Education

Does digital dependence inevitably lead to digital education?

It’s only one statistic, but anyone who has spent any time with a student or pupil between, say 11 and 21, will recognise the number as, if anything, rather low – but this infographic from Schools.com, reckons that school pupils check their digital devices once every ten minutes or so.
It’s way more than that in our house.
The extrapolation from that is that – if these kids are so dependent on digital devices, then don’t fight it, exploit it. The theory goes, that if these kids can’t put down their mobiles and iPads, then make them consume their textbooks on those same devices, make them write their essays on laptops or tablets (82% already do). Make them do their research via Google (81% do), and allow them to take note on their laptops too (70% do).
So, the story goes, make their education entirely digital. There’s sense in that – let them use the tools that they are familiar with, and the formats they are likely to use in the future. But does it assume too much about the quality of the content? Have the curricula been fully digitised and with sufficient quality and care? And what happens at exam time? All that digital preparation can end in a very analogue testing process. Would that badly hit the success rates, and harm possible future success? Have your say below…
digital-textbooks

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Education

The secret to making vegetables fun to eat

Looking for a simpler way to get students, kids, or even yourself to get excited about eating vegetables? All it takes is a little organization and design. Thanks to the folks at @SchoolMealsRock, you can come up with some fabulous new ways for making vegetables fun to eat for people who, well, hate vegetables.
Check out the example below. It uses a bit of lettuce, two black olives, some dipping sauce (any kind works, really) and some peppers, cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms, and tomatoes. It’s like an entire salad!
The best part (in my opinion) is the rib cage-esque red bell peppers. I love the idea of making these into a real obvious body part. So fun. I might feel a bit off just diving into eating this cute little guy but will likely get past it once I remind myself it’s just a bunch of vegetables. And then I may go back to not wanting to eat vegetables. Wait a minute. This could be trouble…
So, what’s the secret to making veggies fun to eat? Creativity!
veggie-halloween

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Education Work

The inevitable problem for edtech products

Edtech Products VC Funding Problem

It will probably come as no surprise to you that when you spend your time running a huge edtech site, you hear about more edtech products, software, apps, and tools than you could possibly imagine (or remember, or use). While running Edudemic, my (inbox) cup runneth over with such information, all unsolicited. Because everyone and their mother has edtech startups these days, or so it seems.

As of earlier this year, reports value the Pre-K-12 market at just under $8 billion dollars. Other reports have predicted it will reach nearly $60 billion by 2018. There were $1.25 billion invested in edtech in 2013. Year-over-year (2013 vs. 2012) funding for private edtech companies has increased 26%. And funding in the first quarter of 2014 represented almost 45% of funding for the entirety of 2013 in the same sector. According to Donald Cohen, the executive director of In the Public Interest, the education market is the last “honeypot for Wall Street”. The value of the education market (on the whole, not just edtech) is estimated around $788.7 billion (next year).

I think we can all agree: that’s a whole lot of money.

Based on a lot of the products I see and a lot of what I read, I often worry that with all the investment that’s happening and all the hubbub around the idea of the edtech market, most of what’s happening is people trying to grab their slice of the proverbial pie. There seem to be more pie-grabbers out there than people who actually have any experience in education (other than having one themselves), and an educational philosophy they can talk about. While some of them may come up with great products, if we adopt products and technologies just because they are out there, that doesn’t necessarily translate to improved education, learning, or teaching. That isn’t to say that there aren’t great edtech products out there that really fill a need that teachers have identified or make things a lot easier, and truly benefit students. There are. They just happen to be in the minority.

Making edtech products that people will use

edtech hand raiseSo what makes an edtech product take off? Regardless of what it is designed to do or what piece of the market it is targeted at, there are a few boxes that all products must tick to become widely used. Teachers are busy. They don’t have a ton of time to slog through figuring out something that is complicated to use. It needs to be easy to use and intuitive. Teachers also don’t always have the simple choice to use or not use a tool that interests them. Administrative oversight often means that tools that are given the thumbs-up must be widely applicable for many students and teachers. Tools need to align with standards, meet data privacy and security requirements, and more. There are so many products out there that sifting through them and trying them out isn’t feasible – especially if you need to pay for the product. Which is probably one of the biggest items – cost.

