Library Use, Literacy Debate and Online Reading, Textbook Copying, FCC vs. Colleges?, Moderate Successfully, Financial Literacy, DL Calculator

Libraries Adapted to Digital Age
by Ledyard King and Robert Benincasa
July 28, 2008, Gannett News Service

“The Internet was supposed to send America’s public libraries the way of eight-track tapes and pay phones. But it turns out, they’re busier than ever. Libraries have transformed themselves from staid, sleepy institutions into hip community centers offering Internet service, classes for kids and seniors, and even coffee and video gaming nights. Some have classes on citizenship for recent immigrants or provide sessions on improving computer skills. Most provide wireless Internet service, and many consult teen advisory councils for guidance on how to attract young people.”

“At most libraries, traffic is up – in some cases, way up – fueled in part by the lure of free computer use, according to experts and a Gannett News Service analysis of state data. At the same time, budget pressures on cities and counties that provide most of the funding have forced dozens of libraries to cut back their hours or close. Books remain a staple, but libraries also offer DVDs, CDs and electronic audio books playable on portable MP3 devices. Many allow readers to reserve and renew items online.” . . .

Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?
by Motoko Rich
July 27, 2008, New York Times

“As teenagers’ scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading – diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books. But others say the Internet has created a new kind of reading, one that schools and society should not discount. The Web inspires a teenager like Nadia, who might otherwise spend most of her leisure time watching television, to read and write.” . . .

“Children are clearly spending more time on the Internet. In a study of 2,032 representative 8- to 18-year-olds, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly half used the Internet on a typical day in 2004, up from just under a quarter in 1999. The average time these children spent online on a typical day rose to one hour and 41 minutes in 2004, from 46 minutes in 1999.”

“The question of how to value different kinds of reading is complicated because people read for many reasons. There is the level required of daily life – to follow the instructions in a manual or to analyze a mortgage contract. Then there is a more sophisticated level that opens the doors to elite education and professions. And, of course, people read for entertainment, as well as for intellectual or emotional rewards. It is perhaps that final purpose that book champions emphasize the most.” . . .

First It Was Song Downloads. Now It’s Organic Chemistry
by Randall Stross
July 27, 2008, New York Times

“All forms of print publishing must contend with the digital transition, but college textbook publishing has a particularly nasty problem on its hands. College students may be the angriest group of captive customers to be found anywhere.”

“Consider the cost of a legitimate copy of one of the textbooks listed at the Pirate Bay, John E. McMurry’s “Organic Chemistry.” A new copy has a list price of $209.95; discounted, it’s about $150; used copies run $110 and up. To many students, those prices are outrageous, set by profit-engorged corporations (and assisted by callous professors, who choose which texts are required). Helping themselves to gratis pirated copies may seem natural, especially when hard drives are loaded with lots of other products picked up free. But many people outside of the students’ enclosed world would call that plain theft.”

“Compared with music publishers, textbook publishers have been relatively protected from piracy by the considerable trouble entailed in digitizing a printed textbook. Converting the roughly 1,300 pages of “Organic Chemistry” into a digital file requires much more time than ripping a CD.”

“Time flies, however, if you’re having a good time plotting righteous revenge, and students seem angrier than ever before about the price of textbooks. More students are choosing used books over new; sales of a new edition plunge as soon as used copies are available, in the semester following introduction; and publishers raise prices and shorten intervals between revisions to try to recoup the loss of revenue – and the demand for used books goes up all the more.” . . .

Big Cable: FCC Internet Policy Should Apply to Colleges Too
by Matthew Lasar
July 24, 2008, ars technica

“If there is to be regulation, therefore, it must apply equally to all providers.” So wrote the National Cable and Telecommunications Association to the Federal Communications Commission today. The point? Plenty of colleges and universities have “network management” strategies too, NCTA asserts. The trade group has sent a carefully crafted list of these stated policies to the FCC.”

“NCTA vice president Daniel L. Brenner says that his chart proves that “virtually all of the nation’s top universities… restrict users’ ability to engage in activities that cause excessive congestion.” From the document it looks like NCTA staff grabbed U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of top colleges, rummaged around the schools’ IT Web sites, then selectively cut-and-pasted their stated computing policies in the filing.” . . .

“What does NCTA want the FCC to conclude from this documentation? As the agency ponders the specifics of sanctions against Comcast for throttling P2P applications, it should remember that such enforcement of the agency’s Internet Policy Statement must apply equally to everyone. But the better approach, Brenner’s letter concludes, would be to permit “different network providers to continue to seek out the network management techniques that are best suited to preventing congestion on their particular networks and maximizing customer satisfaction” – even if the institution serves students rather than customers, one presumes.” . . .

