21.10.14

[conference: mobiles and communication]

12th ICA Mobile Pre-Conference CALL FOR PAPERS
May 20-21 (1.5 days), 2015.
Deadline for Extended Abstract Submissions: December 1, 2014.


   Communication through mobile media has become central to people’s lives around the world, no matter age, gender, or ethnicity, and is driven by widespread adoption of a repertoire of mobile devices. Usage of mobile media is closely tied to the life circumstances of individuals. The 12th annual ICA Mobile Pre-conference will examine, scrutinize, and reflect upon the influence of this dominant new medium on everyday practices of communication through the theme “From Womb to Tomb: Mobile Research Across Genders, Generations, Ethnicities, Cultures, and Life Stages.
   We anticipate a broad range of research topics in mobile communication and welcome extended abstracts based on empirical and/or theoretical work as it relates to: civic engagement, activism and social movements, social media, learning and education, methodologies, international contexts, international development, health, cultural similarities and differences, local culture and heritage, place-based issues, journalism, politics, usability issues, user experiences and perceptions, technologies, interfaces, mobile media histories and archaeology
   The pre-conference will include a workshop for emerging scholars to provide a forum where graduate students, new faculty, and early scholars can present and discuss their research with more experienced mobile researchers, thus representing an opportunity to establish and nurture a supportive and integrated community. This pre-conference also features a “best paper” competition, Professor James E. Katz (Boston University) as the closing keynote speaker, and other fun and engaging extra-curricular activities.

   Submissions are welcomed from scholars at all stages of their careers and across multiple disciplines related to mobile communication. Submissions should be extended abstracts of no more than 750 words and be completed online through the main website (http://icamobile.org/2015/submissions). The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM EST on December 1, 2014. Papers will be judged by peer review on criteria of relevance, originality, adequacy of literature review, methodology, legitimacy of conclusions, clarity of presentation, as well as fit with—and contribution to—the conference theme. Notifications of acceptance will be emailed in January 2015.

20.10.14

[cfp: Massive Open Online Courses and Higher Education]

Massive Open Online Courses and Higher Education: Where to Next?

(Edited collection, abstracts due November 31 2014)

Edited by
Dr Rebecca Bennett, Murdoch University and
Dr Mike Kent, Curtin University

Since the first MOOC was launched at the University of Manitoba in 2008, this new form of the massification of higher education has been a rollercoaster ride for the university sector. Sebastian Thrun of the Udacity MOOC provider initially predicted that the disruptive influence of the MOOC would leave only 10 institutions providing Higher Education in fifty years’ time (Leckart 2012). However, just one year later, he abandoned the higher education space to focus on corporate training and admitted that his company’s MOOCs in higher education were often “lousy” (Schman 2013). Despite the shift in focus, MOOCs are still regarded by university leaders as having a disruptive influence on the sector. Whether this disruption benefits or harms higher education institutions is a complex and contested conversation, with multiple stakeholders and perspectives to consider.    
MOOCs have been criticized for their high rate of failure and their behaviorist pedagogical approach (Bates 2012), and others see these new models of education as a threat to the prevailing structure of universities (Grove 2013; Shirky 2013; Zhu 2012,). Indeed, some of the criticism leveled at these platforms seems aimed at online learning and teaching in general. More positive readings point to the high number of students whohave completed units of study in these environments, despite the low pass rates (Daniel 2012). MOOCs have also been celebrated for their potential to provide access to higher education for a whole new range of participants and as a effective vehicle for the promotion of institutions, academics and courses; and the university experience, as a whole. 
This volume seeks to explore the future of the MOOC in higher education by examining what went right, what went wrong and where to now for the massification of higher education and online learning and teaching. We are looking for chapters that address these and other areas relating to the rise (and/or fall?) of MOOCs in higher education.
·         Case studies of past and/or present:
o   Failures and/or successes
o   Best and/or worst practice
o   Student perspectives
o   Academic perspectives
o   Business perspectives

·         Possibilities and pitfalls for the use of MOOCs in the future
o   Pedagogical implications
o   Practical applications
o   Economic consequences
o   Analytics
o   Data mining

·         Any other perspective - conceptual or empirical – that fits into the title theme.

