10 Killer Content Sources for Your iPod Learning Mix
by Jeffrey Cobb
Oct. 14, 2009, Mission to Learn
Here are 10 great ones, in no particular order:
Quick and Dirty Tips – Probably best known for the Grammar Girl podcast, Quick and Dirty Tips offers short and snappy content on a range of other topics, like nutrition, public speaking, investing, and even dog training. http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/
LearnOutLoud – I’ve been a fan of The Philosophy Podcast for a while now, but LearnOutLoud has a lot more to offer. In fact, the site claims to have “the Internet’s first directory for podcasts you can learn from.” And LearnOutLoud also has a great selection of learning resources for kids. http://www.learnoutloud.com/
MindBites – I interviewed MindBites CEO Jason Reneau for a Radio Free Learning podcast a while back. His company’s site offers a large and growing collection of video “instructionals” on topics ranging from sewing to calculus to baby sign language. http://www.mindbites.com/
Radio Lingua Network – Radio Lingua offers the popular Coffee Break Spanish and Coffee Break French podcast series as well as “My Daily Phrase” and “One Minute” podcasts for a number of other languages. http://www.radiolingua.com/ourpodcasts/index.html
iTunes U (Opens in iTunes) – iTunes U is the place for great free content from top universities and other educational institutions. Apple claims there are more than 200,000 educational audio and video files available. Here are direct links to a few of the participating institutions and organizations. Carnegie Melon University, Oxford University, Open University, Stanford University, Edutopia, and Teacher’s Domain (WGBH/PBS) http://deimos3.apple.com/indigo/main/main.html?v0=WWW-AMUS-ITUNESU070521-N48LX (You will have to have iTunes installed for these to work)
Education Podcast Network – The Education Podcast Network bills itself as “an effort to bring together into one place, the wide range of podcast programming that may be helpful to teachers looking for content to teach with and about, and to explore issues of teaching and learning in the 21st century.” Of course, you don’t have to be a teacher to use it! http://epnweb.org/
The Naked Scientists – If you have the slightest interest in science, The Naked Scientists is a site you will want to subscribe to. A project of the BBC, it offers up a continuing stream of interviews with famous scientists along with news and information about science, medicine and technology. http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/
Librivox – Librivox is the source for free audio book content on the Web, and it offers a variety of podcast options. You can pull pretty much any audio book on the site into your iPod, or try out one of these five channels for an automated stream of content: LibriVox Books Podcast, LibriVox Community Podcast, LibriVox Poetry Podcast, LibriVox Short Story Podcast, LibriVox New Releases Podcast http://librivox.org/
TED Talks – I’m continually amazed at the stream of high quality content coming out of the Technology, Entertainment, and Design conference. The Web site is very popular, but you might not be aware that you can subscribe to both a video and an audio version of TED talks through iTunes. http://www.ted.com/talks
Teaching Company – I’ve got a bit of a chip on my shoulder when it comes to The Teaching Company. They, along with Amazon and many others, dropped their North Carolina affiliates like a hot potato after the NC Legislature passed a hare-brained new tax law late this summer. Still, if you are willing to pony up the bucks for it, the company offers some pretty amazing, in-depth educational content. “Great courses taught by great professors,” as they put it. http://www.teach12.com/teach12.aspx?ai=16281
Using Technology to Improve the Cost-Effectiveness of the Academy: Part 1
by Tony Bates
Oct. 10, 2009, e-Learning and Distance Education
“Is e-learning failing in higher education? In previous blogs, I have discussed whether e-learning is failing in higher education. To answer the question, I have examined the expectations or goals for e-learning, and whether they are being achieved. Finally, I come to the last goal or expectation: that e-learning will increase the cost-effectiveness of higher education. I will argue that this is the most important and valuable of all the goals for e-learning, but is the one that is furthest from being achieved.”
“Summary of the problem: In Part 1, I argued that the challenge for universities today is that
– Student numbers have increased dramatically,
– Students are much more varied in abilities, age, and culture,
– Quality of teaching, as expressed in overlarge classes, as a result has dropped and continues to drop, despite the addition of technology
– The cost per graduate is increasing
– The teaching and organizational models though have not changed fundamentally to adapt to these other changes.”
Using Technology to Improve the Cost-Effectiveness of the Academy: Part 2
by Tony Bates
Oct. 14, 2009, e-Learning and Distance Education
“Identifying the problem with higher education in the 21st was the easy part (Using technology to improve the cost-effectiveness of the academy: Part 1). Much more difficult is finding solutions to the problem. . . . My view is that technology is a useful tool for creating a new kind of university, but much more important are structural and cultural changes in which technology will play a supporting role. Without these cultural and structural changes, technology cannot change the university on its own. . . . The next step is to move from the vision to the practical implications. So here are some of the implications from my vision.” . . .
