Please take note of the Next Generation Learning Challenges, a $20 million grant program from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that will feature best uses of technology to improve college readiness and completion. The application deadline is Nov. 19, 2010. See the link and read about the activities they would like to fund near the bottom of this e-mail — it is all about what you do in your eLearning programs!
Fellow ITC member Ryan Schrenk is asking for your help on research for his doctorate. Click on the link http://bit.ly/aYx575 to go directly to the survey. The site will require you to create an account and you will need basic FTE and enrollment numbers for your distance education courses during the Fall 2009 semester. Please share this link with the person tasked with leading distance education operations at your institution. The survey closes on Nov. 5, 2010. Send any questions or comments to Ryan Schrenk (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ITC archives these e-mails at https://cmullins.wordpress.com/. The site is restricted to ITC members. Please contact Danielle Perry at email@example.com or 202/293-3132 if you do not already have a password set up. Chris
Gaming as Teaching Tool
by Steve Kolowich
Oct. 15, 2010, Inside Higher Ed
“All work and no play makes a dull syllabus. That is what Sarah Smith-Robbins, director of emerging technologies at the Indiana University at Bloomington, told a somewhat wary audience here at the 2010 Educause conference on Thursday. “Games are absolutely the best way to learn,” she said. “They are superior to any other instructional model.” Smith-Robbins prefaced her remarks by reminding the audience that she was taking an intentionally strong position in order to stoke debate. But she nevertheless argued that games — as simple as tag or as complex as World of Warcraft — can accomplish an array of teaching goals that more traditional pedagogy says it wants to achieve, but often does not.” . . .
Open Source eLearning Tools : eLearning Technology
by Tony Karrer
Oct. 15, 2010, eLearning Technology
“I was just asked about trends in open source for eLearning and particularly open source eLearning tools. Probably one of the better sources on this is Jane Hart’s Instructional Tools Directory (http://c4lpt.co.uk/Directory/Tools/instructional.html). You can find a long list of tools broken into authoring tools, games/simulations, quiz/test tools, social media, delivery platforms, tracking and whether they support mobile. In addition, she indicates if they are free or cost money – which is not quite the same thing as open source. Beyond that, probably the best thing to do is to use eLearning Learning (http://www.elearninglearning.com/) to go through it’s open source eLearning and open source eLearning Tools. Here’s some of what I pulled out. Of course, I’d recommend skimming through eLearning Learning to find the latest and greatest.” . . .
Education Secretary Arne Duncan Announces $27 Million for Three Ready-to-Learn Television Program Grants
Oct. 14, 2010, Department of Education
“U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced three awards totaling $27 million for projects to improve educational opportunities for young learners through innovative technology. Grants will be used to develop and deliver high-quality, age-appropriate, educational content to increase the early literacy and mathematics skills of young children age two through eight years old. The current cycle of awards will provide early learning content through the well-planned and coordinated use of multiple media platforms, commonly known as transmedia storytelling. . . . The five-year grants were awarded to three public telecommunications entities [Window to the World Communications, Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting] that will offer services across the nation. In addition to programming content, the grantees will provide outreach materials and resources to families, child care providers, preschool and early elementary teachers and others whose work addresses early learning.” . . .
Americans and Their Gadgets
by Aaron Smith
Oct. 14, 2010, Internet & American Life Project
Cell phones – 85 percent of Americans now own a cell phone. Cell phone ownership rates among young adults illustrate the extent to which mobile phones have become a necessity of modern communications: fully 96 percent of 18-29 year olds own a cell phone of some kind.
Desktop and laptop computers – Three quarters (76 percent) of Americans own either a desktop or laptop computer. Since 2006, laptop ownership has grown dramatically (from 30 percent to 52 percent) while desktop ownership has declined slightly.
Mp3 players – Just under half of American adults (47 percent) own an mp3 player such as an iPod, a nearly five-fold increase from the 11 percent who owned this type of device in early 2005.
Game consoles – Console gaming devices like the Xbox and PlayStation are nearly as common as mp3 players, as 42 percent of Americans own a home gaming device. Parents (64 percent) are nearly twice as likely as non-parents (33 percent) to own a game console.
Tablet computers and e-book readers – Compared to the other devices in this list, e-book readers (such as the Kindle) and tablet computers (such as the iPad) are relatively new arrivals to the consumer technology scene and are owned by a relatively modest number of Americans. However, these devices are proving popular with traditional early adopter groups such as the affluent and highly educated–ownership rates for tablets and e-book readers among college graduates and those earning $75,000 or more per year are roughly double the national average.