To make a tool that a lot of teachers are going to use, it not only has to be useful, it likely needs to be free. Schools don’t always have a ton of funding and teachers can’t always – and shouldn’t have to – shell out for this stuff themselves (even though there are many that do just that). The answer? Create awesome free products that teachers can use.

Money for free tools

vcWhich leads us to the overabundance of VC funding in the edtech market. VC funding seems to have become *the* answer to funding a great free tool for teachers. It goes something like this: Have great edtech idea, realize teachers aren’t going to be willing and/or able to pay to use it. Decide to make it free. Fund the development and ongoing maintenance, marketing and such with VC funding. Raise another round. Keep expanding the product’s user base and features. Keep raising more rounds.

There are many such products out there, many of which you probably know of, like Socrative. Remind. ClassDojo. Edmodo. Prezi. All well-known names in the industry. They’re great tools, and they’re free. But if they’re not charging for their services, the cycle of raise funds + expand will just keep going, until the funds and declining balance run out. And then what? Hope for a larger company to buy the product and continue to run it? Start to charge for the product and lose a huge chunk of the user base who can’t pay to use the tool? Hope that the users will be entrenched enough in the product that they’ll pay anyway?

Is there a happy ending with this somewhat necessary VC funded – free product model? How can products funded by people other than the users of the product set themselves up for long term survival without traditional revenues like advertising (a no-no for many edtech products) or payment for services? Share your thoughts with the Daily Genius community by leaving us a comment below, mention @DailyGenius on Twitter or head over to the Daily Genius Facebook page and share your thoughts!

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Education

6 Great tools for content curation

I read recently that content curation is dead. I have a few different arguments against this concept, but for now, I’ll keep it short and sweet: Content curation is not dead, and while the debate over curating content online vs creating new content will rage on and on, curating content for other reasons is still going strong.
That said, there are a lot of different ways to go about content curation, so we’ve test driven a few different tools so you can figure out which might work best for you whether you’re curating content for work projects, assigning it as a school project, for your own professional development, or personal interests.

6 Great tools for content curation

Pinterest

Without a doubt Pinterest is the most commonly known (and probably used) content curation tool out there. It is more than likely that you already know about it, but I’m adding it in here because I think it is truly one of the best, most versatile content curation tools available. It is free, is nice to look at, is easy to use, and since just about everyone in every field is using it, there’s a huge variety of content being curated on there for you to peruse. Free, though you can pay to promote pins for your business.

Flipboard

Flipboard lets you curate whatever content you want (news sources, blog posts, social media, etc) into fancy-looking digital magazines. You add your favorite sources, and it populates with that information to make something you want to read. You can make different ‘boards’ for different topics. Flipboard wins for nice to look at plus “real” content (as opposed to mostly pretty pictures like you get on Pinterest). Free.

Pocket

We’ve already discussed that I’m somewhat tab-happy when using web browsers, and Pocket would probably be a great solution to get rid of some of my tabs. Pocket is designed to help you save stuff that you find online but want to read later. You can save content from hundreds of sources, and view from the web or one of their free apps. They also offer a premium version for $4.99/month or $44.99/year which gives you advanced search, permanent copies of your saved stuff, and suggested tags to better organize your stuff.

Scoop.it

Scoop.it is a free tool (with a paid “business” plan that gives you things like team curation, customizable templates, newsletter capabilities and more, and runs $79/month or $799/yr) that lets you find cool content, “scoop” it onto one of your boards, add your thoughts, and publish it to your social media. Scoop.it is mostly marketed to a business crowd to help them gain visibility online and establish themselves as thought leaders, and the ability to add a decent amount of text, whereas Pinterest smacks you with a 500 character limit. I find the Scoop.it layout to be too busy with a lot of links, which makes it difficult to look at and find what you want, but it earns itself a place on the list for the ability to add a decent amount of your own text/commentary on your selections.

