news (external)

7 tech innovations that are drastically changing the way people learn

by LUCAS MILLER, the Next Web

When we discuss technology innovations, we usually focus on the ways that new tech is making our lives easier. While this is certainly a great perk of technology, it also causes us to overlook an even better benefit of the new innovations and developments we see on a daily basis: how technology is improving learning. Both inside and outside the classroom, the following tech innovations are having a drastic impact on the way people learn, helping to change education for the better.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_35401') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_35401') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_35401') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_35401'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_35401') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

On-Demand Learning – in an On-Demand World

By Ben Henderson, eLearning Inside

Within the e-Learning industry, we are familiar with buzz words and fancy expressions which aim to revitalize old ideas and learning concepts. Be it ‘flipping the classroom’ or ‘gamify learning’, these seemingly new notions crop up every so often, convincing L&D departments that this is the method which will finally make compliance training exciting and engaging. So is ‘on-demand learning’ the new kid at school, or is there actually substance and value in the concept from an L&D perspective? During the last educational technology event I attended, I heard a learning platform company referring to themselves as the ‘Netflix of learning’. ‘This sounds great’, I initially thought. Most of us are familiar with Netflix and its personalized dashboard, customized to our own desires and available anytime, anywhere. I instantly thought that from an engagement point of view, branding a learning platform in a similar way to Netflix was a clever (but potentially deceptive) idea, but is it any more effective than a standard LMS in disseminating learning content?

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_35391') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_35391') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_35391') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_35391'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_35391') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

eLearning Helps Classes Stay on Track During Hurricane Season

By Cait Etherington, eLearning Inside

Just as some schools located in northern regions of the nation have started to replace snow days with virtual school days, in the South, a growing number of public schools, colleges and universities are relying on eLearning to keep classes on schedule even during weather crises. This year, as the region is devastated by a series of hurricanes, eLearning is already proving critical.  The Kingwood area north of Houston was slammed by Harvey, but it was the runoff from the storm that caused the most damage. In fact, the Lone Star College system has closed its Kingwood campus and doesn’t expect it to be back up and running for two months. Despite this, Lone Star College remains in full operation.  The Lone Star College system’s chancellor, Steve Head, told Inside Higher Education that more than 35,000 of the system’s nearly 90,000 students are already enrolled in online courses: “We’re very technologically advanced here.

eLearning Helps Classes Stay on Track During Hurricane Season

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_35381') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_35381') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_35381') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_35381'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_35381') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Bell Calls for CRTC-Backed Website Blocking System and Complete Criminalization of Copyright in NAFTA

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2017-09-23 18:29

Michael Geist, Sept 23, 2017

To understand why Bell is calling for ISPs to block infringing sites without any sort of judicial review (and to criminalize commercial copyright infringement) we need to understand that the telecom company is also a content publisher, Bell Media, owning dozens of television stations, radio stations and websites. As Michael Geist argues, "the company’s position as a common carrier representing the concerns of ISPs and their subscribers is long over." This is why carriers and content providers should be separate companies. The carrier should not be responsible for enforcing censorship, especially when the carrier has its own content it is trying to sell. These proposals are about eliminating competition, in my view, and have nothinbg to do with protecting content creators or fostering innovation.

[Link] [Comment]

The Media Has A Probability Problem

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2017-09-23 16:24

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight, Sept 23, 2017

This is an excellent article, and while Nate Silver talks about presidential elections, the article really has nothing to do with them. And, interestingly, it begins with hurricane forecasting. The article is an extended discussion of probability that should be required reading for any educator or journalist. The presentations of alternatives as simple on-off or right-wrong decisions is a misrepresentation of a complex world. "properly measuring the uncertainty is at least as important a part of the forecast as plotting the single most likely course." And "most experts — including most journalists — make overconfident forecasts." Things to remember when reading my work, or anyone's.

[Link] [Comment]

ABC – Taking African scholarly books to the world

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2017-09-23 15:50

Justin Cox, University World News, Sept 23, 2017

After the collapse of its traditonal business in 2007, African Book Collective (ABC) bounced back as a virtual bookseller. "Rather than restricting access it placed the books in as many channels as it could find. In print the books were published in paperback so prices remained competitive... Discoverability drives sales and access can drive sales of printed books; one channel has not consumed another and the market for African published scholarship is healthy." This is having a beeficial effect generally. "Research output in Africa is on the increase.... By working together to bring down the barriers of access to scholarly books in Africa they can fill an important gap in the market and increase their own options."

