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Saturday, March 25, 2017

SA-made solution helps Maths and Science students achieve good results | The South African

Photo: Caryn Edwards
"All you need is a cellphone." says Caryn Edwards, Author at The South African.

Top quality Maths and Science teaching is now available to South African students, offline through their cell phones.

Photo: Youtube / The Paper Video Subject Maps

For the first time, no matter where a student lives or what their economic situation may be, Grade 8 and 9 students can turn their cell phone into an experienced teacher in key subjects – without the internet or data.

This innovation, called Subject Maps has come about through a partnership of Paper Video and the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA). It is a response to the dire state of Maths and Science education in SA, particularly in under-resourced schools.

It works by allowing students access through their own cell phones to professional video lessons for every topic in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Accounting in Grades 8 and 9...

Check out the video that explains the concept below:


Source: The South African

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Summer courses open new doors to learning | The Seattle Times

"Get a jump on credits, hone professional skills or pursue a new passion." inform UW Summer Quarter.

Photo: University of Washington

Summer in Seattle is boundless with possibility. Opportunities to learn, grow and experience new things are all around us. And while the allure of paddleboard lessons on Lake Washington is an obvious option, the idea of returning to school for the summer may not be the first idea that pops into your head. But maybe it should. 

Summer classes are a perfect opportunity for high school students eager to earn college credit to get a head start. Already a college student? Knock out a prereq or catch up on credits. International students visiting Seattle can immerse themselves in the academic life. And for working adults who want to hone their professional skills or expand their horizons, summer offers many options.

Whatever your goals, there’s no shortage of topics to whet your intellectual appetite. You might study African-American history or bone up on the ancient Romans. Follow the sagas of the Vikings or learn entrepreneurism. Tackle architecture or delve into digital cities. Explore sculpting, study film theory, dive into marine biology.

At the University of Washington, UW Summer Quarter throws opens the doors to all comers. A special open enrollment policy means that anyone – enrolled student or not – can take a class at UW during the summer. UW Summer Quarter offers almost 2,000 classes in more than 100 fields of study – both on-campus and online.

UW Summer Quarter also offers in-depth options that extend beyond a single class. This summer, those include two certificate courses: Business Essentials of Tribal Gaming and Hospitality Management, and Database Management. Taught by industry professionals, these résumé-boosting certificates offer the chance build your skills while earning full-fledged UW credit.

If languages are more to your liking, UW Summer Quarter has you covered with its renowned Intensive Foreign Language Courses. Whether you aspire to travel overseas or complete a foreign language requirement, these classes pack a year’s worth of learning into nine weeks of study. Professors and instructors teach a wide variety of different languages, from Chinese to Modern Greek, Swahili to Spanish.

The intensive format “creates a better learning community,” says Professor Ana González Doboa, who directs the Spanish language program at UW. Spanish intensive students attend classes three hours a day, five days a week – and are expected to spend another three hours a day on homework. That demanding schedule promotes faster progress than traditionally paced courses, says Doboa. Students also benefit from smaller class sizes and exposure to teachers who hail from Spain, Mexico, Chile, Peru and beyond.
Read more... 

Source: The Seattle Times

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Building the library of the future | Research Information

Predicting the future is notoriously difficult, writes Keith Webster, Dean of Libraries at Carnegie Mellon University.


The array of forces that impact upon the library’s operating environment makes any modelling of transformation during the coming years an almost impossible task. The political and economic forces that drive the functions and finances of parent institutions, the imperative for commercial publishers to meet investor’s demands for earnings per share growth, technological advances from Silicon Valley and beyond, are all part of the world in which the library will have to flourish.

What we can do, however, is look at trends and consider how best to take advantage of these to develop a library that is positioned for success tomorrow. A glance at the world of the academic library in 2017 reveals a few key themes that are conditioning professional practice, resource allocation, and investment priorities. These include the creation of advanced learning environments for students, an increasing move towards a global, distributed collection of information resources, the deployment of tools and technologies required to curate the evolving scholarly record, and a growing expectation of both domain and methodological expertise among recruits to the library profession.

Against this backdrop, in its strategic plan to 2025, Carnegie Mellon University announced its intention to create a 21st century library that serves as a cornerstone of world-class research and scholarship. While a large part of our vision is built upon a large-scale shift to digital forms of content, and web-based services, we are certain that the library will remain a vital presence on campus...

21st-century library spaces for 21st-century learners
Today, many universities are building new, or remodelling old, libraries to meet demands for serious space – learning environments that support interactions with information in a variety of forms. The design of the contemporary library draws heavily upon the space reallocation made possible by advanced storage retrieval systems (bookBots) and the transfer to offsite storage of lesser-used collections, freeing up space to meet student demand. While today’s libraries are busier than ever, few students make extensive use of traditional offerings such as lending collections and reference services.

