:: The 4th Era ::
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:: The 4th Era ::
Exploration of the new era in human history marked by invention of the Internet
Curated by Jim Lerman
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Blendspace ~ graphite

Blendspace ~ graphite | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

"You can use a free Blendspace account to create linear lessons for up to 35 students to guide students through basic content. For instance, a middle school Biology teacher could create a canvas about photosynthesis and upload images and videos, plus their own text to help build student knowledge. You can also quiz students as they move through material using Blendspace's multiple choice quiz builder. Using the embed code and share links provided by Blendspace for each canvas, you're also able to add a canvas to your classroom website or to an Learning Management System like Edmodo. Teachers can also ask students to remix canvases or create their own. These canvases could be shared with the rest of the class for feedback or for homework review purposes. However, these remixes aren't necessarily a valid form of assessment, as a lesson can be cobbled together from online content without having to know much about the topic. You can make use of the gallery of canvases available to teachers who may want ideas. With a paid account, you can ask students to collaborate on lessons. Blendspace can be a great addition to the classroom, but it doesn't replace instruction."


Jim Lerman's insight:


This review by graphite tends to focus more on Blendspace's limitations than its strengths. The interface is simple to use and helps teachers, or students, to create multimedia presos quickly. However, as pointed out, the presos lead to learning that is quite linear. That having been said, teachers who have responded have rated Blendspace quite highly.


Blendspace has very recently been upgraded (Feb. 2014) with numerous improved features. See description on their blog 

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Anne-Marie Griesel's curator insight, June 2, 2015 6:42 PM

This is a great idea as it allows for self-directed learning, creativity and is student-centred. Although, in this example the teacher creates the canvas, there is also an opportunity for students to create their own, embed it into their blogs or other sites and it's easy to use.  

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University of Baltimore to offer students free tuition for final semester if they graduate on time - Baltimore Business Journal

University of Baltimore to offer students free tuition for final semester if they graduate on time - Baltimore Business Journal | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Sarah Grantz

Summary by SmartBrief for the Higher Education Leader

Image is of UofB President Robert Bogomolny


"A new program at the University of Baltimore will pay for a student's final semester if they graduate on time. The Finish4Free program is set to begin with this fall's incoming freshman class. "There's a national problem about students' persistence and their ability to get through college in a timely manner and in a cost efficient manner," university President Robert Bogomolny said."


Jim Lerman's insight:


U. of Baltimore is a public institution, so this is a particularly interesting experiment since state approval was probably required (article does not mention this). It will certainly be very interesting to see if this causes the University to lose money and also if, and to what extent, it increases the percentage of students who graduate within 4 years. My guess is that the effect on 4-year graduation will be negligible.

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Secrets to Creating a Positive School Culture In a BYOD Environment | Digital Learning Environments

Secrets to Creating a Positive School Culture In a BYOD Environment | Digital Learning Environments | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Eric Sheninger


"I hear a great deal of conversation in the education world about transforming school culture.  I have even added to that dialogue on numerous occasions.  It wasn’t until now that I realized the most significant piece to the change and transformation process is our students.  This most important stakeholder group is often left out of this conversation.  So what are the secrets to transforming school culture? Make it a student-centered process, give up control, respect their ideas then implement them, and get out of the way. For it is they, our students, who ultimately transform school culture. We are just playing in their sandbox."


- See more at: http://www.guide2digitallearning.com/leadership/secrets_creating_positive_school_culture_byod_environment#sthash.CPtgD9Zp.dpuf

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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, March 19, 2014 1:52 PM

A key seems to be that there is room for the detail work involved to be done at the teacher and student level. When that space is not there, it is difficult to make innovations work.

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Making is Modern Learning ~ Will Richardson

Making is Modern Learning ~ Will Richardson | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Gary Stager


"Maker faires, where adults and children are gathering in ever-growing numbers, celebrate the inventor in all of us, but they also seem to be brewing an anti-school streak among some parents and children. “School is boring” has given way to “School is destroying my child. Look at what they are capable of doing! School is oblivious to my child’s interests, talents, and expertise.” I am not willing to give up on school, simply because that is where the kids are. We can and should make classrooms more like Maker Faires.


"Often parents are torn between their respect for the institution of school and their intuition that something is not working for their child. Be clear while making your case that although your plans may not look exactly like traditional school, you are not abandoning high standards or a quest for learning. The argument for making, tinkering, and engineering should not be as an “alternative” way to learn, but what modern learning really looks like."

