VIF Receives Award to Build Model for Peer and Expert Review of Learning Products

gI_94939_VIF_logo2014-01


Chapel Hill, N.C. (PRWEB) March 13, 2015

Thirteen projects, including one submitted by VIF International Education, have been awarded a total of $ 1.2 million as part of the Digital Media and Learning Competition’s Trust Challenge.

The award recipients, announced Tuesday at the SXSWedu Conference by Richard Culatta, educational innovator and acting director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, will develop innovative digital badge systems, data management platforms, digital learning environments, online learning content and related digital tools to foster trust in online learning environments.

“Trust, privacy, and safety are critical to learning in an open, online world, and the winners of the Trust Challenge will help us reach this vision,” said Connie Yowell, director of education at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Applicants from 22 countries tackled some of the thorniest issues affecting trust, privacy and safety in online learning. Winning projects, evaluated by a panel of interdisciplinary thought leaders, were selected for their ability to advance trust, privacy and equity in the context of the core values of connected learning, an approach to education in the 21st century that takes advantage of today’s abundance of information and social connection.

VIF’s winning project aims to promote trust within its online learning center, which features professional development, digital badging, curricular resources and a social community of more than 10,000 educators around the world. By creating a model for peer and expert review of learning products, educators using VIF’s learning center will be able to engage in focused review processes and receive ongoing training to build reputations as reviewers.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Little Bird Games and Edgecombe County Public Schools as we design and implement a model that moves learning artifacts through a graduated system of self, peer and expert validation,” said Julie Keane, head of research at VIF. “We plan to implement and test this idea within our professional development system and share the final product with the hope that others will implement it in their own learning environments.”

The Trust Challenge is a response to a call to action issued in the 2014 Aspen Task Force Report “Learner at the Center of a Networked World,” which sought innovations and solutions that enable people to pursue learning experiences online in an environment that is safe and private.

Mark Otter, chief of strategy and innovation at VIF, participated in the Aspen Institute SXSWedu Summit Design Interactive, a hands-on design thinking session created to open a dialogue on operationalizing the findings of the Task Force. “The task force report highlighted the need for the learner to be at the center of new educational approaches. Innovation plays an important role in the creation of new learning networks to connect learners, both students and teachers, to resources, people and activities,” said Otter.

“Mainstream narratives around trust online often turn on fear. This unwittingly undermines the potential for learning online and blocking access to valuable learning resources,” said David Theo Goldberg, director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute and HASTAC co-founder. “These winning projects will help in developing a productive counter-narrative drawing on the underlying understanding of connected learning.”

Cathy N. Davidson, HASTAC co-founder and director of the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center CUNY, added, “Trust requires both better tools and better literacy. The tremendous opportunities for learning online are compromised any time our data is misused, stolen, or misrepresented. These winners will add to our digital trust tool kit.”

The Trust Challenge is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and administered by HASTAC, an alliance of more than 14,000 humanists, artists, scientists and technologists working together to change the future of learning.

###

About VIF International Education

VIF International Education builds global education programs that prepare students for success in an interconnected world. For more than 25 years, educators have leveraged VIF’s professional development and curriculum, language acquisition and teacher exchange programs to generate engaging learning environments where students can excel in core curriculum as well as develop valuable critical and creative thinking skills. A certified B Corp and ‘Best for the World’ honoree headquartered in Chapel Hill, N.C., VIF provides a pathway for teachers, schools and districts to become globally designated.

About the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. More information is at macfound.org.

About HASTAC

HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory; “haystack”) is an open alliance of more than 14,000 humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists and technologists working together to change the way we teach and learn. Since 2002, HASTAC has served as a community of connection where members share news, tools, research, insights, and projects to promote engaged learning for a global society. Issues of access and equality are as important to HASTAC’s mission as the latest technological innovations; creative contribution is as important as critical thinking.

Tags: global-ready, global competence, global awareness, global schools, global education, international education, professional development, curriculum, K-12, e-learning, social learning platforms, professional learning networks, online learning environments, teachers, student achievement, 21st century skills, edtech, education technology, project-based learning, lesson plans, teacher resources, award, recognition







Related Game Developers Conference Press Releases

PolyU Expert Studies the Health Effects of Using Portable Electronic Devices

(PRWEB) September 05, 2013

The Department of Rehabilitation Sciences of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association have jointly conducted a study on the health effects of using smartphones and portable electronic devices among Hong Kong people. Results showed that, out of the 1,049 people surveyed, 70% of adults and 30% of children and adolescents have reported musculoskeletal symptoms in different parts of the body in relation to the use of electronic devices.    

