Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning
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Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning
Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence involving knowledge creation and flow. Pooled brainpower emerges from the collaboration and learning actions of a community of connected individuals empowered by social media, participatory tools, and mobile platforms.
Curated by Huey O'Brien
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Forrester Report: the Next Tech Wave is Collaboration via Tablets

Forrester Report: the Next Tech Wave is Collaboration via Tablets | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Portability is Key as Tablet Ownership Climbs Toward 1 Billion


Perhaps most obviously, tablets have become exceptionally popular due to their portability. In the developed world, they have become mainstays along side the smartphone and the laptop, Forrerster reported in its Global Business and Consumer Tablet Forecast Update, 2013 to 2017 report. By 2017, there will be nearly 1 billion tablets owned worldwide, Forrester reported, up from 380 million predicted in 2013.


Because tablets are so portable, consumers use them for gaming, streaming media, social media and interacting with rich media from a variety of locations (above image). In the workplace, PCs still rule at the desk, but tablets now rival smartphones in terms of mobility (conference room, lunch, etc).

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Google Play for Education could kill the iPad in schools

Google Play for Education could kill the iPad in schools | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Google released a major new education program today that organizes and manages the way teachers push apps, books, and other learning content to student tablets.


“When I go visit my kids’ classrooms, it looks pretty much exactly like it did when I went to school,” said Chris Yerga, Google’s engineering director at Google I/O. “Teachers told us that in education, there’s a huge gap between what’s possible with technology and what’s practical, especially with mobile technology. And then they told us it was Google’s job to fix this.”  He explained that teachers said Google should make an affordable Android tablet, content management tools, and app discovery tools. So Google is starting with the last two.


Google Play for Education is like an app store designed especially for teachers with some powerful management tools built-in. Teachers will be able to visit this app store and search by categories such as age-range and subject matter. If you are trying to teach math to a bunch of first graders, you can plug in those refinements and get back a list of apps made specifically for that group. Teachers will also be able to see reviews from other teachers. After instructors select an app, Google Play for Education will push it out automatically to all the tablets associated with a defined Google Group of students.


That’s the catch — you’ll need to set up your entire classroom on Google Apps, buy Android tablets for all the students, and create a Google Group with the tablets hooked up. The only real issue here might be cost, as Google Apps are fairly easy to set up and many education institutions are already using them.

Schools are able to load accounts with funds for the app store, so a teacher can automatically deduct from that balance if they wish to license a classroom-amount of paid apps. Teachers will also be able to push out YouTube videos and books in the same way they do apps.

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How to Help Mobile Education Go Global

How to Help Mobile Education Go Global | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

For many of us, the conversation around mobile learning has shifted from asking whether mobile devices present educational opportunities to how they might best do so.


From that second question, a new initiative has been launched: SMILE, the Stanford Mobile Inquiry Learning Environment, an idea, which, in practice, is almost staggeringly simple. Essentially, SMILE is a learning management system that allows students to create, share, answer, and evaluate questions in a collaborative manner through the use of cell phones.


Students use mobile devices — typically android phones that are connected to the same network — to create their own multiple-choice questions about a given topic. Their classmates answer those questions, and evaluate them based on their difficulty. While the devices need to be connected to each other, they don’t necessarily need to be connected to the outside Web, which is a key issue for some communities around the globe, said Paul Kim, the assistant dean and chief technology officer of Stanford University’s Office of Innovation & Technology and SMILE’s creator.


The drive to make questions that score higher on their peers’ difficulty index ultimately spurs students to think about the subject material in a deeper way, Kim says. And while there are some shortcomings—such as the lack of allowance for longer-form responses like written answers and essays, and a reliance mostly on more simple content elements such as texts and still photographs—the system’s simpleness allows it to be used in a variety of educational environments, ranging from a rural village in southern Africa to a medical school classroom at Stanford itself.


But creating such a project is one thing. Actually putting it into practice is another. So Kim, who has also helped launch SMILE in India, Argentina, and suburban Northern California, shares some of his tactics and lessons learned about how best to launch this project even in communities that are unlikely to have Internet access — or sometimes even electricity.

