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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Monique Keiran: Printed books thrive in digital age | Times Colonist - Opinion

"I recently interrupted Nature Boy while he was reading. Remarkably, he wasn’t reading from his laptop or phone. He was reading a printed book" reports Monique Keiran, Times Colonist.


The item in question was typical of many such devices used during the past five centuries to share ideas and information across time and distances.

You might recognize the technology from yesteryear or the annual Times Colonist book sale. It comprised many sheets of paper printed with text and bound and glued into a light-cardstock cover decorated with pictures and more text.

In recent years, tech-pundits have pronounced (and others have lamented) print books obsolete — alongside cassette tapes, vinyl LPs, photographic film and office doorknobs. Digital books and e-book readers broke publishers’ grip on commercial and trade-book publishing. They allowed anybody with a computer, technical know-how and a story to reach the masses.

The advancing e-tide seemed inevitable.

Yet data from the Association of American Publishers indicate print books’ obituary was published prematurely. In 2016, sales of print books in the U.S. increased by 3.3 per cent, while e-book sales declined even further than the 14 per cent drop noted in 2015.

According to Pew Research, even in the e-book-devoted U.S., 65 per cent of readers perused a paper book the year before, while only 28 per cent read an e-book. Print’s popularity has remained steady since 2014. It is attributed to older consumers who refuse to let print go and younger consumers who seek the tactile pleasures of owning and sharing analog tomes.

This ties into other trends for retro, pre-digital technologies among younger generations. Last Christmas, U.S. recording artists and labels saw a 140 per cent increase in cassette-tape sales over the previous year, while ICM Unlimited reports almost half of the buyers of vinyl records in 2016 were 35 or younger...

...future of books will bring. What we do know is that reports of the death of printed books are greatly exaggerated.


Source: Times Colonist

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5 books you won't want to miss this week, including one by Pope Francis | USA TODAY - Life - Books

Follow on Twitter as   
Jocelyn McClurg, USA TODAY's Books Editor, scopes out the hottest books on sale each week.

1. Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe by Deborah Cadbury (Public Affairs, non-fiction, on sale now)  

Queen Victoria's Matchmaking:
The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe
What it’s about: By the 1890s, when she had more than 30 grandchildren, the queen of England was determined to expand her empire through dynastic marriages, but the royal kids didn’t always like her love matches.

5. Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife by Cheryl Richardson (HarperOne, non-fiction, on sale Dec. 19)

Waking Up in Winter:
In Search of What Really
Matters at Midlife
What it’s about: Known for helping others, Richardson this time assesses her own life and marriage in this self-help title.


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7 Books To Help You Improve Your Business Networking And Build Real Relationships | Forbes - Entrepreneurs

Photo: John Hall

"If your 2018 resolutions include building better, more authentic business relationships, these books will show you how" says John Hall , Contributor.

Photo: Shutterstock

Top of Mind
This past year, I had both the challenge and privilege of writing my first book, “Top of Mind.” In it, I did my best to share real-life stories, advice, and proven tactics that would help readers connect with their audiences and always find ways to provide more value to them. Writing this book prompted a lot of research on my part, and it got me thinking about other business relationship books out there, too.

Here are seven key books that have helped me build better business relationships, and I think they’ll help you improve your networking and relationship-building, too:

1. “Superconnector,” Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh
Superconnector: Stop Networking
and Start Building Business Relationships
that Matter

According to Gerber and Paugh, collecting as many business cards as possible just isn’t going to cut it, especially when you consider all the other resources at our disposal.

To become a skilled “superconnector,” you have to leave traditional networking habits at the door and start building connections between communities. I found this book to be extremely effective in conveying the importance of efficiency in networking and building better business relationships among various social circles...

6. “Give and Take,” Adam Grant
Give and Take:
Why Helping Others
Drives Our Success
In this book, The Wharton School’s youngest tenured professor presents a holistic approach to building better relationships by categorizing three types of leaders: givers, takers, and matchers. The ideal style is that of — you guessed it — the giver, who injects helpfulness and energy into any room.

