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Unlocking the Mystery of Critical Thinking

Unlocking the Mystery of Critical Thinking | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Critical thinking. We all endorse it. We all want our students to do it. And we claim to teach it. But do we? Do we even understand and agree what it means to think critically?

According to Paul and Elder’s (2013a) survey findings, most faculty don’t know what critical thinking is or how to teach it. Unless faculty explicitly and intentionally design their courses to build their students’ critical thinking skills and receive training in how to teach them, their students do not improve their skills (Abrami et al., 2008).
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Transcribe - online transcription and dictation software

Transcribe - online transcription and dictation software | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Transcribe saves thousands of hours every month in transcription time for journalists, lawyers and students all over the world.

Via Nik Peachey
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Nik Peachey's curator insight, December 2, 3:50 AM

Useful tool for transcribing audio recordings from research or listening materials.

Jose Pietri's curator insight, December 3, 5:17 AM

Compare to Dragon, etc. Test for use in creating training guides, etc.

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Got Skills? Why Online Competency-Based Education Is the Disruptive Innovation for Higher Education

Got Skills? Why Online Competency-Based Education Is the Disruptive Innovation for Higher Education | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

Online competency-based education can even out the playing field by taking students to the furthest point possible in their learning experiences, regardless of their starting point, race, geographical location, or family income.

 

Higher education, however, has historically experienced only sustaining innovations. Particularly over the last few decades, traditional higher education institutions have invested substantial resources in competing with their fellow institutions. In a race to move up in the rankings—similar to what we see in industry after industry that has experienced disruption—most colleges and universities have focused their efforts on sustaining innovations: enhanced technology in teaching, improved classrooms, more faculty research, and better residence halls and dining facilities. Such amenities add significant cost, leading to increasing prices; and although they serve traditional, campus-based students well, these sustaining innovations do not necessarily help nonconsumers of higher education.

 

Who are the nonconsumers of higher education? They include the nearly 71 percent of U.S. college-going students who do not participate in the residential college experience.2 Most of them commute, work part-time, have family commitments, and/or do not have the luxury of majoring in a field that has no direct relevance to their future goals. Consider these numbers:

 

* The National Center for Education Statistics projects that by 2020, 42 percent of all college students will be 25 years of age or older.3

 

* According to the 2012 Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey, 87.9 percent of college freshmen cited getting a better job as a vital reason for pursuing a college degree—approximately 17 percentage points higher than for the same survey question in 2006.4

 

* Only 11 percent of business leaders "strongly agree" that students have the requisite skills for the workforce, whereas 96 percent of chief academic officers believe that their institutions are "very effective" (56 percent) or "somewhat effective" (40 percent) at preparing students for the work world.5

 

* McKinsey & Company analysts estimate that the number of skill sets needed in the workforce has increased from 178 in September 2009 to 924 in June 2012.6


Via Peter Mellow
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Becky Roehrs's curator insight, December 2, 5:16 PM

Unlike MOOC's, online competency-based education (often shortened to "CBE") stands out as the "missing link between learning outcomes and industry needs". According to the article, "competency-based education has the potential to bridge the widening gap between traditional postsecondary education and the workforce".

Tony Guzman's curator insight, December 3, 9:39 AM

This article continues to discuss the issues around Competency-based education and how it is the disruptive innovation in higher education today.

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Online vs face-to-face learning: why can't we have both?

Online vs face-to-face learning: why can't we have both? | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Ever since the invention of the printed word, academics have been arguing about the proper place of technology in teaching.

On one side are those who I’ll call the traditionalists who insist on the primacy of face-to-face and barely tolerate online delivery. For the traditionalists, students need, as one colleague put it, to be exposed to the “rhetorical performance of the lecture”. For them, students learn a great deal from simply watching academics nut through problems.

While they may decry passive lectures, their own teaching, they insist, is a highly interactive affair. They adopt a Socratic approach in which they engage students in a rich dialogue. While technologies such as the web have a place in teaching, it is a secondary one, limited for broadcasting announcements and pasting up subject learning guides.

