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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Expanding education: Why distance learning is called Alaska’s wave of the future | Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

"Educational institutions statewide are embracing technology to help students achieve their higher education goals." according to Alaska Dispatch News.

In Alaska, post-secondary education can come at a higher-than-usual price especially for people hailing from rural parts of the state. Besides the usual expenses, students face the steep cost of travel: 
Flying from a remote West Coast or Bristol Bay community to a university in Anchorage or a training center in Bethel or Fairbanks can be costly.
Which is why educational institutions around Alaska are turning to technology to make education accessible for students from every corner of the Last Frontier.

At the University of Alaska, Anchorage, students have access to web-based courses in a variety of subjects, at a variety of educational levels. Utqiagvik's IỊisaġvik College offers distance learning classes to students in remote villages across the North Slope. At Alaska Pacific University, it all started with the Rural Alaska Native Adult Distance Education Program (RANA). At the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, there's an ongoing, newly expanded effort to use distance learning to educate future community health aides and other medical professionals. The concept is simple: deliver high-quality instruction via the internet.
"It is sort of the wave of education of the future," said Shane Southwick, ANTHC's director of distance education. "It's already here. Universities are doing it, students want to do it and research shows it's just as effective."
Southwick came to ANTHC in 2016 to lead the consortium's newly established distance education department, where he works alongside seven instructional designers. Their first task? Bringing a large portion of the Alaska Community Health Aide Program online.

"They knew there was a need, they knew they needed to get on it," said Tim Jeter, one of the department's  seven instructional  designers. "I give big kudos to ANTHC for committing to this."
The health aide program, which prepares Alaskans to provide vital medical services in more than 170 communities statewide, involves four training sessions that traditionally take place at one of several training centers around Alaska. For the last eight years, Jeter said, students have been able to take some of those classes online, using videoconference technology to meet with teachers in real time. 
The new distance learning platform will be asynchronous, allowing students to complete more lessons remotely, on their own time, he said

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College hit by tornado turns to online learning | WTOK

William Carey University says it will use online systems as much as possible to finish winter trimester classes and to teach students during the spring trimester.


The school's Hattiesburg campus was heavily damaged by Saturday's tornado in south Mississippi, leading officials to send home 800 students who live on campus and call off classes on Monday for the 3,200 students who study there.

Spokeswoman Mia Overton told The Associated Press Monday that William Carey's medical school is likely to offer classes in a former nursing building recently vacated by the University of Southern 
Mississippi. USM, which was hit by a 2013 tornado, has pledged support to William Carey.

Overton says the Baptist school is trying to find places for other classes that require laboratory work or in-person meetings.

School officials are trying to find temporary housing for about 150 students from foreign countries or faraway states. Overton says they hope to reopen four lightly damaged dorms within 30 days.

Some international students are now staying at USM, and others could stay at the National Guard's Camp Shelby.

Source: WTOK

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Boomers Need to Learn Mobile FinTech | Huffington Post

Follow on Twitter as @Terrytalksmoney
"If the very word “fintech” makes you flinch, you may be a baby boomer who has sworn off most “modern” money technologies. You’re not alone.", says Terry Savage, nationally recognized expert on personal finance, the economy and the markets.

A 2016 Federal Reserve study found that only 18 percent of those over the age of 60 use mobile banking services (vs. 67 percent between the ages of 18 to 29, and 58 percent ages 30 to 44). In fact, only about half of Americans over 65 own a smartphone or tablet, according to a 2014 Pew Research study.

It’s never too late to start learning to use smartphone technology. The immediate incentive is to learn texting so your children and grandchildren will stay in touch! Tip: You don’t have to give up your friendly flip-phone right away. Just ask your adult children for a smartphone with its own number on their family plan, along with a lesson in texting and Skype or FaceTime (programs that let you see your kids as you talk).

Your smartphone offers you the convenience of controlling your life even if you are not at your desk.

If you don’t have adult children nearby to teach you, contact your local senior center, since almost all offer courses. Apple has free seminars in its stores, where you can get all your questions answered. And you’ll learn how to make sure you’re using a secure wifi connection or connect using cellular data.

Here are three steps to getting started using smartphone technology to manage important parts of your life. You may want to start learning the basics on your own home computer. Then graduate to using your smartphone safely and securely to track your money, your meds and your life. 

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Lincoln-Way adopts five-year plan | Chicago Tribune

"While restoring financial stability has been the focus of Lincoln-Way High School District 210 since it landed on the state's financial watch list in 2015, the school board recently adopted several goals by community and education leaders in a five-year Strategic Action Plan." notes , Contact Reporter.

