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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Unique way of teaching science benefits future science teachers | Penn State News

Photo: Jim Carlson
"Content courses for prospective elementary teachers in the College of Education different in comparison with courses taught at other institutions" writes Jim Carlson, writer/editor for the College of Education.

Professor Carla Zembal-Saul says the College of Education's method of teaching science is 'unmistakably unique.'
Photo: Penn State

College of Education faculty convey STEM subject knowledge in an innovative fashion in an attempt to have their education students view teaching and learning differently, and content courses for prospective elementary teachers appear to be unique in comparison with those taught at other institutions.

A suite of cross-listed courses collaboratively designed between science education in the College of Education and the colleges of Science and Engineering enables professors to focus on literacy and language development through science and STEM learning opportunities and gives Penn State students a variety of hands-on experiences and learning methods.

The college's upbeat message to prospective teachers is to develop their own theories within content courses during productive participation within a supportive community of scholars. Emphasis is placed on the nature of science curriculum, assessment and instruction in early grades.

Carla Zembal-Saul, professor of science education who holds the Kahn endowed professorship in STEM education, said a comprehensive look at the college's approach to science education is one of being unmistakably unique. She said collaboration has been the cornerstone behind the content-course curriculum in science education.

A Teaching with Insects course developed well over a decade ago by the deans of the College of Education and the College of Agricultural Sciences ran for years but never became an actual named course. "But we learned a lot from that," she said.

"There may be a couple of places that try to [create courses] with just non-science majors but non-science majors preparing to be teachers … this kind of partnership is unique," she said. "It may be that the College of Education gets a grant and they can offer a content course, but a co-designed, collaboratively designed content course with science education and whatever the science area is, or engineering, is unique."

Chris Palma, senior lecturer in astronomy, is in step with that opinion as well. "I do think these co-taught content courses that model effective methods are really a unique offering of Penn State," he said. "I don't know of any other university that offers an astronomy course like ours, and so we are working on trying to disseminate our work so that others might consider a similar model."

The courses, combined with the Teaching Elementary Science Leadership Academy (TESLA), leverage the best of what is known about preparing elementary teachers to attend to children's ideas and being responsive to their learning needs in science, according to Zembal-Saul.

She said the motivation behind creating these courses was to enable students to have "a problem-based experience, real-world phenomena, real-world problems as a way of learning about it so they were engaged in scientific practices with discourse and real data, small-group discussion, scientific argumentation.

"All of those courses had that in common," she said. "We wanted them to have a rich experience, an in-depth experience that allowed them to not only engage in the discourse and practices of science and learn science concepts but also think about what the applications to education might be."

Education and engineering faculty collaborated on SCIED/ENGR 110, Introduction to Engineering for Educators, and SCIED/PHYS 114, Sounds and Light for Educators, also was created. That was followed by a three-year, $525,000 grant from the Martinson Family Foundation in 2009 that spawned the creation of Climate Science for Educators and Biotic Response to Climate Change.

Another content course is what is now known as ASTRO/SCIED 116, taught by Palma and Julia Plummer, associate professor of education, and originated from a National Science Foundation project that paired scientists and science educators.

"The courses are designed and meant to be co-taught, and that to me is one of the most important aspects of the course," Palma said. "We have what I think is a pretty ideal background in that I'm an astronomer with a strong interest in astronomy pedagogy and Julia is a science educator with great experience in astronomy pedagogy and a background in astronomy.

"My contribution is to keep the focus of our in-class investigations on modern ideas in planetary astronomy so that the students complete the class with a really strong understanding of the solar system."

Source: Penn State News

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College of Business celebrates 50 years of innovation | The Auburn Plainsman

"The Auburn University Raymond J. Harbert College of Business celebrates its 50th anniversary this year" inform Rowland Sauls, Community Writer.

In 1967, Auburn University’s board of trustees decreed to start a school of business. The school expanded the number of programs it offered and was named a college in 1985. Since then, the college has been renamed, found a new home and found innovative new ways of delivering education to students.

