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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Bonnaroo U? Billboard's 2018 Top Music Business Schools | Billboard

"For those seeking industry careers, lessons are taught in classrooms, recording studios and at “Bonnaroo U.”" says Thom Duffy, Billboard special features editor.


The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami opened a new building in 2015 with an environmentally friendly design.
Photo: Courtesy of the Frost School of Music

They’ve gained admission to competitive colleges and universities in major capitals of the U.S. music business -- New York, Miami, Nashville and Los Angeles -- or lesser-known locales with vital musical pedigrees like Denton, Texas.

They are taught and mentored by professors with extensive industry résumés and by visiting music executives from record labels, publishing companies, booking agencies and other sectors. Their lessons take place in classrooms but also at radio stations, concert venues and even on the fields of music festivals.

They attend programs endowed by (and bearing the names of) superstar music-business executives. Some aspire to perform; others to work outside the spotlight. All understand that the industry is more complex than ever and deserving of four years of coursework.

They are the students of the nation’s top music business schools. And as the future of the industry, here is where they study.
Read more...

Source: Billboard


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Coda Mountain Academy focuses on teaching music to children | Music - Idaho Statesman

When Esther Morey moved from Indiana to West Virginia when she was 19 years old, she had no idea where the road would take her. Eleven years ago, when she began Coda Mountain Academy, she knew she was on the road to something great, continues Idaho Statesman.

Photo: Coda Mountain Academy
Morey, founder and executive director of Coda Mountain Academy, was posted up in Fayetteville recently for Coda Kidz Music, Art and Drama Camp, one of seven programs the Academy offers to the community.

"We're all about realizing potential," she said. "God has helped us create a safe environment for these children. They need a place to belong, and they have that here."

Morey explained the Academy has three main goals — giving children a place to belong, teaching real-life skills and good character, and giving unconditional love.

During this week's program, the music, art and drama camp, around 80 students were in attendance.

Kathie Kiser, the director strictly for the music, art and drama camp, said the program is aimed towards keeping with the Academy's mission of providing a safe place for children while bringing them together to pursue music.

With different themes every year, this year's theme is the "Classical Era," Kiser explained, and the students' final performance for their parents and the community was set for Friday.
Kiser added it is important for her to take part in directing the camp because of the importance music has to her...

To find out more about Coda Mountain Academy, and the programs it offers, visit codamountain.com.
Read more...

Source: Idaho Statesman


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12 hours a day of band camp teaches music and life lessons | Culture - The Undefeated

Maya Jones, associate editor at The Undefeated explains, "Precision Camp and Pearls of Precision Marching Band and Auxiliary Summer Intensive is just that — intensive." 

Bethune-Cookman University’s band director Donovan Wells leads students at the Precision Camp and Pearls of Precision Marching Band and Auxiliary Summer Intensive in Atlanta.
Photo: Naderah Munajj

Before 9 a.m. Thursday near downtown Atlanta, the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center on Morehouse College’s campus was filled with more than 300 attendees during this year’s Precision Camp and Pearls of Precision Marching Band and Auxiliary Summer Intensive.

For five days, students ranging from sixth grade to 12th grade and representing more than 30 schools in the Atlanta metro and surrounding areas came together to learn, practice and review music and dance techniques to be performed in front of proud parents, friends, teachers and directors on Friday night.

For 12 hours each day this week, they practiced their music and steps, vowing to continue striving for excellence with each note and choreographed move. Drum majors representing local high schools broke into groups to practice for an upcoming assessment, dancers studied moves from auxiliary coordinator Naderah Munajj, and band members received guidance from several directors volunteering from area high schools and colleges.

On this particular day, band members practiced and perfected what they’d learned the past three days under the tutelage of Bethune-Cookman University’s band director Donovan Wells. Wells was one of the handful of guest conductors from historically black college and university (HBCU) bands who volunteered their free time to help the young participants throughout the week.

“Don [Roberts] had asked me a couple of times and it seemed like this camp and my band camp were always butting heads with conflicting schedules,” Wells said. “It didn’t butt heads this year, and Don has been a friend of mine at least 22 years. Any time I can do something for him or any time he can do something for me, there’s no hesitation.”

Wells had met some of the band members before during high school recruitment sessions, football games and band-related events, and was more than happy to be able to lend a helping hand at camp.

“It’s summertime, and being an educator for 34 years, I know that this group of kids could’ve been doing something else, but they’re here,” Wells said. “That’s the good thing about a camp like this. It gives kids the option to do some things constructively with other kids. It kind of gives them the mindset of the right thing to do, the direction they need to go in. I think camps like this are great.”

