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Trends in Ed, 6.4.10: From One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) to Tablets (OTPC?)
Submitted by Jessica Mezei on Fri, 2010-06-04 11:11

Nearly two million children worldwide already use the renowned XO laptop computer, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). Now OLPC has teamed up with developer Marvell to design the next generation of durable, low-cost computers for students in global regions underserved by technology: The sub-$100 XO tablet.

The new tablet model is designed to be even more conducive to "constructionist" education, wherein students engage in a great deal of hands-on learning, undertaking projects that result in a "product," such as a book or video game, for public consumption. Such project-oriented learning generally requires collaboration among students, as well as educators, and regular sharing of ideas and content. To this end, Marvell is contributing its Moby tablet platform, which supports high-definition (HD) video, 3D graphics, Adobe Flash Player 10, and two-way teleconferencing.

These new tablets will be available next year for around $75. The original XO-3 design is still planned for 2012. The Moby is currently being piloted in at-risk schools in Washington DC, and Marvell is investing in a Mobylize campaign to improve tech adoption within US classrooms.

Weili Dai, Marvell's co-founder, comments on the partnership:

“The Moby tablet platform – and our partnership with OLPC – represents our joint passion and commitment to give students the power to learn, create, connect and collaborate in entirely new ways. I am immensely proud of the capability of our Moby tablet and I am extremely honored to partner with the inventor of the netbook market for education, Dr. Nicholas Negroponte. I applaud his leadership, vision, passion and together we will make the world a better place.”

Nicolas Negroponte describes the prototype of the new tablets.

Trends in Ed, 5.28.10: Learning Apps for Kids
Submitted by Jessica Mezei on Fri, 2010-05-28 11:31


Pocket solutions for learning: What PBS kids research has found about cell phone applications and behaviors using mobile devices.

This article covers the release that PBS KIDS recently announced initial results of a study on the educational benefits of mobile gaming apps in conjunction with the 7th Annual Games for Change Festival (G4C) in New York. It was found that vocabulary improved as much as 31 percent in children ages three to seven who played with the popular MARTHA SPEAKS app. Such findings are particularly relevant as smart phones and mobile devices have become increasingly popular among families. According to a recent Nielsen study, smart phone usage is 12% higher in households with children than other households. Another relevant statistic is that 60% of the top 25 paid educational apps target preschoolers.

Comments from the PBS team regarding these results include:

"This research is important in helping to better understand and guide the development of new apps that improve the value of children's screen time with significant educational outcomes."--Lesli Rotenberg, SVP, Children's Media, PBS.
"These initial study results, and the incredible interest in our apps from parents and kids, indicate that mobile learning is a new and crucial educational frontier, and we will continue to lead the charge in delivering innovative educational tools that parents have come to expect from PBS."Jason Seiken, SVP Interactive, Product Development, and Innovation, PBS.

I was able to attend a presentation at G4C that went with the slide show below which represents findings of both parental behaviors handing off mobile devices to their kids, which is being called the 'pass back' effect as well as how their mobile apps measure up as learning tools. (From slide 25 forward the focus is about the specific mobile app research) The SuperWHY and Martha Speaks app's were involved in the most recent study.

Live Blog: Games4Change Festival
Submitted by Jessica Mezei on Thu, 2010-05-27 09:31

Today I am attending the G4C festival at NYU. It is the last day of the festival and they have partnered with the Games for Learning Institute to focus the day on games and their impacts for learning and education......

Research Digest: Video Annotation beyond Content Delivery
Submitted by Jessica Mezei on Mon, 2010-05-24 23:50

Hosak,B (2010) VideoANT: Extending Online Video Annotation beyond Content Delivery.TechTrends, 54(3).

Article Review
Educators and researchers agree that video can be used as an effective means to capture and review students' presentations or performances (Broady & Le Duc, 1995; Garrison,1984). This paper is a review of the design and development of a tool called Video-ANT, a tool designed to create text-based annotations integrated within the time line of a video hosted online. The article outlines the need for extended interaction in online video use, identifies the challenges faced by existing video annotation tools and finally discusses the potential directions for which VideoANT could be adapted.

