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Thursday, June 22, 2017

UAB scholars study in Japan, Cuba, and France | Birmingham Times

Follow on Twitter as @TiffanyWestry
"Four University of Alabama at Birmingham students are among 1,200 undergraduate students from 354 colleges and universities across the United States selected to receive the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship" inform Tiffany Westry Womack, Education; anthropology; language and communication studies; government; history; philosophy; social work; sociology; computer and information sciences; justice sciences; exercise science.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

The Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program aims to make study abroad experiences accessible to a more diverse population of students and to encourage students to choose less traditional study abroad destinations. It also gives students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles in government and the private sector.

Students are selected for the Gilman Scholarship through a highly competitive application process. The program receives more than 10,000 applications each year and awards about 2,500 scholarships. Gilman scholars are awarded up to $5,000 toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to support students who traditionally have been underrepresented in education abroad, including, but not limited to, students with high financial need, first-generation college students, students in STEM fields, students from diverse ethnic backgrounds and students with disabilities.

Kenneth Davis, a sophomore double-majoring in chemistry and mathematics with a minor in Japanese, is studying in Japan. Davis is a native of Selma, Alabama, and is in the UAB Honors College’s Science and Technology Honors Program. He is also a recipient of the Freeman-ASIA Scholarship to study abroad. Davis plans to obtain a master’s degree in mathematics before applying to medical school to become a neurosurgeon.

“Spending the summer in Japan is fulfilling a curiosity about Japanese culture that I have fostered since I was a child,” Davis said. “Now that I am able to actually live and interact with native Japanese speakers in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures, I have learned that I am becoming more aware of the subtle differences between my home and Japan. It is my hope that proficiency in Japanese and a mathematics degree will make me a more marketable job candidate.”

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The most forward-thinking, future-proof college in America teaches every student the exact same stuff

College is supposed to help young people prepare for the future. But as headlines warn that automation and technology may change—or end—work as we know it, parents, students, and universities are grappling with a new question: How do you educate a new generation for a world we can’t even imagine?

Photo: Peter Marber
As David Brooks of the New York Times recently wrote, the college has the “courage to be distinct.” notes Peter Marber, teaches at Harvard and Johns Hopkins

Great books. 
Photo: Unsplash/Roman Kraft

A recent Pew Research Center survey of 1,408 technology and education professionals suggested that the most valuable skills in the future will be those that machines can’t yet easily replicate, like creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, adaptability and collaboration. In short, people need to learn how to learn, because the only hedge against a fast-changing world is the ability to think, adapt and collaborate well.

Academically Adrift:
Limited Learning on College Campuses
But many American college students may not be learning them at all. In the 2011 book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, Richard Arum and Jarip Roksa chronicled how few American students really improved cognitively–and learned to learn–during their undergraduate education. Few bachelor’s programs require sufficient amounts of the reading, writing, and discourse needed to develop critical thinking skills. In fact, forty percent of American undergraduates now major in business and management-related subjects, reading mainly textbooks and short articles, and rarely writing a paper longer than three pages. Further, the social bonds and skills formed in college today often center on extracurriculars that have little connection to cognitive development and collaborative problem-solving.

But perhaps instead of reinventing higher education, we can give students what they need for the future by returning to the roots of liberal arts. Consider St. John’s College, America’s third-oldest institution of higher education, founded in 1696. With fewer than 700 students between two campuses in Annapolis and Santa Fe, St. John’s is a bit under the radar. But it’s emerged as one of the most distinctive colleges in the country by maintaining a strict focus on the classics of the Western canon...
The Program’s philosophy and practice 
You will not find 100-person lectures, teaching assistants or multiple-choice tests at St. John’s. Instead classes are led by “Tutors” who guide students through Socratic inquiry (and yes, students do read about the Socratic practice during freshman year in Plato’s Theaetetus). Despite its reputation as a sadistic exercise in student humiliation, the Socratic method is actually an interactive form of intellectual sandpapering that smooths out hypotheses and eliminates weak ideas through group discourse. Tutors lead St. John’s discussions but rarely dominate; they are more like conversation facilitators, believing that everyone in class is a teacher, everyone a learner. And you won’t find Johnnies texting or surfing social media while in class; there is no place to hide in classrooms that range from small (seminars, 20 students led by two tutors) to smaller (tutorials, 10 to 15 students, one tutor) to smallest (preceptorials, 3 to 8 students, one tutor).

