Archive for December, 2014

Free STEM concept videos

Monday, December 8th, 2014

STEM videos

“The STEM Concept Videos, produced by the Teaching and Learning Laboratory, are designed to help students learn pivotal concepts in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics (STEM).  Each video is part of a series that represents a cross-cutting theme in the courses that typically appear in first- and second-year engineering curricula (i.e., physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology”

You can see them on the MIT Open Courseware site.  There are over 40 videos.

Weekend Funny – if toddlers texted

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

How to manage twitter trolls

Friday, December 5th, 2014

I have mentioned John Scalzi before in relation to the management of trolls.

He has posted an overview of his use of Twitter.  He makes 12 points.  Numbers 6, 10 and 12 give you a pretty good idea of his approach.

6. Most people who respond to me on Twitter are lovely people. But some people aren’t. If I decide you aren’t, then here’s what I will likely do: I’ll mute you, which means that whatever you’ve tweeted at me will disappear from my tweet timeline and no subsequent tweet from you will show up in it, ever. To me, it will be as if you don’t exist on Twitter at all! Why would I do this? Because life’s too short to deal with irritating people on Twitter.

10. Things that may get you muted include, but are not limited, to:

  • Being racist, sexist, homophobic or other varieties of bigot;
  • Being insulting and boring about it;
  • Being insulting and clever, but not knowing when to quit;
  • Being the sort of person who is under the impression that a medium confined to 140 characters per post is the perfect medium for a substantive debate on a complex issue;
  • Having your understanding of social/political issues clearly confined to cue cards provided to you by others;
  • Being creepy;
  • Being an author or other creator whose purpose for being on Twitter is to spam people about your work;
  • Being someone who believes that the only reason I exist on Twitter is to retweet something you think I should;
  • Appointing yourself the Arbiter of Things I Should and Should Not Say On Twitter;
  • Trying to pick a fight with me;
  • Extreme stupidity;
  • Just generally being an asshole.

12. Basically, I am on Twitter for my own amusement, not to engage in argument, substantive or otherwise, particularly with people I don’t know, and especially with people who I determine to be jerks. If you understand that when you communicate with me, we’ll get along fine. If you don’t, then you’ll be muted. Either way the problem will be solved.

Microsoft clip art being replaced by Bing

Friday, December 5th, 2014

“Microsoft has just announced that it’s killing off the last trace of clip art in its Office products, instead pointing users in need of imagery toward Bing Image Search. Why? Because most people are just getting their images online anyway.”

“The Bing image search built into Office is essentially the same one that’s built into its standard search engine, just with Creative Commons filters switched on by default to allow for commercial use.”

It doesn’t look like you have an option to add other search engines like Google .  If you want to find Creative Commons images using Google you have to change the usage rights in the Advance settings.

google search image

There’s some instructions here,

Top EdTech Trends of 2014 from someone who knows what they are talking about

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Audrey Watters (one of the sharpest observers and commentators in field)  has started her annual Top EdTech Trends of 2014.

She is starting with “Buzzwords”

audrey wattters

The main focus is on “Digital Disruption”, “Blended Learning” (a 1990’s term I personally think is redundant and unhelpful) and “Personalized Learning”.

She includes this statement about Personalized Learning which clarifies the term

On one hand, “personalized learning” sounds pretty good: a nod towards more student-centered learning perhaps, a move that honors the person learning not just the learning institution. But on the other hand, I do not think it means what you think it means. Often, what I see the term applied to gives me pause – “personalized learning” appears to be more focused on the scripting than on the student. Personalized learning isn’t personal learning. And often, it’s really “personalized instruction” – not focused on the person or the learning but on individualized delivery of standardized content and assessment. For some ed-tech industry folks, it’s indistinguishable from “targeted advertising” even. So that’s something to look forward to.”

Other notable education and ed-tech buzzwords

“: Efficiency. Efficacy. School choice. “Bite-sized lessons.” Adaptivity. “Everyone should learn to code.” Mastery-based learning (which is different from competency-based learning, a trend that I’ll explore in an upcoming post).
Learning outcomes – in which you really really want to demonstrate “deeper learning.” Duh.
Learning object repositories(one of last year’s “zombie ideas,” kept alive thanks in part by a renewed interest in them by LMSes. Thanks, team) which may or may not be related to “knowledge clouds.”
Interactive educational gadgets” – heck, anything “interactive.” That’ll probably boost “engagement,” whatever that means. “Open” (which I’ll explore in conjunction with MOOCs – stili a buzzword – and unMOOCs in an upcoming post).
The “sharing economy” (which let’s go ahead and make very, very clear is
utterly awful and exploitative and has little if anything to do with sharing). But hey, innovation!
“Social learning” (which seems to often be code for “
homework help” and “note-sharing” for students or “PD” for teachers).
Digital natives (yes, people still use this phrase.)
Behaviorism (okay, probably very few people call it “behaviorism.” They use some other coded language to describe it. “Classroom management” or something.
Except this guy who boldly argued that B. F. Skinner will save us all.) Related, of course, to behaviorism is gamification – not to be confused with game-based learning or Gamergate or game-changers. Then there’s grit. “Growth mindset.” Learning styles. Yes. Learning styles. Still.”

Disruption and challenges in business education

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Here’s one for my BusEco Faculty colleagues

Business Education Faces a Challenging and Disruptive Future, finds Global Research

“…business education providers face four main challenges – costs, staffing issues, technology and market competition. They are being forced to reconsider the content of their degrees, with a growing shift towards a multidisciplinary approach to meet the demands of students and corporate business. Lifelong learning will remain important, but lifestyle learning will come to the fore because of technology developments.”

You can download the report here.

(I found this via Stephen Downes OLD blog)

Free Technology Tools for Teachers (and other goodies from CoL)

Monday, December 1st, 2014

tech tools

I have commented on the Commonwealth of Learning in the past.  They were driving real, free international education programs years before the MOOC hype).  They regularly release publications that are worth a look.  One of the latest is  “Technology Tools for Teachers”.

Like all most CoL stuff it is released under a Creative Commons Share alike licence

It goes int a fair bit of detail around the general ‘how and why’ of using the technologies.  The focus is on affordable (largely free) applications.

If you just want to skip to the list, it’s on page 37

It doesn’t cover mobile apps, but if you are interested in mobile in learning they have a report on that too.

And if you are interested in Gender Mainstreaming in Education they have a recent report on that too.

I love CoL