Submission procedure:
Potential authors are invited to submit chapter abstract of no more than 500 words, including a title, 4 to 6 keywords, and a brief bio, by email to both Dr Mike Kent and Dr Rebecca Bennett by November 31 2014. (Please indicate in your proposal if you wish to use any visual material, and how you have or will gain copyright clearance for visual material.) Authors will receive a response by December 20, 2014, with those provisionally accepted due as chapters of no more than 6000 words (including references) by March 20 2015.
About the editors:
Dr Mike Kent is a lecturer in the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University. Mike’s research interest is in higher education and particularly online education his edited collection (with Tama Leaver) An Education in Facebook was published by Routledge in 2014.  His other research focus is on people with disabilities and their use of, and access to, information technology and the Internet. He recently co-authored, with Katie Ellis, the monograph Disability and New Media (Routledge, 2011).

Dr Rebecca Bennett is a lecturer, academic language and literacy, in the Centre for University Teaching and Learning at Murdoch University. Her research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning includes recent papers on digital pedagogies and intercultural communication at university. Her other research focuses on critical analysis of popular cultures. Her edited collection (with Angela Jones) The Digital Evolution of Live Music is currently in press (Chandos Publishing) and due for release in January 2015.

17.10.14

[Blended Learning Leads to Strong Results]

Math Curricula Powered by Proven Practices

Fueled by active efficacy research in the field, Carnegie Learning math curricula provides teachers and students with the highest quality instructional materials available.

RAND Corporation Effectiveness of Cognitive Tutor Blended Curricula Study

The U.S. Department of Education awarded the RAND Corporation a $6 million grant to study Carnegie Learning Algebra I Blended Curriculum over two years (2007–2009). Participating schools were randomly assigned to either continue with the current algebra curriculum for two years or to adopt Carnegie Learning Algebra I.
       
Results Indicate Carnegie Learning Nearly Doubles Algebra Learning  
On average, Carnegie Learning Blended Curriculum (software and worktexts) moved students at the 50th percentile to the 58th—nearly double the gains of a typical year’s worth of learning.
Scope of Study
  • Over 18,000 students in 147 schools throughout 7 states (AL,CT,KY,LA,MI,NJ,TX).
  • Schools were randomly assigned to the control or experimental group.
  • RAND researchers used “intent-to-treat-analysis”; schools did not receive extra assistance to implement the curriculum.
Read the full RAND Corporation report here
Visit www.algebraeffectiveness.org for more information.  

13.10.14

[your brain on story]

Image from the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute at the University of Alberta


This study is so fascinating. Basically, the more we read *good* stories (with a profound narrative arc), the longer the story stays with us and the deeper it affect our ability to form connections in our brain. Just fascinating. A research project I'm in the midst of crafting (and applying for funding), moves alongside this study but looks at our brains while reading born digital multimodal narratives. If these stories have a strong narrative arc (like say Inanimate Alice by Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph for children or Charles Cummings' The 21 Steps or anything from Dreaming Methods for older readers)


A novel look at how stories may change the brain

“We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically," says neuroscientist Gregory Berns.

By Carol Clark

Many people can recall reading at least one cherished story that they say changed their life. Now researchers at Emory University have detected what may be biological traces related to this feeling: Actual changes in the brain that linger, at least for a few days, after reading a novel.

Their findings, that reading a novel may cause changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain that persist, were published by the journal Brain Connectivity.

“Stories shape our lives and in some cases help define a person,” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns, lead author of the study and the director of Emory’s Center for Neuropolicy. “We want to understand how stories get into your brain, and what they do to it.”

His co-authors included Kristina Blaine and Brandon Pye from the Center for Neuropolicy, and Michael Prietula, professor of information systems and operations management at Emory’s Goizueta Business School.

