Obama to push for new ed-tech agency

Congress will consider Obama's request for a new ed-tech agency.

President Obama will request fiscal 2012 funding for an educational technology agency within the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that would bring resources and funding to schools and colleges, while some ed-tech advocates warn that the government’s support might not reach teachers and professors.

The White House announced Feb. 7 that its requests for the 2012 federal budget would include an agency called Advanced Research Projects Agency – Education, which would “support research on breakthrough technologies to enhance learning.”

The White House’s announcement was short on specifics, but it said the new agency would advocate for technology such as “software that is as effective as a personal tutor.”…Read More

Open education group says feds made mistake in grant program

Ed-tech advocates are wary of a federal grant requirement.

A $2 billion federal grant program promoting the development of sharable web-based educational tools requires applicants to comply with a Department of Defense (DOD) program, irking a leading open education organization.

The federal grant program, known as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCT) Grants Program, includes the easy-to-overlook line: “… online and technology-enabled courses developed under this [program] must be compliant with the latest version of SCORM.”

SCORM, which stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model, is an eLearning software standard created by the DOD for self-paced, computer-based learning in the military and business sector.…Read More

Google makes ed-tech splash with apps marketplace

Google's education app marketplace begins with 20 options.

Google opened an Apps Marketplace for educators Jan. 25, creating an online repository filled with learning management system (LMS) software, web-based grade books, and other content that could be shared among an entire school district or college campus with the click of a button.

The Apps Marketplace’s education category will start with 20 applications from 19 companies, according to Google’s official blog, and the applications can be integrated with existing app accounts, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google docs.

Using free applications from Google’s new selection—which includes spelling and grammar tutorials and bibliographical management tools—could help educational technology officials avoid installing and updating software on dozens or hundreds of computers in a school or on a college campus.…Read More

How Google’s leadership shakeup could affect education

Ed-tech experts expect Gmail to remain popular in K-12 and higher education.

Google Inc.’s announcement last week that co-founder Larry Page would replace CEO Eric Schmidt might be appealing to educators who long for the company’s free-wheeling days, but educational technology leaders said a less structured, more risk-taking approach might make some ed-tech chiefs hesitant to embrace Google’s education services.

School districts, small colleges, and large universities alike have adopted a range of Google education products, primarily the company’s hosted eMail service, Gmail, which has allowed schools and colleges to save money by using Google’s servers instead of their own.

And as the company’s reins are being handed over to Page, 37, educational technology leaders said the change might be welcomed by students, teachers, and professors who have grown skeptical of the massive company since its days as a technology sector upstart with the motto, “Don’t be evil.”…Read More

Universities find the virtualization sweet spot

Server virtualization has become a primary energy-saving strategy for campus technology departments.

There hasn’t been much opposition to ridding college campuses of clunky, energy-guzzling server racks, campus technology chiefs say, although creating virtual servers could result in an unwieldy mess if ed-tech staff aren’t careful.

Colleges and universities, like much of the private sector, have gravitated toward virtual servers in recent years—a move that lets campus technology officials clear the piles of servers that collect over time, cut down on electricity use, and satisfy faculty requests for more servers in less time.

The largest research universities and small private colleges alike have gone virtual with their campus’s servers, meaning the machinery is managed in a distant data center, for example.…Read More

The 10 biggest higher-ed tech stories of 2010

eCampus News counts down the 10 biggest higher-ed tech stories of 2010.

Campus leaders get better at leveraging the power of social media … Data breaches continue to hit higher education, with possible legal ramifications … A new federal law enlists colleges in the fight against online piracy: These are among the many key developments in campus technology in the past year.

In this special retrospective, the editors of eCampus News highlight what we think are the 10 most significant campus technology stories of 2010. To learn more about each story, click on the headlines below.

What do you think? Do you agree with this list? Did we leave anything out? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the page.…Read More

The most popular higher-ed tech stories of 2010

eReaders like the Apple iPad gained traction in higher education this year.

Later this month, we’ll count down the 10 most significant higher-ed tech stories of 2010, as chosen by our editors. But first, here are the campus technology stories that you—our readers—deemed most noteworthy in the past year, as judged by the number of page views they received:

10. How to use higher education’s ‘new toy’: Social media

Campus technology officials in charge of social media efforts have come to a consensus: There are no social media experts, so keep experimenting with your school’s tweeting, linking, and posting until you’ve struck the right balance……Read More

Viewpoint: Ed tech helps with tough-to-teach courses

Web-based tools helped one instructor teach one of the toughest psychology classes at his university.

As a former computer science undergraduate major who has done graduate work in cognitive science, I have been following the development of new internet-based, interactive, and adaptive higher-education platforms currently on the market.

These programs incorporate the most recent developments in cognitive science and artificial intelligence to customize the learning process while providing instructors with new course preparation and administrative tools.

The reason I decided to switch to internet-based education tools was mainly because of Introduction to Psychology, which is known as one of the most difficult courses in the psychology curriculum to teach. Classes tend to be very large, and students come to the course with a wide range of prior knowledge, expectations, and preconceptions.…Read More