The Blended Learning Initiative is a University-wide effort funded by the Provost to enhance the undergraduate experience by creating both online and hybrid versions of key Penn State courses. These re-designed courses will improve instructional effectiveness and increase flexibility of course offerings for both students and faculty.
The Blended Learning Initiative was launched to transform large enrollment undergraduate courses to online or blended environments. This “dual-use” strategy will provide flexible access to high demand courses in the undergraduate curriculum and to introductory or core courses in key majors. In addition, this integration of e-learning into regular course offerings provides students with the opportunity to make continuous progress regardless of location."
Robin Good: YouTube has released a new set of features for video-makers of all levels which allow you to replace your video's soundtrack for free with a song from the YouTube library of hundreds of thousands of audio tracks.
To try it out, go to your Video Manager, select Edit, select Enhancements, then select Audio.
From IBTimes: "In the latest update to the video-sharing site, YouTube is rolling out new audio editing tools that will make it easier for uploaders to layer several audio tracks on top of one another.
Prior to the update, YouTube offered an AudioSwap feature that let users replace a video's audio track with one of the company's thousands of licensed audio tracks.
The new update has catapulted YouTube's licensed track count to more than 150,000.
The update will also give YouTube uploaders the ability to adjust volume levels on each track .
Prior to the latest update, users could add licensed tracks to videos, but the audio levels could not be adjusted -- it would simply replace the video's audio track.
The latest audio editing tools will be rolled out over the next few days. To try them on the video's you've uploaded, go to "edit settings" from the video manager."
"Tomorrow, Saturday, April 21st, is worldwide 2012 Social Learning Summit, a one-day virtual conference being held as a partnership of Classroom 2.0 and the Discovery Educator Network. The Summit is from 9:00am - 3:00pm US Eastern Time. This is a free event, with a focus on inclusion and participation--all are welcome! All sessions will be publicly available to attend through the online Blackboard Collaborate platform, and every session will be recorded and made available immediately following the conference.
The conference theme is the use of social media and Web 2.0 in teaching and learning, and the URL for attending is http://www.classroom20.com/page/2012-sessions-schedule. To be kept informed of the latest conference news and updates, please make sure you are a member (free) at Classroom 2.0 (this will also allow you to correspond with the presenters and other members, and to comment on sessions and discussions).
A list of the session titles is below, and a schedule based on time zones (with full descriptions and session links) is HERE. See you online!"
TED Fellow Abigail Washburn wanted to be a lawyer improving US-China relations -- until she picked up a banjo. She tells a moving story of the remarkable connections she's formed touring across the United States and China while playing that banjo and singing in Chinese.
Abigail Washburn pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, creating results that feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody's ever heard before. Full bio »
'I see the power of music to connect cultures. I see it when I stand on a stage at a bluegrass festival … and I bust out into a song in Chinese, and everybody's eyes just pop wide open.' (Abigail Washburn)"
"Before using apps, remember that learning objectives come first; recommend specific digital tools and communicate clear guidelines to help students meet expectations. Consider, too, whether apps should be used in guided instruction, or if they should be relegated to self-directed learning time. Many teachers now use the Flipped Classroom model, where class time is used primarily for discussion and collaborative work. Digital tools help students develop knowledge and skills prior to class, and help them contribute more substantively to discussions and project work.
So which apps can help build global competence? With a world of possibilities, what follows is a short list of mostly Apple iOS apps to help you get started. To download, go to the Apple iTunes store, search for the app by name, and click on the price button to synch with your device. Several of these apps are available for Android and other devices, too."
Via John Evans
"Recently I’ve [Joyce Valenza*] been exploring the options for slide-casting and screen-casting.
I know that so much of my library business is remote. I know from my stats that my LibGuides are heavily used. But I also know that lists of links and pretty images, and other people’s videos are not really enough.
I need, for instance, to explain in my own words, criteria contained in a rubric or how Gale’s Literary Index can help you locate exactly where to find criticism in your selected poem.
I am interested in these tools for other reasons. I’d like to begin to archive and more broadly share professional development. I’d like to offer teachers easy ways to present and archive instruction. To offer students new strategies for presentation and for archiving their work. To help me rehearse and archive my own formal presentations. And I am planning to do a little online adjuncting in the fall.