There is a formality in a St. John’s classroom—an un-ironic seriousness—that feels out of another era. Students and Tutors address each other by “Mr.” or “Ms.” (or the gender-inclusive honorific of choice). Classrooms have a retro feel, with rectangular seminar tables and blackboards on surrounding walls, and science labs filled with analog instruments, wood and glass cabinets, old school beakers and test tubes.

You have to observe a few St. John’s classes to get a sense of what’s happening between and among the students and Tutors. Discussions are often free-flowing, with students thinking out loud and talking to the ceiling; you can almost hear the gears turning in their brains. There are many “a-ha” moments in a St. John’s classroom, sometimes coaxed out by Tutors in Socratic fashion. But often they are triggered by students theorizing and responding among themselves.

In one class I attended, students were covering Ptolemy, the second century mathematician. Ptolemy believed the all the celestial bodies and sun revolved around the earth in a circle, and based all his mathematical calculations on this perspective. Students were buzzing at the blackboard, working with a geometry sphere around the table, talking about diameters, meridians and equators, tilts, and horizons. Keep in mind this is all prep for what will be studied in a few months, when these Johnnies will learn that it would be another 1400 years before Copernicus proved Ptolemy’s calculations correct but his conclusion wrong: the earth and planets actually revolve around the sun. These same students will eventually feel the excitement learning of Kepler’s conclusion 150 years later, that Copernicus was also right and wrong: yes, the earth and planets revolved around the sun—but in an elliptical, not circular, orbit. This curricular layering is central to the St. John’s Program. Later texts respond to and build upon previous texts. In essence, students intellectually follow modern thought as it has been built over the last 2000+ years instead of just memorizing the end results.

The cognitive rigor, immersion, and passion so present at St. John’s are rare on American campuses these days. Johnnies read roughly 100-150 books during their four years and write 25 to 30 papers that are more than 10 pages long. Seniors choose a writer or single text and do a deep dive thesis that typically runs 40-50 pages. Here are a few of the senior capstone topics for the class of 2017: 19th century English scientist Michael Faraday’s heuristic description of electromagnetic phenomena; 17th-century mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s treatment of curvature in what’s called the “chain line” problem; the use of Aristotelian terminology by 20th century physicist Werner Heisenberg in describing quantum mechanics; and the possible revision of “space” from Immanuel Kant’s The Critique of Pure Reason into a plurality of “spaces.” Few college-educated outsiders may have a clue what any of these papers are about, but they are not atypical of what’s being studied, discussed, and written about at St. John’s.
Read more... 

Source: Quartz

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Antigonish 2.0: A Way for Higher Ed to Help Save the Web | EDUCAUSE Review - New Horizons

Follow on Twitter as @bonstewart
"Antigonish 2.0 offers a call to colleges and universities around the globe to consider how their staff, faculty, students, spaces, and resources can help create a less polarizing information ecosystem and can reopen the web to its participatory, democratic potential" reports Bonnie Stewart, Coordinator of Adult Teaching at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI).

Photo: EDUCAUSE Review
I remember when the World Wide Web was going to revolutionize everything. I don't mean the techno-centric narrative of automation and The Jetsons that bursts repeatedly out of our culture, like a pimple, every generation or so. I mean the web that was going to connect us to each other. The one that was going to allow us all to produce and contribute to a shared world of digital artifacts. One without gatekeepers.

More than a decade after Web 2.0 heralded a connected, participatory world and three decades after Richard Stallman's "GNU Manifesto,"1 the web has instead become, in far too many of its corners, a fetid stream of ugliness and sensationalism. The web has become media. Attention—not voice or connection—is the currency of media.

Mike Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University, talks about the structures behind the current state of the web in the opening column2 in this EDUCAUSE Review New Horizons series: how the social media model of stream communications amplified decontextualization and reactive response on the web.3 Technology entrepreneur Anil Dash also laments the web we lost.4

Meanwhile, I wander around in a social sphere increasingly calibrated for constant hits of scandal and outrage, and like a frog boiling in a pot, I wonder what to do. Hyperpartisan sites—run on business models that profit from both sides of the binary5—fuel an attention economy bent to the purposes of autocratic governance. Facebook algorithms and 24-hour news and platforms that privilege retweets over replies6 feed out a steady diet of toxic narratives that encourage polarization and anger and lashing out.

