Archive for January 13th, 2009
A University-of-Arizona-led team was just awarded a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to create a tutoring system that can tailor teachings based on individual progress. As reported by UA, the team — headed up by UA computer science department head Paul R. Cohen — is attempting to maximize a tutoring system model by using enormous amounts of data about learners to improve the feedback provided by an intelligent tutoring system.
Cohen is working with Carole Beal, a UA cognitive science professor, UA computer science doctoral degree candidate Derek Green and Yu-Han Chang, a research scientist with the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California on the one-year project to create the system.
Online Education Database (OEDb), an independent for-profit organization located in Houston, has released their 2009 rankings of online educational institutions. The methodology used to rank the colleges was developed by Jimmy Atkinson, founder of OEDb. For each college, they gathered data for eight different metrics — acceptance rate, financial aid, graduation rate, peer Web citations, retention rate, scholarly citations, student-faculty ratio, and years accredited. The overall ranking is an average ranking for each metric for which data was available.
Overall ranks as well as the scores for each metric are on the OEDb website: OEDb’s Online College Rankings 2009
Educause, the higher-education technology group, has released the Top Teaching and Learning Challenges 2009. They are:
1. Creating learning environments that promote active learning, critical thinking, collaborative learning, and knowledge creation.
2. Developing 21st-century literacies — information, digital, and visual — among students and faculty members.
3. Reaching and engaging today’s learners.
4. Encouraging faculty members to adopt, and innovate with, new technology for teaching and learning.
5. Advancing innovation in teaching and learning with technology in an era of budget cuts.
Project wiki: Top Teaching and Learning Challenges, 2009 Wiki
At the Learning and Technology World Forum in London, Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corporation and Microsoft Corp. announced plans to underwrite a multi-sector research project to develop new assessment approaches, methods and technologies for measuring the success of 21st-century teaching and learning in classrooms around the world.
The three companies also announced the appointment of Barry McGaw, currently the director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, as executive director of the project. McGaw will oversee an executive committee, project lead team, and up to 50 leading experts and innovators in academia and government, to collaborate on the research and assist in influencing the development of future international and national assessments.
An article in The Hoya reports that Georgetown University students are now sharing a virtual classroom with students at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Qatar using Polycom RPX technology.
David Edelstein, the course instructor and an assistant professor in the School of Foreign Service is quoted as saying “It took a little bit of getting used to for everybody involved, but by the end of the class, I [don’t think anybody] was even noticing the technology, which is exactly when you know that technology like this is succeeding. We were able to carry on discussions in class just as any other seminar would if it were being held only on one campus.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama intends to nominate his technology adviser, Julius Genachowski, to head the Federal Communications Commission. Genachowski’s Internet experience comes from executive positions he held for eight years at IAC/InterActiveCorp which included Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, TripAdvisor, Ticketmaster, HSN, LendingTree, Match.com, Citysearch, ServiceMagic, Evite, Interval International and Ask.com. He has also served on the Boards of Directors of Expedia, Website Pros, and The Motley Fool.
WSJ Story: Obama to Tap Tech Adviser as FCC Chief
Wikipedia entry: Julius Genachowski
Bio from January 2008 on the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus Web Site: Julius Genachowski
In early December, Google announced a Curriculum Competition to combine Google Earth Rome 3D content with traditional classroom curricula.
Rome 3D is based on Rome Reborn, an international initiative whose goal is the creation of 3D digital models illustrating the urban development of ancient Rome from the first settlement in the late Bronze Age (ca. 1000 B.C.) to the depopulation of the city in the early Middle Ages (ca. A.D. 550).
Submissions are due by February 9, 2009. The Submission guidelines, from the Google site, are:
Submissions to the Google Ancient Rome 3D Curriculum Competition will be judged based on the following elements:
* Educational value
* Clarity, organization, and resources used
* Use of Ancient Rome 3D layer in Google Earth
Winners will be chosen in each of three curriculum areas:
1. Geography/social studies/history
3. Literature/language arts/English/philosophy.
One K-8 and one 9-12 submission will be chosen as a winner in each subject matter group.
Rome Reborn website at Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) of the University of Virginia: Rome Reborn
Google Earth Ancient Rome site: Ancient Rome 3D
Contest site: Ancient Rome 3D Curriculum Competition
eSchool News, a monthly print and web newspaper read by K-20 decision-makers, has published a summary of developments that they believe could have a profound effect on educational technology in the schools. They are:
5. How will ‘validated learning’ be enforced among the nation’s colleges and universities?
4. How will new federal and state regulations affect internet safety education in schools?
3. Who will be Kevin Martin’s successor as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and how will this change affect telecommunications policy in 2009?
2. Will the transition to digital TV broadcasting next month occur seamlessly–or will schools experience any problems?
1. How will education fare under the Obama administration?
The article is at: Five ed-tech stories to watch for 2009 (registration required to read the entire article.)
A report, Virtual learning environments: an evaluation of their development in a sample of educational settings, published today by the UK’s Office for Standards in Education , shows that despite expectations the use of Virtual Learning Environments across schools and colleges has been slow to take off.
The survey, carried out in a range of settings, including schools, colleges, work-based learning and adult and community learning centres, says the concept of VLEs is still relatively new and represents only a small aspect of learning.
Among other points, the report says: “The common factor in effective VLEs was the enthusiasm of the subject teacher; that is enthusiasm for the subject and teaching and learning as much as any competence in computing”.
The news release is here: The virtual reality of e-learning
An article in The Guardian provides a bit of background and perspective: No escape from turning up to class
Today’s New York Times has an article titled At M.I.T., Large Lectures Are Going the Way of the Blackboard. It summarizes MIT physics department courses that use Technology Enhanced Active Learning, or TEAL. The article reports that, while replacing lectures with TEAL encountered resistance, attendance in classes is up and failure rates have dropped by more than 50 percent.
The approach was spearheaded by John Belcher, who is quoted in the Spectrum article as saying that TEAL students make gains nearly double those of their counterparts in standard classes.
Course materials, photos of the classroom and interactive visualizations are at Visualizing Electricity and Magnetism at MIT. The content is available for free used for non-profit educational purposes, as long as an acknowledgment is given to the MIT TEAL/Studio Physics Project.