Libraries will continue to be recognised as a place of research and learning for the entire university community, at the heart of the campus-based experience. They will provide an array of spaces to meet a variety of learning needs: individual and group study, collaboration and fabrication spaces, active learning studios, and an array of specialist learning technologies. As access to the contemporary scholarly record in digital form becomes universal, libraries will create specialised facilities for the special collections and archives which distin guish most clearly one library from another. On many campuses, libraries will also serve as an academic commons, providing an opportunity for faculty and students to interact across disciplinary boundaries, and in a space that reflects the diversity of the university community.

Source: Research Information 

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Watch the First Ever Music Video Created Using Artificial Intelligence | Noiseporn

"The first video created using Google’s artificial intelligence technology has arrived." according to Noiseporn.
Ben Zaidi’s “Who Did I Think I Was” is the first-ever music video created by Google’s DeepDream technology, which was just made public in 2016. The video, shot and edited by two Visual and Environmental Studies students at Harvard University, took over a year to complete and was created frame-by-frame.

Ben Zaidi – Who Did I Think I Was. (Official Video


The stunning result, processed with the DeepDream software, uses a specific type of artificial intelligence known as “neural networks.” In basic terms, the software mimics the working process of a human brain’s neurons and is capable of learning patterns. DeepDream’s software was “taught” different styles of rendering photos by feeding it images from Google’s servers.

Zaidi’s “Who Did I Think I Was” switches between various sets of patterns that work in contrast against each other to reflect a crisis of identity. But Zaidi’s artistic identity seems to be far from in crisis.
Read more... 

Source: Noiseporn and Ben Zaidi Channel (YouTube)

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The myth of learning styles | Patheos

Photo: Gene Edward Veith
"You know how some people are “right brained” and other people are “left brained”?" notes Edward Veith, writer and a retired English professor and college administrator. He is the author of over 20 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

Photo: Allan Ajifo [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

And how children are either auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learners?  And how they learn best if they are taught according to their particular learning style?

Well, none of that is true!  That educational fad of a few years ago has been thoroughly discredited by scientific research.  And yet teachers, curriculum, and teacher education courses are still teaching it.

A group of neuroscientists, psychologists, and educators in England has issued a public letter pointing this out and begging teachers to drop this stuff and to instead use approaches that are evidence-based.  
Read more…

Source: Patheos (blog)

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Learning inside — and outside — of the classroom | Fenton Tri County Times

Photo: Hannah Ball
Hannah Ball, Staff Reporter summarizes, "Local businesses, like Alpine, Goodwill and Family Farm and Home, welcome the student."

Linden High School junior Kaitlin Dunn is gaining work experience at Alpine Marketplace, as part of a cognitively impaired program for students.
Students in the cognitively impaired program at local schools are learning not only in the classroom, but on the job.

The 13 students in the Work Based Learning Opportunities in Linden, Fenton and Lake Fenton’s Three District Consortium CI (Cognitively Impaired Program) spend a few hours a week at either Goodwill, Family Farm and Home, Alpine Marketplace, VG’s, Caretel Inns of Linden, Adopt-A-Pet of Fenton or a Linden elementary office gaining work experience, said Robin Hollifield, para-educator and job coach.

“At first we started small jobs here in our school...working in offices and libraries and recycling, that kind of thing. As their confidence grew, our district allowed me to go out and find businesses that would allow our students to come in,” Hollifield said.

The program began approximately five years ago, and was run by Special Education teacher Cheryl Heiss and Hollifield, as a way to help the students gain confidence and transition them from school to a job environment. The students, who are in 11th or 12th grade, work at least twice a week in pairs under the supervision of a job coach.

The students are responsible for dressing appropriately, having a positive attitude, being social, working independently and following instructions, said Linden Superintendent Ed Koledo. He said although the positions are typically unpaid, a few students have received a job because of the program.

Source: Fenton Tri County Times

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Music education proven to enhance early learning | Perry County Republic Monitor

"Music is part of everyone’s life. It is all around us, all the time. It can be heard on the radio, in vehicles, at the grocery store and in our homes. It can be used to calm or to excite, and it can even be used to help the learning process." says Amanda Hasty, Reporter. 

Students playing musical instruments
Photo: Perry County Republic Monitor

When a child becomes engaged in learning through the use of music, it stimulates them in more ways than just being easy on the ears. 

Tiffany Wibbenmeyer, a band instructor at Perry County School District No. 32, said that music positively affects students, and thata musical education can contribute to other areas of their learning. 

“There are very few things that literally every single culture, in any era, shares, and music is one of them,” Wibbenmeyer said. “Music engages the entire brain. It’s so good for the growth of young, and even older, minds. Music invokes emotions; to hype people up, or to make people laugh or cry.”

Many years of research have discovered that music facilitates learning and enhances skills that children use in other areas of their life. Making music involves more than just singing or playing an instrument with your fingers; learning through music makes children use multiple sets of skills at the same time.