If the web was indeed a revolution, it sometimes seems to have entered its Reign of Terror phase. But the resolution doesn't lie in a return to the equivalent of the monarchy—the old gatekeepers of institutional knowledge and power. That path leads to another Napoleon. Rather, the same higher education institutions whose hierarchy and gatekeeping the web was supposed to open up and democratize7 are increasingly necessary partners in building any kind of democratic future for society, full stop.

That's because the web is a big part of where we live now. But we neither understand it nor know how to use it for learning. What we need is not a revolution, but a way to develop the local and global literacies needed to foster functional democratic participation. This won't just spontaneously generate out there on online platforms such as Reddit or Instagram. Neither will it happen in classrooms. Or community halls. But if we can find a way to weave all three together into a functional model, maybe there's a possibility.
Read more... 

Source: EDUCAUSE Review 

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Teaching Computer Science Is Great, But It's Not Enough | Education Week - Opinion

Photo: Jill Denner
Photo:  Florence R. Sullivan
"How to teach students to question the role
of technology" insist Florence R. Sullivan, associate professor of learning technology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Jill Denner, senior research scientist at Education, Training, and Research at ETR.

Photo: Getty

Self-driving cars, robot-assisted surgery, automated news writing, a huggable, humanoid Mickey Mouse character at Disney World—these are just a few examples of the many ways computer science is changing the way we live, work, learn, and play. This push toward the automation of tasks and jobs, and the creation of more intelligent technologies that can simulate human decisions and emotions, has substantial benefits for society. Many technological innovations are advancing health care, public safety, communication, education, and science, and are improving the quality of life for those who have access to them.

There is no one better to access these tools than the students who will shape the technology of our future. In recent years, the dizzying pace of technological innovation has motivated a surge of interest in creating quality computer-science-education experiences for all K-12 students in the United States. In early 2016, President Barack Obama announced the Computer Science for All initiative, which called for more than $4 billion in federal funding to expand computer science in elementary, middle, and high school.

Though Congress never set aside the proposed $4 billion, the initiative set in motion a new focus on computer science, triggering change across the country. Some states, including Arkansas, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, now require all high schools to teach computer science, while districts such as San Francisco are teaching computer science at all grade levels. And we are both members of the CSforAll Consortium, a hub for the initiative, which is made up of more than 230 organizations that are continuing to connect schools, funders, and researchers together.

There is still much work to do, however. In an ongoing, multiyear study on computer science education conducted by Google and Gallup, researchers found that although students, parents, teachers, and school administrators value computer science, it is still not offered in many schools. This is because of a lack of time, funding, and qualified teachers. Only 25 percent of schools nationwide reported offering a computer science class in 2014-15, and while that number rose to 40 percent in 2015-16, we are still years away from providing sufficient computer science education in all schools.

As educational researchers focused on computer science learning, we welcome the push by more districts to teach the discipline to students. But we believe that our nation's current conception of computer science education does not go far enough. It is not sufficient to simply give more students access. As computer science continues to expand, we advocate for educators to teach functional computer science literacy, just as the field of science education has spent decades refining an approach to teaching socio-scientific reasoning (which integrates learning science content in the context of real-world issues)
Read more... 

Source: Education Week

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Driving Student Success in the Online Classroom | | eCampus Resources

Check this out - How Next-Gen College Students Raise Their Digital Hands

It’s the new norm for today’s learners. I'm talking about online classrooms. But what exactly does that entail? Download this free guide to learn more about the ways online learning has opened new possibilities to connect with students, and can positively influence student outcomes.   

Inside you will learn about: 
  • The state of online learning 
  • The latest online classroom capabilities 
  • How to create an online classroom that allows all students to succeed 
  • Extending the online classroom beyond class hours

Get the guide

Experience the possibilities of driving student success in the online classroom.
  • Engage more students in less time with the right online instruction tools
  • Find out what contributes to student success in online learning
  • Use video conferencing to effortlessly engage every student
Get the guide

Source: eCampus Resources

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Free EBook - E-Learning Translation and Localization for a Global Workforce | CommLab India - Learning Technology

"There are two ways to go about training a globally-dispersed workforce." says Heera Edwin, Sr. Content Writer. 