How to Successfully Moderate a Conference Panel, A Comprehensive Guide
by Jeremiah Owyang
Jan. 30, 2008, Web Strategy by Jeremiah

“Sadly, the value of most panels are really poor, and this is mostly due to the lack of moderation. Just yesterday, I heard that one nervous moderator asked the panelists to introduce themselves, then went directly to Q&A, providing little structured value to the audience. On the complete opposite end, I’ve seen one self-important moderator answer questions from the crowd, when it was his job to field questions to the panelists.”

Your Talking Financial Literacy – Podcast Series
hosts and producers Mark Gura and Dr. Kathleen P. King

This series of 24 podcasts investigates and reports on the state of financial literacy education in our nation’s schools. In addition to covering traditional dimensions, the series will ask: What is “financial literacy?” Is the answer to this question something of a moving target? Why must ‘financial literacy’ literacy as mission critical education be re-defined and re-established for young people now? How has the world, and peoples’ relationship to economics and financial literacy evolved to make this so important? The series will explore banking, saving, budgeting, credit, loans (including student loans), taxes, investing, entrepreneurship, and what does Joe Citizen need to know about global economics?

SUNY Learning Network – Distance Learning Calculator

The Distance Learning Calculator will help you determine how much money you will save by taking a college-course from your home. To use the DL calculator, answer all the questions below that apply to your situation. Then click the “Calculate Savings” button.

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Library Use, Literacy Debate and Online Reading, Textbook Copying, FCC vs. Colleges?, Moderate Successfully, Financial Literacy, DL Calculator

Anti-Cheating Legislation, D2L/Blackboard, Virtual Meetings, Facebook, DL Stats, Sharing Exams, Lively, Gaming, Career Tech Ed


We sent ITC members an email about the “anti-cheating” legislation Andrea Foster writes about below on May 14. If you are even more concerned after reading this article, you should contact your congressman and/or senators as soon as possible and tell them: 1) You oppose this language in the bill, 2) Ask them to help delete the language, 3) If necessary, suggest they submit compromise language that makes this provision only apply to institutions where the distance education enrollment is more than 50 percent of the overall institutional enrollment. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202)224-3121 to be connected directly with your congressman or senator’s office. You can also find the direct contact information at http://visi.com/juan/congress/.

New Systems Keep a Close Eye on Online Students at Home
by Andrea L. Foster
July 25, 2008, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Tucked away in a 1,200-page bill now in Congress is a small paragraph that could lead distance-education institutions to require spy cameras in their students’ homes. It sounds Orwellian, but the paragraph – part of legislation renewing the Higher Education Act – is all but assured of becoming law by the fall. No one in Congress objects to it.”

“The paragraph is actually about clamping down on cheating. It says that an institution that offers an online program must prove that an enrolled student is the same person who does the work. Already, the language is spurring some colleges to try technologies that authenticate online test takers by reading their fingerprints, watching them via Web cameras, or recording their keystrokes. Some colleges claim there are advantages for students: The devices allow them to take tests anytime, anywhere. Many students must now travel to distant locations so a proctor can watch them take exams on paper.”

Are Your Online Students Really the Ones Registered for the Course? Student Authentication Requirements for Distance Education Providers
February 2008, A WCET Briefing Paper

“Are Your Online Students Really the Ones Registered for the Course? Much attention has been focused on the accountability, student learning outcomes, transfer of credit, and illegal file sharing provisions of the two related bills that have moved through the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives to amend and extend the provisions of the 1965 Higher Education Act (S. 1642 and H.R. 4137). One of the provisions that appears in both versions should be of particular interest to institutions and programs that offer distance education.”

“The proposed legislation requires ‘an institution that offers distance education to have processes through which the institution establishes that the student who registers in a distance education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the program and receives the academic credit.’ ”

“The current language casts a broad and loosely defined obligation on distance education programs, raising questions about the perceived “problem” being targeted. Is the provision aimed at stopping unaccredited diploma mills? Would the provision apply to just fully online distance education courses and programs? Does the provision aim to address student cheating and, if so, is it predicated on an assumption that cheating occurs more frequently or more easily in a web-based learning environment than in a large lecture setting?” . . .

Victory for D2L, Opportunity for Blackboard
by Michael Feldstein
July 22, 2008, Higher Education and Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh my!)

“Well, my flight was delayed, so I missed the opportunity to witness D2L’s court victory celebration at Graceland. And I’m sure that they celebrated tonight The court denied Blackboard’s motion for contempt, meaning that Desire2Learn version 8.3 was found to be “more than colorably different” than the infringing version of the software and the court will not find that D2L’s software infringes under the framework of this trial. This does not necessarily mean D2L 8.3 is now and forever free from Blackboard’s patent. What it does mean is that, in order to pursue D2L 8.3, Blackboard would have to start a whole new trial – basically the same long, drawn out and expensive process that they just went through.”