Bill Hardgrave became the dean of the college in 2010. According to him, the Harbert College of Business’s success is attributed to a history of being innovative and to the donors who have “made investments” in the college.

“We’ve been an innovator…and a first mover, and we get in there, and do things that others couldn’t do and wouldn’t do,” Hardgrave said.

Hardgrave said the college’s innovation is highlighted by its history of offering distance learning options and by its infrastructural advances on campus.

“We’ve been very progressive and aggressive on non-traditional forms of delivering education,” Hardgrave added. This began with delivering lectures by mailing VHS tapes to students. Later, in 2004, that method was improved upon by replacing the tapes with DVDs. Now, those forms of delivering education have manifested into a thriving set of online programs. Four of them are currently ranked top-ten programs.

Innovation on campus included the construction of Lowder Hall, which opened this month, 25 years ago. Now, a new building has been designed and is set to open its doors by 2019. The new building will contribute to “…changing who we are as a college,” Hardgrave said.

The new 100,000-square-foot building will offer class rooms and learning areas that facilitate a non-lecture teaching style. There will be capabilities for breakout sessions, flexible learning spaces and technological infrastructure to further efforts in distance learning.

Source: The Auburn Plainsman

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How Startups Can Start Advertising | Forbes

Photo: Derek D. Rucker
"How can startups start advertising? This post looks at what considerations the founders should look at, and what's at risk" according to Derek Rucker, professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management. 

Photo: Shutterstock

How should my start-up approach advertising? It’s a difficult and important question for start-ups. It’s difficult because, relative to established brands, start-ups do not have the luxuries of a dedicated strategist to plan the advertising or an agency to produce the advertising. It’s important because start-ups tend to operate with a narrower margin for error compared to established brands. If the advertising fails, they are more likely to not have the resources for a second effort. Indeed, the success of advertising for a startup might be the difference between gaining or losing momentum for their business. 

The good news is that several strategic considerations can start to help start-ups get more from their advertising. 

First, start-ups should ask themselves what the advertising must accomplish. It’s a common misperception, one I have heard even among people with established brands, to view advertising through the sole directive to increase sales. While the increase in sales in one objective of advertising—and one I value tremendously—advertising can support other important functions. For example, advertising can be used to grow awareness, create buzz, foster positive evaluations, or push consumers towards trial. Each of these outcomes can ultimately contribute to sales, but they represent a different focus that can impact how the advertising is developed and evaluated...

Second, start-ups lack the same insights about consumers as established brands. Put simply, start-ups do not have a massive amount of data on the psychographics of their consumers. This can be a serious issue because it makes it difficult to know what to communicate in one’s advertising. However, savvy start-ups can address this concern in two ways.

First, even in the digital age, it is amazing how far a focus group can go in the service of insight. I have had former students of mine report that they learned the most from simply sitting down and chatting with a target; it’s a tool I’ve seen effectively used for small and large brands alike. Of course, the value of focus groups does not mean start-ups should not take full advantage of the digital age. In fact, this is where a second opportunity exists to obtain insights. Brands can use their advertising to test different strategies in a manner to help them learn about the consumer. Specifically, brands can vary their copy to understand the type of messages and appeals that are more effective. For example, if one has two competing ideas about what will be most effective, a clear means to answer this is to provide an empirical test of the executions. Indeed, small scale digital efforts focused on learning about the consumer can provide another benefit to advertising.

Source: Forbes 

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Why learning is going viral in the digital age | Singapore Business Review - HR & Education

Photo: Karen Cariss
"There’s a revolution taking place in Singapore" says Karen Cariss, one of the founders of PageUp.


It’s not one that’s being screamed from rooftops, but it’s catching like wildfire throughout businesses everywhere, cutting costs, increasing productivity and driving employee engagement.

