Tag Archives: Internet

Digital Divide: If You’re Reading This, You’re One of the Lucky Ones [INFOGRAPHIC]

Via Mashable

Even in the richest countries on the planet such as the U.S., not everyone has easy access to this cornucopia of connectivity, the Internet. The Internet is a tremendous growth engine, responsible for 21% of economic growth in the more advanced countries in the world, according to a McKinsey study . While those of us in the United States complain about how we have to pay more for Internet service that’s slower than those of other first-world countries, within the United States there’s a gaping chasm between the haves and the have-nots. In this infographic by OnlineITdegree.net , an ad-free website describing itself as “an online informational resource for individuals looking to pursue IT degree of related education and careers,” you’ll find surprising information about the differences in Internet access in the United States. There are vast gaps between Internet accessibility in cities and rural areas, racial disparities in Internet access (which isn’t as pronounced as it was a decade ago), and the growing gap between rich and poor and its influence on who goes without computers or Internet access. Beyond that, you’ll see more information about how the U.S. lags behind other countries in Internet technology, broadband speed and access. This is the part that has us scratching our heads. Why do you think the United States lags behind less-wealthy countries when it comes to Internet access? Do find that as frustrating as we do? What do you think should be done about this persistent digital divide? Let us know in the comments. Infographic courtesy OnlineITDegree.net More About: digital divide , infographic , internet , 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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Digital Divide: If You’re Reading This, You’re One of the Lucky Ones [INFOGRAPHIC]

Open University learning is a joy | Jules Horne

Via The Guardian:

It may not have the nightlife but as a way of accessing a flexible, quality education, I’ve found the Open University can’t be beaten He was a flying goth with rocker looks. I was a new Open University tutor researching a play. I ventured into the OU room in Second Life , and after a few introductions (He: F04 R08 . AL? Me: Yep. A363 . R11), we had a long chat about non-Euclidean geometry. Call me strange, but I found this amazingly thrilling. Living in a rural area, you don’t come across many Gauss experts. Vast academic libraries, with international journals on tap, books and courses to get your brain cranking, people who enjoy a good barney about Shakespeare’s sonnets: the OU has brought all that to my doorstep, and it’s been an absolute joy. A quick straw poll reveals quite a few of my friends are closet OU students – they just haven’t mentioned it. All over the country, distance learning is helping students overcome not just geography, but also disability, culture, financial and family circumstances. Susanne Lockie, a full-time mother to three children, told me the mental stimulation has made it a lifesaver: “I need to keep my skills ticking over, but I couldn’t study to a high level without that flexibility. I’ve been able to get credit for my previous full-time study in nursing, which was interrupted when I had a family. I’ve finished my Open degree now, but I need to spend more time with my parents at the moment, so I’m taking a year out before starting on honours.” Employers tend to be supportive of OU study, knowing that OU students are likely to be unusually determined and committed. That’s why it’s all the more disappointing when you hear lazy “not a real degree, then” comments and ancient stereotypes of tweedy tutors and chalk-and-talk TV. I’ve found the quality of OU learning materials outstanding. The modular structure means you cover the ground systematically, with a clear understanding of context. Elsewhere (I studied at Oxford), I’ve found the learning experience equally stimulating, but much more haphazard.

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Open University learning is a joy | Jules Horne

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

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.

The secret to e-learning

Via The Guardian:

Online courses are on the rise as firms continue to cut training budgets and the newly redundant update their skill sets Your desk may overlook the desolate edge-of-town business park and the only lunch venue is the canteen, but look on the bright side: you could spend your meal break browsing a book from the New York public library, absorbing an Oxford University lecture on the fall of the Roman empire or taking a short course to enhance your mastery of Excel. Immobilised office workers can nowadays roam the intellectual world courtesy of the internet and can foster passions or update skills in brief, instant gobbets when their in-tray allows, instead of committing themselves to a strict academic timetable. Now the economic downturn has forced firms to reduce staff training and the newly redundant have to rethink their skills to impress potential employers, online resources are likely to become crucial. “This is the time when people are thinking about their skills sets, either because they want to get a better job or because they want to learn more about, say, Renaissance art,,” says Adrian Beddow of Learndirect , which offers a range of downloadable e-courses covering corporate skills from IT to employment law

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The secret to e-learning

Children with internet access at home gain exam advantage, charity says

Via The Guardian:

The e-Learning Foundation says pupils whose families have a computer are likely to achieve a higher grade A million children’s exam results will be on average a grade lower than their peers this year because they do not have internet access at home, according to a leading charity. The e-Learning Foundation says that children without access to a computer in the evening are being increasingly disadvantaged in the classroom. Research suggests that 1.2 million teenagers log on to revision pages every week and those using online resources were on average likely to attain a grade higher in exams

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Children with internet access at home gain exam advantage, charity says

Teachers must think internet-first

Via The Guardian:

Giving everyone digital skills is a key factor in tackling long-term unemployment, argues Martha Lane Fox Last week, the CBI pressed the government to apply the same rigour to tackling long-term unemployment as it has shown to reducing the deficit. The scale of the challenge certainly warrants such a focus. In the UK, 2.46 million people are unemployed; 5 million people of working age are on benefits and 2 million children live in households where nobody works. These statistics carry a huge economic and social cost: for society and government, for families and for the individual.

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Teachers must think internet-first

No escape from turning up to class

Via The Guardian:

Enthusiasm for virtual learning is limited, say Ofsted School inspectors yesterday dampened ministers’ hopes that tens of thousands of students would soon be logging on to online classrooms. Ofsted said many schools and colleges in England were reluctant to embrace new technology which enables teaching and learning to continue online and out-of-hours

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No escape from turning up to class

Danish schools ready to trial internet access during exams

Via The Guardian:

Each summer we’re subjected to a string of arguments over whether getting an A-level or GCSE is getting easier. But thanks to officials in Denmark, it may be time to stop talking about dumbing down exams and start talking about wiring them up instead. According to reports in the Danish media, ministers are about to trial a system where A-level students are allowed to take internet-connected computers into exams. The reason, say officials, is that collecting facts and figures is now a task best left to computers – and that youngsters taking exams shouldn’t necessarily be blocked from one of the tools they are routinely expected to use in their studies. “It is a good way to get historical facts or an article that may be useful in a written civics exam, for example,” Søren Vagner, a consultant with the Ministry of Education told Danish newspaper MetroXpress last week. At a simple level, this makes a lot of sense. The internet is now such a powerful research tool that it has done away with lots of the old methods like learning by rote – turning facts into commodities in the same way that calculators dispense with some basic mathematical activities. Why bother remembering facts and figures when you can call them up on demand with a computer? There are a number of potential pitfalls, however, not least protecting against plagiarism and the problem of students lifting information from online sources to pad out work. Vagner was quoted as saying that examiners would keep a close eye on what students submitted, and would conduct regular, randomised checks of the web pages that they had used in the course of their research to keep tabs. Checking for plagiarism is relatively easy, of course (a simple web search for groups of words would do half the job) and web-based plagiarism is something that schools are already trying to cope with . But the biggest problem is one that doesn’t seem to be addressed: the possibility for students (or other people) to collude over their exams.

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Danish schools ready to trial internet access during exams