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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Trends 2015: Learning and Teaching in European Universities

Take a closer look at the Learning and Teaching in European Universities below.

With 850 members across 47 countries, EUA is the largest and most comprehensive organisation representing universities in Europe. 17 million students are enrolled at EUA member universities. As the voice of Europe’s universities EUA supports and takes forward the interests of individual institutions and the higher education sector as a whole. 

Trends 2015: Learning and Teaching in European Universities (PDF)

The Trends 2015 report presents the universities’ perceptions of the changes that have taken place in European Higher Education Area (EHEA) over the past five years, particularly in relation to learning and teaching. 

Based on survey responses of 451 higher education institutions from 46 countries (48 higher education systems), the report outlines the changing context in which higher education institutions operate.

Trends 2015: Learning and Teaching in European Universities (PDF)

Source: European University Association

EdCasting Enables Everyone to Share Their Knowledge & Engage in Lifelong Learning

Today EdCast, a Silicon Valley based Knowledge Network company, announces “EdCasting” a new way for everyone to share their knowledge easily with bite-sized Insights across online and mobile. 

The launch of EdCasting includes 10 channels ranging from entrepreneurship, architecture, robotics, technology, and health, filled with insights from over 100 globally renowned experts and influencers.

“EdCasting moves learning from the industrial age to the knowledge age with innovative, bite-size curated insights,” said Dr. William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense of the United States & professor (emeritus) at Stanford University. “EdCasting brings a new platform to influencers and educators and levels the playing field for a global audience eager to learn and share knowledge.”

Mitch Kapor, founder of Kapor Capital, said, “EdCasting makes it easy to stay engaged in knowledge sharing and lifelong learning. I’m very excited about being part of this vision to transform education for learners of all ages globally.”

“Just as podcasting and Tweeting made it easier to share general content, EdCasting empowers everyone to share their knowledge and help create the new culture of lifelong learning in this knowledge economy,” said Karl Mehta, CEO and Founder of EdCast. “With EdCasting, you are just a button push away from being connected to subject experts.” 

About EdCast Inc.
EdCast is a personal knowledge network to enhance human ability to collaborate and learn. EdCast Knowledge NetworksTM power social, mobile and cloud-based learning for world-class institutions, enterprises, governments and nonprofits that enable millions of lifelong learners to collaborate with each other. The EdCast team has a track record of building large-scale transformational technology and are passionate about the global impact of mobile and online education. EdCast is a Stanford StartX company backed by tier one venture capital firms. The company is based in Mountain View, CA with offices worldwide. 

Source: Business Wire (press release)

Silkroad's Global Musician Workshop, Hosted by DePauw, Will Include Three Public Performances

"With a mission of fostering a community of globally minded musicians who learn from one another’s traditions and incorporate them into their own artistic voices, Silkroad’s inaugural Global Music Workshop will take place at the DePauw University School of Music in Greencastle, Indiana, June 8–12, 2015, at the Judson and Joyce Green Center for the Performing Arts." writes DePauw University 
Photo: DePauw University

The workshop is directed by cellist Mike Block and taught by an all-star faculty (see below), including members of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and friends, who represent a unique range of musical backgrounds from around the world. The week will open with a private conversation with Yo-Yo Ma and conclude with three public performances on June 10, 11, and 12, 2015.
The public is invited to attend these events:
  • Faculty Concert by the Silk Road Ensemble and Friends: Wednesday, June 10, 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium
Co-presented by the Greencastle Summer Music Festival and the DePauw University School of Music Featuring multiple Grammy-Award nominees from backgrounds as varied as Afro-Latin jazz, American folk, and traditional styles of Mali, Japan, and India, this wide-ranging concert will showcase individual performers as well as never-before-heard duos, trios, and quartets.
  • Participant and Faculty Performances: Thursday, June 11, and Friday, June 12, both 7:30 p.m. at Thompson Recital Hall
Both concerts will feature a broad array of styles and instruments from around the world, played by a diverse group of workshop participants and faculty in an eclectic number of bands. These performances culminate the week of collaborative rehearsal and music development.

All three concerts are free of charge, with a suggested donation of $20, which will go directly to the Global Musician Workshop Scholarship Fund. More than 40% of participants received financial assistance from Silkroad to attend this year’s workshop.

Silkroad's Global Musician Workshop 2015 

“When you value others who bring something different to the table, collaboration is the key to meaningful work,” said Mike Block. “I hope our students will take away a deeper appreciation and understanding of music and cultures from around the world -- not only by learning new techniques and experiencing how different styles of music are constructed, but also by learning what values motivate the acts of creation and performance for different artists and how musicians from different cultures can interact.