That was the vision band director and facilitator Don Roberts had in mind when he founded Precision Camp in 1994. Since then, Roberts has strived to improve the camp to prepare students who hope to one day become part of the prestigious HBCU bands they grew up admiring.
Read more...

Source: The Undefeated  


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The Exacting Art of Saxophone Repair | New York Times

In Perry Ritter’s tiny saxophone repair shop in Midtown Manhattan, prominent jazz musicians mix with a menagerie of sculptures Mr. Ritter makes from sax parts, as New York Times reports.  
 
Perry Ritter decided as a young man that he would never play the sax professionally. But he was good at fixing them.
Photo:Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Perry Ritter’s tiny saxophone repair shop in Midtown Manhattan is as much a visual flight of fancy as a jazz solo is an auditory one.

The shop — in the heart of the Diamond District, on West 47th Street — is crowded with used instruments and the whimsical sculptures that Mr. Ritter creates during his downtime from spare saxophone parts.

Mr. Ritter, 59, has been repairing saxophones in Midtown for more than 40 years and is the go-to technician for some of the biggest jazz players in New York.

His workbench is nestled in one of the densest commercial hives in the city, in a building largely occupied by jewelry merchants.

Working on these valuable horns, usually vintage Selmers favored by jazz artists, can be tedious — replacing or adjusting delicate keys, rods, pins, springs, cork, and leather pads — so Mr. Ritter often takes breaks to work on his figurative creations.

His output has turned the shop into a menagerie of skeletal dragons and swooping prehistoric birds, as well as quirky figurines and decorative items.

Mobiles hang from the ceiling; movable figures sit on shelves. There is a jazz drummer who plays with the turn of a tiny crank. There is a mobile in the style of the artist Alexander Calder made with saxophone rods and key cups.

A bony reptile lay across Mr. Ritter’s toolbox as he worked on a saxophone by the soft light that filtered in from the air shaft through sooty windows.

A huge gong hangs on the inside of the door, signaling each customer’s arrival with a loud clatter. It announced the entrance of Jonathon Haffner, a saxophonist seeking a tuneup of his horn before heading off to record with the trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and the drummer Jack DeJohnette.

The next customer was Michael Johnson, who played saxophone in the house band for B.B. King’s club in Times Square before the place closed in April. Mr. Johnson also needed a once-over on his horn and, like Mr. Haffner, he needed it done immediately.


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Opinion: Female teachers key to achieving gender equality in education | Devex

Photo: 
Concerção da Glória Sozinho
Education expert Concerção da Glória Sozinho, nearly two decades’ experience in Mozambique’s education sector explores the potential of Mozambique's female teachers to transform the country's education system. 

A teacher writing on a blackboard in Mozambique.
Photo: GPE / Arnaldo Langa / CC BY-NC-ND

At this year’s European Development Days in Brussels, global leaders met to discuss the critical role education plays in sustainable development. Yet progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 — ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all — is in danger of stalling, due to a lack of gender equality in education and persistent barriers that prevent many young girls in developing economies — including my own Mozambique — from remaining in education.

Gender inequalities around the world are manifested in many aspects of education, including access, retention, and career choices. Female teachers provide an important solution to ensuring equal access to learning opportunities for both girls and boys. They can disseminate a culture of gender balance through education — not just in the classrooms but in local communities

However, countries such as my own have a problem. We are struggling to recruit and retain these women and addressing this must become a priority if any meaningful progress is to be made.

According to UNESCO, almost all girls in Mozambique enroll in primary school. Yet more than half drop out by the last grade of primary school, only 38 percent of girls start secondary school, and just 21 percent continue on to college.

The Mozambican government has rightly recognized the critical role of education in poverty alleviation and development, which now accounts for roughly 7 percent of GDP spending, higher than most neighboring countries. Primary education has been free for everyone for some years and the government is taking visible action to address nation-wide education challenges — yet the gender imbalance figures are still worrying...

Despite the clear benefits female teachers have in improving overall gender equity — retention rates of female teachers remain low across Mozambique and indeed Southern Africa more widely.

Women are underrepresented in higher levels of education, particularly leadership positions, with female headteachers above primary school level in Mozambique still a rarity.

In many countries, the system is rigged against women. Headteacher positions are often not assigned on qualifications but on the influence the person may have in the community or among local authorities — meaning the odds are often stacked against us. 
Read more... 

Source: Devex    


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Why digital literacy is critical in advancing Nigeria’s educational sector | Policy - Ventures Afrika

Felicia Omari Ochelle, online editor of Ventures Africa explains, "Education has evolved from the conventional classroom experience, particularly with the launch of creative initiatives around digital literacy."


