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From video marking to Second Life, technology is transforming the options for online students

Via The Guardian:

From video marking to Second Life, technology is transforming the options for online students There’s not a red pen in sight when Russell Stannard marks his master’s students’ essays – but it’s not because the students never make mistakes. Stannard doesn’t use a pen, or even paper, to give his students feedback. Instead – and in keeping with his role as principal lecturer in multimedia and ICT – he turns on his computer, records himself marking the work on-screen, then emails his students the video. When students open the video, they can hear Stannard’s voice commentary as well as watch him going through the process of marking. The resulting feedback is more comprehensive than the more conventional notes scrawled in the margin, and Stannard, who works at the University of Westminster, now believes it has the potential to revolutionise distance learning. “It started when I began to realise how useful technology can be for teaching,” he says. “I wanted to help other teachers, as well as general computer-users, to learn how to use tools like podcasting, PowerPoint and BlackBoard, software that a lot of schools and universities use to allow teachers to provide course material and communicate with students online.” Follow the mouse So he set up a site to teach people how to use the technology, providing simple, video tutorials where users watch Stannard’s mouse pointing out how to use the software, with his voice providing constant commentary. He used the screen-videoing software Camtasia, and the site rapidly took off: it now receives more than 10,000 hits a month. Then he started considering integrating the teaching style into his own university work. “I was mainly teaching students on master’s courses in media and technology, and I realised that while I was talking about the benefits of new technology, I should be making the most of the opportunity to use it,” says Stannard. “That’s when I had the idea of video marking. It was immediately well received. Students receive both aural and visual feedback – and while we always talk about different learning styles, there are also benefits to receiving feedback in different ways.” Stannard says the technology is particularly useful for dyslexic students, who appreciate the spoken commentary, and students learning English as a foreign language. “I started my teaching career in language learning, so I quickly realised that students learning English would benefit from video marking. They can replay the videos as many times as they like and learn more about reasons for their mistakes.” Stannard also believes video marking is “perfect” for distance-learning students. “It brings them much closer to the teacher,” he says. “They can listen, see and understand how the teacher is marking their piece, why specific comments have been made, and so on.” The technology is already being used for informal distance learning, as Stannard uploads the videos he makes for his lectures at Westminster to multimedia trainingvideos.com.

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From video marking to Second Life, technology is transforming the options for online students

Colleges stumble on to the Twitter scene

Via The Guardian:

Further education colleges are starting to catch on to social messaging. Sort of Are you a member of the Twitterati? You’ve heard of MySpace and you’re probably a whiz when it comes to Facebook, but it seems that we should be all of “a-Twitter” now. Twitter is the website on which users post statements called “tweets”, which can have up to 140 characters. More than 300,000 tweets are already sent every day in the UK. The actor Stephen Fry is one famous exponent, and MPs have jumped on the bandwagon too. Jim Knight, the schools minister, is a regular tweeter, whose recent posts range from the inane “realised I never had that pancake yesterday – does that mean I can ignore Lent?” to the more waspish “wondering for how much longer we’ll have to listen to Michael Gove”. The further education minister, Siôn Simon, has just started tweeting and the higher education minister, David Lammy, even appeared on the BBC’s One Show extolling Twitter’s virtues. Now even a few further education colleges have caught on. Sort of. When it comes to writing succinctly, we further education sorts do struggle. We’re used to using eight words when one would do, and flabby paragraphs with 50-word sentences. And we do love our jargon. Twitter pioneers include Deeside College, Havering College, Regents College, Sunderland College and my own college, Cornwall. Breaking news News of the Chinese earthquake last year broke on Twitter, as did the first images of the US Airways plane that had to crash-land in New York’s Hudson river and last week’s crash at Schipol airport near Amsterdam

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Colleges stumble on to the Twitter scene

You’ll Download Physical Objects Sooner Than You Think, Thanks to Kids Like These

