Tag: Tech

A Masters in Educational Technology: A Smart Way to Stay Ahead of Tech Trends in the Classroom

The use of technology in the classroom is one of the fastest growing educational trend today. In order to facilitate the growing demand for technology use in elementary and secondary schools, the U.S. Department of Education created the Enhancing Education Through Technology State Program, a program that establishes federal grants for educational technology.
The primary goal of this program is to improve student achievement through the use of technology in the classroom and to help students become technologically literate by the end of eighth grade. Along with this growth in technology use is the need for professional educators who are trained in innovative, technology-integrated instructional methods.
A beneficial way for educators to stay ahead of the growing trend of technology in the classroom is to obtain a Masters in educational technology from a major research institution known for discoveries in science, technology, engineering and math. Here are three of the fasted growing educational technology and tools that educators need to be aware of:
Interactive Whiteboards
Large, interactive display systems are gaining ground in the K-12 environment because they allow teachers and students to work together in ways that traditional chalkboards could not. Federal funding has advanced the use of interactive whiteboards, which serve as a catalyst for engaging students and facilitating active participation rather than passive learning.
Netbooks
One-to one computer initiatives are proliferating throughout U.S. schools and are expected to become even more popular as netbooks become more affordable. These small, relatively inexpensive computers are helping bridge the technology gap that exists in schools where students don’t have access to their own laptops.
Netbooks open the door for students to access the Web as a learning tool, along with learning general computing, and help streamline technology initiatives in the classroom.
Tailored Curriculum
New student assessment tools are being developed to provide educators and administrators with a tech-based way to assess, record and track individual student performance in the classroom. These programs will allow teachers to track a child’s progression through the K-12 years on a weekly basis to ensure that students are progressing according to plan.

These assessment programs will also integrate benchmarking data for measuring a student’s progress compared with other children, allowing for more individualized, customized curriculum options.
To stay ahead of these growing trends in educational technology and obtain a knowledge base for educating students using the latest tools and devices, many educators are choosing to get a Masters in educational technology. The best Masters in educational technology degree is found at a university that has a reputation for innovation and technological discovery.

Heather Preston Masters in Educational Technology – Purdue Online Program’s distance learning degree program is a great way of earning your masters in educational technology.

Related Technology Articles

5 Things Worth Knowing About One Of 2015’s Best Tech IPOs

Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images

An Australian software maker has pulled off what has become a rare tech industry feat: An IPO with shares priced higher than initially expected, for a company that is profitable and growing, and which saw a healthy pop in trading on its first day on the market.

Atlassian rose 32% on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq Thursday, giving it a market value of almost $ 6 billion.

The company, headquartered in Sydney, makes software that is largely aimed at other tech companies and tech workers. Messaging service Hipchat is probably its best known product, but the company says over two-thirds of its revenue comes from JIRA and Confluence, tools widely used by software developers.

Here are five things worth knowing about one of 2015's most successful tech IPOs.

*Note: Atlassian makes enterprise software, which is boring, so this post will be illustrated entirely with Australian animals.

Saeed Khan / AFP / Getty Images

1. Atlassian is old, and unusual.

The company is also ancient relative to most startups approaching an IPO — it was founded in 2002.

Its rise to a multibillion-dollar public company didn't just take a long time, it also didn't follow the typical Silicon Valley funding model. Rather than raising money by selling off chunks of stock at increasing valuations, it was largely “bootstrapped,” funding its growth with its own revenues.

The only outside investors in the company bought their shares from its employees — not a common situation for the big Silicon Valley startups. Accel Partners, the San Francisco venture capital firm, is the largest outside investor, with a stake of over 10%.

Romeo Gacad / AFP / Getty Images

2. It's a star tech IPO in a year that didn't have many.

2015 was a grim year for tech companies going public — or more accurately, not going public. The flood of private money into startups means many can raise enormous amounts of cash without needing to go to the stock market.

28 tech companies have gone public so far this year, down from 62 last year, according to Dealogic. And the companies that have gone public have tended to underperform the expectations they set for themselves in the IPO process — according to Dealogic, a quarter of tech IPOs have priced below their initial price range, up from 16% last year.

