Tag Archives: education

Researchers Collaborate on Virtual Human for Use in Medical Education

The faculties of Medicine and Science at the University of Calgary have collaborated to produce LINDSAY, an interactive teaching tool named for a medical student who died in an automobile accident.

Their hope is that the new software will change the way medical education is delivered.

Named after Dr. Lindsay Kimmett, the interactive software uses various touch interfaces and can be used with big screens in addition to small, hand-held devices.

Christian Jacob, a professor in the Faculty of Science at the University of Calgary, helped design the software with researchers in the Faculty of Medicine. (Credit: Riley Brandt, University of Calgary)

“There’s a real gap between textbook anatomy and what students see in real life – the LINDSAY software connects the dots between the classroom and real life. Students have been really enthusiastic and it seems to improve their ability to make the connections we are asking. It pulls everything in and provides a much more engaging learning experience.”

— Heather Jamniczky, assistant professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary

A separate software application allows educators to make 3D slides.

The LYNDSAY software may soon be available as a downloadable app.

How is technology changing your life for the better?

Learn more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-07/uoc-ltf071612.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.


Online Tech to Connect Arizona State’s ‘Global Classroom’ to Europe

An educational pilot project at ASU is laying the groundwork for international undergraduate educational collaboration.

Working together with Leuphana University in Germany, Arizona State University has initiated a pilot project that paves the way for international educational collaboration.

The “global classroom” program will use virtual conferencing technology along with online exercises and interactions to test traditional educational roles, put forward new ideas about educational methods, and explore and redefine the ways education is shaped by location.

“…all knowledge has context. So we asked, ‘what if as we teach about sustainability, conservation biology, science, humanities and culture, we have students from Europe, South America, China, and the U.S. all talking together?’ There would be differing views and the sharing of those views might allow students to develop solutions to challenges that none could have conceived of individually. And so was born the concept of a global classroom.”

— Robert Page, vice provost and dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, ASU

Potential partners located in Germany, Holland, and Israel are observing the progress of ASU’s Global Classroom, and if the approach is successful, ASU may move forward with creating innovative educational links between the U.S. and China.

How is technology changing your life for the better?

Learn more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-07/asu-ots070312.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

Teacher Knowledge is Key to Successful Computer Use in Schools

University of Gothenburg researchers are studying One to One Computing and how its methods and outcomes compare to traditional classrooms.

The educational effects of the One to One Computing initiative – a computer for every student – are under the microscope in Sweden.

University of Gothenburg researchers are assessing the ways educational processes change due to access to information and communication technology (ICT).

The researchers are specifically interested in learning how traditional classroom fare differs from what happens in classrooms where the One to One initiative has been put into practice.

ICT should be seen as a tool that is an integral part of subject matter knowledge – for example, knowledge in mathematics is not only knowledge of abstract mathematical concepts but also how to solve problems using mathematics software for modeling, simulation and visualization. ICT is more and more becoming a natural part of teaching and learning, like paper and pencils.”

— Professor Berner Lindström, The University of Gothenburg, Sweden

The effects of the One to One initiative, according to Lindström, depend upon teachers’ knowledge of computer technologies, including “…advanced subject matter knowledge; knowledge of how to use ICT for pedagogical purposes; knowledge and skills of how personally to use ICT; knowledge about ICT and societal changes; and furthermore, knowledge of how to work with ICT and school development on the classroom level.”

How is technology changing your life for the better?

Learn more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-05/uog-tti051512.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

Interactive Classroom Links Teachers, Students in Arizona, Panama

The Desert to Rainforest project vision includes international education reform and global innovation.

Educators in Phoenix and Panama are taking part in a yearlong science education program, Desert to Rainforest, which is supported by the Smithsonian.

Students and teachers in both locations will use interactive video technology to learn about the ways Arizona’s deserts and Panama’s rainforests are alike and different.

An overarching goal of the project is to help develop critical thinking skills, science know-how, and cultural awareness.