In recent times, digital literacy has fast become the primary form of information transfer and communication, taking over from letters, phone calls and even face-to-face interaction. Business transactions without face-to-face contact would have been rare twenty years ago. It is also key to teaching in order to provide the skills, knowledge and understanding for young people to enter the workplace, further education and higher education.

Creative, collaborative and recordable communications techniques are essential for the next generation to interact in social, cultural, economic and intellectual careers and life. It also improves student engagement and aids teachers by introducing a new and advanced digital learning experience in the classroom.

In twenty years from now, perhaps the reverse will be the case. But for today, learners/pupils need to be taught now which tools are effective and how to use them responsibly. And the only way to achieve this is by providing teacher training or teacher education.

The need for quality education with the use of modern technology cannot be overemphasized and it is against this backdrop that the Federal Government through the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs and NTI decided to include this Special component in the SDGs capacity building for Teachers.

Teachers hold the key to making a true difference in the educational systems. The overall objective of the training program was to strengthen the teacher’s competencies at the grassroots level on the use of technologies to facilitate teaching and learning process.

The 3-day Digital Literacy Training, which was conducted in April 2018 in Nigeria, was managed by Axiom Learning Solutions Limited who were selected as the qualified Technical Consultants to implement the Training program across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, including the FCT. The training involved selected Academic leaders from Primary and Junior Secondary Schools. It comprised of a classroom arrangement that accommodated all participants, practical assessments, case studies, syndicate groups for practical and learning simulation, participatory and activities oriented to ensure that experiential learning experience was constantly reinforced. The workshop also targeted school heads who are daily involved in school management, and who will then step the pieces of training down to teachers in their respective schools.
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Source: Ventures Afrika


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Frankenstein cyborg CRABS? Artificial intelligence researchers are putting Neanderthal brains into ROBOTS | Science - Mirror Online

"A US scientific study is trying to find out why Neanderthals went extinct" according to Jeff Parsons, technology and science reporter for the Daily Mirror.

Photo:

Frankenstein is the timeless story of reanimating a dead body through the use of technology. 

And now a team of researchers in the US seem to be walking in the footsteps of Mary Shelley's creation with a new experiement. 

Teams at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) are experimenting with lumps of tissue taken from fossil bones of our early ancestors. 

They've reportedly managed to grow tiny brains, about the size of a pea, in petri dishes inside labs. 

They say the next step is to link these cavemen brains to robots using neural implants to try and create a kind of Neanderthal cyborg. 

This, in turn, will allow them to find out what caused Neanderthals to go extinct - leaving homo sapiens to colonise the Earth.

Despite the fact the last Neanderthal walked the Earth over 40,000 years ago, modern scientists are still learning new things about them thanks to advances in technology. 

It takes several months to grow the Neanderthal DNA–containing stem cells into these tiny brains called "organids". And, once finished, they come out in a strange "popcorn" shape compared to the spherical human organids. 

The team are planning to wire them up to crab-like robots to see how the two compare with each other. 

"Ultimately, we want to compare the Neanderthalised organoid [with the robot] to test its ability to learn," said Alysson Muotri, a member of the research team at UCSD. 

"By doing this systematically, we will learn what are the genetic alterations that made us uniquely human and why they were positively selected."
Read more...

Source: Mirror Online


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Machine learning and creativity | Lexology

"Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all" – so said John F. Kennedy in 1963. With recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI), some will question whether this statement still holds true, as Lexology reports.  


While computers have been used to assist with creative processes for some time, the creative input has largely been human. However, recent advances in machine learning software have changed all this.

Using machine learning, computers now have the ability to 'learn' without being explicitly programmed with any task-specific rules. As a result, AI is already writing new articles, poems and books, creating paintings and artistic works, producing video games, and composing music. The Associated Press uses machine learning (so-called 'robojournalism') to report on 10,000 minor baseball league games and on a wider range of public companies than had previously been possible. Google announced last year that it was providing funding to the Press Association for an AI project aimed at producing 30,000 local news stories per month (see our article on Robojournalism - AI and the Media). Similarly, Google has taught its AI to write poetry, predict the next sentence in a book and the art of conversation. Back in 2012, a team at the University of Malaga taught its software, Iamus, to compose an orchestral piece, which was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra at an event to mark the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth. And in 2016, J Walter Thompson Amsterdam taught a computer to paint like Rembrandt by having it study his works. The resulting artwork was, according to experts, completely original and indistinguishable from a genuine Rembrandt. But it has not all been plain-sailing. Only last year, Facebook took the decision to shut down its AI chatbots after they appeared to start communicating with one another in their own language.

