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24,000 people in C.America have died as a result of a mystery illness related to the kidneys and we’re clueless as to why it’s happening, other than the fact that it strikes manual laborers more than any other group. There’s speculation that it’s due to a lack of hydration or exposure to pesticides and herbicides, or both. This is big, folks. If this kind of thing were happening in N.America, you can bet there would be outrage and a push to find the cause. Where is social media on this? Why aren’t doctors crowdsourcing solutions? Einztein is open to ideas from the community on how we can make a difference and help tackle this epidemic.
Kudos to the US government for trying to spur small business innovation by offering up to 150K for research projects that involve education technology (http://bit.ly/z6HxNm). But one look at the Dept of Education application process (http://bit.ly/xFFTbd) and you’ve got to wonder — is it worth all the trouble? I mean it’s long, byzantine and opaque, to put it mildly. Will this really accomplish its goal of attracting some of the most qualified innovators that we’ve got? Maybe the government needs to start thinking even more like the private sector and less like, well, bureaucrats. I would much rather see the feds put on a pitching event like http://sxswedu.com/launchedu. To attract talent you’ve got use methods that are current or you just end up funding people who know how to write grants (or know how to hire people to write grants for them!).
EINZTEIN PRESS RELEASE
The Einztein social learning network connects students in 25+ countries as part of the International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge, an environmental science collaboration between Stanford University and the University of Gothenburg.
Einztein helps students around the world connect online to discuss ideas and share solutions about topics with real world relevance.
January 27, 2011 — Einztein (http://einztein.com), the social learning network, announces its exclusive partnership with Inquiry to Insight (http://i2i.stanford.edu/), an environmental science program at Stanford University and the University of Gothenburg. The program gives high school students and educators around the world the opportunity to participate in the International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge (http://footprint.stanford.edu), enabling students to learn about the impact of their lifestyle choices on their carbon footprints and to tackle shared environmental issues.
Guided by their teachers, students calculate their carbon footprints online to measure the impact of their transit, home, energy, food and personal purchase choices. Students then use the Einztein social learning network to meaningfully discuss their results with other students in classrooms around the world.
“We designed Einztein to make it easy for anyone to create an engaging social learning community centered around educational content,” said Marco Masoni, Co-Founder and CEO. “Students are using Einztein to make real world connections between the impact of their carbon footprints and the carbon footprints of their peers throughout the world.”
Jason Hodin at Stanford University’s Inquiry to Insight adds, “Einztein allows ISCFC students to exchange ideas and perspectives across borders in a way that is familiar to them, which is vital, given the global nature of many environmental challenges. We’ve seen students around the world share thoughtful, comprehensive responses to project questions. They contribute their own ideas for solutions to environmental problems and reference valuable resources they’ve found on the web.”
Schools, teachers and students can participate in the next challenge on February 6th. Lesson plan materials may be found on the Stanford University website (http://footprint.stanford.edu), including instructions for joining the discussions hosted on Einztein.
Are classrooms a thing of the past? This article gave voice to something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. As technology merges the online and offline learning experiences into some new blended reality, we’re going to be pushed to rethink the traditional chair, desk and blackboard setup of a physical classroom.
Karen Cator, the United States Department of Education’s (ED) director of technology, believes that the expansion of social networking for learning is a key ed tech trend for 2012. In the same article, Frank Ganis at Gilfus Education Group predicts the end of the LMS (Learning Management System). Will social learning networks, like Einztein, start filling the void?
The alternative model of education offered by Western Governors University is gaining traction. Frankly, this NPR report strikes me as a bit uncritical. For instance, it doesn’t deal with the criticism that Western Governor overly emphasizes how your “life experience” can be turned into credits and then a degree.
For some balanced coverage, I found a nice article in the New York Times that surveys the alternative online degree landscape => http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/education/25future.html
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