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Driven by developing countries, Wikipedia passes 3bn monthly mobile page views, aims for 4bn by June

Driven by developing countries, Wikipedia passes 3bn monthly mobile page views, aims for 4bn by June | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

For better or worse, Wikipedia has become one of the top go-to Web destinations for those looking for information on, well, just about anything. And it almost certainly had a part to play in the demise of the printed version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica too.


So it probably will come as little surprise that Wikipedia is seeing a significant rise in mobile visitors – indeed, it has just surpassed three billion mobile page views for the first time ever in a single month


To put this in context, this means that 14.5% of all Wikipedia page views now are via mobile, an increase of 4.6% on the same period last year, according to Wikipedia. And if you go back even further, you can see that a mere two years ago, only 500 million arrived at Wikipedia via mobile.

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Online Optimism » American Scientist

Online Optimism » American Scientist | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman have written an excellent new book on the effect of the ubiquitous Internet on society, using information on the latest Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. In Networked: The New Social Operating System, the authors describe a “triple revolution” brought on by ICTs (information and communication technologies) and comprising social networking, the Internet and mobile information technology.

The technologies of the triple revolution, the authors write, allow us to connect with a larger, more diverse network, including close and distant friends and acquaintances. They make it possible to gather new and useful information in quantities and at speeds heretofore not experienced by humans. And they let people connect with others while on the go, meaning we are accessible in a way that only emergency personnel doing shift work used to be. The result of these frequently discussed changes, according to Rainie and Wellman, is a new framework—or “social operating system,” as they put it—which they call “networked individualism.” The new system has four central traits:

The social network operating system is "Personal"—the individual is at the autonomous center just as she is reaching out from her computer; "Multiuser"—people are interacting with numerous diverse others; "Multitasking"—people are doing several things; and "Multithreaded"—they are doing them more or less simultaneously. This system, they write, is encouraging the formation of new kinds of community that serve people well.

The conclusions the authors draw run counter to the pessimistic ruminations of much of the older intellectual world, who see people drawing apart from one another while glued to their computers and mobile phones. In contrast, Networked is dedicated to the proposition that the new social operating system empowers individuals by allowing them to reach out to close and distant friends, even strangers, in a way that small-group–oriented communities never allowed.
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Udemy Launches iPad App To Enhance Mobile Learning

Udemy Launches iPad App To Enhance Mobile Learning | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Udemy Launches iPad App To Enhance Mobile Learning...


We’ve written about Udemy before. In the age of online learning and MOOCs, there’s always a lot to talk about – who has what for course offerings, do you have to pay for it, who are the teachers? Now, Udemy has taken online learning one step further, and made it available on your iPad.


As of the publication of this article, Udemy, the largest marketplace for online courses, will have officially launched its iPad app. With over 5,000 courses available through the (free) app, students and curious life-long learners now have an easier way to learn real-world skills whenever and wherever making lifelong learning even more accessible.



XDiscovery's comment, May 14, 2014 11:42 AM

XDiscovery launch mobile app to learn in seconds with visual knowledge maps for 4 million topics
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5 Things To Know About The BYOD Trend

5 Things To Know About The BYOD Trend | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |


The Bring-Your-Own-Device trend makes sense. It’s cost-effective and lets students use the device they already know and love. While it may present some problems for your school or district’s IT department, it’s a great start to bringing in web 2.0 tools and apps to the classroom.


BYOD is getting adopted at a rapid clip these days. But thanks to a new infographic, we have a closer look at the BYOD trend. Entarasys outlines 5 key facts (on the left side of the infographic, the right side is more business-y) that teachers, students, and school administrators should know about.


Key Findings

- 43% of parents see student use of mobile technology as a way to increase engagement


- 41% of parents see participation with mobile technology as preparation for the working world.


- Apple shipped more iPads in 2 years than Macs over 20 years.


- 67% of parents would buy their children a cell phone if allowed in school.


- 90% have disabled auto-lock for tablets; 75% for smartphones.


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New iPad App May Be The Future Of Collaborative Online Learning

New iPad App May Be The Future Of Collaborative Online Learning | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
A startup wants to turn video lessons into something more interactive and immersive. It's like a Skype chat on steroids. Harvard Professor Michael Sandel is on board and his popular video lectures are now in a must-see iPad app.