The interest in using machine learning is only likely to increase in the creative industries with the demand for fast, smart and original works without the need for human endeavour and expense. However, the use of machine learning gives rise to a number of legal issues relating to copyright, defamation, privacy and data protection. Particular issues surrounding copyright where machine learning is used for creative tasks, include the risk of infringing copyright by the use of machine learning and the subsistence and ownership of copyright in works produced by machine learning.

How does machine learning work?
Machine learning can work on the basis that the software 'learns' how to undertake a particular task by considering examples. For example, it might learn how to recognise pictures of cars by being exposed to examples of pictures that have been labelled as containing a car or not containing a car. Crucially, it would not have been programmed with any prior knowledge of cars such as the presence of four wheels, a bonnet, doors, a boot and the like. In a more complex scenario, the examples might be creative works such as books, poetry, pieces of music or paintings.
Read more...

Source: Lexology


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Will email overload be solved by artificial intelligence? | Technology - The Guardian

Oliver Burkeman, Guardian writer based in New York notes, "Why can’t Gmail write whole emails, sending long, chatty updates to far-flung friends?"
 

‘AI leaves you free to concentrate on what really matters.’
Photo: Michele Marconi for the Guardian

If you’re a Gmail user, you’re probably aware by now of a major redesign – currently optional, soon to be compulsory – that aims to tackle the problem of email overload by using artificial intelligence. One of the most annoying aspects of living alongside other humans is the way they’re constantly making demands on your emotions and attention: you have to figure out when to sacrifice your own priorities in order to help them; you’ve got to empathise with them when they’re sad or ill, and so on.

Traditionally, antidotes for email overload work by filtering out messages from people you don’t care about. But the new Gmail focuses on messages from people you do care about – and promises to do some of that caring on your behalf. A new “nudge” feature will automatically decide whether your friend Belinda’s lunch invite is important enough to prompt you to hurry up and reply. The “high-priority notifications” feature will decide whether to interrupt your meeting by pinging you when your kids get in touch. And “smart replies” offers entire pre-written messages, so you can respond to news of Uncle Norbert’s latest gastrointestinal infection with a single click: “Oh no! Feel better soon!”

If I’ve any criticism, it’s Google’s lack of ambition. Why stop at nudges and common brief phrases? Why can’t Gmail write whole emails, scouring my message archive for what I’ve been up to, then sending long, chatty updates on it all to far-flung friends? What about sweet little “thinking of you” messages to my partner? Or couldn’t you somehow link Gmail to databases of births, marriages and deaths, so my contacts could automatically receive missives of celebration or condolence as appropriate? 
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Source: The Guardian 


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Yes, Your Child Can Learn Digitally for Entrance Coaching! | Education - Bilkul Online

"Live interactive classes have become the most significant revolution in contemporary education" continues Bilkul Online.

Photo: Bilkul Online

A considerable number of students worldwide are opting for online entrance coaching for entrance exam coaching instead of joining a regular coaching class. Such platforms have made a huge change in the traditional learning system and opened numerous opportunities for everyone who wants to learn something new. Opting for an online course has its own share of perks, especially when compared to traditional classroom learning methods.

The continually improving reputation of online learning has led to its expansion and proved that it can be just as effective as traditional methods. Your child can experience various benefits from taking online entrance coaching. Below are some of the most effective advantages of learning via digital platforms.

Here are some ways in which online coaching classes can help your child crack any entrance exam:
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Source: Bilkul Online


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Friday, June 29, 2018

Elementary students to have access to iPads | Renton Reporter

The Renton School District will add 10 iPads to each elementary school, as Renton Reporter reports. 

Photo: courtesy Renton School District Facebook page

With school out for summer, the Renton School District has its sights set on next year.

Students in kindergarten and first grade classrooms across the district will have access to iPads.

Photo: Ellen Dorr
Ellen Dorr, director of digital learning for the school district, said each class room at each elementary school will have five iPads for students to use and learn with.

She said the big picture for the district is to be intentional with how technology is used and the increasing number of devices in the classroom.

“We don’t want younger ones to always be on screens,” she said. “We want it to be for learning purposes.”

Why iPads?
Dorr said that iPads have a lot of features that are specific for younger students. She added these tablet-type devices are easier for younger students to use.

Two years ago the district added 3,000 devices, Dorr said, including Chromebooks.

And this past year, she said, the school district used a 1:1 ratio at Dimmitt Middle School with laptops. (For a full story on the laptop pilot program, visit www.rentonreporter.com/news/laptop-program-teaches-students-digital-citizenship/.)
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Source: Renton Reporter


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Want to Help Professors Become Better Teachers? Find Them a Mentor | The Chronicle of Higher Education

"As a lecturer in aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Arizona, Justine Schluntz takes pride in her commitment to teaching" explains Beth McMurtrie, writes about technology’s influence on teaching and the future of learning.
 

