Nursing students can learn in a virtual world at UTA

UT Arlington will hold a conference on Second Life in education.

In the virtual world, nurses in training from Texas, New York and Denmark can practice alongside other emergency personnel before an anthrax attack, pandemic or tornado grabs headlines.

Via computer, students participate in a simulated event that provides a role rehearsal, say experts at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing, where educators are taking lessons, discussions and conferences into the 3-D virtual world of Second Life.

Second Life allows people to create avatars and environments in spaces called islands. Avatars, which are free, can interact on the islands (which cost real money). Second Life received much hype about six years ago as a fantasy place to re-invent oneself. Now, it provides an educational tool for many universities.…Read More

Briefings sent to court back U. of I. in records dispute

The U.S. Department of Justice and a group of higher education organizations each filed briefs in federal court Wednesday arguing that the University of Illinois was prohibited by a federal privacy law from releasing information about hundreds of well-connected college applicants, reports the Chicago Tribune. The briefs back the university’s position in an ongoing legal dispute with the Chicago Tribune over student records stemming from the newspaper’s 2009 “Clout Goes to College” investigation…

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Ed-tech officials: Video will make schools more ‘efficient’

Retaining good students was the top priority for K-12 and college administrators.
Fifty-three percent of school officials said they would buy video technology in the next year.

More than half of education technology officials in K-12 schools and higher-education institutions said they would buy video technology in the next year to make their schools “more effective and efficient” and better prepare students for the workforce, according to a new survey from technology giant Cisco Systems.

The survey results, compiled by Washington, D.C.-based research and polling firm Clarus Research Group, come seven months after Cisco bought Tandberg, a leading video conferencing company. Observers expect Cisco’s purchase—which initially was snubbed by Tandberg stockholders, who balked at the $3 billion bid—to make the company one of the leading video providers in schools and colleges.

While 53 percent of administrators and school technology officials said their institutions “are likely” to buy video equipment sometime in the next year, more than eight in 10 survey respondents said technology plays a role in “improving how students learn,” with 82 percent agreeing that education technology will play a “large role” in “helping prepare students for the workforce of the future.”…Read More

Educators hope Ning stays affordable

Educators will have 10 weeks to decide if they want to keep their content on Ning after tha company's May 4 announcement.
Educators will have 10 weeks to decide if they want to keep their content on Ning after the company's May 4 shift to a fee-based model.

Since Ning launched its social network that lets members create groups on any topic back in 2007, thousands of educators have used the online tool to connect with their peers across the globe. Now, the company says it soon will “phase out” its free service, forcing educators to find other alternatives or pay to keep their Ning networks intact.

Education technology experts said Ning risks alienating educators with its decision, especially at a time when school budgets are so tight. Ning, which had planned to use advertising revenue to support the site, announced April 16 that company officials would unveil a new business model on May 4 that would include “price points” for the previously free service.

While Ning’s basic service had been free, it also offered a range of paid options, including $5 a month for custom domains and $10 a month for extra bandwidth and storage capabilities.…Read More

Journalism students turn to Wikipedia to publish stories

Fifty-two percent of students said they frequently used Wikipedia for class work.
Fifty-two percent of students in a recent survey said they frequently use Wikipedia for class work.

College students know the online resource of which they dare not speak: Wikipedia, the voluminous internet encyclopedia demonized by many in higher education—and a resource that two University of Denver instructors use as a centerpiece of their curriculum.

Denver journalism students are writing Wikipedia entries as part of a curriculum that stresses online writing and content creation as readers move to the web en masse.

Journalism instructors Lynn Schofield Clark and Christof Demont-Heinrich said students are told to check their sourcing carefully, just as they would for an assignment at a local newspaper.…Read More

Has Google developed the next wave of online education?

Google Wave marks the next step in collaboration capabilities for group projects, some in education say.
Google Wave marks the next step in collaboration capabilities for group projects, some in education say.

Combining text, audio, and video chat with features like drag-and-drop documents and interactive polls, Google Wave is a free web program that could add unprecedented depth to student interaction, many educators say.

Programmers who designed Google Wave, a tool still in development and only available through limited invites, started with a question: What would eMail look like if it were invented today?

The answer is a format that merges social networking with multimedia in an online meeting space where students and instructors can see each other type in real time, conduct private conversations, and edit documents simultaneously.…Read More