“This is another big opportunity for Blackboard to choose discretion as the better part of valor and quit the field. Blackboard still has a small but quickly diminishing chance to salvage their brand, but in order to do so they need to stop this patent foolishness now.”

As Travel Costs Rise, More Meetings Go Virtual
by Steve Lohr
July 22, 2008, New York Times

“Accenture, a technology consulting firm, has installed 13 of the videoconferencing rooms at its offices around the world and plans to have an additional 22 operating before the end of the year. Accenture figures its consultants used virtual meetings to avoid 240 international trips and 120 domestic flights in May alone, for an annual saving of millions of dollars and countless hours of wearying travel for its workers.”

“As travel costs rise and airlines cut service, companies large and small are rethinking the face-to-face meeting – and business travel as well. At the same time, the technology has matured to the point where it is often practical, affordable and more productive to move digital bits instead of bodies. The emerging trend, analysts say, goes well beyond a reaction to rising travel costs and a weakening economy. ‘These technology tools are going to change the way corporations think about travel and work in the long run,’ an analyst at Forrester Research, Claire Schooley, said.” . . .

Hey, Friend, Do I Know You?
by David Carr
July 21, 2008, New York times

“Facebook, which I had always thought of as a guilty diversion just a step up from Funny or Die, does have its social – and business – prerogatives. The network is on a tear right now, achieving numerical parity with MySpace in global reach.”

“Last month, according to comScore, Facebook had 123.9 million unique visitors and 50.6 billion page views worldwide while MySpace had 114.6 million unique visitors and 45.4 billion page views. MySpace still dominates in the United States, but if my page is any indication, a lot of people who aren’t texting OMG about the guy sitting in the next booth feel a need to opt in to social media.”

“According to company executives, Facebook, which has over 80 million subscribers worldwide, doubled the number of subscribers under 35 last year, but it tripled the number of subscribers between 35 and 54. Early adopters of Facebook, which was the province of students until 2006, must wonder who let all the old guys in. Sometime in the next day or so, Facebook will unveil a major new design for the site, which users can opt-in to.” . . .

Distributed Learning is Here: Ask Any College Student
by Jim Farmer
July 20, 2008, Higher Education, Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh my!) and LMOS

“This fall more than 17 million students will be using publisher-provided online services. More than 5 million students will be enrolled in distance learning courses. More than 15 million will be using the Internet. 6.7 million will use Wikipedia. More than 11 million students will use the public library propelled by the increased use of libraries by today’s youth – often to use online materials.”

“Almost 15 million students work full or part-time; 8.3 million use computers at work. An estimated 4.4 million student employees will receive online training from their employers.”

“These estimates do not include the several learning and library systems that may be available on the campus. Nor the online tutorial services and learning resources marketed directly to students.”

“Today’s college students are already in an environment of distributed learning and increasingly they, not their professors, are making decisions about which resources and services they use.”

“This rich distributed learning environment benefits graduate students who are motivated, demonstrated their ability to learn, and have faculty advisors guiding their learning. The current distributed learning environment may not be best for beginning undergraduate students who are less well prepared, have instructors with large class sizes, and who have less financial resources to purchase access to learning services.” . . .

Is Online College Exam Site Ethical?
July 16, 2008, CNN.com

“(UWIRE) — A Web site developed this year that allows students to share old exams online is causing debate among professors about its ethical implications. PostYourTest.com creator Demir Oral says the site is a tool for education, not for cheating.

“PostYourTest.com is an educational tool that lets students anonymously upload materials and tests from their previous and current classes, said Demir Oral, creator of the site. However, there are teachers who do not want their tests to be posted for every student to see.” . . .

Google Introduces a Cartoonlike Method for Talking in Chat Rooms
by Brad Stone
July 9, 2008, New York Times

“Google, known for its plain-Jane approach to Web design, has come up with something much wackier. On Tuesday the company introduced Lively, an online tool that allows people to embody a cartoonish online avatar and have text-based conversations with friends and other Internet users in virtual chat rooms. The rooms can be added to any blog or Web site.”

“Google unveiled the new product in a post on its official blog – its characteristically understated way of introducing new features to the world. It can be reached at http://www.lively.com but is officially part of Google Labs, an area of the company’s site where it showcases projects that remain in the beta, or experimental, phase. Lively and similar products from other companies have the potential to change the way people interact over the Web. Online chat rooms are two-dimensional – they include text, and sometimes voice and video.” . . .

