About Anything

The personal blog of Al Stevens. Focus is overrated.

Archive for January 15th, 2009

Opening Education Reviewed in Science

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In an article in Science, Published on January 2, Marshall S. Smith explores the history of and promises and challenges for Open Education Resources (OER). Growing out of MIT’s decision, in 2000, to make available on the Web the core content of all its courses the movement rapidly grew with dozens of universities worldwide making their course content freely available.

In the article Smith says: “The confluence of the Web and a spirit of sharing intellectual property have fueled a worldwide movement to make knowledge and education materials open to all for use. … In 2007 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a study of the use and prevalence of OER in the developed world, concluding that ‘An apparently extraordinary trend has emerged.'” Today, more than 7,800 courses are available on the web.

Smith looks at several issues in developing an infrastructure for the OER. These include technical, social, cultural, political, legal and financial issues.

He provides examples of OER which include: Science simulations designed by C. Wieman of the University of British Columbia and University of Colorado, MIT OpenCourseWare, and the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education’s HippoCampus.

Article: Opening Education (subscription)

Written by Al Stevens

January 15th, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Engaging Places Website Launched

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Engaging Places, a UK website to assist teachers in using buildings and places as a teaching resource, launched at BETT 2009, an education technology trade show in London. An initiative supported by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and English Heritage, the site lists more than 300 buildings, venues, and organizations and includes links to resources and maps.

Website: Engaging Places

Written by Al Stevens

January 15th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

New Grant Opportunity – HP Innovations in Education

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Hewlett-Packard  has announced a grant program for 2 or 4 year colleges and universities that offer degree programs or courses that lead to degrees in engineering, computer science, or information technology. In the US, HP plans to award approximately 10 grants to public or qualified private colleges or universities. Each grant is valued at more than $240,000 in HP technology, cash, and professional development in the following areas:

  • Leadership Capacity – creating a global network of administrators and key faculty who implement innovative approaches to curriculum, instruction, and the use of technology to enhance undergraduate learning and research
  • Digital Learning Environments – using technology to fundamentally redesign the learning experience in ways that lead to increased student engagement and academic success; can include innovations in online learning, virtual worlds, gaming for learning, and simulations
  • The Undergraduate Design & Research Experience -making engineering real and relevant by involving engineering undergraduate students in design and research challenges that address real needs in society; can include local and/or global service learning
  • Pre-College Outreach – engaging administrators, faculty, and undergraduate students to work with secondary school teachers and students, increasing awareness and interest in high-tech degree programs and careers

Announcement on the HP Website: Teaching, Learning & Technology in Higher Education

Written by Al Stevens

January 15th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Stimulus Cash Proposed for High-Tech Classrooms

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The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) have recommended that Congress target classroom technology modernization in economic recovery legislation. They are proposing that Congress should disseminate these new classroom technology grant funds through the existing Enhancing Education through Technology (EETT) program in order to ensure that the funds quickly reach the neediest schools and are used for their intended purposes.

Press Release on the CoSN Website: Education and Business Leaders Call on Congress to Meet President-Elect Obama’s Call to Target Classroom Technology Modernization in Economic Recovery Legislation (pdf format)

Focused Investment on Technology-Rich Classrooms Will Create Jobs an

Written by Al Stevens

January 15th, 2009 at 12:38 pm