Through the use of music they learn to work their body, voice and even their brain together. Just by practicing an instrument, children are improving their range of motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, much like playing sports.

Children love to imitate what they see and hear around them. As the child copies things they see, they pay attention to try and imitate everything from actions to songs and words. According to the Children’s Music Workshop, the effect of music education on language development can be seen in the brain. Studies have shown that any kind of musical training helps to physically develop the left side of the brain, which is the part where language processing occurs. 
Read more... 

Source: Perry County Republic Monitor

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Open Learning: Igniting the passion for learning online | Digital News Asia

  • Offers 10,000 private courses run by public and private institutes of higher learning.
  • Takes on a student-centred approach while enabling educators with its social elements

OpenLearning founder and chief executive officerr Adam Brimo
Photo: Chong Jinn Xiung
"TECHNOLOGY has not been a huge disruption in the education sector as it has been traditionally slow to adapt to new changes, according to OpenLearning founder and chief executive officer Adam Brimo (pic above)." notes Chong Jinn Xiung, Writer at Digital News Asia

“Education today is probably at the stage that the print industry was in during the late 1990s, slowly accepting and experimenting with the new possibilities offered by the Internet,” he says.

That’s where online learning platform OpenLearning, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform, hopes to ease the process of online learning for students and teachers in institutes of higher learning.

Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, OpenLearning’s online platform was first deployed in 2012 to facilitate a blended learning course, that combined online learning with traditional classroom lessons at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

In 2014, OpenLearning spread its wings to Malaysia and became part of the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education’s Education Blueprint for 2015-2025 acting as the MOOC platform for 20 public universities in the country, initiating 60 blended courses to over 100,000 students.

The truth is that the economy is growing faster than the higher education sector is able to produce students to fuel the knowledge economy.  However, building new universities is expensive and finding qualified academics is a challenge.

“The number of students entering tertiary education is expected to increase significantly within the next decade as it is estimated by there will be 2.5 million students entering public and private universities in Malaysia,” Brimo says, citing estimates in the Malaysian Education Blueprint .

To date, OpenLearning has over 3,000 public courses that anyone can set up and join. They also have 10,000 private courses run by public and private institutes of higher learning.

Even the courses are shared across all universities so students from other universities are able to participate with peers from across the country...

Enabling educators
“In traditional learning, students lack empowerment because the power is in the hands of the teacher and information is dispensed. In contrast, personalised learning has a more experimental flow where students can experience, discover and express themselves.”

Brimo is of the opinion that teachers are there to support the learning process rather than take control of it. They should guide a student’s discovery and curiosity by utilising engaging content through videos and easy-to-digest lessons complemented by interactive activities that encourage participation.

At the same time, the platform is also out to assist teachers in facilitating classes of any size be it 10, 50 or even over a hundred students.

Much of what makes a MOOC course great has to do with the course design and for that OpenLearning has its own team of dedicated designers that look at how to make offline classroom material suited for online learning.

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Video: Students of the Future | EDUCAUSE Review

Photo: Gerry Bayne
Photo: Gregory Dobbin
Take a closer look at the video: Students of the Future by Multimedia Producer and Senior Editor.

A portrait of the tools and technology that students of the future might encounter.  

Students of the Future 

Source: EDUCAUSE Review and educause Channel (YouTube)

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Practical tips from 13 innovative profs to improve classroom engagement | Top Hat

Photo: Philip Preville
Check out this useful new e-book by the higher education journalist Philip Preville, award-winning journalist and a former Canadian Journalism Fellow at Massey College at the University of Toronto. 

Download your copy

Building on his last handbook, How to Reach Distracted Students, Preville interviewed professors from across North America about how they’re tackling the epidemic of student disengagement. Each has found innovative ways to get students to invest more of themselves in their work.

The 13 case studies, told in the professor’s own words, explain how to:
  • Institute surprisingly simple tactics, easily adapted for any course, to engage students.
  • Make simple changes at the beginning of a course that can have lasting—and rewarding—impact.
  • Adopt a variety of strategies to keep students focused throughout the semester and to make the most of class time.
  • Assess whether students have come to comprehend and master a course’s subject matter.
Philip Preville says in the introduction, "At the start of every semester,  students arrive in class with high hopes. They’ve chosen their slate of courses based upon what they want to learn, after all, and they are eager to learn it. But, as every instructor knows, any given group of students will fall prey to distraction and disinterest as the weeks pass. The 21,000 faculty members who responded to the 2016 Professor Pulse Survey agreed that their biggest teaching challenge is “students not paying attention or participating in class.”"

This e-book assembles stories from 13 instructors from across North America explaining, in their own words, the challenges they faced, the solutions they
devised and the lasting impact their changes have had on their classrooms. Faculty everywhere can learn from each other’s experience. 

Download your copy

Source: Top Hat 

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