Matt King / Getty Images

3. Unlike many trendy startups, this one makes money.

Atlassian has been profitable in each of the three years it has reported financial results, and in its most recent quarter it made a $ 5 million profit on $ 102 million in revenue. The company says it has been profitable for ten years.

Total revenues have grown from $ 149 million in 2013 to $ 320 million in the 2015 fiscal year.

Guillaume Souvant / AFP / Getty Images

4. But it still has techie roots.

Don't let long-term profitability fool you: Atlassian is still very much a tech company, even if an idiosyncratic one. The first image in its prospectus is a man wearing jeans and a black t shirt, holding a Atlassian-stickered laptop with the word TEAM tattooed on his knuckles. (The company is listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker “TEAM”).

And one beneficiary of its quick growth has been its charitable foundation, which receives “1% of employee time, profit, and equity.” This is borrowed straight from Salesforce's “1-1-1” corporate philanthropy model.

Paul Kane / Getty Images

5. Atlassian software is widely used at big companies.

The company boasts a large number of smaller businesses that it reaches without much in the way of sales and marketing. Its target market of engineers and software developers are famously hostile to salespeople — “we believe software is bought, not sold,” the company says in its IPO documents.

But at the top end of the market, Atlassian says 79 of the Fortune 100 companies and 273 of the Fortune 500 companies use its software. Overall the company boasts 51,000 customers.

BuzzFeed – Business

How Tech Learned From Past Crises And Reacted To The Paris Attacks

What Facebook, Airbnb, and Uber did when terrorists attacked Paris.

Tobias Schwarz / AFP / Getty Images

Following Friday's terrorist attacks across Paris, which left at least 129 dead, many of the websites and apps we use on a regular basis made an effort to help those caught in the disaster.

But the process can also be fraught with sensitive considerations, with companies not wanting to be seen to be capitalizing on tragedy.

Here's how some of the major tech companies respond to the events in Paris:

Facebook’s deploys Safety Check:

Facebook's deploys Safety Check:

Facebook


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BuzzFeed – Tech

Airbnb Eve: A Tech Behemoth Comes Face To Face With San Francisco

With the next big vote for regulating Airbnb is less than a week away, Airbnb product executives gathered for dinner. Here’s what they talked about.

Columbus St. in San Francisco and the exterior of The Cookhouse, where the Airbnb dinner took place.

Via Flickr: mobili

On Wednesday night, less than a week before a citywide election will determine the fate of Airbnb in San Francisco, a small group of journalists met with an even smaller group of the company's executives over dinner. The event, proposed a few weeks back, was hosted by Airbnb in a rented event space called the Cookhouse.

The Cookhouse has whitewashed brick walls and airy windows and french doors that look out over the heavy foot traffic and flashing neon lights of Columbus Street, in San Francisco's version of Little Italy; the space is, in other words, a rental that feels like the home of a well-kempt and nice-smelling rich person, which made it the perfect place to contemplate the future of Airbnb, a company that has made its money out of helping people rent out their own well-kempt and (hopefully!) nice-smelling homes. Even if the company's future — which is particularly muddled at the moment — is not what any of the Airbnb employees wanted to talk about.

In fairness, it's been a hard couple of weeks for them. Last week, the company became the subject of a social media (and, ultimately, regular media) outcry after pictures of an ill-conceived ad campaign went viral. The ads, which were less-than-gentle suggestions by Airbnb for where the city could spend its taxes dollars, were seen by many as a sign of the entitled disconnection of the city's tech elite, and roundly lambasted.


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BuzzFeed – Tech

Snoop Dogg On His Bid For Twitter CEO And Why He Got Into Tech (The Money)

I’m the CEO of Snoop Dogg, Says Snoop Dogg

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buzzfeed-video1.s3.amazonaws.com

Snoop Dogg is making the rounds at New York's Advertising Week this week, promoting “Coach Snoop,” the forthcoming online video series he's creating in conjunction with AOL.

As Snoop took a break between announcing the show onstage at AOL's Future Front event, and performing at the event, he spoke with us on his bus outside the venue.

The interview, broadcast live on Periscope and embedded above, covered Snoop's interest in the CEO seat at Twitter, his attraction to tech (he has invested in multiple companies) and featured a freestyle rap that you can see in the tweet below.