Get Your Copy Now!

The first way is to let respective regions take care of their own training (this leaves room for discrepancies and inconsistencies); the second way is to first create uniform, online training, and then make it accessible across the globe.

As a training manager, you would be able to appreciate the numerous problems that can be avoided by creating uniform, online training for your entire workforce. Translation and localization of this training can then target and make training relevant to each geography. This doesn’t mean that translation and localization of online training does not come with its own set of challenges. However, these challenges are not insurmountable and can be overcome by pre-empting, and understanding what measures must be taken to overcome them. Listed below are some of these challenges.

Get the eBook Now titled, Practical eLearning Translation Strategies for Global Training

Recommended Reading

Blended Learning: A Guide to Boost Employee Performance 
"The eBook is meant for those who would like to use technology effectively to improve employee performance and reduce the time required to make them proficient in their jobs."

Source: CommLab India (Blog)

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Don't Teach Obsolete Cybersecurity Content…Teach Students the Latest IT Trends & Issues | eCampus Resources

Check this out and give Your Students the Advantage of Having the Top Cybersecurity Education Around 

Companies won't hire cybersecurity professionals that are not up-to-date on the latest security issues. Download this free guide to help your students gain the advantage in this growing career field with the best courses and tools available.
Download this free guide
Inside you will learn about:
  • Courses, videos, virtual labs and practice exams that have helped students keep abreast of current IT challenges, boosting their earning potential in the field of information systems cybersecurity
  • Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree coursework focused on managing and safeguarding an organization’s technological infrastructures from both internal and external threats
  • Curriculum centered on helping students prepare information systems, security management, network administration, business concepts, and project management
Source: eCampus Resources

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

5 ways technology can support educators in an environment of expanding school choice | eSchool News - Trumped

Taking a mixed bag of opinions into consideration, here's how edtech can support educators amid school choice." summarizes Dave Adams, Chief Academic Officer at Edmentum.  

Photo: eSchool News

President Trump’s recent education budget proposal has received a great deal of attention for cutting education by $9.2 billion or 13.6 percent. The administration is proposing an additional $400 million for vouchers and $1 billion more in Title 1 funds to support school choice. While details of the budget will evolve as it moves through the congressional approval process, it is likely that we will see an increase in funding that expands school choice.
Anywhere, Anytime, We Can Learn  

School choice is a controversial topic with advocates believing it will drive innovation in education and civil rights advocates and education reform leaders raising concerns about the unintended consequences to public schools, especially those serving the most vulnerable population, low-income families. 

In a recent study by the Associated Press NORC Center for Public Research examining Americans’ understanding and attitude towards school choice, 47 percent of respondents said they favor expansion of charter schools and 45 percent favor vouchers. In that same study, 58 percent have heard little about charter schools and 66 percent have heard little about school vouchers.

As we prepare for the expansion of school choice, it’s critical to consider the facts and research:

Research and Facts on School Choice
  • A study by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools indicates there are more than 6,900 charter schools, enrolling an estimated 3.1 million students, triple the number of the past decade.
  • In a 10-year longitudinal study evaluating student academic outcomes at KIPP schools, school choice was found to have a significantly positive effect on student outcomes, with the strongest gains in elementary grade levels and lesser gains at the high school level.
  • On the other hand, a study of the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP) found substantially reduced academic performance among the students at charter schools. In this study, negative effects were most highly concentrated in schools with the lowest tuition cost.
  • A Florida study of charter school graduates found that they earned 12 percent more post-graduation than traditional public school graduates. This same study found that the charter school graduates were 12 percent more likely to persist through the second year of college enrollment.
  • A Texas study found results that contradict the Florida results. When looking at all types of charter schools the study found no impact on test scores and a negative impact on earnings.
Taking this mixed bag of facts into consideration, here are five ways education technology can support educators in a shift toward school choice as it presents new opportunities and challenges.

1. Innovation and Improving Schools
A key principle behind school choice is competition. When schools compete for student enrollments, they will innovate and differentiate themselves in an attempt to provide higher quality education and better meet the needs of 21st century learners.