Via Mashable

File-sharing site The Pirate Bay caused an Internet stir last week when it introduced a new content category called “Physibles,” essentially designed to allow people to pass one another physical objects for download . The term refers to data files that are actually able to become physical objects via 3D printing technology. Before long, The Pirate Bay said in a blog post, “you will print the spare parts for your vehicles.” Some saw the announcement as an overhyped publicity stunt. Others saw a powerful revolution of how humans acquire essential goods. But one expert Mashable spoke with this week said that 3D printing is indeed bound for the mainstream — and even sooner than The Pirate Bay might think. “If you want to draw that parallel, we are kind of in the early 1980s of the computer industry right now, when it was just moving from mainframes into home computers,” said Hod Lipson , a Cornell University associate professor of both Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Computing & Information Science. “I see a big future for 3D printers in personal-scale applications that will unfold over the next decade.” That big future will probably include kids like Riley Lewis and Vernon Bussler (right and left, respectively, in the accompanying photo). Riley and Vernon are eighth graders. Along with a small cohort of classmates at Discovery Charter School in the Bay Area, they’re already getting pretty deep into the world of 3D design and printing. After Riley developed a strong interest and aptitude for 3D printing a couple of years ago, a company called 3D Systems donated a 3D printer worth several hundred dollars for him to use at school. The class of some dozen students is one a very small number of middle school labs beginning to delve into the emerging industry. The group’s work has been featured in a Popular Science blog post, and they have already produced items including dice, jewelry and replacement parts for the printer. Their progress reflects a tangible future for the medium that exists outside of exclusive laboratories and research facilities. “It’s just amazing to have an idea and then be able to create a perfect rendition of it, something you can physically hold and touch,” Riley told Mashable . Vernon said that their classmates react with “a combination of ‘that’s cool’ and ‘I don’t get it.’” According to Lipson, more and more people will begin to “get it” in the coming years.

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You’ll Download Physical Objects Sooner Than You Think, Thanks to Kids Like These

Our Take: We love this idea imagine being able to email your physical project work to your examiner half way round the world.

New Website Connects Language Newbies With Native Speakers

Via Mashable

Name: Verbling Quick Pitch: Verbling is a web-based platform where individuals can pair up with native speakers to practice speaking new languages on live video.

Genius Idea: Verbling makes language learning easy by offering a free way to connect instantly with native speakers with timed prompts and conversation-starting topics. Verbling was launched in 2011 when co-founders Jacob Jolis and Mikael Bernstein met while attending Stanford University. The two dropped out of the prestigious school and teamed up with then-Google software engineer Fred Wulff to build the language-learning startup of their dreams. Verbling.com, a Y Combinator -backed startup, is a website that people can access globally to speak with native language speakers living in different countries. For now, only Spanish and English speakers can access video chat, but the founders hope to add Arabic, French, Chinese and German — among 10 languages in total — by the end of the year. The idea of Verbling is to solve one of the biggest problems for language learners — not being able to practice speaking with natives. People devote time and money to learning language basics, but slowly lose linguistic skills without practice. “It’s very difficult to find native speakers without going abroad,” said Bernstein who speaks English, Swedish, German and Russian. “With Verbling, you can do that instantaneously. You don’t have to schedule or waste any time trying to find someone.” Verbling is all about the trade.

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New Website Connects Language Newbies With Native Speakers

Why Social Media Needs to Get More Personal


Via Mashable

Patrick Moorhead is president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, a highly regarded high-tech industry analyst firm focused on the disruptive ecosystems of smartphones, tablets, personal computers, living room devices and social media. New social media service  Path  promises to bring your true friends (not just acquaintances) together in a much more personal way. However, neither Path, nor Facebook, nor Google+ have fully comprehended that personal circles vary by context, and that context changes rapidly and infinitely.

 

In the end, while services like Path get us closer to “personal,” they are still very much “broadcast” versions of social media. Ultimately, new services will arise that will allow the user to easily and naturally build relationships, physically meet and communicate with one’s rapidly morphing groups of true friends.

     

How Humans Interact To fully understand how structured broadcast and personal social models differ, we need to look at real life. First and foremost, people segment friends and groups based on a specific context. To put it simply, there are people we are very close with, people we may have never heard of, but who seem “safe,” then there are thousands of groups in-between. And that context only changes more over time. Even though it sounds confusing, we build and segment groups because the action has been hard-wired into our brains.

