Featured on Edmodo: SNAPPINESS by Emantras

Are you an elementary teacher using Edmodo? Emantras has just launched a new English literacy app on Edmodo.

SNAPPINESS is a single app that gives you access to a digital library of engaging complex text, a host of standards-based activities, metrics for student achievement, and built-in gamification rewards.

SNAPPINESS is the only app that offers teachers and students a one-stop, easy-to-use Common Core Literacy solution.
Snappiness can help Edmodo elementary teachers save valuable time and effort in searching for engaging content that is aligned to the Common Core.

Currently offering materials for grades 4 and 5, SNAPPINESS also lets educators review and assign exercises and assess work with rewards and badges.

According to Sesh Kumar, President of SNAP Learning, “SNAPPINESS brings together the best of content and technology to address various key issues such as reading material availability on multiple devices, and skills measurement.”

He added, “Educators now have a simple, integrated solution to offer their students digital reading and writing, which is mapped to the common core, is fun for young readers and monitors their performance for continual improvement.”

Edmodo has featured SNAPPINESS as the app to watch on their home page today.

Click here to see the Snappiness App on Edmodo

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Reading, Writing, and Algorithms: New Joint Venture Takes Reading Programs To Any Device

SNAP Learning, a leader in reading and literacy solutions for grades K-6, today announced a joint venture with Emantras, an award winning education technology company recognized for its innovative approach to delivering digital products to educators worldwide.

The new company, SNAP Learning LLC, was formed to meet the growing demand globally for a multi lingual reading curriculum delivered in a digital format that is easy to teach and easy to learn. The company employs a team of talent writers, illustrators, and experienced teachers with decades of classroom experience and a group of highly skilled technicians and programmers. The company has developed 21st Century solutions to meet the demands of the Common Core Standards in vocabulary and comprehension, through direct instruction, modeling, guided and independent practice.
SNAP offers 150 titles for reading levels K-6 grades. The product is also appropriate for grades 7-8 struggling readers.

“Our products are more than just e-books-they are designed as a stand-alone reading curriculum that is interactive and delivered digitally,” said Mark Sullivan, the company CEO. “Our products were created by teachers for teachers to provide an early start to literacy development, English language learning, and support for grade level reading.”

The company offers all its products in a variety of flexible digital platforms, including interactive whiteboards, a mobile version for iPads and Android devices, plus traditional print. Mobile solutions feature text and audio in English and Spanish, interactive exercises, videos, photo slide shows and animations.

“We are currently the only company to offer this one of a kind iPad/Android app powered by Mobl 21, created by Emantras,” said Sullivan. “This app delivers our books, lesson plans, assessments, word books, and interactive activities digitally and tracks student progress in real time to provide immediate web based data for a teacher to differentiate instruction, where and when needed.”

“Today’s learners love engaging with new technologies,” says Emantras CEO Sesh Kumar, “and by offering these products as ebooks with a host of cool interactive features, we find students quickly overcome their initial reticence and become excited to explore the material and measure their own reading progress.”

The company is offering its literacy products for just $89 per teacher, per year.

“We are proud to offer proven solutions at a cost that is affordable to virtually every school district in the country,” said Sullivan. “We are passionate about helping students, particularly those that have fallen behind or have special needs, become skilled independent readers and hope that our pricing model will get these valuable tools into the hands of those who need them most”.

For more information go to www.SNAPLearning.co

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Study Finds Benefits In Use of iPad As Educational Tool

This is an excerpt from an article published on Emerging Tech

The study looks at the use of iPads at the Longfield Academy, where a large scale 1 to 1 iPad program was implemented last year. A brief overview of this groundbreaking study is provided below:

Longfield Academy in Kent, England is a recently built school covering years 7 through 13 (ages 11 to 18). Over 800 students (the vast majority of students at the Academy) had or were issued iPads, across the full spectrum of grade levels (although not everyone had one, apparently a small percentage of students used other devices).

The study used surveys to assess the impact of iPad use on motivation, quality of work, achievement, collaboration, and other factors.

Among the findings:

  • 77% of faculty respondents felt that student achievement appeared to have risen since the introduction of the iPad
  • 73% of students and 67% of staff felt that the iPad helped students improve the quality of their work
  • 69% of students that completed the survey felt that using the iPad was motivating and that they worked better with it than without it
  • 60% of faculty thought that students were more motivated by lessons that incorporate the iPad than those that did not
The full study report can be found here. 
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10 key themes that could drive mLearning initiatives

Below is an edited version of an article by Fabio Sergio, Executive Creative Director at frog’s Milan studio on the 10 key themes that are likely to drive the development of mLearning initiatives in innovative directions:

1. Continuous learning: Up until now, most people relegated “education” to a finite time in their lives: entering school at around five years old and attending school institutions all the way to university. Education had an expiration date, then working life began. This model, which has its roots in the industrial era, is quickly becoming less relevant or applicable to the way we live our lives in the connected age.