Gathering from 23 U.S. states and 10 countries, from as far afield as Chile, Iran, New Zealand, and Singapore, and ranging from music students to professional musicians, around 90 participants will take part in the groundbreaking workshop. Every student will have the opportunity to perform with faculty in both concerts at the end of the week.

Source: DePauw University and SILKROAD Channel (YouTube)

Unleashing the creative: Nietzsche, the phenomenologists and the good life

Follow on Twitter as @Lauradol4

Western philosophy has focused on human nature as primarily rational. Where does creativity fit in? Dr Laura D’Olimpio, a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame WA, appraises the value of a creative life.
Art is the supreme task, as Nietzsche would have it. How can we balance creativity with rationality? And what are the dangers of letting the Dionysian genie out of the bottle, especially in the public square?  

Image: Portrait of Friederich Nietzsche by Edvard Munch.  
(Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Some of the big names in western philosophy have focused on human nature as primarily rational. In identifying the self with the logical mind, as Plato, Rene Descartes and Immanuel Kant have done, a dualism results whereby the body, along with its senses and emotions, becomes de-centralised and often de-valued when we reflect on our human experience.

Historically, there have been philosophers who have contested this rationalist conception of what it means to function well as a human being. Existentialist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the phenomenologists Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jan Patočka are three such theorists who reclaim the role of the body and emotions alongside our rational capacity in order to paint a picture of the human life as embodied and creative.

Nietzsche and the phenomenologists suggest that we should aim at a balance between our rationality and our passions. While the logical mind weighs up our options, it is our emotions that inspire us and motivate us to act. It is through our actions that we transform not just ourselves but also the environment through which we move and the space we inhabit. It is a creative act to give voice to ideas and manifest action in the world.

One way in which we do this is though art. In Nietzsche’s first major work, The Birth of Tragedy, published in 1872, the idea of living life creatively is embodied in his idea of living life as an artist. Nietzsche refers to two conflicting creative energies: the Apollonian and the Dionysian.

The Apollonian is the cool rational intellect, while the Dionysian is the passionate emotional aspect. Nietzsche worried that the society of his time only emphasised Apollonian energy and neglected the role of the Dionysian. Theorists like Plato, Descartes and Kant emphasise the rational aspect of humans, yet Nietzsche thought it was important to balance our rationality with our passionate experience of life, and he saw this balance best depicted in ancient Greek tragedies. 

Source: ABC Online

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Top e-learning trends impacting education

"eLearning is learning and teaching that is facilitated by or supported through information and communication technology. While the term covers a variety of activities, it focuses on how to use technology to promote effective learning." according to Catherine Knowles.


Today, elearning trends are shaping schools and the way people learn. More prominent trends include mobile learning, Tin Can API, edugaming, and augmented reality.

The Ambient Insight Premium Report looked at the worldwide mobile learning market and highlighted the fact that successful e-learning strategies include mobile or increased mobile integration.

According to the report, the mlearning market will have an annual growth (CAGR) of 18.2% with global revenues hitting around $12 billion by 2017.

For a significant amount of time, SCROM was the e-learning standard for packaging e-learning content for a learning management system (LMS).

However, a new format called Tin Can API adds new functionality and is on the rise - it could soon be the new standard for learning record stores (LRS).

Tin Can API, also known as Experience API or xAPI, enables tracking of learning plans, goals, real world performance, games and simulations, and is more mobile friendly.


Source: Educators NZ

E-Learning: Choosing the Right Learning Management System

Photo: Freddie Batista
Freddie Batista writes, "As a fire and emergency medical services instructor for more than 20 years and a pioneer in e-learning, I understand the financial challenges your department may be facing."

You need 24-hour access to training material, or you want access to additional training from experienced fire service instructors and subject matter experts from your living room/firehouse. I will show you how to make your training both accessible and affordable though your very own online e-learning portal.

Fire department training has evolved. With shortages in staffing and the inability to send personnel to conferences or to out-of-state training, departments need to look at another avenue to facilitate their training. Several learning management systems (LMSs) exist, but which one is right for your department?

We've all been to trade shows and have seen what many companies have to offer, but is the training they are providing useful for your department? All of the platforms out there will make it easy to deliver and track the course material your training bureau puts out there. More than 500 LMSs are now available to the fire service industry by subscription ($50 to $120 per member). However, the content these LMSs provide may not meet your department's standards.