Analysis: Games Create ‘Passion Communities’ For Learning
by Michael Abbott
July 14, 2008, Gamasutra

“Professor James Gee kicked off the 4th Games, Learning, and Society Conference in Madison, Wisconsin with a talk entitled “Beyond Games & the Future of Learning”, citing titles from Portal to World Of Warcraft to explain why games are uniquely suited to create ‘passion communities’ where learning can thrive. . . . Gee sees the current U.S. educational system as inadequate to the task of addressing the problems of an increasingly complex world. He stated that “21st century learning must be about understanding complex systems,” and he believes many video games do a better job at this than the antiquated sender-receiver teaching model that dominates American classrooms.” . . .

Five Ways to Make a Point
by Dave Pollard
July 15, 2008, How to Save the World

“So in short I think there are five techniques that can be used to make a point effectively, in a conversation, presentation or written article:

1. Present new information, clearly and articulately.

2. Ask provocative questions.

3. Tell memorable stories.

4. Use visualizations to convey meaning.

5. Employ powerful rhetoric — be clear, logical, clever, funny, well-paced, original, truthful, concise, provocative, and passionate.”

“All of these things take practice. There is no better way to get better at them than by putting yourself out there, and asking your audience for their honest assessment of what you did well and how you could do better.”

Career and Technical Education in the United States: 1990-2005
July 22, 2008, National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences

This report looks at CTE offerings, who participates in CTE, what types of CTE students take, who teaches CTE, and the labor market and further education outcomes attained by CTE participants. The report documents that between 1990 and 2005, the number of CTE credits earned by public high school graduates remained steady, despite the national trend of increased academic coursetaking in high school. The report also found that at both the high school and college level, student participation increased in the occupational areas of health care and computer science, and decreased in business. Other highlights include:

– Just over 90 percent of public high school graduates from the class of 2005 took at least one occupational course in high school. About one in five graduates took at least three courses within one of the 18 CTE occupational program areas.

– Among the public high school class of 1992, the more occupational credits that graduates earned in high school, the lower were their postsecondary enrollment rates eight years after graduating. Nevertheless, 70 percent of the most intensive occupational course takers (those earning four or more occupational credits) in high school had enrolled in postsecondary education by 2000.

– Among students who started postsecondary education in 1995-96, 70 percent of CTE completers working in 2001 reported their job was related to their field of study.

– Thirty-nine percent of employed adults participated in work-related courses in 2004-05, with business, health, and computer science being the most common subjects.

A Bridge Between Blackboard and Open Source?
by Andy Guess
July 15, Insider Higher Ed

“Blackboard, the dominant player in course management software, has the ability to inspire devotion and, for the more fervid open-source adherents, not a little contempt. So today’s announcement may cause a stir among those more apt to liken Blackboard to the devil than a gentle giant: The company is partnering with Syracuse University to develop a way to integrate Blackboard with Sakai, one of the primary open-source alternatives.”

“Whether the announcement – made at the Blackboard Developers Conference in advance of the BbWorld ‘08 gathering of higher education technology professionals this week – will inspire mostly knee-jerk opposition, cautious optimism or a warm embrace from the open-source community isn’t yet clear. But at least initially, there’s bound to be some friction from some corners of the developer com

Anti-Cheating Legislation, D2L/Blackboard, Virtual Meetings, Facebook, DL Stats, Sharing Exams, Lively, Gaming, Career Tech Ed

Gas Prices Spur Online, Ed Video Games, YouTube Ed Links, Lively, Boomers Online, Accreditation, Journal of Educators Online, Net Neutrality

Thank you to everyone who helped Sam Dillon write this article – I think he wrote a pretty good article with lots of good examples from ITC members!

High Cost of Driving Ignites Online Classes Boom
by Sam Dillon
July 11, 2008, The New York Times

… “The vast majority of the nation’s 15 million college students – at least 79 percent – live off campus, and with gas prices above $4 a gallon, many are seeking to cut commuting costs by studying online. Colleges from Massachusetts and Florida to Texas to Oregon have reported significant online enrollment increases for summer sessions, with student numbers in some cases 50 percent or 100 percent higher than last year. Although some four-year institutions with large online programs – like the University of Massachusetts and Villanova – have experienced these increases, the greatest surges have been registered at two-year community colleges, where most students are commuters, many support families and few can absorb large new expenditures for fuel.” …

The Top 5 Platforms for Creating Educational Video Games
by John Rice
July 10, 2008, Educational Games Research

“Several games out there claim to be educational. Some are more or less so, depending on how one defines “educational.” The list of potential platforms for creating educational videogames is long. Many a fine game has been coded in a variant of BASIC or C, for instance. This list tends to focus on platforms for games created by university researchers and governmental organizations. In that regard, I make a value judgment by inferring that, in general, a game created by a governmental entity, a museum, or university personnel tends to be more “educational” than others.” . . .