And, as more schools and more individual teachers adopt the Flipped Classroom model, we will be looking for options to present content, lecture, and video as homework, so we can devote class time to more interactive and engaging collaborative learning strategies.
So, I’ve been investigation a growing array of mostly free web-based tools for projecting and archiving instruction, screenshots, storytelling, and personality.
And because I am not there yet, I thought I share some more professionally produced specimens. The web-based programs seem to fit into two large buckets–slide narration tools and screen capture tools."
*Joyce Valenza is the Teacher-Librarian at Springfield Township High School, author, and technology advocate.
"A federal judge ruled the National Labor Relations Board exceeded its authority when it required employers to post notices explaining workers’ rights to form a union."
"NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce has said the notice rule will help workers to know their rights and protections under labor law.
The Chamber celebrated Norton’s ruling against the regulation.
'The court noted that nothing in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) ‘even mentions the issue of notice posting’ (emphasis added) — much less compels or even permits the NLRB to issue such a rule. The decision is an important reminder that federal agencies can't ignore the law in order to further partisan agendas,' said Randy Johnson, the Chamber's senior vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits, in a blog post."
"The cohort I like to call the "Re-Generation" began to take shape around 2008."
"Legions of physicians and academics will be studying the implications of all this technology on children's brains and thinking skills for years to come — often with sharp disagreement on the dangers and benefits. My interest is how swimming in this digital soup has shaped the young generation's view of the world. What assumptions have they formed? Four themes emerge:
A pervasive sense of connection: Connectivity is the basic assumption and natural fabric of everyday life for the Re-Generation. Technology connections are how people meet, express ideas, define identities, and understand each other. Older generations have, for the most part, used technology to improve productivity — to do things we've always done, faster, easier, more cheaply. For the Re-Generation, being wired is a way of life.
Options (not obligations): Because technology is so intimately intertwined with the Re-Gen's sense of self, they control it in a way that older individuals often don't. While Boomers or X'ers may feel obligated to respond to the technology, the Re-Gen's use the technology with choice - on their own schedule, at their own pace.
Anonymity and the ability to hide: By connecting through technology, Re-Gens reduce the need to connect face-to-face. Many have friends they've never met with whom they interact regularly. This creates a strange sense of anonymity — they can be everywhere if they choose to post or, depending on their preference, nowhere. Physical appearances can be replaced with avatars. The alarming epidemic of childhood obesity may be related to this generation's ability to hide.
Confidence and control . . . to be an initiator, designer, problem-solver: This is a generation that is used to asking big questions — and is confident of finding answers. Will the water run out? How many children travel to school in a sustainable way? Are cities a good idea? Let's check the Internet. They have had the experience of digging deeply into a burning question because they have access to a mountain of information."
"Teaching English simply for test preparation rather than to develop a love of literature is a mistake."
"FRANZ KAFKA wrote that “a book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us.” I once shared this quotation with a class of seventh graders, and it didn’t seem to require any explanation.
We’d just finished John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” When we read the end together out loud in class, my toughest boy, a star basketball player, wept a little, and so did I. “Are you crying?” one girl asked, as she crept out of her chair to get a closer look. “I am,” I told her, “and the funny thing is I’ve read it many times.”
But they understood. When George shoots Lennie, the tragedy is that we realize it was always going to happen. In my 14 years of teaching in a New York City public middle school, I’ve taught kids with incarcerated parents, abusive parents, neglectful parents; kids who are parents themselves; kids who are homeless or who live in crowded apartments in violent neighborhoods; kids who grew up in developing countries. They understand, more than I ever will, the novel’s terrible logic — the giving way of dreams to fate."
The Internet has made researching subjects deceptively effortless for students — or so it may seem to them at first. Truth is, students who haven’t been taught the skills to conduct good research will invariably come up short.
