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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Ontario is poised to require every high school student take four online courses. What does it mean? | Ottawa Citizen

Joanne Laucius, reporter at the Ottawa Citizen says, Last week, the provincial government announced that secondary school students will be required to take four out of the 30 high school credits required for an Ontario high school diploma as online courses.

The announcement had few details, except that the changes will be phased in starting in 2020-21 and the delivery of all e-learning courses will be centralized. However, if the province goes ahead with plans to make four courses mandatory, Ontario high school students will have more compulsory e-learning than any other jurisdiction in the world.

So what is e-learning? A necessary skill for the 21st century or a way for the province to save money on education? We asked experts what they expect from the reforms.

How does e-learning currently work in Ontario?
According to the Canadian eLearning Network, an estimated 65,000 Ontario elementary and secondary students from public, Catholic, francophone and independent schools took at least one online course in 2017-18.

The public education advocacy group People for Education estimated that five per cent of students for every high school are enrolled in at least one online course...

What happens in an online course?
Teachers create assignments and moderate interactions between students using electronic technologies such as message boards. While students often have flexibility in terms of when they log into the course, many schools recognize that it’s a good idea for students to spend time in the library, said Alexander. The majority of students who take online courses are in Grades 11 and 12 and are looking for more course offerings than are available at their school, she said.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

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This Iowa professor wants to change what kids are taught about their digital life | Iowa City Press Citizen

The use of tech in classroom has increased, but efforts to teach kids how to interact with with the online world has not kept pace, says a psychology professor. 

Doug Gentile, psychology professor at Iowa State University, studies digital literacy and how students interact with different media.
Photo: Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University

The 90s catch phrase for educators looking to introduce more technology to students was "computers in every classroom."  

Today that mantra has been replaced by "one-to-one" initiatives to put a laptop in every student's hands.  

The use of tech in classroom has vastly increased to match the world outside of campus, explains one psychology professor at Iowa State University. But, says Douglas Gentile, the effort to teach kids how to interact with with the online world has not kept pace.

"There's something like a 99 percent literacy rate in the U.S. — that's remarkable," said Gentile. "But nowadays kids don't get their information from reading. ... They get it from streaming media. So we need to teach them to be literate about that as well."

Gentile is part of a team working on the periphery of the United Nations to set a universal standard for digital literacy education. He recently co-authored a report for the international think-tank DQ Institute, which spells out the organization's approach...

He said children spend upwards of 50 hours a week looking at screens. More work needs to be done to empower them in this activity. 

"If kids are spending 54 hours a week on average in front of a screen, that is going to have a major effect on their brain development," he said. "So how can we harness that power so its a good effect?"

Source: Iowa City Press Citizen

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Friday, March 22, 2019

City College professor tackles math anxiety | Arts and Entertainment - City Times

Dr. Rob Rubalcaba has a unique way of connecting City College students and math, as City Times reports. 

Dr. Rob Rubalcaba is loved by most at City College. 
Photo: Jonny Rico/City Times

Good teachers care about their students and students appreciate a good teacher, but San Diego City College’s professor of mathematics, “Dr. Rob” Rubalcaba, has a special way of connecting with students.

Rubalcaba uses his alter ego, DJ Professor Shadow, to reduce the stress around studying for midterms and finals through Math Jams. 

It’s not just the hip hop that reaches students. Rubalcaba receives help from dozens of tutors and Umoja club volunteers creating a sense of community...

Fun is why Rubalcaba started doing Math Jams. The music and food helps bring people to the tutoring.

“It’s motivation,” said Rubalcaba. “And it gets rid of math of anxiety.

Source: City Times

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On 20th Anniversary of The Matrix, MIT Game Industry Veteran to Release “The Simulation Hypothesis” | GAME - ACROFAN USA

At the Game Developers Conference (GDC), bestselling author, renowned MIT computer scientist and Silicon Valley video game designer Rizwan Virk announced that his book, The Simulation Hypothesis, will be released on the 20th anniversary of the release of the film, The Matrix. 

This is the first serious book by a video game industry veteran to explain one of the most consequential theories of our time, that we are living inside a sophisticated video game.  

“When the Matrix came out in 1999, it was in the realm of science fiction,” said Virk. “In the 20 years since, with the evolution of MMORPGs, Virtual Reality, AR, AI, and Neuroscience, we are getting closer and closer. In this book, I lay out a clear path from today’s tech to building the Matrix.” 