A number of charter schools are breaking away from traditional paradigms and reimagining learning, tapping into how students learn and the physical educational environment. Schools are adopting project-based, competency-based, and collaborative learning while incorporating new technology in authentic, relevant experiences.
Read more... 

Source: eSchool News and Edmentum Channel (YouTube)

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Tyson School of Innovation in Springdale School District prepares to add seventh grade | Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

"School officials have a short window to let seventh-graders know they can enroll in the Don Tyson School of Innovation for the coming school year" inform Brenda Bernet, Washington County Education Reporter. 

Construction workers put the finishing touches on a new wing Dec. 15 at the Tyson School of Innovation in Springdale. 

A meeting for parents of seventh-graders who are interested in enrolling in the charter school is scheduled tonight at the school on Hylton Road.

"We're just trying to serve children and families," Superintendent Jim Rollins told the School Board recently. "We're providing our families a choice at an earlier level."

The School of Innovation opened in 2014-15 and last school year had 500 students in the eighth through 10th grades.

School District officials want to have 1,000 students in the eighth through 12th grades by the 2018-19 school year. They planned to add seventh-graders that same year, said Megan Slocum, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

But parents inquiring about enrolling younger children pushed district officials to get permission from the State Board of Education to add seventh-graders this fall, Slocum said.

"We have kids who are ready for something different," Slocum said. "It's our job to provide it." 

Slocum anticipates space for 25 to 100 seventh-graders, and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, she said.

The program best suits students who are creative and like hands-on learning experiences, Slocum said. The program is designed for students to develop skills to self-direct their learning, persevere, communicate, work with their peers and to be innovative, she said.

Students also follow a personalized learning plan and are expected to work at the teacher's pace or better, she said. Multiple classes meet in large open spaces. Students work in groups to finish projects. Students complete courses based on "competency," or mastering content and demonstrating knowledge.

Seventh-graders will have classes in a pod within the building, Slocum said. 

Schools in different parts of the country are offering "competency-based" education, including down to kindergarten, said Denise Airola, director of the Office of Innovation for Education at the University of Arkansas. Students in those types of programs have to develop skills to succeed, including self-management and goal-setting.

Source: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Teens And Millennials Are Killing Off The Blogger With Vloggers And Netflix | London Blog

Photo: Sean Hargrave
Sean Hargrave, MediaPost's London Editor argues, Teens and Millennials are moving away from the written word to use smartphones for both long- and short-form video.  


You only have to look at teens to pick up a very simple truth. Every piece of content they seem to consume is on a mobile phone, and it all appears to be accompanied by noise from pictures you can't see. Unless they have headphones turned on, of course, and then you can still bet the content they're consuming is video."
The simple truth? The Internet is moving to video. The move is already underway with Millennials, but it will be underscored when today's teens are in their mid- to late twenties in a decade's time.

As a complete coincidence, I have been researching with earbud manufacturers how the market for bluetooth headphones and earbuds has now overtaken wired headphones. No -- it's not just the iPhone 7 that has prompted the cord-cutting. According to one very knowledgeable researcher, the move began to gather momentum three years ago. The only reason he could think of was teens and Millennials watching longer shows on their smartphone and not wanting the cord to get in the way. 

So what does this mean, other than that our teenage sons and daughters spending more time hunched over a smaller screen and the ever-present battle for USB ports to charge devices heating up as bluetooth headsets and earbuds get low on juice?

Well, if you want to quantify the size of this shift, some MediaCom figures in Marketing Tech News are well worth checking out. A year ago a quarter of teens were saying their smartphone is the main way to watch television. This year, it has risen to 38%. Interestingly, a key fact behind this rising trend is that two in three 8- to 12-year-olds now own a smartphone, compared to just under half two years ago.

Pre-teens are getting tooled up in this mobile-first media landscape of ours, and so it's not surprising that they are starting to consume more and more video content on a device they can treat as personal, unlike television.

As far as other media are concerned, some eMarketer research for the US market shows a very noticeable shift toward mobile apps and mobile publishers for Millennials that is not being followed up by teens. Instead, they appear to be moving away from mobile publishers and bloggers to watching more video. More than half of all teens show they are spending more time on social and watching more video. The same move is being seen among Millennials, but it's no quite as pronounced, certainly not with ditching the written word one would associate with bloggers. 

Source: MediaPost Communications -Today's Opinions

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