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BlikBook, a ‘Quora for higher education’ focused on boosting student engagement, raises $1.3m

BlikBook, a ‘Quora for higher education’ focused on boosting student engagement, raises $1.3m | Learning Technologies | Scoop.it

BlikBook, a social learning platform aimed at the higher education market, has today announced a $1.3 million funding round to expand its team as it edges towards the US market.

 

The funding round was led by Leaf Investments, with participation from Delta Partners’ Bank of Ireland Start-up and Emerging Sectors Fund, Enterprise Ireland and existing investor Forward Investment Partners.

 

Founded in the UK, BlikBook has relocated its HQ to Dublin, Ireland to take advantage of a pool of ed-tech development talent there. The Web-based service allows students and lecturers to set up Q&A rooms around specific courses. Students can ask questions and receive answers for their peers and from lecturers. Additionally, lecturers can highlight answers that they think are particularly useful or interesting. Essentially, it’s ‘Quora for higher education’.

 

Co-founder and managing director Cheyne Tan says that BlikBook is focused on driving high-quality engagement by students. This is helped by allowing for anonymous questions and answers to encourage shy students to take part, and through a recommendation algorithm that suggests topics that students may interested in based on their behavior and that of people similar to them.

 

BlikBook was born from the experiences of its founders while at university. They found that students asked questions to each other via long email chains and text messages – hardly an efficient way of sharing knowledge. The startup began by trying to create engagement around specific textbooks but found that students preferred to use it to share broader, course-related questions.

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Why Teaching Helps Students Learn More Deeply

Why Teaching Helps Students Learn More Deeply | Learning Technologies | Scoop.it

For thousands of years, people have known that the best way to understand a concept is to explain it to someone else. “While we teach, we learn,” said the Roman philosopher Seneca. Now scientists are bringing this ancient wisdom up to date, documenting exactly why teaching is such a fruitful way to learn — and designing innovative ways for young people to engage in instruction.

 “Student teachers score higher on tests than pupils who are learning only for their own sake.”

 

Students enlisted to tutor others, these researchers have found, work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively. In a phenomenon that scientists have dubbed “the protégé effect,” student teachers score higher on tests than pupils who are learning only for their own sake. But how can children, still learning themselves, teach others? One answer: They can tutor younger kids.

 

The benefits of this practice were indicated by a pair of articles published in 2007 in the journals Science and Intelligence. The studies concluded that first-born children are more intelligent than their later-born brothers and sisters and suggested that their higher IQs result from the time they spend showing their younger siblings the ropes.

 

Educators are experimenting with ways to apply this model to academic subjects. In an ingenious program at the University of Pennsylvania, a “cascading mentoring program” engages college undergraduates to teach computer science to high school students, who in turn instruct middle school students on the topic.

 

But the most cutting-edge tool under development is the “teachable agent” — a computerized character who learns, tries, makes mistakes and asks questions just like a real-world pupil. Engineers and computer scientists at Stanford and Vanderbilt universities have created an animated figure they call Betty’s Brain, who has been “taught” about environmental science by hundreds of middle school students.


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Richard Evans's curator insight, July 6, 2013 4:41 PM

Old model, new thinking. 

Veronika Wuyts's curator insight, July 14, 2013 10:16 AM

teach to learn, used in every Covey workshop because helps best

Maria Persson's curator insight, July 17, 2013 10:34 AM

The model promotes Digital Literacy and skills that will hold our childdren up for any size of the tech wave.

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Classroom Technology Integration Relatively Unchanged in Last Year -- Campus Technology

Classroom Technology Integration Relatively Unchanged in Last Year -- Campus Technology | Learning Technologies | Scoop.it

The level of technology integration in schools has remained relatively static over the last year and is still significantly lower than the ideal, according to the Software and Information Industry Association's (SIIA) sixth-annual national survey measuring progress toward building a framework that embraces technology and e-learning in United States educational institutions.