Virk is the founder of Play Labs @ MIT, a video game startup incubator at the MIT Game Lab, and co-founder, advisor and investor in many video game startups including Discord, Telltale Games, Funzio, Gameview, Tapjoy and 

Pulling together concepts from computer science, artificial intelligence, video games, quantum physics, and both ancient eastern and western religious texts, Virk shows how all of these traditions come together to point to the idea that we may be inside a simulated reality like The Matrix... 

The book is available for pre-order now and will be released on March 31, 2019. 
Visit the author’s website at
Read more... 

Recommended Reading
The Simulation Hypothesis: An MIT Computer Scientist Shows Why AI, Quantum Physics and Eastern Mystics All Agree We Are In a Video Game by Rizwan (Riz) Virk, successful entrepreneur, angel investor, bestselling author, and indie film producer.

The Simulation Hypothesis:
An MIT Computer Scientist Shows
Why AI, Quantum Physics and Eastern
Mystics All Agree We Are In a Video Game 
Written by a well-known MIT Video Game Designer and Silicon Valley entrepreneur.


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A brief history of science writing shows the rise of the female voice | Women in science - The Conversation AU

The early days of science writing were largely confined to men, with women treated to texts labelled "for the ladies". Things have changed, but more needs to be done, writes Robyn Arianrhod, Adjunct Associate , School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University.

Three centuries ago, when modern science was in its infancy, the gender disparity in education was not a gap but an abyss: few girls had any decent schooling at all.

The emerging new science was clearly a male enterprise.

But it arose from a sense of curiosity, and women, too, are curious. If you look closely enough, it’s clear women played an important role, as both readers and authors, in the history of science writing.

New vs old ideas 
Both science and science writing were up for grabs in the 17th century. Technology was rudimentary and researchers struggled to obtain even the simplest observational evidence, and then searched for ways to make sense of it.

You can see this struggle in the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei’s famous Dialogues of 1632 and 1638. He painstakingly and somewhat tortuously tries to justify his arguments for heliocentrism – in which the planets go around the Sun – and the nature of motion and gravity...

Science gets complex 
Then, the very next year, everything changed. The English physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton published his monumental Principia Mathematica. Suddenly science became a whole lot more complex.

For instance, Fontenelle’s explanation of the cause of heliocentrism had been based on Frenchman René Descartes’ notion that the planets were swept around the Sun by gargantuan cosmic ethereal vortices.

Newton replaced this influential but unproven idea with his predictive theory of gravity, and of motion in general, which he developed in 500 dense pages of axioms, observational evidence, and a heap of mathematics...

Then there’s the question of ethics in science. Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the little-known story of the 1951 illegal harvesting and selling of cells from poor black farmer Henrietta Lacks.

Having diverse voices of all kinds in science and science writing is a good thing for science, as even a brief look at history shows. As far as women’s participation goes, we’ve come a long way.

But we still need more women to help shape and tell the story of science.
Read more... 

Source: The Conversation AU

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This year INWED is “Transforming The Future” | Women's Engineering Society

Sunday 23 June will mark 2019’s International Women in Engineering Day (#INWED19), when we will be encouraging participants to show the world how they are ‘transforming the future’ in pursuit of more diversity in engineering, inform Women's Engineering Society.

This global awareness campaign, coordinated by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES), aims to increase the profile of women in engineering worldwide and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in engineering and related industries.

In 2019, WES’ own centenary year, INWED will aim to inspire even greater participation across the globe, both online and through physical activities, by individuals, schools, colleges, groups and organisations.

The theme will be supported by the hashtags #INWED19 and #TransformTheFuture

Another important part of the INWED celebrations is the annual ‘Top 50 Women in Engineering’ (WE50) awards, made possible through a partnership between the Women’s Engineering Society and The Telegraph. The winners of these coveted places will be announced to coincide with INWED19 celebrations. This year’s focus of excellence will be revealed on 8 March 2019, International Women’s Day... 

If you or your organisation would like to participate in INWED19 celebrations, visit the INWED website and contact for more information. 
Read more...  

Source: Women's Engineering Society

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Why Teachers and Students Need to Learn about Their Brains in the Digital Age | Featured Articles - Learning Counsel

For good and bad, technology changes our brains. But then again, so does every experience we have, explains Betsy Hill, President of BrainWare Learning Company.

Our brains develop (throughout life) in interaction with our environment. As one neuroscientist puts it, our brains become what our brains do.

So what are our brains doing and becoming in the digital age? This field of research is booming and some of it raises concerns. When it comes to literacy, for example, Maryanne Wolfe, in a recent article in The Guardian, explained that “skim reading” is replacing deep, analytical, reflective reading. Skim reading means that our brains scan for words and we don’t take the time to return to an earlier part of the text to refresh our recollection or rethink and reevaluate our take on the subject. There seems to be evidence that reading on a screen promotes this “light” version of reading. 

