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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Distance-Learning Students Meet for Classes | WABI

Students from Maine Connection Academy met at UMaine for an academic summit, as WABI reports. 

Photo: WABI

Students from Maine Connections Academy aren't used to seeing each other in person, but today they gathered at UMaine for an academic summit.

The Academy is usually internet-based, serving seventh through 12th grade students from around the state.

But today, they met and held classes in a more traditional fashion at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

The event was focused around STEM education, but the students were also encouraged to strengthen connections they had made with their virtual classmates.
"What happens is that kids from Portland make friends with kids from the Bangor area and vice versa, and they can't see them every day." said Jeremy Bernier, a math teacher and coordinator of the summit. "So we try to organize events like these to make it easier for students to meet with each other in person while also doing some more learning and some really cool things that they might not have already learned about in their curriculum."

The students will meet in person one more time this year, at graduation in June.

Source: WABI 


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3 Tips for Online Students From Success Coaches | Education - U.S. News & World Report

"Personalized support from university staff can help online students reach their academic and career goals" says Nancy Cervasio, EdPlus at Arizona State University Senior Director of Student Success.

 Speaking to your success coach over the phone is the best way for both the student and coach to get to know each other
Photo: Getty Images
Online students often juggle a full-time job and family obligations while working toward their degrees. It can become overwhelming very quickly, so having personalized support from university staff is critical. That's where a success coach comes in.

Many online colleges offer coaching programs as a way for students to feel connected to the larger institution and its resources. Arizona State University's ASU Online, for example, launched a dedicated student success center to connect students with a success coach who can support them in achieving their academic and personal goals.

The level of support and engagement varies from student to student. From offering time-management and study-habit tips to providing inspiration and encouragement, coaches are essential to helping a student get to the finish line. 

Here are the most popular questions ASU Online's success coaches receive from online students who are working toward their degree.
Read more...

Source: U.S. News & World Report


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How team teaching (and other innovations) can impact blended learning | eSchool News

[Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on The Clayten Christensen Institute blog.]


A new report from The Clayton Christensen Institute studies the intersection between personalized learning and school staffing, as eSchool News reports.

Photo: eSchool News

Personalized learning’s rationale has strong intuitive appeal: We can all remember feeling bored, confused, frustrated, or lost in school when our classes didn’t spark our interests or address our learning needs. But an intuitive rationale doesn’t clearly translate to effective practice. For personalized learning to actually move the needle on improving student experiences and elevating student outcomes, the question of how schools and teachers personalize is just as important as why.

So how do schools effectively personalize learning? Is it through online learning? Mastery-based learning? Project-based learning? Exploratory learning? Each of these common approaches offers a unique dimension of personalization. Yet one of the most important ways to personalize learning may be easily overlooked in the quest for new and novel approaches to instruction.

It’s all about the teacher
Teachers, by far, have the biggest impact on student learning and student experiences. Even in classrooms with the latest adaptive-learning technology, an expert teacher’s professional intuition is still the best way to understand and address the myriad cognitive, non-cognitive, social, emotional, and academic factors that affect student achievement.


Additionally, one of the most valuable forms of personalization is authentic, personal relationships between students and teachers. It therefore makes sense that any school looking to offer personalized learning should not only explore new technologies and instructional practices, but also think carefully about how to increase students’ connections with great educators.

To that end, over the past year, The Clayton Christensen Institute partnered with Public Impact to study the intersection between personalized learning and school staffing. Our aim was to observe how schools might be using new staffing arrangements to better meet the individual learning needs of their students. We studied eight pioneering schools and school networks—including district, charter, and private schools—and documented their practices in a series of case studies.

Our latest report, “Innovative staffing to personalize learning: How new teaching roles and blended learning help students succeed,” released this week, documents the findings from this research. Below are brief snippets on three of our most interesting insights.
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Source: eSchool News


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Online Learning in North Korea | The Diplomat

Photo: Tae-jun Kang
"Is North Korea going through an online learning revolution?" reports Tae-jun Kang, Southeast Asia correspondent and columnist for The Diplomat.