One of the biggest problems many people have with Khan Academy and YouTube Edu is simply the format. It’s not the fault of Khan or YouTube … it’s just that the passive video format is just that. It’s passive. Khan and others are introducing more interactive technology that acts as an added level of learning to the lessons but no one has nailed it quite yet.


A San Francisco-based startup called Net Power & Light Inc. wants to change that. And they’re working with one of the most popular (in terms of YouTube views at least) Harvard professors to show off what they can do. Net and Professor Michael Sandel have partnered to offer a more interactive way to learn using the Apple iPad.


Net’s software is called ‘Spin‘ which essentially turns passive video watching into interactive group learning. It’s like project-based learning but with the entire planet instead of just your classroom. Right now, Spin lets you remix and interact with content from Harvard, Stanford, TED, and the National Geographic Channel. “Teachers felt web-based learning wasn’t giving them the full experience,” Tara Lemmey, Net Power & Light’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview. “Education shouldn’t live by itself. It’s a world of together.”


So How’s It Work?


The Spin software lets you, like any video player, fast-forward, rewind, skip chapters, and pause videos. But it’s more than that. The software overlays video conferences you’re having simultaneously with other people in your group. You can pause the video and discuss it. It’s like a collaborative Skype session with the background being an informative multimedia presentation.  Start the video, get your group to join in, watch a bit, then discuss. This could be a great tool for any distance learners or students doing PBL remotely.


The software also features a shared chalkboard so all the members of your group can draw right on the screen. It also lets you have individual audio controls since there will likely be more than one conversation happening simultaneously. In a fun twist, you can actually shrink or enlarge a person’s picture on the iPad screen to lower or raise their respective volume.


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Envisioning the Future of Education

Infographic -

Educational paradigms are rapidly changing. This infographic summarizes some of the key trends and innovation categories in educational technology.
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Wonderville, A Platform For Early Childhood Education

Wonderville, A Platform For Early Childhood Education | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
Wonderville, an education-focused technology startup built by eToys vets from the dotcom era, is today making its public debut.


Wonderville, an education-focused technology startup built by eToys vets from the dotcom era, is today making its public debut. You might, at first glance, think of the company as something like a “Khan Academy” for the younger crowd, given that its goal is to augment a child’s education (K-8) with additional materials and teachings. But the similarities end there. Where Khan Academy focuses on delivering video tutorials to students, Wonderville sources third-party content from a number of places all over the web. This includes not only YouTube, but also Amazon and iTunes, among other things.


From iTunes, Wonderville pulls in mobile apps, ebooks and TV shows, and it uses these alongside the other sources, to build what it calls “smart galleries.” Each gallery contains a collection of digital content based on what kids are actually learning about in school. For example, a gallery might contain apps, videos, quizzes, and “fun facts,” related to Abraham Lincoln or Amelia Earhart, for example.

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10 Colleges Most Creatively Using Mobile Technology » Online Universities

10 Colleges Most Creatively Using Mobile Technology » Online Universities | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
Get inspired by some of thecreative ways these schools have harnessed mobile media for current and future students.


Seeing as how mobile devices and related technologies have completely overtaken a good chunk of society already, naturally the education sector has followed suit. Oddly enough, though, smartphones, social media, tablet computers, and other hallmarks of the mobile technology revolution still have yet to fully creep onto campus, with many schools somewhat puzzled over exactly what to do with the exciting new toys the kids are into these days. Others, however, saw innovation as opportunity, and went about drawing up innovative strategies for letting these digital developments enhance lessons, streamline college life, open up new possibilities, or some combination thereof. Get inspired by some of the seriously cool, creative ways the following schools have harnessed mobile media for current and future students.