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A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change

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STEM Integration in K-12 Education: Status, Prospects, and an Agenda for Research

STEM Integration in K-12 Education:  Status, Prospects, and an Agenda for Research | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it
Leaders in business, government, and academia assert that education in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is vital not only to U.S. innovation capacity but also as a foundation for successful employment, including (but not limited to) work in the STEM fields. K-12 STEM education, including standards and assessments, has tended to focus on the individual subjects, most often science and mathematics. The T and E of STEM have received relatively little attention. However, recent reform efforts, like the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), are stressing STEM connections - in the case of NGSS, between science and ...
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A New SAT Aims to Realign With Schoolwork ~ NY Times

A New SAT Aims to Realign With Schoolwork ~ NY Times | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Tamar Lewin


"Saying its college admission exams do not focus enough on the important academic skills, the College Board announced on Wednesday a fundamental rethinking of the SAT, ending the longstanding penalty for guessing wrong, cutting obscure vocabulary words and making the essay optional."

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MOOCs promise to change the face of higher education. Here's what they do well—and can do better ~ Wall St. Journal

MOOCs promise to change the face of higher education. Here's what they do well—and can do better ~ Wall St. Journal | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

Jim Lerman's insight:


Some very interesting information here.

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Home - Pearson Efficacy

Home - Pearson Efficacy | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

description by EdSurge


"Pearson continues probing what "efficacy" means in education--and perhaps for its own products--with a new report co-authored with Nesta, a UK-based philanthropy. Titled "From Good Intentions to Real Impact," the report adapts Nesta's internal guidelines for its £25 million investment fund to assess the learning outcomes for educational tools and services. The framework "doesn't pretend to be definitive," writes the authors, "but it hopefully balances simplicity and sophistication in a way that can provide a common language for discussing the evidence of impact."
 

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The Maker Movement Finds Its Way Into Urban Classrooms ~ Mind/Shift

The Maker Movement Finds Its Way Into Urban Classrooms ~ Mind/Shift | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Kathleen Costanza

"School library might not be the most obvious place to find kids building robots. But this year, Miriam Klein, a librarian and English teacher in the Cornell School District outside of Pittsburgh, is planning to use her district’s brand new Hummingbird robotics kits in the classroom to build characters from stories her students read. Using cardboard, pipe cleaners, and whatever else they come up with, along with the equipment in the kit (motors, LED lights, digital sensors), created by Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE lab, the kids will bring their characters to life.


"The infectious enthusiasm Klein and hordes of teachers around the country have for hands-on projects echoes that of the maker movement, a growing network of DIY and making enthusiasts building everything from marshmallow cannons to hovercrafts in garages, at Maker Faires, and state-of-the-art makeshops. Leveraging kids’ natural inclination to tinker, the maker movement has found its way into classrooms. In Pittsburgh and around the country, educators are encouraging kids to experiment, building imperative skills in STEAM subjects and spurring lifelong interests that will hopefully one day lead to careers."

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Colo. Middle Schools Connect with PenPals in Pakistan | AspenTimes.com

Colo. Middle Schools Connect with PenPals in Pakistan | AspenTimes.com | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Michael McLaughlin

summary by MiddleWeb SmartBrief


"Students in Kristen Zodrow's class at Basalt Middle School in Colorado are participating in a cultural exchange with students in Pakistan through a partnership with the Global Kids Connect program. The students write letters and posters for their Pakistani pen pals, and they create videos to express their views about honor, ownership and tolerance. "The object is to improve relations and help understand we may have a lot of differences, but we also have a lot in common," said Jodi Fischer, executive director of Global Kids Connect."

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STEAM tips and resources you can use right now ~ eSchool News

STEAM tips and resources you can use right now ~ eSchool News | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Laura Devaney

summary by MiddleWeb SmartBrief


"Integrating the arts into science, technology, engineering and math programs is increasingly popular. This article includes various tips, resources and tools from advocates and educators to help effectively teach STEAM. Among them are ArtsEdge from the Kennedy Center, TeacherVision Art Activities for Math Classes, which includes lesson plans, and STEAM not STEM, which promotes the integration of arts education as the key to creativity and innovation."

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The Importance of Coding K-12 eBook

The Importance of Coding K-12 eBook | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Joseph Sanfilipopo


"Last December, Computer Science Education Week  and Code.org organized an Hour of Code, during which time over 27 million people spent time learning how to code, learning about code, and understanding why it is important for our future. We were inspired to publish several blog articles that week about our experiences with coding in K-12 education. We’ve collected those articles, and others, into this new eBook, The Importance of Coding. It will hopefully serve to facilitate some coding and critical thinking with your students"

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Change the Homework, Improve Student Achievement -- Campus Technology

Change the Homework, Improve Student Achievement -- Campus Technology | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by David Nagel


"A new study from Rice University and Duke University researchers identified a relatively non-invasive approach to improving student achievement — one that doesn't involve gutting the curriculum or reinventing pedagogy. The researchers found that implementing subtle, technology-based changes to homework resulted in improvements in student performance on tests.


