Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.
The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user’s finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.
Reading is as easy as pointing the finger at text. Special software tracks the finger movement, identifies words and processes the information. The device has vibration motors that alert readers when they stray from the script, said Roy Shilkrot, who is developing the device at the MIT Media Lab.
For Jerry Berrier, 62, who was born blind, the promise of the FingerReader is its portability and offer of real-time functionality at school, a doctor’s office and restaurants.
“When I go to the doctor’s office, there may be forms that I wanna read before I sign them,” Berrier said.
He said there are other optical character recognition devices on the market for those with vision impairments, but none that he knows of that will read in real time.
New Wharton research examines the impact that massive open online courses (MOOCs) will have on business schools and MBA programs.
Donna Farren's insight:
This is one of the most exciting interviews I have read/watched about education in a while. I read the original article and may have even posted it. But they are talking about an entire new model of online education - of education really. It is what we were talking about when I started elearning in the late 90's and then everyone started re-creating traditional education online. They expose the high drop out rates of MOOC's as the "red herring" they are - measuring new inovations with old measurements. They talk about new models of delivering education on-demand. It is exciting stuff! Well done!
When it comes to technology in the classroom, phrases like “faculty resistance” and the importance of getting “faculty buy-in” are tossed around with great frequency. But is that perception still valid? Are all instructors so set in their ways, skeptical of anything new, and fearful of deviating from what they’ve done that it’s nearly impossible to get them to try something new?
A number of reasons commonly given for lecturing and claims commonly made for the efficiency of lecturers are examined for their basis in empirical evidence and common sense. Most of these claims are found to be somewhat weak. It appears that lecturing takes place rather more often than can be reasonably justified. The real reasons for the popularity of lecturing amongst lecturers are then examined. Of the twenty reasons for lecturing examined here, the first nine have little substance and the last eleven are avoidable.
Great content creation does not have to start with being a great writer. Let's take me for instance: I am a husband and father in my mid-30's with little time on my hands for anything outside of family, church, and work. Literally, that's about all I can handle. But you are asking yourself, how did you become such a damn good writer? (Thank you by the way). And how do you make time for it in your tremendously busy schedule? Well friends, here is my secret: I study copywriting.
Here’s the thing: the internet never sleeps.Which means data never sleeps, and the internet sure likes to use up a lot of it. How much? In any given minute, 277,000 tweets are published on Twitter, 216,000 photos are sent to Instagram and 8,333 videos are shared on Vine.And we’re just getting started. Over that same 60 second period, 347,222 photos are sent on WhatsApp, 416,667 swipes are made on Tinder and 3,472 images are pinned on Pinterest.And if you think that’s impressive, Google receives 4 millions search queries, Facebook users share 2.46 million pieces of content and 204 million email messages are sent each and every minute of the day.This visual from DOMO looks at how much data is generated every minute across the net....
"The Open and Digital Learning Resources Conference is a collaborative initiative between the Office of Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the Virginia Community College System, and fourteen institutions of higher education. This corner of its website brings together an archive of videos from the first annual OpenVA conference. Users can make their way through six different videos, including "A Future With Only Ten Universities" and "Staying Relevant in the Future of Education" by David Wiley. Taken as a whole, these vignettes offer a portrait of how higher education will change in the coming decades and is a resource most valuable to policymakers and education specialists." Scout Report
The DiRT Directory is a registry of digital research tools for scholarly use. DiRT makes it easy for digital humanists and others conducting digital research to find and compare resources ranging from content management systems to music OCR, statistical analysis packages to mindmapping software. [ Link at: http://dirtdirectory.org/ ]
One “dog year” supposedly equals seven human years. But does one year feel like seven years to a dog? Evidence suggests that distinct species do indeed experience passing time on different scales. A recent study in Animal Behavior reveals that body mass and metabolic rate determine how animals of different species perceive time.
Time perception depends on how rapidly an animal's nervous system processes sensory information. To test this ability, researchers show animals a rapidly flashing light. If the light flashes quickly enough, animals (and humans) perceive it as a solid, unblinking light. The animal's behavior or its brain activity, as measured by electrodes, reveals the highest frequency at which each species perceives the light as flashing. Animals that can detect the blinking at higher frequencies are perceiving time at a finer resolution. In other words, movements and events will appear to unfold more slowly to them—think slow-motion bullet dodging in an action movie.
