As Nick Bilton writes in the NY Times Bits, bloated email in-boxes are increasingly causing people to lose focus and efficiency as well as boosting anxiety levels. After declaring email bankruptcy by deleting every one of his 46,315 unread emails, he goes on to describe how email is extremely invasive and discusses how some companies are hoping to help manage the deluge.
Campus Technology recently described a number of barriers to using online learning tools in their article When Students Can’t Compute. Many of the barriers cited including access to broadband, and access to adequate hardware can take lots of money to bring down. But others, including working with “digital non-native” teachers as well as students can only be removed through comprehensive training programs – for both groups. The study goes on to state that teaching “elements of computer literacy throughout the curriculum definitely helps, but it’s not a complete solution. Some kind of formal technical-literacy program is also needed.” Without all the pieces of the puzzle in place, access to the wealth of digital learning (and teaching) tools will be beyond the reach of many – even in the developed world.
The French Portail national éduscol recently reviewed the French version of Khan Academy et pédagogie inversée (flipped classrooms). On the French Khan Academy site, there are hundreds of videos that have been translated or re-filmed into French by the Bibliothèques sans frontières and in the few that I watched, the narrator actually sounded like (maybe he is!). While it is great that a lot of the content is there, what I did notice as missing was a way to log in and have the system track your progress as well as a way to have the system adapt your learning path.
- Khan Academy New Look – Serendipity35 (techcommgeekmom.com)
- Salman Khan Invention Take Off (cg202661.wordpress.com)
- Khan Academy using contractors for accuracy checking – some thoughts (chronicle.com)
With Prism on many Europeans’ minds, there is a new measure to an existing law before Parliament that, if passed, would forbid the transfer of personal data to the USA. The New York Times has more detail on the measure, but if it were to pass this Spring, it would become law two years later – and possibly limit the use of Google Apps by schools.
Earlier, I wrote about a program that works on your Mac, PC, or Smartphone that securely keeps track of all your passwords. This week, the NYTimes published an article that expands on what I wrote about, and discusses a few other options a well. Hopefully, one of these will keep you from using the same password for your email, your bank, your computer, and your insurance provider.
- The Most Unsafe Passwords of 2012 Look a Lot Like the Ones from 2011 (staples.com)
- Passwords: no longer fit for purpose? (theguardian.com)
- Raising awareness quickly: A look at basic password hygiene (networkworld.com)
Having trouble getting your students on a field trip to London or Paris or Boston or Moscow to visit an amazing museum? While no substitute for actually being there, Edudemic has just published 10 Web Resources For Digital Field Trips To Museums that can help create some of what the students would experience.
ZDNet recently published guidelines to help students (and teachers) get the most out of their smartphone or tablet batteries. Some are obvious, like dimming the screen, but the rest are also worth following to help you squeeze out that last little bit of juice.
- 23 ways to improve your iPhone’s battery life – ZDNet (newestgadgetsinfo.com)
For years, vendors of educational technology products have promised amazing results in student learning and achievement. However, for the most part, these promises have fallen a little short. Just think of typewriters, filmstrips, CD-ROM’s or even computers and how much they actually brought to the learning process. However, with the current ubiquity of broadband, online content, the ability to track millions of data-points for each learner and having ever-increasing processing power available to work with these data in real-time, a new trend is emerging. The recent (normally very conservative) Economist article on Educational Technology goes even further, stating that this confluence of different technologies will disrupt traditional schools by allowing the technology to take the place of a personal tutor or governess by adapting the lesson to the progress the pupil is making. Additionally, working with a system that instantly adapts in response to an individual pupil’s progress is capable giving teachers more information to work with when they take their pupils aside for more individual work.
Edit: An edWeb.net Webinar on K-12 Personalized Learning and the Power of Adaptive Instruction presented by Tom Vander will be held on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Hopefully, we will see the current status of adaptive systems currently in use and on the horizon.
- The uncomfortable truth about personalized learning (gigaom.com)
Digital Citizenship is essentially a framework outlining how to behave, do work and stay safe using Information Technology. And, as technologies continue to evolve, these guidelines should be flexible enough to accommodate them. To give teachers a little guidance, Edudemic has compiled this 5-day plan to follow. Hopefully this will raise awareness a little and help keep our students and teachers out of trouble.
- How To Tackle Digital Citizenship During The First 5 Days Of School (edudemic.com)
- A Comprehensive Digital Citizenship Starter Kit for Teachers (teacherlingo.com)
The team behind Wolfram Alpha, the computational search engine that performs complex and comparative searches (and provides some of Siri’s responses) has just released a detailed report on the structure of over a million people’s Facebook profiles. Examples of the visualized data include clusters of friend networks – based on their inter-connectedness and physical location, how the distribution of someone’s friend’s ages change with that person’s age, as well as the how the fraction of one’s friends’ relationship statuses differ based on age. This NY Times article gives a concise overview of the report, but what can be extremely interesting is when you take a look at your profile through the lens of Wolfram Alpha and see your own social networks deconstructed.
- How to Use Wolfram|Alpha (craftyva.wordpress.com)
- Life’s Trajectory Seen Through Facebook Data (technologyreview.com)
- Get Your Free WolframAlpha Analytics Facebook Report (quickonlinetips.com)
- Wolfram Alpha Releases New Data From Facebook Project (pcmag.com)
- Wolfram Alpha’s Facebook data project reveals key social media trends (itproportal.com)