Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Gartner Hype Cycle for Education, 2016

1Technology Trigger
A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.

Peak of Inflated Expectations

Early publicity produces a number of success stories—often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; most don’t.
3Trough of Disillusionment
Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.
4Slope of Enlightenment
More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.
5Plateau of Productivity
Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Learn How To Code With Star Wars: The Force Awakens Characters by Kaila Hale-Stern


Code.org, a non-profit that seeks to make coding more accessible, has launched a Star Wars-branded kid JavaScript program that stars Rey and BB-8.
The first tutorial covers JavaScript basics and uses drag-and-drop blocks and an interactive interface where you can watch your code selections play out in real time. The BB-8 drone acts out commands, while Rey provides guidance and Star Wars themes play in the background.
As you advance, pop-up video from engineers who worked on The Force Awakens effects explain more about how the wide world of coding works. It’s meant to provide about an hour’s worth of lessons. An additional forthcoming program promises support in languages beside English as well as availability on smartphone and tablet platforms.
Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code is recommended for ages 11+ and definitely seems like a fun way to give kids their first taste of coding. Of course, it has no age limitation. If your first foray into JavaScript is motivated by the desire to send BB-8 on a scrap metal collection adventure, I’m right there with you.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What’s the Use of a VLE?


K.C. O'Rourke, Dublin Institute of Technology
Pauline Rooney, Dublin Institute of Technology
Frances Boylan, Dublin Institute of Technology


Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) have become an integral part of the technological furniture of higher education over the past two decades. While some VLE adopters have argued that the enhancement of teaching and learning is a key driver underpinning their use, an increasing number have described typical VLE usage as a “notes-bank approach”. However, while it is widely accepted that they are used primarily as content repositories, the actual value that they add to the teaching and learning process, and ultimately to the student experience, has not been widely questioned. So, in an age of increasing budgetary constraints, combined with the prioritisation of investment in appropriate technologies for higher education, it seems appropriate to scrutinise how the VLE is used and what value it has added. In 2013, at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), we initiated a study which sought to find out how our academic staff were using the VLE as part of their teaching practice. Additionally, given the proliferation of emerging eLearning tools outside of the VLE, we wanted to find out if academics were aware of such technologies and if, or how, they were using them. Finally in order to inform future practice and strategic planning, we wanted to gain an insight into factors inhibiting or preventing staff from engaging with eLearning technologies. The results are not altogether surprising, indicating high levels of VLE usage among academics, albeit with limited pedagogical innovation underpinning this usage. Findings also demonstrated high levels of interest in, and awareness of, other technologies for teaching and learning: however only a small minority had actually used many of these as part of their academic practice, with high levels of reservation about time and effort involved in utilising such technologies to the full. This paper presents and discusses the key findings of this research and indicates possible ways forward for higher education in the digital age.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

MIT: Connecting STEM Topics to Real World


MIT has gone into the movie-making business to help engineering students understand how the concepts they're learning about in class apply to the real world. The university's Teaching & Learning Laboratory has produced 47 "STEM Concept Videos," all of which have Creative Commons licenses and are freely available on the school's Web site as well as through its OpenCourseWare site.
The videos cover themes in the courses that are part of first- and second-year engineering curricula, such as problem solving, communications, probability and statistics, equilibrium and nine other broad categories.