The tool is positioned as a constructive feedback application via a video-based peer review process, designed for the potential to benefit students' public speaking in terms of improved speaking skills, increased speaking confidence in the classroom, and increased comfort using technology for academic purposes. With this in mind, considerations of current challenges with video use in education were presented. Some challenges included the burdens of the video capturing process, such as the large amount of planning and preparation involved in the capturing, processing, storing, and delivering of that content to the students. Despite technological advances, reviewing the performances and providing feedback is still very time intensive, and can often mean a student will not receive that feedback until they have already delivered their next presentation. Although receiving feedback late still has value, having it in time to prepare prior to delivering their next presentation could offer substantial performance gains for the students. Thus, in response to this need, VideoANT, was designed and developed to allow students the ability to add timemarked text annotations to peers' video recordings.

The three major needs for this project that were the basis of their review of other online annotation tools, included: (1) The tool must be developed to accommodate large amounts of text in an annotation with out obscuring the learner's review of video content. (2) The tool should allow for the playback of video content in synchronization with the users annotated text. (3) The tool must be designed with simple efficient functionality for learners with varying degrees of technology experience. Furthermore, based on these goals the Designing VideoANT section of the article featured discussion of the elements of the interface, login process (their open model), and storage and management of user generated content.

Usage of VideoANT thus far has been influenced by the shared open model that allows for access to the application by anyone with an Internet connection and a link to online video content. Due to this open level of dissemination, VideoANT was used in over 57 countries during the 2008-2009 academic year. During that time VideoANT logged over 5,000 new projects and over 17,000 individual annotations. VideoANT's primary use has been as a peer reviewing tool for student presentations in varying communication and linguistics courses. In addition, some users have found other applications for VideoANT. It is being used as a tool to code research video content, mark portions of raw footage in preparation for video editing projects, and transcribe closed-caption text for videos when used in conjunction with Media Mill, a tool used for storing, transcoding, and delivering video files at the University of Minnesota. The goal of this project was to develop a functional tool using the three concepts above as a foundation for further exploration. The next objective is to define research questions based on these three approaches and to design a study to explore their impact.

Edlab Connection

The work of the Development and Research team on the Critter project is in a similar vein with this work, having designed and developed a video annotation tool, and despite differences in audience focus the VideoANT research may provide valuable insights to our Critter team. Especially, in terms of future efficacy studies as far as research design methodologies and data results. Further, upon Critters' release it will be interesting to understand what contexts it is adopted the most in. VideoANT seems to have a clear target audience but how will Critters versatility allow it to expand into multiple context? Hopefully, now that it is on our radar we can monitor and learn from their trials. VideoANT can be accessed here.

Trends in Ed. 5.21.10: WiFi School Buses
Submitted by Jessica Mezei on Fri, 2010-05-21 11:17

It's not quite the magic school bus but perhaps a step closer.

This NPR article tells the story of a local Arizona bus driver, J.J, who drives a bus route that can last up to two and a half hours for some students. This lengthy commute however may not feel so long as this school district has chosen to make the bus wireless enabled. Since November, the high school students have enjoyed this distraction, or study aid, depending on the moment.

"Bus driver J.J. Johnson says high school students in southern Arizona are benefiting from wireless Internet on the bus. With less idle time on the hour long commute, he says, they're not fighting as much or making nearly as many spit wads as they used to."

It seems the idea is off to a good start with 25 districts already signed up to also offer school bus connectivity. "People went from connecting their homes to connecting their handsets. And now they're moving into the next evolution of connecting things. And vehicles are the next logical step" says Sterling Pratz, the CEO of Autonet, the company that makes the routers for the buses. Additionally, Autonet has now adapted the service for schools by adding filters that prevent kids from accessing adult content.

Further, this feature has caused discussion around those able to have the technology with them to use on the bus. Vanderbilt researchers, such as Julie Hudson feel that it is a surprise the Internet-bus concept didn't catch on sooner, because wiring buses is not expensive or technically challenging, however the bigger issue is that not every family can afford a laptop for each child. So with this concern and Vanderbilt's support, Hudson is leading a three-year-old program in rural Arkansas called Aspirnaut. It has connected three school buses to the Internet for about $1,000 each but the program also gives laptops to its students. Hudson says she's optimistic that eventually laptops will become widespread in the public school system, which is the way it works for the students at Empire High School in Arizona. Empire doesn't use textbooks, and it offers every student a laptop for their studies thus eliminating the issue.

Click here to listen to the story via NPR.

