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Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning
Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence involving knowledge creation and flow. Pooled brainpower emerges from the collaboration and learning actions of a community of connected individuals empowered by social media, participatory tools, and mobile platforms.
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Google Expands Role In Digital Education, Teams Up With edX To Build A YouTube For Free Online Courses

Google Expands Role In Digital Education, Teams Up With edX To Build A YouTube For Free Online Courses | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

It’s turning into a busy week for Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers, and the tech companies that love them — particularly Google. Udacity co-founder and CEO Sebastian Thrun and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom announced the Open Education Alliance, a consortium of online organizations dedicated to closing the skills gap, developing standards for career readiness and providing the content that will help get students ready for the workforce. Google and AT&T are some of the names already endorsing the Alliance, while rumors have been circling that Coursera and other MOOC providers are on board as well. However, at this point who will be participating and what it could mean for education is still up in the air. It’s an alliance-in-progress.


Google also took another big step into the open courseware game, announcing a new partnership with edX — the Harvard and MIT-backed, non-profit organization that currently stands as one of the Big Three MOOC Providers, along with Udacity and Coursera. Together, the two companies plan to launch, a site that will allow teachers, businesses — and really anyone — to create their own digital course and share it with the world. As of now, the site is slated for launch in the first half of 2014.


For edX, represents another step towards going beyond the boundaries of its current model, which includes partnership with institutions like Harvard, MIT, Stanford and other elite universities. In April, the organization merged with Stanford University-based startup Class2Go to build an open-source version of its platform that can be used by any institution around the globe. The goal has been to allow developers access to edX’s code to allow any institution to host and distribute digital courses for on-campus and distance learners — both online and offline — and create better ways to collect student data.

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Google Play Will Soon Let You Buy and Rent Textbooks

Google Play Will Soon Let You Buy and Rent Textbooks | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Google announced on Wednesday huge news for students: You can soon buy and rent textbooks for tablets via its Google Play store.

The company announced during a press event in San Francisco that it's adding a new channel for digital textbooks, starting in August and just in time for the school year. Users can access these textbooks via the web, Android and iOS devices.


Although no information was given about pricing, Google said we will see a "comprehensive selection of titles" from five major publishing houses. Textbooks can be purchased or rented for about six months. Content will also be available up to an 80% discount.


"Instead of a 400 page doorstop, Google Play books brings you awesome new features like search, bookmarks, highlighting, notes and even night mode, so you don't wake your roommate," Ellie Powers, Google Play product manager, told attendees.


Notes and bookmarks will be synced across all devices, whether a user is accessing it online or later on a smartphone or tablet.

Some of the major subjects coming to Google's textbook collection will include math, law, accounting and chemistry.  "For just the cost of one new Nexus 7, you can buy that and rent all of your textbooks instead," Powers said.

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YouTube is testing a new auto-generated playlist feature called YouTube Mix to aid in video discovery

YouTube is testing a new auto-generated playlist feature called YouTube Mix to aid in video discovery | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

YouTube is experimenting with a new feature designed to help users better discover videos and channels on its site. Called “YouTube Mix”, it’s an auto-generated playlist that will display suggested videos based on what you’re reading.


While the video service already has suggested videos displayed in the right-hand sidebar of each page, YouTube Mix offers users the ability to watch 50 videos continuously that it thinks they’ll be interested in. No additional work needed to click through each video one by one to watch it.


Each playlist features up to 50 videos, but YouTube says that once all of those videos have been watched, an additional 50 will be shown, showing users more content that they are interested in. Just like a music playlist, users can shuffle videos, place it on repeat, or skip around to specific videos they wish to see.

Kamakshi Rajagopal's comment, April 23, 2013 5:23 PM
Hi Hue! We are conducting a survey on education-related topics on Scoop.IT at the Open Universiteit in the Netherlands and could really use your help. Would you like to join our experiment? You can sign up here: Thanks for your participation!!!
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Google's Open Course Builder: A Giant Leap into 21st-Century Online Learning

Google's Open Course Builder: A Giant Leap into 21st-Century Online Learning | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
"Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." -- About Google

Google is the most powerful nonhuman teacher ever known to actual humans.


Implicitly and ceaselessly, Google performs formative assessments by collecting the following data: the content, genre and media that interests you most; when and for how long you access your external cloud brain; what your hobbies and routines are; with whom you work and communicate; who will get your November vote; and whether you prefer invigorating clean mint or enamel renewal toothpaste. By continuously refining the nuance of your sociogram, Google has already customized your next web exploration and taught itself to teach.


You Are Now Entering the Learning Management System


Months ago, Google entered the massive open online course (MOOC) space by introducing the free Power Searching with Google course to 150 thousand self-enrolled students (shocker: Google is not particularly concerned with enhancing your use of dozens of alternative search engines). More recently, Google gave away Open Course Builder -- tools that were used to construct its popular course -- and further disrupted traditional notions of who gets to play teacher (anyone) and how many students can take a class for free (1 or 100,000).


If you are an advanced geek, you will be able to author and publish your own e-learning space using Open Course Builder. If you don't know the difference between a .txt file and .jpg, choose a different learning management system (LMS) for now.


I enrolled in Power Searching to assess how Google's tools support 21st-century skills: critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.With his gray beard and soothing demeanor, Senior Research Scientist Daniel M. Russell donned an avuncular professor role on streaming video as he explained the course's organization and tests: pre-class, midterm and culminating.