[Link] [Comment]

Forecast for eLearning

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2017-09-23 02:07

by PiWorld

One trend in eLearning involves the incorporation of video, and this practice will continue to grow. While informal online video-based learning has been taking place for as long as there have been online videos, the goal of formal eLearning approaches is to incorporate video-based content in structured training frameworks. Another trend in online learning involves compatibility with mobile devices. Mobile learning, or mLearning, has been a buzzword for a number of years, and a study by predicts that this segment of the online learning market should grow to $37.60 billion by 2020 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.3%. A related trend takes advantage of mobile-enabled virtual reality (VR) systems. A final burgeoning practice in eLearning involves the incorporation of “Big Data” to provide increased personalization.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_35371') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_35371') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_35371') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_35371'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_35371') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

How to Fulfill the Promise of Online Education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2017-09-23 02:04

by JANE S. SHAW, the Spectator

Many colleges and universities have hired private companies to build and operate their online education programs. Firms such as Academic Programs, 2U, Coursera, the College Network, and Pearson work quietly behind the scenes to convert traditional courses to online formats, recruit students, follow up with students, and even supply courses. They are known as online program managers (OPMs). The Century Foundation, an explicitly progressive organization, recently expressed concern about these relationships. Its report, authored by Margaret Mattes, was based on reviews of 117 contracts between nonprofit schools (mostly public universities) and private OPMs. She concluded the companies provide “services so intertwined with the actual teaching and learning” that they may undermine the independence of the universities.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_35361') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_35361') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_35361') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_35361'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_35361') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Online enrollment a key to UNA’s future

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2017-09-23 02:03

by Times-Daily
The number of students taking at least one class at the University of North Alabama this fall will be lower for the first time in three years. The loss appears to be in the freshman class. With semester enrollment set to be frozen today, Ron Patterson, vice president over enrollment management, reported Wednesday the preliminary numbers indicate there will be 7,388 enrolled this semester. That’s 129 less than the final enrollment count for the fall semester a year ago (7,517), or a 1.7 percent decline.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_35351') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_35351') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_35351') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_35351'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_35351') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Clickbait and impact: how academia has been hacked

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-22 17:18

Portia Roelofs, Max Gallien, LSE Impact Blog, Sept 22, 2017

I am sometimes challenged to distinguish between networks and marketplaces, and in particular, to explain why advocacy of networks isn't the same as advocacy of libertarianism. My response points to cases of network failure, showing that scale should not dominate, but rather, should be limited, so that other principles prevail. I reference two cases here where this applies. The first is a Washington Post article showing how libertarianism is distinct from meritocracy. Libertarianism enables prejudices, such as preferences for race, pretty people, or relatives, to prevail. The second, from the London School of economics, shows how academic merit has been 'hacked': "When academia is... framed as a confrontation, it favours confrontational people. This has gendered and racialised effects." The marketplace is defined by mass; the laws of supply and demand are laws of mass. But mass fails. Merit and impact are not determined by mass effects. They are determined by relationships. Both items via Daily Nous.

[Link] [Comment]

When College Students Don’t Understand the Concept of Free Speech

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-22 17:00

Chester E. Finn, Education Next, Sept 22, 2017

Americans can govern themselves however they want, of course, but they like to export ideas like 'freedom of speech', and when the content of this export is pernicious, it becomes necessary to respond. This is the case here with Chester E. Finn. He takes pains to make it clear that "Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…" and then argues that students don't understand this principle. In particular, he finds it offensive that the majority of the students find it acceptable that "a student group opposed to the speaker disrupts the speech by loudly and repeatedly shouting so that the audience cannot hear the speaker." The freedom of speech does not require that I sit quietly and listen to attestations of hate. It entitles me to rise up and shout against it. And common decency requires that I do so.

[Link] [Comment]


OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-22 16:56

Sept 22, 2017

This is similar to the Jupyter Notebook, except for data. Also, the open source notebook is available online as a no-signing way to play with your data. "If your data is in a CSV, JSON, or XLSX file, loading it is as simple as dropping the file into Franchise. We run a version of the SQLite engine in your browser, so all processing happens locally." I really like this. This item and the next via O'Reilly,

[Link] [Comment]

Distributed deep neural networks over the cloud, the edge, and end devices

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-22 16:50

Adrian Colyer, The Morning Paper, Sept 22, 2017

The next step: "DDNNs partition networks between mobile/embedded devices, cloud (and edge)... What’s new and very interesting here though is the ability to aggregate inputs from multiple devices (e.g., with local sensors) in a single model, and the ability to short-circuit classification at lower levels in the model." Eacj of these two things is equally important. The network is distributed, and the objects described by the network are not the same as the objects escribed by individual members of the network. This article goes into a lot of detail about how they're built and how they function. "By combining multiple viewpoints we can increase the classification accuracy at both the local and cloud level by a substantial margin when compared to the individual accuracy of any device." Original paper (12 page PDF).

[Link] [Comment]

Why Books Will Always Matter

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-22 16:29

Lisa Lucas, The Scholarly Kitchen, Sept 22, 2017

It's no surprise to me that the Executive Director for the National Book Foundation would offer a spirited defense of books. “They connect us to one another," she says. "They make people who are not like us more human.” But I find it ironic that this short video would give me more of a glimpse into who Lisa Lucas is and what she's like than any book she's ever written. New media gives us a reach books never did - both as readers and writers. 

