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ilearn (Online Learning, Education Technology)

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jan 2021

COVID-19 pandemic has brought the focus on online learning and educational technologies. Even though the initiatives have been around for quite some time, but they have not been implemented at such a large scale. It is also observed that there is an imbalance in terms of preparation and implementation of online education in various countries and institutions. Some were able to execute online strategies better as they have been experimenting and utilizing such learning technologies and educational methodologies for many years. Prof. Ray Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor of Online Learning at University of Illinois at Springfield (US), explains how online education has rescued education during adverse circumstances and what the future holds for higher education after the pandemic has subsided and traditional education gets back on its feet. He cites an example of innovative strategy of UK unversities during SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in Asia 2002-2003 when they offered online delivery of class materials to students at Hong Kong universities. He says, 'I was studying the implications of online learning interventions during SARS when Katrina devastated nearly two dozen college and university campuses along the US Gulf Coast. With my colleague Burks Oakley, then associate vice president for academic affairs for the University of Illinois, we brought the opportunity for online learning intervention to the attention of Frank Mayadas, program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This quickly expanded to engage a host of other higher education leaders...The remarkable effort was chronicled by George Lorenzo. Ultimately, the effort dubbed "The Sloan Semester" engaged more than 100 colleges and universities in offering online classes at no charge to students displaced by the hurricane. The intent was to provide transfer credit for those students to continue their degrees from wherever they took refuge while their campuses were closed and under repair.' He explains the current state of higher education with falling enrollments in US institutions and students opting for alternative and economical modes of learning through MOOCs and other at-scale online programs. There has been many fold increase in enrollment in such programs during the pandemic. Moreover, with decreasing US population growth and oversupply of colleges and universities the disruption of the education sector is expected. He further explains, 'The shakeout has begun with faculty layoffs, program cuts and deep deficits. The trends I have been following show this to be undeniable and pervasive. That brings us back to online learning to the rescue. As the U.S. Department of Labor reports the average tenure at an employer is just 4.2 years, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of adults returning to universities for continuing and professional education to retool and upskill for new and changing careers. And, by and large, they are doing this online.' He suggests that it will be an opportunity for education providers and they should focus on 'the "60-year learner" who returns again and again to prepare for work in an ever-changing economy fueled by artificial intelligence.' Read on...

Inside Higher Ed: Online Learning to the Rescue: Again
Author: Ray Schroeder


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 sep 2020

Senior citizens often find themselves struggling with latest consumer technologies that are evolving at a rapid pace. These technologies on the other hand, are a normal part of the daily life of the new generation. If senior citizens can be made to learn these technologies in an effective senior-friendly way, they can benefit from them immensely and improve their quality of life. COVID-19 pandemic has also brought the issue to the fore with social distancing norms and extra vulnerability of senior citizens to viral infections. A nonprofit, AnewVista, founded by Shalini Gupta and Eric Gee, has been working for the last couple of years with senior citizens to help them overcome the barrier to using latest technologies. Before the pandemic the nonprofit hosted in person workshops at senior centers, retirement communities and centers of trust locally. But now most of the learning classes are happening virtually through video conferencing apps. AnewVista offers 40-50 topics, such as cleaning out email folders, navigating social media and finding reliable news and podcasts, as well as some higher-level concepts. Ms. Gupta says, 'When it comes to these simple devices, which are made for younger people, they struggle. Intellectually, they are very smart, but it's just the hands-on part that gets very hard sometimes - and once you open the wall for them, it's all there for them to enjoy. Basically, we cover all bases, like how they can be safe, how they can be creative, how they can be social and how they can enjoy more things for fun, communication wise.' Mr. Gee says, 'The trick is to really find what's the obstacle for older adults to engage with technology or engage with the digital economy. We invite everybody to enjoy and just learn a little bit more, especially in these times of sheltering in place, which isn't going to end anytime soon.' Read on...

Los Altos Town Crier: Nonprofit helps seniors stay connected with evolving technologies
Author: Marie Godderis


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2020

COVID-19 pandemic has affected art and culture sector, and significantly impacted talent associated with it. Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO in her message on World Art Day (15 April 2020), celebrated on the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, said, 'Bringing people together, inspiring, soothing and sharing: these are the powers of art, the importance of which has been made emphatically obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic.' The art community is adapting to the new challenges and finding innovative solutions to keep the spirit alive. The program, 'Arts and Culture Education Change-Up', a collaboration between South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korea Culture and Arts Education Service and the Seokyeong University Arts Education Center, has come up with something positive during the pandemic. The program teaches and supports creative people who are interested in social entrepreneurial projects in the field of arts and culture education. Han Jeong-seop, professor and dean of the Seokyeong University Arts Education Center, says, 'If it were not for COVID-19, we might not have brought those international guest speakers or have participants from Jeju Island due to geographical factors...We wanted to showcase how overseas cultural social enterprises play a role in resolving social problems between the public and private sector.' The participants in the online interaction included representatives from STEPS (Canada-based charitable public art organization that develops one-of-a-kind public art plans, installations and engagement strategies that foster vibrant communities), and Starcatchers (Scotland-based art organization specializing in creating performances and exploring creative activities for babies, toddlers and young children up to the age of five and the adults who care for them). Anjuli Solanki, program director of the STEPS Initiative, says, 'Applying our multidisciplinary expertise, we strive to develop a strong contextual understanding of the neighborhoods and sites we are working in for all our projects. Our goal is to create iconic public works that attract widespread attention by transforming underutilized public spaces.' Bebhinn Jennings, program manager at STEPS, says, 'The pandemic has highlighted our need to connect, to be inspired and to contribute to our communities. As such, art and public art in particular are increasingly important as they offer numerous entry points for engagement. Public art can both beautify a space, and ignite dialogues around important issues such has climate change, public health and systemic inequalities - all conversations that have been active throughout the pandemic.' Rhona Matheson, chief executive of Starcatchers, says, 'We know we are not going to be able to tour any of our productions until at least spring 2021 so our focus is on providing a range of activities that parents or childcare settings can share with very young children. Retaining a connection with audiences has been very important and making the offers through our online activities has been essential. Similarly, being able to retain connection with the families who participate in our community engagement programs has been very important - this has been a means to offer support to young families who experience social and rural isolation and have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.' Lee In-kyung, an art instructor at an alternative school on Jeju Island, says, 'If it were not operated online, it would be very difficult and time-consuming for me to participate in a training program held in Seoul. Now I can communicate with other social entrepreneurs while on Jeju...We made environmental picture books and tried junk art, campaigning for environment. I realized that students could learn better through empirical art education.' She developed such experiences into an idea for a social enterprise, aiming to support teenagers to cultivate creativity, problem-solving skills and empathic abilities. Kim Soo-jung, CEO of Open Your Arts and in the second year of Change-Up program, says, 'I wanted to provide sustainable art education for socially disadvantaged children, but it was impossible to solve the problem as a volunteer. So I came up with this art educational kit developed in collaboration with artists...Their (Starcatchers and STEPS) business model is not based nor suitable for online, but it was interesting to see the possibility of online platforms, transcending physical or regional limitations.' Read on...