Grant combines storytelling, case studies, and research to present a compelling argument against takers, who historically run their companies into the ground. Building business relationships with a giver mindset opens the door for better, more authentic business opportunities to come your way.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading
100 Ways to Build Your Business Online by John Rampton, Contributor. 

Enjoy the Read! 

Source: Forbes

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Philosophers of the year, 2017: Beauvoir, Nietzsche, & Socrates [quiz] | OUPblog

This December, the OUP Philosophy team marks the end of a great year by honouring three of 2017’s most popular Philosophers of the Month, inform Catherine Pugh, Marketing Assistant at Oxford University Press in Oxford, UK. 

Duke Humfrey’s Library Interior in the Bodleian Library, Oxford by David Iliff. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The immeasurable contributions of Simone de Beauvoir, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Socrates to the field of philosophy ensure their place among history’s greatest thinkers. To celebrate, we’ve compiled a quiz highlighting the lives and works of each.

Source: OUPblog (blog)

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What is the value of rationality, and why does it matter? | OUPblog

Photo: Ralph Wedgwood
"In the past, most philosophers assumed that the central notion of rationality is a normative or evaluative concept: to think rationally is to think properly or well—in other words, to think as one should think. Rational thinking is in a sense good thinking, while irrational thinking is bad. Recently, however, philosophers have raised several objections to that assumption" argues Ralph Wedgwood, Professor of Philosophy at University of Southern California.
Photograph of a boy in front of a chess landscape by Positive Images.
Photo: Pixabay

Rationality is a widely discussed term. Economists and other social scientists routinely talk about rational agents making rational choices in light of their rational expectations. It’s also common in philosophy, especially in those areas that are concerned with understanding and evaluating human thinking, actions, and institutions. But what exactly is rationality? In the past, most philosophers assumed that the central notion of rationality is a normative or evaluative concept: to think rationally is to think ‘properly’ or ‘well’—in other words, to think as one ‘should’ think. Rational thinking is in a sense good thinking, while irrational thinking is bad. Recently, however, philosophers have raised several objections to that assumption.

First of all, how can it be true that you should never think irrationally, if you sometimes can’t help it?

Secondly, picture a scenario where you would be punished for thinking rationally—wouldn’t it be good to think irrationally in this case and bad to keep on thinking rationally?

And finally, rationality requires that our mental states (in other words, our beliefs, choices, and attitudes in general) are consistent and coherent. But why is that important, and what is so good about it?

Having considered these three arguments, we can now debate which side is right. Does thinking ‘rationally’ mean thinking ‘well and ‘properly’, or not? However, looking at both sides of the issue, it becomes evident that we still need considerable philosophical arguments and analysis before we can arrive at any conclusion. The reason why is because the problem itself is not clearly defined, since we don’t know the meaning of some of the key terms. Therefore, as a next step in the analysis, we will review some recent work in linguistics, specifically semantics.

Most linguists believe that the key terms—’should’, ‘can’, ‘good’, ‘well’, and so on—are context-sensitive: the meaning of the word depends on the context. For example, ‘can’ sometimes expresses the concept of what a particular person has an ability to do (as when the optician asks, “Can you read the letters on the screen?”). At other times, it expresses the concept of what is possible in a more general sense (as when we say, “Accidents can happen”).
Read more... 

Supplementary Information

The Value of Rationality,
The Nature of Normativity

Ralph Wedgwood, author of The Value of Rationality, The Nature of Normativity. 

Source: OUPblog (blog)

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Cybersecurity arcade game aims to improve high school students’ skills in English and math | Los Angeles Times - Education

Photo: Priscella Vega
"Coastline Community College has created a cybersecurity-themed online game to help improve area high school students’ English and math skills" says Priscella Vega, education reporter for the Daily Pilot.

