Category: Education

New App Tells Teachers When Students Are Confused

Much has been said about how connected devices, whether in college lecture halls or elementary school classrooms, can distract students. GoSoapBox aims to show how such devices can also help keep class on track.

The startup, which is launching Tuesday, makes a web-based app that serves as a constant back-channel to classroom discussion. Students can use it to post questions about the lecture, vote up questions their classmates have already submitted, set their statuses to “confused,” and contribute to polls and questions posted by the teacher.

Read the complete article at Mashable.

Can A Free Online Education Land You A Job? The Era Of Online Education Dawns

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently announced an initiative to create a learning platform for online education. Preliminarily dubbed “MITx”, the initiative aims to take the MIT’s OpenCourseWare program, which provides nearly all MIT courses for free on the web, and build out an infrastructure that can be used by students to demonstrate mastery of a course and earn a certificate of completion, for a small fee. Furthermore, the platform will be open-source, allowing any educational institution to host their own courses. And while the certificates will not be equivalent to MIT course credits, it’s clear that they have to be earned through an assessment. A prototype is scheduled to go into beta during the spring semester with plans to launch the platform if all goes well. On its surface, this may seem like a way for MIT to make their free online course program profitable, but the heart of this initiative is an effort to change education forever as the educational system is at the breaking point.

In a nutshell, the United States has a higher education problem.

Read the complete article at Singularity Hub.

Sesame Street Bert and Ernie Augmented Reality toys takes play interactive

Qualcomm has demoed a new augmented reality toy with Sesame Street that allows you to re-create Bert and Ernie’s living room or bathroom despite the rooms not even existing.

The new technology, demoed by the company at CES in Las Vegas, follows on from previous augmented reality toys Qualcomm has demoed before such as Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots.

The augmented reality idea, according to both Qualcomm and Sesame Street, is to encourage interactive learning and push a child’s imagination to what is possible.

Read the complete article at Pocket-Lint.

Why College Is Still Relevant in the Age of Free Information

Hansoo Lee is co-founder and CEO of Magoosh, an online test prep company with products for the SAT, GRE, and GMAT.

The rising cost of higher education has driven student debt to worrisome levels. With the advancements in digital and online education, more and more would-be college students are seeking the inexpensive, individualized alternatives online.

However, the benefits of higher education are still immense. Given the debate around the value of a college degree, it’s important tease out the exact benefits that you’d get out a college experience, especially because many of them impact your digital presence.

1. The Network

Your real life social networks are largely tied to the institutions at which you’ve spent time: high school, college, graduate school, the companies at which you’ve worked, church, sports teams, etc. As you move forward in your career, these networks play a large role in securing jobs. That’s because managers often hire within their extended networks.

One major benefit of college is the ready-made network you will have upon graduation.

Read the complete article at Mashable.

Company Uses Gaming To Teach The World To Code [Future of Gaming]

Through repetition and challenges, games can teach people new expertise. As we begin research for our forthcoming ‘Future Of Gaming’ report, PSFK’s consulting team noticed how playful activities are helping people learn new ways to program computers, deal with their finances and even shoot movies better.

One company operating in this space is the Codecademy — a web-based, interactive programming tutorial that incorporates gaming elements like points and trophies into its user profiles which are then visible to friends. Users land on the site and are immediately prompted to complete the first coding exercise. After completing a few challenges, users can create an account and save their progress. The site tracks and shares user progress with friends, suggesting that the platform may soon include leader-boards and competitions, turning a potentially dull experience into an interactive competition. PSFK spoke to co-founder Zach Sims about his work.

Read the complete article at PSFK.

Play Ludwig teaches students physics in a brilliant, interactive game

Let’s be frank; 99% of the education games out there suck. Either the graphics are sub-par, the game play is lackluster, or it’s simply a matter of multiple choice pointlessness. With grade school students heading home to the multi-pixel wonderment that is all things Xbox, PS3, or PC gaming, it’s no wonder why they’d rather scrape lead based paint off the walls than play another education focused video game in the classroom. But who says it has to be this way? It’s exactly this line of thinking that’s got some very bright minds working on a tough question, and coming up with the first educational game that I’ve ever wanted to play.