Education is getting increasingly interspersed with our daily activities. On our phones, tablets, and PCs, we download and digest life or work-related articles with instructions on how to fix our appliances or how to use a new professional software program.

2. Educational leapfrogging: With low-priced computers, tablets, and cell phones in the hands of children in resource-challenged communities, many kids who are engaging in technological leapfrogging will have the opportunity to skip past outdated formal school systems, too. This is especially relevant in the case of children living in poverty, who may be denied an opportunity to improve their condition through education because they start working very early to help sustain their families or do not live near schools.

3. A new crop of older, lifelong learners (and educators): A by-product of the continuous learning phenomenon is the fact that the grandparents of children growing up with a touchscreen in their hands–people in their 60s today–are being pulled into mLearning more than ever, motivated to adoption by the need to stay in touch with their grandkids.

4. Breaking gender boundaries, reducing physical burdens: In parts of the globe where, because of centuries of cultural practices, young women may still not be allowed to access a formal education, mLearning promises to be able to put girls and women of all ages in contact with high-quality education privately and on their own time.

5. A new literacy emerges: software literacy: MLearning could usher in a boom of interest in learning software programming languages, which could very well become a new lingua franca. This is already happening; Numerous startup web-based businesses today such as Codecademy teach people via interactive lessons how to understand and write software programs. Not even a year old, Codacademy has more than a million “students” and has raised about $3 million in venture-capital funds.

6. Education’s long tail: MLearning solutions are poised to tap into the vast amount of existing educational materials that could be made accessible via mobile channels. This is especially true with YouTube, Vimeo, and other video-sharing services already providing a critical mass of tips, tutorials, and full-fledged lessons that can be re-aggregated by theme and packaged as educational material. The recent TED-Ed initiative attests to the opportunity offered by the clever repurposing of existing quality lessons.

7. Teachers and pupils trade roles: The same handheld-connected tools that enable children and adults to access existing educational solutions also provide the opportunity for them to capture and share knowledge in return. In other words, imagine kids who are raised with programming and video-production knowledge from very early ages creating educational materials for their peers, or even to teach adults, exposing them to very young people’s points of view of the world. Imagine a 12-year-old boy explaining how effectively to communicate health information to him as a tutorial for nurses, physicians, and parents.

8. Synergies with mobile banking and mobile health initiatives: Developers of emerging mLearning ecosystems can learn a lot from their predecessors in mBanking and mHealth and such services as mobile money transfers or mobile health monitoring. Beyond adapting some ideas, including using text messaging to deliver short lessons, teacher feedback, and grades, mLearning, mHeatlh, and mFinance can also be synergistically combined. After all, better education can easily improve people’s financial condition and in turn positively influence their health. These three factors can be combined in different orders without changing the result, which will always be more than then sum of the individual components. Applied on a micro or macro scale, this virtuous cycle has the potential to become a very effective way to improve personal, regional, and even national economies.

9. New opportunities for traditional educational institutions: The mLearning phenomenon will not necessarily compete with well-established schools but actually complement and extend their current offerings. An intriguing new model was offered when Harvard and MIT announced that they have teamed up to offer free online courses via a joint nonprofit organization, edX. Both universities will observe how students respond to the courses to better understand distance learning.

Traditional institutions could also help mLearning solutions scale quickly by leveraging their vast and established networks of students, faculty, and alumni. The business potential could also be big; a report published in February by Global Industry Analysts projects the global market for online and other electronic distance learning to reach $107 billion by 2015.

10. A revolution leading to customized education: The key for successfully channeling the mLearning revolution will not simply be about digitizing current educational systems. The real appeal will be allowing people to choose their own paths, leverage their talents, and follow their passions and callings. MLearning has much business potential, but the most exciting and rewarding aspect of these solutions is that students of any age or background might have the chance to pursue knowledge that is meaningful, relevant, and realistic to achieve in their own lives.

Read the full article here: http://designmind.frogdesign.com/blog/mlearning-revolutionizing-education.html

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GSMA & MasterCard Foundation Release Report on M-Learning

The GSMA and The MasterCard Foundation today released a new report, ‘Shaping the Future – Realising the Potential of Informal Learning Through Mobile’. The report focuses on the needs and aspirations of underserved young people, the barriers they face to education and employment, and how the existence of mobile technology in their lives can enable them to achieve their ambitions. It also highlights opportunities that exist for the industry to develop mobile learning services that can directly benefit underserved young people in developing countries.

