news (external)

With Project Torino, Microsoft creates a physical programming language inclusive of visually impaired children

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2017-06-28 02:05

by Allison Linn, Microsoft

The team has created what they are calling a physical programming language. It’s a way for kids to physically create code by connecting pods together to build programs. The system, called Project Torino, is designed to make sure that kids who have visual impairments or other challenges can participate in coding classes along with all their classmates. But Cecily Morrison, one of the researchers working on the project, is hoping the system also will be appealing and useful for all learners, regardless of whether they have visual impairments or other challenges. “One of our key design principles was inclusion.” The ultimate goal is even more ambitious: To get more kids with visual impairments and other challenges, such as dyslexia or autism, on the path to becoming software engineers and computer scientists.

https://blogs.microsoft.com/next/2017/03/15/project-torino-microsoft-creates-physical-programming-language-inclusive-visually-impaired-children/

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Wearables Market Continues Kick in First Quarter

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Wed, 2017-06-28 02:03

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

During 1Q17 both Xiaomi and Apple shipped 3.6 million wearable devices (with a slight bump by Xiaomi over Apple), compared to Fitbit’s 3 million, IDC reported. Korean behemoth Samsung came in fourth with 1.4 million shipments. The overall wearables market grew by almost 18 percent year over year, compared to 17 percent last quarter. Currently, producers are still “seeding wearables” in the market, added Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. “It’s all about getting people accustomed to the idea of wearing a device.” The next stage “will be all about putting user data to good use,” he said. “This is when step counts translate into healthier hearts and minds. And it’s also when we will start to see devices that actually augment our abilities and make our lives easier or more productive rather than just being another screen we keep an eye on.”

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/06/07/wearables-market-continues-kick-in-first-quarter.aspx

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Existence Proof

xkcd.com - Wed, 2017-06-28 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Daring to Learn How to Learn

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Tue, 2017-06-27 15:33

Sandra Milligan, University of Melbourne, Jun 27, 2017

Oh how education researchers love their taxonomies. But the five-level classification is the least interesting part of this article (though it will probably be immortalized as "Milligan's Levels" or some such thing). Here's the gist: "learners with lower levels of learning expertise are likely to be passive in their behaviour....  Expert learners, by contrast, are likely to scan different sources of information, seeking out a range of potential sources of learning in the environment." I wish the article had linked to the actual research; the staff page doesn't reveal a lot, and previous publications (here and here) offer only hints and the thesis outline here.

[Link] [Comment]

20 essential apps to include in online courses

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-06-27 02:10

BY MERIS STANSBURY, eCampus News

Online learning apps are broken down into specific categories to maximize production and streamline online communication. Technology and its potential to simplify life for its users can be a beautiful thing, which can be seen in the example of providing online learning for students. But, unless you have the right technology to streamline tasks and aid in learning, going online for education can also be a nightmare. According to U.S. News & World Report, the average online student often takes online courses due to an already hectic life. Luckily, “there is no shortage of mobile apps that can help online students stay productive.”

https://www.ecampusnews.com/curriculum/apps-include-online-learning/

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Techies Find Online Training More Effective Than Offline: Study

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-06-27 02:05

by CXOtoday

Skill development and learning is the key for all level of employees in today’s dynamic technology and business scenario. However, employees are not keen to go through traditional learning program because of several reasons such as paucity of time, ineffective teaching, boredom etc. This is where online learning can play a major role. 97 percent of IT professionals believe in the importance of building one’s technology skills and 74 percent of them have undergone learning programs in 2016, according to a study commissioned by digital learning platform, Pluralsight, which finds that 69 percent of Indian IT professionals believe that online learning is a more effective learning method than offline training. 90 percent of IT organizations are gamifying learning, it added.

http://www.cxotoday.com/story/techies-believe-online-training-more-effective-than-offline-study/

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Spoiler Alert: Millennials Can’t Get Enough of Social Media

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Tue, 2017-06-27 02:04

by eMarketer

A new study from private software research company Qualtrics and venture capital firm Accel looked at how plugged in to social media internet users in North America, the UK and Australia really are. It found that many millennials haven’t gone more than five hours without checking social media. Internet Users in Australia, North America and the UK Who Haven’t Gone 5 Hours Without Social Media, by Generation, Nov 2016 (% of respondents in each group). In fact, 42% of millennial respondents said they hadn’t lasted five hours without checking their feeds. (Time spent sleeping was excluded from the survey.) And unsurprisingly, millennials were less able to refrain from social media than their older counterparts. Just over one-quarter (26%) of Gen Xers hadn’t gone five hours without social media, while 29% of baby boomers said the same.