70 Signs of Intelligent Life at YouTube
by Dan Colman
July 11, 2008, OpenCulture

“Smart video collections keep appearing on YouTube. But rather antithetical to the ethos of its parent company (Google), YouTube unfortunately makes these collections difficult to find. So we’ve decided to do the job for them. These enriching/educational videos come from media outlets, cultural institutions, universities and non-profits. There are about 70 collections in total, and the list will grow over time. If we’re missing anything good, feel free to let us know, and we’ll happily add them. You can find the complete list below the jump.”

Lively

George Siemens writes, “Google has announced Lively – an avatar and online room/chat combination. I just started playing around with it, so it’s a bit early to say exactly what its role will be in the world of emerging technologies. A quick initial reaction: it’s Second Life distributed. Or as one commentator (http://anuvrat.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/lively-google/) suggests: ‘Google is looking to create a massive distributed virtual world, where every Google account can have its own avatar that can be used wherever a Lively virtual room is present – for example, on a blog, a social networking profile, or a Web page.’ ”

Siemens continues, “Second Life has the elements of a learning management system (LMS), i.e. you go to the site to do what you want to do. Distributed technologies allow individuals to use a variety of tools and approaches, all of which can be integrated into their own environment. Consider YouTube. I watch most of my YouTube videos as embedded elements in a blog. I don’t go directly to YouTube. Same with Slideshare. The key idea these sites have grasped is that we shouldn’t need to go to data/information. We should be able to experience it in our environments (such as blogs, wikis, or even LMS’). At first glance, Google seems to be trying something similar with virtual worlds – namely, have the world available where you want it, rather than forcing you to go to a certain space. Or, as Google puts it: ‘It’s integrated with the Internet. It’s not an alternate destination. Our intention is to add to your existing life.’ ”

New Study Released By The Center For The Digital Future and AARP Shows Internet Users 50+ Are Rapidly Closing the Digital Divide with Booming Online Activity
June 19, 2008, AARP

“Americans 50+ are increasingly becoming immersed in the Internet and in many ways can be compared to users who are decades younger, according to findings from the Center for the Digital Future released today in conjunction with AARP. The study takes a look at online behaviors of those age 50+ compared to the under 50 demographic.” . . .

Foreseeing the Future of Accreditation
by Doug Lederman
June 30, 2008, Inside Higher Ed

“This spring, in the wake of nearly two years of conflict in which the U.S. Education Department was widely perceived as trying to transform higher education accreditors into enforcers in its campaign to prod colleges to produce better student learning outcomes, an alarmist view of the future of accreditation seemed entirely in order. In an essay published in March on Inside Higher Ed, Judith S. Eaton, who as president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation was a key combatant in that conflict, envisioned a scenario in which the traditional system in which nongovernmental regional agencies oversee a system of peer review of institutional quality and self-improvement had, by 2014, been replaced by ‘federal control of thousands of U.S. colleges and universities.’ ”

“Several months later, with Congress having largely squelched the department’s attempt to transform accreditation through changes in federal laws and rules, many of the key players in the drama (yes, that may be the first time accreditation and drama have ever appeared in the same sentence) gathered Friday to assess whether Eaton’s sketch of a possible future was realistic, ridiculous or somewhere in between.” . . .

Unleashing The Tribe: Small Passionate Communities
by Ewen McIntosh
May 22, 2008, Tipperary Institute 2008

“This is the 25-minute keynote, Unleashing The Tribe, which I delivered at the Tipperary Institute in May this year, a shorter version of the 90 minute marathon I was invited to give at Redbridge Council the same week. It’s a “here’s where we are now” on what makes communities tick online, on mobile, in face-to-face settings, and why understanding this is so important for learning, borrowing unashamedly from Clay Shirky, Danah Boyd, a plethora of the hundred or so research reports that have crossed my browser this past 12 months and all the conversations I’ve had, blog posts written. Not bad for less than half-an-hour of audio and slides.”

Piloting a Blended Approach to Teaching Statistics in a College of Education: Lessons Learned
by Yonghong Jade Xu, Katrina A. Meyer, and Dianne Morgan, University of Memphis
July 2008, Journal of Educators Online

Abstract: This study investigated the performance of graduate students enrolled in introductory statistics courses. The course in Fall 2005 was delivered in a traditional face-to-face manner and the same course in Fall 2006 was blended by using an online commercial tutoring system (ALEKS) and making attendance of several face-to-face classes optional. There was no significant difference in the t-test comparing performance in the courses, which used the students’ combined score on two mid-terms and the final exam to indicate performance. The ANCOVA analyzing influences on performance in the blended class yielded no significant influence for gender, ethnicity, age, or class type (traditional vs. blended), but a significant influence from students’ incoming GRE-Quantitative score. Seven Likert questions on students’ perception of blended learning were not correlated with student performance. Three focus groups – comprised of low-, medium-, and high-performing students – revealed three themes and several subthemes and differences based on students’ performance level.