Developed over the past few months with input from scores of community members, the plan lays out goals and how to achieve them, in areas of finance, curriculum, human resources, community relations, technology, buildings and grounds.

On Thursday night, the board approved a brochure that outlines several goals ranging from areas of finance to staffing that it plans to attack this year, and will review a more detailed list of goals and set a course for the future at its February and March meetings.

The brochure is a "snippet" of the detailed plan, said consultant Robert Madonia, who worked with school officials and community members to develop the plan. "I am extremely impressed with the detail and depth of the plan."

Once a goal is achieved, another can be added from the lengthy list that was prioritized by the planning committee, said Madonia, a retired superintendent from Frankfort School District 157-C who donated his services to the district.

Some of the goals for this year, the board has already been working on, and others will be ongoing, said Superintendent Scott Tingley.
Read more... 

Source: Chicago Tribune

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Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had | Stenhouse Publishers

"Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had" shows teachers how to make math class more like the playful, creative, and captivating experience mathematicians describe. Author Tracy Zager tackles big ideas and instructional decisions, drawing on years of work with amazing teachers from across the country." summarizes Education Week.

"While mathematicians describe mathematics as playful, beautiful, creative, and captivating, many students describe math class as boring, stressful, useless, and humiliating. In Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had, Tracy Zager helps teachers close this gap by making math class more like mathematics."

Tracy spent years with highly skilled math teachers in a diverse range of settings and grades. You’ll find this book jam-packed with new thinking from these vibrant classrooms. You’ll grapple with big ideas: How is taking risks inherent to mathematics? How do mathematicians balance intuition and proof? How can teachers value both productive mistakes and precision? You’ll also find dozens of practical teaching techniques you can try in your classroom right away—strategies to stimulate students to connect ideas; rich tasks that encourage students to wonder, generalize, conjecture, and persevere; routines to teach students how to collaborate.

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Breaking the Cycle
    Chapter 2: What Do Mathematicians Do?
    Chapter 3: Mathematicians Take Risks
    Chapter 4: Mathematicians Make Mistakes
    Chapter 5: Mathematicians Are Precise
    Chapter 6: Mathematicians Rise to a Challenge
    Chapter 7: Mathematicians Ask Questions
    Chapter 8: Mathematicians Connect Ideas
    Chapter 9: Mathematicians Use Intuition
    Chapter 10: Mathematicians Reason
    Chapter 11: Mathematicians Prove
    Chapter 12: Mathematicians Work Together and Alone
    Chapter 13: "Favorable Conditions" for All Math Students

Preview the entire book online!

About Tracy Johnston Zager 
Tracy has worked in many schools over the course of her career, first as a fourth-grade teacher, then as a supervisor of pre-service teachers and their in-service mentors, and currently as a math coach. Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had grew out of Tracy’s work in classrooms, where she's most in her element, learning together with teachers and students over time. 

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From Chalkboard to Keyboard: Transitioning to the Virtual Classroom | NetSpeed Learning Solutions

Photo: Cynthia Clay
"From Chalkboard to Keyboard: Transitioning to the Virtual Classroom, by Cynthia Clay, is packed with tips and insights to help you transfer your training experience from the face-to-face classroom to the virtual one." 
Download this free ebook

This ebook contains many of the techniques that we teach our clients in our Virtual Facilitator Trainer Certification course, and is intended for experienced trainers and instructional designers who are making the transition from the face-to-face classroom to the virtual classroom.
Download this free ebook 

Additional resources
Download this infographic

"Brain-based Learning Infographic. We hope you can use them to propel your virtual classroom from boring and predictable to compelling and vibrant."

Source: NetSpeed Learning Solutions

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Monday, January 23, 2017

40+ Instructional Design and eLearning Books | Experiencing E-Learning

Photo: Christy Tucker
Christy Tucker writes, "If your New Year’s Resolution is to read more books, you’ve found the right post. This is a compilation and update of my previous book list and review posts. Instructional Design. Design For How People Learn by Julie Dirksen is one of my favorite books in the field. I’ve recommended it many times. It’s easy to read and understand. Read my review for more details. Visual Design."

The Accidental Instructional Designer by Cammy Bean is especially good for career changers and those who landed in instructional design from other fields. It provides a model for the range of skills that fall under the umbrella of “instructional design.” It includes practical tips on topics such as working with SMEs and avoiding “clicky clicky bling bling” or flashy interactivity and multimedia for the sake of being flashy. The design models in chapter 4 are probably familiar to many with experience in the field but very helpful to beginners who want to do more than just the same type of course and interaction for every situation.