Photo: Justine Schluntz, a lecturer at the U. of Arizona, poses with her "Intro to Engineering" section.

So when the university began inviting instructors to use its new collaborative learning spaces, she decided it was a great chance to move away from the traditional lecture format toward active learning. But she was also nervous about trying a form of teaching that was unfamiliar to her.

For help, she turned to Kasi Kiehlbaugh. The professor of civil and environmental engineering had been involved with faculty learning communities on campus and was familiar with active-learning techniques.

"The week before the summer course started we sat down and she said, Tell me what you’re going to do," Schluntz recalls. Her plan, as she told Kiehlbaugh, was to go over the syllabus on the first day of class and give students the highlights.

Kiehlbaugh encouraged her instead to get her students involved early by having them take charge, first by reading the syllabus themselves, then telling her what they thought was important. "It was such a small thing," Schluntz says, "but it completely changed how I thought about teaching that class."

The value of faculty mentorship to young instructors and researchers has long been known. But it may not occur very often: According to one survey, only about one in four undergraduate-teaching faculty members mentor others "to a great extent." Typically, mentors help their less experienced peers do things like learn how to navigate campus hierarchies, plan their careers, or map out research agendas.
But mentorship can also help improve teaching. As professors, including seasoned faculty members, explore new ways of teaching in online and active-learning classrooms, they too find that having a strong mentor is critical to their success. Instructional designers may be great at helping redesign a curriculum. And academic technologists are key to understanding new technologies. But for day-to-day teaching challenges, nothing beats an ally who has been there, done that. But it may not occur very often: According to one survey, only about one in four undergraduate-teaching faculty members mentor others "to a great extent."
Read more...

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education 


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(P) How’s your math? | Social - Romania-Insider.com

(p) – this article is an advertorial.


“A digital project conquers both students and teachers. The evolution and the results of the students at math classes are spectacular!” says Liliana Alistar, a math teacher at Dimitrie Negruțiu Gymnasium School in Pogoneşti, one of the 30 schools that entered into Digitaliada, a project of Orange Foundation.

Photo: Romania-Insider.com

Digital teaching encourages teachers to make the link between a subject and the practical aspects of real life says Mrs. Alistar while she gives the students the example of a tomograph computer that cuts the image of the brain into 50,000 plans and shows them images on the internet. In parallel, on the tablets, she shows them a pyramid cut with a plan, two, three, four parallels and so on, and the children link the subject to a concrete situation.

3400 pupils, from 30 gymnasium schools in the rural area, learn in Digital Labs equipped with tablets so that each student can work individually during the class, with a laptop for the teacher and video projector for the class thanks to Digitaliada – the project developed by Orange Foundation in order to sustain the digital education in Romania. Along with the equipment, they receive a complete suite of applications adapted to the curricula, digital materials and lesson plans to support the learning of math and ICT with digital technologies. Orange Foundation also invests in teachers training so that they feel comfortable and prepared to use the new digital methods.

The digital lab introduces students and teachers to a whole new world and digital technology makes classes more exciting and more interactive. “We enjoy when we see the enchanted faces of the children.
Read more...

Source: Romania-Insider.com  


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For All the Benefits of Studying Mathematics, Some Critics See a Dark Side | Education - Pacific Standard

"Could the objective assurance in correct answers mandated in mathematics education teach students to be similarly calculating and assured when it comes to daily moral conundrums?" insist James McWilliams, Pacific Standard contributing writer, professor at Texas State University.

Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

It wasn't two weeks into summer vacation before my 16-year-old son's sojourn was interrupted by the arrival of a pre-calculus packet. The instructions contained within are clear enough: It is to be completed before August. It currently sits on our kitchen counter, a thick document of hieroglyphic-like symbols, eliciting glares of resentment while reminding us that math evidently matters a bit more than other subjects. Mathematics, University of Exeter education professor Paul Ernest once observed, "has a uniquely privileged status in education as the only subject that is taught universally and to all ages in schools." And, at least in my house, that schooling continues over the summer too.

What's with this never-ending pedagogical obsession with numbers? Perhaps the most common compliment math devotees pay their subject is that it's unambiguously logical. Somewhere among the infinite variety of wrong answers to a math problem, there's a right one, and discovering that sole nugget of truth is—as anyone who has successfully completed a proof knows—not only deeply satisfying, but math educators say it hones an array of problem solving skills relevant to negotiating real-world problems relevant to the global economy. Nations fret over their population's math literacy for good reason.