I’m talking about learning and development (L&D). Yes, that pillar of your organisation that aims to arm your employees with the skills and knowledge they need to develop and grow. Inspired by the Singapore government’s focus and initiatives on lifelong learning, organisations have been ramping up their efforts to up skill and train their staff.
It’s estimated that companies spend $130 billion on L&D programs each year globally. But despite the huge investment, only one third report getting desired results.

This number doesn’t surprise me. In a modern world, L&D professionals are still trying to put a traditional lens on learning. Lengthy internal courses, time consuming presentations and training programs decided on and set by leaders. Let me explain why this alone just won’t work.

A modern workforce
By 2020, Millennials will make up half the global workforce. They are more qualified, tech savvy and ambitious than their predecessors. However, their attention spans are shorter (8.25 seconds) and they are exposed to 5 times more content (100,000 words a day) than those 30 years ago. How much of that 3-hour workshop you spent considerable time and money implementing are they actually going to soak up?...

Make learning viral
Here is what we know about the way we learn. Our attention is highly selective about what we retain and what we choose to discard. Small chunks of information work. Large slabs presented at once make our brains skip off for a time out sipping cocktails by the beach in Barbados. We are also influenced by our peers and look to each other to learn and grow. The trick for L&D professionals is presenting employees with the right information, in the right way, at the right time. Easy peasy right?

Now the new digital landscape might have turned our L&D strategies on their heads, but lucky for us, it has also presented us with innovative technology and software to make this ‘right time, right way’ challenge achievable. Mobile and app-driven solutions give employees the freedom to learn on-demand while cloud-based learning management systems allow people access from any device, anywhere in the world. Even on that beach in Barbados.

Source: Singapore Business Review 

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6 Ways to be a Digital Mentor to Your Kids | JSTOR Daily

In her biweekly column “The Digital Voyage,” 
Alexandra Samuel investigates the key psychological,
 social, and practical challenges of migrating to an online world.
"What’s involved in being a digital mentor?" notes Alexandra Samuel, technology writer, researcher and speaker. 

Photo: iStock

People have been asking me various version of this question in the two weeks since my last column addressed the overblown anxiety about teens and smartphones.  As I noted in that piece, my own research over the past several years has indicated that kids are most successful in navigating the complicated online world when they’ve had the benefit of parental guidance. Rather than focusing on how we can limit our kids’ use of tech, or conversely, enabling them to use when- and however they’d like, we need to be digital mentors who help our kids learn not just the technical but human skills that lead to meaningful online interactions and experiences.

Yet it’s not always obvious how we can mentor our kids online. A digital divide persists, not only between those families who have connectivity and those whose kids have to rely on school or libraries to get online, but in the level of resources families can commit to their kids’ online education. It’s one thing to be a mentor parent if you’ve got cash for kid laptops and weekly tech classes; it’s more challenging if you’re trying to guide your kids through the online world at the end of a double shift, without access to a computer of your own.

Over the course of several years of research on how parents manage their kids’ use of tech, however, I have seen parents embrace mentor strategies that, in many cases, involve no directly financial cost. Even more important, not every mentor is a tech expert. Digital mentorship is a strategy that’s available to any parent. Here’s what’s involved.

1. Be a Role Model 
My last story raised the question of whether today’s kids are suffering less from their own use of tech than from their parents’ online habits. I well know how incredibly hard it is to resist checking your phone when you hear that telltale ping of an email arriving, even if you’re in the middle of a conversation with your kid. (That’s yet another reason it’s smart to turn off push notifications, so it’s up to you to check email when it’s convenient, instead of getting interrupted as it arrives.)

The single most important way we can teach our kids to make thoughtful, moderate use of technology is by modelling that kind of usage ourselves. Showing our kids that we organize our tech usage around our personal and professional priorities—instead of getting caught up and keeping up—is crucial if we want them to have an empowered relationship to the digital world, instead of feeling like they have to join every social network their friends use, or respond to every text the second it appears.