IFTTT

This one is a little bit less about web content curation than about personal information and data creation, but it is really cool. IFTTT stands for If this, then that. Its pronounced like “gift” but without the g, and is a simple way to use an algorithm to find and save content that is relevant to you. It uses “channels” (Facebook, Twitter, and about a million more). You set triggers, and when those triggers are found, the service performs a specific action. An example would be “If someone tags a photo of me on Instagram, send me a text message”.  The interface is nice because it is very visual, and it works with a large variety of common platforms like Gmail, blogger, evernote, etc. Free.

Paper.li

Paper.li allows anyone – regardless of technical know-how – curate information online in the form of a ‘newspaper’. Viewers can subscribe to your paper and will be notified when there are updates. This one limits you a bit because it limits you to curating all of your topics into one place – great if you’re sticking to one topic, bad if you want to create a number of resources on different topics. There is a decent level of personalization available here, giving you the option of making your paper.li site your ‘main’ site if you need/want to. A free account lets you curate content, and they also offer a ‘pro’ version for $9 per paper per month which gives you access to the newsletters, branding, etc. Katie Couric’s paper.li site is a great example of what you can do with pro account features.
Content Curation Tools
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Work

Is mobile healthcare the future?

With the growth or wearable technology and the continuing rise of the app economy, the ‘mobile health’ industry is something of a boom industry, riding the crest of a wave, as it were.

The mobile health industry (medicine and public health ‘delivered’ via mobile devices) is projected to be a $26bn industry by 2017, with over 97,000 health and fitness related mobile apps currently on Google Play and Apple App Store, and 4 million downloads per day.

According to the graphic, from GreatCall, 52% of smartphone users gather health information on their phones – healthcare is in the palm of your hand, and if people can take better care of their own health and better manage their own conditions, then it opens up new possibilities for personal care.

Is_Mobile_Healthcare_The_Future_Infographic

 

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Education

Impress your barista by ordering these 9 types of coffee

Ever walked into your local coffee shop and stared at the big menu only to discover you are overwhelmed and think most of the drinks sound very similar? There’s actually a lot of minutiae and differences between each drink that you should know. Lucky for you, this visual guide helps you understand the various types of coffee you should know about to impress your barista on your next java run.
For example, did you know the difference between the most basic drinks: an espresso versus a latte? Do you know which has steamed milk?
Do you know what a doppio is? I personally haven’t seen this on a menu at any nearby coffee shops here in southern California but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sound good. I would love an espresso topped off with MORE espresso! Who knew it had such a silly-sounding but somehow awesome name?
Lucky for you, there’s a fabulous printable guide to coffee drinks for sale on Etsy. The image is embedded below.
You can also check out Home Grounds for some awesome information on coffee and coffee related topics!
Do you know what a doppio is? I personally haven't seen this on a menu at any nearby coffee shops here in southern California but that doesn't mean it doesn't sound good. I would love an espresso topped off with MORE espresso! Who knew it had such a silly-sounding but somehow awesome name?

Print centered & sized at 8″ x 10″
Print sized at 8.5″ x 11″
Prints can be printed also at 11×14″ -$23.00, and 13X19″-$27.00

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Education

It is Friday, so you should probably read this.

friday

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Education

The delicious treats Disney World is using to celebrate Halloween

We weren’t paid or given anything by anyone to write this post.
We just love 1) Halloween and 2) Disney stuff. So, we figured you might too. Enjoy!

I love a good Halloween treat. I also love Disney, well, everything. If you’re like me, you’re probably going to figure out a way to find yourself at Disneyland or Disney World after seeing this.
The Disney folks have come up with some delicious Halloween treats at Walt Disney World. They’re not gross like the ‘black burger’ so fear not. Instead, they’re fun twists on popular treats that most of us would like any time of the year. Except now they’re orange and black!
Let’s take a look at some of the treats and figure out where in the theme park(s) you can actually find them.

