Author: IDEA

Two Cheers for Web U!Online courses with very large enrollments have rapidly matured in the last two years, led largely by experiments outside mainstream academia by CourseraUdacity and edX. Ambitious educators, technologists, and funders have created courses on diverse topics, and over five million students worldwide have registered for classes. And 3% have completed the courses. What can we learn? (more…)

CrowdsourcingCrowdsourcing means involving a lot of people in small pieces of a project. In educational and nonprofit outreach, crowdsourcing is a form of engagement, such as participating in an online course, collecting photos of butterflies for a citizen-science project, uploading old photos for a community history project, deciphering sentences from old scanned manuscripts, playing protein folding games to help scientists discover new ways to fight diseases, or participating in online discussions. (more…)

Google Maps Street ViewThe Grand Canyon is yet another place that Google brings to your digital screens, from their Street View family of content. Google has been collecting street-level views of our world at a vast scale possible only because of it’s deep pockets and technical expertise.  (more…)

In the era of tablets and smart phones, parents of small children may consider educational apps. Recently, the “Slashdot” online community discussed apps and kids. Nerdy parents chimed in with suggestions. This tech-savvy community is often reluctant to rely on apps, favoring “play time outside with soccer and baseballs, and inside with blocks, Hot Wheels, PlayDoh, etc.” But many parents found value in apps, at least occasionally.

Here’s a list of ten apps that computer nerds turn to when they want to engage their young kids in math and science… (more…)

Sciences and history can nicely meet at historical sites. It engages the history-minded in science, and the science-minded in history. Two examples were recently discussed by Chris Shires, director of interpretation and programs at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. (more…)

Imploded by the same forces that have disrupted the broader publishing industry, the dictionary business struggles to get a grip on the online/mobile world. “Our research tells us that most people today get their reference information via their computer, tablet, or phone” said Stephen Bullon, Macmillan Education’s Publisher for Dictionaries, “and the message is clear and unambiguous: the future of the dictionary is digital.” (more…)

Too many books? Valuable books? If you or your organization has a library of too many books, consider selling them using fulfillment services. Unlike using eBay or the Amazon ‘Marketplace,’ in exchange for various fees, Amazon handles everything: they pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for your products. No wasting staff time, or rushing to pack up a book and run to the post office every time someone places an order. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do it… (more…)

Twitter hashtags are useful for promoting your projects, learning about new topics, and discovering trends. But what hashtags to use? We’ve analyzed usage patterns for over a thousand hashtags used in education and outreach, and give you the best. Even if you are active on Twitter, some will be familiar to you, and some will be new.

List of the best hashtags for education and outreach(more…)

Most data is meaningless to most people — unless it is visualized. Stepping beyond familiar visualizations like bar charts and pie charts, there are many approaches to visualizing data, from mapping (e.g., color coding a map to show voting patterns) to visualizing networks (e.g., the links between people).

You are not limited to Microsoft Excel, or your own programming abilities. We’re now in an awesome generation for visualization, with dozens of freely available software libraries — which developers have spent months (or years!) building. Increasingly these use Javascript (so they work in all browsers and mobile devices). The folks at highlight most of the best tools for making maps and charts, or processing data… (more…)

It’s Open Access Week 2012. Now in it’s 6th year, the organizers are promoting Open Access as the new norm in research and scholarship. Here’s a summary of some happenings… (more…)