Comparing the Distance Learning-Related Course Development Approach and Faculty Support and Rewards Structure at AACSB Accredited Institutions between 2001 and 2006
by Heidi Perreault, Missouri State University, Lila Waldman, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Melody Alexander, Ball State University, Jensen Zhao, Ball State University
July 2008, Journal of Educators Online

Abstract: The study compared the support and rewards provided faculty members for online course teaching and the development approaches used at business schools accredited by AACSB between 2001 and 2006. Data were collected from 81 professors in 2001 and 140 professors in 2006. The professors were involved in developing or teaching online courses at AACSB business schools across the United States. The findings indicate that faculty members received limited support and are not taking advantage of training options. Faculty members are most likely rewarded for their involvement in distance learning through stipends based on the number of online sections taught. Little has changed during the five-year period in regards to course development. Faculty members continue to use an individual instead of a team approach to course development and most faculty members learned online course development and delivery techniques on their own.

Combining Quality and Expediency with Action Research in ELearning Instructional Design
by Ruth Gannon Cook, DePaul University, Caroline Crawford, University of Houston-Clear Lake
July 2008, Journal of Educators Online

Abstract: Recent research has posited that there may be a relationship between an organization’s level of capability in electronic delivery of training and the barriers set up to detain it. One of the biggest obstacles is the entrenched culture of the organization itself. So often the challenges to the implementation of an innovation, such as electronic instruction, come from the establishment committed to its adoption. Embedded action research in electronic instructional design can provide observation of the innovation’s implementation and what was successful or not, but can also provide crucial feedback on the culture and atmosphere of the organization and participants in the innovation.

Using Breeze for Communication and Assessment of Internships: An Exploratory Study
by Kelly Wilkinson, Indiana State University
July 2008, Journal of Educators Online

An important component of internships is the connection between students, universities and employers. “High-quality internships . . . encourage contact between faculty and students as well as develop cooperation among students,” (Implementing and Assessing Internships, 2002, 67). This “good practice” must exist to ensure good performance assessment (Implementing and assessing internships 2002). Students in an internship program were given web cameras and access to the software Breeze to use for a video journal. Focus groups were conducted to determine the students’ opinions of using this type of assessment. Students overwhelmingly preferred this type of assessment and saw the benefits of using the technology beyond the internship.

An Imminent Victory for ‘Net Neutrality’ Advocates
by Vindu Goel
July 11, 2008, The New York Times

“When Comcast admitted last fall that it was blocking – or slowing down, as the company preferred to call it – certain file transfers by customers, a lot of people complained that the company was unfairly discriminating against heavy Internet users.”

“Now it seems that the Federal Communications Commission is poised to agree. The Associated Press reported late Thursday that the F.C.C.’s chairman, Kevin J. Martin, has concluded that Comcast improperly blocked some file transfers. Mr. Martin told the A.P. he would recommend that the commission punish Comcast, and order it to stop the blocking, tell the commission how and how often it blocked file transfers and disclose to consumers its future plans for managing its network. (UPDATE: At a news conference Friday, Mr. Martin said he would seek no fine, but only a change in Comcast’s practices.)” . . .

Business Takes Sides in Net Neutrality Debate
by Michael Geist
July 14, 2008, The Toronto Star

“For most of the past two years, the net neutrality issue, which focuses on equal treatment of Internet traffic, was limited to academics and consumer groups pointing to the dangers to the public of a two-tier Internet. That dynamic changed dramatically this year when Bell Canada began “deep-packet inspection” of its traffic and limited the bandwidth it allocates to certain applications at peak times (a practice known as “throttling”). . . . In recent days the debate has advanced further as the business community begins to take sides.” . . .

Gas Prices Spur Online, Ed Video Games, YouTube Ed Links, Lively, Boomers Online, Accreditation, Journal of Educators Online, Net Neutrality

Future of Education, Ten Web Startups, Your Market is Laughing at You, TED Videos, MMORPGs, E-mail, Blog Design

Future of Education
by Michael Wesch
July 1, 2008, University of Manitoba

Barry Dahl writes that Wesch’s presentation is “all about media literacy and how he engages his students at Kansas State University. This 66 minute video is well worth the time in order to get a glimpse of how he tries to make students knowledge-able (able to create and critique knowledge) rather than knowledgeable (mind dump education). A few highlights: (8:00) The Crisis of Significance (making education significant in the lives of students), (9:00) eleven minutes on “if these classroom walls could talk, what would they say” – and how does the WWW blow these assumptions away, (45:45) what he does in the classroom to get students to go “beyond the grade,” (57:00) a five-minute video in a video showing how the students go through 600 years of world history in one 75-minute class period using Netvibes, wikis, Twitter, Jott, etc. – but where the technology is secondary to the F2F collaboration.”

