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Microsoft’s Discovery of the Decade: ‘The Nadella’

Description :

Satya Nadella has been working as the CEO of Microsoft for two years now. Throughout the past two years, he has revolutionized Microsoft. Therefore, people even describe Nadella as the Microsoft’s Discovery of the Decade. The main objective of Nadella is to drive the company forward along with a cloud and mobile focus. The decision he took has created a significant impact behind the success of the software giant. 

Microsoft’s Discovery of the Decade: ‘The Nadella’

Microsoft got the opportunity to feel fresh throughout the past few years under the guidance of Satya Nadella. Some people say that Nadella is running the Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft.Under the guidance of Nadella, Microsoft paid special attention towards protecting Windows. Windows Vista came out during the Ballmer’s period and it was not a success. Even though Vista took a long time to hit the market, the company was not able to cater the expectations of the users. It also created a negative impact on the mobile platform of Microsoft. This fact played a major role behind the popularity of iPhones over Lumia.

As we can see, the plans created by Ballmer are not perfect. However, Nadella has executed some of the plans that were created by Ballmer. He takes a whole new approach when executing these plans in order to deliver positive results to the company. Taking Microsoft Office for iPad can be considered as a perfect example.

The strategic vision of Satya Nadella has contributed a lot towards the success of Microsoft throughout the past two years. Microsoft was there on every desktop, but it was not so popular on mobile devices. Nadella noticed the increasing popularity of mobile devices, so he took necessary measures to make Windows popular in the mobile industry. Therefore, Office was released to Android tablets, Apple iPads and even Raspberry Pi devices. At the moment, Office is a popular application that can be found in these devices.

Microsoft’s Discovery of the Decade: ‘The Nadella’

Nadella did not abandon windows. During the Windows 10 Technical Preview release, he said that he has very big hopes and aspirations on the Windows operating system. He dreams about having people want Windows to choose Windows. In addition, Nadella took necessary measures to give life to very capable versions of Microsoft Office. Office has been the greatest selling point of Microsoft throughout the past few years. 

Satya Nadella is a person who is equipped with a tactical vision. In fact, he does not make short term plans. He thinks few years ahead and creates the plans accordingly to deliver positive results with measurable outcomes. Moreover, he can be defined as a person who communicates very efficiently. He can convince his ideas to someone and grab another person’s ideas in an effective manner through communication. 

As you already know, Satya Nadella has guided Microsoft in the correct track under his leadership. The company has seen many different changes in its board level throughout the past two years. Ballmer left his position and Nadella did not discover any crocodile tears from the people who stayed with the company. Few months later, some other board members resigned and they were replaced by suitable candidates by Satya Nadella. However, the senior leaders did not change under the guidance of Nadella. Bill Gates is supposed to devote more time towards the success of Microsoft after his step down. However, it didn’t happen as expected and Satya Nadella got the responsibility of driving the company. Nadella was able to manage everything accordingly and he did not face any hassle. His excellent leadership qualities helped him throughout the difficult times. The secret behind the success of Nadella was that he took necessary measures to attract individuals and maintain an excellent inner circle. This helped the entire top management to stay away from frustration.

Satya Nadella is a person who identified the exact difference in between Windows Mobile and Windows Mobile. It seems a bit confusing. Windows Mobile is the name that is given to the operating system, which powers up Windows smartphones. This operating system can also be found in Intel and ARM based tablets. However, Windows Mobile has a bigger scope. As per Nadella, Lumia phones, Surface tablets, the Band and the HoloLens are expected to be a part of the Windows mobile ecosystem in the future. In addition, the CEO is extremely concerned about developing stable services and applications to be run on Windows mobile devices. In the world we live, people prefer to use their mobile devices over personal computers. However, Windows smart mobile devices are not popular among them, when compared to iOS and Android devices. Satya Nadella has the vision of making Windows mobile popular among smart device users who live in every corner of the world.
 
Microsoft’s Discovery of the Decade: ‘The Nadella’

Satya Nadella is also concerned about cross platforms. Once he stated that Microsoft will not be developing services and software for the platforms of other companies. Instead, he is concerned about developing applications that are compatible with cross-platforms and making them a part of the Microsoft’s DNA. 

Microsoft has started focusing on bundling after the supervision of Satya Nadella. Nadella wants to bundle up all the services and applications that are offered by Microsoft. The business apps developed by the software giant became very successful when they were packaged as the Office Suite. The release of Office 365 in many different suites can be considered as a great example to prove the above mentioned fact. 

Last but not least, Satya Nadella is concerned about being ahead of the customer demand. They have done big mistakes in the past by not paying attention towards the demands of the customers. Nadella has understood these issues and he has taken necessary measures to deliver a service that customers really need. Therefore, Nadella can be considered as the best discovery of Microsoft in the decade. 


So, what you guys think? Let us know down below in the comments. Please share and help spread the information! 

*by andreascy*

Get HQ Professional PowerPoint Presentation Templates and Diagrams with Powered Template

Description :

Despite the advances in technologies and new tools emerging on a daily basis, when it comes to presentation software, PowerPoint is still the king. Are you puzzled however on ways to enhance your presentation in a way that it would be more visually appealing for your target audience? 

Powered Template provides such customizable solutions that will save you time and effort with a vast array of exceptional professional templates, diagrams, charts, maps, images and infographics among others. 

Get HQ Professional PowerPoint Presentation Templates and Diagrams with Powered Template

If you are interested in creative high quality templates that will boost your presentation, Powered Template can help make your presentation stand out from the mass. Search among their huge collection of which you can buy and download your template of choice within minutes.

