Average price of 4-year university up 15 percent

When those college tuition bills come in, be prepared for sticker shock, the Associated Press reports. The average tuition at a four-year public university climbed 15 percent between 2008 and 2010, fueled by state budget cuts for higher education and increases of 40 percent and more at universities in states like Georgia, Arizona and California. The U.S. Department of Education’s annual look at college affordability also found significant price increases at the nation’s private universities, including at for-profit institutions, where the net price for some schools is now twice as high as Harvard. At Full Sail University, a film and art school in central Florida, the average price of tuition, fees, books, and other expenses totals $43,990, even when grants and scholarships are factored in. The average net price for an incoming Harvard student: $18,277, according to the department. Net price is cost of attendance minus grant and scholarship aid…

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Is the power of intuition overrated?

Much has been written in the last 10 years about intuition, especially expert intuition. What’s so fascinating about intuition, of course, is the idea that one’s mind may work on a problem without one being aware of it, says cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?”. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink was largely devoted to this phenomenon. Other books — e.g., Tim Wilson’s Strangers to Ourselves and Danny Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow — have summarized some of the research showing that such unconscious cognition occurs, but Gladwell differed in suggesting that at times we’d be better off relying on intuition than in thinking. Some researchers — most consistently Gerd Gigerenzer at the Max Planck institute, but others, including Kahneman at times — suggest that advice might be sound. A recent study, however, suggests you’re better off thinking. A group of researchers at Florida State and University of Leuven (Moxley et al, 2012) presented expert chess players with complex chess positions and varied the amount of time players were allowed to deliberate before they had to pick a move. The question was whether players benefited from more time…

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Acer launches sleek Iconia tablet with HD display

PC manufacturer Acer launched on Wednesday its latest Android tablet to hit the market, boasting an HD display and a series of powerful specs, Mashable reports. The 32GB Iconia Tab A700 tablet — which is currently available for pre-sale in U.S. and Canada for $449.99 — runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google’s latest mobile operating system. Available in black and silver, the tablet features a 10.1-inch full HD 1080p backlit display that produces beautiful images and HD video, with 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution that’s 55% higher in pixel density than many other tablets on the market. Powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, the sleek device caters to fast web-browsing. Other specs include an HDMI port, a micro-USB port for syncing and transferring files and supports up to 64GB MicroSD cards. The Iconia Tab A700, which comes with high-quality Dolby Mobile 3 sound, can also be connected via HDMI to an external sound system…

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University research will evaluate physical data to gauge teacher effectiveness

GSR technology could give an advantage to 'tyrannical' teachers, Ravitch says.

A student’s physical reaction to a classroom lesson soon could be used to judge how successful—or unsuccessful—an educator is in keeping students engaged.

Researchers and Clemson University received a nearly $500,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in November to study Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) bracelets, which house sensors that measure a student’s physical reaction to learning—such as increased sweating—and uses the data as a way to grade an educator’s performance.

Wireless sensors produce readouts showing whether students are alert, anxious, bored, or excited in the classroom, and as Clemson researchers determine the reliability of this experimental technological gauge, many in education are skeptical of the GSR bracelets as a mainstream classroom tool.

The Clemson research will “determine the feasibility and utility of using such devices regularly in schools with students and teachers,” according to a Gates Foundation announcement.

The foundation in 2011 also awarded more than $620,000 to the National Center on Time and Learning for evaluation into how GSR bracelets can measure and develop student engagement.

The student reactions recorded on the bracelets’ sensors could be added to a host of more traditional teacher evaluation methods such as test grades, administrator observations, and student surveys, wrote Diane Ravitch, a research professor at New York University and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education.

Depending on the GSR readouts could mean that an educator who maintains a classroom full of excited and anxious students would be rewarded for keeping kids engaged. That, Ravitch wrote, would give a distinct edge to “tyrannical teachers” who “inspire anxiety by keeping students in constant fear.”

“The idea that this powerful foundation is setting in motion a means of measuring physiological responses to teachers is deeply disturbing,” Ravitch wrote in a blog post. “The act of teaching is complex. It involves art, science, and craft. Learning is far more than can be measured by a GRS bracelet.”

Education officials and privacy rights groups said any technology designed to measure and record students’ emotional and physical reactions would meet stiff opposition from parents and others wary of intrusive school technology.