The “Broadcast” Social Media Problem The Facebook, Google+ and Path networks liken online interaction to shouting in different-sized movie theaters, each of which contains a different combination of close friends, family members and acquaintances. Most people in the movie theater aren’t even listening; others listen but ignore; and an even smaller group reacts to what’s being said. For most people on the receiving end, a post is typically out of context, irrelevant, doesn’t require a response or was just plain missed. For example, some children aren’t on Facebook during school hours, and many older demographics don’t check notifications on a regular basis, or else they use their accounts for very specific purposes only.   What Defines “Personal” Today? I outlined the challenges that come with a “broadcast” model of social media. So what do I mean by “personal?” Quite simply, personal reflects how we interact in the physical world. The infinite number of groups we encounter in the everyday world communicate in a way you would expect: over the phone, through text, BlackBerry Messenger, face to face and via email. However, some of the tools we employ — even in today’s fast-paced digital environment — are slow, inefficient or even inaccessible.

For example, three families may want to go out to dinner after the eighth grade basketball game. Let’s assume there are six parents total and kids don’t get a vote. Just imagine how many texts it will take to arrange this.

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Why Social Media Needs to Get More Personal

Facebook Kills University’s Historical Profiles

Via Mashable

Joe McDonald died in 1971. This morning on Facebook , he died again. Facebook disabled the profiles of McDonald and his girlfriend Leola Lewis Wednesday morning, according to Donnelyn Curtis, the University of Nevada librarian who set the profiles up as a way to engage students in learning about history . “I was a little angry that I didn’t get any warning,” Curtis told Mashable . “I think that would have been polite.” The couple were both students at the university in the 1910s before marrying in 1915. Curtis said that when she tried to log in to the fictitious profiles this morning, she got an automated message from Facebook saying the accounts had been disabled for violating the social network’s terms of service. “I guess popularity kills,” Curtis said. Curtis actually set the McDonald and Lewis profiles up more than two years ago — but it wasn’t until last week, when she began providing more frequent status updates and photos, that they began attracting attention from the media and public. While McDonald and Lewis initially only had friends who were distant relatives, their lists of connections swelled from just over 100 each to more than 1,000. They were featured in Mashable , The Chronicle of Higher Education , Yahoo! News and the UK’s Daily Mail . Lewis and McDonald posted historically accurate status updates about their lives, photos of campus events such as “hop” dances and “Rugby Football matches” and listed musicians such as Scott Joplin and writers including Jane Austen among their favorites. Their profiles were hailed by many experts as a powerful example of social media’s power to bring history to life for a digitally absorbed generation. But, as fake profiles, McDonald and Lewis clearly violated the

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Facebook Kills University’s Historical Profiles

Apple Announces ‘Education’ Event for Next Week

Via Mashable

Apple has invited media outlets for a special event on Jan. 19 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The invitation mentions an announcement about education. The event begins at 10 a.m. ET. Mashable speculated earlier this month that the event would revolve around the publishing world. Perhaps Apple will be asking publishers to put textbooks on iOS devices? Mashable received an invite and will be covering the event. What do you think Apple has planned for the event? Tell us in the comments. More About: apple , trending For more Tech coverage: Follow Mashable Tech on Twitter Become a Fan on Facebook Subscribe to the Tech channel Download our free apps for Android , Mac , iPhone and iPad

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Apple Announces ‘Education’ Event for Next Week

Students Turn Classroom Notes Into Cash With Social Site NoteWagon

 

NotesWagon

Via Mashable

As universities become more competitive amid a tough-hiring environment, students are faced now more than ever with the pressure to succeed in the classroom. To alleviate some of those pressures, a service called NoteWagon encourages — with cash — students to work together and exchange notes on various subjects.

The social platform is trying to redefine college education by offering students the ability to swap course content in a social manner. Students who take excellent notes in class and are willing to help their peers can upload notes and study guides from their university classes and share them with others. NoteWagon pays these students for their contributions and also extracts a small fee from the ones that access the notes.

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Students Turn Classroom Notes Into Cash With Social Site NoteWagon

46% of Moms Don’t Let Their Children See Their Full Facebook Profile [STUDY]

Via Mashable

The oft-discussed dilemma of whether to share your Facebook profile with your mom often overlooks an important factor: Does she want to share hers with you? A recent study suggests that about half of the time, the answer is no — at least not the whole profile. The survey, which was conducted by the publisher of publisher of Parenting and Babytalk magazines, found that 46% of mothers who responded don’t give their children full access to their profiles. This reluctance to overshare doesn’t necessarily stop them from friending their children, or even their children’s friends.

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46% of Moms Don’t Let Their Children See Their Full Facebook Profile [STUDY]