Impress with Professionally Designed PowerPoint Templates

Key to a compelling presentation is how you manage to get your story across and visual messages are considered one great way to achieve this. In this case, you might want to take advantage of the killer PowerPoint templates by Powered Template to create a stunning presentation. Browse through the gallery of different categories which have been designed with built in layouts and cover any topic, idea or concept that will keep your audience engaged throughout your presentation. 

Each layout is carefully designed by expert professionals paying attention to details like appropriate blend of colors, graphics and ClipArt that give out a world class result that is clear and expressive. You can choose to either download a single template in PowerPoint (PPT) format with 3 master slides: Title Master, Slide Master, and Print Master, or decide to go with the template with additional slides consisting also of 17 additional slides with pre-created shapes, tables, charts, diagrams. All of these backgrounds are provided in separated JPEG files and include 3 or more pre-created palettes.

Once you have chosen your presentation template, Powered Template offers a wide variety of images in ClipArt available separated in different categories from which you can select to craft your presentation. Images carry a powerful message and can be used as a visual tool that can further boost your engagement with the audience and deliver the expected results.

Also of interest is how you can complete your presentation by getting professional pre-designed customizable document layouts in MS Word format to match your presentation slides. Each package offered by Powered Template consists of a cover page design, built-in heading and text styles, high-quality graphics (72 dpi images). Once downloaded, you can add your own content to the document, edit and print it for your audience as a take away of your presentation.

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Visually Appealing Professional PowerPoint Diagrams and Charts

One of most difficult things to display within the limits of a brief presentation is a wealth of scientific research findings, business and marketing analysis etc. The best way to communicate such complex meaning is through diagrams, charts and infographics. Powered Template offers a diversity of creative diagram and chart templates that can captivate your audience with visually appealing presentation of data. Choose among others between education, flow, graph matrix, pie, organizational and medical charts, as well as process, puzzle and tree diagrams, timelines and inspiring infographics for showing general or comprehensive information in a sharp and refreshing way. 

All diagrams and charts are pre-designed and can be easily placed into your PowerPoint slides. With editable shapes, resizable vector graphics and changeable colors these templates are flexible and can be customized to cater for your individual preferences. Each template pack contains SmartArt graphics, objects, shapes, icons, charts, diagrams, or tables in PowerPoint (PPT/PPTX) format. 

The examples below are characteristic of the many diagram and chart templates available:

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Get HQ Professional PowerPoint Presentation Templates and Diagrams with Powered Template

Exclusive High Quality PowerPoint Maps

Powered Template provides also with the option to enrich your presentation with location and regional characteristic features by adding exclusive PowerPoint Maps. These pre-made templates in Microsoft PowerPoint are vector graphics which can be downloaded immediately and used in existing slides while with Adobe Illustrator, you can either have the maps as web-ready graphics or incorporated high-end print designs. 

These maps come with map layers and are conveniently editable and customizable to suit any presentation requirements with the option of changing size, color, position, remove or even add map features using PowerPoint’s drawing tools. You can easily add, change or delete text, define elements such as territories, regions and locations while assemble objects, diagrams and figures to customize these maps.

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Comprehensive Collection of Professional Website Templates

Developing a website can be a hustle which you can easily avoid by using the services provided by Powered Template. Browse through their comprehensive and professionally designed collection of website templates which are easily downloadable and editable to suit your needs in terms of quality and cost. 

The templates have been designed with Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver, paying attention to detail and following international web design trends. To use these templates you will need Adobe Photoshop 7.0 or higher and Macromedia Dreamweaver (Microsoft FrontPage 2003, or Microsoft Expression Web). Powered Templates ensures that these templates are cross browser compatible and therefore you are able to access them regardless of your preferred browser.

If you choose to buy these high quality designs, you should expect to get a website design template package including: Web Design source in Adobe Photoshop format (.PSD), HTML web template (.HTML), and Style sheet file (.CSS). 

Below are some indicative examples of website templates:

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Powerful Professional Custom PowerPoint Designs

While there is no fixed recipe, certain design techniques have been proven most effective in getting the audience’ attention during a presentation. If you are looking to optimize the impact of your PowerPoint presentation, you can make use of the Powered Template experts’ knowledge and get a professional custom design that will be eye catching and succeed to sustain your audience’s interest to follow your message. 

Seek for their advice to create a presentation that will both match your needs and be within your budget. You can choose to incorporate different features like your logo, company colors, and any ask for any other specifications that will enhance your presentation and create a memorable outcome characteristic of your business or other purpose. 

Transform your Presentations from Plain to Superb

Bottom line is, if you are feeling frustrated whenever you want to prepare a presentation, Powered Template is a business and presentation templated provider that promises to help take your presentation to the next level.

AS YOU GO, CHECK OUT MORE: Ten Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

To benefit from the powerful designs available by Powered Template you can pick among their wide collection of free templates or purchase their products by either proceed to a single buy or subscribe for one of their membership plans. Make the most of the opportunity to transform your presentations from plain to superb by choosing one of their featured templates to enjoy your presentation!

*by andreascy*

Einstein’s Gravitational Waves Detected: A Breakthrough Discovery

Description :

The discovery of Einstein’s gravitational waves reported during a blockbuster announcement in a news conference on February 11, 2016 at Washington DC, is making waves all over the world. What’s the big fuzz about it though and why should we care? This article explores the question by taking a more in-depth look into the phenomenon. 

Einstein’s Gravitational Waves Detected: A Breakthrough Discovery

The scientific community are still overwhelmed by the news of the breakthrough discovery of gravitational waves in the form of faint ripples of gravity, reverberating invisibly through the fabric of space-time from the collision of two black holes. 

Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astrophysics supported by Caltech and MIT, captured this groundbreaking moment in history reportedly on September 14, 2015. Nevertheless, what does the phenomenon entail in reality and why is it so important to us? We will try to demystify the latter in the next few paragraphs. 

What Are Gravitational Waves? 

The term gravitational waves was originally introduced by Einstein back in 1915 in establishing his theory of general relativity. The latter concept suggests that mass distorts both space and time similar to how a heavy bowling ball distorts a trampoline. 

When an object accelerates, it creates ripples in space-time, in the same way a boat causes ripples in a pond. These ripples that allude space-time are called gravitational waves. Due to the fact that they are extremely weak signals, it is difficult to detect them. Therefore, although there's convincing indirect evidence that gravitational waves exist, a direct detection had proven elusive, until now. 

Missions like LIGO and LISA are dedicated to detect these waves by observing small changes in the distances between objects at set distances. The most optimum opportunity to detect gravitational waves comes from detecting the collision of two black holes or pulsars into each other.


The Discovery

“We have detected gravitational waves. We did it,” Prof David Reitze, executive director of LIGO, told journalists. LIGO, uses the world’s most sophisticated detector, utilizing laser interferometry, which in simple terms means firing lasers into long, L-shaped tunnels; the waves disturb the light to detect the collision of black holes when they merged. A merger occurs when two black holes start to spiral towards each other and radiate energy as gravitational waves. 

Scientists listened the characteristic sound of these waves, namely a chirp, for 20 thousandths of a second as the two giant black holes, one about 36 times the mass of the Sun, the other slightly smaller at 29 solar masses, circled around each other.

The signal detected, allowed them to calculate how stars perish: the two holes had begun by circling each other 30 times a second. Before the final collision and a dark violent merger had occurred at the end of the 20 millisecond snatch of data captured, the two had accelerated to 250 times a second!

The research findings from this study, undertaken by the LIGO Collaboration, have been published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Einstein’s Gravitational Waves Detected: A Breakthrough Discovery

Signals of Gravitational Waves, As Einstein Predicted detected by the twin LIGO observatories at Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington. Image Credit: Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab

Why It Matters

The significance of detection of gravitational waves is attributed in the following key issues:

1. The discovery of gravitational waves opens a new window to research of the universe since it provides with insights on its existence and a potential paradigm shift on how we detect and study cosmic phenomena, in particular those that do not radiate in the electromagnetic spectrum.

2. The findings of this research confirm Einstein’s prediction of gravitational waves as part of his Theory of General Relativity and regenerate the interest in exploring the theory in depth. 

3. Re-enforces the study on the use of gravitational telescopes which allows to hear phenomena at the same time as light-based telescopes see them.

4. Since gravitational waves were detected from the energy emitted from the collision of two black holes, it is now confirmed that black holes really do exist and that mergers between two black holes proceed as predicted.

Einstein’s Gravitational Waves Detected: A Breakthrough Discovery

Image by The *Official AndreasCY*: Fast Facts about Gravitational Waves

In sum, the detection of gravitational waves opens the field to completely new investigation suggesting that some exciting days lay ahead for scientists. Stephen Hawking suggests that "gravitational waves could revolutionize astronomy".

Conclusion

Through this discovery we are one step closer to solving more of the mysteries of the universe following 380,000 years after it is thought to have been generated. And possibly the biggest mystery of it all: the 'Big Bang' singularity.

SOMETHING RELEVANT: Dreaming About the Future of Space Tourism

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Tech Gadgets That Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level

Description :

Fitness tech has come a long way, with bulky bands giving way to sleek clip-ons, unobtrusive necklaces and stylish bracelets and watches. The problem isn't finding a gadget that works for your lifestyle, but rather choosing from among the countless options that are on the market. Smartwatch or smart shirt? A wireless sleep tracker you don't even have to wear? How about a life tracker that might actually extend your life? 

Tech Gadgets That Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level

With so many to choose from, more information is better. Here are some of the latest and greatest workout-boosting gadgets for both fitness fanatics and the weekend warriors: 


If your goal is to move more, this stylish watch-style tracker not only offers smart coaching, but also prompts you to get up and go when it senses you've been on your duff for too long. Pair with the Polar H7 for bonus features like motivational post-workout feedback and fitness testing. 

Tech Gadgets That Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level

For the fashion conscious, it comes in six waterproof color options. 


When weather, schedules, or space make going to a crowded gym a necessity, combat distractions with some serious blood pumping audio. 

Tech Gadgets That Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level

Sony makes noise cancelling earbuds that deliver high-resolution audio, while blocking out the grunts and clangs of the meatheads and the drone of the gym TVs. 


This cutting-edge roller is the recovery device preferred by many of the world's elite athletes. It uses a combination of pressure and vibration at three different speed settings to enhance your pre and post-workout results. 

Tech Gadgets That Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level

Use the VYPER for self massage, warm ups and to loosen up tight muscles. 


The classic FitBit features are paired with smartwatch technology in the Blaze, which tracks fitness data and alerts you to calls and texts on a stunning full-color touchscreen. There's also music control, so you don't have to fumble with yet another device on the treadmill. 

Tech Gadgets That Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level

Running out of ideas on what to do at the gym? This device also includes workout tips!


This brand's leap into the gadget market comes with a big endorsement from prima ballerina of the moment, Misty Copeland. 

Tech Gadgets That Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level

The Health Box is a three-part system with the UA Band (a wearable tracker that displays workout data), a chest-strap heart rate monitor, and a smart scale – all of which use Bluetooth to sync to the UA app. 


Heavy lifters will love this German-made sensor that's relatively new to the US. Wear it while using machines, free weights or isometric techniques, and it senses when your form is off. 