The Korea Times: Social enterprise bridges art, community amid pandemic
Author: Kwon Mee-yoo


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 oct 2019

Personalization and customization of education is becoming a possibility with use of latest technologies. Traditional education systems with 'one-size-fits-all' approach are facing challenges and their ineffectiveness is becoming visible. Every learner has individual capabilities and traits, and educational delivery that caters to his specific needs would work best. Lasse Rouhiainen, author of 'Artificial Intelligence: 101 Things You Must Know Today About Our Future' and an international expert on artificial intelligence (AI) and disruptive technologies, explains that personalization is future of higher education and how correct implementation of AI and big data analytics will help in creating personalized learning experiences that can overcome some of the challenges that educational institutions face like disengaged students, high dropout rates, skills mismatch etc. He says, 'With a personalized learning experience, every student would enjoy a completely unique educational approach that's fully tailored to his or her individual abilities and needs. This could directly increase students' motivation and reduce their likelihood of dropping out. It could also offer professors a better understanding of each student's learning process, which could enable them to teach more effectively. Here's what this might look like: AI-based learning systems would be able to give professors useful information about their students' learning styles, abilities, and progress, and provide suggestions for how to customize their teaching methods to students' individual needs.' One of the key ingredient of this learning approach is the access to large amount of student data. Privacy is the challenge in this regard. But if student data could be collected and processed in a way that is ethical, secure, and transparent, it would allow AI to be used to effectively improve various areas of study. Use of chatbots and virtual assistants can assist in handling routine questions and tasks and will also provide data that represents students' concerns and requirements. This will benefit in designing education that responds to their needs. Moreover, as AI-enabled systems takeover routine tasks, teachers will have more quality time for students and engage them to pursue higher learning. Their role would be to guide, support, and mentor students, assist them to understand their learning, it's value, and it's application in the real world. To some extent chatbots can also be used to assist sudents to manage their mental well-being - to reduce stress and improve motivation to study. This will be beneficial, atleast for immediate relief, as many university health systems are struggling to handle large population of students in their on-campus mental health counseling programs. The outcome of education and learning is to finally prepare students for the world of work and be productive in whatever career they pursue. As the work environment is becoming more technology intensive and routine tasks are automated with AI-enabled systems and robots, it is essential for education systems to provide skills and train students to effectively adapt to such work environment and become successful. There is no substitute for humans. Technology is an enabler. Right mix of AI technology and human abilities can help evolve the education and learning systems for better outcomes. Read on...

Harvard Business Review: How AI and Data Could Personalize Higher Education
Author: Lasse Rouhiainen


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 sep 2017

Education and learning has to keep pace with the happenings in industry, and equip students with the cutting-edge knowledge and skills, to assure their success in the highly competitive marketplace. Simon Biggs, Education Liaison Officer for Wales at Renishaw, explains how 3D printing is the new technology that is becoming mainstream part of the classrooms for engineering and mathematical learning. Mr. Biggs says, '3D printing is a well-established industrial technology for prototyping and manufacturing, particularly popular with the aerospace and defence sectors. Also known as additive manufacturing (AM), 3D printing is the process of making a solid 3D object from a digital computer aided design (CAD) file...3D printing is a rapid production method with minimal waste material. Its design flexibility means users can manufacture bespoke objects for a low cost...Understanding and using this growing technology can benefit children's learning, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects but also beyond these more traditional fields in music, design technology, history, geography and biology...Exciting and innovative projects are also a simple way to keep pupils engaged in STEM subjects, which is a vital step forward in addressing the STEM skills shortage.' Explaining the rise of 3D printers in schools and their use to develop new skills in students, he says, 'The increasing numbers of 3D printers in schools is not only due to the increasing recognition of 3D printing being a relevant and engaging educational tool, but also relates to the number and availability of low cost 3D printing machines...Advances in resources available for teachers and other education professionals are also making 3D printing more widely accessible...Using 3D printing as a production method enables students and pupils to move from the conception of an idea to producing a physical object with relative ease...Interrogating a physical object can make it easier for pupils to spot mistakes in designs. This allows them to gain valuable problem solving skills in a creative, hands-on way.' Read on...

The Engineer: The future of 3D printing in education
Author: Simon Biggs


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 sep 2017

Technological advancements in education facilitate and expand the reach of learning to larger audience and transform the way educational content is delivered and consumed. India is also undergoing technology-based shift in educational sector. Rajshekhar Ratrey, VP Educational Content at Toppr.com, provides list of technological trends that are enabling the growth of digital education in India - (1) Personalized and Adaptive Learning (2) Two-way conversations in E-Learning (3) Mobile-based Learning (4) Video-based Learning (5) Open Educational Resources (6) Usage of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) for Learning. Read on...

India Today: 6 technology trends that pushing up digital education in India
Author: Rajshekhar Ratrey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2017

Students often take part in initiatives outside of the structured academic curriculum and pursue their independent learning interests. They create common interest clubs, publish magazines, develop websites etc. Architectural education is an area that demands continuous stream of ideas and creativity. Digital world of collaboration and speed sharing, and reaching out to wider audience is giving new meaning to student-driven platforms. KoozA/rch, Bartlett's Lobby, AA Files (Architectural Association's Journal), Yale School of Achitecture's Perspecta are some examples. Sabrina Syed, Co-founder of Volume64, shares the story of their design platform (Volume64) that evolved out of conversations among students. She explains, 'We test different micro-typologies and challenge architectural norms through our drawing experiments: isometric cubes of 4x4x4 meters - coined the CubeLab. In one season, around 50-70 drawings are produced by a constantly changing team of contributors. Our collaborators write, curate, and edit briefs which our team of contributors (regular and visiting) respond to in drawings that get released in 2-week installments, with 5-6 briefs marking a season...The idea of Volume64 was sparked when our co-founder Lloyd Lee attended a workshop on diagrams during his first term at the Architectural Association.' Mr. Lee says, 'What can we do without the decades of practical experience and necessary compromises in architecture? Can there be a space dedicated purely to the experiments and drawings resulting from this line of questioning? Volume64 finally came to light as we continued our conversations from these questions.' Ms. Syed further explains, 'Challenging everyday spaces, and thus questioning the perception of architecture, became the motivation behind Volume64. The idea of a platform developed: To express these small exercises that could challenge existing rules without the limitations of academic or professional submissions...Volume64 is run by a group of students in their final years of architecture education. Currently, our team members are from the Architectural Association, the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Edinburgh School of Architecture (ESALA). Collaboration is at the heart of the platform.' Jonathan Wren, Bartlett School of Architecture M.Arch, says, 'Cross-school collaboration has encouraged very different takes on similar briefs. [It creates] a lot of cross--fertilization of ideas, approaches, and methods that go beyond speaking with friends at other schools, reading about others' work or visiting degree shows.' Henry Schofield, Bartlett School of Architecture M.Arch, says, 'Volume64 is an essential tool for architecture students to not only exercise their ability to think and question but also to share and engage in a dialogue with their fellow contributors, in order to produce productive architectural content that contributes to the critical discourse of the platform...' Read on...

ArchDaily: This Student-Run Website Is Experimenting With Architecture Through Cubes
Author: Sabrina Syed


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jul 2017

According to 'Instructional Design Report 2016' funded by the Gates Foundation, there are 13000 instructional designers in US. The field is increasing in popularity as online education proliferates and the need to translate content into digital forms rises. Designing online learning experiences is becoming essential to training employees, mobilizing customers, serving students, building marketing channels, and sustaining business models. Instructional design has deep roots in distance education, human computer interaction, and visual design. Contemporary instructional design sits at the intersection of three core disciplines: learning science, human-centered design, and digital marketing. Following are some lessons and resources for those starting out in the field of instructionl designs - (1) Start with a deep understanding of your learners: Start by developing an Empathy Guide similar to one put together by Stanford d.School or reviewing the free book 'Talking to Humans' by Giff Constable; Conduct observations and interviews with target learners; Synthesize finds into learner archetypes; Test instructional concepts and product ideas by building rough prototypes; d.School 'Protyping Dashboard', Design Thinking process courses by IDEO.org or free resources offered by IDEO's Teacher's Guild. (2) Ground yourself in the fundamentals of learning science: Research on learning and teaching; 'The ABCS of How We Learn', a 2016 book by Daniel Schwartz; 'How People Learn', the 1999 foundational text edited by John Bransford, Ann Brown, and Rodney Cocking; Online Stanford lectures on Education's Digital Future. (3) Determine the 'powerful ideas' you want to teach and build your curriculum using backwards design: For education technology read Seymour Papert's 'Mindstorms: Children, Computer and Powerful Ideas'; Then use 'Understanding By Design Framework' (ascd.org) to structure your curriculum. (4) Go study other great teachers and other great learning experiences: altMBA program by Seth Godin that runs using Slack; Angela Duckworth's delivery of messages on camera; Animations produced by Amnesty International; Interactive lessonas produced on Oppia; Screen-based technologies produced by groups like Paulo Blikstein's Transformative Learning Technologies Lab; Explore multiple approaches from diverse instructional materials available online. (5) Get a lay of the technological landscape, but don't let your LMS hold you hostage: Get familiar with various platform options, particularly with most popular ones - Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, and EdX; Check out the list of global MOOC platforms curated by Class Central; Read some critical perspectives from the likes of Digital Pedagogy Lab or the MIT Media Lab; Check out the blogs of online learning pioneers like Connie Malamed. (6) Don't try to migrate an in-person experience into an online format: Read 'Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology' by Allan Collins and Richard Halverson; Explore perspectives and research of Mitch Resnick and the late Edith Ackermann of the MIT Media Lab. (7) If you build it, they won't come. Understand the fundamentals of digital marketing: Check out blog post of Alex Turnbull (Founder of Groove) that explains 6-step marketing strategy for selling online course; Udemy has also created a great toolkit to help online course instructors market their learning experience. (8) Collect student feedback. Iterate. Share what you learned. Read on...

