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January 20, 2012

Welcome to the Wolfram Education Portal!
Various Authors, Wolfram Alpha, January 20, 2012.

files/images/Quadratic.PNG, size: 3420 bytes, type:  image/png Wolfram's announcement was drowned out in the iPad hysteria: "e are pleased to offer the best of all of our technologies to you here in the Wolfram Education Portal, organized by course. In the portal you'll find a dynamic textbook, lesson plans, widgets, interactive Demonstrations, and more built by Wolfram education experts." You'll need to download and install a viewer, but this is pretty painless and the results are worth the effort.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Portals]

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Broadband, Social Networks, and Mobility Have Spawned a New Kind of Learner
John K. Waters, 21st Century Fluency Project, January 20, 2012.

files/images/Lee_Rainie.PNG, size: 29010 bytes, type:  image/png Summary of a talk by Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. Three factors, he says, have changed the face of learning today:
- idespread access to broadband Internet connectivity
- the popularity of social networking
- near ubiquity of mobile computing
"The spread of broadband made it possible for students to become content creators. We know that three-quarters of Internet-connected teenagers now create content and share it online. It's not necessarily profound stuff--it's not War and Peace. They're sharing status updates; they're telling stories about their lives; they're reacting to things; and they're rating and ranking things. But that's the way people are using these new tools to tell stories about themselves."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: United States, Networks]

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OERs: Why Commercial Electronic Textbooks Are No Bargain
Geoff Cain , Brainstorm in Progress, January 20, 2012.

"The cost of education and textbooks is currently rising faster than inflation or health care manifold over," writes Geoff Cain. "The real solution to this problem is not just electronic textbooks, but textbooks that are also openly licensed."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources]

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It is Time For Schools to Seriously Consider BYOT
Eric Sheninger, A Principal's Reflections, January 20, 2012.

files/images/byt1.jpg, size: 30609 bytes, type:  image/jpeg My perspective is that BYOT (Bring Your Own Technoloy) isn't so much about requiring that students bring their own technology as it is about allowing them to do so. The prupose is to "change the way students view their devices by changing the language when they are referenced. Students need to fully understand that they are tools for learning. Make consistent efforts to refer to them as mobile learning devices." As for the equity issues: keep some devices on hand and pass them out unobtrusively to students who don't bring one from home (as usual it isn't the technoology that increases the divide between rich and poor, it's how we offer support to the poor). Related: 12 most useful ways kids can learn with cell phones.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Online Learning]

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Designer and commentator in the fields of online learning and new media
Local Pigeon, The Local Pigeon, January 20, 2012.

I am covered by The Local Piegon.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: New Media, Online Learning]

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files/images/Apple_iPad_for_Education.PNG, size: 294598 bytes, type:  image/png
Relaunching the iPad
Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, January 20, 2012.

Apple yesterday launched "a revamped version of its iTunes U platform that could challenge traditional learning management systems. It also unveiled new tools for creating and distributing low-cost digital textbooks that could speed the pace of e-text adoption." It also announced the idea was to enable "anyone anywhere at any time to take courses for free." See also: MacRumors, Phil Hill, Breant Schlenker, Seb Schmoller, PC Mag, , Digital Education, That's Life, Dan Wineman, Financial Post, The Wheel, Ars Technica ("It used to be about location, location, location. Now it's all about connection, connection, connection," Rankin told Ars. "It will take people a long time to realize the implications of that." ),

Not all is sweetness and light. "There's no denying that this new textbook experience will revolutionize learning and education," Saka told Ars. "But will Apple be willing to let users interact with the textbooks on multiple digital platforms and not just the iPad?" So far, according to the EULA for iBooks Author, that answer seems to be 'no.'" As Dan Wineman says, Apple "in this EULA, is claiming a right not just to its software, but to its software's output. It's akin to Microsoft trying to restrict what people can do with Word documents, or Adobe declaring that if you use Photoshop to export a JPEG, you can’t freely sell it to Getty." John Gruber: "This is Apple at its worst."

Related: D'Arcy Norman creates an iPad textbook. "Drop-dead simple. I don’t really care about what this means for textbook publishers, but having these tools in the hands of students, and seeing what they create – now that’s some interesting stuff. Evan loves messing around with building sites with Hype – I can’t wait to see what he does with this stuff..." Here's a hands-on look aqt authoring. And as Jeff Dunn notes, When major companies fight over education products, we all win. Last night, just hours before Apple’s announcement, Chegg announced a new way to let you buy and rent digital textbooks. It may not be as elegant as the iPad (yet), but it’s got Apple and Kno on notice."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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