Trends in Ed: Rise of the Wikiriculum

Submitted by Laura Costello on Thu, 01/12/2012 - 2:18pm.
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Education secretary Michael Gove announced yesterday his plans to overhaul the teaching of computer science in UK schools. Plans include scrapping Microsoft suite and other basic computer skills to digital native learners who grasp these technologies intuitively. The curriculum rests on a wiki-style resource that will be quickly evolving and shared by teachers. The task of writing the initial curriculum will involve tech business and higher education with participation from IBM, Microsoft, and the British Computer Society and accolades from the European directors of Google and Facebook.

Gove stated in his speech that he was inspired by the US military’s use of wikis to communicate real time information and thought it would be an effective platform for a subject that changes as rapidly as IT. With the new model, teachers will be given more freedom to design learning around student interest. The Guardian ran a joke article about what student interest based teaching would mean, but it does raise some interesting questions about the borderline legality of real fun on the internet and notions of school appropriate social media learning. It’ll be interesting to see the outcome of this reinvention.


Trends in Ed: Penn State’s New Collaboration Space

Submitted by Laura Costello on Fri, 01/06/2012 - 11:25am.
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Penn State is getting ready to unveil an exciting new library collaboration space in their Pattee Library. Called the Knowledge Commons, the space will feature 9 group work spaces outfitted in the latest collaborative technology. Up to 7 group members can hook their devices to the station, trading presentation rights to the projection monitor using a device called a puck. The space also features modular walls, un-lecture halls for classroom meetings, and video production spaces and equipment.

This update is part of a larger academic library trend of offering innovative and flexible spaces in lieu of endless stacks of physical books. Book collections are moving offsite (or to subterranean, robot-controlled vaults) in greater numbers and as purchasing increasingly favors digital content, academic libraries have had to reform their image and rebuild for a mobile and device-adorned patron base.


Research Digest: E-xpensive

Submitted by Laura Costello on Thu, 01/05/2012 - 8:12pm.
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Graydon, B., Urbach-Buholz, B., & Kohen, C. (2011). A Study of Four Textbook Distribution Models. Educause Quarterly, 34(4).

Daytona State College spent 2-years studying 4 different distribution models in student textbooks. Print rental, electronic book rental, and device rental were investigated in existing faculty practice for financial and non-financial outcomes (such as performance, preference, and retention). They found that electronic textbook rental was significantly more expensive for students than physical book rental, in some cases rental was near the average textbook cost.

Even more telling is the trouble DSC had beginning the study. It was more difficult than anticipated to find the right textbooks in the format and payment structure required. Courses and text assignments had to be adjusted based on availability. Even if there were significant financial gains to be had with a particular format and distribution model, there’s no guarantee that publishers would offer textbooks in that model.


Digital vs. Analogue: Silencing Audio Books

Submitted by Laura Costello on Wed, 01/04/2012 - 7:18pm.
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Brilliance Audio, an audio book publisher owned by Amazon, has recently withdrawn its titles from OverDrive. Is this a coincidence or bleed over from OverDrive e-book withdrawals by major publishers? Amazon also owns Audible, a much larger and more stalwartly digital publisher of audio content. It’s possible that the withdrawal is related to a possible merger or Audible hosting of Brilliance content. The INFOdocket article on the subject also suggests the possibility that Amazon will offer these titles with Prime lending.

For digital vs. analogue, I'd like to consider the e-book bleed over possibility. Audio book content well preceded e-books in the digital lending sphere and emerged with fewer splashy management issues. It’s interesting to see something like this now and it makes me wonder if the recent e-book drama has caused audio book publishers to rethink their relationships with public libraries.


How to Win Friends in EdTech

Submitted by Laura Costello on Tue, 01/03/2012 - 6:49pm.
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O’Reilly School of Technology recently posted a rant by Scott Gray about CodeAcademy and the development of new formats in education. It’s a little snarky, especially considering all the plugs for O’Reilly’s CodeRunner system as a CodeAcademy alternative, but I got a kick out of Gray's 4-step recipe for instant popularity in educational technology:

1. It must be free, with minimal transaction effort.

2. There should be exaggerated claims of ultimate learning outcomes without evidence. Place the promise on the future, not now.

3. It needs to make people feel like they've learned something in a few minutes by giving them a thumbs up, or badge for accomplishing something trivial.