Snoop was refreshingly straightforward in response to a number of questions. Especially one asking what drew him to tech. The answer: “Money.”


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BuzzFeed – Tech

How An Education Tech Company Is Targeting Schools Without Computers

Knewton’s software creates customized learning plans for students based on how they move through coursework on an electronic device. But for schools short on tablets and laptops, the company will now work with plain paper as well.

Knewton

The ed-tech company Knewton peddles adaptive-learning software that is almost futuristic: As students move through lessons and readings on their devices, it collects millions of data points about how children learn, spinning them into different learning pathways and recommendations for teachers. The idea is to create complex profiles of how students learn, then distribute lessons based on their abilities — giving vocabulary refreshers to students who pause on certain words, for example, and allowing those who know the terminology to move on.

But all this takes the presence of laptops and tablets in classrooms for granted. So what about all those schools without the resources to deck students out in technology? Knewton's newest product attempts to bring adaptive learning to the most low-tech of materials: paper.

The venture, a partnership with the technology company HP, allows teachers to scan their students' printed worksheets and use Knewton's technology to generate — then print — adaptive lessons and materials. There's very little technology required: Printed materials are tagged with HP technology and scanned with teachers' smartphones. New printed materials can be assembled on a smartphone.

More than half of American schools have inadequate internet connections, and many more have limited access to digital materials, such as the individual devices for each student that would be required to utilize Knewton's traditional adaptive technology. Knewton hopes to tap into that market.

The ed-tech company has already made inroads with many major publishers, like Houghton Mifflin and Pearson, and will need their cooperation to make the adaptive-print technology work broadly.

BuzzFeed – Business

The Danger Of Calling Uber A “Tech Company”

Via Facebook

As a tech writer, every holiday season I take on a side job as an extended family tech support jockey. In this role I gamely help older family members “Force Quit” the Mail application, restart their iPhones, and change the clock on their Fitbits. And yet this year, as my family turned their conversation to the transit giant Uber, I found they weren’t interested in my opinions. To them, Uber is just a different kind of cab company, not a tech company.

My experience is all anecdotal, but it points to a critical problem with the latest iteration of the web, which companies like Uber are busy ushering into the mainstream. It doesn't feel like technology, at least not in the way that we popularly conceive of it, and casual bystanders (read: most potential users) don't see it as technology. And that’s a serious problem. The Silicon Valley tech company ethos, forged throughout decades of building hardware and software, is predicated on the notion that, equipped with better ideas and better technology than the establishment, the innovators can bypass establishment rules on their way to changing the world. The problem: “Move fast and break things” works when the “things” are software. It works slightly less — and poses a serious safety concern — when those “things” are people.

Uber, like Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Instacart, or any of the poorly labeled “sharing economy” apps, are part of what research analyst Jan Dawson has labeled “the digital layer“: services that are powered and made possible by technology, but exist primarily in the physical world. Packaged in app form, Uber’s technology has rendered it transformative. But to call Uber an app doesn't quite do the service justice. Uber is, for better or worse, a massive, world-changing dispatch company.

Uber is, for better or worse, a massive, world-changing dispatch company.

Uber's physical-world experience of getting in a car and ending up in a different place is so familiar that my family, which doesn't pay attention to Silicon Valley or VC valuations, thinks of Uber like a traditional cab company with a push-button feature. And yet, companies like Uber seem to see it the other way around, envisioning themselves purely as tech companies positioned to destroy market inefficiencies with their world-changing ideas.

The problem is that tech companies — at least many of the social, software, and digital media startups I cover — move differently and have vastly different expectations than, say, widget-producing traditional companies. “Move fast and break things,” Facebook says! Digg sent me a sticker last month that said “Fuck it, ship it!” After all, what's the worst that can happen? You roll out some dumb, bad software update or hardware that nobody uses or you scale too big, too fast and your company goes under so you start another one. It's software or soon-to-be-obsolete hardware, so who cares?!