On the other side, are the technologists. The technologists would happily do away with lectures — or give face-to-face teaching the flick entirely. New technologies provide tools for reaching into students’ lives. Students can learn when and where they want. And now that students are getting online delivery at high school, it’s time that universities caught up.
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Carlos Rodrigues Cadre's curator insight, December 1, 9:13 AM

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Experiment demonstrates direct brain to brain interface between humans

Experiment demonstrates direct brain to brain interface between humans | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

University of Washington researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team’s initial demonstration a year ago. In the newly published study, which involved six people, researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person’s brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal.

 

At the time of the first experiment in August 2013, the UW team was the first to demonstrate two human brains communicating in this way. The researchers then tested their brain-to-brain interface in a more comprehensive study, published Nov. 5 in the journal PLOS ONE ("A Direct Brain-to-Brain Interface in Humans").

 

“The new study brings our brain-to-brain interfacing paradigm from an initial demonstration to something that is closer to a deliverable technology,” said co-author Andrea Stocco, a research assistant professor of psychology and a researcher at UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. “Now we have replicated our methods and know that they can work reliably with walk-in participants.”


In this photo, UW students Darby Losey, left, and Jose Ceballos are positioned in two different buildings on campus as they would be during a brain-to-brain interface demonstration. The sender, left, thinks about firing a cannon at various points throughout a computer game. That signal is sent over the Web directly to the brain of the receiver, right, whose hand hits a touchpad to fire the cannon.

Read more: Study shows direct brain interface between humans (w/video) 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Are MOOCs the Future of Online Education? - EdTechReview™ (ETR)

Are MOOCs the Future of Online Education? - EdTechReview™ (ETR) | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Here is an infographic that helps you know more about the trends in MOOCs.

Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge
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QUODL - Quality of Online & Distance Education: The Rules of e-Learning: It’s not what you know about quality; it’s what you do with that knowledge that counts.

QUODL - Quality of Online & Distance Education: The Rules of e-Learning: It’s not what you know about quality; it’s what you do with that knowledge that counts. | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
I was at a university awards ceremony this week, where one of the new Fellows spoke about how the graduates had so much going for them; they had the knowledge and had worked hard to get it but in order to reach their full potential they had to use their knowledge. I have often found that putting knowledge into practice is easier said than done.

In some cases it is easier to show we have the knowledge – our qualifications and the certificates that go with them is one example, another might be the number of research papers we have to our name. The same could be said for quality, where there are many courses offering knowledge and trained quality assurance assessors holding certificates as proof of their knowledge.


Practical application is less honoured and more difficult to judge; the expression ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’, springs to mind here. In this respect good practice in quality is subjective and to assume that we can have a fixed opinion of quality is not correct. Students are steadily being offered the chance to pass their opinion on a course and we can display this.

So, how does this apply in e-learning?
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Prof. Hankell's curator insight, November 30, 11:55 PM

Practical application is less honored and more difficult to judge...

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'Digital is the missing link in higher education'

'Digital is the missing link in higher education' | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
In a decade where business and the media have been transformed by digital technologies, higher education can feel stuck in the lecture hall.

The opportunity for universities to create a new kind of experience for students that exploits digital, is vast. It's not a case of dropping any of the essential features and qualities of the traditional university experience or turning to digital for its own sake, or indeed as a cost saving measure, but extending what universities do and making study work better as part of everyday life.

In particular that means digital HE for people already in work or who have family responsibilities and want to up-skill or change careers, for learners intent on study for the pure joy of discovering something new, or for students who like the institution and the course but not the need to relocate.

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In his last speech as vice chancellor at the Open University, Martin Bean made a critical point about the danger of HE in the UK becoming 'irrelevant' unless it learns to do more with digital.

 

Yes we need to innovate, but more than that we need to make smart and thoughtful use of all the existing technologies and blend them together with academic quality and personal support to create an appealing and credible experience.

 

Students want HE that's shaped to fit their lives; the UK system needs to be able to offer more access – digital is the obvious missing link.

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eLearning Trends to Follow in 2015 (Part 2)

eLearning Trends to Follow in 2015 (Part 2) | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Last week we posted an infographic about eLearning trends to follow in 2015 (click HERE to see the infographic).

