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Ed tech teams compete for modest prizes from Gates Foundation, Facebook | GigaOM EdTech News

Ed tech teams compete for modest prizes from Gates Foundation, Facebook | GigaOM EdTech News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Every time you unlock your phone, you likely type in the same, boring old code. But imagine if, each time you wanted to use it, your phone prompted you translate a Facebook friend’s status message into Spanish or French or another language of your choice. It might not make you fluent overnight, but it’s a clever way to get some educational value out of an otherwise mundane task.

 

That app, developed by a team from online learning company Quizlet, was one of three winners picked by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Facebook at their HackEd 2.0 challenge Tuesday night. The two organizations hosted 24 teams of developers, educators and others for a day-long event and hackathon at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters focused on all things ed tech.

 

“[We wanted] to provide students with tools that are useful and actionable … and to get the best talent pointed at these big important problems in education,” said Emily Dalton Smith, a program officer at the Gates Foundation. Given Facebook’s popularity among young people and the social media giant’s connection to a technical crowd, partnering with them was a natural choice, she said.

 

An earlier hackathon hosted by the two organizations in September was a closed, invitation-only affair. But this week’s hackathon started in March with an open call for developers, educators and others around the country to submit app ideas related to college readiness, social learning and out-of-school learning. About half of the teams that applied were invited to attend and, at the event this week, they were given six hours to turn their ideas into a working prototype. Later this month in London, the organizations will host a smaller ed tech hackathon.

 

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Another Study Suggests Acting Immorally In Video Games Actually Makes Players More Moral | Techdirt.com

Another Study Suggests Acting Immorally In Video Games Actually Makes Players More Moral | Techdirt.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As the evolution of video games as a major entertainment medium marches on, you would expect to see more and more studies done as to their effects. And, since the chief topic among those having this conversation seems to center around the effect of violence in games, that's where much of the focus of these studies is going to go.


Now, we've already discussed one study that linked violent video games and the so-called Macbeth Effect, in which the gamer feels the need to cleanse themselves of the wrong-doing with a conversely benevolent action. That study was important because it demonstrated that the effect of violent games might have the opposite effect of the all-to-prevalent theory that virtual violence begets real-life violence.

A recent study appears to boil this down even further, indicating that instead of feeling any kind of desensitizing effect, immoral actions taken in video games produce a more sensitive, compassionate person.


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What 4 teachers told Obama over lunch | Justin Minkel Blog | WashPost.com

What 4 teachers told Obama over lunch | Justin Minkel Blog | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

President Obama sat down this week for lunch at the White House with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and four teachers to talk about education, teaching and school reform.


What the teachers said to Obama is explained in the following post by Justin Minkel, the 2007 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, a board member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, and a member of the Center for Teaching Quality’s Collaboratory. He writes two blogs, Teaching for Triumph and Career Teacher. Follow him on Twitter:  @JustinMinkel


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Myth-Busting Differentiated Instruction: 3 Myths and 3 Truths | John McCarthy | Edutopia.org

Myth-Busting Differentiated Instruction: 3 Myths and 3 Truths | John McCarthy | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In third grade, my daughter struggled with problems like 36 x 12, and she knew her multiplication facts. Fortunately, her math tutor recognized what was needed, and introduced the Lattice Method. My daughter rediscovered her confidence.


As educators, we know that learning is not one size fits all. Yet differentiated instruction (DI) remains elusive as a major part of formal planning. Myths about DI persist despite work by respected advocates such as Carol Tomlinson, Susan Allan, Rick Wormeli, and Gayle Gregory. What follows are prominent misperceptions expressed about DI, presented here so that we can separate myth from truth.


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Tuna Knobs turns tablets into mobile DJ stations | GizMag.com

Tuna Knobs turns tablets into mobile DJ stations | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

With just about every aspect of music production going digital, one budding DJ is looking to march to the beat of his own drum. Samuel Verburg joined forces with Dutch design firm Tweetonig aiming to mix not just perfectly matched beats, but a bit of old with a little bit of new. The result is Tuna Knobs, physical controls that work on any capacitive touchscreen to bring tactile feedback to music making applications.

The idea for Tuna Knobs arose when Verburg discovered the music production capabilities of the iPad at the behest of a colleague. After some time experimenting with apps such as virtual midi controller TouchOSC, Verburg concluded that the experience just wasn't quite the same. This led him to team up with Tweetonig to explore how these these apps might be improved by integrating the touch and feel of conventional DJ hardware.