Abilene Christian University:

This tech-savvy Texas school hosts numerous open houses, conferences, and other events centered around incorporating iPads, iPod Touches, laptops, and other portable computing devices into classroom settings. Apple even rewarded Abilene Christian University with its Distinguished Program moniker for its efforts in leading the education sector’s general movement towards digital integration. In the 2010-11 Mobile Learning Report, it highlights innovative breakthroughs such as the Optimist’s status as the first college newspaper with its very own iPad app and the efforts of chemistry professors Dr. Cynthia Powell and Dr. Autumn Sutherlin to podcast and comprehensively research student engagement with technology. Powell is also the founder of Mobile Enhanced Inquiry-Based Learning, a “blended learning strategy” focusing on mobile usage in the STEM fields.

Stanford University:

Stanford University’s partnership with Bling made it easier for Palo Alto residents and students alike to pay at local vendors, helping reduce their risk of identity theft. Through the use of an application and tiny tag, users purchase items via PayPal accounts as opposed to the traditional credit and debit cards, and the alliance draws praise from both Cardinals and the businesses they patronize for its ease. Along with this creative little time-saving measure, the school also hosted Mobile Persuasion in 2009. The Nokia-sponsored event, organized by Stanford’s Persuasive Tech Lab, to converse about all the ins and outs of mobile learning and draw up some strategies to explore — extending the department’s own overarching goals.

University of Ottawa:

Via uoMobile, University of Ottawa’s bilingual mobile app, students enjoy comprehensive access to the most popular sections of the main website. Services also include quick access to their personal schedules, grades, emergency information, and more, making it one of the more jam-packed college mobile applications out there. Plenty of colleges and universities have started drifting toward taking advantage of tablet computers and smartphones to make things even more convenient for anyone wanting to learn more, though uoMobile stands as one of the most notable for the number of options and accessibility.

Bangladesh Open University:

Seeing as how Bangladesh Open University’s entire modus operandi revolves around distance learning, it makes perfect sense that it would embrace what mobile technology has to offer higher education. One method utilized in its classrooms blends SMS with TV and/or radio for a multimedia experience encouraging digital discussion while soaking up recorded lessons. BOU hopes their developments taking advantage of the country’s fondness for wireless will nurture education in more remote areas where resources remain difficult to acquire.

Northeast Community College:

Journalism students at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb., received a thorough glimpse into the intimate inner workings of television studio KTIV — in Sioux City, Iowa. Webcameras allowed the two buildings to connect with one another, giving learners a tour of the facilities and putting them face-to-face with professionals eager to answer their questions. Most of the discussion revolved around KTIV’s transition from analog to digital media and succeeding in an Internet-driven market.

Purdue University:

Developers at Purdue University created Hotseat so tech-loving teachers could encourage running commentary during lectures. Students connect via Facebook, Twitter, or SMS to discuss the lectures and presentations at hand, with their messages relayed on a screen in real time. Professors use this for a few different reasons, including more richly detailed class talks with fewer interruptions and garnering immediate feedback. The application is available on web-based browsers and mobile devices and its “backchannel” structure has earned it a plethora of praise.

Griffith University:

Because Twitter manages to influence everything from the latest musical trends to serious social upheaval (as was the case in Egypt and Libya), journalism majors at this Australian college are now required to take a course in the ubiquitous social media outlet. Reactions to this new devotion to mobile technology have proven mixed, and course content blends both history and practicums in how to go about navigating the 140-character limit. Griffith University educators think thoroughly comprehending all the ins and outs of emerging technologies such as Twitter is an absolutely essential skill in the news outlets of the future.

Emerson College:

Learning Twitter is also mandatory in David Gerzof’s Emerson College classroom, where students partner up with real companies and design online marketing campaigns around them. Which, of course, includes incorporating common and not-so-common social media strategies. He arranged sponsorship with Sprint Nextel, who donated 10 EVO phones for student use, which included digital video and blogging in addition to the expected Facebooking and tweeting. Another creative project involved a social media scavenger hunt around Boston and utilizing it as a way to promote the cellular provider’s services.

University of Michigan:

As with even some of the most humbly connected institutes of higher learning, University of Michigan does boast its very own personal mobile app used by students, faculty, and staff. But it also plays host to the Mobile Apps Center, a department entirely devoted to developing these handy little bits and bytes. It hosts an annual Hackathon challenging students to spend 48 hours drawing up their own apps for use on and off campus, as well as contests and conferences challenging young and old thinkers alike to test the limits of where the technology can go.