Skype 5.0 for Windows Integrates Facebook, Adds Group Video Calls
by Rob Pegoraro
Oct. 15, 2010, The Washington Post
“There’s a new version of Skype out with a couple of interesting features — one of which actually seems worth your time. Skype 5.0 for Windows, released Thursday and documented in a blog post, addresses one user request by adding group video calling. This feature, debuted in test form back in May, lets up to five people see each other hold forth on camera. For now, it’s confined to this Windows release. (I’d report back on how it works, but I’ve yet to round up three people who have installed Skype 5.0 and are online at the same time.) But Skype says it’s coming to its Mac software later this year; if this Luxembourg firm then builds in support for Apple’s FaceTime video-conferencing, which Apple says it plans to make an open standard, things could get interesting.”
U.S. Teen Mobile Report: Calling Yesterday, Texting Today, Using Apps Tomorrow
Oct. 14, 2010, Nielsen Wire
“If it seems like American teens are texting all the time, it’s probably because on average they’re sending or receiving 3,339 texts a month. That’s more than six per every hour they’re awake — an 8 percent jump from last year. Using recent data from monthly cell phone bills of more than 60,000 mobile subscribers as well as survey data from over 3,000 teens, The Nielsen Company analyzed mobile usage data among teens in the United States for the second quarter of 2010 (April 2010-June 2010). No one texts more than teens (age 13-17), especially teen females, who send and receive an average of 4,050 texts per month. Teen males also outpace other male age groups, sending and receiving an average of 2,539 texts. Young adults (age 18-24) come in a distant second, exchanging 1,630 texts per month (a comparatively meager three texts per hour).”
Students Unprepared for Community College Entrance Tests
by Caralee Adams
Oct. 14, 2010, Education Week
“When a student does poorly on a community college assessment test, it can be the beginning of the end of his or her career in higher education. Too often, students take the test unprepared, end up in developmental education courses, become discouraged, and never finish their degrees. A report looking at student experiences with assessment and course placement in California Community Colleges highlights the lack of testing awareness and gaps in the transition process. Mike Kirst, professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, was a chief consultant to the report, One Shot Deal, a two-year research study funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Walter S. Johnson Foundation.” . . .
“The solution rests, in part, with better communication with students about the rigor of college-level courses and testing earlier, says Thad Nodine, an independent researcher and one of the report’s authors. ‘K-12 educators and policymakers need to work with community colleges to provide these assessments in high school, during the junior year. That will be an eye-opener for students who are not prepared for college-level classes,’ says Nodine. ‘For students who need to catch up in math or English, high schools need to provide that coursework during the senior year.’ ”
Home Computers and Student Achievement
by Elisabeth Stock and Ray Fisman
Oct. 11, 2010, Education Week
“A spate of recent news stories with attention-grabbing headlines like ‘Home Computers Hurt Students’ Test Scores’ may have many readers reaching the conclusion that a home computer is about as useful an educational aid as a PlayStation. The media reports cite as evidence two research studies — one conducted in North Carolina by Duke University researchers Jacob L. Vigdor and Helen F. Ladd, and the other conducted in Romania by Ofer Malamud of the University of Chicago and Cristian Pop-Eleches of Columbia University. Each study indicates that home computers have a detrimental effect on student achievement, particularly among students from low-income households.” . . .
“The research in North Carolina and in Romania explored whether the presence of home technology, by itself, makes a difference in students’ achievement. Both studies found that home computers did not produce better students (as measured by better test scores). Yet this conclusion is not surprising: We certainly don’t assume that distributing violins will produce violinists, nor do we expect footballs, by themselves, to produce varsity quarterbacks.” . . .
“The Texas Technology Immersion Pilot (http://www.txtip.info/) and the Computers for Youth (http://www.cfy.org/) program are promising case studies for using wraparound programming to fulfill the home’s potential in helping students learn.” . . .
Will Technology Kill the Academic Calendar?
by Marc Parry
Oct. 10, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Ed
“An adjunct faculty member at Kentucky’s Jefferson Community & Technical College, Mr. Smith teaches in an online program that lets students start class any day they want and finish at their own speed. One student, desperate to graduate, knocked off 113 quizzes and six writing assignments for a humanities course in 46 sleepless hours. But there is a downside to this convenience, and it’s deeper than bleary eyes. The open format of Jefferson’s program, called Learn Anytime, means students don’t move through classes in groups. None of Mr. Smith’s 400 online students will have a discussion or do a group project with classmates.”
“It’s a controversial approach to online education¬-one that is gaining traction at some colleges. Supporters see the self-paced model as a means to serve more students, since no one is turned away because of a full section, missed deadline, or canceled class. Others criticize go-it-alone learning as a second-rate system that leaves students in greater danger of dropping out.”