That’s part of the argument made by Wheaton College Professor Alan Jacobs in The Atlantic, who says the ease of search and user interface of fee-based databases have failed to keep up with those of free search engines. In combination with the well-documented gaps in students’ search skills, he suggests that this creates a perfect storm for the abandonment of scholarly databases in favor of search engines. He concludes: “Maybe our greater emphasis shouldn’t be on training users to work with bad search tools, but to improve the search tools.”
His article is responding to a larger, ongoing conversation about whether the ubiquity of Web search is good or bad for serious research. The false dichotomy short-circuits the real question: “What do students really need to know about online search to do it well?” As long as we’re not talking about this question, we’re essentially ignoring the subtleties of Web search rather than teaching students how to do it expertly. So it’s not surprising that they don’t know how to come up with quality results. Regardless of the vehicle–fee databases or free search engines–we owe it to our students to teach them to search well.
So what are the hallmarks of a good online search education?
My vision of Connected Learning is that practitioners in all kinds of spaces are realizing that bringing that “free choice” learning into other spaces where young people (and adults) are learning makes sense and is worth the time and effort. Those spaces could be anything – museum spaces, learning labs, summer camps, classrooms. Bernard Bull (@bdean1000) suggested on Twitter that “Libraries and cafeterias may be the hub for 21st century learning and self-organized learning environments #connectedlearning #education”.
Classrooms have come a long way. There’s been an exponential growth in educational technology advancement over the past few years. From overhead projectors to iPads, it’s important to understand not only what’s coming next but also where it all started.
The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy (JITP CUNY) is an interdisciplinary academic journal whose mission is to promote open scholarly discourse around critical and creative uses of digital technology in teaching, learning, and research.
Via Darren Kuropatwa
"Clark Quinn wrote an extremely interesting post, X-based learning: sorting out pedagogies and design, on activity based learning. Wanting to see how these different models would interconnect on a mindmap, I started playing with them. That is when I noticed that one of the main difference among them is that some have a known answer and/or the goal is driven by the curriculum, while others have an unknown answer and/or the goal is directed by the learners."
Note: Read the above tweets from the bottom up. More on Adrian Fenty, former mayor of Washington D.C., here: http://goo.gl/QUbqk.
Excerpt from Will Richardson's post:
"I know I’m not the only one who has been suggesting for some time now that we’re at a critical moment in the education conversation in terms of the future of public schooling as we know it, but if you’re an educator and you’re not feeling a sense of foreboding for the near future, I’m not sure what it’s going to take.
The strategy has become really clear: villify unions and teachers through policy and public outcry in ways that effectively compromise our voices when we push back, continue to frame education accountability in terms of our ability to compete against the world (as opposed to collaborate with the world) and, finally, promote more and more objective tests as the way to measure everything from “student achievement” to teacher effectiveness to teacher education programs to, oh, I don’t know, maybe how well the plumbing works. That is the recipe now to a) gain political favor and b) make lots and lots of money.
And it’s working."
My comment on Will Richardson's post:
"Read Larry Lessig's "Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It" (http://goo.gl/RLJPJ) and watch Bill Moyers and Company's On Winner-Take-All Politics (http://goo.gl/YPF9X - also the "Dig Deeper" and "Related Features" shows on the same web page) for more insight.
This assault on education is a piece of the puzzle you could call the dismantling of America by corporate and political interests that are hoodwinking a growing cadre of well-meaning citizens. If you haven't explored these resources yet, you owe it to your students and your children to promise yourself to make time in your busy days to do so. The moneyed interests are "banking on" the assumption that you won't take the time."
"The news that some employers have asked for direct access to the Facebook accounts -- including user names and passwords -- of people applying for jobs at their firms has set off a firestorm of controversy. The reports have raised questions about whether the practice is illegal and if such a policy could expose those employers to potential discrimination lawsuits. The dust-up has even triggered calls by some in Congress for a federal investigation into the practice.
But those recent events only highlight a new reality: the identity that individuals create in the world of social media is quickly becoming an important factor in hiring decisions and in people's broader professional lives. "The questions around employer access to social network logins reflect a broader debate in society about a host of digital privacy issues," says Andrea Matwyshyn, a Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics. "This is a new concern -- the degree to which employers can gain access to all role identities through one virtual space. There is no parallel to that in the real world.""
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