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Sunday, August 20, 2017

New learning portal = More screen time? | The Straits Times

"Parents worry kids may be glued to devices; experts say students can be taught to manage time" insist Calvin Yang.

Social studies teacher Tay Peiyong with his students from Admiralty Secondary School on Wednesday. The school is one of 62 where the Singapore Student Learning Space is being piloted.

While parents are excited about the new e-learning platform that gives students access to a range of learning tools, they worry it will mean more screen time for their children.

The Singapore Student Learning Space, which is being piloted at 62 primary and secondary schools, will be rolled out to all schools from next year.

With the online platform, students can learn at their own pace anywhere, any time by having access to videos, games and animations that will reinforce the learning of subjects, including English, mathematics, history and even physical education.

Mr Joseph Chua, 40, who is self- employed and has an 11-year-old son, said: "Students can use these valuable resources and learn at their own pace."

But another parent, Mrs Patricia Tan, 41, worries that her 10-year- old son may end up spending too much time on devices. "They may end up fiddling with their devices even when they are not using the resources," she said.

Studies bear out her concern.

A recent one by think-tank DQ Institute and Nanyang Technological University found that 12-year-olds already spend almost 46 hours a week - or over 6½ hours daily - glued to a screen. Even nine-year- olds are spending over 24 hours a week, or about 3½hours daily, doing the same.

However, National University of Singapore lecturer Kelvin Seah believes that with the portal, students may learn to better use their screen time.

Source: The Straits Times  

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How Advancements In AI Could Radically Change The Way Children Learn In The Classroom | Forbes - CommunityVoice

Photo: Andrew B. Raupp
"To best equip tomorrow's leaders, we must provide students with technologically rich, dynamic learning tools that emphasize critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills" summarizes Andrew B. Raupp, Founder @stemdotorg, democratizing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through sound policy globally.

Photo: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg

Advances in technology continue to change the way we live, earn a living and learn. These shifts affect not only the types of courses that college students take, but also may soon alter the very capacity of our brains’ abilities to create and store memories. The story of how technology affects the way we live and learn is one that is still being written, but we’re excited to track the ways in which the future is already happening -- in our classrooms and in our minds.

Distance Learning, Online Learning
According to a 2017 study, 30% of all enrolled higher education students take at least one distance learning course. Distance learning refers to any courses that take place fully in an online space with no in-person meetings or class requirements. Distance learning classes typically feature a blend of learning approaches, some traditional and some more innovative.

One innovative approach that’s being used in both distance learning courses as well as in-person courses is commonly referred to as online learning. Unlike distance learning, online learning does not necessarily happen far from the classroom walls; rather, online learning refers to a blended learning strategy that incorporates online learning tools into the classroom experience. 

Online learning allows students to learn in a broader range of styles instead of simply sitting and listening to an instructor. It's also the form of learning that is conducive to the advancements being made in artificial intelligence, and is arguably more effective for the needs of our modern workplace. But there are new challenges that come along with new approaches as well.

Source: Forbes

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Chill: Robots Won’t Take All Our Jobs | WIRED

Follow on Twitter as @JamesSurowiecki
"Everyone thinks automation will take all our jobs. The evidence disagrees" says James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds and a senior story producer at VICE News Tonight.

Photo: zohar lazar. lettering by braulio amado.

Last year, the Japanese company SoftBank opened a cell phone store in Tokyo and staffed it entirely with sales associates named Pepper. This wasn’t as hard as it sounds, since all the Peppers were robots.

Humanoid robots, to be more precise, which SoftBank describes as “kindly, endearing, and surprising.” Each Pepper is equipped with three multidirectional wheels, an anticollision system, multiple sensors, a pair of arms, and a chest-mounted tablet that allows customers to enter information. Pepper can “express his own emotions” and use a 3-D camera and two HD cameras “to identify movements and recognize the emotions on the faces of his interlocutors.”

The talking bot can supposedly identify joy, sadness, anger, and surprise and determine whether a person is in a good or bad mood—abilities that Pepper’s engineers figured would make “him” an ideal personal assistant or salesperson. And sure enough, there are more than 10,000 Peppers now at work in SoftBank stores, Pizza Huts, cruise ships, homes, and elsewhere.

In a less anxious world, Pepper might come across as a cute technological novelty. But for many pundits and prognosticators, he’s a sign of something much more grave: the growing obsolescence of human workers. (Images of the doe-eyed Pepper have accompanied numerous articles with variations on the headline “robots are coming for your job.”)