Tech Gadgets That Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level

Instant audio feedback via the companion app reminds you to adjust grip, posture or pace – no personal trainer necessary.


Touted as the “world’s first biometric smart shirt" for men and women, Hexoskin's shirt (plus hardware pack) maps heart rate, breathing rate and movement data. 

Tech Gadgets That Will Take Your Workout to the Next Level

Then syncs up with wellness apps such as MapMyRun, so you can track your workouts without bulky wearables.

Conclusion 

Why add gadgets to your workout routine? Because they are an easy way to optimize and track performance so you can get the most out of your workouts and meet your fitness goals, whether they are big or small.


Know of any other interesting gadgets? Let me know.

*by andreascy*

An Anatomy of Deeper Learning and Implementation for 21st Century Education: The Research Findings

Description : 

21st century education is experiencing significant turbulence as a response to the call for more meaningful and relevant learning experiences that comply with students’ literacy needs and competencies required to succeed in their lives. 

Towards this end, deeper learning has emerged as a theory which could be the means to transform 21st century education when truly integrated in the classroom.

An Anatomy of Deeper Learning and Implementation for 21st Century Education: The Research Findings

Image by: The *Official AndreasCY*. Find more on Pinterest.

Does this hold true? This article will attempt to provide some insights on the matter drawing from research findings from the last two decades.

What is Deeper Learning?

Deeper Learning is a broad term coined by the Hewlett Foundation and refers to the range of skills and knowledge required for students to acquire and master "in order to succeed in 21st century jobs and civic life” (Hewlett Foundation, 2013). The essence of the concept entails a set of competencies incremental to students exposed in academic content. The intention is that through the instructional principles proposed by the deeper learning theory, students gain an in-depth level of knowledge and understanding on different subjects rather than superficial learning, and are in a position to achieve problem solving in and out of a school context, both in their school-word and their lifeworlds to be able to successfully cope with challenges in their college, career and life.

Can Deeper Learning Contribute to Succeeding 21st Century Education?

“Schools aren’t failing and don’t need reform”. Instead, a renown academic and researcher, Tony Wagner (2012) states, “we need to reinvent, re-imagine our schools.”

In response to the dilemma for school leaders on what this transformation should entail for 21st century learning, educational researchers cohort that we should intend to cultivate deeper understandings and higher order thinking in a holistic manner by pursuing changes in terms of students, teachers, school culture, school systems and leadership (Figure 1).

An Anatomy of Deeper Learning and Best Strategies of Implementation for 21st Century Education: The Research Findings

Figure 1: Schools Tranformational Model by Lenz et al. (2015, p. 149)

In order to re-imagine schools in such a transformational and holistic way, deeper learning theory proposes 4 components that need to be implemented in a school setting (Infographic).

1. Policy makers and teachers should opt to create a strong school culture

2. Educational staff should be working collaboratively

3. Teachers should design instructional content that is meaningful and relevant to students' lives

4. Deeper Learning outcomes should be the ultimate intention of each learning experience

An Anatomy of Deeper Learning and Best Strategies of Implementation for 21st Century Education: The Research Findings 

Infographic: 4 Components of Deeper Learning Outcomes (by Monica Martinez and Dennis McGrath)

One key indicator of whether learning has been improved, is student learning outcomes. The latter relates to achieving 21st century skills or the four Cs of learning as they are commonly referred to: creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration (NEA, 2011). In deeper learning theory, student driven outcomes are more specifically addressed and  interpreted in terms of the following:

Mastering core academic content: Students attain and master core key subjects and use a metalanguage to fulfill certain tasks

Think critically and solve complex problems: It is imperative for students to exhibit competency in thinking critically, analytical thinking process and creativity in solving problems

Work collaboratively: Students should be familiarized and feel confident working in groups to be better prepared to respond in a team setting later in their lives and succeed several goals.

Communicate effectively: Students should be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. They must cultivate their presentation skills and developing logical and convincing arguments that are appropriate for communicating in a variety of settings. 

Self-directed learning and ability to incorporate feedback: It is imperative that students grow into mature learning, be able to set their own learning pace, determine goals and monitor their progress, as well as strive to improve.

“Academic mindset”: The term refers to the mental state students have by feeling confident based on their skills and abilities, in a way that they are empowered to overcome obstacles.

These outcomes are incremental towards an authentic deeper learning approach.

Deeper Learning in Practice: The Strategies

Deeper Learning is far from a generic theory. In fact, it has already been utilized in a range of settings that extend beyond the scope of education, such as in training in businesses. However, the focus in this article is to examine the practical implementation and strategies pertaining to schools. 

Over the last decade the spotlight is on deeper learning principles (DLP). In regards to the previous, research findings has indicated substantial benefits from the use of deeper learning principles. The National Research Council in its 2012 report Education for Life and Work suggests the following research-based methods for developing true deeper learning: to employ multiple and varied representations of concepts and tasks, encourage elaboration, questioning, and self-explanation, engage learners in challenging tasks through supportive guidance and feedback, teach with examples and cases, promote student motivation, and implement formative assessment.

Other research has showed that among the prerequisites for a successful implementation of the theory are to design instructional content that extends beyond superficial activities and relate to authentic life situations and problems. Towards this direction, learning experiences for students should stem from project based, connected approaches and inquiry based learning principles. Further to these, deeper learning activities should rely on apprenticeship-based learning, which adheres to allocating mentors with a real-world role. All the above should take place in the context of a collaborative classroom setting where groups of students work together to solve complex real life problems and apply transferable knowledge.