Seton Hall University:

Seton Hall University marked a significant turning point in mobile integration when it became the very first institute of higher learning to assign every full-time student and faculty member an iPad back in 2010. Also an Apple Distinguished Program, its Griffin Technology Advantage homepage features an impressive archive of news stories regarding professors, staff members, and their creative approaches to the available devices. Reeves Library, for example, integrated holdings with iPads via the Polaris app. And chemistry professor Dr. Demetra Czegan loves how the devices allow her students to go paperless, downloading lecture notes and PowerPoint presentations and lightening their loads.

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The importance of mobile tech at universities in one chart

The importance of mobile tech at universities in one chart | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

We (Education Dive) wanted to see what approach universities are taking to the technology, so we asked 50 university CIOs how mobility and BYOD (bring your own device) have changed as a strategic priority over the last year.

Unsurprisingly, none of the university CIOs we surveyed thought mobility and BYOD had decreased in importance as a strategic priority over the past year. In fact, an overwhelming majority (74%) thought mobility and BYOD increased in importance. This trend reflects the increasing abundance of mobile tech being used on campuses.

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App Discovery Service Appolicious Launches appoLearning – A New Way To Find The Best Educational Apps For Kids

App Discovery Service Appolicious Launches appoLearning – A New Way To Find The Best Educational Apps For Kids | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Appolicious, the app search and discovery portal which helps users find new mobile applications for iPhone, iPad, and Android, is today launching a new service today aimed at parents, teachers and others in search of the best educational apps for children: appoLearning. This new resource is Appolicious’ attempt solving the inherent problems with app search today, starting with a focus on apps for learning

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There Will Be More Smartphones Than Humans on the Planet by Year's End

There Will Be More Smartphones Than Humans on the Planet by Year's End | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

A prediction for the future of smartphone growth makes some bold projections: By the end of this year, there could be more smartphones on the planet than humans, and by 2016 there could be 10 billion smartphones. That's 1.4 mobile devices per capita.


In its global mobile data traffic forecast, Cisco predicts that a solid chunk of growth will come from the Middle East and Africa, with a compound annual growth rate of 104%, followed by Asia Pacific with 84% growth.


What will people be doing with their smartphones in the coming years? Cisco predicts that by 2016 two-thirds of the world's mobile data traffic will be from videos, increasing 25-fold between now and then. Mobile network connection speeds will increase as well, according to the company.

Huey O'Brien's insight:

Also see: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017


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What 2013 Will Bring to the Enterprise [Infographic]

What 2013 Will Bring to the Enterprise [Infographic] | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

How's that 3-Year Plan Coming?

2013 should bring much of what we've spent the last three years preparing for. In 2010, we were promised that in three years we'd employ better technology, better integration and better governance strategies. Now that 2013 is upon us, how prepared do we feel? How many of us will be pushing back our three-year plan a few years?

If predictions from technology experts are any indication, 2013 will continue to bring more mobile. Along with it, the enterprise will accommodate, with a majority of companies adopting best practices for deploying mobile apps and access across mobile devices.

Additionally, big data seems to finally motivate us to do more than just talk about data. Not only will it bring more jobs, it will force companies to tie multiple systems together in an effort to leverage all that information smarter, faster, better.

If 2012 was about social this and social that, big data, and BYOD, the buzzword of 2013 will be Internet of Things. Though it may have been tossed around a bit this year, all predictions were confident of its presence. With more things on the internet, be it a tumblr meme or an instagram photo, the more connections they will bring with it. More connections means more opportunities for experiences to convert these connections into revenue.

Speaking on customer experience, omni-channel marketing strategies advance the multi-channel experience by making the consumer experience more seamless across all channels and platforms.

Finally, the prosumer comes into his own. Much of the technology innovations of the past decade have made it possible for mere mortals to create, publish and market themselves easily and under-budget. Now it's creeping into the enterprise, making it possible for simple marketers to do what used to take an entire team of agency professionals.
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Khan Academy Brings Its 3,500+ Educational Videos To The iPhone

Khan Academy Brings Its 3,500+ Educational Videos To The iPhone | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

Whether or not one believes Khan Academy is helping to reinvent education, it’s hard to dispute the fact that Khan (and now his team) are an educational video-producing machine, or that the platform continues to diversify. In part, that started with the release of its iPad app in March. This week, Khan Academy brought its 3,600 videos to the iPhone.