As we said in last post, which had extended information on eLearning trends for 2015, we found really interesting stuff when doing our research for the infographic. We already shared our sources and information on 5 trends in THIS post. Today, we’re sharing the remaining 5 trends that you can’t
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Berlin, here I come

Berlin, here I come | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
THIS YEAR’S ONLINE EDUCA THEMES
Changing Learning

Modern education is evolving into a different shape. Faced with the demands of an ever more complex world, today’s learning is being delivered in a multiplicity of forms and a variety of new environments. What will the shape of future learning look like? How are we changing learning to meet our new demands? How is learning changing us? What does changing learning offer us?

The 20th edition of ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN will focus on the evolving shape of modern learning and the opportunity that the variety of modern, technology-assisted learning brings.
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Ten Educational Innovations To Watch For In The Next Ten Years

Ten Educational Innovations To Watch For In The Next Ten Years | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

A team of education experts at the Open University (UK), led by Professor Mike Sharples, have identified “ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education” in this new report. Of course, you can find similar lists in just about every business magazine and newspaper, but what’s different about this report is that it’s been generated by researchers working at the cutting edge of both technology and learning sciences research. It’s a must read for teachers, academics, and policy makers–anyone who cares about how schools and learning will change over the next ten years. Here are quick summaries of their ten predictions:


Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge
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Won Ho's curator insight, November 30, 5:42 AM

We know it all already, but how?

이제는 다 알고 있는 내용... 어떻게 하는지가 문제...

Willem Kuypers's curator insight, November 30, 9:10 AM

Les concepts pour le debut du 21ème siècle sont là.  Il faut encore voir ce qui va dépasser le seuil de la nouveauté. 

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Step by Step: Designing Personalized Learning Experiences For Students

Step by Step: Designing Personalized Learning Experiences For Students | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
The phrase “personalized learning” gets tossed around a lot in education circles. Sometimes it’s used in the context of educational technology tools that offer lessons keyed to the academic level of individual students. Other times it’s referring to the personal touch of a teacher getting to know a student, learning about their interests and tailoring lessons to meet both their needs and their passion areas. As with most education jargon, the phrase isn’t fixed, but it usually connects to the idea that not all students need the same thing at the same time. It implies choice, multiple pathways to learning, many ways to demonstrate competency and resists the notion that all students learn the same way.

Educator Mia MacMeekin has put together a clear infographic highlighting some of the ways teachers design “personalized” curriculum.

Via John Evans
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Elizabeth Hutchinson's curator insight, November 29, 7:03 AM

An interesting look at how students learn. Can we help them personalise their learning. I think so.

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Work is already a game

Work is already a game | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Why is everything being “gamified" nowadays? cant we treat pple like adults? As @hjarche says work is already a game http://t.co/q7nOrIgOv9

Via steve batchelder, Rui Guimarães Lima
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Carlos Rodrigues Cadre's curator insight, November 28, 5:08 PM

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The Role of Socratic Questioning in Thinking, Teac

One of the reasons that instructors tend to overemphasize “coverage” over “engaged thinking” is that they do not fully appreciate the role of questions in teaching content. Consequently, they assume that answers can be taught separate from questions. Indeed, so buried are questions in established instruction that the fact that all assertions — all statements that this or that is so — are implicit answers to questions is virtually never recognized. For example, the statement that water boils at 100 degrees centigrade is an answer to the question “At what temperature centigrade does water boil?” Hence every declarative statement in the textbook is an answer to a question. Hence, every textbook could be rewritten in the interrogative mode by translating every statement into a question. To our knowledge this has never been done. That it has not is testimony to the privileged status of answers over questions in instruction and the misunderstanding of teachers about the significance of questions in the learning (and thinking) process. Instruction at all levels now keeps most questions buried in a torrent of obscured “answers.”


Via Charles Fischer
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Charles Fischer's curator insight, December 1, 9:03 PM

This is a fantastic article on the importance of questions. Many educators and textbook authors still fail to understand that answers are inherently inert, non-reactive, and/or neutral as far as thinking is concerned. Questions are provocative and engaging. Questions ask for a response or opinion and tend to be more engaging. 