“Currently, 69 million young people globally have no access to basic education, while 759 million adults don’t have a formal education – there is clearly a huge opportunity for mobile in addressing this issue,” said Chris Locke, Executive Director, GSMA Development Fund. “Mobile is already playing a key role in development areas such as providing access to banking, health information, and to agricultural services reaching rural farmers. The scale and ubiquity of mobile networks means they are often the only infrastructure in remote and rural areas, and the mobile industry has shown incredible innovative and sustainable approaches to using their networks to aid disadvantaged groups.”

The study took place in 2011 and GSMA researchers interviewed 1,200 underserved young people in Ghana, Uganda, Morocco and Maharashtra in India, to explore the potential of mobile technology to support their education and employment goals. The findings indicate that mobile learning (mLearning) has a unique role to play in reaching those who are outside of the scope of traditional schooling, and who can benefit from access to simple educational programmes. It also points to challenges that limit the uptake of mLearning services, such as cost of services, lack of infrastructure, limitations of basic mobile phones in delivering visual content, and lack of long-term investments in mLearning.

Key findings across the youth from the four countries are as follows:

  • Education is one of the three biggest priorities in life for the young people surveyed, with 39 percent naming it as their key priority to providing the financial stability and improved standard of living that they currently lack;
  • Only one quarter of participants named the classroom as their primary source of information and education. Friends and family were seen as far more important information sources, named by 41 percent, while 43 percent relied on television;
  • One in four said that the number one barrier to accessing educational resources was lack of funds, and in Ghana, this number reached almost half of those surveyed;
  • Seventy-four percent of mobile owners surveyed said that it is the number one asset they own and 63 percent believed that they could learn through even a basic mobile device; and
  • Eighty-five percent of young mobile users made voice calls every day and 67 percent of respondents believed that calls would be the most desirable method for receiving content such as educational information.

The report was released at the 2012 e-Learning Africa conference in Benin. To download this free report, visit www.mastercardfdn.org or www.gsma.com/development-fund/.

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Punflay & Mobl21 at MobiLE 2012

Derek Keenan, a professional learning coach in 21st century learning and technology at Bert Church High School in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada presented Mobl21 and Punflay apps at MobiLE 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The presentation titled, The Educational Implications of App Innovations, showcased how developers are beginning to make a difference in education through their products.

Below is an excerpt of Derek’s blog post:

Emantras has a well polished Learning Management System called Mobl21.  The key advantage of this system versus many of the free platforms available is the ability to assign students work in section, units or packages.  These partitioned groups of resources are then downloaded by students in groups on the devices of their choice (Mobl21 supports iOS and Android) and the content is available when students are both on and offline.  This solution is perfect for students going on holiday, as they will have access to school work while they are away.  As the students complete a network, the system sends it back for assessment and/or grading.  While there is much more to say about the Mobl21 platform, a brief outline of the features, functions and benefits is in the presentation I have shared with this post.

So what does this platform offer by way of educational benefit?  I think one could argue that providing students greater autonomy in their learning by mobilizing the platform could have significant benefit for students who take advantage of it.  In terms of students who are not highly motivated, this is a tool that can be used by educational support staff in conjunction with your classroom to ‘catch’ a student up.  The quiz, flashcard and multimedia functionality allow for mini lessons, tutorials and socially connected feedback with the teacher.  In this way, Mobl21 offers a ‘classroom outside the classroom’ setup when the regular classroom is unavailable.

Read the full post here

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9 Ways Mobile is Moving into Academia

Staff writers at Best Colleges Online have put together a great article on the nine ways mobile devices are expanding in the academic world.

Below is an edited version of the article:

Mobile phones are ubiquitous among students, both in college and K-12. And while some schools shun the use of cell phones, others are embracing them as a powerful tool. Marketing, learning, and mobile access are just some of the ways academia is taking advantage of what mobile has to offer.

EXPANDING UNIVERSITY APPS AND MOBILE WEB: Universities around the world have learned the value of mobile devices, publishing iPhone and Android apps, mobile-optimized sites, and more, that have allowed students and visitors to find campus news, maps, and other helpful resources right in their phones.

NOMADIC LEARNING: The beauty of learning everywhere is that students can learn outside of the classroom, not having to worry about the world going on without them while they’re locked up inside. Podcasted classes, real-time scavenger hunts, and mobile games are all great examples of learning on-the-go that can be created by traditional educators, and employed by otherwise traditional students.