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SoftChalk Takes to the Cloud

Richmond, Va. – June 11, 2012 –Award-winning education technology leader, SoftChalk, LLC today announced the launch of SoftChalk Cloud, the world’s first complete e-learning content authoring platform in the cloud. SoftChalk Cloud enables educators to easily create, manage and share rich, engaging online learning content with one convenient solution.

SoftChalk Cloud includes SoftChalk Create, a refined version of the company’s popular content authoring tool, plus powerful collaboration tools and simple LMS integration. Improved features and functionality build from SoftChalk’s original, successful desktop-only solution.

“Educators will get the same outstanding content authoring product—now with the convenience of the cloud,” says Sue Polyson Evans, CEO of SoftChalk. “SoftChalk Cloud sets the standard as the easiest, most flexible way to create and manage engaging, media-rich e-learning content.”

Key benefits of SoftChalk Cloud include:

  • Anytime, anywhere access. Educators can log in to SoftChalk Cloud from their web browser, to create and modify content online.
  • Transition-proof content. Content created in SoftChalk Cloud seamlessly integrates with almost any LMS. An institution’s content can stay put, even if they switch their LMS, and one SoftChalk item can be used in multiple LMS simultaneously.
  • Quick and easy sharing. With SoftChalk Cloud, users can organize and share learning content and media with colleagues, groups or their entire community.
  • Efficient content management. One SoftChalk Cloud content item can link into multiple courses and track student score results into multiple LMS gradebooks. When content is updated in one place, every course is updated simultaneously
  • Track student score results. SoftChalk Cloud allows detailed student score tracking inside or outside of the LMS gradebook.

SoftChalk Cloud is sold on a subscription basis with site license pricing available. For more information, email learnmore@softchalk.com, call 877-638-2425 (ext. 1) or visit www.softchalk.com.

About SoftChalk, LLC
SoftChalk, LLC is an award-winning provider of eLearning software for worldwide education and business institutions. Specializing in the development of intuitive, easy-to-use tools, SoftChalk products allow instructors to create powerful and professional-looking content for eLearning and smart classrooms in K-12, higher education and corporate training. For more information, visit www.softchalk.com.

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CAMPUS TELEVIDEO LAUNCHES EAS INTEGRATION SERVICE CONNECTING CABLE TV TO COLLEGE EAS PLATFORMS

Greenwich, CT – Campus Televideo (www.campustelevideo.com), a leading provider of custom cable TV, ResNet data and other telecommunications services to over 230 colleges and universities nationwide, has launched the country’s first EAS (Emergency Alert System) integration service for colleges and universities connecting cable TV to existing EAS platforms. Working with cable TV EAS solution partner Monroe Electronics and e2Campus, Campus Televideo successfully beta tested and launched this new service at Misericordia University in Dallas, PA.

This new integrated product will allow safety administrators to enter a single message and deliver it consistently across multiple EAS platforms to multiple devices (television, cell phones, emails). Previously, safety administrators had to manage separate login and messaging processes for each platform, introducing complexity and slowing delivery.

“With campus safety a top priority for schools today, this new, first-of-its-kind tool will allow administrators to quickly and easily deliver a consistent message across multiple device types on campus,” said Jon Stewart, Campus Televideo’s senior director of business operations. “This is an important offering that we can now make available in our portfolio of services that we tailor for every customer we serve, and we’re looking forward to working with other EAS providers to launch this important integrated product on campuses around the country.”

“We are excited to be on-board with Campus Televideo and e2Campus to offer this important, cutting-edge EAS communication capability to college campuses,” said Jim Heminway, COO, Monroe Electronics. ““By leveraging our One-NetTM with the recently released FCC and FEMA Common Alerting Protocol [CAP] capabilities, we’re able to tie separate EAS platforms together, creating one, single point of message delivery.”

“Thanks to Campus Televideo’s efforts, the e2Campus platform now extends to a powerful device that we were not previously reaching – live broadcast television,” said John Casey, Vice President of Partner Relations at e2Campus. “During any sort of emergency, being able to reach the entire campus as quickly as possible is the number one goal, and our single point of origination will allow safety administrators to do just that through their e2Campus web portal.”
“This kind of innovative approach to serving our university needs is why we’ve been with Campus Televideo for nearly fifteen years and e2Campus for five years,” said Mark Reboli, Misericordia University. “Though you never hope to have a need to reach your campus in an emergency situation, this integrated system adds an important piece to the University’s emergency notification plan with a valuable, direct, and simple way to reach our students throughout the campus without safety personnel performing additional work.”