Ten Web Startups to Watch: We profile some of the most innovative ideas of the Social Web.
MIT Technology Review
July/August 2008

1. Instant Voicing: Send voice messages without calling, and listen to them from a phone–or a laptop
2. Sharing, Privately: With Pownce, think Twitter meets Napster
3. Cell-phone Streaming: Qik lets tourists–and reporters–broadcast live from phones
4. Traffic Master: A dashboard gadget brings the Internet to highways, for traffic and local search
5. Crisis Sourcing: Ushahidi’s platform allows text messages to feed into the Web
6. Partial Recall: QTech’s reQall makes custom reminders for scatterbrains
7. Are You … Influential?: 33Across calculates your online social clout for sharper ad targeting–and for you
8. Semantic Ads: Peer39’s algorithms promise better ways of mining language
9. Mashups Made Easy
10. Video Packet-Switching: Anagran helps the Internet handle growth in streaming media

Your Market Is Laughing; At You
Posted on June 30, 2008 by Harold Jarche, Learning and Working on the Web

Father Guido Sarduci on the “five minute university”. Gary Woodill writes, “There’s so much truth in this classic clip that it hurts. I often use it to confront audiences on the meaning and (lack of) utility of schooling.”

TED – Technology Entertainment Design

TED’s (technology entertainment design) annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. This site includes more than 200 talks from the archive, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted. Themes include technology, entertainment, design, business, science, culture, arts, and global issues.

Their top 10 talks: Jill Bolte Taylor, “My Stroke of Insight,” Jeff Han, “Touchscreen Demo Foreshadows the iPhone,” David Gallo, “Underwater Astonishments,” Blaise Aguera y Arcas, “Jaw-dropping Photosynth Demo,” Arthur Benjamin, “Lightning Calculation and Other “Mathemagic,” Sir Ken Robinson “Do schools Kill Creativity?,” Hans Rosling, “The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen,” Tony Robbins, “Why We Do What We Do, and How We Can Do it Better,” Al Gore, “15 Ways to Avert a Climate Crisis,” and Johnny Lee, “Creating Tech Marvels out of a $40 Wii Remote.”

Are MMORPGs “Addictive”?
by Dave Munger
June 30, 2008 , Cognitive Daily

“In our discussions of violence associated with video game play, we’ve frequently noted that there appear to be different effects depending on the type of video game. Some games are more violent than others, and some games reward violence while others discourage it. All this has an impact in terms of real-world behavior and attitudes. Some games have positive effects.”

“One type of game — one of the most popular types, in fact — hasn’t been studied nearly as much as the traditional arcade-style game: massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs. One of the studies of this type of game seemed to find that players weren’t more aggressive because the games foster cooperation between players.”

I Freed Myself From E-Mail’s Grip
by Luis Suarez
June 29, 2008, New York Times

Earlier this year, I became tired of my usual morning ritual of spending hours catching up on e-mail. So I did something drastic to take back control of my productivity. I stopped using e-mail most of the time. I quickly realized that the more messages you answer, the more messages you generate in return. It becomes a vicious cycle. By trying hard to stop the cycle, I cut the number of e-mails that I receive by 80 percent in a single week.

It’s not that I stopped communicating; I just communicated in different and more productive ways. Instead of responding individually to messages that arrived in my in-box, I started to use more social networking tools, like instant messaging, blogs and wikis, among many others. I also started to use the telephone much more than I did before, which has the added advantage of being a more personal form of interaction.

What to do with a Visually Noisy Blog
by Christine Martell
May 9 and May 11, 2008

Part 1: Eye tracking studies have shown people tend to read in an F shaped pattern online. Christine Martell critiques and shows how to modify a design template for a blog.

Part 2: Martell provides ideas for visually simplifying a blog.

Also see Skellie’s 50 Ways to Unclutter Your Blog by (Aug. 15, 2007)

Future of Education, Ten Web Startups, Your Market is Laughing at You, TED Videos, MMORPGs, E-mail, Blog Design

New FREE Resources Available on History, Language Arts, Math and Science

Federal Resources for Excellence in Education has added the following learning resources to its Web site in the areas of history, language arts, math and science.