In recent years, various kinds of consumer electronics have become increasingly popular in Hong Kong. It is not surprising that the sales of smartphones in Hong Kong are among the highest in the world and the habits of using electronic devices are changing rapidly. Smartphones have become an indispensable communication tool in our everyday life and many people keep their phones turned on around the clock. In addition, people are obsessed with playing electronic games which is a common phenomenon in public places such as on buses and MTR, and this is widely known as “bow head tribe”.

Spanned over three years, the joint study involving both adults and school children aimed at examining their time spent on using various IT products, the tasks performed and postures adopted in their daily use. The relationship between the use of electronic devices and the development of musculoskeletal symptoms is a major focus of this study. Participants were asked to report any related physical problems, such as neck pain, shoulder pain, and wrist and hand pain symptoms.

The first phase of the survey was conducted in 2011-2012 involving a total of 465 adults aged between 18 to 50 years old. 221 persons were full-time workers and 244 were college students, all. Among them, 90% were daily smartphone users, 74% used desktop computers, 61% laptop computers, and 35% used tablet computers. 70% of respondents reported having experienced neck pain, 65% had shoulder pain, 46% with wrist and finger pain. Results also revealed that most respondents used more than one types of electronic device and for quite a long time each day. Maintaining a prolonged static posture, coupled with lack of exercise, would significantly increase the risk of developing musculoskeletal symptoms in different parts of the body.    

The second phase of the survey was conducted in 2013 on school children. Two primary schools and a secondary school, with a total of 582 students at the age of 10 to 15, have been invited to complete the survey. Among them, 309 were boys and 273 were girls; 383 were in primary five to six, and 199 were secondary one to three students. Results showed that 488 students (84%) were regular users of smartphones, even higher than the number of desktop computer users (76%). Moreover, 184 people (31.6%) used a tablet computer on a regular basis. Among the student respondents, 180 persons (30%) reported using smartphones for 1-4 hours every day while 161 persons (27.6%) reported musculoskeletal discomforts related to the use of electronic devices. Close to 80% (127 persons) reported neck pain, 30% (55 persons) had shoulder pain, and 51% (85 persons) had wrist and finger pain symptoms.

Although the prevalence rates are generally lower in school children than the adult group, they are only 10 to 15 year-old growing children. Compared to the results of a previous study conducted in 2009, children at the time used mainly handheld gaming devices such as PSP and NDS. In this 2013 study, smartphones and tablet computers have largely replaced those handheld gaming devices within a two-year period.

Students overly obsessed with electronic games may suffer from adverse health effects in the long run. If they become accustomed to poor postures such as forward head or “poking-chin” posture, a kyphotic back and rounded shoulders, these may become fixed postural habits that would be difficult to correct when they turn adults. Parents therefore need to pay more attention to their children’s postural habits and encourage them to do regular exercise, so as to ensure a healthy development of their bones and joints, as well as maintain a good cardiovascular fitness during their precious growth periods.

In addition, studies have shown that in some cases, due to excessive texting with mobile phones, inflammation of tendons and articular degeneration in the thumb joint and index fingers have been reported. The latest smartphones and tablet computers tend to involve the index finger or the thumb to perform the touch functions. Even though the physical actions are very light, frequent repetitive actions last for long hours could lead to excessive strains in the finger joints and the tendons. Members of the public may consult a physiotherapist to seek professional advice about proper posture when using desktop computers, smartphones and tablet computers. Physiotherapists can also teach the public how to perform appropriate stretching exercises in order to improve or prevent pain.

Appropriate and regular exercise can promote physical and mental health. Physiotherapists are experts on the structure of the human body system and pathological conditions. They are the ideal persons to promote, guide and prescribe exercises to members of the public, in order to achieve the specific goals of improving health and physical fitness.

In support of the annual event of World Physiotherapy Day, the Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association, PolyU’s Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation will jointly organize the second “World Physiotherapy Day: Hong Kong Station” with details as follows:   

Date : 8 September 2013 (Sunday)   

Time : 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.    

Venue : FJ Podium, PolyU campus

Exhibition booths providing demonstration of various specialty areas of professional service in physiotherapy will be set up. In addition, the booths will also illustrate how physiotherapy can provide a versatile range of service to suit the needs of people of different age groups. Experienced physiotherapists will provide health talks and answer questions on the spot. The event is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.

Press contact: Dr Grace Szeto

Associate Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences

Tel: (852) 2766 6706

Email: Grace.Szeto(at)polyu(dot)edu(dot)hk







Find More NDS Press Releases