EdSurge: A Starter Kit for Instructional Designers
Author: Amy Ahearn


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2017

Education technology promises to increase access, lower costs and bridge the rural-urban divide, in learning opportunities. Aakash Chaudhry, Director of Aakash Education Services Pvt. Ltd, explains how educational technologies can bring the transformation in India's educational system. He explores the present scenario and what is expected in future for the education sector. According to him, 'With an overwhelming increase in mobile-connected devices, global data traffic and mobile video traffic, the EduTech sector is set to enter a new era...In India, where mobile penetration is counting a billion people with over 300 million connected to the internet and is expected to reach 550 million by 2018, we have immense potential to digitally educate the masses...EduTech companies are driving further development of data-driven education technologies, leading to fundamental changes in how school and college students as well as professionals seeking new skills are learning.' He mentions some of the technologies and methodologies that are driving the transformation in education - Online interactive platforms; Cloud computing; Data centers; Virtualization; Global high quality online content; Live braodcasts; Video content delivery; Virtual updating of textbooks; Video conferencing; Availability of content offline and at low internet connectivity; Mobile classrooms; Online tutors; Adaptive learning; Student-teacher interface in the form of mobile learning. He concludes, 'A country that depends on the development of its educational sector for its economic and social growth, a surge in switching to technology-driven education will amply propel rural India towards empowerment.' Read on...

iamwire: EduTech 2017 - Transforming Education in India
Author: Aakash Chaudhry


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 feb 2017

Although simulations and branching scenarios are valuable online training tools, but 'Virtual Reality' is a step ahead and provides learners ability to seamlessly immerse themselves into the learning environment without distractions. Christopher Pappas, founder of eLearning Industry, shares ways to use virtual reality (VR) in online training - (1) Take The Risk Out Of Compliance And Safety Online Training. (2) Allow Corporate Learners To Perfect Their Approach. (3) Offer Online Training For The Masses. (4) Prepare New Hires For Professional Success. (5) Provide Mistake-Driven Learning Opportunities. (6) Transport Corporate Learners To Another Locale. Read on...

eLearning Industry: 6 Tips To Use Virtual Reality In Online Training
Author: Christopher Pappas


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 sep 2016

In the fast paced technology industry, knowledge and skills get obsolete as soon as anything new, effective and valuable comes into the market. Job candidates should continuously update and upgrade their skillset to stay relevant and get hired in the better paid bracket of the technology market. They also have to anticipate the shifts and trends in technologies and acquire the know-how from the best sources. Online courses in many technological domains are just a click away. With just a reasonable internet access, anyone in India can access courses from around the world. Key is when to select what course from which provider. According to Kabir Chadha of Coursera, 'We see a lot of demand for high-tech skills and certifications. Technology and computer science courses register more than half of all the enrollments in India. Computer Science and Data Science lead the pack at 25% and 18% respectively...Most Indian learners associate such courses as a medium to gain skill sets for a new job or enhance their existing job profiles. A lot of users also use our courses to enhance their application for higher education...' Following are some tech courses that can help get a better job in India - (1) R Programming: It is the next programming language that is used in a variety of domains including software development, business analysis, statistical reporting and scientific research. (2) Machine Learning: According to Packt, Machine Learning is one of the most in-demand skills in 2016. (3) Python Programming: IT experts suggest that Python should be the first programming language of a programmer. (4) How to create a website in the weekend: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of web developers is projected to grow 20 per cent from 2012 to 2022. (5) Data Science: Harvard Business Review considers the job of data scientist as the 'Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.' Read on...

GIZMODO: Top 5 tech courses that can get you a job
Author: Diksha Gupta


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 aug 2016

Businesses work in ever changing environment and they have to effectively adapt to it for survival and success. Continuous learning and knowledge seeking approach can help owners and employees safeguard their business's future. Nowadays, with technology-enabled knowledge and learning available all the time online, they don't even have to leave their work and can get it whenever they have time. Flexibility and accessability are the strengths of online education. Currently, with a number of online initiatives by many education providers, the range of learning modules available in a number of diverse fields have multiplied. The choice is in the hands of the learner and acquiring new skills is just a click or tap away. Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) provide courses on various topics of business, management, technology etc, and students can submit coursework, receive feedback and marks, and participate in duscussion forums with mentors and peers. Synchronised teaching allow students and teachers to connect and communicate in real-time from different locations. MOOCs have made massive progress since 2008, when they were first launched. Many traditional education providers have MOOCs as part of their online strategy. MOOCs incorporate various elements like forums, social networks, blogs, videos and written materials as part of their learning environment. With continuing advancements in communication technologies, MOOCs will also improve and transformation will also happen in their business model. Latest concept under research in online education is MiRTLEs (Mixed Reality Teaching and Learning Environments). The emphasis here is to enable students to virtually join a lecture through webcam. As the research in online education continues, there will always be availability of better learning environments that fulfil the needs of business owners and their employees. Read on...

Tech.co: 2 Ways Technology Revolutionized Online Education
Author: Marcelo Brahimllari


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2016

Designers need continuous flow of creative ideas and motivation in their work. Sometimes they reach a state of creative block when they lack internal motivation and inspiration to generate ideas. In such situations an external source of inspiration would be of assistance. Following are 8 online resources for designers that can provide the spark of creativity and rekindle inspiration - (1) Designspiration: A design portal that has architecture, typography, illustrations and print. Features the work of global artists and innovators. (2) Dribbble: A hub for creatives to connect, share and inspire one another. Includes typography, website design, logos, illustrations and graphics. Designers can also be hired through the site. (3) Awwards: Recognizes best designed website from around the world. Jury comprises of renowned designers, bloggers and agencies. It rates websites and gives score comprised of different elements, including creativity, design, content and usability. (4) Siteinspire: Has some of the best filtering of any design portal. Can choose from multiple categories, and follow designers and their work. (5) Smashing Magazine: Includes editorial and professional resources for designers and developers. Have blogs from designers. (6) The Best Designs: Includes web design works of best designers. Helps find, connect with and share work with other designers. (7) Behance: Have archives of graphic design, photography, interactive design, art direction, illustration and more. (8) Adobe Kuler: As color is one of the most important aspect of design, Adobe Kuler can help one share, create and browse color schemes from designers and users around the world. Read on...

Business 2 Community: 8 Incredible Online Resources for Creative Design Inspiration
Author: Brittney Ervin


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 may 2016

Online education is continuously evolving and over the years have gone through many iterations. In recent years, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been trying to change and tranform online education with active involvement of traditional education providers and their expanded reach to global learners. Although, inspite of their popularity with millions of users, providers are still struggling for success as the learner drop-out rates are high. Instructional designers, faculty members and education providers are experimenting with improvements in learning design environments to provide better value to learners. Prof. Curt Bonk of Indiana University is the author of the book, 'The World is Open', and conducts research in the field of self-directed open learning environments and online motivation. According to him, 'The MOOC is just one idea of many that are causing us to reflect on changes in higher education today. There are a lot of derivatives of MOOCs, and there will continue to be more. Community-building, sharing and peer support are three key aspects of success in building new types of course experiences.' In a video chat hosted by consultant and futurist Bryan Alexander, Prof. Bonk shares his own online learning experiences, his research and explores trends in the design of open courses. He says that in future, the majority of learning is going to be informal and self-directed. But government is still emphasizing on traditional education and less attention is paid to adult learning and informal learning. To better design learning environments it is important to understand self-directed learners and their experiences. According to him, 'Professional development could be what changes the discussion around open education and MOOCs. This could be for doctors, dentists, lawyers and physical therapists. They could take modules in the summer at their own leisure as part of a cohort that does community-building. That is the game changer.' He emphasises on a feedback process, collaborative approach, continous design improvements and redesign, if the need be, for better online course development. Commenting on faculty and their use of technology, he says, 'Instead of focusing on the technologies themselves, focus on what the faculty members want to do to foster feedback, goal setting, relevance or autonomy.' On using videos in learning, he says, 'We are moving from an age of Wikipedia to Videopedia.' Read on...