About Campus Televideo

Campus Televideo (www.campustelevideo.com) is a leading provider of custom cable TV, ResNet data and other telecommunications services to colleges and universities, as well as off-campus student housing. Founded in 1984, the company provides full service solutions, including programming, design, installation, maintenance and technical support, to more than 230 campuses nationwide.

About Monroe Electronics
Monroe Electronics began operations in 1954 designing and manufacturing specialized electrostatic discharge (ESD) instrumentation that continues today. From its headquarters in Lyndonville, N.Y. the company provides R&D, manufacturing, sales, and customer service for all Monroe Electronics, One-NetTM, and Digital Alert Systems brands. Monroe Electronics’ Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) are the widely accepted standard for CATV with a hard-earned reputation for quality, reliability, and service to valued customers around the world. More information is available at www.monroe-electronics.com.

About e2campus
Used by more than 800 schools around the country, e2Campus is the leading safety communication solution for education. The e2Campus 360 Safety Suite includes uAlert, uTip, uSafe, uConference, Hotline and the Multimodal Showcase. The award-winning flagship service, uAlert, is the first and most trusted unified emergency notification system in education. Higher education clients include large universities such as Arizona State, Penn State, and Cal Poly as well as smaller colleges with less than 100 students. K12 clients include large school districts such as St. Tammany Parish Public School System to small private day schools. To learn more, visit www.e2Campus.com. Existing client administrators can discover online resources in a peer-driven community at www.e2Campus.org

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Press Contact:

For Campus Televideo:
Shelley Kapitulik Drazin
203.898.1501
shelley@splashpr.us

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As American University of Iraq Holds First Commencement, Trailblazing School Embraces Cutting Edge EdTech

StudySync Brings English Alive for Students, Serves as Unique Cultural Bridge

SULAIMANI, Iraq and SONOMA, Calif. (June 10, 2012) – You can set your clock by most graduation ceremonies. Dutifully (and, yes, predictably) the late spring ritual serves as both an end and a beginning.
But not all commencement ceremonies are alike, and some are especially laden with meaning.
Consider that the scenario for the first undergraduate commencement ceremony at the American University of Iraq (AUIS), a private, non-profit university located in the city of Sulaimani in the Kurdistan Region, offering a liberal arts education based on the American model. On June 16, AUIS will award 37 undergraduate degrees, including the university’s first cohort of ten students.
A portion of the graduating class passed through the AUIS Academic Preparatory Program, a foundational English curriculum that augments language skills with preparation for undergraduate study in English.
For that preparatory program, AUIS is turning to StudySync (www.studysync.com), the web-based collaborative curriculum from BookheadEd Learning, LLC. On the heels of a successful pilot focused on English language learning, every Academic Preparatory Program (APP) student will now have access to the StudySync platform.
An innovative academic tool, StudySync was created by leading national educators with the goal of building reading and writing skills and fostering critical thinking.
Rosalind Warfield-Brown, Director of the Academic Preparatory Program, chose StudySync for its wide selection of readings. “There’s something to appeal to all of our students,” she said, “and that’s important in a culture where reading is not a pastime of choice. We’ve found that the range of the StudySync library offerings is one of its greatest strengths.”
“AUIS provides an alternative to the ‘lecture-memorize-repeat’ model of education prevalent elsewhere in Iraq, which makes the school an ideal fit for our curriculum,” said Ryan Bubalo, Education Accounts Manager at StudySync, who guided implementation of the pilot program. “The student population is a mixture of ethnicities, and is just as diverse geographically and linguistically. But English is the lingua franca. Iraqi students want to feel connected to the rest of the world, and this is an opportunity to do that. StudySync is building English skills that help transcend the other barriers student face.”
Based on the pilot – which, as in the U.S., enlists broadcast-quality video, digital media, mobile platforms and social learning to advance students’ reading, writing and critical thinking abilities – StudySync appears poised for take-off.
“Contrary to our expectations that writing would be the big hurdle, reading has proven to be the real challenge to our students, but they’ve been totally engaged by the StudySync videos,” said Rachel Laribee, Deputy Director of the APP. “While we initially thought video was only for struggling students, it’s been good for everyone.”
“Most of my students aren’t crazy about reading, but they were completely engrossed when we used StudySync in the lab,” said Christine Steele, one of the APP’s lecturers. “I believe that the well-chosen library with its audio support as well as the interactivity and high production values of the site engaged the students and made the reading fun and the meaning accessible for them. And I Iove the thoughtful writing prompts. I’m looking forward to using Study Sync more and more!”
“As a teacher I’ve always been wary of edtech programs that promise to revolutionize the classroom experience,” observed Ryan Gorman, another APP teacher. “But StudySync’s wealth of resources, engaging videos, interactivity and user-friendliness deliver on this often-dubious promise. Students love the program for what it provides and I love it for exactly the same reason.”
According to StudySync’s Ryan Bubalo, “AIUS is the most technologically advanced campus in Iraq. StudySync takes learning to the 21st Century place where these students like to see it, and adds cultural context, so we end up shaping not just language skills but also leadership skills and cultural awareness in the global economy.”