Figure. LMS Infrastructure

In the end, all LMSs pretty much do the same thing: deliver, track, and report the delivery of your online content. An LMS is basically an electronic tracking system for managing your employees' training. Running reports is an important requirement, and it's the primary reason people change their LMSs and their vendors. With all of these choices, it's hard to know where to start and the differences among them.

An LMS can solve the most common problem of tracking your employee training by running reports. If your training is still "old school," the data are still tracked by hand. An LMS allows you to quickly run reports showing who took the training; it automatically deploys the courses. In many LMSs, you can run reports sorting departments, shifts, or rankings with just a few clicks of the mouse. If you are not on an LMS, it is very tedious to gather this information. As you start to look for your LMS, you must think about the training and the content you will house within the platform. Who will be your authors? Who will be your subject matter experts (SMEs)? Does your department have online content you can transfer into the system, or does the system come with a content library? Remember, this training happens 24/7/365 from the comfort of your home or firehouse. So if you need to deliver training fast, choose an LMS with the eLearning content that is right for you!

As you start to look at vendors, costs might seem high, but consider the balance online training has to offer. When you look at the price, consider what you spend for your current training. An LMS will give your current training uniformity and will dramatically reduce your training costs since you don't have to send your employees to out-of-state or out-of-city training. It can eliminate the need to bring in outside trainers to facilitate your programs and free your instructors to build an eLearning library. This will keep the information fresh and updated for your department. Incorporating an LMS will enable you to better monitor your training and to measure specific competencies. As an administrative user, you will be able to see when members have logged into your training system and how many times they have taken a course. You can also monitor the grades the learners receive and the learners' activity and progress.

First, establish a committee or team and develop a list of training needs. Make sure that each team member plays an essential part in choosing the right LMS. Next, meet with your information technology department and see if your fire stations' computers can handle the training the LMS will deliver. Do you have good Internet speed, a sound card, adequate memory, speakers, and graphic cards? Below are the areas to consider in choosing an LMS.



Engineering Education: Fact and Fiction

Photo: Wilton Helm
Wilton Helm, Hardware & Software Developer reports, "Education has always been an interesting subject for me.  When I entered college, my goal was to be a high-school teacher.  Later, I decided teaching college might be more to my liking, but that didn’t pan out the way I had intended.  I did do some teaching at various levels from elementary to college, and actually hold a community-college credential in California, which does me little good living in Colorado."

Photo: Electronic Design (blog)

Another reason for my interest is that my work has often led to roles of mentoring and supervising electronic engineers and software developers, even sometimes in the recruiting and screening, and yes, occasionally firing of them. I have taken a keen interest in the dialogue (that has been going on for many years) about the quality of engineering education in the U.S.

My degree is in computer science. I was fortunate enough to take most of my classes from a very intelligent and practical instructor.  He just completed his undergraduate degree in physics, but he had a good grasp of concepts and taught us programming languages as tools to implement concepts, not as an end in and of themselves.  For example, we needed to learn recursion.  But we lacked access to any languages that supported recursion. Rather than throw up his hands, he showed us how to use a variable as a stack pointer and an array as the stack, and subsequently implement recursion in BASIC.

By the time I graduated, he had moved on to industry and was replaced by an instructor who had a master’s in CS. The latter faced the same issue; however, he told his students that they would not be able to try recursion because we didn’t have a language that could do it. One of my classmates who took classes under the former instructor, and happened to be in this class, proceeded to show the instructor how to do it.  So much for a master’s degree in CS!  Your mileage may vary.

I recently read an article questioning the need for a college education. I have told people over the years that the degree you get in college is less important than the fact that you have a degree. There is still some truth to that, particularly when it comes to salary level and preference in hiring. However, in the computer field, the trend is to snap up bright applicants regardless of their (lack of) formal training.  Sometimes this works well, but it often leads to sloppy practices and poor documentation.  The CS degree may not be necessary to get the job done, but it may be valuable for writing quality code with minimal bugs that can be read by someone later on.

We all come into life with different strengths and different temperaments. One of my early dissolutions was the rigorousness of college-level math. I never cared much for the proofs of geometry in high school, and my initial goal of a math/physics double major in college rapidly vaporized in calculus class.  Fortunately, the college was putting together a CS degree about that time, and I found it much more interesting. 


Source: Electronic Design (blog) 

Professor Joins Major New Robotics Initiative

UC Merced Professor Stefano Carpin will serve on the executive board of a new multidisciplinary research enterprise called the People and Robots Initiative, by the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). according to UC Merced University News.

Professor Stefano Carpin, second from left, and his students show off their new robot.