"It is basically a stylus," John Tillema, product developer at Tweetonig, tells Gizmag. "The biggest problem was actually getting the footprint large enough so that every device recognize it as being a finger print. That, combined with getting the right feeling, made it a nice engineering challenge."


The team has now arrived at a prototype it hopes will offer a new kind of experience for musicians. A clear acrylic base is fixed to the touchscreen with a suction cap. Placed correctly to align with the virtual knobs on-screen, a conductive rubber grip combines with a conductive surface on the underside to transform a real-life turning movement into an in-app touch command.


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Gauging Public Support for Education Spending | Conor Williams | EdCentral.org

Gauging Public Support for Education Spending | Conor Williams | EdCentral.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

I attended First Focus’ annual Children’s Budget Summit this week to hear about the latest federal budget trendlines affecting programs that serve children. The accompanying report is full of interesting information on the United States’ budget priorities.


Across all programs, inflation-adjusted federal spending on children declined by 13.6 percent from 2010 to 2014. Education is down 15.1 percent, and early childhood spending 6.2 percent over the same time period.


These are sobering statistics, especially since, as we noted earlier this year in Subprime Learning, public awareness of the importance of the early years is higher now than ever before. Even though we know that investing in kids markedly improves their long-term life outcomes and saves public money, our representatives in Washington have been steadily cutting back on programs that support children.


Public opinion on early education is as clear as the research. At the event, First Focus announced polling that shows 84 percent of Americans want us to act now to improve conditions for kids. And that sort of overwhelming support isn’t an anomaly—it tracks previous polling.


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School Is Over for the Summer. So Is the Era of Majority White U.S. Public Schools | NationalJournal.com

School Is Over for the Summer. So Is the Era of Majority White U.S. Public Schools | NationalJournal.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The 2013-14 school year has drawn to a close in most U.S. school districts, and with it the final period in which white students composed a majority of the nation's K-12 public school population. When schools reopen in August and September, black, Latino, Asian, and Native American students will together make up a narrow majority of the nation's public school students.


The change marks far more than a statistical blip.

 

Broader demographic trends indicate that the new student majority, a collection of what have long been thought of as minority groups, will grow. In just three years, Latino students alone will make up nearly 28 percent of the nation's student population, predict data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Latino student population growth combined with a slow but steady decline in the number of white children attending public schools will transform the country's schools.


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Teachers to Education Secretary Arne Duncan: Please Quit | The Nation

Teachers to Education Secretary Arne Duncan: Please Quit | The Nation | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Given the choice between Republicans who are explicitly committed to doing away with collective bargaining rights and Democrats, public-sector labor unions tend to back Democrats at election time.


But that does not mean that unions are always satisfied with Democratic Party policies—or with Democratic policymakers.


This is especially true with regard to education debates. There are certainly Democrats who have been strong advocates for public schools. But there are also Democratic mayors, governors, members of Congress and cabinet members such as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who have embraced and advanced “reforms” that supporters of public schools identify as destructive.


Duncan’s policies were so appealing to 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney—who explicitly praised the “good things” the education secretary was doing—that education writer Dave Murray wrote a 2012 article headlined, “Could a Romney Administration include Arne Duncan, President Obama’s education secretary?”


Former US Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, who has emerged as a leading champion of public education, refers to Duncan as “one of the worst Secretaries of Education”— arguing that “Duncan’s policies demean the teaching profession by treating student test scores as a proxy for teacher quality.


Teachers are pushing back against Duncan and those policies.


When 9,000 National Education Association members from across the country gathered in Denver last week, they endorsed a resolution that declares:


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5 Epiphanies on Learning in a 1:1 iPad Classroom | Alyssa Tormala Blog | Edutopia.org

5 Epiphanies on Learning in a 1:1 iPad Classroom | Alyssa Tormala Blog | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Last fall, my high school handed iPads to each student in the building, and I began my journey as the school's Instructional Technology Coach. Since our faculty had spent the previous year preparing for the rollout, I knew our classroom environment and teaching methods would evolve. I welcomed it. But I could never have imagined how vast -- and rewarding -- that evolution would be.


To provide some structure for my journey, I joined a cross-curricular group of my colleagues who were focusing on action research in their classrooms. Questions permeate good action research -- mine was: "What does learning look like in a fully-committed 1:1 iPad high school classroom?" I gathered data from my three freshman English classes throughout the year while we engaged in a rich, ongoing cycle of experimentation, feedback, and discussion.