In this June 16, 2017, photo, North Korean men and women use computer terminals Photo: AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

In the past, if you wanted to get a degree or certificate, or just learn something new, you needed to physically attend classes. But this is not the case anymore as the online learning revolution has started.

The global e-learning market was worth $165.21 billion by 2015 and is expected to reach $275.10 billion by 2022, growing by around 7.5 percent each year during the forecast period, according to a report by India-based research firm OrbisResearch.

The report cited flexibility in learning, low cost, easy accessibility, and increased effectiveness through animated learning as the key factors behind the sector’s growth. It added that the increasing number of internet users and growing access to broadband pooled with mobile phones with online capabilities are also fueling the rise of e-learning.

The report covered a total of 17 countries, from the United States to Egypt. But it missed one country where not many people would imagine an online education system exists: North Korea.

Although North Korea provides an 11-year compulsory education, the kind of education one receives or which educational institute one attends often depends on social class. In order to join prestigious universities, for instance, students must have a good family background as well as connections with the government — not to mention enough money to bribe either schools or local authorities.

However, as recent developments have proven, the hermit kingdom is showing some signs of change. Its education system is no exception.

In particular, North Korea’s propaganda news websites have extensively promoted online education provided by different institutions and organizations inside the country.

Take Kim Il-sung University as an example. It is one of the most prestigious universities in North Korea, the alma mater of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un and most of his family members. It is a must-attend educational institute for North Koreans who hope to climb up the country’s social ladder.

This prestigious university recently awarded degrees to those who finished their program via a distance learning course for the first time.

Kim Il-sung University is not alone. A distance learning course first became available at the Kim Chaek University of Technology, and now many universities across North Korea, including Pyongyang University of Architecture and Pyongyang Jang Chol Gu University of Commerce, offer degree courses online, according to a North Korean propaganda website, DPRK Today.

Students in North Korea even can take university courses via their mobile phones, DPRK Today claimed.
Read more... 

Source: The Diplomat


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Learning to Embrace Intelligent Machines in the New World of Work | Technology and IIoT - IndustryWeek

Photo: Randy Swearer
"Here are five actionable steps to help manufacturers face the smart machine uprising with arms wide open" says Dr. Randy Swearer, Vice President of Education Experiences.

Photo: Getty Images

While the impacts of machine intelligence (A.I. and machine learning) have been hotly debated, and even provoke anxiety in some, this group of technologies continues to accelerate at a remarkable pace. In fact, according to IDC, global spending on A.I. solutions will continue to see significant corporate investment, achieving revenues of more than $46 billion by 2020. Although machine intelligence offers enormous opportunities for businesses, many struggle to find ways to tap into the technology due to lack of knowledge, limited access to required skill sets, insufficient data, and––to be frank––confusion about where to even begin.

In order to better understand how to both learn with intelligent machines and prepare the next generation to work alongside them, I recently met with top leaders––from Harvard University, Nike Innovation Kitchen, BMW Group, and more––at Autodesk’s Ideas Driving Change summit in San Francisco. The key takeaway was clear: the new relationship between humans and machines is already having far-reaching effects on our societies and economies––and these effects will only become more pervasive as time goes on. We concluded that there has to be a shift from thinking of tools as “things,” to thinking of them as collaborators: active participants in creation—co-creative agents. We are entering an era of tools that teach—and learn. In order to help industry and academia respond to this shift, we identified five ways to better prepare individuals to thrive in the age of intelligent machines.
Read more... 

Source: IndustryWeek


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7 pointers to help you plan for your child’s early education | Education - South China Morning Post

"For the early years, taking a well-considered approach will help you find the best possible fit for your child" inform Ruth Benny, The founder of Top Schools.

Parents should do their own research regardless of the school’s name.
Photo: South China Morning Post 
Raising youngsters is largely about nurturing personal growth – kindergarten is a German word meaning “garden of children” – but not all flora flourishes under the same conditions. When creating an education plan for your child, there’s no point in planning too far ahead. 

The process is daunting enough without the burden of trying to predict what your needs will be in 10 years’ time, or how that little person living in your house will best learn when he or she is a teenager. So here are a few points to help you along the puzzling path of early childhood education.