The initiative will support efforts by faculty members and students working on robotics from the four CITRIS campuses: UC Merced, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz. Building on 40 years of robotics research, a network of alumni, and many active labs and projects, the initiative will draw on innovations in sensors, devices, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), networks, optimization and machine learning to improve human experience in healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, safety and a broad range of other applications that can benefit society.

“Robotics is experiencing major growth right now,” Carpin said. “There are so many opportunities. This is the right moment to create the critical mass that goes beyond any single campus.”

UC Merced’s robotics research Opens a New Window. dates back nearly to the campus’s opening, even winning the 2009 world championship at the RoboCup Rescue Virtual Robots Competition.

“Even for a small campus, we have a long history of accomplishments,” Carpin said.

“The People and Robots Initiative will catalyze new research in engineering, computer science and the humanities that focuses on the central role of humans,” initiative Faculty Director Ken Goldberg, of UC Berkeley, said.

Source: UC Merced University News

Friday, May 29, 2015

Good Math, book review: Challenging concepts, well explained by Mary Branscombe

Follow on Twitter as @marypcbuk
Mary Branscombe, freelance tech journalist summarizes,  "More accessible than Hofstadter or Martin Gardner's classic mathematical columns, Good Math is a fun, if demanding, introduction to the strange, fascinating fundamental concepts of mathematics that underpin programming."

Good Math: A Geek's Guide to the Beauty of Numbers, Logic, and Computation (Pragmatic Programmers).

Understanding maths, logic and computation is becoming increasingly important in business -- especially if you need to evaluate new technology. Can your wi-fi router or your smartphone really make you money by mining Bitcoin in the background? To find out, you need to know something about cryptography, something about hardware design and something about how to calculate power usage so you can figure out whether that crowd-funded device you're thinking of investing in will cost you more in electricity than it will make you in virtual currency. Even if you just want to avoid being fooled by infographics, it's a good idea to think a bit more rigorously about mathematics.

It's been a long time since computing was taught by the maths teacher at school; these days, you can jump straight into programming without knowing much more than algebra. However, a more comprehensive understanding of mathematics will become increasingly useful. If you want to make sense of the principle of machine learning, you need to understand basic statistics and probability. To understand functional programming, you need to know the basics of lambda calculus. And if you're looking at actor frameworks, like the new programming models in the Azure Service Fabric, an understanding of state and Turing Machines will come in handy.

Mark Chu-Carroll's Good Math: A Geek's Guide to the Beauty of Numbers, Logic, and Computation is a good introduction to the appreciation and understanding of maths -- as long as you're already comfortable with mathematical notation and are prepared to pay attention. Chu-Carroll has an engaging style that's easy to read and he makes mathematical discoveries and principles interesting. However, you'll definitely need an aptitude for maths in order to grasp the details. He starts at the beginning, with numbers -- basics like cardinal numbers tell you how many things there are and ordinal numbers tell you what order they're in -- and explains that axioms are sets of rules that define how numbers behave. But in just a few pages you're into Peano arithmetic and induction, with subsequent chapters covering irrational and transcendental numbers, plus 'funny numbers' like zero, Euler's constant, i (the square root of -1) and the golden ratio.


Source: ZDNet

Compulsory science and maths is great but there’s more to be done by Ragbir Bhathal

Photo: Ragbir Bhathal
"Compulsory maths and science in years 11 and 12 will have a lasting benefit, but we need to boost the skills of teachers and start teaching science even earlier." reports Ragbir Bhathal, Lecturer in physics at University of Western Sydney.
Photo: The Conversation AU

Federal Education and Training Minister Christopher Pyne today met with his state counterparts to confirm his proposal to make science and maths compulsory for year 11 and 12 students. This is to be applauded by the scientific community as a step in the right direction, as it will produce a more scientifically literate society at a time of rapid technological change.

It will enable Australia to remain highly competitive in the areas of science and technology in an environment where rapid technological change and development is taking place in the East Asian nations, who are our competitors in the international high technology markets.

Steady decline
Australian policy makers and governments have to be worried since the picture that has emerged in the international comparisons of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies are not very flattering. The Benchmarking Australian Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics report, released by Chief Scientist Ian Chubb in November 2014, revealed a decline in the participation rates of Australian year 12 students in the major scientific disciplines: physics, chemistry and biology.

What is even more worrying is the decline in Advanced and Intermediate Mathematics, which underpins university studies in the physical sciences, engineering and medicine...

Teaching the teachers
The issue facing Pyne at the moment is not the question of making mathematics compulsory for years 11 and 12 but ensuring that 100% of the teachers have the necessary qualifications and expertise in mathematics, physics and chemistry.

