Trends in Ed, 6.18.2010: Funding Formulas and the Future: a brief polemic to end the week

Submitted by Nathaniel Levy on Fri, 06/18/2010 - 5:06pm.
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In the past week, two curious stories in education flew under the radar of most national media. The state of Rhode Island finalized a new school funding formula, ending its twenty-year regime as the only state in the union not to have one, reported the Providence Journal on Thursday. Elsewhere along the BosWash Megalopolis, Philadelphia’s School of the Future (SOF), a joint venture with Microsoft that garnered a lot of press at its inception in 2006, graduated its first senior class.

Generated through the collaboration of RI’s Department of Education and researchers from Brown University, the funding formula involves a lot of economics and policy details that do not particularly excite me (as a learner, not a stakeholder). Taking a look at several states’ presentations of their school finance information, though, did register some curiosity as to why policymakers have not found more palatable ways to visualize their data. Even if our expectations of bureaucracy are limited, it’s worth considering how long it will take for the primacy the Obama Administration gave to data viz with to trickle down (as On the Media discussed with America’s Information Minister).


HP Grants (Deadline June 30)

Submitted by Jeannie Crowley on Fri, 06/18/2010 - 2:25pm.
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HP has some big grant deadlines coming up. Does anyone have a project in the works that could fit under one of these categories?

HP Catalyst Initiative

Through the HP Catalyst Initiative, HP is building a global network of consortia that will explore more effective approaches to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. In 2010, each of 5 consortia will receive more than $1 million in technology, cash, and professional assistance. The goal is to create international collaborative “sandboxes” of innovation that will explore what the future of STEM education can look like—a future where students use their technical and creative ingenuity to address urgent social challenges in their communities and around the world. For 2010, this initiative is focused on 11 targeted countries - Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Kenya, India, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States. For more information, visit


Digital/Analog book mashup

Submitted by Skye MacLeod on Fri, 06/18/2010 - 2:23pm.
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I think this is a really interesting and interactive mash up of an iphone app in a simply designed yet effective analog book:


Review of four popular iPad e-book reading apps

Submitted by Zhou Zhou on Thu, 06/17/2010 - 11:51pm.
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Stephen and I are interested in conducting a research on eBook reader tools for the iPad. Like many people and publishers, we think the iPad is a great reading device offering the comfort and efficiency that no other device have. Most importantly, its positioning between a computing device and a traditional e-book Reader makes it highly versatile for both casual reading and academic learning tasks. It has stronger computing power than Kindle and Nook so that it can be used as a research tool to accomplish tasks such as managing literature, composing texts, creating charts, Internet research, and online collaboration, among others. Aslo, it has better portability and display than a laptop and it can be taken anywhere for reading and learning.

However, we think the iPad's great potentials provided by its hardware are still largely limited by the availability of good applications for reading and learning. We started by looking at some popular eBook reading apps for iPad including the iBook app by Apple, the Kindle app by Amazon, the B&N eReader app by Barnes & Noble, and the Good Reader (GR) app by Good iWare Ltd. The first three apps are developed by big businesses and their book stores are the only resource to obtain books. The last app, GR, is the NO. 1 selling e-book reader app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod due to its great features and functionality, but it isn't affiliated with any online bookstore. Next I will share a summary of these four apps. I will describe these apps in 6 types of tasks: file management, customization, navigation, content interaction, social interaction, and extended tasks.


Technology Today - 6/17/10

Submitted by Jason Mariasis on Thu, 06/17/2010 - 4:55pm.
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Semi-Weekly Tech Summary:

New YouTube Video Editor

WordPress 3.0 Arrived Today - 5 Most Important New Features

Google Docs New Upgrades
(most notably new margins, insert images, new comment system, see what others are typing w/o refreshing page, drawings, changed sharing options)

Google Apps launched 16 more apps

30 iPad Apps for Designers, Developers and Creative Types

iPad - Interactive Books - Children's Book Apps Get Curiouser and Curiouser

E3 Video Game Expo Ends Today - Microsoft Project Natal: Meet Milo (demo from 2009)

Internet Is Set To Overtake Newspapers in Ad Revenue

Forrester Projects Tablets Will Outsell Netbook by 2012, Desktops by 2013

A Few Take Aways:
-How can educators take advantage of cloud computing (Google Apps, YouTube)
-How can the iPad and all apps associated with it be used to excite students about learning, keep students more organized, and help them learn (interactive book apps w/ animations?)?


