Category Archives: announcement

Tablets Now Targeting Students

by Hap Aziz

It’s a significant shift in the education market space when manufacturers focus their efforts specifically on students. We have heard quite a bit about students bringing tablets into the classroom, faculty integrating tablets into curriculum, publishers producing educational titles for courses, and so on. Here’s a step from the consumer electronics perspective: Samsung has created a “Student Edition” of their Galaxy Tab 2, and it is hitting the shelves at Best Buy, in time for a lot of back-to-school shoppers.

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Filed under Android, announcement, education technology, Hap Aziz, tablets

Blackboard Acquires Moodlerooms; Borg Reevalute Strategies for Assimilation

by Hap Aziz

I admit, with the acquisitions that Blackboard has made over the years, I could not resist the Star Trek reference. However, the ramifications for this latest move by the LMS heavyweight are quite far reaching, especially in terms of the impact it could have on the open source marketplace for learning management systems. Realize, that as large as Blackboard’s market share is, even after the acquisitions of WebCT and Angel, their market share as been decreasing–slowly, but decreasing still. This is the type of move that could be considered a game-changer, as long as there is a commitment on the part of Bb leadership to leverage Moodleroom expertise rather than bury it.

(Does anyone remember the story of Quark and mTropolis?)

From our perspective here at Learning Through Play & Technology, there are some definite upsides as well as some potential bad news from this move. We’ll take a few days to survey the education landscape and present our analysis. In the mean time, we encourage you to take a look at what Ray Henderson has to say on the topic.

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Game Developers’ Conference 2012: Wrapping Up from an Education Perspective

by Hap Aziz

The Game Developers’ Conference (GDC 2012) has reached endgame here in San Francisco, and there are many thousands of weary game developers, producers, artists, designers, investors, educators, and miscellaneous interested parties bugging out and heading home. I’m one of them. What I thought I would do over the next several posts here is take some of the session descriptions and provide some commentary on the relevance and relationship of the topics to the landscape of teaching and learning. I’ve seen many interesting potential connections between the game industry and education during my attendance in years past, and this time around was no exception. In fact, I saw greater engagement and participation from educators during this year’s conference than I have before. That’s quite heartening to those of us who see the potential for gaming techniques and technologies integrated with the mission of education.

More to come, so keep watching this space!

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Filed under announcement, colleges and universities, computer games, creativity, education, education technology, games, Hap Aziz, simulation, technology

Game Developers’ Conference 2012

by Hap Aziz

The Game Developers’ Conference is taking place in San Francisco this week, and I’ll be in attendance from Wednesday through Friday. I’ve been a regular attendee since the late 1990s when I served on the board of the Computer Game Developers’ Association. Back then, David Weinstein of Red Storm Entertainment (who served on the board of the International Game Developers’ Network) and I were charged with merging the CGDA and IGDN. We did, and that’s how the International Game Developers’ Association was born. Attending the GDC is a homecoming of sorts, where I get to connect with some of the wonderful folks I’ve met since I started developing software for the Amiga computer many years ago.

My interests now aren’t purely about game design, but I value the opportunity to apply game development techniques to the teaching and learning experience. I expect I’ll learn quite a few things this year, and I hope to bring back some great news and information to share in this blog. For those of you that plan to be at the conference, let me know, and perhaps we can meet and swap notes. And for those of you unable to attend but interested in something in particular, shoot me a note and let me know; I’ll be happy to do some research for you!

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Filed under announcement, computer games, creativity, education technology, emerging technologies, future technology, games, Hap Aziz, simulation, technology, video

Navigating the Learning Landscape: How an Educational Positioning System Brings the Cloud Down to Earth

by Hap Aziz

The Educational Positioning System (EPS) continues to gather steam and garner interest. Recently I attended the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2012 Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, where I co-presented the session, “The Educational Positioning System: Guiding Learners Along Their Academic Path.” At that session, we brainstormed ways in which a potential EPS infrastructure would be leveraged to provide learners with greater control over the academic journey while also providing ways to control and distribute their own complete learning portfolio. At the same meeting, the IMS Global Consortium made a major announcement regarding the EPS, and you can read more about it here.