 Dr Monica Martinez in her book "In Deeper Learning: How Eight Public Schools are Transforming Education in the 21st Century" (2014), draws on the example of eight public schools educating students based on the following six strategies for developing deeper learning principles:

1. Empowering students to lead their own learning (student owned learning) through disruptive learning experiences. Students as self-learners are empowered through taking over leadership roles, managing complex projects and assignments, as well as engaging in reflective practice. 

2. Emphasize meaningful learning experiences through inquiry-based learning that seeks solutions to real-world complex situations (student centered learning). Students in groups critically reflect and solve problems with teachers acting as facilitators in the learning experience.

3. Design connected experiences and subjects around central concepts and ideas that will lead to Deeper learning outcomes and content knowledge and skills (competency-based learning). In this way the instructional approach promotes a coherent picture of what in-school learning is.

4. Extend learning experiences beyond school with authentic and relevant entanglements and opportunities to learn. This can be achieved through interaction with local communities by reaching out to museums, organizations and corporations.

5. Personalized learning is incremental to cater for students’ individual needs. The latter requires substantial time and dedication to prepare a profile with insights of each student’s needs, abilities and competence in order to then design appropriate and meaningful lessons and activities. 

6. Use of technology is a powerful tool in succeeding deeper learning in the schools researched by Martinez in purposeful ways promotes meaningful learning. Engagement in digital literacy by means of projects can enhance students’ analytical, creative and critical thinking skills, as well as communicative and collaborative attributes effectively regardless of the location, anytime and anywhere.

The above strategies are schematically represented in Figure 2.

An Anatomy of Deeper Learning and Best Strategies of Implementation for 21st Century Education: The Research Findings

Figure 2: Strategies of Implementation to foster Deeper Learning

Research Evidence of the Impact of Deeper Learning

With educators constantly bombarded with new learning theories and best practices to reach the objectives of the new millennium, there is reason to be suspicious and reluctant to adopt new approaches. Nevertheless, in the case of deeper learning, substantial evidence exists on the beneficial impact from its systematic implementation. The vast majority of this work is based in the United States where deeper learning has been embraced by schools, universities and a range of other learning settings.

The American Institutes of Research conducted a study in 2014 which illustrates that students in deeper learning schools graduated at higher rates than others from non deeper learning schools. In particular, in the San Francisco Bay Area, Envision High Schools, fostering deeper learning principles, succeeded more than 90% of their students continuing to college, in comparison to the 50% of students graduating from all California High Schools. Importantly, students from these schools managed to score highest rates in the standardized Academic Performance Index tests, when comparing to all other California schools. And in many of these cases, these students were the first in their family to attend college.

As a result of the need to assess deeper learning, influential foundations have developed different formative assessments including the Collegiate Learning Assessment, which is vastly used by more than 175 institutions across the United States. Internationally, the most reputable test is the Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA) exam, offering a reliable and widely acknowledged measure of key aspects of deeper learning. Further to these, the federal government has funded two unique consortia of states: SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in order to develop the next generation of assessments that comply with the principles of deeper learning and contemporary education standards.  

Conclusion

The quest for deeper learning is not utopia. It is a complete theoretical approach with practical guidelines to integrate in variant school contexts. Although much research is still needed to determine its impact, the preliminary work being carried out so far illustrates that
  deeper learning could be the path to re-imagining teaching and learning for 21st century education.

RELATED READ: Six Learning Trends Driving Education

Intrigued to know what you think.


10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

Description :

Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Still recovering and sluggishly getting back to work? Grab a coffee while reading our new posts.

More than a few people have uttered the phrase: “Isn’t there something to make this job easier?” If you haven’t then you’re probably in the minority, or maybe you already own all those things.

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

Listed in this article are 10, sometimes silly, gadgets that can make life less of a hassle. So if you’re not one of those people that own everything, maybe one of these can help you with a current problem that you seem to keep running into.

1. AquaNotes

Have you ever noticed that the shower is where you come up with a lot of your good ideas? You may have also noticed that you sometimes forget that idea before you even turn the water off. With AquaNotes that’s no longer a problem. It’s a waterproof notepad that sticks to the wall in your shower. 

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

Now those million dollar inventions will never be lost. This is a great gift for an inventor, song writer, and entrepreneur.

2. Wrinkle/Wash Free Pants 

Next to doing the dishes, the laundry is one of the most tedious tasks in anyone’s life. A company called Bluffworks has made it easier to be just a bit lazier. The pants can be balled up and stuffed in your backpack or luggage and still be good to go. 

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

They also come with pockets for smartphones like the Galaxy or iPhone. These are perfect for any bachelor. 

3. Hovding Airbag for Cyclists

Do you like riding your bike but hate the clunky helmets that are on the market? Or maybe you don’t feel comfortable placing all your trust into a piece of padded plastic and rubber. A company in Sweden called Hovding has invented a new ‘invisible’ bike helmet. 

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

The device is worn around the neck and is deployed like an airbag around your head and neck if you happen to run into anything. Or if anything happens to run into you.

4. Lock Laces

Do you hate tying your shoes? Maybe you are one of those people that just leaves your shoes tied so you can slip in and out of them easily. With Lock Laces, you can have your shoes done in seconds. They’re elastic laces that have a stopper on them similar to snowboard boots. 

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

They are a step up from Velcro but people with still probably make fun of you for ‘not being able to tie your shoes. That’s ok though because you can just make fun of them for taking forever to get out the door. 

5. Onion Goggles

These are exactly what you think they are. These goggles fit tightly around your eyes so no more tears when you’re cutting onions. 

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

They may seem silly; some people are really sensitive to juices that onions omit when they are being cut. They make you look like an Olympic swimmer when you’re preparing your food. 