Unless the issue is solved we will be on a perpetual merry-go-round for the next ten years. 

Depending on the university, there is between 20 to 30% of HSC students enrolling in science and engineering programs without proper mathematics, physics and chemistry backgrounds.

This places a tremendous strain on university resources to get these students up to speed so that they can continue their studies and thus allow the universities to keep their retention rates high.

However, it is a job that can be done more cheaply in schools and thus save taxpayers' money.

Source: The Conversation AU

Complimentary White Paper - Microlearning: When Less is More

This white paper is written for Human Resources and Training departments, who are now central to the digital transformation of their organizations.

Download this White Paper

Challenged by the rapid developments in technology and the dramatic change in employees' habits and behaviors, HR and training managers must understand that they play a critical role in guiding and supporting their staff through the sociotechnological revolution facing their companies.

Clearly, the key to that is training. But what kind of training?

Corporate MOOCs, e-learning solutions... the "digitalization" of training is here to stay. But how this new "Connected Learner" behaves has yet to be fully understood - the one who wants to learn while he surfs online, who wants to find immediate answers to a Google search, who wants to have access to software and social networks on his PC, smartphone, and tablet... all without spending hours doing it.

Microlearning might be just the right answer.

Download this White Paper   


Household Robots Are Here, but Where Are They Going? by Dan Mitchell

Dan Mitchell, Guest Contributor writes, "Social robots like Amazon’s Echo can play music and tell you the weather today, but their real promise is potentially decades away."

Introducing Amazon Echo 

Social robots like the quasi-anthropomorphic Jibo and Amazon’s far more utilitarian Echo are beginning to find their places in our living rooms. The consensus seems to be that they are pretty cool but leave a lot to be desired. These robots perform a lot of the functions that smartphones and tablets do—which is to say, they’re fun but superfluous. They also need to get better at recognizing speech or reliably calling up requested information.

But focusing on what home robots can do now might be the wrong way to look at it. The more interesting question is, what will they be able to do in five years, or 10, or 50? All we know for sure is: a lot more than they do now.

“We have to remember that we’re in the very early stages,” says Maja Mataric, the founding director of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center at the University of Southern California. “But it’s only a matter of time until they’ll be capable of a whole spectrum of things”—for example, making dinner or tidying up a room.

We’re at such an early stage, in fact, that there’s not even agreement on what a “social robot” is, exactly. Jibo and Echo are both commonly referred to that way, but there are big differences between them. Jibo (which has so far been available only to “early adopters,” and will start shipping to consumers next year) is much more like what most people think of when they think of a robot—it’s animated and highly interactive. Echo is a monolith—a simple, sleek cylinder that mostly responds to commands. Jibo is cute, Echo is austere. Jibo is video-enabled, Echo is not. Jibo costs $749, Echo costs $199.

Jibo: The World's First Social Robot for the Home

But while Jibo can move, neither device is mobile, partly because there’s not yet any reason for them to be mobile. They can’t wash windows or make an omelet. “When they can do physical work, that will be much more compelling,” Mataric says. Roboticists hesitate to guess when that will happen. “Eventually, they’ll be able to make gumbo,” says Cynthia Matuszek, a robotics researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. But “multiple decades” is her closest guess to when that will be. In the meantime, social robots can perform fairly simple tasks, with varying degrees of success, in response to voice commands. Echo goes by the name “Alexa,” So you can say “Alexa, play the new Mumford & Sons album,” and it will do so. Or you can ask it for the weather forecast. Jibo, meanwhile, can engage in simple conversations, as it swivels and wriggles about and displays video images. It can teach kids languages, or, sitting on the kitchen counter, teach adults recipes.

Source: MIT Technology Review, amazon Channel (YouTube) and Jibo The World's First Social Robot for the Home Channel (YouTube)

3 Things To Remember When Creating On-Demand E-Learning

Follow on Twitter as @sameer_bhatia
"Learners want e-learning on their terms. Here’s how to make sure the results are on yours." reports Sameer Bhatia, founder and CEO of ProProfs, an e-learning company.

Photo: Chief Learning Officer

The e-learning market is growing apace, thanks to new technologies and trends like massive open online courses and mobile learning, as well as a desire for organizations — both educational institutions and companies — to get more for their money.

While most of the initial online courses and MOOCs were scheduled and moderated similar to a face-to-face course, today learners get more self-paced, on-demand e-learning options. 

