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NSF Gives U Minnesota $500K for New Research Network

Campus Technology - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 16:30
A $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will fund a data-intensive network that will connect University of Minnesota researchers with others around the world.

CampusTourVR Brings Virtual Campus Tours Directly to Prospective Students

Campus Technology - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 16:30
A new virtual reality offering from Higher Ed Growth brings immersive virtual campus tours directly to prospective students who can't visit a college or university in person.

Achieving Student Success Through Gamification

Campus Technology - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 16:00
To improve retention and outcomes for Pell grant students, Ball State University developed a mobile app that uses gamification to incentivize positive activity outside the classroom.

"Everyone remember where we parked..."

Learning with 'e's - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 15:38
The title of this post is a somewhat comedic quote from Captain James Kirk, as the crew leave their invisible starship parked in a public municipal park, somewhere in San Diego. Where technology is concerned, it's important that we remember where we came from. Unlike the crew in the movie Star Trek IV The Voyage Home, we don't need to go back to our origins, but it's nonetheless key to our future success that we acknowledge our history, our trajectory. The long evolution of communication technologies has brought us to the point where we now carry universal devices in our pockets. If we compare what we are now capable of to say, 30 years ago, we have to concede that smartphones are a powerful disruptive innovation. Smartphones have utterly transformed the way we interact with each other, access information, entertain ourselves and conduct business. But is education being left behind in these advances? Have we forgotten where we parked?
Certainly smartphones can be used inappropriately, for example in cyberbullying and for other nefarious purposes. These are problems that would not have occurred without mobiles. But imagine 30 children in a classroom, each one with a smartphone. What is to stop teachers encouraging kids to use their smart phones in a controlled way, for example to vote, or as a tool for peer messaging, or to connect with media that they cannot normally access in the classroom? How about showing kids how to use their personal devices to improve their learning, rather than to create mischief? And yet smartphones are still banned from many classrooms.

Mobile phones were first designed as a tool for communicating to others while on the move. They were the next natural step up from the car phone. But today's smartphones have evolved into much more: You can send text, gain access to the Web, capture images and video with your camera, orientate yourself by using GPS systems, measure and document your daily routine, engage in augmented reality experiences. In effect, today's smartphone is a mobile office. As educators we would be very foolish to ignore this hugely disruptive potential. Other technologies have similar potential for positive disruption, and yet are largely ignored or forbidden in formal education contexts

Wikipedia, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, is a disruptor. It has its opponents, many of whom vociferously attack those who espouse it. It is a threat to conservative notions of knowledge and has the potential to undermine elite expertise. The basic philosophy behind Wikipedia and the general practice of user generated content is that everybody can be an editor and a commentator. This sways the balance of power between experts and non-experts, between teachers and students everywhere, because it rejects the privileged role of former knowledge mediators and contradicts the traditional idea that knowledge can only be generated by certified experts. People who take an interest in a certain subject are able to generate knowledge about it - and consider themselves capable of doing so. In an educational context, the more students generate their own content, the more they are likely to learn. 

There are many reactions to disruptive innovation. There are those who willingly embrace change, in the educational and academic sectors and also in corporate learning. But there are other who put their heads in the sand and don’t want to see what happens around them. Others don’t accept the idea that students have the same status as lecturers. They don’t like the idea of Wikipedia being referenced (in academic assignments) because they don’t trust anything which has not been through a formal process of peer-review. Of course, what I write on my blog is not formally checked, a departure from publications in scientific journal which will normally be subject to two or more peer reviews. But in fact my readership reviews and comments on my writing, and for me, this is more valuable to me than a formal peer review. There is more immediacy to this form of peer review and there is also a personal connection between me and my readers. 
The use of learner centred technologies such as social media, smartphones and cameras will be vital in the future of education. The personal nature of handheld technologies, coupled with the immediacy of content discovery, production, remixing and sharing, ensures that smartphones will have an important part to play in the future of learning. The extent to which we succeed in breaching the barrier of resistance to change will decide just how such tools will be employed in formal educational settings.

Education in the future will demand much from the smart phone. It is personal and portable. It is versatile and easy to use. It will be the platform for many future developments, such as context-aware technology and augmented reality. Potentially, these are hugely disruptive innovations. Soon you will begin to see more virtual content around you - overlays on billboards, in airports, on sightseeing venues. If you take your students on a visit to an art gallery, the virtual information about the exhibits, the artists and other details will be embedded into the frame of the paintings you are looking at. At the end of the visit you will be able to return to your classroom to download all of the information about what you have seen and decide what you are going to do with it. Education is notoriously conservative, but with some application, over a period of time, technologies can and will disrupt old, outdated practices, so we can change them for the better. 