Training Design Basics by Saul Carliner is a perfect book for people just getting started in the field, especially those who are current students or are switching to instructional design or training from another career. Read my full review about this practical book.

Performance-Focused Smile Sheets by Will Thalheimer explains why most of our training evaluations don’t provide useful data and explains how to fix it. Read my  review of Performance-Focused Smile Sheets.

First Principles of Instruction: Identifying and Designing Effective, Efficient and Engaging Instruction is David Merrill’s effort to distill the common principles from multiple instructional design theories. A shorter, earlier explanation of these principles is available as a free PDF...

eLearning and Blended Learning
e-Learning and the Science of Instruction by Ruth Clark and Richard Mayer is one of the first books on e-learning I bought, and I still refer to it when I need evidence to justify decisions to clients. If you’ve ever wondered if formal or conversational style is better for learning (conversational) or if your on-screen text should replicate what’s on the screen (no, it shouldn’t), this book explains it with the research to back it up. It’s not perfect; the authors do sometimes disregard research that contradicts their own findings, and they sometimes make their principles seem more absolute than they probably are in real life. However, it’s still a solid reference.

Designing Successful e-Learning by Michael Allen tells you to “Forget What You Know About Instructional Design and Do Something Interesting.” All of Allen’s books are focused on helping people design e-learning that is interactive, engaging, and useful.
Although I have several of Michael Allen’s books, I haven’t read Leaving ADDIE for SAM yet. Several people recommended that (including some who said they wished their organizations would pay more attention to it and move to a more agile approach).

William Horton’s e-Learning by Design is Nahla Anwer Aly’s favorite book in the field. I read it a number of years ago. Although I don’t refer back to it as often as some of my other books, it’s a strong selection, especially for those early in their careers.

Source: Experiencing E-Learning

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How to get off your smartphone and start being super-productive | TrainingZone

Photo: Emma Sue Prince
Emma Sue Prince, Director, Unimenta and author of The Advantage says, "We live inside our smartphones. I can’t be the only one to be aware, every time I walk down the street, commuting or just at my local sports club, that most of the time we are completely bound up in our devices."

Photo: OcusFocus/iStock
Our smartphones have become Swiss army knife–like appliances that include a dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, video games, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, satellite navigation, texter, tweeter, social media updater, and flashlight.

They’re more powerful and do more things than the most advanced computer at IBM corporate headquarters 30 years ago. And we use them all the time, part of a 21st-century mania for cramming everything we do into every single spare moment of downtime.

Technology has given us the ability to do anything we feel like at any time – every time we respond to our phone, look up something on the internet, check email or instant messages, send a text – every single time this tweaks the novelty-seeking, reward-seeking centres of our brain giving an enormous hit of dopamine – effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and constantly searching for external stimulation.

Our brains are not wired to multi-task when we do several things at once – all that is really happening
is that we are just switching from one thing to another really quickly.

And every time we switch there is a cognitive cost. Yet because of the power of dopamine, the urge to check and respond to messages or quickly look something up is in fact compelling. Why?

Dopamine is the culprit... 
When the brain is presented with an unexpected reward, dopamine increases, prompting the limbic reward system to take note and remember how to repeat such a positive experience.

This impacts memory and habit formation.

So every time we get that hit of dopamine when we respond to our distractions, we are in effect teaching our brain to continue to do so which is why it feels so compelling to check each time we are aware of a new message or piece of information.

This has a big impact on our ability to manage time efficiently – we end up doing less. How many times have you started on one project only to flit to email and then to a message or a website because something random occurred to you.

By the time you’ve done that you will have lost momentum and concentration on what you were originally working on – it will now take you twice or three times as long to complete.
Read more... 

Additional resources

The Advantage:
The 7 Soft Skills You Need to Stay One Step Ahead
Amazon writes, "Our world is changing - so fast, so furiously, so ferociously - that to stand out at work you need to change what you're doing. And quickly. To get ahead, you need soft skills. To stay ahead you need The Advantage

Source: TrainingZone

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Berkeley among top U.S. universities for upward mobility | UC Berkeley

"A new upward mobility report card for U.S. colleges and universities reveals high rankings for California schools, from community colleges to the University of California, including UC Berkeley." inform Kathleen Maclay, Media relations.

Photo: UC Berkeley

The report card researchers, whose work is covered in detail in the New York Times’ The Upshot blog today, say the results may guide efforts to further increase upward mobility through higher education, expand access to the mid-tier, high-mobility colleges and enhance efforts to expand outreach to students in middle and elementary schools.