 

The SIIA presented the results of its 2013 Vision K-20 Survey at theInternational Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2013 conference and expo taking place this week in San Antonio, TX. The survey is an online self-assessment consisting of 20 benchmark statements related to progress toward the SIIA Vision K-20 goal of promoting effective use of technology in the classroom. The report surveyed nearly 1,500 educators and administrators from kindergarten through post-secondary educational institutions.

 

This year was the first year the survey included questions about bring-your-own-device (BYOD) implementation in schools. Only 20 percent of respondents from the elementary school level allow BYOD in the classroom, compared to almost half of secondary school respondents, but that gap is expected to narrow over the next five years. Most respondents from kindergarten to grade 12 levels where BYOD is allowed said device use is restricted, whereas only half of respondents from BYOD postsecondary institutions reported device restrictions. Respondents at all levels expected the levels of device restriction at their institution to remain the same over the next five years.

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How Technology Will Change Entry-Level Higher Education | Innovation Insights | Wired.com

How Technology Will Change Entry-Level Higher Education | Innovation Insights | Wired.com | Learning Technologies | Scoop.it

For years, “invest in education” has been a mantra consistently repeated to students and parents worldwide. It is now a phrase that VCs and entrepreneurs know, as technological solutions to some of education’s greatest challenges are gaining attention. As anyone in higher education is aware, the industry faces some intimidating issues, including affordability, accessibility, quality, and the momentum necessary to create system-wide change. Some of the field’s best minds are already hard at work to address tuition and access — and entrepreneurs and investors are also seeing the opportunity to replace traditional media with new technology that better serves today’s students. Ultimately, the investments being made in educational technology will lead to huge benefits down the road for students, their families and the economy.

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15 Facts and Stats That Reveal The Power Of eLearning

15 Facts and Stats That Reveal The Power Of eLearning | Learning Technologies | Scoop.it

There is a lot of talk about how the internet has revolutionized the way companies do business. Unfortunately, a lot of this talk is just vague proclamations about the changing conditions of the eLearning arena.  Without hard data and solid advice, how can training professionals move forward and get ahead of the curve? Here are some great eLearning facts, figures and statistics that you should take notice of:

 

1. Companies are now increasing their use of eLearning regardless of size, but 41.7% of global Fortune 500 Companies used technology during formal learning hours last year. (Elearning! Magazine, May 2013)

 

2. With eLearning students have more control over their learning process and can better understand the material, leading to a 60% faster learning curve, compared to instructor-led training. (Facts, Figures and Forces Behind e-Learning – August, 2000)

 

3. IBM, after rolling out an eLearning program for managers, found that participants learned nearly five times more material without increasing time spent training. (Article: eLearning Success – measuring the ROI impact and benefits, May 2013)


4. According to a 2009 study from the Department of Education: “Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” Students who mix online learning with traditional coursework (i.e. blended learning) do even better. (Internet Time Group Report)


5.  eLearning is good for the environment.  Britain’s Open University’s study found that producing and providing eLearning courses consumes an average of 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than conventional face-to-face courses.  (Knowledge Direct Web)


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Google Docs began as a hacked together experiment, says creator

Google Docs began as a hacked together experiment, says creator | Learning Technologies | Scoop.it

If Google Docs is the mother of modern word processing, Sam Schillace is probably its father. Back in 2005 he built Writely, a web-based text editor, which Google acquired in 2006. One month later, 90 percent of the company was using it. Writely formed the foundation of Google Docs, a product Schillace led for years before heading to Box to be its senior vice president of engineering and take on the next age of online collaboration. He took a few minutes to talk to The Verge about the building blocks of Google Docs, the persistence of email, and why killing the Save button still freaks people out. You can find him on Twitter at @sschillace.

 

Back when you were at Writely, why did you try to build collaborative document editing? Is that even what you were trying to build, initially?

It got started as an experiment — I wanted to work with what was then called AJAX (Javascript in the browser) and noticed the “content editable” functionality of the browsers. I’d been working on word processing software for a long time (my first job was working on the second version ofFullWrite, an early Mac word processor, in 1989, and my partner and I built Claris Home Page in 1994), so it was natural to see what kind of document editor we could pull together from the two technologies.