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5 Reasons To Allow Digital Devices In Your Classroom

5 Reasons To Allow Digital Devices In Your Classroom | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

Amidst reports of Steve Jobs and other Silicon Valley CEOs imposing extremely strict technology rules on their children, the debate around technology use in the classroom has caught fire once again. One of the strongest arguments for banning technology in the classroom came earlier this fall, from media pundit Clay Shirky in a piece titled “Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away.”

 

In principle, I agree with a lot of what Shirky writes—multiple studies confirm the cognitive toll that distractions and multitasking inflict on learning; his argument that social media is designed both in form and content to distract has merit; and as an email-addict myself, I know that feeling of “instant and satisfying gratification” he describes all too well. Suggesting, however, that enforcing a technology ban is the solution to students’ lack of engagement strikes me both as insecure and a wee bit simplistic.

 

Surely, learning can take place in the absence of technology. But valuable learning can also take place in the presence of it. In my own experience as a foreign language instructor, I have found that there are many benefits to allowing—and in certain cases encouraging—students to use digital devices in class, five of which are outlined below.

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Brenna Robert's curator insight, December 2, 1:48 PM

I find this interesting because we are taught in middle and high school that we can never have our phones out in class. Whereas now, many are arguing for their uses.

Dr. Laura Sheneman's curator insight, December 2, 1:48 PM

When I read the arguments about digital distractions, I actually think - how good are these person's classroom management skills.  Any kind of object shouldn't be a distraction.  Develop signals for regaining your classroom's attention.  Coin some phrases like - Device Down & Power Up.  Create some simple symbols to show your students when it is or isn't appropriate to have their device out.

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Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away…

Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away… | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

I teach theory and practice of social media at NYU, and am an advocate and activist for the free culture movement, so I’m a pretty unlikely candidate for internet censor, but I have just asked the students in my fall seminar to refrain from using laptops, tablets, and phones in class.

 

I came late and reluctantly to this decision — I have been teaching classes about the internet since 1998, and I’ve generally had a laissez-faire attitude towards technology use in the classroom. This was partly because the subject of my classes made technology use feel organic, and when device use went well, it was great. Then there was the competitive aspect — it’s my job to be more interesting than the possible distractions, so a ban felt like cheating. And finally, there’s not wanting to infantilize my students, who are adults, even if young ones — time management is their job, not mine.

 

Despite these rationales, the practical effects of my decision to allow technology use in class grew worse over time. The level of distraction in my classes seemed to grow, even though it was the same professor and largely the same set of topics, taught to a group of students selected using roughly the same criteria every year. The change seemed to correlate more with the rising ubiquity and utility of the devices themselves, rather than any change in me, the students, or the rest of the classroom encounter.

 

Over the years, I’ve noticed that when I do have a specific reason to ask everyone to set aside their devices (‘Lids down’, in the parlance of my department), it’s as if someone has let fresh air into the room. The conversation brightens, and more recently, there is a sense of relief from many of the students. Multi-tasking is cognitively exhausting — when we do it by choice, being asked to stop can come as a welcome change.

 

So this year, I moved from recommending setting aside laptops and phones to requiring it, adding this to the class rules: “Stay focused. (No devices in class, unless the assignment requires it.)” Here’s why I finally switched from ‘allowed unless by request’ to ‘banned unless required’.

Miloš Bajčetić's insight:

Interesting blog by Clay Shirky professor of social media at NYU

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Structure is Not Sacrosanct:  A Pedagogical How-to

Structure is Not Sacrosanct:  A Pedagogical How-to | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
What does a student-centered classroom look like? In recent years this question has gone from a fringe conversation amongst scholars of pedagogy to a mainstream discussion more and more common in spaces around higher education and beyond. A recent report by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA confirms this; for the first time in the history of their expansive triennial study on faculty attitudes in higher education, the majority of surveyed faculty reported using non-lecture classroom methods in their face to face spaces. Within six years, the study notes, the trend could become permanent, meaning a change in the discourse around higher education, where society no longer views instruction as dictated to passive students from a person standing behind a lectern.
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"Formative Assessments are 'Powerful'"

"Formative Assessments are 'Powerful'" | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Formative Assessments are 'Powerful' is the title of my latest Education Week Teacher post. Today is the first post in a two-part series. Jennifer Serravallo, Andrew Miller, Daniel R. Venables, Bra...