This means that the company’s learning library is now accessible on the web, tablets and the iPhone and will likely be showing up on Android in the not so distant future. It may not seem particularly shocking given the exploding popularity of mobile, but it does seem notable when put in context.


Sal Khan started out creating tutorials on Yahoo’s Doodle Pad to help his cousin do her math homework. When other family members began asking for help, he posted them on YouTube. Fast forward to the present and Khan has gone on to create some 3,600 videos, which collectively have been viewed over 210 million times. Along the way, his instructional library became Khan Academy and gained support from the Doerrs, Bill Gates and many others, and Khan himself became the “teacher of the world” and the “Messiah of Math.”


The platform has done wonders for the dialogue around learning, and it’s true that its founder is doing his part to re-imagine what modern education should be. Of course, it’s also true that the media hype partially obscured some legitimate questions about the quality of Khan’s teaching, his pedagogy and whether or not video lectures really add up to Education 2.0.


Nonetheless, by opening up the Khan experience to iPhone users, they can now access Khan’s instructional videos on the go, while on the bus or during long car rides — all of which is huge for students and fans of the educational platform.

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Distance Learning University, The Open University, Repackages Course Materials For The App Generation

Distance Learning University, The Open University, Repackages Course Materials For The App Generation | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

U.K.-based distance learning university, the Open University, is developing a series of apps to deliver undergraduate course materials to students’ smartphones and tablet devices, starting next year. The OUAnywhere app will allow undergraduates to access their main course materials through their handheld devices, along with the audio and visual content the OU produces to support studies.


The team developing the apps say they are being designed from the ground-up for touch interfaces, and will offer “high quality visual images rather than lists”. The apps are being made available across “a plethora of platforms”, with native iOS and Android apps in the pipeline, plus HTML5 apps for other platforms. Supported devices will include: Android devices, iPads (iPad 1 and above) iPhones (iPhone 3GS and above) Kindle Fire, Microsoft Surface.


OUAnywhere is being created in response to increasing use of mobile devices by students — the OU notes that mobile usage of its virtual learning environment in one month is now comparable to usage for an entire quarter of the previous year. It’s also noticed students are spending much more time online via mobile and tablet devices, and clocking up more repeated visits. (Students using gadgets? It’s not exactly rocket science… )


The first wave of OUAnywhere apps are due for release in Q1 2013.


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Amazon’s New Whispercast Service Provides Organization-Wide Kindle Content Deployment

Amazon’s New Whispercast Service Provides Organization-Wide Kindle Content Deployment | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
Amazon today unveiled its new Whispercast for Kindle service, which provides businesses and other organizations like schools a way to easily deploy Kindle content to members, students and employees across not only Amazon hardware, but also Kindle...


Amazon unveiled its new Whispercast for Kindle service, which provides businesses and other organizations like schools a way to easily deploy Kindle content to members, students and employees across not only Amazon hardware, but also Kindle apps for iOS and Android devices. Right now, it allows administrators to buy Kindle books and documents and spread them around. Amazon plans to one day add the ability to push out Kindle Fire apps to the company’s Android-powered tablets as well.


The initiative is clearly designed to give Kindle a greater foothold in the education market, where Amazon is saying that Whispercast allows not only widespread distribution of content, including free classic titles whose copyrights have expired, but also remote device management for Kindles owned by educational organizations. Already, there are programs that have seen Kindles deployed in school systems, including via Amazon’s own community outreach programs. Whispercast provides an easy way for organizations to more effectively deploy those programs, and also support students who may be bringing their own devices from home.


For business users, Whispercast offers centralized PDF distribution, and the ability to send around authorized apps to Fire devices “in the coming months,” according to Amazon’s press department. Since Amazon’s reach extends to popular BYOD options like the iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones via its Kindle app, this could be a very popular option for businesses looking to quickly and easily get everyone in the organization on the same page. Amazon also offers granularity of control, so that administrators can create different user groups and issue them different device settings (including custom network configurations) and content packages. Centralized control over purchases means that one account and payment method (including Amazon gift cards) can be used to purchase all content.