"The study, "Integrating Cognitive Science and Technology Improves Learning in a STEM Classroom," published this week in Educational Psychology Review, focused on a single upper-level engineering course (40 students) using methods that the researchers said "could easily be applied across disciplines and grade levels with minimal cost and disruption."


"The changes included the adoption of a software tool developed at Rice called OpenStax Tutor. According to the researchers, the software is similar to other tools on the market that fall into the broad category of cognitive science-based digital tutors, tools that are designed to differentiate instruction based on the needs of individual students.


"They broke students into two groups and assigned them two different types of homework on alternating weeks — the cognitive science-based interventions one week, traditional homework the next. In any given week, half the class would receive homework that used the cognitive science approach, the other half traditional homework."


Jim Lerman's insight:


This is quite an interesting study, which could have a real impact, at least on traditional-type learning.

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Tech Tools for Assessing the “Soft” Skills ~ Tech Learning

Tech Tools for Assessing the “Soft” Skills ~   Tech Learning | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Cathy Swan


"Search for “soft skills” in Google and you’ll find 45,800,000 results. The first screen includes business Web sites, Web sites listing job and interview skills, career developer Web sites, and an article from National Careers Service asking, “What are the ‘soft’ skills employers want?” The U.S. Department of Labor links to a curriculum focused on teaching workforce readiness skills to youth ages 14-21 called “Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success.” The course consists of six modules: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem-solving and critical thinking, and professionalism. The one link focusing on education is titled “Should schools teach soft skills?” Forty-five million sites think we should."


- See more at: http://www.techlearning.com/features/0039/tech-tools-for-assessing-the-%E2%80%9Csoft-skills/54730#sthash.uXE5pczl.dpuf

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Does Teaching Kids To Get 'Gritty' Help Them Get Ahead? ~ Natl Public Radio

Does Teaching Kids To Get 'Gritty' Help Them Get Ahead? ~ Natl Public Radio | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Tovia Smith

summary by MiddleWeb SmartBrief


"Some schools are experimenting with teaching "grit," defined as persistence, determination and resilience. Research by Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who coined the term and was awarded a MacArthur "genius grant" for it, shows promise for teaching the skills for it in schools. "This quality of being able to sustain your passions, and also work really hard at them, over really disappointingly long periods of time, that's grit," she said. "It's a very, I think, American idea in some ways -- really pursuing something against all odds.""

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Welcome To World Science U, Where Anyone Can Learn Einstein Online ~ Fast Company

Welcome To World Science U, Where Anyone Can Learn Einstein Online ~ Fast Company | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Ariel Schwartz


"At a time when companies and universities that run massive open online courses arestruggling to prove their value, Columbia University professor and physicist Brian Greene thinks he has a new and potentially more effective way to teach students online: World Science U, a science education platform that offers everything from two-minute educational videos to full-fledged university-level classes.


"Greene knows a little something about creating science content that's understandable to the masses. In addition to his teaching at Columbia, he is the co-founder of the annual World Science Festival, a host of Nova science documentaries, and author of a number of popular books that explain abstract physics theories to average readers. Instead of using the Internet as a new delivery vehicle for old-fashioned teaching (as many other MOOCs do), Greene explains that his new platform "turns abstract ideas into interactives that people can play with."

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Matthew Pittinsky, CEO at Parchment

Matthew Pittinsky, CEO at Parchment | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

"In March 2014, Smith, Aronson & Associates interviewed Matthew Pittinsky, Ph.D., the CEO of Parchment. Matthew is on the faculty of Arizona State University and serves on the Board of Trustees of The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. In 1997, Matthew co-founded Blackboard Inc., and served first as its CEO and then as Executive Chairman. Matthew straddles the fence between two education silos: education technology and higher education."


How do you see the movements between the various education sectors unfolding?

"The silos within higher education still exist, but most education technology companies are thinking about creating pathways between K-12 and higher education institutions. They are focused on serving students and institutions. This is the space where the next valuable company will be built. It will not be a K-12, higher ed, or corporate training organization focused inside those sectors alone. It will be a pathway company that crosses those dimensions. And one that will hold on to students outside the institutional relationship."

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The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul ~ NY Times

The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul ~ NY Times | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Todd Balf


"How the College Board revolutionized the most controversial exam in America."

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Mark Gillingham's curator insight, March 6, 2014 4:53 PM

The new SAT will be aligned with better teaching and learning principles. It appears to be a step forward. 