The scientists who ran the new study gathered data from previous experiments on the rate at which visual information is processed in 34 vertebrates, including lizards, birds, fish and mammals. The scientists hypothesized that the ability to detect incoming sights at a high rate would be advantageous for animals that must perform the equivalent of bullet dodging—responding to visual stimuli very quickly to catch elusive prey or escape predators, for instance. These animals tend to be lighter and have faster metabolisms. The data bore out the hypothesis: species that perceived time at the finest resolutions tended to be smaller and have faster metabolisms.
These findings show that differences in how a mouse and an elephant sense time are not arbitrary but rather are finely tuned by interactions with their surroundings. A link between time perception, body structure and physiology suggests that different nervous systems have developed to balance pressures from the natural environment with energy conservation. Rapid perception might be essential for a hawk but would waste a whale's precious energy. As for Fido, a year really does seem longer to him than it does to you, but probably not by a factor of seven. Dogs can take in visual information at least 25 percent faster than humans—just enough to make a television show look like a series of flickering images.
When it comes to purchasing new software, many organizations do so to increase efficiency, save time and reduce costs. This is particularly true of small government agencies, which often have limited staff, busy schedules and modest budgets.
Donna Farren's insight:
This article may be about video, but it applies to all free software. It is easy to be taken in by the apparent cost savings, but if you are not already paying an expert on staff to do the job of maintaining the free software - it is no longer free. Someone has to maintain it. Back it up. Update it. Fix problems. Right there is an expense. Someone has to train it. Usually many time. Another expense. If you need to hire a consultant to help train any of the people maintaining or training it - another expense. TIME. Another cost. See... it is no longer FREE.
In the rush to create digital materials, are teachers possibly plagiarizing copyrighted works? Just what is plagiarism?
Donna Farren's insight:
I have used this article many times and I found myself looking for it again when a school district I work with decided to create their own curriculum to "save" money instead of buying their digital content from a content provider. I was explaining their are many hidden costs involved - time, LMS, resources - and the least of which is plagiarism and intellectual property.
There is a real danger in allowing your teachers to create their own course materials with no oversite or process review. Links become dead or changed before they even get to the unit. Videos are taken down. Articles are moved. free content becomes paid content. And those are the least severe. How many teachers understand copyright and inteleectual property laws? How many know and understand OER resources?
Companies hire experts to write their content - in many cases former teachers. If in July you want your school to be digital by September and your teachers are doing it on their own - I can pretty much guarentee copyright violations and plagarism will be in that curriculum. There isn't proper time for good course development or good course review. And I am not even addressing quality!
Today’s educational technology often presents itself as a radical departure from the tired practices of traditional instruction. But in one way, at least, it faithfully follows the conventions of the chalk-and-blackboard era: it addresses itself only to the student’s head, leaving the rest of the body out. Treating mind and body as separate is an …
Skill in finding useful information and a sense of what to trust will prove essential in the 21st-century workplace. Librarians can play a crucial role in training students accordingly.
Donna Farren's insight:
It is so important to make these types of assignments a part of online learning. Working with librarians and knowledge experts should be a requirement of any successful program. When people are talking about liberal arts degrees not being relevant any more - I think this is a piece often overlooked - the research and critical analysis. It is an important area to talk about and discuss.
Jeffrey L. Bailie Kaplan University firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of this study was to examine whether a set of instructional practices commonly prescribed to online faculty in the higher education setting were consistent with the expectations of a group of experienced online student participants. Online faculty performance conventions were collected from 20 institutions of higher learning located in the United States. The collective practices yielded three primary domains related to administrative faculty performance expectations in online instruction: Communication, Presence/Engagement, and Timeliness/Responsiveness. Undergraduate participants representing a cross section of colleges and universities in the United States were surveyed to determine their expectations for online faculty as compared to scaled items derived from the lists of participating institutions. The results of this investigation offer practitioners insight into how administrative instructional guidelines relate to the user demands of an informed group of undergraduate online students.
The end of the school year is a time for reflection. What did we do well? What do we need to improve upon? These are the typical questions that both individuals and school districts ask at the end of the spring.