A variety of factors are driving this trend, including:
  • A general move toward bite-sized learning activities 
  • An increased focus on just-in-time training and performance support 
  • A growing BYOD, or bring your own device, culture 
  • A need for people to learn more quickly 
  • An emphasis on personalized, rather than standardized, learning processes 
  • A consumer mindset that favors instant access
Many organizations today use e-learning for more than education and employee development. Colleges are producing MOOCs to boost awareness of their academic programs, and companies are using online courses for brand awareness and recruitment, improving customer relationships and more.

The overall effect of these forces combined is creating a system that provides learning opportunities for people where, when and how they want them. This movement is happening quickly: According to Docebo in March 2014, the worldwide market for self-paced e-learning is expected to increase 7.6 percent per year, hitting $51.5 billion by 2016.

While e-learning best practices apply whether the course is scheduled or self-paced and moderated or not, the new tools and technologies used today require more thought to the learning environment and the user experience. Below are three essential things to consider when designing modern, self-paced and on-demand e-learning.

Source: Chief Learning Officer

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Music in Philosophy by Ralph Blumenau

"What great thinkers said about great music." according to Ralph Blumenau lectures on the History of Philosophy at the University of the Third Age in London, and the author of  Philosophy and Living.

Today some universities have courses in the Philosophy of Music. They study such questions as: What is the definition of music? What makes us say that a particular set of sounds is music while another set of sounds is not? What is the relationship of music to the mind? How does music affect (a) our emotions, (b) our intellect? How can we evaluate the value of any given piece of music? What is the relationship between a piece of music and its performance? What do we mean when we say a piece of music is sad? Where does the ‘sadness’ reside? and so on. Such questions are treated in a highly technical way in, for example, the article ‘Philosophy of Music’ in the on-line Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. There we can see what issues about music are being debated by the current academic establishment.

That is not what I want to do in this article. This is historical, describing what some individual philosophers have said about music. I could not find any website that gives an account of how significant philosophical ideas about music have developed over time. That time seems to me to end with Friedrich Nietzsche, who died in 1900. Since then, it seems to me, no great name in philosophy has given music a significant place in his philosophy – although there are of course many lesser philosophers who are not (relatively) household names who are referred to in the Encyclopedia.

The other thing that struck me is the enormous time gap between, on the one hand, the two philosophers of antiquity, Pythagoras and Plato, who said something about the philosophy of music, and the topic being taken up again in the Eighteenth Century by Leibniz. So the bulk of this article will deal with a relatively short period, from about 1714 to about 1889, during which time famous names in philosophy – Leibniz, Kant, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche – concerned themselves with ideas about music.

But to begin with the ancients:

Read more... 

Additional resources

In this book Ralph Blumenau brings out for the non-specialist the bearing that thinkers of the past have on the way we live now...

Source: Philosophy Now 

Hong Kong students need inspiration, not more tests, to excel by Professor Sun Kwok

Photo: Sun Kwok
Professor Sun Kwok, dean of science of the University of Hong Kong looks at how HKU's science curriculum has been reformed to shift education away from rote and abstract learning, to instead create a passion for problem-solving and a wider world view. 

These reforms are based on the philosophy that university education is more than vocational training. Our goal is to provide a whole-person education. 
Photo: South China Morning Post

It is widely reported in the media that Hong Kong students excel in standard science and mathematics tests. For example, the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests 15-year-olds in many places, and Hong Kong students - along with those in Singapore, mainland China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea - always rank near the top.

It is widely reported in the media that Hong Kong students excel in standard science and mathematics tests. For example, the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests 15-year-olds in many places, and Hong Kong students - along with those in Singapore, mainland China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea - always rank near the top.
When I arrived in Hong Kong to become dean of science at the University of Hong Kong in 2006, I had high hopes, as HKU takes the top students in the city. I thought it would be a pleasant change from the university students I had been teaching in Canada for the previous 20-some years, as 
Canadian students usually performed less well in these standard tests.
Indeed, I have found that some Hong Kong students are the smartest and hardest-working students I have ever met. Some are highly motivated to succeed.
At the same time, I can't help noticing that they have been let down by the system. While Hong Kong students can calculate mathematical problems very quickly and accurately, they have no idea what maths is for.
To them, mathematics is just an abstract exercise unrelated to the real world. Their idea of maths is to mechanically and repeatedly grind through formulas. When asked what mathematics can do to solve problems around us, few can give any answers.
Similarly, science in secondary schools is taught in a segregated manner, and students cannot relate physics to chemistry to biology. Even fewer can relate these subjects to nature, our environment or our everyday lives. Students are very good at learning the abstract knowledge in books, but many fail to see the science present all around them.