Campus Technology: The Keys to Designing Successful Open Course Experiences
Author: David Raths


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 may 2016

'It's an exciting time to be an edtech company,' says John Doerr, long-time partner and now chair at one of the prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He has been at the firm since 1980 and led investments into some of technology industry's most successful companies like Google, Amazon, Twitter, Sun Microsystems, Compaq etc. Some of his investments are now focused on education technology companies and organizations. Although he sees the present environment to be conducive for entrepreneurs, but he points out, 'Building a huge company requires tremendous capital to get established.' Moreover, referring to billion-dollar-valued companies, he says, 'I'm concerned about the obsession with unicorns.' For him most VC's don't see edtech companies to fall in this unicorn category. He says, 'Edtech companies will attract edtech investors - but not general purpose investors. On the other hand, edtech entrepreneurs shouldn't want just any VC. Interview your venture backers - the way you'd interview a potential VP.' He considers 'augmented reality' to be the next wave of technology. According to him, 'inclusion' is another area that companies and industry overall should work on as a mission. Read on...

EdSurge: John Doerr's Passions and Cautions
Author: Betsy Corcoran


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 sep 2015

Technology in education transforms many aspects of teaching and learning. Considering wide landscape of education (Primary Education, Secondary Education, University Education, Distance Education, Continuing Education etc), technological interventions may have different outcomes in different areas. Moreover, outcomes also depend on how technology is implemented. Generally around the world, and specifically in developed countries, there are trends to equip classrooms in schools with computers, laptops and tablets, with an intent to better engage students, enhance their learning and bring them into a digital age. But according to a recent report by OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), that covers the period between 2000 and 2012, 'The impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) for education is "mixed, at best". Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results from 31 countries show no appreciable improvements in student achievement in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that had invested heavily in ICT for education.' The report highlights that frequent use of computers in classroom can be a distraction and have weaker learning outcomes. OECD analyst Francesco Avvisati says, 'Technology is most effective when students use the Internet in the classroom for guided research and project work.' Commenting on the content of the report, Professor Jim Slotta of Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at University of Toronto says, 'If you read this report as saying that it's up in the air about whether technology is helpful for learning, that's the wrong reading.' He further adds, 'Personally, my feeling is that the research on how to use technology well for learning is just beginning to turn over some interesting, useful new leaves in the book...Technology is most effective in the classroom when it is used to develop skills similar to those that adults are using in everyday life, such as finding resources, critiquing arguments, communicating with peers, solving problems and working with data.' According to Mr. Avvisati, 'It is important that educators remain in the driver's seat...The key to any technology rollout in the classroom is clear goals and training for teachers, but ultimately it is about training good teachers.' Read on...

The Globe and Mail: Computers in classroom have 'mixed' impact on learning: OECD report
Author: Affan Chowdhry


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 jul 2015

According to Gartner forecast for global education sector, including higher education as well as primary and secondary schools, technology spending to grow 2.3% to reach US$ 67.8 billion in 2015. A report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA) predicts that the global e-learning market will reach US$ 107 billion in 2015. The increasing cost of education alongwith the need to enhance its value and impact is encouraging education providers to experiment with new business models and utilize innovative technologies. The education technology industry is growing with enormous speed and startups are sprouting in a number of areas that includes content management platforms, online course delivery platforms, adaptive learning, digital assessments, mobile apps etc. This mushrooming of startups creates challenges and extraordinary competition for survival and success. Zach Cutler, founder of The Cutler Group, provides 5 challenges that ed-tech startups face and solutions to overcome them - (1) The edtech industry has exploded: Innovators have to search for unmet needs and provide niche solutions instead of using copycat models. (2) Funding for edtech startups is not extraordinarily high: Although EdSurge estimates that ed-tech investment reached US 1.36 billion in 2014, but it is not sufficient to fulfil the need of crowded startup situation. Startups have to create strong revenue models from even the early stage and survive through revenue generation initially. (3) The education industry is slow to move: Resistance to change is a common aspect of traditional education systems and administrations. Entrepreneurs need to have data-backed approach to demonstrate the real value of ed-tech to educators. (4) Most schools don't have excess money in their budgets: Resource crunch is a reality and innovators need to provide low-cost high-value models to get accepted. (5) Academia is more about theory and less about action: Entrepreneurs can add a co-founder with an academic background to communicate effectively with academic decision-makers. Read on...

Entrepreneur: 5 Challenges Facing Education-Tech Startups
Author: Zach Cutler


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 jul 2015

Higher education is undergoing shifts due to involvement of technology, pressures of rising costs, newer methods of teaching and learning, and changing perceptions of its quality and value with customers demanding better offerings. In this transformative scenario traditional higher education ecosystem seems unprepared to manage the challenges. European Commission's 'Study of Innovation in Higher Education' observed, 'The blockages for innovation can be found both at the institutional level, such as the lack of institutional support for innovative practices, and at national/regional, for example influenced by different degrees of autonomy of higher education institutions. Regulatory frameworks are also a crucial potential blockage to some innovative practices'. Patrick Harker, President of the University of Delaware, notes that 'One of the biggest limitations of the design of education services is that we assume teaching is the same as learning, and the resistance to change reflects the belief that too much variety in learning approaches would disrupt our highly optimized, highly engineered teaching system.' Rahul Choudaha of World Education Services (WES) explains that the time is ripe for the development of higher education innovation ecosystem with expanded stakeholders. There is pressure on traditional institutions regarding the approaches to learning due to some of the recent innovations like adaptive learning, competency-based learning and MOOCs. According to Mr. Choudaha, 'Innovation is taking place at a much faster rate at the fringes of the education system than at its core. It is getting accelerated by the energy of entrepreneurs, employers, investors and most importantly, new types of learners who are open to experiment. The opportunity for higher education institutions and systems is to embrace outsiders as an important part of the innovation ecosystem.' He suggests that they should work towards building new partnerships and collaborations and include new stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem to adopt and accelerate innovations. Read on...

Huffington Post: Building an Ecosystem of Higher Education Innovation
Author: Rahul Choudaha


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2015

Technology's impact is not restricted to certain industries but every business and their processes are influenced by it. Moreover the increased connectivity and speed of communication has brought about newer challenges. For businesses to survive and flourish in this era of information and communication technology (ICT), newer type of leadership is required to effectively manage and grow businesses and to balance the pace of digital transformation both inside and outside of the organizations. Research points out the shortage of e-Leadership skills in Europe. According to European Commission demand for digitally skilled employees is growing by around 4% a year and that shortages of ICT professionals in the EU could reach 825,000 unfilled vacancies by 2020. Professors, Álvaro Arenas and José Esteves, of IE Business School in Spain define e-Leadership as 'the accomplishment of a goal that relies on ICT through the direction of human resources and uses of ICT...In the case of e-Leadership, both the goal and the resources involve using ICT. An e-Leader must be both business and ICT-savvy.' They mention previous studies that define e-Leaders as having T-shaped portfolio of skills (Vertical Skills- Specialized skills in specific fields like ICT, science, engineering, social sciences etc; Horizontal Skills- Transversal skills like negotiation, ciritcal thinking, design and systems thinking, business and entrepreneurship etc). Their study and research found three characteristics that represent e-Leaders - (1) Innovation is central in e-Leaders' organisations, and the e-Leaders are the force driving innovation. (2) e-Leaders exploit digital trends. SMAC (Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud) tech were exploited. (3) e-Leaders envision and drive change for business performance. Their study also found that to develop e-Leaders requires a variety of educational ecosystem actions. There is learning need in some specialized and technical areas alongwith strong need for developing transversal skills. Multiple channels and formats are required to continuously update and upgrade e-Leaderships skills like MOOCs, blended education, short courses etc. Both traditional and new age learning systems are to be utilized for effective learning. Read on...