Via Twitter: @fuckitshipit

That all goes out the window with the digital layer, which takes all that wonderful, complicated, and fragmented internet you've got trapped in what is essentially a pocket computer and connects it to the physical world, turning that device into a remote control for your life. But the physical world operates at a different (read: much slower) pace from the tech and startup world. The physical world is full of logistics and red tape and regulatory battles and, most importantly, people. Just ask Uber: Disrupting a physical-world service is a terribly costly, time-consuming, and maddening endeavor and it's why the company has had to become experts in local city regulations in roughly 50 different American cities. It’s precisely because of these hurdles that any tech reporter who spends their time covering the sharing economy is now, essentially, a labor reporter.

Just ask Uber: Disrupting a physical-world service is a terribly costly, time-consuming, and maddening endeavor.

Ultimately, the red tape and the logistical hurdles and the regulatory battles of the physical world exist to protect people. Providing physical-world services for people is complicated and risky by nature. To Uber and its competitors' credit, the company has provided an overwhelming majority of its customers with a safe and reliable service (which, of course, is why it's so popular), but there have been sobering reminders of what happens when important logistical procedures like background checks for drivers take a backseat to expansion pressures. Last month's rape of a Delhi woman by an Uber driver is one such horrific reminder.

And yet, Uber and Lyft continually try to duck local governments and law enforcement. Currently, Uber and Lyft operate illegally in multiple major U.S. cities, with the companies failing to comply with local laws in order to scale to demand, as is embedded in their tech company DNA. To try and keep up with the Silicon Valley/startup pace of innovation, Uber has had to adopt aggressive tactics, as Uber NYC executive Josh Mohrer told BuzzFeed News last year. “It's not just like Facebook where you can say, 'let’s add a bunch of servers.' There’s human beings providing services, running their business on a platform and that’s not scaling up a bunch of servers,” he said. “It’s convincing a bunch of human beings to bring business on our platform. So we’re unabashedly aggressive in the way that we do that and what that means is there’s very little I won’t do to get in front of someone and tell them about Uber. And that includes taking taxi rides and taking rides with competitors.”

The apps and companies that will contribute to the digital layer are transformative technologies with the power to reshape and reorganize our physical world. On-demand services like Uber, Airbnb, Instacart, and Homejoy are responsible for a growing subset of contract gig workers, or “micropreneurs,” who shift between services picking up small payouts for odd jobs. Surveying the industry, it’s hard to ignore the number of contract employees: As of August 2014, the New York Times reported Lyft had over 60,000 contract drivers, while services like TaskRabbit have over 30,000 freelance users. According to the same Times report, 17.7 million Americans “worked more than half time as independent contributors” in 2013.

And if and when these companies succeed, they'll do it on the backs of their engineers and technology. They are tech companies. But to think of them as tech companies in the “move fast and break things” sense feels dangerous. Downloading a social app opens you up to harassment, hacking, and any number of other digital concerns, but downloading and hailing and stepping into a cab brings with it far more visceral — and potentially serious — risks.

Uber Drivers Network in New York protest Uber X fare cuts outside of the Long Island City office in Queens in September.

BuzzFeed News | Johana Bhuiyan

When I finally joined my family's Uber conversation, the subject turned to an argument over regulating businesses and stemming the tide of disruption, but that seems to obscure the larger point: that tech companies whose tendrils reach into and wrap around the physical world must be seen as such and not simply as software providers.

And that means, for better or worse, not skirting rules imposed by local governments. It's harder that way, sure. There's a lot of rules and permits and certifications and local legislative approval to seek, and many of these logistical hurdles have been put in place by the progress-fearing and corrupt. But there's hope, too, for techno utopians: Uber, Lyft, and these wildly popular on-demand service apps have the ability and goodwill from users not only to thrive but to expose the antiquated and ridiculous flaws and bureaucracy in our regulatory systems (in Washington, D.C., Uber’s rise illuminated the city’s corrupt livery culture), but the only responsible way to do that is to meet those systems head-on.

BuzzFeed – Tech

14 Last-Minute Tech Gifts For People You Wish Were Dead

HIGH-TECH COAL FOR YOUR NEMESIS’ STOCKING.

I'm not exactly certain what one of these would get you besides 25 DMs to strangers and an overwhelming sense of loneliness and despair.

