Thursday, November 4, 2010

National Distance Learning Week

2010 NDLW
Free Webinars: November 8-12, 2010
The purpose of National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) is to generate greater awareness and appreciation for distance learning, including K-12, Higher Education, Corporate and Military, while recognizing leaders and best practices in the field.

Event: Integration of Virtual Education
Date: November 8, 2010
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
This webinar will explore how the use of related information, communication, and educational technologies are being used to support and improve Pre K-12 / home school based learning and student achievement.

Event: Higher Education
Date: November 8, 2010
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
This webinar will explore a broad range of issues related to the institution's/unit's practices and procedures as new global campuses become the norm and the traditional education landscape transforms.

Event: Blending Learning
Date: November 9, 2010
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
This webinar will explore the economy of scale and power of blended learning which is derived from its "elasticity:" the ability to integrate a variety of synchronous and asynchronous media allowing the instructional designer to attain the most appropriate blended learning solution. Download your FREE copy of the USDLA Instructional Media Selection Guide for Distance Learning authored by Dr. Jolly Holden and Dr. Philip Westfall.

Event: Measuring Effectiveness
Date: November 9, 2010
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
This webinar will educate organizations on how to measure effectiveness and report. This will include discussions on showing the real value for your talent programs. Explain how your hard work benefits your company, in real dollars. Benchmark your company's programs against those in your industry, or in all industries. Improve your bottom line by understanding and using the talent in your organization, and streamlining your processes.

Event: Virtual Worlds
Date: November 10, 2010
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
This webinar will provide an overview of virtual worlds while examining popular virtual world applications.  This session will also help you to frame an understanding of virtual worlds and their appropriate application.

Event: Professional Online Educator - Faculty Preparation for Excellence in Online Teaching
Date: November 10, 2010
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
The role of the educator has undergone a paradigm shift in order to keep pace with mainstream acceptance of online teaching at primary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions of learning. Educators, administrators, and education organizations and institutions recognize the need to verify that pre-service teachers, traditional classroom teachers, and novice online teachers can affect a meaningful transfer of knowledge in myriad online learning environments. In this session, learn how online teaching skills will address a growing market need and the desire of educators, administrators, and education organizations to ensure quality online instruction. 

Event: About USDLA Membership and How You Can Get Involved!
Date: November 11, 2010
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
This webinar will explore the United States Distance Learning Association, which is a non-profit organization formed in 1987 and is located in Boston, Massachusetts. USDLA promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training and serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. Distance education and training constituencies served include pre-k-12 education, higher and continuing education, home schooling, as well as business, corporate, military, government, and telehealth markets.

Event: Brain-based Learning
Date: November 12, 2010
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
The brain is comprised of billions of neurons (brain cells) connected with trillions of "synaptic" connections between the neurons. Recent research indicates that learning happens in a human brain when a group of neurons are able to form a network passing information between them in the form of electro-chemical signals. Brain-based learning has the potential to enable curriculum content to be adapted to individualized learning pathways ensuring an increase in learning effectiveness and efficiency as well as improvement in student engagement and evaluation measurements.

Event: Mobile Learning
Date: November 12, 2010
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
With the number of mobile phones approaching 5 billion subscribers globally, mobile learning has the potential to deliver effective education and training to these busy workers.  This webinar will provide some examples and insight into this globally expanding market.

New features in Google Apps

News update from the Google Apps for Education Team:
With the school year in full swing, we have several new product features to help you stay ahead of the game. We’ve specifically focused on responding to feedback with our new Unthreaded Conversation view in Gmail, and collaboration with our new revision history interface in Docs. We also have milestones to celebrate: our four-year anniversary and having 10 MILLION students, faculty, and staff using Google Apps for Education! To stay on top of announcements, you can get new feature notifications by email or subscribe to the RSS feed.
New features in Google Apps

Unthreaded Conversation View
Gmail now offers users the ability to switch between conversation view and the traditional message-based unthreaded view. When a user switches to unthreaded view in 'Settings', messages are no longer grouped together into a conversation, and each message is shown as a separate entry in the inbox.

Read more about unthreaded conversation view in this blog post.

Priority Inbox
Priority Inbox is a new, alternative view of your Gmail inbox that helps solve the problem of email overload. With Priority Inbox, Gmail automatically identifies your important email and separates it out from everything else, so you can focus on what really matters. Priority Inbox is still in beta and is not the default view for Gmail users.

Read more about priority inbox in the Help Center.

Revision History in Docs
We updated the revision history interface to make it easier for collaborators to manage document revisions. Click on 'File > See revision history' to see the new interface. Users can click on an arrow to see the timestamp or use the arrow keys to navigate the changes. Changes to text are now also color-coded based on each collaborator, making it easy to tell what has been added or deleted.

Read more about the new revision history interface in the Help Center.

New version of Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook®
We released a new version of this tool which now supports Microsoft Outlook® 2010 in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions. In addition, this version also includes improvements to rich contact data from the global address list, as well as enhanced support for 'custom from' addresses. 

Updated Gmail app for Android devices
We recently released a new version of the Gmail app in Android, so Gmail updates aren’t tied to Android version releases anymore. Now you can get new Gmail stuff faster without having to wait for system updates. In this new version, we improved message replies, access to quoted text, and more. More information on this release here.

Get started with USciences Google Apps Domain
Logon with your USciences username and password at

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Undergraduate Students and Information Technology

In the recently released report from the Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR), they found that students owned the following devices:
  • 83.8% have laptops
  • 62.7% have hand-held devices with Internet access
  • 45.9% have desktop computers
  • 13% have netbook computers
  • 3.1% have e-readers
About 42% are considered "power users". Here is the breakdown of Internet-Capable Handheld Device Use among students (click to enlarge):

About 25% of students said they use e-textbooks in their courses, but it appears they use their computers or hand-held devices to access the e-texts, not dedicated e-readers. When asked what Web-based technologies students use in their courses, they said:
  • Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, etc: 36.2% — for collaborative use: 53%
  • Wikis (Web pages that can be created and/or edited by a group of people): 33.1% — for collaborative use: 30.7%
  • Social networking sites: 29.4% — for collaborative use: 49.4%
  • College opinion sites (RateMyProfessors, etc.): 27.1%
  • Textbook publishers’ resource sites: 26.1% — for collaborative use: 23.2%
  • Video-sharing (YouTube, etc.): 24.3% — for collaborative use: 33.4%
  • Blogs: 11.6% — for collaborative use: 37.6%
  • College study support (Cramster, Turnitin, etc.): 10.9%
ECAR states the the most important take-away message from their survey is that there is "no stereotypical student when it comes to technology."