A Carvey for the EdLab

Submitted by Gary Natriello on Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:12am.
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If great art is about taking away instead of adding on, Carvey is the tool for us! And it handles wood, metal, plastics, wax, linoleum, etc.


We Need a GaffGun for the Learning Theater

Submitted by Hui Soo Chae on Mon, 10/20/2014 - 11:56pm.
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Loose cables of EdLab have finally met their match. Check out the GaffGun:

Learn more here.


FYI: How Will You Change the World with US $1 million?

Submitted by Ting Yuan on Mon, 10/20/2014 - 2:53pm.
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Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.47.27 PM

The 2015 Hult Prize "President's Challenge" will be Early Childhood Education in the Urban Slum and beyond, as selected by President Bill Clinton at this year's Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York. The challenge specifically asks teams to build sustainable and scalable social enterprises to address the early childhood education gap in kids 0-6 years old.

Moving forward with the sixth annual Hult Prize, thousands of university students worldwide will team up to create start-ups aimed at solving an issue faced by billions in need. More than 10,000 applicants will begin the journey, and only 300 start-ups from around the world will move on to pitch their start-up ideas at one of five global locations, including: Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai. A sixth regional final will be held online following the completion of the five in-person regional final events. Up for grabs is the coveted Hult Prize which comes with $1,000,000 in start-up funding.


Education is Syria's Chance for Change

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Sun, 10/19/2014 - 10:36pm.
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The ongoing chaos in Syria has become a major concern for education advocates due to the high number of refugees who are of school age. The civil society youth group Kesh Malek (Checkmate), has established a program for Syrians. The program is called Chance for Change. Its purpose is to provide a future for Syria by ensuring education for the youngest generations. Kesh Malek, intents to help 15 schools in areas free of regime control. In the past, donors and other interested parties have tried to take over the curriculum and management of the schools by dashing money to the schools’ principals.

However, Kesh Malek prefers the schools to have a non-biased curriculum. They want the future generations to be free of regime ideologies. This is one of the reasons for the project. They are seeking the support of everyone who is willing to help, including Syrians in the country and abroad.


College Athletes Lag Behind in Learning

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Sun, 10/19/2014 - 6:50pm.
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Almost every student athlete (including myself) would argue that it is very difficult to blend athletic responsibilities with school work. When you consider that playing collegiate sports is a huge sacrifice, college athletes are required to be mentally and physically ready before joining a team. However, as the vialogue below shows, most college athletes lag behind in reading and for the most part their learning processes as well.


Most Educated Countries in the World

Submitted by Khalil Abubakar on Fri, 10/17/2014 - 1:36am.
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I came across this article about the most educated countries in the world and was surprised to see where some countries ranked. In developed countries, one in three adults hold a tertiary degree and increased opportunities and access to education. For instance, according to OECD, more than half of Russian adults have tertiary degrees that are equivalent to college degrees. Most educated populations live in countries where educational cost was higher than the global average of $13,957.

The US had the highest cost with an average of $26,021 per student. Even though Russia and Korea spends about $10,000 per student on tertiary education, they are still among the world’s most educated populations. Countries were ranked based on individuals who were between the ages of 25 - 64 with tertiary education and skills in math and reading. Russia, Canada, Japan, Israel and the United States ranked among the top.


Education and Sustainable Development

Submitted by Ahmed Bagigah on Thu, 10/16/2014 - 12:53am.
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Education has and continues to be a key cornerstone of everyday life for most people around the world. Schools are where lifelong friendships are forged, innovations are created and ideas are born. This press release by United Nations highlights how improved access to quality and sustained education can lead to transformations in many countries. For instance, if women in poor countries completed primary grades, child mortality will drop and save about one million lives.

Women tend to make better fertility decisions and better family planning when they are educated. Poverty reduction and decreasing maternal death are all linked with educational attainment. Education plays a central role in preparing individuals for the labor market. Education also promotes economic sustainability that helps provide basic needs such as food, housing, and transportation.