Steven Downes summarizes Bates’ model:
– Abolition of the semester system
– Courses will be built around learning outcomes
– Strong emphasis on collaborative learning
– Focus on getting students to do the work: finding material, organizing it (etc)
– Large undergraduate courses will be designed and delivered by a team
– Classes will be broken down into small groups of 20-30 students
– Assessment methods will be through ‘proof of learning’
– Ph.D. students will receive up to six months training in teaching and learning
– Most universities will belong to consortia to allow for automatic credit transfer
– Costs will be driven down
Libraries and Readers Wade Into Digital Lending
by Motoko Rich
Oct. 14, 2009, New York Times
. . . “Eager to attract digitally savvy patrons and capitalize on the growing popularity of electronic readers, public libraries across the country are expanding collections of books that reside on servers rather than shelves. The idea is to capture borrowers who might not otherwise use the library, as well as to give existing customers the opportunity to try new formats.”
“About 5,400 public libraries now offer e-books, as well as digitally downloadable audio books. The collections are still tiny compared with print troves. The New York Public Library, for example, has about 18,300 e-book titles, compared with 860,500 in circulating print titles, and purchases of digital books represent less than 1 percent of the library’s overall acquisition budget.”
“But circulation is expanding quickly. The number of checkouts has grown to more than 1 million so far this year from 607,275 in all of 2007, according to OverDrive, a large provider of e-books to public libraries. NetLibrary, another provider of e-books to about 5,000 public libraries and a division of OCLC, a nonprofit library service organization, has seen circulation of e-books and digital audio books rise 21 percent over the past year.” . . .
New F.T.C. Rules Have Bloggers and Twitterers Mulling
By Kayleen Schaefer
Oct. 14, 2009, New York Times
. . . “Beginning Dec. 1, bloggers, Twitterers and many others who write online product reviews must disclose the receipt of free merchandise or payment for the items they write about. The guidelines, an update of the F.T.C.’s 1980 guide concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, will affect many in the beauty and fashion blogging community, where freebies ($40 eye-shadow palates, $250 clutch purses and, yes, $69 jeans) are rampant. The rules reflect the commission’s concern about how advertisers are using bloggers and social networking sites to pitch their products.” . . .
FAQ for Universities Interested in WPMu
by Jim Groom
Oct. 14, 2009, Bavatuesdays
[Steven Downes writes, “WordPress MultiUser (WPMu) is an attractive way for service providers to offer many people a blogging space, so it is not surprising to see it used by universities. In this item, Jim Groom offers a guide to WPMu. It’s republished from a document offered by David Grogan, Ilene Chen, Stephen McDonald, and Hannah Reeves from the academic technology group at Tufts University”]
“This morning I had a fun conversation with David Grogan, Ilene Chen, Stephen McDonald, and Hannah Reeves from the academic technology group at Tufts University. They had some questions about running a large scale WPMu installation at Tufts University, and below are some of their questions followed by my working answers. Figured I’d republish it here from Google Docs in the event anyone finds it useful, and special thanks to Hannah Reeves for organizing the session, it was a lot of fun, and it’s apparent Tufts has an excellent group that has much to bring to the experimentation with WPMu in education.” . . .
Interpreting America’s Historic Places – Planning and Implementation Grants
National Endowment for the Humanities
CFDA Number: 45.164
Application Deadline: Jan 13, 2010
Award: 18-36 months and typically do not exceed $400,000. Awards up to $1,000,000 are available for Chairman’s Special Award projects.
No Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement
Interpreting America’s Historic Places grants support public humanities projects that exploit the evocative power of historic places to explore stories, ideas, and beliefs that deepen our understanding of our lives and our world. The Division of Public Programs supports the development of humanities content and interactivity that excite, inform, and stir thoughtful reflection upon culture, identity, and history in creative and new ways. Interpreting America’s Historic Places projects may interpret a single historic site or house, a series of sites, an entire neighborhood, a town or community, or a larger geographical region. Grants for Interpreting America’s Historic Places should encourage dialogue, discussion, and civic engagement, and they should foster learning among people of all ages. To that end, the Division of Public Programs urges applicants to consider more than one format for presenting humanities ideas to the public.
Planning grants are available for those projects that may need further development before applying for implementation. This planning can include the identification and refinement of the project’s main humanities ideas and questions, consultation with scholars in order to strengthen the humanities content, preliminary audience evaluation, preliminary design of the proposed interpretive formats, beta testing of digital formats, development of complementary programming, research at archives or sites whose resources might be used, or the drafting of interpretive materials. See application guidelines for Planning Grants.
Implementation grants support the final preparation of a project for presentation to the public. Applicants must submit a full walkthrough for an exhibition, or a prototype or storyboard for a digital project, that demonstrates a solid command of the humanities ideas and scholarship that relate to the subject. Applicants for implementation grants should have already done most of the planning for their projects, including the identification of the key humanities themes, relevant scholarship, and program formats. For exhibitions, implementation grants can support the final stages of design development, but these grants are primarily intended for installation. Applicants are not required to obtain a planning grant before applying for an implementation grant.