Over the past few years, it has become conventional wisdom that dramatic advances in robotics and artificial intelligence have put us on the path to a jobless future. We are living in the midst of a “second machine age,” to quote the title of the influential book by MIT researchers Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, in which routine work of all kinds—in manufacturing, sales, bookkeeping, food prep—is being automated at a steady clip, and even complex analytical jobs will be superseded before long. A widely cited 2013 study by researchers at the University of Oxford, for instance, found that nearly half of all jobs in the US were at risk of being fully automated over the next 20 years. The endgame, we’re told, is inevitable: The robots are on the march, and human labor is in retreat.
Read more... 

Source: WIRED

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Digital inclusion leaves older Australians out | Talking Aged Care

"The latest results on Australia’s Digital Inclusion Index have revealed that people aged over 65 are among those scoring the lowest on digital inclusion" continues Talking Aged Care.

Photo: Pexels

Focusing on three key areas of digital inclusion: access, affordability and digital ability, not only does it see older Australians among the lowest scoring, it also shows that as older people age, their digital inclusion declines. It also reports that among older Australians, women are less digitally included.

While the Australian Government has been offering digital support for older Australians through Broadband for Seniors since 2008, National Seniors Advocate Ian Henschke says it is clear from the research that more work needs to be done to ensure older Australians are not missing out.

“The facts are quite clear – there is lots of research and data that shows that we have got issues when it comes to digital inclusion and older Australians and we have to accept the fact that it is a big problem,” Mr Henschke says.

“The over 65’s is a large group of people and something that we need to take into account is that more people are accessing services online and to have this large group of people missing out is a huge issue.
“It’s not just older Australians missing out and not able to be digitally inclusive, those from low-socio economic areas are impacted too which shows that this is a cost and educational issue.”

The new Be Connected program that the Australian Government announced late last year is currently in the development stages and aims to build on the framework of Broadband for Seniors to provide a family and community approach to supporting, coaching and teaching older Australians to improve their skills and confidence using digital technologies. 

Source: Talking Aged Care

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Bhagwant University – Offering Higher Education A Special Meaning | eGov Magazine - Elets

Follow on Twitter as @IamDrAnilSingh
It is must to develop professional competence in students and faculties to use their intrinsic potential for uplift of the society, says Dr Anil Singh, Chairman, Bhagwant Group, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
Photo: Bhagwant University

To make students professionally competent, what strategies are being adopted by Bhagwant University in teaching-learning process?
Bhagwant University, located in Ajmer, Rajasthan, is a co-educational private university, which emphasises on practical training of students. We encourage students to organise and participate in seminars and workshops. Eminent industry leaders, professionals and esteemed professors are invited to deliberate on latest industry trends and technologies. Technical experts from reputed organisations are employed as senior faculty members to teach and guide students about core subjects, practical training and projects.

Tell us about the academic departments and researches being conducted at the university. Are there any corporate sponsored researches and courses available at the university?
Bhagwant University lays strong emphasis on the sponsored research, collaborative research funded by the national and international agencies. The institute has set up modern laboratories. Faculty members of the institute maintain strong industrial links by undertaking consultancy assignments and run short-term company specific training programmes. To achieve enhanced industrial participation in the engineering education, the institute has taken various initiatives to start the industry sponsored masters degree programmes.


Source: eGov Magazine - Elets

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Overview - Research Network | Dublin City University

The Digital Learning Research Network fosters a network of leaders and strong communities of practice at the forefront of research on new models of teaching and learning. 

Figure 1: Research and Innovation Framework

Additionally it aims to engage strategically with professional bodies and key external stakeholders in order to influence policy and benchmark the effective use of digital, blended and online learning against international best practices. 

The activities of the Research Network are anchored around the four main platforms of a wider Research and Innovation Framework (see Figure 1), where strong emphasis is placed on fostering Innovation and contributing to Societal impact. More specially, we try to frame our research activities and interests around the following broad research strands:
  • Life-long Learning
  • Opening Up Education
  • Student Transitions and Success
  • Curriculum Innovation and Teaching Enhancement
  • Learning Futures
The work of the Research Network also interfaces with other research centres and defined areas of interest and expertise in DCU's Institute of Education. A distributed leadership model is adopted by the Research Network to harness the skills and expertise of members. The Research Network currently includes over 50 staff with a research interest in Digital Learning and who individually and collectively have a track record of producing a wide range of scholarly outputs in the area. In this respect the Digital Learning Research Network brings together a unique mix of leading scholars and professional educators across Dublin City University (DCU), with considerable expertise in a range of levels, disciplines, methodologies and technologies. A small Steering Group guides the Network’s activities and a dedicated email listserv is used to facilitate regular communiction amongst members. We maintain links to a number of research and development centres within Dublin City University (DCU) and our International Advisory Board also helps to keep us focussed on achieving our overarching mission and strategic objectives. 