As an English teacher, I use the word "epiphany" all the time. But this year I came to understand that term on a more personal level -- not just once, but again and again. The following are a few of the most meaningful epiphanies that I experienced.


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For Those in the Digital Dark, Enlightenment Is Borrowed From the Library | NYTimes.com

For Those in the Digital Dark, Enlightenment Is Borrowed From the Library | NYTimes.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Joey Cabrera stands for part of most evenings on the doorstep of the Clason’s Point Library, near 172nd Street and Morrison Avenue in the Bronx.


There, he taps into the Wi-Fi that seeps out of the library after it closes. He checks in on Tumblr, Snapchat, Facebook — “the usual stuff,” he said — and plays Lost Saga, a video game developed in Korea. “Formerly, I played Minecraft, but this is less mainstream, an inside thing with my friends,” Joey said.


Then there is a basic maneuver in skateboarding that he is mastering, the Pop Shove It. He studies the technique at the library doorstep.


“I’ve gone to YouTube multiple times to see how to do it,” he said.


Like most homes in his part of the Bronx, Joey’s apartment has no Internet access. Even before the library opens for the day, people stand outside, polishing résumés, then dash in at the crack of 10 a.m. to use the printers. “Then they get right on the train for job interviews,” said Wanda Luzon, the manager of the Clason’s Point Branch of the New York Public Library.


Joey, 15, who is going to be a sophomore in high school, arrives at the end of the day, after he is finished at the year-round academic enrichment program he attends in Manhattan. He walks a block from the Westchester Avenue el, then settles in at the library until closing time, which is 7 p.m. on Mondays. Then he continues his online session through the library’s network.


“I’ve got an hour before sunset, when it gets dangerous,” Joey said.

As he spoke, a young woman nearby finished her online sidewalk session and moved on.


The branch library is the village well.


For most of the city, two companies, Time Warner and Verizon, provide broadband access, at an annual cost of close to $1,000 per home. For many houses, that means no access at all. About 2.9 million people in the city were in the digital dark, according to a 2010 study by the Center for Technology and Government at the University at Albany, part of the State University of New York. In the city’s libraries, 68 percent of the people who make under $25,000 and are using the computers do not have Internet access at home.


“Imagine that in the information capital of the world, kids are camped out on the stoops of libraries to do their online math homework,” said Anthony W. Marx, the president of the New York Public Library, the city’s leading provider of free Internet access.


Andrew Rasiej, the chairman of NY Tech Meetup and an advocate for broadband access at low cost, has lobbied Mr. Marx. “I asked him, ‘You let people check out books, why don’t you let them check out the Internet?’ ” Mr. Rasiej said.


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Iraq: Scientists Discover Long-Lost Temple in Kurdistan Region | HuffPost.com

Iraq: Scientists Discover Long-Lost Temple in Kurdistan Region | HuffPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Life-size human statues and column bases from a long-lost temple dedicated to a supreme god have been discovered in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.


The discoveries date back over 2,500 years to the Iron Age, a time period when several groups — such as the Urartians, Assyrians and Scythians — vied for supremacy over what is now northern Iraq.


"I didn't do excavation, just archaeological soundings —the villagers uncovered these materials accidentally," said Dlshad Marf Zamua, a doctoral student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who began the fieldwork in 2005. The column bases were found in a single village while the other finds, including a bronze statuette of a wild goat, were found in a broad area south of where the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey intersect. [See Photos of the Life-Size Statues & Other Discoveries in Iraq]


For part of the Iron Age, this area was under control of the city of Musasir, also called Ardini, Marf Zamua said. Ancient inscriptions have referred to Musasir as a "holy city founded in bedrock" and "the city of the raven."


"One of the best results of my fieldwork is the uncovered column bases of the long-lost temple of the city of Musasir, which was dedicated to the god Haldi," Marf Zamuatold Live Science in an email. Haldi was the supreme god of the kingdom of Urartu. His temple was so important that after the Assyrians looted it in 714 B.C., the Urartu king Rusa I was said to have ripped his crown off his head before killing himself.


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We lose so much history to war and destruction, it is wonderful when bits are found.

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What Makes The Wall Street Journal Look Like The Wall Street Journal | TheAtlantic.com

What Makes The Wall Street Journal Look Like The Wall Street Journal | TheAtlantic.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

On the morning of Sept. 12, 2001, The Wall Street Journal was missing what most other papers on the planet considered a critical element: Photography of what had happened the day before. 