About the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani
AUIS is Iraq’s only private, non-profit university. The mission of the university is to provide advanced academic programs at international standards of quality in higher education for the professions and general education. Academic programs, taught in the English language by international faculty members, are designed to meet or exceed accreditation standards set by regional accreditation organizations in the United States. It is the objective of the University to produce graduates of responsible character with the necessary knowledge and skills for professional and national leadership. Students are prepared for successful careers in a modern, democratic, pluralistic society and in a global environment. The educational program of the university is designed to develop strength in critical thinking, the ability to communicate well, a strong work ethic, good citizenship and personal integrity.

About BookheadEd Learning, LLC
BookheadEd Learning connects high school and middle school students to the great ideas of mankind through technology, multimedia, and a rich library of classic and modern texts. StudySync, its award-winning flagship product, uses web-delivered educational tools – including broadcast-quality video, digital media, mobile platforms and social networking —to help teachers inspire higher levels of students’ reading, writing, critical thinking, academic discourse and peer-to-peer collaboration. StudySync is the recipient of the EDDIE Award from ComputED Gazette and District Administration Magazine’s “Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products of 2011.” Based in Sonoma, Calif. with an office in Cambridge, Mass., BookheadEd is comprised of educators and experts who believe “Together We’re Smarter.” To learn more about BookheadEd Learning and its StudySync educational platform, visit www.studysync.com.

Media Contacts:
For StudySync:
Ken Greenberg
Edge Communications, Inc.
323-469-3397
ken@edgecommunicationsinc.com

For AIUS
Kyle Long
Director of Communications & Institutional Development
+964 (0) 771 026 8263
kyle.long@auis.edu.iq

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Apple kicks Google Maps off iPhone, adds Facebook

Steve Jobs’ vendetta against Google remains alive, eight months after the Apple co-founder died feeling betrayed by a company he once embraced as an ally, the Associated Press reports. Apple is escalating the feud between two of the world’s most influential companies by dumping Google’s mapping service as a built-in feature on most iPhones and iPads. Apple is also making it easier for users of those devices to share their lives on Facebook instead of Google’s competing social network. The snubs are part of an upgraded mobile operating system that Apple previewed Monday to kick off its 23rd annual developers conference in San Francisco. Google’s mapping service will be replaced by an Apple-designed alternative when the new software for mobile devices, iOS 6, is released this fall. Those who want to continue using Google Maps will have to go through additional hurdle, such as finding and installing its app…

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U.-Va. board ouster of President Teresa Sullivan sparks anger

Outrage escalated on the historic University of Virginia campus Monday over the abrupt ouster of President Teresa Sullivan by a governing board that offered few new details about why it had acted or what exactly had gone awry, the Washington Post reports. Sullivan was asked to resign after two years in the job, state and university officials said, because the governing board of visitors had grown impatient at what its members perceived as a lack of overarching vision for the future of the state flagship university. Sullivan learned of the board’s wishes late Friday, after an annual executive retreat during which she and her top staff charted the university’s academic course. Sullivan had no inkling that her job was even in jeopardy, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of events…

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UL System leader urges reworking of college cuts

The leader of the University of Louisiana System is asking the state’s top higher education board to scrap its method for divvying up dollars among Louisiana’s public colleges, saying the formula is inappropriate to use with budget cuts, the Associated Press reports. UL System President Randy Moffett says the performance-based formula was designed when state funding for higher education was increasing. He said Monday that he’s urged a temporary suspension of the formula. Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell says he’s comfortable using the formula to distribute state dollars to campuses, even with budget cuts…

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