Via Dr Peter Carey
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Blended Learning: It's Not the Tech, It's How the Tech is Used

Blended Learning: It's Not the Tech, It's How the Tech is Used | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

As a blended learning pioneer and enthusiast, I'm here to tell you technology, on its own, is no cure. More and more, blended learning has become a misused buzzword in education circles. It is not merely adding technology, a device or a tutoring program. It certainly is not replacing teachers with computers.

 

Blended learning is and will continue to be a critical element of a 21st century education, but only if executed with intentionality and precision. Most importantly, it will only succeed if implemented with the expertise of teachers. So, what does that look like?

 

Essentially, blended learning is a highly targeted and engaging learning experience. It's a purposeful look at the curricula, the needs of students and teachers, and subsequently, what learning modality or support can best help a student meet unique learning goals. Technology and online learning are not just included; they are purposefully integrated into the act of learning and curricula in a manner that improves the educational experience for all students. The purposeful use of technology, paired with effective teacher-led instruction and student interaction, is what makes learning blended.

 

 


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IQ is in the genes: How parents raise children has almost no impact how smart they become, study finds

IQ is in the genes: How parents raise children has almost no impact how smart they become, study finds | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

Kids benefit when their parents spend quality time encouraging them to think and to take on challenging pursuits. But this won’t improve a child’s IQ, a new study finds.


Their reading to you, talking with you at the dinner table and taking an active interest in your life could make you happy. And that’s important. But it won’t make you smarter, says Kevin Beaver. Previous research has suggested different types of parenting could affect a child’s IQ. Short for intelligence quotient, IQ is a score that measures human intelligence. But those earlier data hadn’t separated out the effect of genetics on IQ. Beaver’s team wanted to know: Are children’s IQ scores really affected by how their parents raised them? Or are those scores just a reflection of what genes a child inherited?


To find out, the team pored over information from a study of more than 15,000 U.S. middle- and high-school students. It’s called the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Starting in the 1994-to-1995 school year, researchers had asked students a series of questions. For instance: How warm and loving are your parents? How much do you talk with them? How close do you feel to your parents? How much do you think they care about you?


Students also were given a list of 10 activities. Then the questionnaire asked how many of those activities students had done with their parents in the previous week. Did they play sports together? Go shopping? Talk with each other over dinner? Watch a movie together?

Students also answered questions about how permissive their parents were. For example, did their parents let them choose their own friends, choose what to watch on TV or choose for themselves when to go to bed?


The researchers then gave the students a test to gauge their IQ. Called a Picture Vocabulary Test, it asked the students to link words and images. Scores on this test have been linked repeatedly to IQ. Later in life, between the ages of 18 and 26, these people were tested again. Beaver’s group was especially interested in results from a group of about 220 students who had been adopted. The parents who raised them had not passed on any genes to them. So if there was a link between the students’ IQs and the way their parents raised them, the researchers should see it most clearly in the adopted students’ scores.


What does Beaver make of the new findings? We all have strengths and weaknesses, he says. That means some of us will have to work harder than others to do well. And in some cases, other people will always be better than us at certain things. “The key is to find what you are good at and what you enjoy.” Then, he says, “Work your hardest to become the best you can be.”


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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RJ Lavallee's curator insight, November 30, 8:54 AM

One study does not a total change make, but it does raise questions...

JebaQpt's comment, December 2, 12:00 AM
Iq questions with answers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzJ6fYiItKc&index=2&list=PLK2ccNIJVPpCKcR42ndz3tGoL3xZmQ-o0
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Ray Kurzweil: The accelerating power of technology

Ray Kurzweil: The accelerating power of technology | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Inventor, entrepreneur and visionary Ray Kurzweil explains in abundant, grounded detail why, by the 2020s, we will have reverse-engineered the human brain and nanobots will be operating your consciousness.