Forbes: Anatomy of an e-Leader
Authors: Álvaro Arenas, José Esteves


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 jun 2015

Technology is transforming various aspects of education and learning through online courses, web content in various formats, teaching and learning platforms, online exams and assessments, personalization and customization etc. There are people whose ideas, innovations and expertise is influencing the education technology landscape with far reaching implications. Education website Noodle.com provides a list of 18 influencers in education technology - (1) Anant Agarwal, Founder and CEO if edX (2) Steven Anderson, Co-founder of #EdChat on Twitter (3) Adam Bellow, Creator of eduTecher and eduClipper (4) Laura Blankenship, Founder of GeekyMomBlog.com (5) Richard Byrne, Founder of Free Technology for Teachers (6) Rafranz Davis, Instructional Technology Specialist for Arlington, Texas (7) Vicki Davis, Creator of Cool Cat Teacher Blog (8) Jeff Dunn, Co-founder of Daily Genius and Edudemic (9) Lucy Gray, Co-founder of the Global Education Conference (10) Angela Maiers, Founder of Maiers Educational Services (11) Salman Khan, Founder of Khan Academy (12) Nichole Pinkard, Founder of the Digital Youth Network (13) Joel Rose, Creator of Teach to One: Math (14) Christopher Rush, Creator of Teach to One: Math (15) Eric Sheninger, Senior Fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education (16) Shelly Sanchez Terrell, Co-founder of #EdChat (17) Sebastian Thrun, Founder of Udacity (18) Tom Whitby, Co-founder of #EdChat. Read on...

Tech.co: The 18 Most Influential People in Ed Tech
Author: Kira M. Newman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 may 2015

Today's architects require knowledge and expertise of architecture-focused technology tools and softwares to stay ahead of the curve. Moreover they have to continue to upgrade and update their skills through variety of courses and tutorials available through traditional educational institutions, corporate training programs, paid online courses and free tutorials on internet. ArchDaily has compiled a categorised list of online tutorial websites that offer learning of architectural softwares - (1) General Purpose Tutorial Sites: Lynda.com (Online courses and video tutorials site); Visualizing Architecture (Alex Hogrefe has created a comprehensive list of tutorials for creating compelling images. Most techniques can be achieved using SketchUp and Photoshop); Ronen Bekerman's Blog (Provides case studies. Showcases their own work, explaining how they created a single render from the modeling stage to post-production). (2) Pre-Production (Modeling, Drawing and BIM): Autodesk's Youtube Channel; Bond-Bryan BIM Blog by Rob Jackson; Nick Senske on Youtube; Jose Sanchez's tutorials at Plethora Project on Unity3D game engine, Autodesk's Maya software, C#, Python and Javascript and also Rhino and Grasshopper; NYCCTfab on Vimeo (Tutorials by New York City College of Technology's Department of Architectural Technology Fabrication Lab, on Revit, Rhino and Grasshopper). (3) Production (Rendering and other forms of image creation): Simply Rhino Webinars; V-Ray Website. (4) Post-Production (Adobe Photoshop and other image manipulation software): Vyonix Tutorials; ARQUI9 Visualisation on Youtube. Read on...

ArchDaily: Architecture Software Tutorials - Which Are The Best Out There?
Author: Rory Stott


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 may 2015

Digital revolution is affecting and impacting every aspect of human lives. Education is one sphere where the transformation is beginning to happen and schools are applying technology-enabled learning methodologies. But to truly accomplish what technology promises in education, the strategies have to go beyond just providing technology devices and softwares to students. It must try to provide students with enhanced learning capabilities and equip them with skills for success. Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, provides his views and ideas on how educational technology and innovation will bring the changes in the learning environment of the future. According to him, 'Innovation in education isn't about the latest gadget or app, or about how adept a student is at using a smartphone to consume the latest Internet meme. It's about how technological tools can empower students to become who they want to be, and who we need them to be - the kind of children and young people who ask - What can I improve? How can I help? What can I build?' He provides following suggestions regarding what technology can do in education - (1) We must make education technology more equitable. (2) Teachers and students must be empowered as creators, not just consumers. (3) We must make teaching more sustainable. He further explains, 'Everyone has an essential role to play in elevating and supporting the teaching profession. Teachers must be willing to explore new ways of supporting and challenging themselves and their students. Students must assume more responsibility for their own learning. Principals must create school climates that honor innovation and experimentation. Elected officials and policymakers must be willing to incentivize policies and programs that lift up the profession - through more resources, support, and funding.' Read on...

Medium: What Can Technology Do for Tomorrow's Children?
Author: Arne Duncan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 apr 2015

Using technology to bring social change and improve people's lives is a challenging task. 'One-size-fits-all' approaches to implement technology strategies may not be effective and provide expected results. There is need to have proper context, clarity of purpose and supportive environment to fulfil the promises that technology intends to bring for the well-being and welfare of the society. Professor Kentaro Toyama of University of Michigan, in his latest book 'Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology', argues that technologists undermine efforts at social progress by promoting 'packaged interventions' at the expense of more difficult reforms. Prof. Toyama has worked extensively in India and launched various projects that sought to use computers and Internet connectivity to improve education and reduce poverty. Following are selected excerpts from his Q&A session done by Brian Bergstein, deputy editor of MIT Technology Review - • 'There are already several randomized, controlled trials of schools with and without One Laptop per Child. Generally, what most of these studies show is that schools with laptops did not see their children gain anything in terms of academic achievement, in terms of grades, in terms of test scores, in terms of attendance, or in terms of supposed engagement with the classroom.' • 'I think it's perfectly sensible for parents to want a certain amount of exposure to technology for their children, both as a form of explorative play and as a way to get them used to technology that they'll undoubtedly encounter later in their life. I think the fundamental error people make is that, therefore, we should have the computer be the primary instrument of education for all children...I think one of the issues is we tend to think of education as being the content. We overemphasize the importance of content, as opposed to emphasizing the part that's really difficult in any good education, which is adult-supervised motivation - the motivation of the child to learn something.' • 'If you measure some positive benefit in the technology case, your conclusion is that technology helped. But it was always the people that we worked with, the partners that we chose and the people on the ground who interacted with the people that we wanted to support. All of those human factors were required for the technology itself to have an impact; whether the technology helped or not was really up to people.' Read on...

MIT Technology Review: Putting Technology in Its Place
Author: Brian Bergstein


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 apr 2015

Technology-enabled learning is an important part of today's education landscape. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), interactive learning platforms, course management systems, learning analytics, mobile learning and education apps are some of the technological innovations transforming education. Following is a partial list of ways, identified by researchers and teachers, in which technology has influenced learning and education - (1) Critical Thinking: Technology fosters analogical, expressive and experiential thinking, and also problem solving ability. Authors of 'Meaningful Learning With Technology', David H. Jonassen, Jane L. Howland and Rose M. Marra, argue that students do not learn from teachers or from technologies. Rather, students learn from thinking. Thinking mediates learning. (2) Mobile Learning: Tablets and smartphones are driving mobile learning. In one survey, 73% of teachers said that they and their students use smartphones for educational purposes. (3) Access to Education: X-Prize is challenging entrepreneurs to develop open-source software that children can use to acquire basic literacy and arithmetic skills on their own. According to Matt Keller, director of the Global Learning X-Prize, 'It's based on the supposition, still unproven, that kids can teach themselves how to read and write.' (4) Deeper Learning: 'The most powerful uses are where people are producing,' says Karen Cator, president and CEO of Digital Promise and former head of the Office of Technology at the US Department of Education. (5) Continuous Feedback: At Utah State University researchers conducted a study to examine the use of frequent, anonymous student course surveys as a tool in supporting continuous quality improvement (CQI) principles in online instruction. (6) Unlimited and Immediate Learning (7) Creation and Contribution (8) Social Connectedness: Researchers at the University of North Texas found that university students who used text messaging to communicate with other students during group projects felt more socially connected and communicated more often with questions and ideas. (9) Global Awareness: José Picardo, head of modern foreign languages at Nottingham High School, says 'Options that would not have occurred to us before stand out as obvious if we understand how other people experience the world. That's why it is so important for students to have a deeper global awareness and understanding of other cultures.' (10) Understanding Learning: Professor Rich Lamb of Washington State University has figured out a dramatically easier and more cost-effective way to do research on science curriculum - through video games. Called 'computational modeling', it involves a computer 'learning' student behavior and then 'thinking' as students would. Prof. Lamb says, 'The process could revolutionise the way educational research is done.' Read on...