But could such impersonal and objective assurance in the "one correct answer"—as well as the means through which you reach it—teach students to be similarly calculating and assured when it comes to daily moral conundrums that do not lend themselves to such clarity? Might the overarching quest to find the "right" answer obscure the thornier possibility that we're trying to solve the wrong problems?
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Source: Pacific Standard


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Life Sciences 101: Young researchers bring new energy to defend life | Crux: Covering all things Catholic

In its effort to defend life at all stages, the Pontifical Academy for Life is relying on young scientists and professionals to reach across the aisle and bridge the gap between science and faith, as Crux: Covering all things Catholic reports. 
 

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, is pictured after an interview in his office at the Vatican April 17.
Photo: Paul Haring/CNS.
In his address to the academy June 25, Pope Francis called for “a global vision of bioethics” inspired by Christian thought, in which the value of human life is not determined by sickness and death but by the “profound conviction of the irrevocable dignity of the human person.”

Since 2017, the pontifical academy has relied on the presence of young researchers to expand on this bioethical vision and give a fresh face to a timeless message.

“There is nothing specific about what we are doing that’s different from the activity of other members. It’s just new blood in the academy to refresh its energy,” Sandra Azab told Catholic News Service June 26.

Azab, along with fellow young researchers and other members attended the academy’s June 25-27 general assembly, “Equal beginnings, but then? A global responsibility.”

“I think this conference is bringing many answers to the ailing questions that we are facing during our research, and especially with all the political events happening all over the world with immigration, inequality of health care access, etc.,” said Azab, who studied as a pharmacist in Egypt and works as an international health specialist.
Read more...

Source: Crux: Covering all things Catholic


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The Graduate Training Trade-Off 'Myth' | Inside Higher Ed

"New study says "tension" between graduate training in research and teaching is false and that teaching training may actually build research confidence and output" reports Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed.

Photo: Getty Images

Graduate school takes long enough already. That’s one of the reasons, among others, why Ph.D. programs tend to focus on research over teaching. A new study challenges assumptions that building teaching expertise has to come at the expense of research preparation, however. 

Looking at a national sample of life sciences Ph.D. students, the study’s authors considered how increased training in evidence-based teaching practices impacted students’ confidence in their preparation for research careers, their ability to communicate about their research, and their publication counts.

In a challenge to conventional but previously untested wisdom, the authors found that the research confidence and output of Ph.D. students who "invested" time in learning evidence-based teaching, or EBT, practices did not suffer. In fact, data revealed what the authors called a “slight synergy” between investing in evidence-based teaching and research savvy. That is, learning about teaching actually appeared to benefit students’ research skills. 

The long-standing “tension" between developing research and teaching skills "may not be salient for today’s graduate students,” reads "The Trade-Off Between Graduate Student Research and Teaching: A Myth?" The study was published this week in PLOS ONE. “This work is proof of concept that institutions can incorporate training in EBT into graduate programs without reducing students’ preparedness for a research career.”...

Results
In an advanced analysis, increased training in evidence-based practices did not reduce students’ confidence as researchers, but rather had a slightly positive effect. Training in EBTs also increased students' confidence in communicating their research. 

Interestingly, teaching experience alone, as opposed to direct instruction in best practices, did not increase research communication confidence. 

Controlling for whether students had earned a master’s degree and year in their Ph.D. program, the analysis also found no negative relationship between number of papers published and investment in evidence-based teaching practices.
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Source: Inside Higher Ed  


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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Graduate seminar showcases a new approach to digital posters | UCalgary News

Mike Thorn, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning inform, "2019 University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Grants now accepting applications."

Derritt Mason, an assistant professor in the Department of English, was able to provide his students with their own iPads for an entire semester thanks to a University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Grant.
 Photo: Jessica Snow, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning


What exactly is the virtual? How can the use of current technology enrich and deepen the study of new media? These are among the questions that Dr. Derritt Mason, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of English, addressed alongside his students in a recent graduate seminar called The Virtual Child.

Learning about digital texts designed for young people, the students enrolled in The Virtual Child applied an array of technological approaches to their projects — Mason was able to provide all of them with their own iPads for the semester thanks to a University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Grant. The iPads allowed access to apps that the students used to build interactive digital poster presentations, which were displayed to the public in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

“Since we are using new media forms and digital technology in the class, which is relatively unconventional for an English class, it seemed like we needed an equally creative way of presenting all of the work that the students would be doing,” Mason notes. “And also, I wanted the opportunity for people to come in and see, because it’s rare that you get to see what kind of work people are doing in other graduate classes. So it’s an opportunity for my colleagues and the students’ colleagues to come in and have a look at what the students have been working on all term.”