But don’t we all do skim reading at times, even with a magazine, a newspaper, or a textbook?  Can’t skim reading actually serve a useful purpose – like finding a specific piece of information we are looking for? A colleague of mine recalls being amazed when he got to college and someone explained to him that there are different ways to read. He had inferred from all the reading tasks he had been assigned over the years that the only “correct” way to read was to read every word. For him, skim reading was a new and extremely useful skill. In fact, the skill is so useful that people have been known to spend money to become better at it; it was called speed-reading.

That doesn’t mean that there is no longer any need for deep, careful, critically analytical reading. We don’t learn deeply from what we skim. We can learn deeply from what we spend mental effort on in the reading process.

Here it is helpful to remember that learning is a biological process – the making and strengthening of connections among neurons in the brain into neural networks or maps...

I have presented webinars over the last year on Nepris on brain development and student study habits. Nepris is a great resource, by the way; it allows teachers to bring experts in various fields into their classrooms (virtually) for their students to interact with.

In these webinars, students are eager to check out brain myths, to find out why they remember some things and not others, and what happens to their brains when they are anxious or upset, or when they don’t get enough sleep. 

Source: Learning Counsel

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

What do mathematicians do if machines do all the maths? | Education -

For thousands of years, calculation - numerical and symbolic - was the price we had to pay to do or use mathematics. But that is no longer the case, says Dr. Keith Devlin, mathematician at Stanford University in California.

Professor Keith Devlin
Since the late 1980s, we have had machines that can perform any step-by-step mathematical procedure, systems that can handle far more variables than a human ever could: they never make mistakes and they do enormously complex mathematics in a fraction of a second.

Moreover, many of those tools are easily available and free...

Professor KeithDevlin, Director of the Stanford Mathematics Outreach Project in the Graduate School of Education, delivers a public lecture at the University of Auckland discussing how the rise of the computer has removed many of the complex calculations which used to be carried out by hand, how that has changed the mathematics profession and the impact on teaching the next generation.

Keith Devlin is a co-founder and Executive Director Emeritus of the Stanford’s H-Star institute and a co-founder of the Stanford mediaX research network. He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Mathematical Society. Recipient of the Pythagoras Prize, the Peano Prize, and the Carl Sagan Award, he is known as "the Math Guy" on USA National Public Radio.

This free public lecture will be held on Tuesday, 26 March at 6.15pm at the University of Auckland in Lecture Theatre PLT1, Building 303, 38 Princes Street. Refreshments from 5.30pm, Level 4 Common Space. All welcome.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Finding Fibonacci:
The Quest to Rediscover the Forgotten
Mathematical Genius Who Changed the World
Source: -

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Distance Learning Market 2019 Latest Advancement Analysis and Precise Outlook 2025 | Technology - MR Weekly

The Global Distance Learning Market Research Report Forecast 2019-2025: Is a valuable source of insightful data for business strategists. 

It provides the industry overview with growth analysis and historical & futuristic cost, revenue, demand and supply data (as applicable). The research analysts provide an elaborate description of the value chain and its distributor analysis. This Distance Learning Market study provides comprehensive data which enhances the understanding, scope and application of this report.

Technology plays an important role in enabling the growth of the country’s economy and the education sector in particular. Higher education institutes are increasingly opting for online courses.

Owing to innovations in distance learning programs for both students and working professionals, the distance learning market in India will post an exponential growth in the coming years. Though the majority of higher education institutions offering distance courses mainly cater to the undergraduate population, a rise in the number of institutions offering online courses and degree programs, will attract more enrollments from the postgraduate student category.

Get full access to this report at: 

Source: MR Weekly

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Teaching (and Learning) Through Technology | Faculty and Staff - NC State News

DELTA Grants program empowers faculty to revolutionize classroom and online instruction, summarizes Suzanne Stanard, employee of North Carolina State University.

A graphic design theory textbook comes to life, thanks to a DELTA Grants project that uses augmented reality.
Deb Littlejohn admits it can be difficult to keep college students – especially more than 100 of them – interested in particular courses. That’s why the graphic design professor turned to DELTA for help shaking the stigma that all theory courses are, well, boring.
She won a DELTA Grant last year that will bring her graphic design theory course textbook to life and, she hopes, engage her students in an entirely new way...

There are six types of DELTA Grants, from “rapid design course grants” that enable faculty to quickly produce quality online and distance education courses to “blended learning grants” that combine the best of face-to-face and online learning practices.

Source: NC State News

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