The only image on the front page was a simple gray map of the East Coast, with black dots showing key places related to the terrorist attacks the day before. 


"We didn't run a photo, where I think every other paper in the world, including the international edition of the Journal, ran a photo," said senior visual editor Jessica Yu.


The Journal, which turns 125 today, long resisted photography. It was a numbers paper, the thinking went, devoted to covering the financial markets and forces that shape the economy. It was text heavy and serious and there was no room—nor any real need—for images.


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Museums Curate the Digital Revolution | USTelecom.org

Museums Curate the Digital Revolution | USTelecom.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

The digital world has rapidly changed many aspects of American culture, inspiring innovations that are broadly accepted and integrated into our daily lives.


Museums looking to capture the historical and artistic value of such achievements are increasingly incorporating digital art into their collections, as well as creating dedicated exhibitions that chart the evolution of the digital age. One such exhibition is the “Digital Revolution,” which recently opened at the Barbican Centre  in London.


The Barbican, advantageously located near East London’s technology corridor known as “Tech City,” presents a chronological showcase of digital developments. As The New York Times reports, the exhibition features the influential 1970’s game Pong, credited with helping to popularize computer games, and then moves forward in time highlighting the early development of home computers and websites as well as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, robotics and the influence of technologies across myriad industries.


A number of other museums are also embracing digital in terms of acquisitions, fostering artistic collaborations, and encouraging increased engagement with museum visitors.


As an example, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York recently acquired the first digital typefaces and the first downloadable app, Bjork’s Biophilia.


Additionally, New York’s New Museum is currently developing its art/tech incubator, NEW INC, which will welcome artists, technologists and designers for yearlong residencies, and provide a space to showcase their work.


At the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn., digital has become a larger focus of the museum experience. The current exhibit, “Standing Up By Sitting Down,”which focuses on the 1960’s student lunch counter sit-ins protesting segregation, invites users to engage with digital touch screens to learn more about many facets of the protests. The development of this interactive learning platform, which may be modified and used for future exhibitions, is being funded by a grant from the Verizon Foundation.


Museums are utilizing digital tools to bring greater context to diverse historical topics, including the growth and evolution of the digital world itself.  However, as Conrad Bodman, curator of the Barbican’s ‘Digital Revolution’ observes, “There’s so much happening in this field, but we’re only 50 years into it. People say we’re in a golden age of digital media, though we’re just at the beginning.”

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Republican Commissioners rip FCC's spendy school Wi-Fi plan | NetworkWorld.com

Republican Commissioners rip FCC's spendy school Wi-Fi plan | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

A proposal by U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to pump billions of dollars into Wi-Fi deployment at schools and libraries has run into a snag, with the commission’s two Republican suggesting the money will come from U.S. residents’ pocketbooks


The commission is scheduled to vote Friday on Wheeler’s proposal to revamp the agency’s E-Rate program, but Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly questioned where the money will come from. E-Rate, a 17-year-old program funded through telephone service fees, helps schools and libraries connect to the Internet.


Wheeler’s plan to spend US$5 billion to improve Wi-Fi networks at schools and libraries over the next several years doesn’t add up, Pai said in a statement released Tuesday.


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DIY shop SparkFun now offers a cloud for your connected device data | GigaOM Tech News

DIY shop SparkFun now offers a cloud for your connected device data | GigaOM Tech News | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

SparkFun, the Boulder, Colo. company that sells DIY projects and boards, and even helps with fulfilling the orders from crowdfunding campaigns, has built a cloud service and an open-source project designed to get data online. The company laid out the new service, called data.sparkfun.com in blog post Thursday, and it also released code it calls Phant (as in elephant, the pachyderm that never forgets) so people who don’t want to use the service can still upload their data to their own servers.


With this offering it is becoming crystal clear that if you’re going to offer hardware to people building connected devices, you’re also going to have to offer a service to get that data online, where developers can then play with it. I was reminded of the Dweet.io and Freeboard projects by Big Labs while reading SparkFun CEO’s Nate Seidle’s description of the data service:


"See the simplistic beauty here? All you have to do is string a bunch of sensor data together from whatever hardware you’re using and throw a link out into the world. Phant never forgets them. And almost any embedded device can stick a bunch of strings and variables together!<br />"


However, like many of the toolsets associated with the DIYers out there and even products like Electric Imp that offer both hardware and cloud, there’s still a level of expertise or comfort with physical tinkering and software required. The barrier is much lower, and clearly efforts like this are bringing more people and ideas into the connected device universe, but I’m curious how large this market is.