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Optimal Video Length for Student Engagement | edX

Optimal Video Length for Student Engagement | edX | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Philip Guo


"The optimal video length is 6 minutes or shorter -- students watched most of the way through these short videos. In fact, the average engagement time of any video maxes out at 6 minutes, regardless of its length. And engagement times decrease as videos lengthen: For instance, on average students spent around 3 minutes on videos that are longer than 12 minutes, which means that they engaged with less than a quarter of the content. Finally, certificate-earning students engaged more with videos, presumably because they had greater motivation to learn the material. (These findings appeared in a recent Wall Street Journal article, An Early Report Card on Massive Open Online Courses and itsaccompanying infographic.)


"The take-home message for instructors is that, to maximize student engagement, they should work with instructional designers and video producers to break up their lectures into small, bite-sized pieces."


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Mikko Hakala's curator insight, March 6, 2014 8:43 AM

Message: Optimal instructional video length to be 6 minutes or shorter.

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OPINION: Are MOOCS a Disappointment or a Gift? (EdSurge News)

OPINION: Are MOOCS a Disappointment or a Gift? (EdSurge News) | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

summary by EdSurge


"Those hoping that MOOCs were going to radically "disrupt" higher education and allow students to get university-level credentials without forking over inane amounts of dollars may be disappointed so far. Kaltura's Leah Belsky and Michal Tsur take a look at MOOC's missed opportunities. They argue that ultimately, MOOCs "highlighted the importance of high quality teaching and top teachers (not always the top researchers)."

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ConnectEDucators: Leveraging Technology in the Classroom | U.S. Department of Education

ConnectEDucators: Leveraging Technology in the Classroom | U.S. Department of Education | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

"The ConnectEDucators program would help educators leverage technology and data to personalize learning and improve college- and career-ready instruction, ensuring that as schools increase access to broadband Internet through the ConnectED Initiative, teachers and leaders are prepared to use these resources in a way that increases student learning and achievement. [expand/collapse]"

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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, March 11, 2014 5:46 PM

Who decides what the right level is in a classroom? Some of the gurus out there are not people I trust to make those decisions.

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Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform ~ Center on Education Policy, George Washington Univ.

Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform ~ Center on Education Policy, George Washington Univ. | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Alexandra Usher and Nancy Kober


"This series of papers examines topics related to students’ academic motivation, a critical but often overlooked aspect of education. The summary paper, Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, pulls together research findings from the six background papers, each of which includes a brief overview of research findings, examples of current programs and policies, and implications for the future, offering a more in-depth look at specific themes surrounding student engagement, including: why motivation is important and how it might be defined and measured; whether rewarding students can result in higher motivation; whether students can be motivated by goal-setting; the role of parental involvement, family background, and culture; strategies schools might use to motivate students; and nontraditional approaches to motivating otherwise unenthusiastic students. The appendix outlines four major dimensions of motivation and how they are defined by major scholars in the field."

- See more at: http://www.cep-dc.org/displayDocument.cfm?DocumentID=405#sthash.TLwjCrxo.dpuf



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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, March 4, 2014 6:18 PM

Student motivation is critical to teaching. That suggests there is something relational in the motivation of students.

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Elementary students aim to establish disaster-aid nonprofit ~ WacoTrib.com

Elementary students aim to establish disaster-aid nonprofit ~ WacoTrib.com | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Hollie O'Connor

summary by MiddleWeb SmartBrief


"A group of Texas fourth-graders plans to form a nonprofit to supply books to libraries at schools touched by natural disasters. The students, Woodway Elementary School's fourth-grade robotics team, got the idea while researching for this year's First Lego League competition, which is themed "Nature's Fury." They connected with schools in Galveston, Texas, to see how they can help the libraries damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008. The students have taken to social media to get the word out about their efforts to help school libraries"

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Hackers, Makers, and the Next Industrial Revolution ~ The New Yorker

Hackers, Makers, and the Next Industrial Revolution ~ The New Yorker | :: The 4th Era :: | Scoop.it

by Evgeny Morozov:


“A third industrial revolution is stirring—the Maker era,” Kelly writes in the introduction to “Cool Tools.” “The skills for this accelerated era lean toward the agile and decentralized. Therefore tools recommended here are aimed at small groups, decentralized communities, the do-it-yourselfer, and the self-educated. . . . These possibilities cataloged here will help makers become better makers.” 


"...The maker era might not be upon us yet, but the maker movement has arrived. Just who are these people? Like the Arts and Crafts movement—a mélange of back-to-the-land simplifiers, socialists, anarchists, and tweedy art connoisseurs—the makers are a diverse bunch. They include 3-D-printing enthusiasts who like making their own toys, instruments, and weapons; tinkerers and mechanics who like to customize household objects by outfitting them with sensors and Internet connectivity; and appreciators of craft who prefer to design their own objects and then have them manufactured on demand."

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