https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Spoiler-Alert-Millennials-Cant-Enough-of-Social-Media/1015995?ecid=NL1001

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Distinctively human?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-06-26 20:43

Matthias Melcher, x28's new Blog, Jun 26, 2017

Matthias Melcher makes a good point. "  Only standardized, easily assessable learning can be optimized, and in particular, content knowledge is the ideal example...  But jobs that only rely on such content storage, are probably the first to be eliminated." 

[Link] [Comment]

HowToons

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-06-26 13:47

Various authors, Jun 26, 2017

The people at O'Reilly write, "this is brilliant! An amazing kit in the mail each month, with an interesting project each time. It's given me some priceless moments with my nephew. They're not so long that the kid loses interest, nor so mundane that you lose interest." The kits contain basic materials and comic-style instructions and you can build things like toy guitars, cars, and whatnot. Doing this is a subscription box is a good idea, and I like the hands-on element. Related: CS Unplugged teaches children computer science without a computer "through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around."

[Link] [Comment]

Data Visualization Pitfalls to Avoid

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Mon, 2017-06-26 13:40

Tamara Munzner, University of British Columbia, Jun 26, 2017

This is a really interesting slide deck (63 page PDF) on some topics in data visualization. It breaks roughly into three parts. The first is a survey of data visualization techniques, with a focus on different visualization tools or elements. The second focuses on colour ("The first rule of colour: don't talk about colour.") The third looks at the use of 3D data visualizations (general rule: don't use 3D data visualizations). Not to be missed by anyone working in big data or human-computer interaction. Related: Bad design of everyday things. Also related: data journalism in broadcast news and video.

[Link] [Comment]

How the Amazon Echo Show Will Revolutionize Higher Education

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-06-26 02:10

By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

I’m here to confidently predict that Amazon’s $229.99 Echo Show will revolutionize higher education. With the Echo Show, higher education will finally be able to: Allow students to ‘drop in’ with their professors using the video chat feature from the professors home, 24/7/365. Lower educational costs, by replacing ‘live’ adjunct faculty in classrooms with instructors teaching across multiple campus locations via the Echo Show from locations with lower faculty labor costs. Shift our Massively Open Online Course participation from computers, iPads, and phones – and to the Echo Show.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/how-amazon-echo-show-will-revolutionize-higher-education

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The Tech You Need for an Online Degree

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-06-26 02:05

by Toro Magazine

Online courses have really taken off. More students are now actively going for the best online courses they can find instead of the equivalent offline programs. Aside from the online programs’ flexibility, you can also save a lot on relocating closer to the university and other expenses. To have a great time pursuing an online degree such as an online master of science in electrical engineering, you need the right tools for the job. This means shopping for new gadgets for the course. Summer is always a good time to get the tech you need for an online degree, thanks to the wealth of new options to choose from.

http://toromagazine.com/lifestyle/tech/20170605/the-tech-you-need-for-an-online-degree

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The 9 Best Free Online Big Data And Data Science Courses

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Mon, 2017-06-26 02:02

by Bernard Marr, Forbes

Demand for skilled data scientists continues to be sky-high, with IBM recently predicting that there will be a 28% increase in the number of employed data scientists in the next two years. Businesses in all industries are beginning to capitalize on the vast increase in data and the new technologies becoming available for analyzing and gaining value from it. This makes it a great prospect for anyone looking for a well-paid career in an exciting and cutting-edge field. There are also a large number of free online courses and tutorials which a motivated individual could use as a springboard into a rewarding and lucrative career.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2017/06/06/the-9-best-free-online-big-data-and-data-science-courses/#3c79ae3943cd

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Telephoto

xkcd.com - Mon, 2017-06-26 02:00
Categories: Cartoons, Science News

Khan Academy Launches Financial Literacy Video Series for College Grads, Job Seekers