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Study Philosophy With Me In Fall 2017! | Patheos (blog) Camels With Hammers

"Year round, I enroll new students in my live, interactive, private, personalized online philosophy classes but I typically launch the most new classes in September when the most people feel like getting started. This year is no exception" says Daniel Fincke, APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor.

Photo: Patheos (blog) Camels With Hammers

Below is the full roster of classes I have tentatively scheduled to run starting in September 2017 and information on a limited time deal.

*Try out my classes for free with a no-commitment trial! Write me at or friend me and write to me on Facebook in order to schedule one or to get to know me and keep in touch with an eye towards taking one in the future.

*Classes are $42/session, with a choice of recording or refunds for missed sessions.

*A Special Back-to-School Rate is available until September 9, 2017. The School Year Subscription costs $1,276 and covers weekly classes from September 2017 through May, 2018. At just $33.58/session for 38 sessions you save 20% savings compared to the $42 Weekly Subscription rate. To get a similar discount (22%/session) for a full year’s worth of classes purchases the Year Long Subscription for $1,699. See details on each payment plan below.

*Immediately below is a tentative list of the classes you can take with me from September 2017 onward, subject to changes to accommodate the most number of students. Click on course titles for course descriptions. Some of the classes are ongoing ones that have been running for a while already. You can join them midstream without worrying about what you missed. Others are brand new and labeled “NEW” below. Write me with your schedule and your interests if none of these class times or topics fits your interests.

I earned my PhD in Philosophy from Fordham University. I wrote my dissertation on Ethics and Nietzsche’s philosophy. Over 11 years I taught 2,500 university students spread across 93 classes from 7 universities.

Since January 2013 I have been leading self-motivated independent learners from around the world in small group and 1-on-1 classes. My small group online classes offer you live, dynamic, interactive class discussions with other students and me, held over videoconference (using Google Hangout, which downloads in just seconds). Classes are flexible enough to meet the needs of both beginners and students with existing philosophical background. Usually we read a primary or secondary philosophical text together live in class, using Google Hangout’s easy and convenient screen-share feature, and discuss it as we go. In more introductory style courses I will also overview some concepts in a traditional lecture style before opening the floor for discussion. In either case, classes wind up tailored to your specific interests, ideas, and questions related to the material as vigorous, rigorous, and potentially wide-ranging class discussions almost inevitably emerge in response to the ideas we are covering and these freewheeling discussions determine the direction of the class from there. My classes are university quality but I offer no university credit whatsoever.

I typically propose whole new classes in January, June, and September. But I also wind up starting new classes in other months when students come available then instead. I schedule all classes by learning the regular time availabilities and topic interests of potential participants and putting as many people together with classmates as possible. I run as many sections of a class as necessary to accommodate everyone. 

Source: Camels With Hammers

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A New Kind of Classroom: No Grades, No Failing, No Hurry | New York Times

Photo: Kyle Spencer
"Mastery-based learning allows students to learn at their own pace" reports Kyle Spencer, award-winning journalist and frequent New York Times contributor.
Students at Flushing International High School in Queens working on projects during a summer program.
Photo: Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Few middle schoolers are as clued in to their mathematical strengths and weakness as Moheeb Kaied. Now a seventh grader at Brooklyn’s Middle School 442, he can easily rattle off his computational profile.

“Let’s see,” he said one morning this spring. “I can find the area and perimeter of a polygon. I can solve mathematical and real-world problems using a coordinate plane. I still need to get better at dividing multiple-digit numbers, which means I should probably practice that more.”

Moheeb is part of a new program that is challenging the way teachers and students think about academic accomplishments, and his school is one of hundreds that have done away with traditional letter grades inside their classrooms. At M.S. 442, students are encouraged to focus instead on mastering a set of grade-level skills, like writing a scientific hypothesis or identifying themes in a story, moving to the next set of skills when they have demonstrated that they are ready. In these schools, there is no such thing as a C or a D for a lazily written term paper. There is no failing. The only goal is to learn the material, sooner or later.