Access to technology leads to innovative student projects
Paul Meunier, a first-year PhD student in the Department of English, delivered a presentation called Feral Virtualities / Virtually Feral, addressing issues of virtual manifestation in the voice, body, and community through performances by queer, Indigenous, feminist, and other under-represented identities. His project lent primary focus to full-metal indigiqueer, the acclaimed, recently released poetry collection by UCalgary PhD student Joshua Whitehead...

2019 University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Grants
The 2019 University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Grants program is now open to applications. This program is designed to provide resources for integrating research evidence into teaching practice, generating new knowledge about teaching and learning at the University of Calgary, and supporting the dissemination of results to benefit others. The grant application deadline is Oct. 29, 2019.
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Source: UCalgary News


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Understanding Learner Variability | T.H.E. Journal

"Given that learner variability is part of each student, figuring out how to meet the needs of each learner requires tailored "educational experiences, interventions and assessments." Those connections will in turn help change the design of classrooms and instruction" notes Dian Schaffhauser, senior contributing editor.

Photo: T.H.E. Journal
Digital Promise wants to educate people about "learner variability." To that end, the organization recently published a paper to explain the concept and direct people to the use of the resources it has available through its Learner Positioning System (LPS) initiative.

Digital Promise is a nonprofit funded by government and numerous foundations and focused on spurring innovation in education to improve learning. LPS is a free, open-source, online tool for teachers and education technology developers that links the latest learning sciences research to practice to help both sets of constituents address learner variability.

In six concise pages "Learner variability Is the Rule, Not the Exception" describes how all students — those struggling as well as those thriving — differ in ways that "matter for learning," as learning scientists are discovering.

"Learner variability is the young person who lives in poverty or is learning to speak English and may not yet have the background knowledge to enable comprehension of a reading passage. Or, the student who already has the skills to excel at a pace beyond the curriculum and is bored because traditional methods of instruction do not engage her or meet her needs," the report stated. "It's the learner with working memory, decoding, or attention challenges who retreats into silence or acts unruly out of fear they will be asked a question they are not yet ready to answer. It also defines the student who excels at classwork but is devastated socially and emotionally in school."...

The LPS initiative is intended for the benefit of educators, researchers and ed tech developers. The idea is to translate learning sciences research into factors to be addressed in supporting diverse learners in the classroom or product design and strategies for doing so. The factors and strategies are combined into learner models. Currently, three models exist: for pre-K-2 math, pre-K-3 reading and 4-6 literacy. The organization is also developing new models for 3-6 and 7-8 math...

The report is openly available on the Digital Promise website.
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Source: T.H.E. Journal


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How Innovative Universities Make Distance Learning Accessible and Engaging | EDUCAUSE Review

Learn how IT professionals from innovative institutions are using the Meeting Owl, an all-in-one smart conferencing camera, to make online classrooms more engaging and effective.


Here's another interesting article from EDUCAUSE Review, published by Bethany Cartwright, Marketing Manager at Owl Labs. 



Increasing access to education is no easy feat. Among the many issues affecting accessible education are geographic and cost barriers for both students and universities. But increasing access to distance education, all the while making online classrooms more engaging and collaborative? That task seems impossible. 

Or at least it was impossible, until schools like Chadron State College and Kansas State University—leaders in the distance learning space—innovated to make it possible.

As of last year, over six million students were enrolled in distance education courses. These online courses are not just being provided by for-profit universities or exclusive online-only programs. In fact, online classroom enrollment has increased at both public and private nonprofit universities over the last few years while enrollment has decreased at for-profit universities.

As more institutions increase their online offerings, new pedagogical and technological questions arise: Are lecture-based, asynchronous online courses enough? How can you enable synchronous online learning so that professors and students can engage from different locations?

For Chadron State College and Kansas State University (KSU), these questions aren't just hypothetical. They are dire problems that must be figured out in order to serve remote students and connect multiple campuses.

Luckily, both universities found an affordable, smart camera that has transformed their remote-enabled classrooms for the better...

How to Implement Engaged Distance Learning on Your Own Campus
Traditional, in-person classrooms are not the only way to provide education. As more students opt for remote learning and more schools build new campuses, connecting students and instructors has gotten more difficult.

As one KSU instructor noted, "Educational technology is in high demand. I appreciate the inclusion and research of the effectiveness of the 360-degree camera and how its use impacts the classroom experience."

But with the right technology, it's possible to create an experience that is just as engaging as in-person classrooms.


