Trends in Ed, 4.22.10: A new social learning platform offers interactions, gaming, and dinosaurs

Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Thu, 04/22/2010 - 5:58pm.
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Trend: Social learning platforms


Ok, so maybe no dinosaurs (then can someone explain the logo?), but as a platform to which "social is not an option," Curatr certainly emphasizes interactivity and gaming. How, you might ask? Well, it's just been released in beta so details are pretty hazy. They have a short intro video (complete with cute music) that kiiind of explains what it is.

The developers based Curatr on two concepts:

  • E-learning works best as a two-way process.
  • We can learn from anything.
  • The facets of learning supported by the app include social learning, personalized learning, mobile learning, learning by exploration, games based learning and many more. The Curatr iPhone (and iPad) app assists in "anywhere, anytime learning." It's aesthetically pleasing; you can tell they designed Curatr with touchscreen capabilities in mind (the UI is very clean and simple).

    Here's an even better (though less flashy) description of Curatr:

    Ben's take on the Curatr from Ben Betts on Vimeo.


    Trends in Ed, 4.15.10: Speaking of interactive surfaces…

    Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Thu, 04/15/2010 - 4:13pm.
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    Trend: Touchscreen Tech

    On the heels of yesterday’s [inspiring] seminar, I came across this post about touch technology. A recent report “predicts that over 50% of the computers purchased for children will have touchscreens by 2015.” The report goes on to predict that over half of U.S. schools will specify touch and/or pen input within the next 5 years.

    Is touch the future of computing? Maybe...but does anyone else find it slightly unsettling that as technology becomes more integrated into our lives, the physical space between our bodies and the computer is shrinking? The future will be so invasive!

    In all seriousness, I think the learning implications are great for tactile-responsive children. I think it’s only a matter of time before the EdLab comes out with educational iPad apps. First step for us, though: Buy an iPad!!


    Trends in Ed, 4.1.10

    Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Thu, 04/01/2010 - 11:39pm.
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    The state of social learning: Present and future

    This is a summary of a report by Jane Hart, social learning designer. It is written for an L&D audience but her points can easily be related to student learning.

    Social learning is being used for different types of learning. Hart identifies 5 categories of social learning:

  • Formal structured learning – 9 letters: LMS, CMS, VLE.
  • Personal directed learning- Using Facebook or LinkedIn to connect to others and ask/answer questions; microblogging to share info; keeping up to date with an RSS feed
  • Group directed learning- Using Google groups, Facebook, Ning to share ideas, experiences, and resources; collaborative tools like google docs; social bookmarking (Diigo)
  • Intra-Organizational Learning- internal blogging and microblogging, self-hosted wiki tools, social intranet to allow file sharing
  • Accidental & Serendipitous learning (I love that name… “serendipitous learning”)- finding out about new things via Twitter, Faceook, RSS, YouTube, Flickr; finding links to resources using social bookmarking

    New York private school goes corporate

    Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Thu, 04/01/2010 - 12:01pm.
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    Recess: Necessary and beneficial or frivolous and overrated? If you ask the Wackadilly private school of West Des Moines, New York, it’s the latter. They have foregone the physical activities of recess in an effort to train students for the “real world” of Corporate America. For example, the familiar outdoor setting has been replaced by a "corporate simulation room", with access to laptops, mobile devices, and copious amounts of caffeine. Curriculum includes tasks such as surfing the internet, downloading malware, responding to chain emails, shopping online, chatting, and other productive-looking tasks.

    I can see it now… “Office Space 2: Corporate Kindergarten.”

    Credits: Adrienne Garber, co-writer



    Everything looks better when it's animated

    Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Thu, 03/25/2010 - 9:40am.
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    Advertisements can be educational, right? That's the question that design/advertising company This is real art has set out to answer. It has recently completed 7 short mesmerizing animated video installments for satellite company, Astra. Below is the second video of the series, "Physics." Satellites have never looked so good!

    Source: Creative Review


    MIT student invents pump for Haiti: It sucks!

    Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Wed, 03/24/2010 - 4:25pm.
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    PhD candidate Danielle Zurovcik's invention is astounding in its mere simplicity. It acts in a similar way to the negative-pressure pumps found in hospitals by plunging out bacteria and waste from wounds while creating healthy blood flow, drastically reducing the recovery time for victims. But you won't find the expensive hospital price tag on this medical marvel... it only costs $3! Genius.


    Source: Popular Science


    Will the band play on?

    Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Fri, 03/19/2010 - 12:12pm.
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    The most creative and brilliant teachers I ever had were music teachers.

    My best friend (now one of those esteemed music teachers) was laid off when her school decided that the music and art program could no longer be supported by the school's budget. I say that no school can afford not to have a music and art program. Here's a great example of why music is so important in students' lives:


    Trends in Ed, 2.25.10

    Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Thu, 02/25/2010 - 11:03pm.
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    Robot teachers: Education has never looked so…creepy

    Classrooms in South Korea will soon experience a boom in “R-Learning” programs with the introduction of robotic teaching assistants in 400 pre-school classrooms by 2012; 8,000 pre-schools and kindergartens are expected to have them by 2013. The robot TAs won’t have the responsibility of teaching the class by itself, but will assist by reciting stories and allowing parents to send messages to their kids. If the trial run has favorable results, the robot TAs could begin to make appearances in elementary classrooms.

    Nevermind its Mrs. Potatohead appearance-- I can't help but wonder if they'll end up offering more of a distraction to students than assistance to busy teachers.


    Trends in Ed, 2.18.10

    Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 6:57pm.
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    Math sees a future with web 2.0

    Is it a match made in Heaven? According to Maria Droujkova, developer of Natural Math and Math 2.0, it is! Droujikova saw the need for math to catch up to other subjects with regards to web 2.0 communities. Her response was to create math programs in which learning takes place within communities and networks-- a mashup between traditional math practices and social networking. This has given birth to the concept of social math:

    Droujikova's framework covers five dimensions: mathematical authoring, community mathematics, humanistic mathematics, executable mathematics, and the psychology of mathematics learning and education.

    Of those dimensions I was most interested in humanistic mathematics because it supposedly,"promotes activities that an audience can enjoy" in part by "infusing mathematics into robust artistic and musical communities." Full disclosure: I loathe all things explicitly mathematical.... but I'd be interested to see what hiding it behind a song could do! I....don't think math raps really does it for me, though.

    But I admire what Droujikova is doing. You don't have to love math, but you do have to learn it. Why should this process be painful? Why not create innovate mashups; why not let math tell a story; why not try to understand math anxiety as a means to dispel it?

    You can find more about the Math 2.0 initiative here.

    And here's the article [the Journal] where you can read about Droujikova and her framework.


    Trends in Ed, 2.4.10

    Submitted by Joann Agnitti on Thu, 02/04/2010 - 4:49pm.
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    Kids and Media

    The Kaiser Foundation has released its latest report on kids’ (ages 8-18) media use and, not surprisingly, it’s up from 5 years ago.

    Key findings:

  • Kids spend over 7.5 hours a day with some type of device (computer, tv, iPod). Wait, let me add to that: With the variety of devices available to kids, they often multitask, dividing their attention to more than one contraption at a time. This means they cram over 10 hours of media use into those 7.5 hours.
  • Photobucket

  • …And how about that whole school thing?
  • Photobucket

    These kids should have been asked about their sleeping habits because… does that happen or what?

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