AUGMENTED REALITY LEARNING SCENARIOS: Mobile phones make it possible to learn anywhere, but with augmented reality learning scenarios, students can really learn anywhere and even any time. Going beyond convenience, through augmented reality mobile technology on GPS-enabled handheld devices, students can find information from different locations outdoors, like on a playground or school field.

MOBILE APPS FOR EDUCATION: Although overall mobile apps have a long way to go in classroom education, they are making great progress. Apps that allow students to explore constellations, for example, offer a great way to interact in the classroom.

TWITTER FEEDBACK IN CLASS: Through Twitter, lecture halls full of hundreds of students can all participate at the same time, tweeting comments, questions, and more using their laptops and cell phones. TAs and professors can respond to the real-time feed, and the entire classroom can watch as it goes by. Students enjoy being able to overcome the shyness barrier, and the entire classroom benefits from increased participation.

MOBILE LIBRARY ACCESS: For years, the only way to access academic libraries was to physically make your way down there and get familiar with the stacks. With the Internet, that’s changed, allowing students and researchers to log in from any computer and enjoy many of the resources that libraries have to offer. But with mobile devices, the game is further changed, allowing for the use of eBooks in academic reading, mobile library database access, and simple library notifications.

The Importance of Training & Motivation in Mobile LearningMOBILE PHONE PAYMENTS: Anyone who’s tried to get lunch during the afternoon rush on a college campus can tell you that things get a little crazy, especially when it comes to paying for food. With mobile devices, schools have the opportunity to streamline the process, using phones to buy food and beverages through secure transactions.

MOBILE MARKETING: To be a good marketer, you’ve got to go where your target market is, and for colleges, their target market is on cell phones. Research from Ball State University indicates that 97% of all U.S. college students own a cell phone. The University of Louisville and other colleges have capitalized on this opportunity, using QR codes, SMS marketing, and the aforementioned mobile apps to connect with prospective students.

MOBILE POP QUIZZES: Student response systems, which allow teachers to get digital answers from students in their class, usually cost about $1,200 for each classroom. But by using existing student cell phones, that price tag is quickly slashed to just $50 a year. In addition to quizzes, teachers are able to use cell phones for testing, homework assignments, and more, encouraging students to educationally engage with their phones instead of using them as a distraction.

Read the full article here

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The Mobile Learning Experience is approaching!

Check out Tony Vincent’s very interesting post about the upcoming Mobile Learning Experience 2012.

EXCERPT: Classroom teachers, technology coordinators, administrators, special educators, and others interested in reaching today’s students are gathering in Phoenix, Arizona April 11-13 for Mobile Learning Experience 2012.

Mobile Learning Experience 2012 has already received registrations from all over the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. It’s very powerful to network with those in attendance. In fact, even if there was no program the conference would still be incredible because of the passion those in attendance bring.

Read the full post here.

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A Day in the Life of an M-Learner

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Mobile Learning: Case Studies do the talking

So Mobile Learning is established and here to stay. School after school are implementing iPads, and almost everyone in education is debating about disruptive technologies, flipped classrooms, and educational apps.

Let’s look at some of the mobile learning cases implemented in schools.

School: Southern University of New Orleans

Devices: Multiple, iOS devices, and PSPs.  Students also recorded learning diaries with their cameras or cellphones.

Objective: SUNO created the Department of Mobile Learning which was set up not only to help learners stay connected to the university, but to help SUNO compete in a university atmosphere were mobile education is experiencing “massification”.

How mobile learning was used: The Department of Mobile Learning at SUNO’s goal can itself be used as good definition of mobile learning.  Its goal is to “reach, recruit, retain and provide students with quality education attainable regardless of location, have uninterrupted access to technology, curriculum and activities that were meaningful to their lives and provide immediate feedback to maximize their achievements”.

The final opinion: SUNO was able to reinvent itself as a hybrid campus with strong distance and mobile learning programs.

Read More here: http://www.anthonyteacher.com/anthony/mobile-learning-case-study-2-disconnected

School: Howard School of Academics and Technology

Devices & Technology: Apple iPod Touches & Mobl21

Objective: To increase student achievement and engagement.

How Mobile Learning was used: To deliver English Grade 9 content in the form of study guides, quizzes, flash cards, video and audio content.

The final opinion: “I have created study guides for students to use to prepare for the English 9, End of Course state exam,” said Ms. Wilbur, “putting some ‘wow’ into what might otherwise be a difficult and boring task for the students.”

Read More here: http://www.mobl21.com/blog/13/mobl21-puts-some-%E2%80%98wow%E2%80%99-into-boring-study-tasks/

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