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TCETC 2012 Tomorrow!
Submitted by Janet Jang on Fri, 2012-05-18 16:50

Anybody else attending or even presenting at the "TCETC 2012: Technology, Media, and Designs for Learning" conference this weekend? I'm curious to see what kind of efforts are being made in this area of research. It's still a relatively young field and so interdisciplinary, so I'll be sure to hear some interesting projects that are going on right now. I probably won't be able to match Kate in her awesome live-blogs, but I'll try my best to write up an extensive reflection after each day of the conference!

Happy Friday, EdLab!

Startup Spotlight: Balloonduck
Submitted by Janet Jang on Thu, 2012-05-17 16:50

Details & Back-story:
Ballonduck is the new kid on the block in the social network neighborhood, a Q&A website that seems to me like the forbidden lovechild of Pinterest, Twitter, and Quora. The main content on Balloonduck revolves around users' questions called "requests" and the conversations regarding these requests are intended to be opinion-based rather than factual.

The founders are former UNC students, Vivian Xue and Brandon Thornton, who have been working on the project for about eight months, which just went live today. Xue, who worked on the site's design, withdrew from UNC to work on it full-time.

Unique Points of Difference:
Unlike Pinterest, Quora, Twitter, and Facebook, almost all scrolling in Balloonduck is horizontal, distinguishing the site from other social networks that are mostly vertical. It's a bit counterintuitive at first and it slows down the browsing process, but I wonder if that's part of its charm. Balloonduck seems to be rebelling against the 'quick-and-dirty' culture of social networks.

Happy National Teacher Day!
Submitted by Janet Jang on Tue, 2012-05-08 14:22

The National Education Association is doing a Twitter Campaign during this week:

Help Us Spread the Word!
Tweet Teacher Week messages.
Be sure to use our #thankateacher hashtag.

Sample tweets:

If you can write your name, #thankateacher
If you understand corny math jokes, #thankateacher
If you can read, #thankateacher

EdLab Review: Present.me
Submitted by Janet Jang on Tue, 2012-05-08 12:21

Here's an example I made...

Present.me is a handy service for recording video and/or audio to accompany your slides. Present.me allows you to sync your recorded audio and video to your slides then publish everything as one complete package.

I think this tool could help make boring and text-heavy documents like spreadsheets more digestible for the recipient. I like how it supports a lot of different files, including Google docs, which is basically where all of my documents live nowadays. Also, since all the content is in the cloud, they give you access to analytics such as who is watching your content, what they're watching, where they are watching from and for how long. You can also connect your account with your Google+ and Facebook accounts.

The Virtual Barbershop
Submitted by Janet Jang on Wed, 2012-05-02 15:16

When I first heard this in college a few years ago, I was AMAZED.
Take 5 minutes, put your headphones on and listen to this Vialogue.

Could something as simple as microphone technology be used to make virtual classrooms, distance learning environments, and online courses more like real-life?

EdLab Review: Mathalicious
Submitted by Janet Jang on Tue, 2012-05-01 17:05

Infamous for their blog post about the dangers and inevitable failure of Khan Academy, Mathalicious provides standards-based math lessons through real-world topics that are relevant to a students' lives. Their contextual approach means to help students make sense of the math, and develop both conceptual understanding and procedural fluency.

From what I've seen of the sample Mathalicious lessons, they seem to ask real questions in open-ended ways that require students to make sense of problems and not just churn out a numerical answer. Another element that I appreciate as a teacher is that the lessons are easily adaptable into a current curriculum and unit plan that has already been implemented in the classroom.

In terms of payment, they recently just started an experiment where they ask teachers to "pay what they can" for the membership plan. They suggest $20/month, but if that's too much, you can pay as little as $5/month. For a for-profit company, I think that's a really nice gesture to teachers paying out of pocket for resources.

Trends in Ed: Early Intervention for Women in STEM
Submitted by Janet Jang on Thu, 2012-04-26 12:23

This infographic shows the future trends in scientific fields, claiming that of all the STEM degrees awarded in 2009, nearly half of them were awarded to women. It is true that in the past decade, the STEM gap in America's workforce has been steadily closing. But interestingly, there's still a significant unbalanced gender divide for engineering, physics, and computer science fields.

(A small clip of the infographic. LOOK at all that blue!)

"Under-representation" seems to be a huge buzz word when it comes to girls and women achievement in the STEM field. What implications does this hold for the future of education? Should there be more intervention efforts to make sure female students aren't afraid of pursuing STEM careers?