6. Light up Charging Cables

These may seem gimmicky but they’re actually pretty convenient. Instead of having to look at your device when it’s charging, all you need to do is pay attention to the light patterns

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

A fast current means your device is less than 65% charged, while a slower one means it’s over 65%. Once it’s fully charged the light shuts off. Neat huh?

7. The CanStand

This isn’t just a cool way to hold your beer or soda. The CanStand is a beverage cooler that also reflects the heat of the sun. You just stick it in the ground like those bug torches and you’re good to go. 

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

It works if you’re standing or sitting, so now you can enjoy a cold one next to the grill without the radiant heat warming up your beverage. 

8. ibattz Mojo Refuel & Invictus Battery Case for iPhone (5/5S, 6/6S)

We’ve all been stuck somewhere with no outlet and a battery that’s on 10%. Or worse you are at the airport with plenty outlets but they’re all being used. Enter the ibattz Mojo Refuel or Invictus Battery Case for the iPhone (5/5S, 6/6S). 

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

It works just like most iPhone cases, only this one comes with a small replaceable battery capable of recharging your phone. Not only that but it amplifies the speakers on your phone too. 

9. SleepPhones

If you’re one of those people that like to listen to music when they sleep, this is perfect. Ear buds are comfortable, but not when you’re laying directly on one and jamming it further into your ear. 

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

This is a headband with earphones sewn into it. Not the best sound quality but still more comfy than rolling over onto an ear bud.

10. StickNFind

This is a nifty little device that you can stick to those items that you lose all the time. You can stick them on your keys, wallet and your TV remote. You can then use your phone to locate them. 

10 Gadgets that Will Make your Life so Much Easier

The only downside to this is if your phone is one of the things you’re constantly losing, you may have a tough time.

Conclusion 

There you have it 10 things to make your life easier. In today’s complicated world we could all use a leg up on those frequently annoying problems. Now if they could only invent a machine that grants wishes, that is something that could make your life way easier.


Please remember to LIKE and Comment. Thanks for visiting! 

*by andreascy*

How to Convert PDF to Word for Free

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What's up guys? The past few weeks have been really exhausting. I have been working really hard on creating value with my Fiverr Services. Go ahead, check out my gigs and let me know what you think!

It seems that technology today is faster than we are. Before we even get a chance to try out all the new useful gadgets and software that could improve our business and private lives, there’s a whole set of new inventions that flood the technology scene. We’ve witnessed the Google Glass craze last year, then the 3D printing revolution, not to mention the head-spinning progress that those working in the robotics department are making. An average working person can hardly keep track of it all. 

How to Convert PDF to Word for Free

Despite all the wonders of today’s technology, there are some old-school tech tools and software that are difficult to replace, because they are the pillar of the modern office. If you want to be successful at work today, you don’t really need to know how to operate a complex new gadget or to understand artificial intelligence, though all of these skills and knowledges can’t hurt, if you’ve got the time to acquire them. However, to be successful, you do need to know how to manage electronic files, particularly those that are most commonly used among business professionals, such as PDF, MS Word, etc.

Millions of people share PDFs with others on a daily basis. That’s because the PDF is still unbeatable when it comes to the universal features a format needs to have in order to be viewable on any computing device and platform without losing its formatting. The trouble with PDFs is that the information locked within is not easily editable without proper software for that purpose. 

So, when you receive an email from your boss with the subject line: “Urgent: Document Needs Editing ASAP”, and in the attachment you find a PDF with at least ten pages that need to be revised in a short period of time, what do you do? If you have a powerful, paid PDF conversion program on your computer, no problem. But there are many companies that chose not to invest in these useful productivity tools, so it’s up to the employees to be resourceful. Manually retyping all those pages in order to revise the text is definitely not resourceful, and will not get your task finished on time. 

If you’re in a similar pickle to the one described above, here’s a simple free tool that will help you out. It’s called Free Online PDF to Word Converter and it can be used for free on any computer with an Internet connection. 

How to Convert PDF to Word for Free

Here’s how:

1) Click on the “Select file” button, find your PDF document for conversion and double-click on it.

2) Type your email address in the blank space (this is mandatory if you want to receive the converted file).

3) Click on the “Start” button and then check your email.

The link to your converted Word document will be waiting in your inbox. Now just open it, make all the necessary edits and impress your boss with the efficiently completed assignment.

This free PDF conversion tool is obviously not as amazing as some other pieces of software, but it will probably be of more use to you in a typical office setting, than a 3D-printer or a dish-washing robot.

RELATED: The Multiple Benefits of Owning a PDF Converter

Thank you for reading! Have yourself a Merry Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. May your troubles be less and miles away ;)

*by andreascy*

15 Ed Stories to Read Over the Weekend

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Finally, the first weekend of September is here and the educational world is preparing for yet another challenging year. Taking inspiration from this we have pulled together a useful list with articles that draw on all levels of education, from Primary to Higher Education and life-long learning such as online courses.

15 Ed Stories To Read Over The Weekend

So, time to get some rest and catch up on some reading. Here we round up 15 key educational articles from around the web that caught our attention this week. Hope you find them interesting as much as we did.

1. Spaces for Learning. This excellent piece by Nigel Coutts explores the significance of learning spaces of today by addressing the basic features of an emerging concept: ‘flexible’ learning spaces as environments that are catering for students’ different learning styles and needs while bringing an air of innovation and playfulness in the learning process. A glimpse to the classrooms of the future. 

2. Growth Mindset: How to Normalize Mistake Making and Struggle in Class. Everybody makes mistakes. In terms of mistakes made during the learning process at school, this article addresses Carol Dweck’s research on growth mindset to explain how teachers should create the appropriate classroom atmosphere that supports student’s efforts and promote “productive failure”: student develop a growth mindset as they cope with challenges and overcome failures.