1. Don’t judge a book by its cover
A school’s reputation counts for plenty in the Hong Kong community, but just because the “kindergarten for the rich and famous” has Oxbridge and Ivy League alumni, or an amazing new campus, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for your child. Keep yourself grounded and do your research regardless of the school’s name.
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Source: South China Morning Post 


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Friday, May 25, 2018

3 Ways to Keep the Heat Off Teachers Implementing Social and Emotional Learning | Education Week

"Connecticut's 2007 Teacher of the Year shares how his school supports already busy teachers in implementing social and emotional learning" writes Christopher Poulos, Connecticut's 2007 Teacher of the Year, currently teaches Spanish and serves as Instructional Leader for the Humanities at Joel Barlow High School in Redding, CT.
 

Learning Is Social & Emotional is hosted by the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, this group blog offers lessons from the field and best practices for students and educators.

As a teacher for the past 18 years, I know as well as any educator that new school initiatives bring with them the potential for teachers to feel overwhelmed. Where will we find the time to slot this new project into our already hectic schedules? Will we get any kind of support in making it happen? And hey―don't we do this already?

These are exactly the kinds of questions that my fellow teachers at Joel Barlow High School in Redding, Conn., had when we started implementing our social, emotional, and academic development initiative over the past few years. They are important and valid questions, and I think every school and district that wants to get serious about social and emotional learning has to be proactive about answering them upfront, as we have.

Our unique, collaborative team of eight teachers and administrators―called the EQ8―is constantly assessing and planning new ways to support teachers, making sure they feel heard, and ensuring that they have enough time to do what they are being asked to do. That atmosphere of collaboration and the sense that we're in it for the long haul has been critical to our success. Acknowledging that this work takes time and that the school is truly committed takes a lot of pressure off of teachers and makes them more receptive to changes.

I'd like to share 3 specific steps we've taken to ensure that our teachers aren't overwhelmed:
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Source: Education Week


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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Darwin, Marx, and Something Called Political “Science” | Culture & Ethics - Discovery Institute

Editor’s note: Congratulations to Discovery Institute founder and chairman of the board Bruce Chapman on the publication of his new book, Politicians: The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for All the Others. Get your copy now! We are delighted to offer an excerpt below. Mr. Chapman will speak at the Heritage Foundation on June 26.


"A central progressive theme was historicism, crediting history almost exclusively with the development of culture" argues Bruce Chapman, Author at Evolution News.
 
Photo: Stump Speaking, 1886, by George Caleb Bingham, via Wikimedia Commons

The materialist influence of 19th-century thinkers still chills 21st-century thinking. It is true in biology, economics, culture, and government. In much of  the popularization and misuse of the claims of natural science and in much of modern German philosophy, tendencies toward atheism and gnosticism (searching for hidden meanings) are found. So are economic determinism and a serene resolve to change human nature. It was considered foolish by many 19th- and early 20th-century intellectuals to believe in God or self-evident truths, but “advanced” to aspire to the perfectibility of man.

Progress, you would have thought as an intellectual in that period, must proceed on “scientific” principles. Max Weber’s “fact/value” distinction meant that facts alone could be submitted to scientific inquiry, while issues of right and wrong (“values”) could be examined only from outside their own assumptions. In the new political science that developed in the Progressive Era, study of what constitutes wise opinion was dropped. Replacing it, as Martin Diamond has explained, was the study of opinion formation. The new political scientist was to abandon the supposedly played out mines of political theory. As Diamond says, the role of the political scientist thereafter was to “discredit the pretended grounds of the behavior and reveal its true sub-rational or a-rational ‘determinants.’” Here, then, is partly where we get our present day intellectual prejudice against crediting what politicians say they are doing and our constant suspicion that the real truth must be something else.

A central progressive theme was historicism, crediting history almost exclusively with the development of culture. It arose in Germany as an element of the “science of the state” (Statswissenschaft) and the “general theory of the state” (Allgemeine Staatslehere). And it fit well with the new science of politics, Politische Wissenschaft.  With the new method, known states were compared historically, with perfection of the state as the goal.