EdLab Review- Udemy

Submitted by Adrienne Garber on Thu, 06/17/2010 - 3:18pm.
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Academy of You

Provided by Udemy, Inc., Udemy is a beta website that provides free content creation tools for educators. With over 600 academic courses ranging from computer science to art to chemistry to philosophy, there are course offerings to appeal to the gamut of online learners.

Provided by leading universities such as Columbia, MIT, and Stanford, a catalog of Udemy courses is available here. Udemy is a start-up venture located in Palo Alto, CA, headed by co-founder Gagan Biyani. Biyani grew up in the Silicon Valley and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Economics. In addition to his work with Udemy, he also writes part-time for TechCrunch’s mobile site, MobileCrunch.

Price: Activities such as joining the website, browsing for courses and publishing content is offered at no cost to the user. Educators may, at their discretion, determine a fee for their course offerings. Udemy charges a commission on every completed transaction using the website.

Prop points: Udemy is an open platform that enables anyone to teach and learn online by posting videos, presentations, writing blog posts, or hosting live virtual classroom sessions. As an additional offering from Udemy, Udemy Live is a free video conferencing tool built on component architecture that allows users to share videos, display presentations, write on a virtual whiteboard, and chat with participants. Experts in a particular field can easily create a course and start teaching via Udemy. As an additional feature, the Udemy course catalog page recommends courses to users based keyword searches and user preferences.

Drop points: Udemy does not hire, employ, or vet the educators on its website, and specifically disclaims all liability for the interactions involved between the educators and the educators' respective clients. The level of quality control, if any, that Udemy performs with respect to course content, is unclear. In addition, while it is free to join the website, browse for courses and publish content; educators may determine a fee for a course and charge the user for course subscription. From a technical standpoint, Udemy uses an internal API so third party developers can build components in conjunction with Udemy’s virtual conferencing tool, however the API is not currently public.

Final score: Self-described as "a marketplace of educators, students, parents, schools and other interested organizations," the Udemy website provides an outlet to formal and informal teachers to create content and share ideas in a collaborative manner.

Recommended uses: Udemy has many formidable uses, both in and out of the classroom. From the educators' perspective, Udemy could be utilized to supplement formal course offerings, provide no or low-cost prerequisites for advanced-level coursework, and act as prescreening tool for in-demand courses with limited enrollment space. From the students' perspective, Udemy can provide general primers for advanced-level coursework and electives, as well as a cost-conscious alternative to formal coursework.


Trends in Ed, 6.17.2010: The future is open

Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Thu, 06/17/2010 - 3:12pm.
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In his presentation on the future of education (below), Ed tech blogger Martin Weller describes his vision.

Among the trends he notes are the increasing social, open, and informal aspects of education. Weller posed the question, “Why did I make this?” after revealing that he has never met the two people who had asked him to create the presentation. His answer, you’ll see, is truly an example of the future that he speaks of.

A google search on the topic brings up a wide variety of opinions but I like Weller’s short and sweet delivery; I think it effectively drives his point(s) home.

What are your thoughts on the future of ed? For more brain food (and I'm talkin' smorgasbord), check out and their 2020 forecast (which I blogged about last year).


ITS Day 4 (2010)

Submitted by Pranav Garg on Thu, 06/17/2010 - 1:36pm.
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Session: Natural Language Interaction 2
II.62: Predicting Student Knowledge Level from Domain-Independent Function and Content Words (Williams and D'Mello)

Paper Gist:
Why should we focus on the Linguistic Word (LIWC)
- because it helps to identify the students mental as well as physical health
- helps in assessment of how the students performance would be over the test.


Research Digest: What Counts as Credible Research?

Submitted by Jessica Blum on Thu, 06/17/2010 - 1:18pm.
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Lareau & Walters (March 1, 2010). What counts as credible research? Teachers College Record.

In this recent Teachers College Record piece, Annette Lareau and Pamels Barnhouse Walters reiterate one of the most important questions in education today: What, exactly, should count as good educational research? Pointing to the Obama administration’s efforts to “restore science to its rightful place” in educational policy making (Obama, 2009), the authors pull no punches in arguing that the randomized, controlled trials heretofore heralded as the “gold standard” in such endeavors offer – at best – only narrow answers to the very complex questions that warrant the careful attention of educators and policymakers.


Another World is...Pressible?

Submitted by Nathaniel Levy on Thu, 06/17/2010 - 11:39am.
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Bad puns can be hard to resist.

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