3. 8 Ways Digital Storytelling Transforms Learning in 21st Century Education: The Research Evidence. Digital storytelling is a buzzword in the educational world. Read this interesting article about the transformative impact of digital storytelling for learning based on empirical research findings conducted in the last decade. 

4. Myths and Realities of Online Training. Online training is one of the key ways that adults choose to learn nowadays. This useful article clarifies some of the misunderstandings and prejudice surrounding this revolutionized way of life-long learning. 

5. Assessing the Potential of Gamification in Higher Education. Gamification, a term which refers to applying game-design thinking in different situations to make them more appealing is rising as an approach to teaching and learning in Higher Education. Know how it has been implemented in different universities across USA and what its benefits are.

6. Applying Learning Theory to Mobile Learning. Explore the latest issue of TD at work and know the basics of m-learning, drivers and barriers for its implementation, relevant learning theories and how to use them in practice as well as informal strategies to utilizing m-learning. A great resource. 

7. 6 Learning Trends Driving Education in 2015. Want to know the key teaching and learning practices and strategies that will influence education from 2015 onwards? This article compiles a list with learning trends including blended learning, maker education and four more that are changing the face of schools.

8. Learning Theory v5 - What are the established learning theories? An amazing graphic to get insights on the learning theories and key concepts surrounding them that have emerged in the past centuries. This is probably one of the most comprehensive summaries we’ve seen in a while on learning.

9. 12 Ways to Support ESL Students in the Mainstream Classroom. One of the best reads recently with great tips on how to support English as a Second Language (ESL) for your students, which is a reality of most mainstream classrooms today.

10. Learning Power: new research identifies Mindful Agency as central to resilience. Research findings published this week from Professor’ Crick investigation using the Crick Learning for Resilient Agency Profile (CLARA) suggest that Mindful Agency is a key learning power dimension. Know more about what this term involves and how it can affect research and practice around learning.

11. Developing Critical Thinking Skills in Elementary Students. Critical thinking is one of the most incremental and essential competencies that students should possess in the 21st century. Find out how to develop critical thinking in the classroom through the advice in this article. Includes an infographic and video.

12. Harvard Launches 'Virtual Classroom' for Students Anywhere. Fascinating stuff happening in Harvard university by introducing a futuristic classroom through using HBX Live to teach its business students who won’t be physically able to attend lessons. Great read.

13. Using New Technology to Rediscover Traditional Ways of Learning. This is an excellent article with an alternative view of technology, discussing how it can enable engagement and traditional forms of learning through embodiment and observation strategies.

14. Museum-based Multiliteracies and Learning for 21st century skills: a preliminary study. This academic paper addresses findings from a doctoral study that employs a conceptual framework for museum teaching and learning drawing on multiliteracies pedagogy, an approach that takes into consideration students’ cultural and linguistic diversity and the demands of an increasingly multimodal and digitally mediated world to promote learning of 21st century skills.

15. “We shouldn’t assume people know what digital citizenship is”. Get top insights from educators organizing the first annual Digital Citizenship Summit on what the concept of digital citizenship actually entails and possible ways to address the gap of knowledge for its implementation by the greater educational community.

These are all! Let us know your insight and suggestions down below. Have an awesome weekend!

8 Ways Digital Storytelling Transforms Learning in 21st Century Education: The Research Evidence

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Following the proliferation of technology and multimedia an evolution in making and telling stories has resulted in digital storytelling (DST). 

8 Ways Digital Storytelling Transforms Learning in 21st Century Education: The Research Evidence

Here we get into the basics of DST and how research findings in the past decade suggest it works as a transforming tool for learning in 21st century education. 

What is Digital Storytelling?

Digital storytelling is a constructivist approach to learning that emerged in the late 1980’s at the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) in California. This technique is a “modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling” (The Digital Storytelling Association 2011). Storytelling throughout the centuries has been a popular and compelling way to communicate and share knowledge and experiences, and has been used as a pedagogical tool long now. 

In today’s digitized world with teachers entering classrooms with digital natives (Prensky 2001), digital storytelling emerged as a consequence of a more systematic use of educational technology for learning. Although there is not a single definition for the term, the basic understanding is that digital storytelling uses digital tools and means such as video, audio, social media, blogging to share and communicate ideas and information effectively (Robin 2008). 

How Does it Work in the Classroom?

Digital storytelling could be integrated in the curriculum across a number of subjects despite it is seen as more useful in lessons such as Language Arts. Drawing on the principles of “learning by doing” and Dewey’s conceptualisations of education, to implement digital storytelling in the classroom students are actively engaged as creators to make original products that can be shared with their peers and the broader community, allowing for audience interaction and feedback. In other words students are put in the driver’s seat as they navigate their way through the following four phases of the digital storytelling process: 1) Pre-production; 2) Production; 3) Post-production; and 4) Distribution. 

The Center for Digital Storytelling is known for developing and disseminating the Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling: Point, Dramatic Question, Emotional Content, Pacing, Gift of your Voice, Economy and Soundtrack. These are often cited as a useful starting point for effective instructional use of digital stories in the classroom. A more recent adaptation of the Seven Elements is found in Samantha Morra’s (Google certified teacher) explanation and visual on the process of digital storytelling. This process comprises 8 steps (Figure 1):

Begin with an Idea

Research/Explore and Learn

Write/Script

Storyboard/Plan

Gather/Create images, Gather/Create Audio, Gather Create Video

Put it all together

Share

Feedback and Reflect 

8 Ways Digital Storytelling Transforms Learning in 21st Century Education: The Research Evidence
Figure 1: Digital Storytelling Process by Samantha Morra

Little empirical research has been conducted to date that investigates the benefits of digital storytelling in the classroom although it has been acknowledged as a technology-integrated approach for meaningful and engaged student learning. In the rather limited research that is available, the overarching agreement is that digital storytelling enhances students’ uptake of essential 21st-century literacy competencies or 4Cs of Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity (Partnership for 21st century learning) and enables a deeper understanding in all areas of the curriculum.