Go Away I’m Tweeting Mug – $ 15.50

Go Away I'm Tweeting Mug - $ 15.50

Via presentindicative.com

It is a truth, now universally acknowledged, that one should Never Tweet, but chances are, one of your friends or loved ones has chosen to ignore this credo, which is why you should get them this mug. It'll let everyone know that the mug's owner is sassy, unapologetic, and an absolute monster of a human being.


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BuzzFeed – Tech

We Asked 29 Tech Companies If Their Employees Can Access Your Personal Data

Privacy policies rarely mention the weakest point in any company’s security infrastructure: its employees.

BuzzFeed

Traditionally, privacy worries for consumers and tech companies have been limited to keeping information secure from third parties or hackers. But a series of internal abuses show that tech company employees often have universal access to user information, as well as reason — be it pure voyeuristic curiosity or, in the worst cases, a vendetta — to look at our whereabouts, spending, and of the most private corners of our lives.

Fears of employee data abuse are founded, from the highest levels of government intelligence down to car-sharing apps. In 2013, reports revealed over a dozen instances in the past ten years in which NSA employees abused NSA surveillance to collect data on love interests, referred to internally as “Loveint.” At tech companies, where security measures and training are largely more relaxed, employees surveilling the location histories of ex-lovers, real-time tracking roommates, and looking at activity logs of friends of friends, is not only a plausible fear, but a new reality. Just last month, a New York Uber executive was investigated and reprimanded for tracking the whereabouts of a BuzzFeed News reporter without her permission.

For all the careful consideration and legal maneuvering of tech company terms of service and privacy policies, those documents rarely mention the weakest point in any company's security infrastructure: its employees. Clear, plainspoken explanations of employee access to user data are rarely, if ever, present in a privacy policy. But the reality is that thousands of tech company employees across the world now have unfettered access to our most personal data.

BuzzFeed News reached out to 29 major technology companies, including social networks, fitness trackers, and dating, payment, messaging, music, mapping, and music apps with ten specific questions about their internal privacy policies with regard to user data.

Out of the 29 companies, only 13 responded. Of the 13 that responded, three companies didn't offer comment. Responses from the other ten manifested a wide range of views: some took the inquiry seriously; others offered boilerplate responses, and a significant percentage of the companies chose to remain silent. All told, the collective responses offer a complex and, in many cases, unsettling survey of the current data privacy landscape.

BuzzFeed News sent the same set of ten straightforward questions to all 29 companies. Here is the list in full:

  • Do you have a privacy policy regarding employee access to user
    location, financial, and other account data, if so what is it? Are
    there any exceptions to that policy and what is a comprehensive list
    of those exceptions?
  • How many, and which types of, employees currently have access to
    users' account data?
  • What is the process to gaining that access? Is there more than one
    level of permission? What are they and the respective processes to
    obtain them?
  • Do the CEO and other senior executives have personal access to all
    user data? Do interns?
  • What are the repercussions of violating the privacy policy or
    accessing a user's account without permission? Has this policy ever
    been enforced, and if so can you provide an example?
  • How does the company monitor employee access to user accounts?
  • What steps, if any, does the company take to de-identify users in
    its databases?
  • Does the company share or sell user data that includes identifying
    information to other parties; and if so, how is that confidentiality
    protected?
  • Does the company have a plan for transfer of user data if the
    company changes hands?
  • Are there any procedures in place to notify users and the public to
    changes in the terms of service?


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BuzzFeed – Tech

17 Tech Terms That Have A Different Meaning To Your Parents

Mom, you don’t need to sign your texts.

“Inkjet printer”

"Inkjet printer"

What it usually means: Office equipment for printing documents, usually in black and white but sometimes color.

What it means to your parents: A thing to print out photos, on regular paper.

info.pcforms.com

“Tech support”

"Tech support"

What it usually means: A customer service representative who provides assistance with both hardware and software.

What it means to your parents:
You.

“Hackers”

"Hackers"

What it usually means: People who break into government or corporate online systems for political reasons, fun, or profit.

What it means to your parents: The sender of every potential email and link.

United Artists

“Internet Explorer”

"Internet Explorer"

What it usually means: A browser that has fallen out of favor in the past few years.

What it means to your parents: The only way to access the internet, preferably in IE6.

media.giphy.com


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BuzzFeed – Tech