Here are a few tips and technologies to make it happen at your own institution:
  • Use a learning management system like Canvas or Blackboard to allow students and instructors to connect outside of the classroom. An LMS allows classrooms to upload materials like course presentations, documents, and more. 
  • Don't sacrifice the human-to-human connection. Invest in videoconferencing software like Zoom or Webex to allow synchronous classrooms to connect online. Most videoconferencing technologies include recording features that can be uploaded to your LMS and used for asynchronous classrooms as well. 
  • Make sure you have the audio and visual technology to make engaged distance learning possible. Make sure the technology you do use can truly capture the engagement in a room, not just show a partial window into what's happening. It doesn't have to cost a fortune. Both Chadron State College and Kansas State University found the Meeting Owl to be the most engaging audio and visual solution at the best price point.
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Source: EDUCAUSE Review


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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Aligning for Partnership: How Enterprise IT Can Help Transform the Institutional Mission | EDUCAUSE Review

IT organizations must become strategic partners in their institutions to support and further IT's ongoing evolution.


For 2018, the EDUCAUSE Enterprise IT Program is focusing on next-generation enterprise IT,1 which is a key precursor to enabling digital transformation in higher education. 

Photo: Peshkova / Shutterstock © 2018

Digital transformation, which shifts how we manage and deliver systems and services, is part of IT's continuing evolution.2 Whereas IT's purview was once limited to delivering technologies, it has evolved to focus on delivering services. Taking this further, next-generation enterprise IT focuses on how to deliver value to the institution by closely aligning IT efforts with the institution's mission and strategy. Thus, in this new evolutionary phase, IT must adopt the role of strategic and transforming partner in the institution.

To do this, IT leaders and their organizations must develop innovative practices and create new digital architectures that give their institutions the agility and flexibility required to rapidly and efficiently achieve their strategic aims. Such a shift has implications for enterprise IT that impact the technology, the workforce, and data management. 

Here, five members of the Enterprise IT Program Advisory Committee consider digital transformation from an enterprise IT perspective and provide insights and advice on how enterprise IT leaders might respond to the challenges and the opportunities this transformation presents. Those committee members are
  • Chris Boniforti, Chief Information Officer, Lynn University
  • Josie DeBaere, Director of Technology Architecture, Boston University
  • Jay Eckles, Director of Business Intelligence, The University of Tennessee
  • Peggy Kay, Assistant Vice President, Technology Customer Experience, University of the Pacific
  • Cindy Mitchell, Chief Information Officer, Colby College
Digital transformation is a difficult concept to define. How would you describe it? DeBaere: Higher education institutions are facing major challenges resulting from demographic changes, decreasing public funding, and competition from nontraditional providers of education. Addressing those challenges requires a digital transformation — a cultural, technological, and workforce shift in which the adoption of innovative practices and architectures enables the enhancement or replacement of traditional services with digital ones that deliver more value to our communities.

Boniforti: We often confuse digital transformation with digital substitution or enhancements. I would consider the development and adoption of e-forms as an example of digital substitution, as we simply turn a paper form and its process into a PDF and eventually into a web form that populates a system or database. This is not transformational and simply replaces a process with a technical tool. An example of a digital transformation, on the other hand, would be the introduction of a technology solution that offers a completely new way of doing things that simplifies the process and adds value for the end user. In my previous example of an e-form, adding a redesign of the form process that is tied to digital workflows and automated communication tools, which may be part of a CRM solution, would offer a digital transformational experience for our users.

Eckles: To me, the important distinction is that we're talking about transformation in the way the university accomplishes its purpose through digital technology rather than a transformation in the way we use digital technology. Transformation of IT practices or systems is unto itself of no substantial value to a university. But transformation in the processes of teaching, learning, research, and service that are enabled by newly available technologies indeed has the potential to be substantive. Perhaps most important of all, the notion that transformation is enabled by technology should not imply that transformation is driven by technology; the transformation should be driven by the core mission and strategy of the institution.

Kay: Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of an organization, resulting in fundamental changes to how organizations operate and how value is delivered to constituents. It is reimagining how we bring together people, data, processes, and technology to create value for our faculty, staff, and students. Students are entering our universities and colleges with enhanced and evolving experiences with the digital world. We in higher education need to make a more concerted effort to meet students where they are and move them forward with an understanding of the impact and influence of digital in all aspects of their lives. Mobile applications as well as new devices and delivery mechanisms are introducing and fostering new capabilities and, perhaps more importantly, new behaviors and expectations. Higher education should be in front of this movement, incorporating our core academic endeavors into modes designed for a new generation and purpose-built to deliver exceptional experiences. 
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Source: EDUCAUSE Review


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