Drake Sisk, 14, a freshman at Early College High School in Costa Mesa, says Cyber Attack is an entertaining way to practice educational skills.
Photo: Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer

Cyber Attack” quizzes players about grammar and math. If players answer correctly, they stop a hacker from compromising a bank’s security data. If they answer incorrectly, the bank’s information is compromised.

Plans to create the online game began in 2014 when the Fountain Valley-based college noticed students interested in its cybersecurity program were performing poorly in math and English.

“They didn’t think it was a problem,” said Judy Garvey, who leads Coastline’s Extended Learning team. “We needed some kind of fun way to prepare them for the placement tests and brush up on math and English skills.” 

The college received a grant from Orange County Pathways — an organization that connects educators with business leaders — to create the game.

Initially, faculty developed about 200 questions per subject. With money to spare, Garvey said they took it a step further by sprucing up the graphics for both the online version and the eight arcade-style machines they made. Those have been loaned to Early College, Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach high schools.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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27 students barred from HE, but could be many more | University World News

Tehran’s representative in the Iranian Parliament, Mahmoud Sadeqi, says 27 graduate students have been banned from continuing their education in the current Iranian academic year, but analysts suggest the number could be a lot higher, reports Radio Farda.


Citing Sadeqi, state-run Iranian Labour News Agency reported that despite attempts, 12 PhD and 15 masters students were not allowed to enter the universities this year. According to Sadeqi, 151 PhD and 398 masters students deemed ‘starred’ (deemed to be politically unreliable or undesirable) were allowed to register and continue their education after signing a written commitment to ensure students stay away from political activities.

But there are conflicting reports as to how many students have actually been barred this year. Other sources report much higher numbers.

Source: University World News

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Four Surprising and Innovative Uses of eLearning in 2017 | eLearningInside News - Editor’s Picks

"In the sphere of eLearning, countless businesses, educators, and individuals not only helped to develop new education technology; they implemented it in exciting and creative ways" says Henry Kronk, began his writing career as an intern at The Burlington Free Press in Burlington, Vermont, his hometown. 

Photo: eLearningInside News
By all accounts, 2017 has been a year unlike any other in recent memory. And we’re not talking about troubling politics–both domestic and international–or social movements or the media. 2017 has, overall year, been a remarkable year when it comes to education technology.

Below we’ve compiled some unconventional and strange (but also, effective) eLearning initiatives that caught our eye.

KFC’s VR Training Module 
There was once a time when new fry cooks-in-training at Kentucky Fried Chicken would receive instruction from a manager or one of their superiors. But this summer, the fast food chain proved that the old model of employee training was downright 2000-and-late.

The new method they introduced included a VR simulation. But it was just some low-stress way to learn the dance steps: it was a gamified escape room-style module replete with the ghost of Colonel Sanders himself heckling you at every turn. Learners are not allowed to leave the room until they correctly prepare a basket of fried chicken.

Needless to say, employees enjoyed the new method far better than the previous training. What’s more, while it took an average of 25 minutes to bring new employees up to speed with in-person training, it took employees an average of 10 minutes to successfully complete the VR simulation...

Robots in Michigan State University Classrooms 
Many online degrees allow students to stream in to lectures at the brick-and-mortar version of their university, chat with their peers, or skype with their professors. But in some graduate education programs at Michigan State University, remote students are literally taking a seat at the table.

They do this through the use of cameras (equipped for two-way live audio and video streaming) mounted on self-balancing robots. Students can control the robots, move them around the room, pivot them to look at their peer’s or instructor’s face, and adjust several other features. By and large, it allows students to participate in a class discussion as if they were really in the room.

“I teach graduate courses where the primary pedagogy is discussion-based,” Professor Christine Greenhow said. “When you’re in a discussion with some people in the room and others streaming in, you have these faces on the screen and you’re trying to talk to someone, look at their face, look at the camera, and look at other people in the room. You can’t have the same interpersonal experience.” The robots have begun to solve this problem.