Source: JSTOR Daily 

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

High-speed internet for digital learning | The Daily Star


"To realise the full potential of digital technologies high-speed internet is a basic requirement" continues The Daily Star.

According to a recent report of Bangladesh is ranked 120th among 122 countries in terms of mobile internet speed while the country stands at 78 among 133 countries in terms of broadband speed. This connectivity gap is seriously impeding digital learning in the country.  

To address this gap currently the government is implementing a project named BdREN (Bangladesh Research and Education Network) under Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP) with assistance from World Bank. It is a high-speed data-communications network that is dedicated to meeting the needs of the academic and research communities of both public and private sectors by bringing together institutions, scholars and libraries across the world. Educational institutions have to pay a certain amount of money to buy bandwidth from this high-speed network.

Source: The Daily Star

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Three Reasons to Ditch Technology in Your Flipped Classroom | Faculty Focus

"What would happen if you were to arrive to your classroom, unplug the devices, turn off the projector, and step away from the PowerPoint slides … just for the day?" summarizes .

Photo: Faculty Focus

What would you and your students do in class?

This was the challenge I presented to 100 faculty members who attended my session at the Teaching Professor Conference in St. Louis this past June. The title of the session was, “Using ‘Unplugged’ Flipped Learning Activities to Engage Students.” Our mission was to get “back to the basics” and share strategies to engage students without using technology.

Why Use “Unplugged” Strategies the Flipped Classroom?
Most of the conversations about the flipped classroom include discussions about technological tools. What video recording tool should I use? What tools are best for producing a podcast? What quizzing tool should I use to assess the pre-class work?  What types of clickers should I use in class to assess learning? With all of this focus on technology, why would we want to consider flipping a class without it? Here are three reasons:

1. To focus on the process. For many faculty, the “flip” means something more than how technology is used in and out of the classroom. In my work, for example, the FLIP is when you “Focus on your Learners by Involving them in the Process.” When you FLIP, you intentionally invert the design a learning environment so students engage in activities, apply concepts, and focus on higher level learning outcomes during class time.

This definition encourages us to think strategically about the learning experiences we are designing with our students so they can achieve the learning outcomes. The focus is not the technology. It’s the process. It’s the process of involving our students in applying and analyzing course content, making decisions, critiquing a topic, or evaluating a data set. It’s the process of creating something together to demonstrate understanding or to express ideas. Sometimes technology can help with this process, but sometimes it can become a distraction which could hinder the process.
Read more... 

Source: Faculty Focus

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Female leadership advances slowly in world's top universities | Times Higher Education

Photo: Ellie Bothwell
Ellie Bothwell, reporter covering university rankings, fundraising and all areas of internationalisation. Ellie also reports on higher education in North America reports, "Analysis of THE World University Rankings data shows gender gap for top job"

Martha E. Pollack became president of Cornell University in April 2017
Photo: Cornell University

Less than one-fifth of the world’s top 200 universities are led by women, according to an analysis of Times Higher Education World University Rankings data.
Just 36 – or 18 per cent – of the top 200 universities in the latest 2016-17 ranking have a female leader.

This represents a slight increase since last year when 33 (17 per cent) of the universities ranked in the top 200 of the 2015-16 ranking were led by a woman.

Sweden is once again the country with the highest proportion of female leaders; of the six Swedish institutions that make the world top 200, four are led by women.

Meanwhile, one of Belgium’s three representatives – Ghent University – and two of Switzerland’s seven-strong cohort have a female leader.

The US is home to the highest number of female presidents (12) in the analysis, largely owing to its high number of institutions in THE's top 200. But its share of female leaders at the top of the table has fallen three percentage points to 33 per cent, despite the fact that the number of US top-200 universities remained the same.

Meanwhile, six of the 36 female leaders (17 per cent) are based in the UK, including Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of the world’s highest-ranked institution, the University of Oxford.

But gender parity in the world’s two leading higher education nations is little better than the average for the entire top 200, with only 19 per cent of elite US and UK universities headed by women.

