Friday Bulletin Board

Hello all and happy Friday. Here is a round-up of this week’s picks of the latest in educational technology.

The Netflix of E-Learning
Last month, the UK startup Mindsy publicly launched their online video course service for consuming e-learning content. Like Netflix, Mindsy offers users unlimited access of over 5,000 video lessons ranging from computer programming to learning the piano. The difference between Mindsy differs from competitors like, for design and technical courses, or Treehouse, for coding and website building, in that it attempts to cover a much wider spectrum of courses.

Personalized Learning, Big Data and Schools
We live in an age of personalization and customization. Netflix knows what you feel like watching, doctors are using your data to get you better care, and now educators are figuring out how to use technology to make the learning experience more personalized, meaningful, and timely. You can certainly expect to hear more about the benefits of keeping digital portfolios of students from us at Gradeable, but as MIT professor Mitch Resnick explains, there could be disadvantages as well:

Clearly there are some advantages at having certain things personalized for you. As long as it’s some options, choices and suggestions, then it’s okay. But I wouldn’t want to be limited only to what a machine suggests for me. If it’s central to my experience, if I’m categorized in a certain way and pushed down a certain path, it could make a much worse experience for me. The machine could have students avoid things they might have been interested in.


Four New Ways Customize You Google Forms
So Google just blew the top off of making forms. Now there are progress bars (“your quiz is 25% complete”) and data validation (“you must enter a numerical value”). You can embed YouTube videos and add quiz question with it (“how many dinosaurs were in this video?”. Also there are messages for people who don’t fill out the form/quiz in time (“No credit for you! Please see me for ways to make this up”).


Technology in Special Education
As it says in the name, students in special education require special attention and technology is coming through big. Check out this well designed infographic for stats, history, and resources for technology related to special education. It’s got iPad apps to help kids practice dressing skills to a breakdown of the types of disabilities that students, age 6-17, have.


Google Chrome Extensions
Extensions are Google Chrome’s version of apps. Check out this website for an extensive list of all the different things Google helps you do. My favorite was the StayFocused extension which will block certain websites you know distract you from the task at hand. So on weekdays, you can specify only 1 hour for Twitter. After that time is up, your browser will automatically block the site. So you’ll have to check from your phone.


Have a great weekend, everybody!

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