It's useful to remember where we came from, to gain a perspective on just how far we have travelled. If we grasp every opportunity as it occurs, we will go far.

Photo by Laitr Keiows on Wikimedia Commons

"Everyone remember where we parked..." by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's

The Free Moodle Podcast – August release

Moodle News - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 15:30
FreeMoodle, a Moodle Partner and resource for running free and open Moodle courses, has an ongoing Podcast about Moodle available on Soundcloud. This August episode discusses all the new great...

Graduate jobs, skills and productivity in the UK?

Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 14:14
There has been much commenting in the press today over a report from from the UK Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) which claims that 58% of UK university-leavers are entering jobs that do not require a degree, with graduate over-qualification now at “saturation point”. The Guardian says reports that “the mismatch between the number of university leavers and the jobs appropriate to their skills has left the UK with more than half of its graduates in non-graduate jobs, one of the highest rates in Europe, The Huffington Post quotes Ben Wilmott, CIPD’s head of public policy, as blaming New Labour’s 1999 landmark pledge to send 50% of young people to university, and  the Government’s failure to create high-skill jobs. Wilmot called for better careers advice, a renewed emphasis on driving up apprenticeship numbers and a re-think of the disparity between further and higher education funding. “We had the assumption that increasing the conveyer belt of graduates will allow the UK to transition into a higher-skilled economy, but research shows that if you compare graduates and non-graduates who are doing the same or a similar job, skill requirement is not enhanced by the presence of a graduate”, he said. The report raises a series of issues. Firstly just what is a graduate job. The definition appears to stem from Reasearch by the Institute for Employment Research at warwick Univeristy which led to the division of jobs in the Standard Ocuaptional Classification system used int he Uk into 5 different categories. The Prospects web site summarises them as follows: 1. Traditional graduate occupations These are the established professions for which a degree has historically been required. Solicitors, research scientists, architects and medical practitioners are all examples. They typically require the post-holder to be an expert in a very specific area. 2. Modern graduate occupations The expansion of higher education in the 1960s, and the development of new professional fields in areas such as IT, have resulted in the development of a range of newer professions requiring graduate-level qualifications. Software programmers, journalists, primary school teachers and chief executives are all examples of modern graduate occupations. They require the post-holders to be ‘experts’, but also often to have more strategic or interactive responsibility than a traditional graduate job. 3. New graduate occupations These are areas of employment that are often rapidly expanding in today’s labour market. The nature of these jobs has changed relatively recently to mean that the most accepted route into them is via a graduate-level qualification. Marketing, management accountancy, therapists and many forms of engineer are examples of new graduate occupations. They typically require a higher level of strategic responsibility or of ability to interact with others, and less need for them to be an expert in a topic. 4. Niche graduate occupations This area is expanding. Many occupations do not require graduate-level qualifications, but contain within them specialist niches that do require degrees to enter. Nursing, retail managers, specialist electrical engineers and graphic designers all fall into this category. Often they require a combination of skills, such as managerial and expert skills, but equally often the need is for an ‘all-rounder’ with a range of abilities. 5. Non-graduate occupations All jobs that do not fall into the previous four categories are considered ‘non-graduate occupations’. Obviously there are questions as to whether objectively a university degree is a necessary or best qualification to be say a physiotherapist or a marketing manager. And does university really teach students to take on “strategic or interactive responsibility”? Is the expansion in university education in the UK driven by  the need for graduates in employment or is the high number of graduates leading to qualification inflation? At a more macro level it appears that as CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese says there was an “assumption that we will transition to a more productive, higher-value, higher-skilled economy just by increasing the conveyor belt of graduates”, a policy he believes to be  flawed. The UK government policy of labour market deregulation may have been successful in creating jobs, but many of these are low paid and part time. Productivity in the UK is stubbornly low. In a paper published on the Social Europe web site entitled “How ‘structural reforms’ oflabour markets harm innovation“, Alfred Kleinknecht, Professor of Economics of Innovation at  Delft University of Technology argues that easier hire and fire and higher labour turnover will, in various ways, damage learning and knowledge management in the ‘creative accumulation’ innovation model that is based on accumulation of firm-specific knowledge. Besides, lower wage cost pressure will lead to an ageing capital stock, owing to a slow adoption of labour-saving technologies.” With low productivity and a slow adoption of new technologies, there is simply limited demand for graduate employment. But at the same time university graduation has become almost a rite of passage in the UK. Much has been made of the higher wages that graduates earn during their careers. This is supposed to more that offset the now very substantial university fees in the UK and the resultant high levels of debt on graduating. But of course this represents a historical figure and it is easy to see that such premiums may no longer apply in the future, especially as companies like Ernst and Young announce they will remove a degree from the job recruitment requirements. And despite the rhetoric of developing and promoting apprenticeship routes to skilled work, the reality remains that many of the so called apprenticeships in the UK remain on the low skilled spectrum of employment. And funding cutbacks are particular savage in the Further education (vocational college) sector. All in all it is hard to see any joined up policy here, apart from a blind belief in austerity and that the markets will sort it out. But it does point to the need for integrated policy making linking education, labour market and innovation policies. That seems to have been absent in any recent Government, Labour, Coalition or Conservative.