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Hero hacks: 14 Raspberry Pi projects primed for IT | NetworkWorld.com

Hero hacks: 14 Raspberry Pi projects primed for IT | NetworkWorld.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

You have to hand it to Eben Upton and crew for the Raspberry Pi. This single-board design, aimed at making computers inexpensive enough to bring computer science to the poorest of schools, has kicked off a revolution not just in education, but in tapping computing power to interact with the environment around us. And along the way, this $35 computer has proved to have significant value in traditional IT and business contexts.


The following DIY projects just scratch the surface of how you can hack the Raspberry Pi, and its Arduino cousin, into an effective workplace tool. A few I've yet to build myself, but they are modifications of previous projects I have built. Consider it a catalog of battle-tested possibilities.


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Cloud brings thunder and lightning inside your home | GizMag.com

Cloud brings thunder and lightning inside your home | GizMag.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Cloud, by New Zealand-based designer Richard Clarkson, is an interactive lamp designed to mimic a thundercloud. It brings the outside inside, providing an audiovisual show that looks and sounds like thunder and lightning ... but thankfully rain isn't included in the package.


Powered by an Arduino microcontroller, Cloud is able to react to motion by automatically adjusting the color and brightness of lighting. There are also alternate modes for those who need a break from having a thundercloud in their home. For instance, Cloud can be turned into a nightlight or used to stream music via any Bluetooth-compatible device.


The Cloud itself is made hypoallergenic fiberfill that is felted to a sponge casing to form a frame. The frame holds within it the lighting system and speakers used to make Cloud look and sound like a real thundercloud ... just one that's hanging from your ceiling rather than growing ominously outside your window.


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How college remediation rates are distorted — and why | WashPost.com

How college remediation rates are distorted — and why | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Are a large percentage of high school graduates so unprepared for college when they get there that they have to take remedial courses to catch up? School reformers like to say so, and throw out big percentages of students who are said to need remediation.


But where do these figures come from, and are they accurate? Award-winning Prinicipal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York looks at this issue in the following post.


Burris has been exposing the problems with New York’s botched school reform effort for a long time on this blog. (You can read some of her work here, herehere,  here, and here.) She previously wrote about remediation rates here. She was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010,  tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State.


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Study: Too Many Structured Activities May Hinder Children's Executive Functioning | EdWeek.org

Study: Too Many Structured Activities May Hinder Children's Executive Functioning | EdWeek.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

When children spend more time in structured activities, they get worse at working toward goals, making decisions, and regulating their behavior, according to a new study.


Instead, kids might learn more when they have the responsibility to decide for themselves what they're going to do with their time. Psychologists at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver studied the schedules of 70 six-year olds, and they found that the kids who spent more time in less-structured activities had more highly-developed self-directed executive function.


Self-directed executive function develops mostly during childhood, the researchers write, and it includes any mental processes that help us work toward achieving goals—like planning, decision making, manipulating information, switching between tasks, and inhibiting unwanted thoughts and feelings. It is an early indicator of school readiness and academic performance, according to previous research cited in the study, and it even predicts success into adulthood. Children with higher executive function will be healthier, wealthier, and more socially stable throughout their lives.


The researchers asked parents to record the activities of their six-year-olds for a week, and then they measured how much time each child spent in structured and less-structured activities. The researchers define structured activities as anything organized and supervised by adults—like music lessons or community service. For an activity to be less-structured, the child must be in charge of deciding what to do and figuring out how to do it. All forms of free play counted as less-structured activities.


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Democratic Party's Divide On Education Policy Gets Worse | Educational Opportunity Newtork

Political pundits who try to tamp down talk of divisions within the Democratic Party must not be paying any attention to education policy.


For quite some time, close observers of the nation’s education policy have been calling attention to the fault lines between education progressives in the Democratic Party and Third Way-style centrists, such as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Democrats for Education Reform, who lean toward a market-based, econometric philosophy for public education governance.


As Furman University education professor Paul Thomas recently wrote for Alternet, “While the Obama administration has cultivated the appearance of hope and change, its education policies are essentially slightly revised or greatly intensified versions of accountability reform begun under Ronald Reagan.”


