Education

STEM education: Live chat at noon with Al Gore, Dean Kamen, Sally Ride, and the Mythbusters

Today at noon (EST), former Vice President Al Gore, inventor Dean Kamen, astronaut Sally Ride, and "Mythbusters" Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage will join youth from around the world for a town hall style discussion on math and science, the attitudes youth have about them, and their importance for the future.

CAMM Worldwide (Connect a Million Minds), which is hosting the event, is a philanthropic initiative by Time Warner Cable (one of the largest television cable operators in the US) to solve the problems the US faces in STEM education. They pose the problem:  » Read more

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Three unspoken blockers that prevent professors from teaching open source community participation

One of the hardest things about trying to bridge two worlds--for instance, open source communities and academic institutions--is all the stuff you don't hear on a daily basis when you're working remotely. Sometimes it takes several rounds of garlic bread and pasta for people to begin articulating what's blocking them from teaching their students how to participate in FOSS communities. Sebastian Dziallas and I sat down last weekend at the 2010 Frontiers in Education conference with a group of professors from the Teaching Open Source community. "What are the biggest blockers that you're facing in doing this," we asked, "that people in the open source world just don't know about or understand?" Here are their answers.

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Open access overview: Focusing on open access to peer-reviewed research articles and their preprints

This is an introduction to open access (OA) for those who are new to the concept. It doesn't cover every nuance or answer every objection, but it should cover enough territory to prevent the misunderstandings that delayed progress in our early days. » Read more

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Coffee, designers, and U.S. education reform

Imagine for a moment you're a graphic designer working within the marketing department of a major coffee-shop brand. Over the years individuals far higher up in the organization have raised profit margins by putting increasingly lower quality coffee into the customer's cup. They've replaced  experienced coffee bean importers with untrained proxies who make the cheapest selections. They have slashed the marketing and production budgets beyond recognition.

Several years in and sales have tanked. The powers-that-be settle on the designers as the source of the problem. » Read more

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Uncovering open access

To the general public, “doing science” is all about discovery. But in truth, that’s only half the picture. Consider the experience of an obscure nineteenth-century Augustinian monk...

From 1856 to 1863, Gregor Mendel cultivated and observed 29,000 pea plants and managed to unlock some of the secrets of heredity, including the concepts of dominant and recessive traits. » Read more

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Productively lost in Cape Town: POSSE goes South Africa

What can you do with a boardroom, a projector, and a wifi access point? A movie night, you say? Nope. Just a few tools is all it took to get Mel Chua and Jan Wildeboer (from Red Hat) and Pierros Papadeas (from Fedora) together with local organizer Michael Adeyeye from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The event? A week-long workshop on the principles of open source communities and how to employ these in university-level teaching--in Cape Town, South Africa. » Read more

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Source wars: Blackboard sets its sights on being more "free" than Moodle

Recently Blackboard, the learning management system (LMS) company, announced its plans to seek new business using one of the open source way's most attractive tools to educators: offering their services for free (as-in-no-cost).

Meanwhile, Moodle, the free and open source software LMS, is working to maximize community resources and sharing in its next release (see the Moodle 2.0 release preview).   » Read more

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Open education resources: Moving from sharing to adopting

Educators have been sharing open educational resources (OERs) for over 12 years now. There are literally tens of thousands of them out there, many structured as collections of course materials known as open courseware (OCW), some structured as complete open courses, some structured as complete open textbooks, and many not really structured at all. The “sharing ball” is rolling. There are more materials that need to be shared, but the eventual sharing of these materials has now become inevitable.

What is anything but inevitable is the adoption of any of these open educational resources. As a thought experiment, pick your favorite institution you believe is committed to open education. Have they ever adopted an open education resource produced at another institution for in-class use? If they have an open courseware collection, can you find a single third-party OER in the collection? If even the institutions that claim to be committed to open educational resources aren’t reusing them, who will? » Read more

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Glen Moriarty talks about empowering open education with NIXTY, part 3

In part 1 of our interview with Glen Moriarty, CEO of NIXTY, he talked about the importance of open education. In part 2, he addressed the community's involvement and NIXTY's challenges. We have just one question left:

How do you see NIXTY empowering open education? » Read more

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A hole in the wall: How children learn without a teacher

Sugata Mitra began with a question: “What would happen if I cut a hole in the wall that separates my New Delhi office building from a neighboring slum... and embedded a computer for children to access?”

What he found led him into over a decade of research on how groups of children, when left with a computer, can teach themselves just about anything. » Read more

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