The report is based on publicly available statistics for all students ages 18-22 enrolled in each college from 1999 to 2013, including the students’ earnings while in their early 30s and their parents’ incomes. Upward mobility rates are determined by the fraction of an institution’s students who come from families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution and end up in the top fifth.

Two UC Berkeley economists, Danny Yagan and Emmanuel Saez, are among the authors of the Equality of Opportunity Project’s report card. They worked alongside economists Raj Chetty of Stanford University and John N. Friedman of Brown University and with Nicholas Turner of the U.S. Treasury Department.

Highlights of their research on California include:
Read more... 

Source: UC Berkeley 

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How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next | The Guardian

"The ability of statistics to accurately represent the world is declining. In its wake, a new age of big data controlled by private companies is taking over – and putting democracy in peril" argues William Davies, sociologist and political economist.

Photo: The Guardian
In theory, statistics should help settle arguments. They ought to provide stable reference points that everyone – no matter what their politics – can agree on. Yet in recent years, divergent levels of trust in statistics has become one of the key schisms that have opened up in western liberal democracies. Shortly before the November presidential election, a study in the US discovered that 68% of Trump supporters distrusted the economic data published by the federal government. In the UK, a research project by Cambridge University and YouGov looking at conspiracy theories discovered that 55% of the population believes that the government “is hiding the truth about the number of immigrants living here”.

Rather than diffusing controversy and polarisation, it seems as if statistics are actually stoking them. Antipathy to statistics has become one of the hallmarks of the populist right, with statisticians and economists chief among the various “experts” that were ostensibly rejected by voters in 2016. Not only are statistics viewed by many as untrustworthy, there appears to be something almost insulting or arrogant about them. Reducing social and economic issues to numerical aggregates and averages seems to violate some people’s sense of political decency.

Nowhere is this more vividly manifest than with immigration. The thinktank British Future has studied how best to win arguments in favour of immigration and multiculturalism. One of its main findings is that people often respond warmly to qualitative evidence, such as the stories of individual migrants and photographs of diverse communities. But statistics – especially regarding alleged benefits of migration to Britain’s economy – elicit quite the opposite reaction. People assume that the numbers are manipulated and dislike the elitism of resorting to quantitative evidence. Presented with official estimates of how many immigrants are in the country illegally, a common response is to scoff. Far from increasing support for immigration, British Future found, pointing to its positive effect on GDP can actually make people more hostile to it. GDP itself has come to seem like a Trojan horse for an elitist liberal agenda. Sensing this, politicians have now largely abandoned discussing immigration in economic terms.
All of this presents a serious challenge for liberal democracy. Put bluntly, the British government – its officials, experts, advisers and many of its politicians – does believe that immigration is on balance good for the economy. The British government did believe that Brexit was the wrong choice. The problem is that the government is now engaged in self-censorship, for fear of provoking people further.

This is an unwelcome dilemma. Either the state continues to make claims that it believes to be valid and is accused by sceptics of propaganda, or else, politicians and officials are confined to saying what feels plausible and intuitively true, but may ultimately be inaccurate. Either way, politics becomes mired in accusations of lies and cover-ups.

The declining authority of statistics – and the experts who analyse them – is at the heart of the crisis that has become known as “post-truth” politics. And in this uncertain new world, attitudes towards quantitative expertise have become increasingly divided. From one perspective, grounding politics in statistics is elitist, undemocratic and oblivious to people’s emotional investments in their community and nation. It is just one more way that privileged people in London, Washington DC or Brussels seek to impose their worldview on everybody else. From the opposite perspective, statistics are quite the opposite of elitist. They enable journalists, citizens and politicians to discuss society as a whole, not on the basis of anecdote, sentiment or prejudice, but in ways that can be validated. The alternative to quantitative expertise is less likely to be democracy than an unleashing of tabloid editors and demagogues to provide their own “truth” of what is going on across society.

Is there a way out of this polarisation? Must we simply choose between a politics of facts and one of emotions, or is there another way of looking at this situation? One way is to view statistics through the lens of their history. We need to try and see them for what they are: neither unquestionable truths nor elite conspiracies, but rather as tools designed to simplify the job of government, for better or worse. Viewed historically, we can see what a crucial role statistics have played in our understanding of nation states and their progress. This raises the alarming question of how – if at all – we will continue to have common ideas of society and collective progress, should statistics fall by the wayside.

Source: The Guardian  

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