About Anything

The personal blog of Al Stevens. Focus is overrated.

Archive for the ‘technology’ tag

Intel Announces Tablet Classmate PC

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Announced at the CES show last week, the Classmate, designed to be small and light enough for a child to easily carry is equipped with a water-resistant keyboard. Intel also claims it to be  “backpack friendly” – able to withstand bumping in a backpack and accidental drops by students. In tablet mode, the convertible classmate PC screen has a “palm rejection” feature that is designed to allow the child to write more naturally by resting their palm on the touch screen. It also includes education-oriented software and applications from software and content vendors in the Intel Learning Series.

The new design, converts instantly from a clamshell to a tablet mode with a touch screen. Intel reports that according to research with students and teachers, the 180-degree swivel design, rotational camera and touch screen encourage flexible classroom interaction and natural collaboration.

Lila Ibrahim, general manager of the Intel Emerging Markets Platform Group, quoted in the Intel press release said  “Education is one of the best ways to improve the future for individuals, villages, or nations. There are 1.3 billion school-age children around the world and of those only 5 percent have access to a PC or the Internet. The IT industry has a huge opportunity to contribute to how technology can improve students’ learning and students’ lives. With our announcement today, Intel continues its long-standing commitment to advancing education through technology to transform lives around the world.”

Intel News Release: Intuitive Convertible Design for the Intel-Powered Classmate PC Enhances Collaborative Learning

Written by Al Stevens

January 16th, 2009 at 11:28 am

Technology Disparities in Wichita Falls Schools

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The stampede of technology is kicking up so much dust in Wichita Falls schools that a new inequity is quickly emerging. The fortunate schools that have and use their technology well, and those who can’t afford much and are quickly falling behind.

Article: High tech, no tech

Written by Al Stevens

January 14th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

DARPA Grant Awarded to Develop Tutoring System Based on Individual Progress

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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.

Article: New Grant-funded Project Meant to Improve Educational Technology

Written by Al Stevens

January 13th, 2009 at 8:01 pm

EDUCAUSE Announces Top Teaching and Learning Challenges for 2009

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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

Written by Al Stevens

January 13th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Ancient Rome Curriculum Competition

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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
* Creativity
* 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
2. Art/design/pre-architecture/engineering/math/science
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

Written by Al Stevens

January 13th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Clickers as Discussion Facilitators

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A research report in Science, Why Peer Discussion Improves Student Performance on In-Class Concept Questions (subscription required), reports that clickers used in the classroom (see clickers in the classroom for a review) can help students arrive at conceptual understanding on their own through the process of group discussion and debate.  According to the authors of the study, most instructors report that the percentage of correct answers almost always increases after peer discussion. They go on to say that it has been generally assumed that active engagement of students during discussion with peers, some of whom know the correct answer, leads to increased conceptual understanding, resulting in improved performance after PI.

In this study, students were asked to answer the question a second time after their peer discussion, but also to answer a different, conceptually related question. Neither the correct answer, nor the student responses were shown between questions. The authors conclude that “our results suggest that peer discussion can be effective for understanding difficult concepts even when no one in the group initially knows the correct answer.”

One of their students, quoted in the study says it pretty well: “Often when talking through the questions, the group can figure out the questions without originally knowing the answer, and the answer almost sticks better that way because we talked through it instead of just hearing the answer.”

Written by Al Stevens

January 12th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Educational Technology

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For work related reasons, I need to get up to speed on educational technology. I was once actively working on simulation based teaching and training systems, but haven’t kept up for the last 10-20 years. A lot has changed. This will be challenging, but I hope fun and rewarding. Posts to follow as I find articles and resources that interest me.

Diving in…

Written by Al Stevens

January 12th, 2009 at 4:00 pm