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-06-25 02:09

By Campus Technology

Khan Academy, an online learning platform used by more than 100 million learners worldwide, has added education content that aims to teach new college grads, job seekers and young professionals how to manage their money. In a new video series on careers and personal finance, 20- and 30-year-old professionals working across special education, the music industry and other fields openly discuss their career choices and disclose their incomes and budgets. The series is available now on KhanAcademy.org for free

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/06/07/khan-academy-launches-financial-literacy-video-series-for-college-grads-and-job-seekers.aspx

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New Analytics Tool Tracks Cheating Patterns for Online Testing

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-06-25 02:05

By Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Online proctoring and identity verification company Examity today launched examiDATA, a data platform designed to “aggregate and analyze information on test performance and academic integrity.” The tool examines information from hundreds of thousands of students at colleges and universities across the country to discern test-taking patterns, measure the rate of test-taking violations and help institutions benchmark against their peers, according to the company. Cheating information is broken down by category, such as tuition level, type of school and department of study.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/06/08/new-analytics-tool-tracks-cheating-patterns-for-online-testing.aspx

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Hey Higher Ed, Why Not Focus On Teaching?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sun, 2017-06-25 02:03

by ERIC WESTERVELT, NPRed

Stanford physics and education professor Carl Wieman won a Nobel Prize for his innovative, break-through work in quantum mechanics. Wieman’s message, as we’ve reported here and here, is bold: Too many undergraduate programs fail to focus on teaching effectiveness or even bother to try to measure it. As he sees it, undergraduate Higher Ed still worships at the old false idol called the Big Lecture and doesn’t seem to want to ask whether it’s working. His solution: Systemically improve teaching through methods that have become known as active learning. Wieman’s been interested in effective teaching strategies for years. He argues that a well implemented active learning approach can substantially improve understanding and retention of the material and boost attendance and course satisfaction, among other improvements.

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/06/07/530909736/hey-higher-ed-why-not-focus-on-teaching

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Give Teachers Credit: They Know Learning Is Social

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2017-06-24 14:00

Brad Spirrison, EdSurge, Jun 24, 2017

This post in EdSurge reads like they said "yes" to one of those emails offering free articles for their website. It has nothing to do with whether learning is social (aside from ridiculous statements like "the ability to harness ideas they learn from peers") and is mostly a   paean to the poisonous startup culture: "As more individuals organically buy into the movement, a second layer of investors, opportunists and outright charlatans get involved...  This is also a very good thing. Railroads, telephone networks and the internet could not have been built without financial and emotional excess." Ridiculous. The scammers and charlatans aren't builders. They're parasites. I think EdSurge would do best to keep its distancce from them.

[Link] [Comment]

Will Free Community College Really Help Low-Income Students?

OLDaily by Stephen Downes - Sat, 2017-06-24 13:38

Kate Schwass, Education Next, Jun 24, 2017

Whenever I read an article arguing against providing a benefit to poor people I look for the hidden agenda, and in this article I find it in the fact that the author is an  executive director for CollegeSpring. We are told by Education Next that it "helps students from low-income backgrounds pursue college degrees" but in fact it's a test-preparation service. So why would they care? "Free tuition will likely motivate more low-income students to enroll in community college." And they don't need test-prep to do that. And if they  do  decide to go on to university-level studies (as happens a lot in Canada) their (free) college will give them a back-up career and much better prospects in their SATs. What we  don't need are test-prep services siphoning money from the poor.

[Link] [Comment]

Our college students are changing. Why aren’t our higher education policies?

Online learning update by Ray Schroeder - Sat, 2017-06-24 02:10

by Peter McPherson, Washington Post

College students are now more likely to work, have family commitments and come from low-income backgrounds than in earlier generations. As the profile of college students continues to evolve, many institutions are adjusting and must continue to do so. Federal and state higher education policy must also change to meet these students’ unique needs and help them succeed. Unfortunately, the conventional wisdom about so-called traditional college students has proven stubbornly persistent. More than a quarter of college students have children, while an untold number are caregivers for other loved ones such as ill parents or elderly grandparents. Students are also more mobile than ever. More than half of bachelor’s degree recipients attend more than one institution before graduating.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/our-college-students-are-changing-why-arent-our-higher-education-policies/2017/06/06/1fc0e37c-3678-11e7-b412-62beef8121f7_story.html

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