A Bat-Tastic Halloween Cupcake

halloween disney cupcake bat
Looking for a little bat topping for your cupcake? This one’s got you covered. Hopefully no guano included!

Disney’s Halloween Cupcakes

halloween disney cupcake

 
These cupcakes are just too amazing to not want to eat immediately. I applaud the photographer for taking the time to shoot these instead of eating them immediately. Anyway, Sunshine Seasons at Epcot is where you’ll find these Chocolate Witch cupcakes with a peanut butter filling.

Spooky Worms ‘n Dirt Sundae

halloween disney ice cream
Want some worms and dirt for dessert? Say that ten times fast. Now, head over to Discovery Island Ice Cream for this delicious treat.

A Glorious Mickey Mouse Mug

halloween disney mug

Want to get your hands on this mug? Check out Kusafiri Bakery and Isle of Java in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
Source: Disney Blog

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Education

New tool TOS;DR lets you finally understand Terms Of Service

We’ve all been there: chomping at the bit and ready to install something fun or download new music or a new app only to get bungled up in agreeing to a company’s Terms of Service. TOS agreements are usually many, many pages long and ridden with legalese that most people don’t understand and even fewer take the time to read: they’re simply a short pause before signing up for a web service or downloading something.
If you’ve read our little blurb on the bottom of the Daily Genius site (scroll to the bottom of any random page), you know that we’re all about giving you bits of information that make you a little bit smarter than you were before.  Understanding TOS really gets at the essence of what we’re all about. If you understand the TOS for a service you use all the time and can explain it – even a little bit- to your friends, we’ve done our job. And this post is all about a tool that helps you do just that.

             “The Daily Genius is a source of inspiration, knowledge, and learning for people who are awesome. It’s a sassy but sophisticated                                                      yet snarky window into amazing things that you might otherwise not ever hear about.”

Most of us simply agree to the TOS and move on, but do we really have any idea what we’re agreeing to? Most likely, the answer is no. And even more unfortunately, that isn’t going to change, since most of us still aren’t going to spend the time to read through hundreds of pages of legalese unless forced. Isn’t there someone out there to look through this stuff and tell us what’s in it so that we don’t have to become lawyers and family lawyers to comfortably agree to TOS for nearly every service on the web?
Well actually, there is. TOS;DR (short for Terms Of Service; Didn’t Read) is a service that aims to analyze terms of service for the websites you use and give them a grade so that you better understand your rights as you use each service. You can get this information directly in your browser by installing a browser add-on (currently available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and ‘coming soon’ to IE), or you can check out their site to see some major bullet points for many of the major services (Twitter, Facebook, etc) even if they haven’t yet been assigned a grade.
Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 5.41.19 PM
 
 
From their site, you can search for a specific term (like YouTube, to see YouTube’s TOS) or for a topic (ie, what kind of right are you waiving in a TOS) such as Cookies (what service tracks your goings-on on other websites?). So if you’re looking for something specific, you should be able to find it pretty easily.
Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 5.44.10 PM
 
Rankings range from A (very good) to E (very bad). As of this writing, only a handful of sites actually have a full rating, but they do have a number of bullet points for each one that give you the highlights of the TOS with an associated thumbs up or thumbs down. You can draw your own conclusions from there.

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Education

Which Starbucks drinks have the most caffeine?

When you need a quick pick-me-up, how much bang for your buck will you get at Starbucks? Chances are you probably order one of a handful of drinks and stick to that group on a regular basis.
However, this in-depth chart from Thrillist might help you try something new if you’re looking to juice up on the cheap.

So, Which Starbucks Drinks Have The Most Caffeine?

If you’re looking for a cheap but powerful option, then I have some time-saving news for you: go for the drip brewed coffee like Pike Place and the Dark Roast at Starbucks. They are shockingly filled with caffeine and also the cheapest option by far. Crazy how that works, right?
Be sure to scroll all the way down through this lengthy chart. It’s worth pouring over (see what I did there?)
Which is your favorite drink? Did this chart surprise you? Let us know down in the comments on the Daily Genius Facebook page!
starbucks caffeine levels

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