Innovation Excellence: 10 Most Powerful Uses of Technology for Learning
Author: Saga Briggs


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 mar 2015

Gartner predicts that the global education industry (including higher, primary and secondary sectors) technology spending will grow 2.3% to reach US$ 67.8 billion in 2015. According to Jan-Martin Löwendahl, vice-president of research at Gartner, 'An increasing number of technical innovations and technology trends are emerging from within the industry, but most will emerge outside the industry, driven by major forces such as digital business and the consumerisation and industrialisation of IT.' Following are Gartner's top 10 strategic technologies for 2015 - (1) Adaptive Learning (2) Adaptive E-Textbooks (3) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) (4) Big Data (5) Sourcing Strategies (Represent a collection of technologies and vendor services, from hosting to cloud, homegrown to open source, to subscription models for acquiring software/hardware capabilities) (6) Exostructure (Means acquiring the critical capability of interoperability as a deliberate strategy to integrate the increasing numbers of partnerships, tools and services in the education ecosystem) (7) Open Microcredentials (8) Digital Assessment (9) Mobile (10) Social Learning. Read on...

Memeburn: 10 technologies that will have a huge impact on education in 2015 and beyond
Author: Myolisi Sikupela


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 dec 2014

At EDUCAUSE2014 in October, Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard University mentioned that higher education is poised for massive disruption as a result of new offerings in online learning. The MOOCs phenomenon, advancements in Learning Management Systems, Cloud-based and mobile technologies etc are some of the factors facilitating the transformation in online education and learning landscape. Although the debates regarding the success of online-only learning and education still continues with educators evaluating its outcomes and comparing it with traditional college and university education. But one thing is commonly agreed upon and that is education technology is here to stay. Moreover there are advocates of technology enhanced blended learning. Latest infographic by TalentLMS, a cloud-based learning management system, provides in detail 10 eLearning trends for 2015 - (1) Big Data: Numbers in eLearning are becoming so large that processing user generated data using traditional methods is becoming impossible. (2) Gamification: It is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their learning goals. Gamification taps into the basic desires and needs of the user, focusing on impulses which revolve around the ideas of Status and Achievement. (3) Personalization: It is the tailoring of pedagogy, curriculum and learning environments to meet the needs and aspirations of individual learners. (4) M-Learning: As mobile use continues to grow, it will become the dominant medium for offering learning materials. (5) Focus on Return-on-Investment: ROI compares the investment in training deliverable with the benefits over a specified period of time. Despite the traditional difficulties of calculating ROI, its importance will rise, as it provides a strong argument in favor of eLearning. (6) Application Programming Interfaces: API is basically the way applications communicate with each other. The widely accepted SCORM and Tin Can are two examples of APIs in eLearning. Systems like Zapier, offer non-programmable ways to integrate APIs between services and achieve desired effects. (7) Automation: Content creation is a tedious and time consuming process. If we could somehow automate the process of content creation then we could potentially create a revolution in the quantity and quality of online courses. (8) Augmented Learning: It is an on-demand learning technique where the environment adapts to the learner. Augmented Reality market is expected to grow significantly from 60 million users in 2013 to 200 million in 2018. (9) Corporate Massive Open Online Courses: MOOCs are courses for large number of users. MOOCs are often used by universities. In the last few years MOOCs have been getting more popular among companies and organizations. (10) Rise of Cloud Learning Management Systems: Despite speculations about the death of LMS, last years showed continued growth in the industry. Forecast of 2015 predict that it will continue to grow. Out of all learning sytems, cloud-based platforms had the highest growth in the last two years. Read on...

EdTech: 10 Online Learning Trends to Watch in 2015 (Infographic)
Author: D. Frank Smith


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 oct 2014

Wikipedia recently launched a project 'Wiki Zero' that advocates for free access to health and education materials in developing countries through mobile networks. Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, says that in developing economies lack of access to health and medical information results in large number of preventable deaths and cites the case of Ebola in Africa. He mentions that Wikipedia is currently the most viewed health resource online in the world. Wiki Zero has already been adopted by mobile service providers in China and India. Read on...

The Telegraph: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales: 'Free Wiki could save thousands of lives'
Author: Oscar Williams-Grut


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 oct 2014

As digitization of education - use of laptops, USB devices, tablets, smart mobile devices, multimedia audio-visual equipments, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), social media etc - continues to grow, will there be commodification and depersonalization of education? Professor Chris Hackley of Royal Holloway (University of London), explains how digitization is happening and influencing the educational and academic landscape but the central authority of the academic or teacher should not get diluted in the process. Even though large population of students are tech savvy and rarely engage with print media preferring internet-enabled devices to access information but wholesome and all-round education also require personal level engagement and thought sharing through direct interaction between students and academics. Marshall McLuhan pointed out, 'A medium is not merely a means of transmission - it influences the character of the message.' Although MOOCs has been successful in expanding the reach of education to larger audience globally but their high non-completion rates testify to most students' need for direct engagement with the teacher. Professor Hackley concludes, 'There is no turning back the tide of digitisation in higher education, but the integrity of the process demands the presence and authority of the academic. The media will obliterate the message, unless there is room in the digital university for the reassuring voice of the academic author and their skills of argument, inspiration, content curation and creation.' Read on...

The Conversation: Does the age of online education herald the death of academics?
Author: Chris Hackley


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 oct 2014

As big data requirements of companies in finance, retail, healthcare, education etc continues to grow, there will be corresponding growth of companies providing innovative analytics tools and services to store, analyze and monetize the big data. This inturn propels the need of workers at various levels to have big data talent and skills. Business leaders with strong understanding of business, analytics, technology and communications skills would be in high demand. A 2011 report of McKinsey estimated that by 2018, about 140000 to 180000 big data jobs will remain unfilled due to lack of experience and expertise. The 2014 CDO Talent Map predicted that the number of Chief Digital Officers will double this year increasing to 1000 by the end of 2014 and the number of Chief Data Officers will be more than 200 by year end. Due to this imminent need of big data talent, both educational institutions and technology corporations are collaborating on curriculum and project-based learning opportunities for students. Large number of universities globally are incorporating new courses related to predictive analytics, machine learning, data analysis and infrastructure. These initiatives range from full degree programs and addition of new courses in existing curriculum, to short-term skill-specific certificate courses that are available online. Moreover, professional organizations are also offering free courses, training programs and hands-on learning projects to fulfill the knowledge and learning needs of their members. Read on...

Umbel Blog: Big Data Equals Big Jobs: New Educational Programs to Help You Snag the Sexiest Jobs in the Industry
Author: Thrupthi Reddy


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 sep 2014

In the constantly changing, technology connected and globally competitive business environment, it is imperative for businesses and organizations to create an environment of open communication and transparency, and acquire and effectively manage a knowledgeable and empowered talent pool. Organizations have to incorporate a continuous learning and skill updating mechanism to enhance their competitiveness and profitability. Learning through social networking is one such mechanism that can be utilized to harness more organizational knowledge, nurture and facilitate collaborative communities and finally improve employee performance leading to increased business value. Social network technologies have evolved from 1990s corporate intranets and extranets to now public-facing online networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and many more. Enterprise social networks are currently build on similar technologies in the form of private internal software platforms to engage employees for better collaboration, communication, knowledge sharing and informal learning. According to IDC, the worldwide enterprise social software applications markets' revenue was valued at US$ 1 billion in 2012, and the market revenue is expected to grow to US$ 2.7 billion by 2017. Some of the basic functions of ESN (Enterprise Social Networks) include activity streams, discussion forums, user groups, private messaging, subject matter expert identification, searchable knowledge base, file-sharing, tagging and bookmarking. Organizations can develop ESN platforms in-house or can obtain them from software vendors according to their specific needs and requirements. The benefits of implementing ESN platforms include cost reductions, employee engagement, open collaboration, increased innovation, bridging the gap between formal and informal learning, increased business performance and enhanced competitive advantage. Valerie Goodwin-Adams of Abaxis Inc, a medical device manufacturer, points out, 'In addition to knowledge-sharing, some of the key drivers for implementing ESN technology are also reduced travel expenses and increased sales revenues. The greatest challenge to overcome when implementing an enterprise social networking platform is adoption, then it's training and measurement. I believe that if you cannot measure it in terms of sales, then it's not relevant.' Read on...