Whispercast is also completely free to use, which makes it highly suitable for not-for-profit and charity organizations as well. In general, this is an impressive offering from Amazon, and one that should help it gain a foothold in enterprise and education markets where it may lag behind other devices like Apple’s iPad and iPhone. And given the timing of this announcement, it’s likely also been hurried to market ahead of Apple’s iPad mini launch, which could itself be a very attractive device for schools and organizations looking for a low-cost tablet device to deploy more widely.

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How The New Learnist Apps Signal A Change In Education Technology

How The New Learnist Apps Signal A Change In Education Technology | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |

What Is Learnist?

Learnist is a social learning platform that looks like Pinterest with a heavy dose of Facebook and Instagram. It’s highly visual and seeing a huge uptick in users since the launch a few months ago. Still in closed beta, the folks at Grockit told me that they have been simply thrilled and blown away by the positive response.


Learnist lets you create learning boards that are essentially digitally curated silos of information. But since Learnist was built with education in mind from the start, the learning boards are easy to use in the classroom, assign as homework, or simply share on other social networks.


The Apps


Until now, Learnist has been a web-based tool that is still in beta mode. But as of the publishing of this article, Learnist apps are officially available for iOS (iPhone and iPad). The iPhone app reminds me of Instagram (in a good way) and the iPad app reminds of Pulse (again, in a good way). Both apps are intuitive, easy to browse, and fun.


The iPhone app is all about content creation. It lets you quickly snap a photo of anything and then create a board around that topic. Traveling to Paris? Snap photos of your trip and use it as chance to come back and learn more about each place you visited.


Best of all, the social aspect of Learnist means people from all over the world can see your photos in real-time and comment, enhance, or even add your photos to their learning boards.

The iPad app is all about content discovery. The iPad is well known to be a lean-back device that’s perfect for finding new and interesting information. Same with the Learnist iPad app. You can watch videos, browse rich media, and take full advantage of basically all Learnist has to offer.


Why These Apps Matter To You

These apps are built by a team of smart education-oriented technologists who want to build a better education system. And thanks to the popularity of both Grockit and Learnist, they’re doing it. These apps signal a shift in the expected quality of mobile apps for education technology.  An Instagram for education? A Pinterest for education? A Facebook just for education? Many folks have been drawing these kinds of similarities when it comes to Learnist (myself included) for obvious reasons.


But the real story here is that Learnist and other high-end edtech tools are starting to dictate the future of education technology. They’re doing it by creating high quality apps that leverage the hard work and expensive research already done by other companies.  For example, the Learnist design resembles Pinterest for a reason. It’s image browsing resembles Facebook for a reason. It’s apps resemble popular apps for a reason. These designs are proven to work and that’s exactly what a lot of developers and designers forget. Education technology companies are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. Learnist has simply taken the best spokes from the current wheel and combined them altogether. Not a bad idea.



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Educreations To Turn Your iPad Into Your Classroom

Educreations To Turn Your iPad Into Your Classroom | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
While it's easy to admire Salman Khan's (of Khan Academy) devotion to teaching and the incredible platform he's created, the truth is he's not a trained educator.


Khan Academy has attracted the attention of millions of students and parents (and has even impressed Bill Gates) by flipping the traditional classroom and homework model on its head with videos on a variety of academic subjects. While it’s easy to admire Khan’s devotion to teaching, the truth is he’s not a trained educator. There are millions of professional teachers who would relish the opportunity to create their own educational videos and interactive lessons, but the vast majority lack the resources to flip their own classrooms.


That’s where Educreations comes in. The company launched early this year to make it easy for teachers (and everyone else) to create, narrate and record video whiteboard tutorials on the Web and the iPad — and share them with the world.