HISTORY

Fourth of July is Independence Day
Facts, songs, and primary documents for celebrating the birthday of the U.S. and the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. See the original Declaration of Independence, read about the history of the Fourth, learn about the U.S. flag and the Liberty Bell, listen to patriotic songs, take an Independence Day quiz, and see ways to volunteer and help our nation. (USA.gov, Multiple Agencies)

Democracy and Human Rights
Publications about the U.S. government, democracy, and human rights. Learn about the intellectual history of democracy and what makes the U.S. government unique. See how our federal, state, and local governments are organized; how our executive, legislative, and judicial branches operate; and how nongovernmental organizations influence government policy. Read about the origins of human rights, women in politics, the civil rights movement, and elections. (Department of State)

Outline of U.S. History
Fifteen chapters on U.S. history: early America, the colonial period, independence, formation of a national government, westward expansion and regional differences, sectional conflict, the Civil War and reconstruction, growth and transformation, discontent and reform, war, prosperity and depression, the New Deal and World War II, postwar America, decades of change (1960-1980), new conservatism and a new world order, and bridge to the 21st century. (Department of State)

National Postal Museum
Curriculum guides that explore stamps and postal history, and encourage students to write letters. Topics include historic letters and stamps from American wars; stamps and other countries, history, and art; the place of letter writing in American history; letter writing for advanced English learners; and letter writing between students and older adults (using cultural landmarks in the community). (National Postal Museum, Smithsonian Institution)

LANGUAGE ARTS

Poetry Everywhere
Ten videos, essays and lessons, to help students explore the power of language and build reading and writing skills. The videos feature seminal voices of poetry, past and present, from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to Seamus Heaney, Marie Howe, and Yusef Komunyakaa. (Teachers’ Domain, Multiple Agencies)

Teaching Literacy in English to K-5 English Learners
Videos, slideshows, and tools for teaching reading to K-5 English learners. The site is based on five research- based recommendations: screen and monitor students’ progress; provide small-group reading interventions; provide vocabulary instruction throughout the day; develop academic English competence beginning in primary grades; and schedule regular peer-assisted learning opportunities, including structured language practice. (Department of Education)

MATH

Encouraging Girls in Math and Science
Tools for teachers to help girls achieve at the same level as boys in math and science. The site is based on five research-based recommendations: teach students that the brain grows when they practice and learn; provide prescriptive, informational feedback on strategies and effort; show female role models; spark initial curiosity and foster long-term interest in math and science; and teach spatial skills. (Department of Education)

SCIENCE

Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears
A new online magazine to help elementary school teachers develop their knowledge of the Arctic and Antarctica and organize science and literacy instruction around polar themes. The first two issues, “A Sense of Place” and “Learning from the Polar Past,” provide lessons and readings on data collection and representation, map skills, comparing the Arctic and Antarctica, measuring ice sheets, and paleontology and archaeology. Includes book recommendations. (Ohio State University, National Science Foundation)

Energy and Material Cycles Visualizations
Animations, images, graphs, and photos on the carbon cycle, greenhouse gases, sea ice, sea level change, interglacial cycle, continental drift, tectonic cycle, and the hydrologic cycle. (Carleton College, National Science Foundation)

NSF Multimedia Gallery
Nearly 100 videos and Web casts on a range of science topics: a fossil that may represent the first vertebrate to emerge from the sea, turning forest-industry waste into fuel and textiles, “superglue” produced by aquatic bacteria, a house built on a “shake table” (earthquake research), teaching robots to swim, 14 engineering challenges for the 21st century, solving a crime scene mystery, a 60-second history of the universe, earth’s deep-time archives, dinosaurs, and more. (National Science Foundation)

Nuclear Energy Learning Resources for Schools
A list of resources for learning about nuclear energy topics. Find information about how nuclear reactors work, what makes certain materials radioactive, the importance of nuclear energy in the 21st century, and more. (Argonne National Laboratory, Department of Energy)

Rock Cycle Animations
Shows common rock-forming processes. See magma crystallize to form igneous rock, rock erosion to create sediment, transportation of sediment, deposition of sediment to create sedimentary rock, and the creation of a metamorphic rock. Animations can be paused and rewound to stress important points. (Carleton College, National Science Foundation)

Secrets of Plant Genomes Revealed!
A lively, upbeat video exploration of how plants got to be the way they are and how we can make better use of them in the future. Learn how plant genome research is revolutionizing the field of biology. Find out how scientists are unlocking the secrets of corn, cotton, potatoes, and other plants that are important in our lives. Discover why the study of plants is exciting and how learning more about plants can improve our everyday lives. (National Science Foundation)

ToxMystery
An animated game that helps elementary students learn about common household hazards. Students enter a house and go room to room, mousing over items, clicking on those that move, and answering questions. Lesson plans and parent resources are included. (National Library of Medicine)

New FREE Resources Available on History, Language Arts, Math and Science