What’s the most popular/favorited plugin for #Moodle? Essential (see what else is on the list)

Moodle News - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 14:00 has a new(ish) feature in the plugin which lets you favorite plugins which you think are great, which you use often, or that you couldn’t live with out. Additionally the quick stats...

Australian University Eyes Use of Badging for Credit

Campus Technology - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 13:00
An Australian university with an international online student body expects to begin accepting digital badging in 2016 that could reduce the amount of time required for people to obtain their master's degrees in IT.

Open Education and Libraries

Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 10:01
The NMC, the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB), Hannover, and ETH-Bibliothek Zürich have jointly released the NMC Horizon Report  2015 Library Edition. They identify six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in technology  across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, providing, they say, a valuable guide for strategic technology planning  for library leaders and staff. “The trends identified by the expert panel indicate that libraries are doing a better job of making their content more accessible and adapting library spaces to meet the needs of the contemporary, connected academic community,” says Rudolf Mumenthaler, Professor of Library Science at HTW Chur and co-principal investigator of the report. Interestingly, amongst other trends, the report identifies “Makerspaces” and “Online Learning” as technologies and digital strategies that are expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. “Information Visualization” along with “Semantic Web and Linked Data” are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; “Location Intelligence” as well as “Machine Learning” are seen emerging in the third horizon of four to five years. The focus of the NMC report, which sees libraries as increasingly important toteaching, learning, and creative inquiry, is academic and research libraries. Yet with the rising recognition of the importance of access to knowledge and data and with renewed interest in ideas such at the smart city, it would appear possible that the same themes might be important for libraries open to the public, outside the more closed academic sphere. Indeed with the growth of Open Education and MOOCs libraries could be seen as playing a key role in supporting more open forms of learning. Therefore it is ironic that even whilst organisations like the European Commission champion the slogan of Open Education, the policy of austerity is leading to drastic cutbacks in library provision in many country including the UK, leading to closures of libraries, cutbacks ins staffing and freezes in new stock acquisition. And libraries, along with community and adult education are regarded as something the state should no longer provide, something provided by voluntary organisations or not at all. And whereas m,mainstream school and university education can be prepared for the market as a prelude to full privatisation, few corporate bodies see a profit to be made from libraries.

We took a tour of the abandoned college campuses of Second Life

OLDaily - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 01:52

Patrick Hogan, Fusion, Aug 18, 2015

It's almost as though nobody could have seen this coming. Oh wait. "Most of these virtual universities are gone – – it costs almost $300 per month to host your own island – – but it turns out a handful remain as ghost towns."

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Categorías: General

Report Checks out Library Trends

Campus Technology - 19 Agosto, 2015 - 01:12
Research and academic libraries are moving quickly in many directions in response to expectations of patrons who are growing accustomed to the consumer technology experience and digitization of content. Among the trends that are redefining institutional libraries: a push for mobile content delivery, more focus on managing research data and rethinking the use of library spaces. These and other trends were highlighted in a new, freely available report published by the NMC, a community of experts in educational technology.

Pearson Extends Knowledge Factor Partnership

Campus Technology - 18 Agosto, 2015 - 22:58
Knowledge Factor has extended its partnership with Pearson to provide the software underlying the Dynamic Study Modules for the MyLab & Mastering tools.