Chief Learning Officer: Is Social Networking Good for Learning?
Author: Susan Distasio, Donna Lord


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 sep 2014

From Henry Ford, to whom manufacturing efficiency was paramount, to Steve Jobs, who valued the working of a product over its looks, design has always been an important component of the products delivered to consumers. During craftsmen era, individuals both designed & created the products. Industrial revolution focused on multiple specialized processes to finish products in large quantity with little room for errors. Autodesk pioneered computer-aided design (CAD) software, to enhance collaboration among highly skilled teams of designers, engineers etc. But today design is becoming critical for product performance and everybody needs to have a basic understanding of design. Autodesk is now promoting design literacy and participating in its democratization process. The gap between design, production and distribution is narrowing with technologies of sharing & collaboration, 3D printing etc and in future it will totally disappear. In the design economy the firms will have to perform in real time and the design will become the product itself. Autodesk predicts the demand for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) professionals will rise to 8.65 million in 2018. It created 'Design the Future' program to fulfill this demand and provides free software to students and curricula & training to educators. Diego Tamburini of Autodesk says, 'design no longer just applies to physical systems, but has permeated to other non-physical areas such as software, services, and the overall "emotional experience" of using a product that also require designers.' Read on...

Forbes: Why Autodesk Is Investing In The Democratization Of Design
Author: Greg Satell


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2014

Institutions imparting education are consistently in debates and discussions as they have direct impact on the society both in short and long-term. These institutions often become the beacons of societal change and transformations. At present the issues facing education are related to rising cost, transformations in the labor market and an important technological shift. But question that article raises is that, will any of these issues revolutionize the way education is imparted and have a substantial impact on the long-term goal and purpose of these institutions? Moreover the argument that Simon Tremblay-Pepin, researcher at IRIS (Institute de Recherche et d'Informations Socio-economique) in Canada, brings into fore is that - university's mission is not only to train professionals for the labor market and the goal of research is not only to pursue profits, but it is beyond that. While citing the case of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), that are potentially considered as creating technology induced educational transformation, he points out that they might have short-term value but if they displace real professor-student interactions it would be an overall loss to education. According to him, this would particularly happen in case of students pursuing long-term work, like Master's thesis or a PhD, that require sustained guidance to help advance a new idea - discussions to check whether the students are on the right track and suggestions to open up unforeseen avenues. Read on...

rabble.ca: There's a revolution transforming universities. But into what?
Author: Simon Tremblay-Pepin


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 jun 2014

Education and learning are continuous evolving fields and in the present world there is a debate regarding the role of technologies to improve and enhance the learning experience of students, impart required knowledge & skills and better prepare them for the future. According to Juan Lopez-Valcarcel, Chief Digital Officer of Pearson, 46 percent of US college students do not graduate, and those that do, 40 percent are told that they do not have the right skills for a job they are applying for. Moreover there is lack of availability of courses and programs in colleges and universities that can prepare students for in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow. He suggests 7 technologies that are capable of revolutionizing education - (1) Invisible Computers (Classroom objects serve as computers & all data is availablee when needed); (2) Body Language Assessment (By becoming aware & to determine whether student is able to follow classroom learning); (3) Robot-Assisted Learning (Kids respond better with robots than a tablet); (4) Global Rockstar Teachers (Best teachers available for anyone in the world); (5) Stealth Learning (By making popular games more educational); (6) Social Learning (Use social media to deliver educational material); (7) Open Hardware (Give access to developer-aimed devices to students). Read on...

Silicon Angle: 7 Technologies that Could Revolutionize Education
Author: Mellisa Tolentino


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 may 2014

The design of student learning programs, especially for young children, should be based on their age and mental development. In the article, Priyakorn Pusawiro of King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, explores the importance of Brain-Based Learning (BBL) in creating a better learning environment. BBL is one of the approach that brings concepts and research from neuroscience, biology and psychology, and defines relationship between learning and brain, to keep students motivated and inspired to learn. The pace and complexity of lessons that are taught should be balanced according to the student's capacity and maturity to assist them develop confidence and improve their learning ability. While designing the learning environment, both inside classroom and outdoor, educators should focus on enhancing learning experience and exposure to new things. Moreover interaction between fellow classmates should be encouraged to imbibe social skills. Emphasis should be given to hands-on learning and the discovery process. Media and learning materials should include concepts and examples from daily lives that children can relate to. Technology assisted learning should be encouraged and incorporated in the curriculum. Read on...

The Nation: Design media technology and learning space in brain-based learning
Author: Priyakorn Pusawiro


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 may 2014

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) holds a promise to expand educational reach to those with limited resources to pursue education in colleges and universities. Research has suggested some concerns for this education tool as the completion rates are low and those who access them already have substantial learning experience and prior education. Professor Jennifer M. Morton of City University of New York provides a perspective on how MOOCs can possibly influence and alter the dynamics of the current socio-economic class structure that traditional college education entails. According to her, college education is considered to be the first place where students with low-income families have to consistently engage with middle-class students and professors and navigate middle-class social norms. Moreover, in addition to cognitive skills like mathematical, scientific and historical knowledge, college education also imparts practical skills like social, emotional and behavioral competencies. But full adoption of MOOCs by large public universities can potentially harm the prospects of the students for whom college education is essential to elevate their status into middle-class. Online education may not provide them social and practical skills that are considered a necessity in highly competitive workplace environment. Tenacious, confident and socially competent employees have an edge over equally cognitively talented employees who lack practical skills. Professor Morton suggests that with extensive adoption of MOOCs by institutions that provide an environment to disadvantaged students to break the barrier of poverty and deprivation, the socio-economic segregation of the US educational system will further expand to the postsecondry level and widen the gap between haves and have-nots. When these students that lack social skills apply for employment with degrees they will more likely be considered lacking competencies by their prospective employers and unfit to effectively contribute to their organizations. Read on...

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Unequal Classrooms - What Online Education Cannot Teach
Author: Jennifer M. Morton


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 apr 2014

There are different levels of adopting technology in learning and education. In case of primary and secondary education the purpose of technology is to assist students not only to get acquainted with latest technologies but also to provide them with interactive and innovative medium for enhanced and effective learning. According to Elementary Education in India report 2011-12, 48% of 1.4 million schools in India now have computers. Moreover the market for information and communication technologies in education is growing with industry reports expecting it to grow to Rs. 57,000 crore in 2014 from Rs. 285,000 crore in 2012. In India various methods of introducing technology in school curriculum are being experimented - elearning and smart classroom; computer labs in schools; laptops & tablets to individual students. But experts differ in their opinion regarding the overall utility of devices like tablets to students. According to some, considering India's socio-economic disparities and the vast primary & secondary school setup, it would be difficult to effectively enforce mandatory buying of tablets by every student. The issue of choice is also a problem when a school promotes a particular brand while enforcing this policy. Some elite schools although are experimenting with owning a device policy for students but other private and public schools are providing computer and technology infrastructure within the school premises to all students and not enforcing individual buying of devices. Government itself has been in headlines regarding its efforts to provide subsidized low-cost Aakash tablets to school students but the program seems to have got delayed. Most experts do agree with the value of technology in education and learning considering its continuously increasing involvement in everyday human life, the overall pace of technological advancements and the need to timely equip students with 21st century knowledge and skills for their better future. Read on...

SmartPlanet: Indian schools adopt tablets. Will they improve education?
Author: Betwa Sharma


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jan 2014

Search for affordable and quality education is a challenge for students all around the world. Better education is considered as a channel to provide future career opportunities. Internet and associated digital technologies focused towards education are capable of transforming the learning landscape. Initiatives like - online education from traditional universities; diverse learning content providers like Khan Academy, Alison.com, etc; MOOC platforms like Udacity, edX, Coursera etc - and not to forget the large number of self-learning content freely available through independent websites, all adds up to the online learning spectrum. Certification and degree recognition are some of the issues and challenges related to this form of education. According to University of Pennsylvania survey most of the MOOCs availing students are those that are already educated and take them up for enhancing specific knowledge and skills for career advancement, in poor countries accessed by mainly those who are wealthy and have computer and internet connection and 90% of those who register drop out without completing the course. Blended learning is also being utilized where online learning mechanism is adopted alongwith traditional education delivery. Coursera has started Learning Hubs in 10 countries that provide physical infrastructure to enhance learning access. Online learning and education space is expected to evolve innovative and more disruptive models in future particularly in a country like India with shortage of trained faculty and inadequate educational infrastructure. Read on...