The video component will enable us to build connections between students in Panama and here in Phoenix. I think this is a great addition to the project because it enables middle school students to learn not only about biodiversity but cultural diversity as well.”

—Lauren Coffey, student teacher, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University

A collaborative initiative launched in 2010, the Desert to Rainforest project encompasses the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI); ASU’s School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Teachers College; Audubon Arizona; Phoenix Public School Districts; and the Ministry of Education in Panama. The project vision includes international education reform and global innovation.

Desert to Rainforest emphasizes the development of core curricula that celebrates life in these two rich ecosystems. The students living in each of these distinctively different environments will use their personal experiences to understand differences and similarities in the habitats in which they live, and they will bring new knowledge home to share with their families.”

—David Pearson, a research professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences

Learn more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/asu-dtr041612.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

Robot News

Several notable awards and continued research and development on robots have been announced since mid-February. Here are some robot-related news highlights from the last six weeks (click the headlines to see the full stories):

Turing in style: ONR scientist receives highest award

The Association for Computing Machinery announced the 2011 A.M. Turing Award winner on March 15. The honor, which is considered the highest in the field, went to Dr. Judea Pearl, an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored scientist, for “innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) that have helped bridge the gap between man and machine.”

Dealing with uncertainty is a universal problem, occurring any time we face noisy data and uncertain assumptions about the world. In the early days of AI, dealing with uncertainty was considered a fundamental philosophical hurdle. How can a digital machine, programmed to obey the rules of binary, true-and-false logic, ever cope with the heavy fog of uncertainty that clouds ordinary daily tasks such as crossing a street, parking a car, reading a text or diagnosing diseases?”

— Dr. Judea Pearl, UCLA

Robotic refueling mission begins with space station

NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) began operations on the International Space Station earlier this month, which is considered a significant milestone for technology that services satellites as well as in the use of the space station’s robotic capabilities.

With the established infrastructure that the space station provides, our RRM team had support as we conceived, designed, built, and flew the RRM demo to space station in 18 months — a timeline that many declared impossible. Fresh satellite-servicing technologies will be demonstrated in a real space environment within months instead of years. This is huge. This represents real progress in space technology advancement.”

— Frank Cepollina, Associate Director of the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (SSCO), NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

WPI receives Gates Foundation award to develop software tools to enhance student learning

Tools that will be able to tell if students using educational software are engaged or not will be developed with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The foundation’s mission to significantly improve the quality of learning and the level of student success in high school and beyond aligns well with WPI’s multifaceted efforts to augment teaching and learning in K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Like the Gates Foundation, we recognize that keeping students engaged in these subjects and motivating them to continue on to careers in science and technology is vital to our nation’s competitiveness.”

—Dennis Berkey, President and CEO, WPI

 Researchers unveil robot jellyfish built on nanotechnology

Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas and Virginia Tech announced the creation of an underwater robot that could help with rescue and surveillance missions. The robot mimics jellyfish movement and runs on renewable energy.

We’ve created an underwater robot that doesn’t need batteries or electricity. The only waste released as it travels is more water. It could stay underwater and refuel itself while it is performing surveillance.”

 — Dr. Yonas Tadesse, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, UT Dallas

The ‘living’ micro-robot that could detect diseases in humans

UK-based researchers are developing a prototype micro-robot that responds to light and chemicals the way biological systems respond. Their findings may one day help to locate diseases within the body.

Nothing matches a living creature’s natural ability to see and smell its environment and therefore to collect data on what’s going on around it. We’re currently developing and testing Cyberplasm’s individual components. We hope to get to the assembly stage within a couple of years. We believe Cyberplasm could start being used in real-world situations within five years.”

— Dr. Daniel Frankel, bioengineer, Newcastle University

Teach your robot well (Georgia Tech shows how)

Researchers at the Georgia Tech Center for Robotics & Intelligent Machines (RIM) have classified the kinds of questions robot’s can use while engaged in learning to help ensure “a smooth and productive human-robot relationship.”