Online learning modules should be intuitive, persuading learners to forget that an infrastructure is unobtrusively guiding their knowledge and skill acquisition. Power Searching is pure course craftsmanship, what you might expect from a team of well-paid (and fed) content geniuses and instructional design experts.  The six 50-minutes classes were easy to navigate. An overview to each class was followed by five or six lessons featuring short introductions to content chunklets. After completing an exercise, students were invited to access supplementary resources and participate on discussion forums facilitated by teacher assistants.

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How Google is becoming an extension of your mind

How Google is becoming an extension of your mind | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Google could have us all headed for a mind-blowing future -- if the company can back away from targeted advertising and better help users manage their personal information.


It's time to think of Google as much more than just a search engine, and that should both excite and spook you.

Search remains critical to the company's financial and technological future, but Google also is using the search business' cash to transform itself into something much broader than just a place to point your browser when asking for directions on the Internet.

What it's now becoming is an extension of your mind, an omnipresent digital assistant that figures out what you need and supplies it before you even realize you need it.


Read this blog post by Stephen Shankland.



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Is Google Knowledge?

"Google it" seems to be the quick and easy answer for every question we could possibly ask, but is finding facts the same thing as KNOWING? Having billions of facts at the tips of your typing fingertips may not necessarily be making us any smarter. Some people even think it's making us more stupid and lazy. Whatever way we process the vast sea of data available, the question remains: is the act of googling the same as knowledge?

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Google Play for Education could kill the iPad in schools

Google Play for Education could kill the iPad in schools | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Google released a major new education program today that organizes and manages the way teachers push apps, books, and other learning content to student tablets.


“When I go visit my kids’ classrooms, it looks pretty much exactly like it did when I went to school,” said Chris Yerga, Google’s engineering director at Google I/O. “Teachers told us that in education, there’s a huge gap between what’s possible with technology and what’s practical, especially with mobile technology. And then they told us it was Google’s job to fix this.”  He explained that teachers said Google should make an affordable Android tablet, content management tools, and app discovery tools. So Google is starting with the last two.


Google Play for Education is like an app store designed especially for teachers with some powerful management tools built-in. Teachers will be able to visit this app store and search by categories such as age-range and subject matter. If you are trying to teach math to a bunch of first graders, you can plug in those refinements and get back a list of apps made specifically for that group. Teachers will also be able to see reviews from other teachers. After instructors select an app, Google Play for Education will push it out automatically to all the tablets associated with a defined Google Group of students.


That’s the catch — you’ll need to set up your entire classroom on Google Apps, buy Android tablets for all the students, and create a Google Group with the tablets hooked up. The only real issue here might be cost, as Google Apps are fairly easy to set up and many education institutions are already using them.

Schools are able to load accounts with funds for the app store, so a teacher can automatically deduct from that balance if they wish to license a classroom-amount of paid apps. Teachers will also be able to push out YouTube videos and books in the same way they do apps.

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Google’s Knowledge Graph Expands To More Languages, Including Italian, French, Japanese And Russian

Google’s Knowledge Graph Expands To More Languages, Including Italian, French, Japanese And Russian | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Google Fellow Ben Gomes just took the stage at LeWeb Paris and announced that Google’s Knowledge Graph project is now available in a number of new languages, including Italian, French, Japanese and Russian (we’re still trying to confirm if Google also added other languages, too). The Knowledge Graph project, which is one of Google’s main projects in search at this point, was only available in English until now.


In August, Google brought Knowledge Graph to all English-speaking countries after first launching in the U.S., but today’s expansion is the first time the company is bringing this product to other languages as well.


Gomes started his talk by describing Google’s reasons for working on the Knowledge Graph problem. The real world, Gomes said, is about things and not the kind of strings we type into Google Search. For the most part, this was a reiteration of the kind of things Google has long said about this project. The Knowledge Graph, he said, makes the web more like a library that allows you to explore connections you wouldn’t usually find.


The big challenge for Google, though, is to internationalize the Knowledge Graph. Even in English, the differences between how people in India, Australia, England and the U.S. use it is often widely different. Because the Knowledge Graph “knows” about millions of different objects, it also needs to know if somebody who is looking for “Chiefs,” for example, is looking for the Kansas City Chiefs or the Chiefs rugby team.


Looking ahead, Gomes said that his dream is the “Star Trek Computer.” That’s still fantasy right now, but we are starting to understand key concepts like voice recognition and natural language processing. In his view, it will still take a long time before we get to a really intelligent search experience, but he thinks we are on the right track.



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Google Says Apps For Education Now Has More Than 20 Million Users

Google Says Apps For Education Now Has More Than 20 Million Users | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
Google just announced that its Apps for Education suite is now being used by more than 20 million students, faculty members, and staff worldwide.


Google just announced that its Apps for Education suite is now being used by more than 20 million students, faculty members, and staff worldwide. The company made this announcement in a blog post celebrating the upcoming World Teachers’ Day on October 5.


Google Apps For Education launched almost exactly six years ago. The service seems to be growing at a rate of about 5 million new users per year. In 2010, Apps for Education had about 10 million users and last year, Google announced that it had signed up an additional 5 million users for the service since.


The education edition includes all of the standard Google products like Gmail, Calendar, Good Docs, and Drive. In addition schools can make use of Vault, the company’s archiving and e-discovery solution that helps them to be prepared for internal investigations, litigation and compliance audits. Schools do not have to pay for access to Apps for Education, and students get up to 25GB of storage space on Google’s servers.


With Office 365 for Education, Microsoft currently offers a very similar suite of products for schools. In 2011, Microsoft said its product (which was still called live@edu back then) had about 15 million users. The company hasn’t released any new numbers since, though it recently expanded its service to Europe and announced that it had signed up more than 4.5 million students through the Catholic International Education Office there.



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