Source: South China Morning Post 

5 Ancient Public Relations Secrets by Bryan Evans

Bryan Evans, PR practice area leader at Trellist Marketing and Technology writes, "The practice of public relations is not what it used to be, but history can teach us some important lessons."

Khafre's Pyramid (4th dynasty) and Great Sphinx of Giza (c. 2500 BC or perhaps earlier). 
Photo: Wikipedia

In the past, great care and effort went into crafting messages and pitch development. For example, when Julius Caesar wrote his compelling pitch in 50 B.C., his vivid portrayal of military exploits convinced the people of Rome that he was the best candidate to be head of state. When Cleopatra combined her fluent command of the Egyptian language and mathematics as a communications tactic, she improved relationships and restored economic instability in ancient Egypt. Today, the tides have changed as digital public relations professionals attempt to recreate this dynamic.

In 2015, news can be spread farther, faster, and more directly than any other time in history. The digital revolution—even over the past decade alone—has forever altered the practice of public relations. While some have yet to embrace the new rules of digital outreach, others have lost sight of the time-tested art of engagement that has been on display since antiquity. Perhaps the ability to strum the chords of human emotion through words and execution has gotten lost in the tombs of digital technology.

If you dig deep enough, you’ll find some interesting clues from the past that mirror what an effective public relations strategy should look like today. Want proof? Below are five essentials to successful public relations efforts that began in ancient times:


Source: Entrepreneur

The 2015 NMC Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education

Melbourne, Australia (May 28, 2015) -- The New Media Consortium (NMC) and Open Universities Australia (OUA) are releasing the 2015 NMC Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education at a special OUA roundtable of Australian tertiary education leaders. 

The fourth edition of this Australia-focused regional report describes findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. 

Download the report (PDF)

Ten key trends, ten significant challenges, and twelve important developments in technology are identified across three adoption horizons over the next five years, giving Australian university leaders, decision-makers, and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The report will provide these leaders with in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology for tertiary education institutions in Australia.  

Key Trends Accelerating Educational Technology Adoption in Australian Tertiary Education
These ten trends are identified as very likely to drive technology planning and decision-making over the next five years, and they were ranked in order of importance by the expert panel, with the first trend listed being deemed the most impactful.   

This year's key trends are: "Increasing Use of Hybrid/Blended Learning Designs," "Redesigning Learning Spaces," "Growing Focus on Measuring Learning," "Rethinking How Institutions Work," "Shift from Students as Consumers to Students as Creators," "Employment as the Definition of Successful Education," "Proliferation of Open Educational Resources (OER)," "Advancing Cultures of Change and Innovation," "Shift to Deeper Learning Approaches," and "Increasing Cross-Institution Collaboration."

The 2015 NMC Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.

About the New Media Consortium 
The New Media Consortium (NMC) is an international not-for-profit consortium of learning-focused organizations committed to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. For 22 years, the NMC and its members have dedicated themselves to exploring and developing potential applications of emerging technologies for teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.  
To learn more, visit

About Open Universities Australia 
Owned by seven of Australia's premier universities, Open Universities Australia (OUA) is the national leader in quality online tertiary education. Enrolling more than 250,000 students since 1993, OUA provides access to over 1700 units and 180 qualifications taught by more than 20 leading Australian universities and tertiary education providers. 
To learn more, visit

Source: New Media Consortium  

The mathematics of love by Hannah Fry

Mathematician Hannah Fry offers 3 compelling (and verifiable!) tips on finding the perfect mate. Watch her concepts come to life, when combined with the magic of Prezi.

Watch the Video

Using Prezi can make the ideas in TED Talks even more powerful. 

Hannah Fry: The Mathematics of Love
by Prezi Team

Source: Prezi

The 2015 NMC Technology Outlook for Higher Education in Ireland

The New Media Consortium (NMC), the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University, and the Irish Learning Technology Association are releasing the 2015 NMC Technology Outlook for Higher Education in Ireland at the 2015 EdTech Conference at the University of Limerick. 

Download the report (PDF)

This inaugural Ireland edition describes findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.

Ten key trends, ten significant challenges, and twelve important developments in technology are identified across three adoption horizons over the next five years, giving Irish higher education leaders, decision-makers, and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The report helps to provide these leaders with in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology for higher education institutions in Ireland. 

Key Trends Accelerating Educational Technology Adoption in Irish Higher Education
These ten trends are identified as very likely to drive technology planning and decision-making over the next five years, and they were ranked in order of importance by the expert panel, with the first trend listed being deemed the most impactful. 