People are not so good at teaching robots because they don’t understand the robots’ learning mechanism. It’s like when you try to train a dog, and it’s difficult because dogs do not learn like humans do. We wanted to find out the best kinds of questions a robot could ask to make the human-robot relationship as ‘human’ as it can be.”

— Maya Cakmak, doctoral student, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

New Insights into Math and Reading Hurdles

Researchers at Stanford have shown that math anxiety has a neurological basis.  (Photo credit: FlickrJunkie)

Children frequently hit a wall with one or more of the three Rs. Fortunately, researchers are discovering some of the underlying mechanisms that create math anxiety in young learners as well as possible ways to improve reading skills in middle school students.

For Children with Math Anxiety, Brain Differences Make Doing Math Scary

A brain imaging study conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine has revealed that the brains of children who experience math anxiety actually work differently than the brains of children with no math anxiety.

The research showed that in children with high math-related anxiety, doing math elicits a heightened response in the area of the brain that normally reacts to conditions that cause fear.

It’s remarkable that, although the phenomena was first identified over 50 years back, nobody had bothered to ask how math anxiety manifests itself in terms of neural activity. You cannot just wish it away as something that’s unreal. Our findings validate math anxiety as a genuine type of stimulus- and situation-specific anxiety.”

— Vinod Menon, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine

The researchers hope that by showing that math anxiety has a basis in neurology, new approaches can be found to deal with it.

Using E-readers Motivates Middle School Boys: Girls Prefer Books

Researchers at Southern Methodist University have studied middle school students who struggle with reading and found that after using e-readers (such as a Kindle) the subjects’ attitudes about the value of reading improved for boys but declined for girls.

The technology appeared to motivate the boys to read, while many girls preferred the actual books. The data showing the girls’ preference were statistically significant and particularly intriguing. This is part of a 3-year study and this data came midway through, so we are continuing our investigation and interviewing girls to understand their reaction to the e-readers. It may be that they prefer curling up with actual books and that they enjoy sharing their reading with their friends.”

— Dara Williams-Rossi, assistant clinical professor, Southern Methodist University

When asked what they liked about the e-readers, the students’ answers included the following:

  • Not having a lot of books to carry
  • Other students could not easily identify their reading level or book choice
  • The book they were reading was always available and hadn’t been removed from the classroom

Rotary International purchased the e-readers for the research.

For More Information:

Read more about kids and e-readers at http://blog.smu.edu/research/2012/03/21/middle-school-boys-who-are-reluctant-readers-value-reading-more-after-using-e-readers/

Investigate the details of Stanford’s math anxiety study at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/sumc-sis032112.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

Lessons for K-12 from Online Higher Ed.

Seal of the United States Department of Education

In a new report entitled “Understanding the Implications of Online Learning for Educational Productivity,” analysts from the US Department of Education and SRI International have reviewed research about online learning programs in higher education in order to glean strategies, recommendations, and guidance for those interested in using similar programs at the secondary level.

…the report provides analytic tools for district and school administrators to evaluate claims about the cost-effectiveness of online learning courses and programs so that they can become knowledgeable consumers of online materials.”

— Marianne Bakia, Ph.D., senior policy analyst, Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International

In addition to recommending that educators tap online resources to enrich the experience of students in remote or low-enrollment districts, the report suggests that educators consider the following to improve the quality of online education:

  • Engage students in active learning using research-based principles and established best practices
  • Personalize instruction based on students’ interests, preferred pace of learning, and performance
  • Automate routine tasks to allow teachers to focus on complex, interactive activities in the classroom

The benefits of adopting these approaches? According to the report, lower education costs are possible due to more efficient use of teachers’ and students’ time. Additionally, the expenses related to traditional school buildings may be offset by using homes or community spaces, as well. Moreover, schools stand to save through the “reuse and large-scale distribution of materials.”

Learn more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/si-sir031912.php

The full report is available at http://ctl.sri.com/news/ImplicationsOnlineLearning2.pdf

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.