” ‘Educationally, it’s not defensible,’ says D. Randy Garrison, a veteran distance-education researcher who directs the Teaching & Learning Centre at the University of Calgary. ‘It doesn’t allow students to get a deep understanding of the content.’ Regardless of criticism like that, the model is spreading. Its former champion within Jefferson’s administration, Robert Johnson, plans to make open-entry courses the default for a new online program he leads at the Louisiana Community & Technical College system. At Arizona’s Rio Salado College, home to one of America’s largest online programs, self-paced classes start every Monday. Others that teach this way include StraighterLine, a company that provides online courses, and Athabasca University, a distance-education institution in Canada.” . . .
New Web Code Draws Concern Over Privacy Risks
by Tanzina Vega
Oct. 10, 2010, New York Times
“Worries over Internet privacy have spurred lawsuits, conspiracy theories and consumer anxiety as marketers and others invent new ways to track computer users on the Internet. But the alarmists have not seen anything yet. In the next few years, a powerful new suite of capabilities will become available to Web developers that could give marketers and advertisers access to many more details about computer users’ online activities. Nearly everyone who uses the Internet will face the privacy risks that come with those capabilities, which are an integral part of the Web language that will soon power the Internet: HTML 5.”
“The new Web code, the fifth version of Hypertext Markup Language used to create Web pages, is already in limited use, and it promises to usher in a new era of Internet browsing within the next few years. It will make it easier for users to view multimedia content without downloading extra software; check e-mail offline; or find a favorite restaurant or shop on a smartphone.” . . .
Next Generation Learning Challenges: Best Uses of Technology to Improve College Readiness and Completion
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Proposal Deadline: Nov. 19, 2010
On October 11 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the Next Generation Learning Challenges, a collaborative, multi-year initiative, which aims to help dramatically improve college readiness and college completion in the United States through the use of technology. The program will provide grants to organizations and innovators to expand promising technology tools to more students, teachers, and schools. It is led by nonprofit EDUCAUSE, which works to advance higher education through the use of information technology.
Next Generation Learning Challenges released the first of a series of RFPs today to solicit funding proposals for technology applications that can improve postsecondary education. This round of funding will total up to $20 million, including grants that range from $250,000 to $750,000. Applicants with top-rated proposals will receive funds to expand their programs and demonstrate effectiveness in serving larger numbers of students. Proposals are due November 19, 2010; winners are expected to be announced by March 31, 2011.
Next Generation Learning Challenges invites proposals from technologists and institutions within the education community, but also innovators and entrepreneurs outside the traditional education arena that can show promising results. The initiative will fund RFPs approximately every six to 12 months. The RFP released today seeks proposals that address four specific challenges:
— Increasing the use of blended learning models, which combine face-to-face instruction with online learning activities.
— Deepening students’ learning and engagement through use of interactive applications, such as digital games, interactive video, immersive simulations, and social media.
— Supporting the availability of high-quality open courseware, particularly for high-enrollment introductory classes like math, science, and English, which often have low rates of student success.
— Helping institutions, instructors, and students benefit from learning analytics, which can monitor student progress in real-time and customize proven supports and interventions.
Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants
National Endowment for the Humanities
CFDA No. 45.169
Application Deadline: March 23, 2010 (for projects beginning September 2010)
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) invites applications to the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants program. This program is designed to encourage innovations in the digital humanities. By awarding relatively small grants to support the planning stages, NEH aims to encourage the development of innovative projects that promise to benefit the humanities. Proposals should be for the planning or initial stages of digital initiatives in any area of the humanities. Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants may involve
— Research that brings new approaches or documents best practices in the study of the digital humanities;
— Planning and developing prototypes of new digital tools for preserving, analyzing, and making accessible digital resources, including libraries’ and museums’ digital assets;
— Scholarship or studies that examine the philosophical or practical implications and impact of the use of emerging technologies in specific fields or disciplines of the humanities, or in interdisciplinary collaborations involving several fields or disciplines;
— Innovative uses of technology for public programming and education utilizing both traditional and new media; and
— New digital modes of publication that facilitate the dissemination of humanities scholarship in advanced academic as well as informal or formal educational settings at all academic levels.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program (TAACCCT)
CFDA # 17.282
Department of Labor Fact Sheet
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) amended the Trade Act to authorize the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT). The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act signed by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2010 included $2 billion over four years to fund this program. . . .
Over the next year, DOL will award approximately $500 million through this grant program. By statute, the program is designed to ensure that every state, through its eligible institutions of higher education, will receive at least $2.5 million in grant awards. . . . DOL anticipates opening the competition for these grant funds in Fall 2010. . . . This program is designed to meet industry needs while accelerating individual learning and improving college retention and achievement rates to increase industry recognized credential or degree completion rates of TAA for Workers program participants and other individuals. DOL is interested in projects that use online or technology driven learning to achieve these objectives. . . .