Source: eLearningInside News

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Boosting student performance with robot learning | Digital Journal - Technology

Photo: Tim Sandle
"Remote learning is a growing means of delivering education. A downside is with student engagement" summarizes Dr. Tim Sandle, Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news.

File photo: A person at his workplace, communicating via a Video Relay Service video.
Photo: SignVideo, London, U.K

This can be overcome, according to new research, when robotic assistants are used.

The Michigan State University research has concluded that online students who elect to use the innovative robots can feel more engaged and connected to the instructor and students in the classroom. This, in turn, leads to better understanding on the part of the student and improved educational attainment.

In trials the researchers used robots located in the classroom. Each robot was equipped with a mounted video screen. The screen can be controlled remotely by the student who is undertaken the lesson online. This facility allows the student to pan around the room, looking at the teacher or other students or anything else that’s happening...

Commenting on the outcome, the head researchers, Professor Christine Greenhow notes that teachers also benefit from the experience. Here, instead of looking at a screen full of faces as per traditional videoconferencing, the teacher can look a robot-learner in the eye (via digital means)...

The results of the study have been published in the journal Online Learning. The research paper is headed "Hybrid Learning in Higher Education: The Potential of Teaching and Learning with Robot-Mediated Communication." 
Read more... 

Source: Digital Journal

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Experiences in Taylor Institute's 'forum' engage students in the art of dialogue and deliberation | UCalgary News

"Instructors invited to submit applications to teach in dynamic learning spaces; deadline for spring/summer applications is Jan. 30, 2018" inform Mike Thorn, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

“Public dialogues have deep historical roots across the world."
Photo: David Troyer, for the University of Calgary

Science in Society. Professional Communication and Interviewing. These course topics might not encourage immediate comparison, but three instructors who teach the courses in the Taylor Institute’s dynamic, adaptable forum — one of the building's three flexible learning spaces — find common ground in the value and importance of dialogue. In fact, these instructors argue that the forum comes to represent the content of the courses, manifesting the very act of learning through engagement.

Gwendolyn Blue, associate professor in the Department of Geography, emphasizes the crucial nature of respectful and critical conversation in learning about science in society. Critical exchanges help students work through challenging concepts and contentious topics that are part of everyday public dialogues.

“The course is grounded in dialogue and deliberation. We start with some ground rules, and those ground rules are that everybody speaks while appreciating that there are others in the room who may not hold similar assumptions and values,” she says. “We also are very conscious of some basics from rhetoric, such as no ad hominem attacks — criticize the argument, not the person. And so we keep our focus always on the argument. We’re also bound, because it’s about dialogue and deliberation, to consider all views on a topic, no matter how uncomfortable they might make us.”

Co-teaching a course called Professional Communication and Interviewing in the forum, social work instructors Sally St. George and Les Jerome believe that students benefit from watching instructors work together respectfully and thoughtfully. Watching collaborative teaching in action leads to effective collaborative learning.

Jerome reflects, “I think that students can clearly see that Sally and I both hugely respect each other, and I think that’s important for them to see.”

“We can’t predict everything that’s going to happen in the classroom,” St. George adds. “We can be quite well-planned, but we can’t predict, and so we also have to demonstrate that spontaneity. That’s so important; the students have to see us doing that.”

Learning by exchanging ideas
Both courses’ instructors appreciate the forum’s technological capacities, but more strongly emphasize the possibilities for engagement offered by the room’s most basic attributes: movable chairs and round tables...

Learning through dialogue
Both classes use the Taylor Institute forum’s movable round tables and chairs to incorporate regular group discussion and active learning. This method gives students the opportunity to engage in the kinds of collaborative processes that cut across disciplines. It’s all about having the space required for meaningful, learner-directed conversation...

The Taylor Institute invites instructors teaching university-level courses to submit applications to teach in TI learning spaces. 
Visit our Learning Spaces webpage to find out more information and to submit your application. 

Source: UCalgary News

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