Innovations in Health: Carrot

Submitted by Brian Sweeting on Wed, 10/15/2014 - 10:16pm.
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Finally an affordable, wireless, nutrition-based mobile experience designed to improve your health:

From The Atlantic


The Effect of Ebola on Education

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Wed, 10/15/2014 - 9:52pm.
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The outbreak of the Ebola virus has led to worldwide concerns about its spreading and eventually becoming an epidemic. The quest to find a remedy to stop the spread is of urgency in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the two countries most affected by the virus. For instance, the virus has killed 2,200 Liberian citizens. Apart from the death toll and those hospitalized, the virus has had a major impact on education, especially in Liberia. Public and private schools have been closed as a result of the outbreak. As a result, an estimated 1.4 million school-aged children have no access to education.

The most important thing for now is to find any means to educate school-aged children in Liberia. The education sector in Liberia is slowly recovering from the effects of the decades long civil war. The Ebola outbreak threatens to stop any progress or momentum that has been made over the past few years. Students cannot simply sit home until a cure is found. There is no timeline for when that will happen.


How Technology is Facilitating (and Not Overtaking) Learning

Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Wed, 10/15/2014 - 5:27pm.
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Cyborg learning isn’t as sexy as it sounds.

It’s not this:

Or this:

It’s more like this:

Yesterday, Brian and I had the opportunity to attend Dr. Reed Stevens’s talk, Cyborg Learning: How our Mobile and Networked Lives are Transforming Learning and Education.

He defines cyborg learning as such: people learning a practice of any kind WITH devices or tools, in which the devices and the humans are both constitutive of the practice [emphasis his].

Dr. Stevens studies learning that occurs outside of the classroom; he sees only a slight overlap between school and learning. He noted a shift in our relationship with digital companions (and their pervasiveness), referencing Siri, Google Glass, and the quantified self. In fact, the main questions that structured the lecture were: 1) What directions will companion tech take in our near future lives? and 2) What do these directions mean for learning education?

If you have ever been afraid of losing your job to a machine, you may or may not be consoled by this next part. When it comes to knowing who is replaceable, the issue is not in assessing mental vs. manual tasks, but the routine vs. nonroutine. So, for example, stock analysts and parole board members are in trouble. In contrast, cooks and gardeners have nothing to worry about.

So, how does this relate to how we learn? I’m getting there.

Dr. Stevens, through his ethnographic studies, has identified the following categories of teen usage of digital media:

1. Inter-generational making and building

  • Parents are interacting with their kids around media. The generation divide with media that you hear in papers is largely unfounded.

  • Examples: Watching cooking how-to videos on YouTube together, finding lego blueprints online

2. Collaborative play in virtual worlds (e.g., Minecraft)

  • Often played in the same room at the same time as other teens

3. Digital media production and online sharing

  • Unmediated in kids’ lives

4. Families who use media to coordinate with each other

  • Examples: email, google calendars to organize family activities

  • “This is incredibly ordinary in middle class families.” (Though I greatly beg to differ on that one)

5. Previously unplugged activities have a digital component

  • Example: learning the piano and using digital metronome

Everyday life already integrates with all this media; work and school are headed this way, too. People are getting work done by spreading it across themselves (distributed cognition). What would distributed learning look like at school, Dr. Stevens wonders.

He uses math as an example to further illustrate the pervasiveness of digital companions. Kids are asked to solve the same kinds of problems over and over again using some kind of algorithm. But, as computational devices move forward, we decide to blackbox certain things we do by hand and mind (like finding a square root, logarithms, long division). So why not use digital tools as distributed cognition for math? Why do kids have to BE calculators? Denying them use of these devices further alienates them from math. Couldn’t people’s minds be put to more creative uses? “Are we just training slow, poor computers?” His question is met with scattered nods of agreement across the room.

Back to what distributed learning looks like in learning. It just so happens that Dr. Stevens is one of two principal investigators of FUSE. FUSE is an in-person, interest-driven learning environment for young adults. It allows participants to explore STEAM topics through leveled challenges. There are 30 studios located in and around the greater Chicago area.

FUSE Introduction from OSEP on Vimeo.

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