The Hindu: India's virtually challenged universities
Author: C. Gopinath


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 jan 2014

Higher education has consistently been in the state of transformation and evolution. According to Professor Steven Mintz of University of Texas, higher education underwent profound transformations almost every 50 years - Colonial colleges joined by large number of religiously founded colleges (early 19th century); Public colleges & Morrill Act of 1862 (mid 19th century); Modern research universities, Wisconsin Idea and inclusion of extension services (early 20th century); Conversion of normal schools into comprehensive universities, proliferation of community colleges, end of legal segregation, increase in federal aid (1960s). He suggests 15 innovations that have potential to affect higher education in next three years - (1) e-Advising (2) Evidence-based pedagogy (3) The decline of the lone-eagle teaching approach (4) Optimized class time (5) Easier educational transitions (6) Fewer large lecture classes (7) New frontiers for e-learning (8) Personalized adaptive learning (9) Increased competency-based and prior-learning credits (10) Data-driven instruction (11) Aggressive pursuit of new revenue (12) Online and low-residency degrees at flagships (13) More certificates and badges (14) Free and open textbooks (15) Public-private partnerships. Read on...

The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Future Is Now - 15 Innovations to Watch For
Author: Steven Mintz


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 nov 2013

Raspberry Pi, the cheapest computer in the market but without screen or keyboard, is finding success and diverse usage that wasn't anticipated by its creators. It was designed basically as an educational tool for children to learn computer programming. But with its versatility and customization ability, it has found multiple uses - Powering a small humanoid robot that can tell weather, manage diary and make coffee; The Instant Wild system with Pi cameras for recording animal behavior; Powering warehouse doors etc. Moreover Eben Upton, executive director of Raspberry Pi Foundation, and his team is focusing on developing software that will make the computer more accessible to children and for enhanced computer programming learning experience. Read on...

GlobalPost: World's cheapest computer gets millions tinkering
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 nov 2013

Technology is used in education to facilitate and enhance learning and to equip students with 21st century skills. It is also used to expand education to reach remote, disadvantaged and underprivileged areas of the world. The experiment and efforts are underway in Kenyan schools where e-readers and tablets are being used to provide children with engaging digital content. The project named 'eLimu' was initiated by two Kenyan women, Nivi Mukherjee and Marie Githinji, and utilizes local content and curriculum with a focus on Kenyan youth. The education system in Africa is mired with multiple problems and UNESCO estimates 38% illiteracy ratings among adults and only an average 8-9 years spent in school. To overcome these issues a bigger strategy is required to educate and empower the African population and improve regional economies. Other technological efforts and projects in African education are - Worldreader; Read and Prosper; eKitabu. Read on...

Al Jazeera: A technology revolution in Kenya's schools
Author: Philippa H. Stewart


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 nov 2013

Technologies are faciliating social pervasiveness of mobile phones, electronic and social media and are empowering common people to have their say in various national and international issues and provides them opportunities to participate in political, social and economic processes. According to Professor Vivek Wadhwa of Singularity University, as poor gain access to internet through tablets and smart phones and the middle class gets better connectivity India will witness a revolution in commerce, education and social values. He says that advancement in tablet technology with reduced prices coupled with cheaper and wider availability of internet provides the necessary tools for the large Indian population to not only have social interactions and community connectedness but also avail benefits through access to ecommerce and online shopping, education through available online courses from around the world (MOOCs) and media and entertainment through quality global and local digital content online. Read on...

The Times of India: Affordable tablets will give the poor a voice
Author: Vivek Wadhwa


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 sep 2013

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have the potential to revolutionize higher education but there are issues and challenges that have to be considered. According to Professor Martin Weller of The Open University in UK, the business model for MOOCs is presently vague, to keep the courses free is difficult and to replicate the human support provided in traditional higher education is quite challenging. Moreover recent data about MOOCs show that completion rates are very low, having an average of 10% and people who are successful in learning are those who already have a substantial learning experience. On the positive side MOOCs can play an important role in fulfilling the higher education demands of developing countries with the rapidly expanding higher learning population. Professor Weller recommends a hybrid model for MOOCs in which they are complimentary to traditional higher education. The length of traditional degree could be shortened by combining MOOC courses. Moreover MOOCs can also become a marketing tool to encourage students to pursue higher education. Read on...

The Conversation: MOOCs and the battle to open up higher education
Author: Martin Weller


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 jul 2013

Professor Daphne Koller of Stanford University explains how online education can transform the way education is accessed in parts of the world that lack physical educational infrastructure. According to UNESCO, in Sub Saharan Africa only 6% students are enrolled in higher education while in North America and Western Europe it is 72%. Most developing countries have higher education enrollment between 20% to 40%. This disparity in enrollment can be reduced by providing online education that can be accessed by a computer and an internet connection. MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) are already providing anytime & anywhere collaborative learning environment to people from diverse backgrounds. According to Ms. Koller, language barrier is one of the biggest challenge that online education faces as most of the instruction is in english and to tap the large non-english speaking market the courses have to be translated into the local languages. Read on...

CNN: How online education can create a 'global classroom'
Author: Steven Perlberg

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 jul 2013

A school in US is utilizing 'Design Thinking', concepts developed at Stanford University, to create learning schedule and classes for students to prepare them to adapt to the changes happening in the world. Design thinking starts with empathy and then to brainstorming of possibilities, then to design and testing of prototypes and finally to formulating a solution. According to the principal of the school, design thinking is a teaching and learniing tool that helps students develop skills like creativity, innovation and adaptation. These skills will better equip students to meet the challenges of the future. Moreover students are provided with iPads for information and learning purposes and are taught the responsible use of technology tools and ability to differentiate between the reliable and unreliable sources of information. Read on...

The Almanac: Feature story-Envisioning a 'frontier of possibility'
Author: Renee Batti


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 jul 2013

Experts say that considering use of technology in every aspect of learning and education, teachers have to continuously update their skills to deliver their services and remain relevant in this technology enabled environment. Mobile devices are great learning tools and their use in education to enhance creativity is important. MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) and other freely available learning resources online are changing the educational landscape and the learning is becoming more self-directed. But there is also a concern regarding the high drop-out rates of individuals who register for MOOCS. Moreover learning through social media is finding relevance. To sustain social learning individuals have to learn to manage and filter large amount of content that comes from varius sources. Read on...

IT Web: 'Disruptive' tech for better education
Author: Patricia Fitzpatrick Dimond


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 feb 2013

'Gamification' of learning and education can probably be the new fit in the overall education strategy. Specific objectives and clear assessment of outcomes is required to move in the right direction in the currently fragmented education efforts made by various stakeholders. Use of gaming technologies can assist in those areas where traditional education is inadequate like for example Soft Skills (leadership, communication, collaboration); Experiential Learning; Motivation; Testing and Evaluation Methodology. Continuous innovations in learning is the way forward. Read on...

Forbes: Can Gamification Save Our Broken Education System?
Author: Shravan Goli


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 feb 2013

'Online education' can play an important role to enhance the 'rural education' landscape. Currently, due to lack of better educational facilities rural students who aspire to acquire higher education often have to relocate to a bigger town or city or just might have to quit education. But with better internet and technology infrastructure it is possible that online education can reverse this trend and provide education at their doorstep. Just as distance education and outreach programs of many universities have been successfully trying to do so. Read on...

Deccan Herald: Towards an online-educated rural India
Author: Siddharth Chaturvedi


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jan 2013

Ebooks'2013: Publishing, Distribution & Sales- New models are being implemented that are transforming the dynamics of the publishing industry. The ebooks are here to stay with reducing prices, new ebook readers & platforms, more free availability etc. Read on...

Information Today Inc: Ebook Trends 2013 - The New World of Ebook Publishing
Author: Nancy K. Herther



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