But the Democratic Party’s divergence from real progressive values for governing our schools mostly went unnoticed in major media outlets until recently when a few light bulbs went off among political observers. Writing for Slate, Matt Yglesias noticed, “Education reform, not ‘populism’ divides Democrats.” Then, Connor Williams of the New America Foundation saw the light and explained for The New Republic, “In 2016, Democrats have good reason to run against Obama’s education record.”


Now, Jonathan Chait has penned a piece for New York Magazine, “Teachers Unions Turn Against Democrats,” in which he postulates that a “backlash” to President Obama’s education policies, energized by education historian Diane Ravitch, could lead to an alliance between teachers unions and, gulp, Republicans.


For sure, the divide on education policy within the Democratic Party has grown into a Rubicon, and now Democratic candidates and their operatives and supporters need to decide which side makes the most sense to ally with.


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NTCA Finds Fast Rural School Broadband | Telecompetitor.com

NTCA Finds Fast Rural School Broadband |  Telecompetitor.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

It appears that the rural-rural broadband gap applies to schools as well as the broader Internet marketplace.


That seems the best explanation for two substantially different measurements of average school bandwidthin surveys conducted by NTCA- The Rural Broadband Association and EducationSuperHighway, an advocacy organization focused on bringing better broadband to the nation’s schools.


The NTCA yesterday released the results from a survey of its rural telecom service provider members which found that schools served by those companies, on average, purchase broadband connections delivering 65 Mbps downstream and 13 Mbps upstream. But EducationSuperHighway, which surveyed schools nationwide, found a median bandwidth of 33 Mbps.


These results might seem surprising, considering that broadband is generally available more broadly and at higher speeds in metro areas than in rural areas because it is less costly to deploy broadband in metro areas. That phenomenon is known as the rural-urban gap.


But FCC researchers also have noted a rural-rural gap: Rural areas served by small independent telcos generally have better broadband availability and higher speeds than rural areas where the incumbent local carrier is one of the nation’s larger carriers such as AT&T or Verizon.


“The results of this survey are a clear indication that NTCA members and other small, rural providers understand the importance of these anchor institutions having high-quality broadband service,” said NTCA economist Rick Schadelbauer in a press release about the NTCA survey.


A variety of factors contribute to the rural-rural gap.


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The Aspen Institute: The Public Library Reimagined -- Are Libraries Fundamentally Shifting? | YouTube.com

The Public Library Reimagined  -- As the institution continues to evolve, are libraries moving away from being mere repositories for books and increasingly becoming essential community centers? Panelists discuss the role of libraries as anchor institutions and centers of learning, and how they continue to innovate in radical ways after so many years.

Tessie Guillermo relates the important themes of "People, Place, and Platform" in public libraries, and how libraries connect people in a central, important community location, creating both a physical and virtual network that provides the platform basis.

"The Public Library Reimagined" took place on June 29, 2014 in Aspen, Colorado, as part of the Aspen Ideas Festival's Metropolis track. Sommer Mathis (Editor, Atlantic CityLab) moderated a panel with Brian Bannon (Commissioner, Chicago Public Library), Tessie Guillermo (President & CEO, ZeroDivide), and John Palfrey (President, Board of Directors of the Digital Public Library of America and Head of School, Phillips Academy).


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Individualized Technology Goals (ITGs) for Teachers: A Fable of the Staff Development with No Clothes | Edutopia.org

Individualized Technology Goals (ITGs) for Teachers: A Fable of the Staff Development with No Clothes | Edutopia.org | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

In a public school kingdom, the school year started typically for the instructional technology department, with a daylong meeting about school year requirements. This included a list of trainings the campus technology instructional specialists (TIS) were obligated to offer.


As one lowly TIS looked over the list, she saw that many of the trainings did not apply to her campus. Her teachers needed her help with integration, not the technology itself.


Basically, she felt that the list -- created by a district over-reliant on the group training model for a certain software or technology tool without including integration ideas -- did not reflect the needs of the teachers on her campus. After all, wasn't she an integration specialist? She also pondered what would happen if teachers were allowed to choose their own staff development goals and how they would be coached to reach these goals. She wanted to shout, "This Staff Development Plan has no clothes!"


That TIS did not shout. She proposed that instead of just documenting technology group trainings, she should be allowed to document other types of staff development, including modeling, co-teaching, conferencing, finding resources, and mentoring her teachers.