On Friday, March 16th of this year, I will have the privilege of presenting at the Fashion Institute of Technology EduTech Day SUNY-Wide Conference “Teaching Learning and Sharing in the Cloud,” again on the topic of the EPS. My presentation is titled, ” Navigating the Learning Landscape: How an Educational Positioning System Brings the Cloud Down to Earth,” and the session description will no doubt grab the attendees:

After all my years of schooling, all I have to show is this diploma and some transcripts?” Unfortunately, this is a common sentiment among students that have graduated from college. Many students question themselves regarding what tangible artifacts they have to show for their years of time spent in the classroom, since as far back as preschool. The challenge in higher education is that institutions own any Learning Management Systems that may be in place. As a result, the institutions also own the “data” generated by students, and there is no easy way for students to take that data along their life journeys, let alone access that data for more robust reporting of what they have accomplished. With the development of cloud computing, that model of institutional ownership has become outdated, and data can belong to the students. This new paradigm of accessibility is the foundation for the concept of the Educational Positioning System (EPS) which will allow students to measure and track their own progress—not only through any particular institution, but ultimately from the moment they participate in any type of formal learning activity (as far back as preschool), across all educational environments they attend throughout their lifelong learning experiences. Join Hap Aziz in this session as he explains the concept of the EPS and discusses the implications and promise for future students.

For those of you that are able, I would love to see you in attendance in support of moving the EPS initiative forward. After the conference, I will post my presentation slides here on the blog. Until then, I will leave you with this diagram that gives a (very) high-level overview of the EPS ecosystem.

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IMS Announces Educational Positioning System Pilot

by Hap Aziz

If you have been following this blog, you may be aware that I have been involved in the development of a concept known as the “Educational Positioning System,” or the EPS. You can read some of my past blog entries on the topic here, here, here, and here. The EPS has gotten quite a bit of attention as a framework that can potentially transform the the level of engagement and control that students have regarding their own education. This represents a very disruptive level of technology that could flip the entire ownership conversation of academic data. Aneesh Chopra, the current Chief Technology Officer for the United States recognized this in bringing the concept back to the Obama Administration. Further, the IMS Global Learning Consortium (an organization dedicated to the advancement of education through the implementation of standards and use of effective practices) has taken on the EPS concept. I facilitated a workshop on the EPS in November of last year at the IMS Global Quarterly Meeting, and today the Consortium has issued the following press release:

Dear Friend of IMS Global,

Today, at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) meeting in Austin, TX, USA, there will be a presentation at 3 PM announcing a new IMS project. The presentation is entitled:  The Educational Positioning System: Guiding Learners Along Their Academic Path.

The EPS has emerged as a topic of interest in the U.S. in recent months, receiving some attention after it was brought up in a panel discussion as the EDUCAUSE annual conference in October:
http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/start-up-companies-tell-white-house-tech-chief-of-struggles-with-colleges/33872

On January 19th the White House announced several initiatives that are complementary to the EPS concept:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/ed_data_commitments_1-19-12.pdf

IMS applauds the effective use of data.  Our focus is the use of data and interoperability to help individual students succeed.

Today, IMS is announcing a new project to work with IMS member organizations to implement EPS pilots. See the Call for Participation here: http://www.imsglobal.org/news.html

Currently we believe that the ideal initial focus for EPS pilots are systems of institutions. We are very pleased that the Lone Star College System has stepped up to lead the first pilot. In coming months IMS will be working with our members to pull this pilot together and hopefully initiate additional pilots.

We will also be covering this topic in depth at the annual IMS Learning Impact conference, May 14-17 in Toronto. Details for the conference are here: http://www.imsglobal.org/learningimpact2012/

Tune in to IMS for future announcements,

IMS Global

Right now I’m at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2012 Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, where I’ll be co-presenting “The Educational Positioning System: Guiding Learners Along Their Academic Path.” It will be during this presentation when we make the EPS announcement officially to the public. But if you are reading this blog entry before 3 pm Central time, remember, you heard the news here first!

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Filed under announcement, education, education technology, Educational Positioning System, EDUCAUSE, effective practices, Hap Aziz, higher education, Open Government Platform, standards, technology, U.S. government

New Contributors for Learning Through Play

News Announcement

Beginning the week of November 14th, the Learning Through Play blog will be taking on some new contributors and broadening the scope of discussion. In addition, there will be some format and content changes designed to provide more information on the topics education, technology, and play. Please feel free to give us feedback so we can better meet your needs as we continue to grow.

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