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April, 2011:

Horizon Report 2011

The annual Horizon Report is a collaborative effort between the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). Each year, the report identifies and describes six areas of emerging technology likely to have a significant impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression in higher education within three adoption horizons: a year or less, two to three years, and four to five years.

The areas of emerging technology cited for 2011 are:

  1. Electronic books
  2. Mobiles
  3. Augmented reality
  4. Game-based learning
  5. Gesture-based computing
  6. Learning analytics

Link: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/HR2011.pdf

Using the iPad 2 in Education

The iPad 2 has been released and has many new and upgraded features- most notably two built-in cameras. But is the iPad 2 really that different from the first generation iPad? How can we utilize these features in a way that can be beneficial to education? Here at Learning Technologies, we’ve come up with a few new things you can do in the classroom unique to the iPad 2:

Photo courtesy of Blake Patterson

Screen mirroring: With the first generation iPad, screen mirroring (making your iPad simultaneously viewable on a larger screen, such as a projector or television) was technically do-able, but often tricky and unreliable. Now, the iPad 2 fully supports screen mirroring, which is ideal for presentations, movies or sharing interactive apps with the classroom. To do this, however, you must buy the AV adapter, available through Apple. The current cost is $40 USD, not including tax.

Portable video production: With the addition of a camera to the device, as well as the release of iMovie for the iPad 2, the device has become a tiny video production studio! On it, you can shoot, edit and upload your video project. Although the quality may not be as great as (although still impressive) what you’d get on a professional camera, many accessories are available to enhance the production value.

Cutting out the Evernote middleman: Evernote is one of the most popular note taking tools- and for good reason! Evernote allows you to create notes using text, photos and audio. Additionally, the search feature enables text recognition of the photos you upload. When using the Evernote app on an iPad 2, you can now snap a photo on the device, which automatically inserts it into your note. With the first generation iPad, you could only add photos that were on the iPad already. An ideal use for this would be snapping shots of the white board before information is erased or taking a photo of a handout, rather than taking the paper copy.

Front-facing camera: Not only does the iPad 2 have a rear-facing camera, but a front-facing one as well. Using apps like Skype and FaceTime (a built-in app on the iPad 2), the front-facing camera can be used to video conference, record lectures, or save your guest speaker a trip.

Pennsylvania Universities Add Online Arabic Degree

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is planning to add an Arabic language and culture degree program, which will be conducted fully online.

There are over 200 million Arabic speakers in the world. It goes without saying that the numbers are much smaller in the state of Pennsylvania. However, many students are eager to learn Arabic, as it’s spoken in many areas of political interest at the moment. Institutions also feel as though they needed to diversify their language offerings.

The one thing standing in the way are budget cuts. Proposing an Arabic degree at a time when languages are often the first programs to go isn’t be easy. But with the demand still present, California University of Pennsylvania managed to set up a time- and cost-saving 100% online degree in Arabic language and culture. Although it’s only offered at the California campus, PASSHE plans to make the program available at all 14 campuses in their system very soon.

Although the program is in it’s beginning stages, the overall plan is for students to participate in online courses using various communication tools (webcams, audio files, etc.) and finally ending their degree earning their final credits abroad in an Arabic-speaking country.

With the technology available now, learning a language online is significantly easier than it would have been a decade ago. Still, many argue that there are certain aspects of language learning that simply cannot be taught online. It will be interesting to see where this program goes, as it could be a great model for colleges and universities who are on a tight budget, yet wish to offer their students a broad range of courses.

The full article from Inside Higher Ed can be found here.

Colleges Not Meeting Demand for Hybrid Courses

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported last week that colleges aren’t providing enough hybrid courses, as shown in a recent survey of over 20,000 current and prospective students. Eduventures, the consulting firm that conducted the survey, discovered that although 33 percent of prospective students chose hybrid learning as their preferred format, only 19 percent of current students were actually enrolled in hybrid courses. The gap is attracting attention, and Eduventures believes the lack of hybrid courses offered by colleges is the cause of it.

Hybrid learning has been praised and supported by many in the education world. By increasing the number of hybrid courses offered, colleges could potentially increase student satisfaction while saving money. However, most colleges are still having problems with finding a stable halfway-point between traditional face-to-face and online learning.

Although the report itself isn’t available for free online, the full Chronicle article can be found here.

North Carolina High School Students Attend Their First College Classes on Second Life

Early college programs have become increasingly popular for students who wish to earn college credit while still enrolled in high school. Traditionally, the students will attend some or all of their classes by traveling to the college campus they are taking courses from. However, Eastern Carolina University has put a new spin on this concept…

Students who are accepted to the ECU Early College Program attend classes through the virtual world of Second Life. In it, students create avatars of themselves and use them to virtually attend ECU classes. Second Life allows students and professors to freely interact with each other, better imitating the classroom experience.

Getting ahead credit-wise and getting a general feel for the college experience are some of the benefits associated with early college programs. However, many students feel as though they are abandoning the high school experience in exchange. With the use of Second Life, students are able to have both experiences.

Although ECU’s program is only offered to high school students in Pitt County, NC, the university hopes to expand it in the future.

For more information, click here.