She focused her time on individual teachers and their needs using Vygotsky's theory of the Zone of Proximal Development and scaffolding. After a year, she proposed that the whole district try her Differentiated Technology Staff Development Plan.


Several changes have been made to keep the plan continuously improving, but now in its third year of implementation, the following basics are currently being implemented in this district.


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MN: Broadband brings baseball hall of fame to Kanabec County | Blandin on Broadband

MN: Broadband brings baseball hall of fame to Kanabec County | Blandin on Broadband | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

This looks like a very fun event! I wanted to share the invitation for folks who might be interested but also to spur ideas in other communities. It’s a great way to use technology to start conversations…


Many of you have heard about the interactive video events (sometimes called video field trips) that our area schools have been involved with for many years (through services provided by our technology cooperative, ECMECC). You also may have heard about the KBI project that has installed multimedia equipment and high-speed Internet capabilities in Mora’s Life Enrichment Center – a community facility that is part of the Eastwood senior living complex in Mora.


Through this Blandin Foundation funded project, we have done two live video events from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.


Now, with the Major League Baseball All-Star game here in Minnesota, we thought we would focus an activity on Baseball. So….


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NYC: The big city library as Internet provider | WashPost.com

NYC: The big city library as Internet provider | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

As our Brian Fung detailed last week, some of the United States' bigger urban library systems have begun lodging a public protest against the formula federal rulemakers are considering for the distribution of billions of dollars for wireless Internet infrastructure.


The Federal Communications Commission is thinking of divvying up so-called E-Rate funds to libraries based on square footage rather than users or some other metric, a calculation that city libraries argue gives an unfair advantage to their more sprawling suburban counterparts.


And now perhaps the biggest name in the U.S. public libraries has dipped into the debate. On Thursday, the New York Library system — a billion-dollar entity with 92 branches and some 17 million volumes — sent a letter to the FCC under the signature of Anthony W. "Tony" Marx, its chief executive and president. Marx reiterated the "smaller footprints but higher attendance rates" argument made by his peers in Hartford, Memphis, Seattle and elsewhere, but he put a local twist on it, writing that Internet access and Internet-enabled training programs, like ESL classes, are "essential in helping to address the inequalities we face in New York City and across the country."


NYPL’s outreach to the FCC is eye-catching for a few reasons. Putting aside the library’s sheer size, the 119-year-old system has a cultural significance that goes even beyond the opening scene of  "Ghostbusters." The library has long been a core part of New York life, only now it finds itself in a city where the mayor is aggressively trying to rework how people get broadband.


Mayor Bill de Blasio has talked about using his administration’s considerable purchasing power — the City of New York buys a lot of broadband — to help drive down costs for other consumers. In an interview, Marx said that the library has been doing something similar to bring digital resources to the public: "We negotiated with the commercial publishers to be able to offer e-books," and they now buy about 45,000 digital book copies a year.


“Increasingly, the library has so much more to offer online,” Marx said, “and people are lining up for hours for our computers at our branches.”


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The people who created E-Rate think the FCC’s going about it all wrong | WashPost.com

The people who created E-Rate think the FCC’s going about it all wrong | WashPost.com | Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks | Scoop.it

Two of the Senate's most respected members on educational technology aren't satisfied with the FCC's plan to get schools and libraries wired with Internet and Wi-Fi.


Sens. Ed Markey and Jay Rockefeller are putting pressure on the Federal Communications Commission to vastly expand the amount of money the agency spends on E-Rate, the program that provides government subsidies to schools and libraries for broadband and phone service. In a letter to the FCC Wednesday, the two lawmakers demanded that the commission increase what it sets aside every year for the program.


"The E-Rate program has been frozen at a level designed for the dial-up era," the lawmakers wrote. "This type of thinking does our children a disservice."


The lawmakers object to how the FCC has suggested funding WiFi upgrades in schools and libraries according to a per-student or per-square-foot formula, arguing that it unfairly allocates more money to large and wealthy institutions over smaller, poorer ones where the need may be greater.


The letter from Markey and Rockefeller — two of the legislators who first shepherded E-Rate through Congress in the mid-1990s — is a sign that funding battles over educational broadband and WiFi are spilling over into the public eye, just as the FCC prepares to vote Friday on a proposal to modernize how it gets money to schools and libraries (and how much). It also reveals a bit about the internal politics of the FCC, which have gotten more fractious in the months since Chairman Tom Wheeler took office.


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