[Link] [Comment]

10 Current and Emerging Trends in Adult Learning

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Fri, 2017-09-22 14:56

Tom Vander Ark, Education Next, Sept 22, 2017

We are given two sets of ten: first, ten trends in adult learning, which are dated and not worth the effort to read. And more interestingly, ten future trends. It cites the 2017 New Horizon higher education report, but doesn't repeat the predictions. Especially interesting is the prediction of the rise of national service universities citing a presentation from ASU president Michael Crow from last May. "Putting knowledge at the core, Crow described five realms of learning, think of them as developmental phases that HigherEd is going through. Most of HigherEd is migrating from Realm 1 to Realm 2 with experiments in Realm 3 (think MOOCs)." Realm 5 is "infinitely scalable learning".

[Link] [Comment]

US Dept of Ed approves sale of Kaplan to Purdue

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2017-09-22 02:15

by Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive

The U.S. Department of Education has approved the sale of Kaplan University to Purdue University — a controversial transaction which came with a $1 price tag and allows the Kaplan company to still maintain administrative control, while potentially reaping profits. The department also gave its blessing on the sale of for-profit Art Institutes, which Buzzfeed calls “much murkier” because the buyer, the Dream Center, is “a tiny, inexperienced nonprofit.” These approvals are a good sign for the rest of the industry, as more for-profit institutions consider converting to non-profits as a way to revive the struggling institutions.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_35331') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_35331') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_35331') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_35331'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_35331') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Federal Audit Challenges Faculty Role at WGU

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2017-09-22 02:11

By Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

Education Department’s inspector general labels Western Governors as a correspondence-course provider, seeks reimbursement of $713 million in aid and may broadly threaten competency-based education. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General has released the results of a much anticipated high-stakes audit of Western Governors University, with negative findings that could threaten the large online university and, more broadly, the growing field of competency-based education. Citing concerns about an inadequate faculty role — which the competency-based university contests — the inspector general called for the department to make WGU pay back at least $713 million in federal financial aid.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_35499') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_35499') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_35499') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_35499'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_35499') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Survey of Tech in Education Finds Mixed Results

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Fri, 2017-09-22 02:06

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

If you’re trying to hunt down research to justify the use of technology in the classroom or argue against it, a working paper may provide you with information you need. “Education Technology: An Evidence-Based Review,” published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), takes a global view in examining how technology can be used to support K–12 and post-secondary education. The goal? To figure out what the literature says overall about causal effects or lack thereof in four areas.

Share on Facebook var button = document.getElementById('facebook_share_link_35341') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_icon_35341') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_both_35341') || document.getElementById('facebook_share_button_35341'); if (button) { button.onclick = function(e) { var url = this.href.replace(/share\.php/, 'sharer.php');,'sharer','toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436'); return false; } if ( === 'facebook_share_button_35341') { button.onmouseover = function(){'#fff'; = '#295582'; = '#3b5998'; } button.onmouseout = function(){ = '#3b5998'; = '#d8dfea'; = '#fff'; } } }

Losing out on learning: Action to ensure refugee children get an education

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2017-09-21 22:49

Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly, World Education Blog, Sept 21, 2017

According to this article, "More than half of all the refugee children in the world – 3.5 million – are not in school. In the last year alone refugee children have missed more than 700 million days of school, with this figure increasing by 1.9 million days every day." I have two views that have become more firm over the last few years: first, we should use the means at our disposal, including digital media, to ensure refugees do not miss out on an education; and second, we should not use refugee populations to experiment on or to promote our favourite learning theories. 

[Link] [Comment]

Educators Should Steal Google’s Secret About Creativity

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Thu, 2017-09-21 20:19

Matt Presser, Education Week, Sept 21, 2017

"When we give our students real responsibility to tackle problems connected to their interests, they flourish." So says Matt Presser in this article. I think he maybe should have said "authority" instead of "responsibility" (students are quite used to being held responsible for the failures of those in authority). But the point is clear enough, and the substance of a valuable idea (which has been asserted many times in these pages and elsewhere) shines through. I can't be as enthusiastic about the rest of the article. I'm not sure schools should be learning lessons from Google - at least, not until the antitrust and discrimination lawsuits are settled. And while "a young men’s fraternity" at a high school may well have been inspired by Google, I'm not sure it's either innovative for forward-looking. Nor are, say, field trips. Oh, and Google ended the 20% program cited here back in 2013. Matt Presser seems to be working for the right things, but there's that whole "I'm from Google/Yale/Harvard and I've figured it out" attitude that can at times strike readers as really tone-deaf. As in this instance.

[Link] [Comment]


Subscribe to Ulrich Schrader's Website aggregator

Creative Commons License
All content on the site authored by Ulrich Schrader is licensed under a Creative Commons-License. Other licenses may apply for other authors.
Creative Commons explained

User login