For Germans, the state was something larger than government, though less than all society.  It had a personality and “a being which is infinitely superior to the individual, which exists to realize an ideal beyond and above that of individual happiness.” German political scientists thought the history of the state was, in a Darwinian sense, evolutionary and un-directional. As Dennis Mahoney writes of historicism, “[T]here is neither better nor worse about it, but only more advanced and less advanced, newer and older.”

In the latter half of the 19th century, these ideas entered the United States in the heads of young Americans who, lacking domestic graduate schools in public law, embarked on studies in Germany. There they found that the new political science not only had the blessing of the government, but also was a participant in that government and helping to guide it. The students were impressed by such implicit power. The state commanded the universities and the universities taught the grandeur of the state. Prussian administrative skill seemed especially admirable. When Prussia united Germany and then won a war with France, the superiority of German efficiency seemed clear to the young visitors.
In time the concept of eugenics gained force in the Second Reich — decades before the Nazis employed it. When, in 1904, the German Empire exterminated almost the whole race of native Hereros in German Southwest Africa, it was publicly justified in terms of Darwinism. There were few protests.
Read more... 

Additional resources  

Politicians: The Worst Kind of People
to Run the Government, Except for All the Others

Source: Discovery Institute


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The 20th Annual Battle of the Brains | Features - New University

The UCI campus was quiet by 7 p.m. on the night of Monday, May 14, but inside the Student Center, a group of students scurried about, as New University reports. 

Photo: courtesy of Maggie O’Hara

They were handing out raffle tickets, munching on cookies and snacks and practicing for the evening’s event, the 20th Annual Battle of the Brains.

The Battle of the Brains is a faculty and alumni-versus-students trivia competition held each year by the Campuswide Honors Program. Students in the program tested their knowledge against faculty from different departments, as well as alumni from several graduating classes. This year, professors Kieron Burke of the chemistry department; Nicola Ulibarri from urban planning and public policy; and Kyle Stanford, Jeff Barrett, JB Manchak, Cailin O’Connor and Jim Weatherall from logic and philosophy of science participated in the competition.

Student volunteers adorned the walls of Crystal Cove Auditorium with carefully painted images suited to the theme of the evening: fairytales. One banner showed Little Red Riding Hood skipping down a stone path. Another depicted  Goldilocks with three bowls of porridge. A third portrayed the giant’s famous “Fe Fi Fo Fum” from “Jack and the Beanstalk” in swirling green script. Meanwhile, the soundtrack to Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” played in the background. In the audience, a purple rope separated the auditorium into two sections: supporters of the faculty and alumni sat on on the right and students on the left.

The stage was set up with two tables and a podium between them. Each of the tables had a set of colored lights — red for the students and yellow for the staff and alumni — connected to a set of four handheld buzzers for contestants to press when they knew the answer. Behind the contestants, an automated scoreboard and clock, also decorated to fit  the fairytale theme, kept time for each of the three 20-minute rounds.
Read more...

Source: New University


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What are the best software for learning how to sing? | Windows Report

"Do you love to sing and are looking for software for learning how to sing?" continues Windows Report.
 

Photo: Windows Report

Whether you’re an amateur or a pro, and you just want to sing better, you’re in for a real treat, because this article lists some of the best software for learning how to sing, so you can both enjoy the moment, and improve on your vocals in no time.

Like any other skill, singing requires regular practice and it has a lot of room for improvement. Most great artists are also regularly looking for new techniques for singing and better voice control, as they work on the perfect pitch, tone and time to hit the high notes.

However, becoming an accomplished singer isn’t a walk in the park – it takes time – but you can hear your improvements within a few lessons of starting the practice.

These software for learning how to sing also help you learn the correct and basic methods to build your singing expertise, correct bad habits from lack of training, develop your potential, access professional lessons, protect your cords from strain, develop a personal singing style, and enjoy training at your own time and schedule.

When looking for the best software for learning how to sing, consider one that matches your learning style, is affordable for you, is easy to understand yet thorough, has a variety of features for learning success, has written and audio materials for studying, is appropriate for your level of experience, provides several warm up exercises, and offers voice feedback that lets you know about your singing and areas of improvement.
Read more...

Source: Windows Report 


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