Like ShowMe (and more generally, Udemy), Educreations focused on enabling teachers to use a simple, interactive whiteboard to create their own video lessons and hosts those lessons online (helpful for K-12 schools that block YouTube), where teachers can share them publicly or within a private group. Students and teachers can replay lessons in any web browser or from within its iPad app. With its mobile version, Educreations has attempted to distinguish itself from competitors by offering more features than the rest while maintaining simplicity of its interface and user experience.



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ASTD Webcast On New Mobile Learning Research (Watch Recording) | Upside Learning Blog

ASTD Webcast On New Mobile Learning Research (Watch Recording) | Upside Learning Blog | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
Regular readers of this blog will be aware that we recently supported ASTD research on Mobile Learning, a report around that was released in May 2012.


Here are my key takeaways from the webinar, just in case you don’t want to go through the whole 69 minute recording of the webinar.

Here’s the video from that webinar:



> Tablets as part of mobile learning mix: although not the same as mobile phones, tablets are included in the study as part of mobile learning devices. Kevin believes it’s the tablets that have really got mobile learning started. John agrees and highlights an emerging trend that companies are identifying use case for PCs, tablets, and mobiles separately to design and deliver appropriate content or information. We have written about tablet learning being different from others as well.

> Is mobile learning really happening? There is no doubt mlearning has been a slow starter. It’s been on the horizon for almost a decade now, but we still wonder if it’s really happening. John believes year 2012 marks the beginning of truly making a move towards mobile learning.


> iPad rules the market: John pointed out to a Forbes article that lists 50 largest deployments of iPads. The list is quite a mix of K-12, enterprises and government organizations. To highlight the importance of tools like iPad in trouble shooting and performance support, Kevin talks about a case where an Australian jumbo jet developed some snag mid-air and it took 5 pilots (3 in the cockpit and 2 others who were by chance on that flight) to go through the manual to get that snag resolved. A digital manual with any hyperlinks and required multimedia could have been so much simpler and hugely important in avoiding a potential fatal accident. John pointed to this survey which found that 73% of US organizations’ intend to buy iPads in 2012. There’s no doubt that iPad rules the tablet market and is also driving mobile learning adoption.

>Native Apps vs Mobile Web: According to John, native apps deliver much better user experiences currently, however this will change in future, as bandwidths improve, browsers become more powerful and HTML5 standards evolve, web based mobile solutions will be preferred over apps.

> Mobile delivery & market performance: The research found that “the delivery of internal content by mobile devices is strongly correlated to learning effectiveness and to market performance”. However, 68% of high-performance organizations still do not provide learning via a mobile device, which further suggests that the market is still nascent

>Top uses of mobile in learning: Easily accessible reference material, performance support, and video are the top 3 usage of mobile devices – which should not be a surprise. Not many organizations are looking to deliver full courses on mobile devices.

> Qualcomm’s implementation of learning & communication on mobile using their own HTML portal (created using jQuery mobile) which helps launch other external portals/apps namely, Harward Manage Mentor, Word Press, Vuforia and others. Interestingly John mentions that a lot of these programs are NOT integrated with any LMS. They simply track usage like you would do for a website, which we believe is the best way to go about implementing mobile learning and not getting stuck on SCORM or any other integration. Looking at the screenshots of Qualcomm implementations will give a good idea of what’s possible. I urge you to watch just this part of the webinar if you can’t view all of it (jump straight to the 35th min).
Gimbal – John introduced Qualcomm’s new product Gimbal, which they describe as a social awareness platform.


Take a look at the into video below:


This is a hint of times to come. I believe we’re getting closer to having performance support agents on our mobile devices which I discussed a couple of years ago.

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Tablets to Surpass Notebook Growth in 2016

Tablets to Surpass Notebook Growth in 2016 | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning |
The demand for tablet computers such as the iPad is growing so much that shipments are expected to surpass notebook shipments by 2016.


Tablets, and specifically the iPad from Apple, have been one of the big drivers for growth in mobile in the last couple of years, but figures out today from NPD indicate that their popularity is going to get even bigger: the market for tablets, its researchers predict, is set to boom from 121 million shipped tablets today to 416 million devices by 2017, when they will overtake notebooks to become the most popular mobile PC device, driven by a drop in costs and a rise in features. Overall mobile PC shipments will reach 809 million units by 2017, from 347 million today.

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