Best of: Kate Meersschaert

Submitted by Laura Costello on Sat, 12/31/2011 - 11:45am.
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All Kate’s articles are memorable, but I think this one is very representative and inspired a lot of people inside and outside of EdLab. When I was investigating the curation website I stumbled across it in a mini-pub called technology tools for teaching French. This is also the article that inspired Vialogues for Language Acquisition! Though it’s not technically NLT, I think it really created a groundwork for our new content stream Digital vs. Analogue which explains the occasionally strained relationship between old and new methods of teaching and learning.

French Teachers Use Twitter to Teach Writing

French teachers are experimenting with Twitter as a way to teach primary school students to write and read. Twitter's 140 characters are viewed by teachers like Jean-Roch Masson as a way to encourage budding writers to, "be the journalists of our (their) own lives." This article, translated from Le Monde by WorldCrunch describes a typical morning in a Twitter-positive classroom:


EdLab Review: Flubaroo

Submitted by Laura Costello on Fri, 12/23/2011 - 3:09pm.
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Flubaroo (pronounced floo-ba-roo, not flub-a-roo as I initially thought) is a Google Docs add on meant to assist teachers with grading. Flubaroo checks against a teacher-created key to automatically grade, create statistics, and distribute grades to students via email.

Flubaroo is an extremely simple, need-based tool created by a teacher and it fulfills its role well. They system is meant to be automated, but alerts teachers when more than half of the class gets a particular question wrong. It’s fast and simple, if a little impersonal, and seems like it could dramatically decrease the workload for the right teacher. Google Docs integration means that it takes very little setup or sign-up to begin working and the process is natural for someone used to working with the Docs platform.


Research Digest: DDA and the Workflow Issue

Submitted by Laura Costello on Thu, 12/22/2011 - 5:22pm.
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De Fino, M. & Lo, M. L. (2011). New roads for patron-driven ebooks: Collection development and technical services implications of a patron-driven acquisitions pilot at rutgers. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 23(4), 327-338.

Rutgers University recently implemented a demand driven acquisitions program for electronic resources, this article describes changes to their workflow and concerns surrounding the future of collections development at their institution. Rutgers, moving from a librarian managed collection to a largely automated collection, had a strong barrier to entry and required large-scale reorganization. One of the major moves for Rutgers was a change from individual to batch catalog processing, their local bibliographic standards were not always upheld and they resolved to individually edit problematic records post-upload to maintain the catalog.


Digital vs. Analogue: Updates for Video Privacy?

Submitted by Laura Costello on Wed, 12/21/2011 - 2:59pm.
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Gather around friends and I shall tell you an old librarian tale: Long ago when movies meant VHS, a judge’s video rental records leaked to the press during his Supreme Court nomination. Chaos ruled the land until the formation of the Video Privacy Protection act which binds all rental agencies, be they private or public, to protect the privacy of their users. Libraries rejoiced at the reinforcement of their long-held professional duty, all the Blockbusters in the kingdom fell in line and they all lived happily ever after...


Then Facebook happened.

There’s been a sea change over the meaning of the Video Privacy Protection act in the context of social network sharing and streaming video. Two years ago, both Facebook and Netflix ran afoul of the law in regards to targeted advertising and recommendation algorithm tweaking respectively. The Video Privacy Protection act currently requires users to provide written consent for each title and instance of sharing. The proposed update to the law, which has just passed in the House, would allow users to consent once to sharing and allow web consent.


EdLab Review: Projeqt

Submitted by Laura Costello on Fri, 12/16/2011 - 6:57pm.
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Projeqt is a non-linear presentation and storytelling website. Like Prezi, it aims to address the post-powerpoint world with greater freedom, style, and portability. Projeqt draws more heavily from the slide model, but allows users to create tangents and alternate paths in their presentations.

Projeqt allows users to create professional-looking, branded, shareable, and embeddful presentations without much fuss. It’s easy to get signed up and immersed in the project and the networking opportunities are robust. I can see this being useful for portfolios and conference presentations because it’s extremely easy to connect to social networks and external sites.

Though it’s quite a bit prettier, Projeqt is a bit like a locked down Powerpoint 2.0. The best thing about Powerpoint is that it allows an unprecedented level of freedom among Office products. Projeqt is in a bigger pond, but it doesn’t evoke the same feelings of control. In fact, there are very few layout options. While it’s true that the finished product looks a lot better than my liberated Powerpoint efforts, it’s a bit stuffy for my tastes.

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