Via Dennis T OConnor
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Dennis T OConnor's curator insight, November 29, 2:25 PM

Interesting to see Kurzweil thinking so quickly. This video is from 2005.  10 years of change.  5 years to the 20-20's. I'm hanging in there living each day and imagining the near future prospects of these ideas.

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Voiceboard - Future of Presentations

Voiceboard - Future of Presentations | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it

VOICEBOARD is a voice and gesture controlled application which helps you give unique presentations.


Use your hands and voice to engage with interactive media, such as 3D models, maps, webpages, to wow your audience.

 

Jump through content freely using your voice, keeping your audience engaged, without leaving the stage.


Via Baiba Svenca
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Filipe Cálix's curator insight, November 30, 12:05 PM

Ponha um anel no dedo, um headset na orelha e prepare-se para uma experiência futurista até com as apresentações mais banais. Voiceboard usa os gestos e a voz para comandar a apresentação dos slides. Tão simples quanto isto.

Voiceboard foi desenvolvido no Reino Unido e tem lançamento marcado para o próximo dia 9. O preço do pack é algo proibitivo por enquanto: 799USD é preço avançado para as primeiras reservas.  Esperam-se reações do mercado a esta inovação.

Mjpa Educación's curator insight, November 30, 7:26 PM
RECURSO INTERESANTE
flea palmer's curator insight, December 1, 7:23 AM

No more having to use a clicker to navigate through slides, therefore making a presentation more natural!  Particularly impressive is the ability to move 3D objects around by just using gestures. 

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Two design models for online collaborative learning: same or different?

Two design models for online collaborative learning: same or different? | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Here I am looking at the work of two separate and important Canadian theorists and practitioners, what we might call the Toronto school, Linda Harasim and her former colleagues at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in Toronto (although Linda has been firmly based for 25 years at SFU in Vancouver/Burnaby), and the Alberta school, Randy Garrison, and colleagues Terry Anderson and Walter Archer. However, they are not the only contributors to the design of online collaborative learning, as the following post makes clear.

Perhaps more importantly, I believe that online collaborative learning is a key model for teaching the knowledge and skills needed in a digital age. So here’s my first draft:
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Using Video Grading to Help Students Succeed

Using Video Grading to Help Students Succeed | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
Creating videos to supplement the grading process can personalize the instructor-student relationship, clarify expectations and help keep learners on track.

Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge
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'Chatty' Cells Help Build the Brain

'Chatty' Cells Help Build the Brain | Learning & Mind & Brain | Scoop.it
The cerebral cortex, which controls higher processes such as perception, thought and cognition, is the most complex structure in the mammalian central nervous system. Although much is known about the intricate structure of this brain region, the processes governing its formation remain uncertain. Research led by Carina Hanashima from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology has now uncovered how feedback between cells, as well as molecular factors, helps shape cortical development during mouse embryogenesis.

The cortex is made up of layers of interconnecting cells that are produced in a particular order from progenitor cells. The relatively cell-sparse outer layer is formed first, then the dense deep layer, and finally the tightly packed upper layer. Hanashima and her colleagues were interested to discover exactly how the various layers form, so they created a mouse model that enabled them to control the expression of a particular protein, Foxg1, known to be involved in cortical development.

The Foxg1 gene, if switched on toward the end of embryogenesis after the outer layer of neurons has formed, triggers the production of deep-layer neurons, followed by upper-layer neurons. The researchers found that it does this by repressing the activity of another gene, called Tbr1, in the outer-layer neurons.

Genetics, however, is not the only factor that influences the development of this complicated laminar structure. In a separate experiment, the researchers let natural embryonic development run its course until the deep-layer neurons had formed, after which they selectively killed off these cells. At a point in time when the production of deep-layer cells would normally have ceased, it instead continued. The absence of the ‘production stop’ signal from deep-layer neurons caused the progenitor cells to continue to make deep-layer neurons. “Before this study, there was no evidence for any feedback between post-mitotic neurons and progenitors,” says Hanashima, “but we’ve shown that the two cell types do communicate.”
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