The key trends are: "Rethinking the Roles of Educators," "Increasing Use of Hybrid/Blended Learning Designs," "Rise of Digital Delivery," "Shift from Students as Consumers to Students as Creators," "Growing Focus on Measuring Learning," "Redesigning Learning Spaces," "Increase in E-Portfolios Created by Learners," "Proliferation of Open Educational Resources," "Advancing Cultures of Change and Innovation," and "Increasing Preference for Personal Technology."

The 2015 NMC Technology Outlook for Higher Education in Ireland is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.   
Download the report (PDF) 

About the New Media Consortium  
The New Media Consortium (NMC) is an international not-for-profit consortium of learning-focused organizations committed to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. For 21 years, the NMC and its members have dedicated themselves to exploring and developing potential applications of emerging technologies for teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.   
To learn more, visit

About the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University
The National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) aims to be a world leader at the forefront of designing, implementing, and evaluating contemporary models of teaching and learning. It has a mission of transforming lives and societies through listening, linking, and leading for a better future. The NIDL is committed to providing strategic leadership, building strong communities of practice, and enabling and contributing to world-class research. It supports a comprehensive suite of professional development opportunities in digital learning, from workshops to advanced postgraduate study. 
To learn more about NIDL, visit

About the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA) The Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA) is an independent voluntary community of professionals committed to the development and exchange of knowledge by sharing expertise and the promotion of best practice in technology-enhanced learning in education. It achieves this by conducting and commissioning national research projects, hosting the annual EdTech national conference, publishing the open access TEL Ireland Journal, and co-sponsoring the Jennifer Burke Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning with DCU. 
To learn more about the ILTA, visit

Source: New Media Consortium  

Western Washington University to Host Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) Fair on May 30

Western Washington University Youth Programs invite families to join in on a variety of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities at their inaugural Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, in the Academic West building on Western’s campus.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is a great opportunity to learn about careers in STEM while supporting young female learners participating in Western’s Youth Programs this summer.

Photo: Wendy B. Lawrence
During the fair, there will be STEM demonstrations every 30 minutes, including a presentation from astronaut Wendy Lawrence, a marine life touch tank, robotics, a science photo booth and more. The GEMS Fair will also feature a silent auction and prize table. All proceeds from the auction will support young women participating in Western Youth Programs this summer.

Related link 
Wendy B. Lawrence (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Source: Western Washington University

Illinois Teachers Get Raspberry Pi Training to Offer Computer Science Skills to More Students

Two More Teacher Workshops in June; Student Design Competition this Fall

A new program sponsored by the Illinois IT Learning Exchange and spearheaded by CompTIA and its philanthropic arm, the Creating IT Futures Foundation, aims to make classroom-based technology more accessible and fun for teachers and students alike. The Exchange is teaching Raspberry Pi technology to teachers across Illinois to help them offer basic computer science education and skills to their students.

The Illinois IT Learning Exchange is an online public/private network to share resources and knowledge about information technology (IT) learning, jobs and careers with high school and community college students. In partnership with IL State Board of Education and IT industry groups, the Exchange seeks to promote academic and work-based technical learning to prepare more students for IT careers.

The Exchange's Raspberry Pi project has a two-fold goal — one, to organize professional development workshops for IL teachers  to help them better understand Raspberry Pi technology and use it in their classrooms, and two, to facilitate competitions to encourage student innovation and problem solving. Raspberry Pi is a palm-sized, single-board computer developed by a non-profit foundation in the United Kingdom. Costing less than $50 each, millions of Raspberry Pis have been sold worldwide and are making their small-but-powerful presence known in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — educational circles.

So far this year, the Illinois IT Learning Exchange facilitated several professional development workshops for high school teachers to help them become more familiar with Raspberry Pi technology. The full-day training includes creating a web server or website, using peripheral devices such as a camera and sensor, developing a python coding program, and brainstorming classroom activities. Teachers receive a free Raspberry Pi starter kit. The professional development workshop is offered free of charge to IL teachers, who also earn continuing education credits for attending.

"We want teachers to feel comfortable with the Raspberry Pi so they will use the devices in their classrooms and after-schools clubs, thereby increasing students' interest in the technology and creative problem-solving," said Joan Matz, senior grants manager, workforce development programs, Creating IT Futures Foundation. 


About the Creating IT Futures Foundation 
The Creating IT Futures Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at

About CompTIA
CompTIA is the voice of the world's IT industry. Its members are the companies at the forefront of innovation; and the professionals responsible for maximizing the benefits organizations receive from their investments in technology. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications and public policy advocacy. 
To learn more visit CompTIA online, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Source: PR Newswire (press release)