The road to Ludwig

While ovos is a development firm building multi-media experiences for clients including Sony, Siemens, and NASA, founder Joerg Hofstaetter says that his organization always has experimental side projects running, including the current Ludwig project. The firm was awarded a government grant to pursue and develop a new form of interactive TV, and building upon a long-standing tradition of physics education within this context, they sought to bring the method to a new level.

“Instead of the traditional route of the user being shown an experiment, and the results explained, we wanted to put the experiment, and experience, directly in the user’s hands,” says ovos founder Joerg Hofstaetter.

Read the complete article at TNW.

CNN Ecosphere: 3D Ecosystem Globe Grows on #cop17 Tweets

The goal of CNN’s Ecosphere [] by Minivegas and Stinkdigital is a real-time Twitter visualization that aims to reveal how the online discussion is evolving around the topic of climate change. More specifically, the visualization aggregates all Twitter messages on the topic of #cop17 (in case you wonder, this is an abbreviation for “The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)”.

Read the complete entry at

Fostering A Love For Learning Through Game Mechanics

The PSFK consulting team has noticed that educators are building game experiences as way to create an intuitive and engaging environment for players of any skill to deepen both their knowledge and understanding of a wide-range of social and academic topics.

One company operating in this space is Dimension U– a web-based, interactive gaming platform and learning resource intended to help students in grades K-12 hone their math and literacy skills. Students use the platform to access 3D multi-player educational video games which connect them with friends and allow them to compete in games and collaborate while learning. Leader boards track individual performance, and tokens can be earned for correct answers, which can be used by students to purchase virtual assets to enhance their in-game characters. Periodically, the platform will host contests which offer real rewards. Students may elect to challenge other students around the world, form online study groups, or play individually. PSFK spoke with Nt Etuk, Founder and CEO of DimensionU.

Read the complete article at psfk.

Go Back to School on the Web

Education is expensive–unless you use a free independent-learning site such as Khan Academy or Open Yale Courses on your free time. But if your spare time is limited, you’ll want to choose one academic site that’s best for you.

If you’re looking to brush up your academic skills but can’t quite afford the time or money to go back to school, the following two sites offer intellectual stimulation at no cost, and you can access them at a moment’s notice.

Nonprofit site Khan Academy offers short videos– each about 10 minutes long on average–explaining topics in math, science, history, economics, and some test prep. Although its collection of humanities videos is slim, Khan Academy has an astounding number of math and science videos, explaining everything from basic arithmetic to “partial derivatives of vector valued functions.” All the courses are conducted with a human instructor’s voice over a blackboard-style screen, so you never actually see a person. For some people, this arrangement might work better as a learning strategy because you can just focus on the facts and figures in front of you. Many of the videos have supplemental problem sets that you can use to practice the things you just learned.

Read the complete article at PC World.

South Korea Says Good-Bye To Print Textbooks, Plans To Digitize Entire Curriculum By 2015 (video)

Like a band of summer vacation-crazed high school students, South Korea is tossing their textbooks into the great bonfire of “No More Pencils, No More Books…!” No, they’re not entering an indefinite period of state-organized hooky, they are doing away with those burdensome textbooks and digitizing their entire curriculum. In an effort to enable education through technology while bringing down costs, all materials are expected to be digitized by 2015. When the effort is complete, students will be able to learn when and where they want.

The material that used to be bound between textbook covers will be accessed by computers, tablets and smart phones. In addition to content from ordinary textbooks, the digital textbooks will include supporting material such as multimedia and related FAQs. Each school will have its own cloud computing system on which the digital curriculum will be stored that the students can access to get the material they need. The government expects to spend $2.4 billion on the project.

Read the complete article at Singularity Hub.