Trends in Ed. 5,14,10: Library Mobile Trends
Submitted by Jessica Mezei on Fri, 2010-05-14 17:21

This slideshow by Meredith Farkas' does a great job of exposing how mobile technologies exist in relation to libraries and how they may contribute to future library service development. It covers general information of mobile technologies-such as the usage facts, types of tools that have developed on the platform and affordances that the tools provide. Some interesting quick facts pulled from the show include:

- 32% of Americans have used a cell phone or Smartphone to access the internet this year (Pew,2009)
- the mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the internet for most people by 2020 (Pew,2008)
- 94% of students send & receive test messages (Ball State University, 2009)
-The Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR)report entitled Spreading the Word: Messaging and Communications in Higher Education breaks down the needs, demands and current situations with mobile technologies and institutions of higher ed. One figure indicates that the majority of institutions have have made no effort to adapt existing web based resources to handhelds or to directly develop for mobile handhelds (see bar graph slide 10)

By slide 41 it transitions toward library services for mobile users. These slides provide context to how to apply mobile technologies, outlining first what questions to ask to asses relevant aspects to your library and then taking you through decision points in meeting your needs as a well as how to what to include on a mobile website. It gives examples of cases of success and also provides examples of Library apps that exist for smartphones that provide further accessibility to library functions and info. There is a nice summary of the affordances that mobile devices offer and how they can be applied in a library setting. For example, content interfaces, location-aware tools, QR codes, augmented reality,RSS and SMS,Library tours etc.

This expansive presentation could be an interesting starting point to understand what others have done in this area and to consider and create our own plan of action toward adopting such technologies for our own future development. Recently also thinking about re-imagining some of the reports we do at the library potentially using some of the questions presented in this presentation around how to asses the needs of our population could be a first step in understanding where we should be developing.

Research Digest: Perceptions of Interest Utilizing a Blended Learning Approach
Submitted by Jessica Mezei on Wed, 2010-05-12 13:51

Shroff, R. & Vogel, D. (2010). An Investigation on Individual Students' Perceptions of Interest Utilizing a Blended Learning Approach. International Journal on E-Learning, 9(2), 279-294. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Article Review

Little is known about the impact of a blended learning approaches on individual student interest and whether combinations of online and face-to-face learning activities significantly enhance student interest (Shroff & Vogel, 2010). This paper assesses the effect of blended learning on perceived individual student interest, utilizing a blend of online and face-to-face discussions. The researchers made the hypothesis based on the literature surrounding situated interest (Hidi & Anderson,1992;Mitchell,1993) and motivation (Ryan &Delci,200) that perceptions of individual students' interest will be higher in online discussions compared to face-to-face discussions.

The study was quasi-experimental exploratory study with two treatment groups, online discussions versus face-to-face discussions. There were 77 participants in an Information Systems course for this study. Four consecutive tutorials were conducted that focussed on the technology support online discussion activities using the Blackboard Virtual Classroom. Conversely, four weeks of the non-technology supported face-to-face discussions were facilitated after the weeks of online discussions with the same group. Surveys were administered at the end of each of the focussed activities to determine perceived interest of the participants. Based on these survey scores, T-test analysis was performed to determine if there were significant differences between the groups. Results showed that there was not a significant difference found between the groups based on their perception of interest in online versus face-to-face discussions. However, observations from the study suggest that subjects in the online discussions were eager to engage in textual diaglogue and participated more in the discussions compared to the face-to-face discussions. I would have liked to see more rigorous use of such 'observations' in this study. It would have been beneficial for them to expand beyond only the survey measure and focus upon the data that they were able to/potentially could have collected during the discussion times of the course to contribute more qualitative data around how individual participants differed. So potentially expanding their data set into a series of case studies that critically analyze on a deeper level how interest is tied with motivations for discussion across contexts.

Edlab Connection

As suggested in this paper's discussion further research surrounding situated interest and intrinsic motivation theory in technology-supported learning environments is needed and Edlab could potentially contribute. As designers of learning experiences for the Teaching and Learning Network exploring based on interest and motivational dimensions could be a research agenda. This paper supports the inquiry into learning how to use technology effectively and what methodologies can support the design of learning experiences based on student interest and intrinsic motivation. It even goes as far as to suggest a potential model in which to do this deeper assessment by using Malone & Lepper's (1987) intrinsic motivation types such as fantasy, playfulness and control. They posit that people are treating technology systems not as tools to achieve external goals but as toys to use for their own sake. This assumption would increase the dimensions of fantasy and control based on this model. So potentially exploring how interest and motivation exist within the variety of kinds of courses being created for the T&L network could be a valuable research endeavor for course authors to consider. Interest could also be a potential indicator of the kind of content that is in demand for such a network.