Resistance is futile

Learning with 'e's - 18 Agosto, 2015 - 21:49
I'm fascinated by the psychology of educational technology. I enjoy learning about the ways people behave with technology, how they perceive technology, and how they use technology in teaching and learning. I'm also intrigued by resistance to change. I have learnt from my research that there are - and always will be - people who are resistant or reticent, because new technologies have the potential to disrupt and challenge the social and professional roles into which they have habituated. Naturally, people don't relish being outside of their comfort zones. 
This reflects my own experience, from the time I introduced BBC computers into nurse training in hospitals in 1982. It took a great deal of effort to introduce the new computers into such a conservative learning culture. Colleagues resisted the presence of computers, because they were worried about the potential effects, and some also questioned their validity. I had to ensure that the computers were deployed appropriately and in a manner that would demonstrate their effectiveness. I had to carefully evaluate their use. This was difficult, because nothing similar had been previously attempted. Although it wasn't easy, over time, as the student nurses used the computers and began to demonstrate how their learning had improved, so the new technology became tolerated, and eventually accepted as just another learning tool. 
Such technologies are game changers. They are disruptive, fundamentally changing the way we do things. One contemporary example is the digital camera. Few places remain today where you can still buy an analogue camera. They are now very specialist. Digital technology has advanced photography into areas that were previously considered impossible. Another area that has been disrupted is music. The shift from vinyl records through compact disks to digital downloads has been relatively quick. There is now hardly any demand for analogue recordings (hey, remember the compact cassette tape?), unless you are interested in collecting memorabilia. Television has also been transformed by digital. We now enjoy access to more content than any of us could ever hope to view in our lifetimes. 

We have moved from atoms to bits. Our lives, our work, businesses, and entertainment have been disrupted by digital technology, many would argue for the better. 
The same can be said for the participative Web. Blogging has evolved into a very expressive and social form of writing, and clearly exploits the immediacy of interaction that was unknown before social media. Blogging is disruptive in that it changes the way we construct and present our ideas, and the way we interact with our readership. Take a look at the #blimage and #blideo challenges and you'll see that many teachers are willing to express themselves and their ideas in new ways, and to develop dialogue within their communities on the basis of a personal invitation.

Wikipedia is yet another example of disruptive innovation. Technically it is a collaborative online work space for creating and sharing content. Culturally Wikipedia has thoroughly disrupted the idea that you need to consult a printed encyclopaedia to get expert information. If you discover an error, you can instantly correct it yourself. You don't have to wait for the publishing house to decide to release an updated version. The read/write Web has changed our lives by disrupting our perceptions of what we can do with technology.

Should we, in the same way, seek to disrupt education? Increasingly, people think we should. Many are realising that the way teaching is conducted in many schools and universities is outdated. Much of mainstream education fails to align to the culture of our young people and its traditional methods no longer fully addresses the needs of society. If we want education to be effective, then some things need to change. And because of technology, change is inevitable. 

In tomorrow's post I'm featuring what I consider to be the ultimate disruptive innovation of our age. 
Photo by Steve Wheeler

Resistance is futile by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's

The Move from Course Management to Course Networking

Campus Technology - 18 Agosto, 2015 - 21:16
Pioneer-developer Ali Jafari's foundational work on LMS platforms has, for nearly two decades, found its place among the world's most successful learning management systems. But Jafari's more recent designs have taken a distinct turn towards more social, networked, and engaging learning environments.

SchoolDude Launches Collaborative Tools for Facilities Management

Campus Technology - 18 Agosto, 2015 - 19:24
Educational institutions looking to streamline their facilities operations can now access best practices from peer schools through two Collaborative Operations Management platforms from SchoolDude.

U South Alabama Gets a 21st Century Mail Service

Campus Technology - 18 Agosto, 2015 - 18:49
The University of South Alabama has replaced the traditional campus post office with a new USA Mail Hub that sends students an e-mail when they have mail to pick up.

Going Back to School: Pearson's Redoubled Focus on Education

Campus Technology - 18 Agosto, 2015 - 16:00
With the sale of its interests in the Financial Times and The Economist, Pearson is doubling down in its primary business: education. In this interview, North America President Don Kilburn lays out just what the company is focused on right now.

UCLA Office of Information Technology Presents MMWCON 2015

Moodle News - 18 Agosto, 2015 - 15:30
UCLA Office of Information Technology is presenting the Mobility and Modern Web Conference this September 16-18 on the UCLA campus. While not a Moodle focused event, the conference will feature an...

Martin Langhoff and “Moodle future with Restangular & Websockets” presentation from the US Moot Hackfest

Moodle News - 18 Agosto, 2015 - 14:00
During the final day of the US Moodlemoot developers and community members met together for the hackfest which had two tracks. During one of the two tracks available to attendees, Martin Langhoff of...

Elsevier Launches Reaxys ChemSearch Challenge

Campus Technology - 18 Agosto, 2015 - 13:00
Elsevier, a provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, is now accepting registration for the Reaxys ChemSearch Challenge, "a series of online quizzes that measure how quickly chemists can find the information they need to correctly answer research questions."