Gmail was about a year or so old at the time, so we knew the browsers could support the kind of code we needed to write (which they could, but just barely at the time). Collaboration on documents wasn’t really a thing we thought of as a first-order goal, we just thought locking was kind of gross (locking a document so others can’t accidentally overwrite your edits) and thought that it should feel natural if you were working on something with someone else.

 

When we went to Google, Writely was internally adopted very quickly — something like 90 percent of the company was using it in the first month. Which always made it funny when someone would tell me that browser-based apps were a bad idea that would never work.

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Computer Mouse Inventor Doug Engelbart Dies

Computer Mouse Inventor Doug Engelbart Dies | Learning Technologies | Scoop.it

Inventor of the computer mouse Doug Engelbart has died at the age of 88.

The death of the American, who also developed early incarnations of email, word processing programs and the internet, was confirmed by the museum where he had been a fellow since 2005.

 

The Computer History Museum in California said it was notified in an email from his daughter, Christina. His wife, Karen O'Leary Engelbart, told the New York Times the cause of death was kidney failure.

 

Doug Engelbart was hailed as a 'giant'.

 

Mr Engelbart was a pioneer of efforts to make computers user-friendly and said his work was all about "augmenting human intellect".

He developed the mouse in the 1960s and patented in 1970. At the time, it was a wooden shell covering two metal wheels, with an X-Y position indicator for a display system.

 

The notion of operating the inside of a computer with a tool on the outside was way ahead of its time and the mouse was not commercially available until 1984, with Apple's new Macintosh.

 

But Engelbart's invention was so early that he and his colleagues did not profit much from it. The mouse patent had a 17-year life span and in 1987 the technology fell into the public domain - meaning Engelbart could not collect royalties on the mouse when it was in its widest use. At least one billion have been sold since the mid-1980s.

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Thirteen Economic Facts about Social Mobility and the Role of Education

Thirteen Economic Facts about Social Mobility and the Role of Education | Learning Technologies | Scoop.it

It is well known that the income divide in the United States has increased substantially over the last few decades, a trend that is particularly true for families with children. In fact, according to Census Bureau data, more than one-third of children today are raised in families with lower incomes than comparable children thirty-five years ago. This sustained erosion of income among such a broad group of children is without precedent in recent American history. Over the same period, children living in the highest 5 percent of the family-income distribution have seen their families’ incomes double.

 

What is less well known, however, is that mounting evidence hints that the forces behind these divergent experiences are threatening the upward mobility of the youngest Americans, and that inequality of income for one generation may mean inequality of opportunity for the next. It is too early to say for certain whether the rise in income inequality over the past few decades has caused a fall in social mobility of the poor and those in the middle class—the first generation of Americans to grow up under this inequality is, on average, in high school—but the early signs are troubling.

 

Investments in education and skills, which are factors that increasingly determine outcomes in the job market, are becoming more stratified by family income. As income inequality has increased, wealthier parents are able to invest more in their children’s education and enrichment, increasing the already sizable difference in investment from those at the other end of the earnings distribution. This disparity has real and measurable consequences for the current generation of American children. Although cognitive tests of ability show little difference between children of high- and low-income parents in the first years of their lives, large and persistent differences start emerging before kindergarten. Among older children, evidence suggests that the gap between high- and low-income primary and secondary-school students has increased by almost 40 percent over the past thirty years.

Ferdinand Avila's insight:

How are new technology innovations and disruptions helping with social mobility? Could MOOCs be a solution?

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Student-built EZ Squeeze increases productivity for workers with disabilities

Student-built EZ Squeeze increases productivity for workers with disabilities | Learning Technologies | Scoop.it
For their senior capstone class, four engineering students at Ohio University developed a contraption called the EZ Squeeze that not only increases productivity for workers with disabilities, it also won them $10,000.
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