For struggling students, there is ample time to practice until they get it. For those who grasp concepts quickly, there is the opportunity to swiftly move ahead. The strategy looks different from classroom to classroom, as does the material that students must master. But in general, students work at their own pace through worksheets, online lessons and in small group discussions with teachers. They get frequent updates on skills they have learned and those they need to acquire.

Mastery-based learning, also known as proficiency-based or competency-based learning, is taking hold across the country. Vermont and Maine have passed laws requiring school districts to phase in the system. New Hampshire is adopting it, too, and piloting a statewide method of assessment that would replace most standardized tests. Ten school districts in Illinois, including Chicago’s, are testing the approach. In 2015, the Idaho State Legislature approved 19 incubator programs to explore the practice.

More than 40 schools in New York City home to the largest school district in the country, with 1.1 million students have adopted the program. But what makes that unusual is that schools using the method are doing so voluntarily, as part of a grass-roots movement. In communities where the shift was mandated — high schools in and around Portland, Me., for example — the method faced considerable resistance from parents and teachers annoyed that the time-consuming, and sometimes confusing, change has come from top-tier school administrators. Some contend that giving students an unlimited amount of time to master every classroom lesson is unrealistic and inefficient.

New York City Department of Education officials have taken a contrasting position. The city has a growing program called the Mastery Collaborative, which helps mastery-based schools share their methods around the city, even as they adopt different styles. To date, there are eight lab schools, whose practices are being tested, honed and highlighted for transitioning schools. M.S. 442 is one of them. Some struggling schools hope the shift will raise test scores. But the method is also growing in popularity among high-performing, progressive schools, as well as those catering to gifted and talented students and newly arriving immigrants.

This fall, the Education Department plans to spread the method further, by inviting schools to see how the Mastery Collaborative works, even if they aren’t yet considering making the switch. They will be encouraged to attend workshops and tour schools, with the hope, one D.O.E. official said, that they will find elements that they can use in their own classrooms.
Read more... 

Source: New York Times

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You Need an Afternoon Routine | Lifehacker

Photo: Patrick Allan
"People are always telling you how to maximize your mornings, but your morning routine—whatever it may be—is fine. What you really need is an afternoon routine" according to Patrick Allan, Staff Writer,


Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to start your day off on the right foot. For me that means chugging a glass of water, walking the dog, making a quick protein-rich breakfast, then having a cup of strong black coffee. After that, I sit down to scan for important emails, check Slack, put on some music that matches my mood that day, then get started writing. It hasn’t changed much for me in the last few years.

But come afternoon, my energy dips. I’m still full from lunch (food coma time), I’m drained from my morning writing session, my focus starts to fade so I start to mindlessly browse the internet, and my video games and Netflix queue are whispering sweet nothings in my ear. You probably know the feeling. The afternoon is when distractions have the most power—you’re fatigued, irritable, and way more impulsive. So I had to come up with a routine that kept me productive in the afternoon yet still acknowledged my natural workflow. Here’s what I recommend.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

When to Stop Trying to Win an Argument by Patrick Allan.
"This week’s selection comes from Epictetus."

Source: Lifehacker  

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Educational Approach | University of Denver

Learn by doing at University of Denver

At DU, we believe the genius is in the doing. Students take part in small, focused classes, where they improve understanding through conversations that draw from the vast range of experiences and perspectives of our diverse community.

Photo: University of Denver

Learning here goes far beyond the lecture hall. We create opportunities for research, scholarship, performance and engagement. Our students collaborate with peers and faculty across disciplines and explore the subjects that move them. Our students develop important skills, find meaning and fuel their passions through exploration and collaboration with peers and faculty across disciplines.

Our students work with professors and patients to examine how chemicals in foods like tea and chocolate could help with the effects of ALS. They collaborate with Nike to develop footwear that enhances performance and reduces injuries. Immersion programs prepare students to provide aid in humanitarian crises and understand the health needs and difficulties of the homeless.

Students gain knowledge and direction from lively, discussion-based classes, internships and community engagement. They work here in Denver to ensure children in the foster system have the support they need and collaborate with locals in Panama to protect biodiversity. Wherever they are, we make sure our students can use their passion to create a better world.

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