Neurobiological research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has begun to identify brain networks associated with reading stories. Most previous studies have focused on the cognitive processes involved in short stories, while subjects are actually reading them as they are in the fMRI scanner.

The Emory study focused on the lingering neural effects of reading a narrative. Twenty-one Emory undergraduates participated in the experiment, which was conducted over 19 consecutive days.

The researchers chose the novel "Pompeii" for the experiment, due to its strong narrative and page-turning plot.

All of the study subjects read the same novel, “Pompeii,” a 2003 thriller by Robert Harris that is based on the real-life eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ancient Italy. “The story follows a protagonist, who is outside the city of Pompeii and notices steam and strange things happening around the volcano,” Berns says. “He tries to get back to Pompeii in time to save the woman he loves. Meanwhile, the volcano continues to bubble and nobody in the city recognizes the signs.”

The researchers chose the book due to its page-turning plot. “It depicts true events in a fictional and dramatic way,” Berns says. “It was important to us that the book had a strong narrative line.”

For the first five days, the participants came in each morning for a base-line fMRI scan of their brains in a resting state. Then they were given nine sections of the novel, about 30 pages each, over a nine-day period. They were asked to read the assigned section in the evening, and come in the following morning. After taking a quiz to ensure they had finished the assigned reading, the participants underwent an fMRI scan of their brain in a non-reading, resting state. After completing all nine sections of the novel, the participants returned for five more mornings to undergo additional scans in a resting state.

The results showed heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, on the mornings following the reading assignments. “Even though the participants were not actually reading the novel while they were in the scanner, they retained this heightened connectivity,” Berns says. “We call that a ‘shadow activity,’ almost like a muscle memory.”

Read any mind-altering books lately? Writer Joyce Carol Oates once cited "Alice in Wonderland" as a big influence on her imaginative life.

Heightened connectivity was also seen in the central sulcus of the brain, the primary sensory motor region of the brain. Neurons of this region have been associated with making representations of sensation for the body, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition. Just thinking about running, for instance, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running.

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” Berns says. “We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

The neural changes were not just immediate reactions, Berns says, since they persisted the morning after the readings, and for the five days after the participants completed the novel.

“It remains an open question how long these neural changes might last,” Berns says. “But the fact that we’re detecting them over a few days for a randomly assigned novel suggests that your favorite novels could certainly have a bigger and longer-lasting effect on the biology of your brain.”

Credits: Top image by iStockphoto.com. Middle and bottom photos by Carol Clark. 

12.10.14

[call for fellows at the berkman centre at harvard]

Gosh, what a glorious opportunity!!!


The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University has opened its annual call for fellowship applications. This opportunity is for those who wish to spend the 2015-2016 academic year in residence in Cambridge, MA as part of Berkman's community of pioneers, and who seek to deeply engage in the collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and cross-sectoral exploration of some of the Internet's most interesting, challenging, and compelling issues.
Applications will be accepted through Friday December 12, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, and applications will be **submitted online through our Application Tracker tool at: http://brk.mn/1516app
We invite applications from folks around the globe working on a broad range of opportunities and challenges related to Internet and society, which may overlap with ongoing work at Berkman or will expose us to new opportunities and approaches. We encourage applications from a diverse group of scholars, practitioners, innovators, engineers, artists, and others committed to understanding and advancing the public interest who come from -- and have interest in -- countries industrialized or developing, with ideas, projects, or activities in all phases on a spectrum from incubation to reflection.
More information about this call for applications may be found below and at http://brk.mn/fellows1516.
More information about the Berkman Center Fellowship Program may be found at http://brk.mn/fellows.
A Fellowship Program FAQ may be found at http://brk.mn/fellowsfaq.
Through this annual open call, we seek to advance our collective work and give it new direction, and to deepen and broaden our networked community across backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, and nations.  We welcome you to read more about the program below, to share this announcement with your networks, and to apply!