five year history, exploring everything from to Mersenne primes, from Euler's equation to the unsolved riddle of P vs. NP, from perfect numbers to narcissistic numbers, and much more.
Published on: 2014-09-25
Buy this book

Related links
The Simpsons: One big numbers game
Simon Singh: simonsingh.net
Simon Singh (SLSingh) | Twitter  
Simon Singh (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)  

About Simon Singh
He is an author, science journalist and TV producer. Having completed his PhD at Cambridge he worked from 1991 to 1997 at the BBC producing Tomorrow's World and co-directing the BAFTA award-winning documentary Fermat's Last Theorem for the Horizon series. In 1997, he published Fermat's Last Theorem, which was a best-seller in Britain and translated into 22 languages.  


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The Simpsons: One big numbers game

Follow on Twitter as @TomChivers
Why is The Simpsons more fun if you’re familiar with Fermat’s Last Theorem?
Because it’s written by maths geniuses, says Tom Chivers

‘Comedy,” says Al Jean, “is very mathematical. Especially animation, with its precision and control.” I bow to his expertise on both subjects – he’s a graduate in mathematics from Harvard University but, more famously, he’s also one of the original writers of the longest-running and most successful animation of all time, The Simpsons, which has its 25th anniversary in December.

Photo: Telegraph.co.uk

You can see the analogy – although he doesn’t call it an analogy; he uses the mathematical term isomorphism. Good comedy, like a mathematical problem, has a complicated set-up and then a satisfying, unexpected reveal: “Coming up with a good joke is often like doing a proof,” says Jean.

That, at least, is the explanation Jean gives for the fact that the writing staff of The Simpsons, and of its sister show Futurama, is crammed with maths geniuses, and for the related fact that both shows are equally crammed with highbrow mathematical concepts; one contains an apparent disproof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, while the other contains the proof of an original theorem, the only one ever published in a cartoon rather than an academic journal. “We’re subconsciously oozing our nerdiness into the script,” Jean says.

David X Cohen, one of Jean’s former colleagues on The Simpsons, another Harvard graduate and now the head writer on Futurama, explains further. “We have a healthy team of nerds,” he says. “I have a master’s in theoretical computer science, and my undergraduate is in physics. Those credentials place me somewhere in the middle in the Futurama writing staff.” There are three PhDs, one in chemistry, one in computer science, and one in applied maths; Cohen describes himself as “pretty mediocre” by comparison. 

The book is out now
We’re talking about the mathematical secrets of The Simpsons because, this year, a book was published called The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets, and Cohen and Jean are coming to London’s Science Museum to talk about it. The book is written by Simon Singh, one of Britain’s most respected science writers and the holder of a PhD in particle physics. 

“Usually these books are the writer inserting their own ideas into the show,” says Cohen. “This is someone digging up ideas that we’ve stuck in the show.” Jean gives an example: one 2006 episode features a baseball game. At one point, the crowd is asked to guess the attendance, and three numbers come up: 8,128, 8,208 and 8,191. For most viewers they’re three arbitrary numbers but, for maths nerds, they’re not. The first, 8,128, is a so-called “perfect number”: the numbers that it divides into also add up to it. Then, 8,208 is a “narcissistic number”: it has four digits and, if you multiply each one by itself four times, the results add up to 8,208. And 8,191 is a “Mersenne prime”, named after a 17th-century French mathematician. A prime number is one that can be divided only by itself and one; for many prime numbers, if you double them and add one, it makes a new prime number, a Mersenne. “You wouldn’t know just looking at the sign,” says Jean. “That’s my favourite thing; it encourages digging, and repeat viewing.” 
Read more... 

Related link 
New Book: The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh/
 
Source: Telegraph.co.uk


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