The Media Show at Media That Matters

Submitted by Jeff Frank on Thu, 06/03/2010 - 5:49am.

The Media Show captivated a packed audience last night at the Media that Matters premiere. As the screening began, I was overwhelmed that the work of the Lab would be screened for live audiences across the world, and that the online version of the festival would reach an extremely large audience. Congratulations Gus for this success (if I was more talented I would photoshop myself into a picture with you).

Google VS Microsoft ->Education

Submitted by Xiaobin Zheng on Thu, 06/03/2010 - 1:31am.

Here are two links provided by Google and Microsoft about their products for education.

link for Google
link for MS

Let's see what they are doing for Education.

Improving OCR Accuracy

Submitted by Pranav Garg on Wed, 06/02/2010 - 3:51pm.

I was going through some old links which I had saved while developing Fluensee to later follow up on which improved OCR accuracy and thought it would be useful for all of us to have a look at it.

I feel this link is also useful for publishing platform as we go into the digital world, we would be converting a lot of text on paper to digital format by scanning and then running OCR software on it. The strategies and helpful ways as enumerated in the link would help in improving OCR accuracy, which in turn would reduce the manual labor required to correct scanned words.

If other people have found some useful links too please post it here.

Trends in Ed 06.02.10:University Control of Student Creativity

Submitted by Jeannie Crowley on Wed, 06/02/2010 - 3:46pm.

The British student who created a dating site for college libraries, FitFinder, has been fined and sanctioned by his university. The tool allowed users to send messages to attractive (fit) students they spotted in the library. Within a month, the website had presence at over 30 libraries. Some of the content was deemed vulgar by the university and the student's graduation was put on hold and he was fined $500. The university felt the site brought the institution "into disrepute". As students create more tools for networking at universities, I'm wondering if more universities will use academic and financial sanctions to shut down student-created social sites that may have unflattering content posted about the university. A list of some of the most popular student-created sites is included below. Imagine the impact on innovation if this one university's actions become a trend.

Research Digest: Barriers to teachers using digital texts

Submitted by Ting Yuan on Wed, 06/02/2010 - 9:26am.

Honan, E. (2008). Barriers to teachers using digital texts in literacy classrooms. Literacy, 42(1), 36-43.

Article Review

Honan (2008) reports findings about teachers’ perceived barriers to having digital texts (e.g., game, software) in the classrom. She draws on New Literacy Studies in her exploratory study of barriers to teachers using digital texts in their literacy classrooms, in the contexts of ongoing tensions between school prescripted literacy curricula and government policies and initiatives in the U.K. by encouraging teachers to connect teaching to students' digital worlds. The study is aimed at investigating the teaching practices of digital literacy in a school in Australia and the resources adopted by teachers in classroom teaching of digital texts there, as well as engaging teachers in self-reflexive work in their classes using digital texts. Honan used The Four Resources Literacy Framework (Freebody and Luke, 2003) to look at the resources encouraged by teachers in their classroom teaching, including: 1) breaking the code of texts; 2) using texts functionally; 3) participating in the meanings of texts; and 4) critically analyzing and transforming texts. The uniqueness of the methodology of this study, instead of looking at exemplary teaching practices, is that Honan selected an "average" primary school with adequate equipment and further selected four teachers from the staff to participate in the study (during her teacher-development workshop at the school). The participants were released from their classrooms for 5 full days over a three month period to attend meetings discussing their on-going and possible literacy teaching practices based on the Four Resources Framework. The second unique part of the data collection is that the participants were fully involved in the data collection process in that the discussions were audio-recorded based on attendants' instant decisions on whether or not the discussions should be recorded, with a recorder reachable in the center of their meeting table. During the discussions, teachers talked about the absence of digital texts in their classrooms and discourse analysis was implicitly discussed in the study. Honan found institutional and societal "discourses of deficit" shown in teachers' discourses which devalued students' funds of knowledge from their digital worlds. In addition, findings also conclude that operational barriers of newly-learned digital tools shift the focus of learning literacy skills to technical skills; the production of digital texts is deemphasized because of the requirement of producing a final task (e.g., PowerPoint presentation) instead of the text itself.

The theory informed Honan’s (2008) discourse analysis is not explicitly mentioned and the author presented her analysis in two ways: 1) from micro to macro level, connecting teachers’ discourses in digital-text integration to institutional and societal discourses; and 2) showing thematic categories of barriers teachers talked about in their classroom use of digital texts. Honan’s findings are meaningful in explaining why digital tools cannot enter many classrooms and offer suggestions for improving the design of teacher development programs today. One idea Honan (2008) needs to reconsider is that "information literacy" and "technical skills" are not clearly separated, while information literacy could have a broader definition compared with “technical skills”: the former can include students’ online navigation skills such as critical thinking in doing online research and awareness of online safety (Jenkins et al., 2006); the latter is limited to the functional use of technologies at school.

EdLab Connection

Trends in Ed, 6.01.10: The Use of Mobile Devices in Higher Education

Submitted by Ting Yuan on Tue, 06/01/2010 - 3:52pm.

As members of EdLab's Development and Research Group are interested in investigating how higher education students use mobile devices in and out of school, the 2009 Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology by Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR) might answer our question. The 2009 ECAR study builds on and extends previous studies by taking mixed methods to collect data. The study includes a web-based quantitative survey of college and university freshmen and seniors at 103 four-year institutions and students at 12 two-year institutions, qualitative data from focus groups as well as longitudinal data from 2006 to 2009. Some findings of the study might enlighten us to think about how students currently own and use their mobile devices, how we might survey TC students, and how we might design the TC library mobile site by taking research findings into account.

Findings include that ECAR identified four emerging types of student adopters of mobile Internet use:

Resources to Stop Cheating on Online Exams

Submitted by Hui Soo Chae on Tue, 06/01/2010 - 3:44pm.

Stephen, Joann, and I are doing some preliminary research on resources to stop/limit cheating on online exams (we were recently asked by the College to compile some research since it is likely to be offering more online degree programs and the state has certain requirements). This article from the Kentucky Kernel raises some interested questions as we consider adopting certain technologies.

The services that I am familiar with are Kryterion and ProctorU. Have others personally come across or used similar systems?

Google Releases Open-Source Course Platform

Submitted by Jeannie Crowley on Tue, 06/01/2010 - 11:37am.

According to the Google announcement, CourseCloud will allow users to:

  • Create and track learning activities.
  • Schedule courses.
  • View use profiles.
  • Integrate the software with other Google services.

  • LectureTool Helps Address Weakness of "Clickers"

    Submitted by Jeannie Crowley on Tue, 06/01/2010 - 11:15am.

    Hand-held response systems are gaining in popularity but they have some limitations. Since there is no way to type free responses, all questions must be formatted as true/false or multiple choice. A University of Michigan professor created a software to address these limits, LectureTools, to allow students to use their laptops to respond in detail to questions during the lecture. Over 400 professors have downloaded the program and, as of now, it is free for use. Read more after the jump.

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