How Digital Storytelling Transforms Education: Research Findings 

In the following paragraphs we summarize eight ways that illustrate the transformative impact of digital storytelling for learning based on comparing findings from a number of empirical studies (e.g. Dreon, Kerper, & Landis 2011; Malita & Martin 2010; Robin 2008; Smeda, Dakich & Nalin Sharda 2014; Yang & Wu 2012) that were conducted in the last decade. 

1. Embraces Learning of 21st Literacies 

It is the responsibility of policy makers and educators to design and deliver curriculum that engages students in learning experiences that address the increasing demands of a multicultural, constantly evolving multimedia-based world. Literacy pedagogy and research are incremental towards such a direction: literacy refers to a repertoire of practices learners use to engage in meaning making that derives from spoken, print, and multimedia. Various literacies have been identified such as media, visual, global and digital literacy. Research suggests that students who engage in creating digital stories develop deep understanding of these literacies through the different steps needed to create their digital stories and thus gain knowledge on how to employ literacies in a way that is meaningful and empowers them as learners in a postmodern world.

2. Advances Critical Thinking and Deeper Learning 

Another main learning influence of digital storytelling as the research points out is in advancing students' critical thinking and deeper learning. The research skills needed as students explore their topic to create their digital stories, require higher level thinking skills such as evaluating evidence, editing and curation, and production timelines. Students have to critically reflect on sources by using databases and combine tools in meaningful ways to create their work. Through this process deeper learning is promoted as students master core academic content drawn from the curriculum and learn to solve complex problems that arise during the production of the digital story. In many occasions the research findings suggest, students were able to reach to metacognitive understandings through engagement in digital storytelling. 

3. Enhances Academic Achievement and Student Outcomes

A crucial indication of the impact of digital storytelling is the effect on students’ academic performance or as often stated student outcomes. The findings from evaluation of students’ performance through means of both qualitative and quantitative methods exemplify how digital storytelling in particular is effective for language learning for example for second language learners, as it enhances their writing, communication and listening comprehension skills. Such evidence complies with reports published by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which suggest that the educational uses of technology produce improved student learning outcomes.

4. Boosts Students’ Engagement and Motivation

A definite conclusion for digital storytelling that is found across research findings is how the use of digital media and other tools to engage in creating digital stories, highlight the increased levels of student engagement and motivation. Technology-rich classrooms are in general producing higher levels of engagement amongst students and digital storytelling is one compelling method to achieve such performance. The perceived usefulness students see in digital storytelling as they are challenged to actively participate and complete different tasks, lead to higher levels of learning motivation. The use of appropriate resources and editing tools is instrumental to reach student motivation and possible beneficial effects this can have. 

5. Empowers Students as Creators and Individuals

As creativity is acknowledged to be a critical competence for young learners to survive and succeed in today’s societies, the creative use of technology through means of digital storytelling is of the most significant ways that research posits transform the student learning experience. Students as creators are given the freedom and power to select their own topic and create their digital story from scratch, using an array of tools such as apps and other software. This process allows for their expressive potential to nourish in a number of ways through design, photography, writing their story and presenting it. Students are empowered and feel more confident as they use their own voice and foster a sense of individuality and “owning” their creations. They are encouraged to expose their identity and show features of their personality. 

6. Fosters Collaborative Project Based Learning

Research evidence suggests that digital storytelling can effectively promote collaborative work in the classroom. Students develop team spirit and leadership through actively working in groups to carry out their digital stories. They practice social skills as they organize their ideas together and manage their time and activities while they engage with digital content. Thus digital storytelling is a means to have students meaningfully collaborate and interact as part of an engaged community of learners. 

7. Provides an Alternative Form of Assessment

One other significant indication of the transformative effect of digital storytelling is found in its use as an alternative method of assessment. An issue that has puzzled the education sectors for years and is currently undergoing change, assessment as it is derived from findings in recent research, could benefit significantly from the use of digital storytelling. A natural fit for e-portfolios, digital storytelling could be a powerful tool for a formative form of assessment rather than the mere summative which is interested in measurable skills and scores through a test or essay. Digital storytelling allows students to assemble a meaningful piece of work that is indicative of their understanding or the content they were taught and the competencies they possess. Students demonstrate their learning and growth through presenting their digital story to a real audience in a compelling manner and receive feedback in a way that is interactive and interesting to both themselves and the teachers and their peers.

8. Offers a Personalized and Authentic Learning Experience

The importance of engaging students in meaningful and authentic learning tasks that are personally relevant according to individual needs and background is only recently gaining momentum in formal learning institutions through policy making and relevant instructional approaches. Digital storytelling is such an approach to learning as it provides authentic scenarios for students to work with and accommodates for their needs and personal learning styles and background experiences, making the lesson seem valuable and impactful through concrete products. In this sense digital storytelling caters for the diversity among the student population, whether this results from cultural, linguistic or other difference.

Conclusion 

Digital storytelling is seen as a vehicle for implementing innovative teaching and learning practices. In this article we explored how research in particular suggests it works as a powerful pedagogical learning tool for students. However, further investigation is required to establish a more holistic picture of the impact of digital storytelling in education. 

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