Of the 28 countries that feature in the top 200, 17 have no female university leaders.

In total, 12 universities that feature in the top 200 are new entrants since last year. Of those that have remained, 31 have new vice-chancellors or presidents.
Recent figures published by the American Council on Education revealed that female university leaders in the US were more likely than men to be first-time college presidents (78 per cent versus 73 per cent) and had shorter tenures in their presidency than men.

Women were also more likely than men to have altered their career progression to “care for others” (32 per cent versus 16 per cent), according to the American College President Study, which surveyed 1,546 US university leaders.

Recommended Reading

Difficult ascent: only 15 per cent of European universities are led by women
Photo: Getty

New group aims to increase female leadership in Europe by Jack Grove, covers careers in higher education, in particular matters relating to early career academics and PhD students, for Times Higher Education.
"Despite a long history of trailblazing female academics, Europe's academy is making slow progress in promoting more women to senior roles, says lobby group." 

Source:Times Higher Education (THE)  

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

New learning portal = More screen time? | The Straits Times

"Parents worry kids may be glued to devices; experts say students can be taught to manage time" insist Calvin Yang.

Social studies teacher Tay Peiyong with his students from Admiralty Secondary School on Wednesday. The school is one of 62 where the Singapore Student Learning Space is being piloted.

While parents are excited about the new e-learning platform that gives students access to a range of learning tools, they worry it will mean more screen time for their children.

The Singapore Student Learning Space, which is being piloted at 62 primary and secondary schools, will be rolled out to all schools from next year.

With the online platform, students can learn at their own pace anywhere, any time by having access to videos, games and animations that will reinforce the learning of subjects, including English, mathematics, history and even physical education.

Mr Joseph Chua, 40, who is self- employed and has an 11-year-old son, said: "Students can use these valuable resources and learn at their own pace."

But another parent, Mrs Patricia Tan, 41, worries that her 10-year- old son may end up spending too much time on devices. "They may end up fiddling with their devices even when they are not using the resources," she said.

Studies bear out her concern.

A recent one by think-tank DQ Institute and Nanyang Technological University found that 12-year-olds already spend almost 46 hours a week - or over 6½ hours daily - glued to a screen. Even nine-year- olds are spending over 24 hours a week, or about 3½hours daily, doing the same.

However, National University of Singapore lecturer Kelvin Seah believes that with the portal, students may learn to better use their screen time.

Source: The Straits Times  

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How Advancements In AI Could Radically Change The Way Children Learn In The Classroom | Forbes - CommunityVoice

Photo: Andrew B. Raupp
"To best equip tomorrow's leaders, we must provide students with technologically rich, dynamic learning tools that emphasize critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills" summarizes Andrew B. Raupp, Founder @stemdotorg, democratizing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through sound policy globally.

Photo: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg

Advances in technology continue to change the way we live, earn a living and learn. These shifts affect not only the types of courses that college students take, but also may soon alter the very capacity of our brains’ abilities to create and store memories. The story of how technology affects the way we live and learn is one that is still being written, but we’re excited to track the ways in which the future is already happening -- in our classrooms and in our minds.

Distance Learning, Online Learning
According to a 2017 study, 30% of all enrolled higher education students take at least one distance learning course. Distance learning refers to any courses that take place fully in an online space with no in-person meetings or class requirements. Distance learning classes typically feature a blend of learning approaches, some traditional and some more innovative.

One innovative approach that’s being used in both distance learning courses as well as in-person courses is commonly referred to as online learning. Unlike distance learning, online learning does not necessarily happen far from the classroom walls; rather, online learning refers to a blended learning strategy that incorporates online learning tools into the classroom experience. 

Online learning allows students to learn in a broader range of styles instead of simply sitting and listening to an instructor. It's also the form of learning that is conducive to the advancements being made in artificial intelligence, and is arguably more effective for the needs of our modern workplace. But there are new challenges that come along with new approaches as well.

Source: Forbes

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