#AllAboutOpen: Our OCW Educator Twitter Chat

As part of Open Education Week, Open College at Kaplan University (OC@KU) and the Open Education Consortium (OEC) hosted a 24-hour Twitter event, #AllAboutOpen. We participated in the lively discussion last night for half an hour, talking about the OCW Educator initiative. If you missed the chat (or prefer the blog to Twitter), here’s a recap:

Science Out Loud: A Video Series by MIT Students

Prashanth Venkataram and Maria Cassidy are MIT seniors, and they want to tell you about invisibility cloaks.

Harry's invisible

Remember this scene? Here‘s their explanation of it!

MIT K12 invisibility cloak

The Physics of Invisibility Cloaks is just one episode in Season 1 of Science Out Loud, a new webseries from MIT+K12 Videos. All of these videos are written and hosted by MIT students and feature science and scientists beyond the traditional textbook or classroom setting.

Each episode has a great webpage featuring not only the video, but information about the students who created it, along with other educational resources from MIT and beyond. At the bottom of the page is a section for teachers that points to related Next Generation Science Standards.

New videos go up on YouTube and TechTV every Monday.

MIT OCW at USA Science & Engineering Festival

The logo of the USA Science & Engineering Festival

MIT OCW will be at the USA Science & Engineering Festival to share our site Highlights for High School, which got a facelift earlier this year.

We’ll have magnets, bookmarks, and other Highlights swag to give away. We’ll also be doing a few giveaways at the event, so be sure to stop by our booth and say hello! We can’t wait to see you there.

The free expo is in Washington DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on April 26th & 27th. If you can’t make it to the event, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll be Tweeting with the hashtag #MITatUSASEF.

edX and Facebook Team Up to Offer Free Education in Rwanda (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

QuickWire: edX and Facebook Team Up to Offer Free Education in Rwanda

The nonprofit online-learning organization edX will work with Facebook and two other companies to provide free, localized education to students in Rwanda on “affordable” smart phones, Facebook and edX said on Monday.

edX, a provider of massive open online courses that was founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will help create a mobile teaching app that is integrated with Facebook and “optimized for a low-bandwidth environment.” As part of the program, called SocialEDU, edX will also work with the Rwandan government to adapt materials for a pilot course. Read more.

edX Working with Facebook to Create SocialEDU (edX blog)

Working with Facebook to Create SocialEDU

The future of learning is social and edX is helping to build it in Africa.

EdX is part of an exciting new pilot with Facebook that will provide students in Rwanda with free access to a collaborative online education experience. SocialEDU was announced by Facebook at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.

Facebook and edX want to use the power of social tools to improve education where increased access to portable learning can provide students new opportunities to reach their goals. We are proud to be part of the team — including Facebook, Airtel, Nokia, and the Government of Rwanda — that will deliver free, high-quality, localized educational content on handheld devices. EdX will also work with Facebook to build a mobile app that is integrated with Facebook features to deliver a pilot course on affordable smartphones. EdX will work with the Rwandan government to adapt course materials for local students.

EdX knows how powerful its courses can be to students in the developing world. Nearly half of our 2 million students come from developing countries and 10 percent of our students live in Africa. We’ve heard their stories about the impact edX courses have had on their lives and our vision is to impact many more.

We’re proud to be part of the team building the social future of education.

Read original post on the edX blog.

Interview with a participant in the Open.Michigan crowdsourcing pilot

Earlier this year, the folks over at Open.Michigan launched a pilot program to crowdsource the translation of transcripts for some of their videos.  The pilot focused on 31 health videos, including 12 clinical microbiology videos co-authored by instructors in Ghana and Michigan and 19 disaster management videos co-authored by seven schools of public health in East Africa.

They now have 11 languages represented in their video subtitles, including Luganda – a local language spoke in Uganda – demonstrating how crowdsourcing can create materials for significantly underserved learners.  They recently posted an interview with one of the volunteer Luganda translators, Eve Nabulya, which includes this excerpt:

I selected the disaster management videos because they were co-authored by my peers at Makerere University. To date, I have translated three videos: Intro to Disaster Management Training, Introduction to Disasters, and Epidemics.

Projects such as this, which aim to increase the volume of learning materials in local Ugandan languages, would achieve much by partnering with universities. At the moment, Makerere University alone graduates over 100 students in Bantu languages every year. Given that Luganda is one of the two local languages considered by the recent Constituent Assembly as potential national languages, any efforts that produce literature and resources in it, especially learning materials, draw Uganda closer to solving her language dilemma. Read more.

OCW, MITx provide Myanmar student rigorous, high-quality educational opportunities

Engineering student Thaw Tar uses MIT digital learning resources to study underwater vehicle design.

Mark Brown
Office of Digital Learning

Thaw Tar (Photo: Thaw Tar)

Thaw Tar (Photo: Thaw Tar)

In a recent speech, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel laureate and Myanmar’s opposition leader, brought international attention to the difficulties faced by students in her country. She described how a series of student uprisings against the government over the past two decades created a situation in which “the focus of the military government was on maintaining discipline, not on providing education.” For example, to contain unrest in the late 1980s and ’90s, she said, universities were closed nationwide for several years at a time; many were relocated far outside urban centers to reduce the influence of student activism. The resulting drop in education standards meant that, as she describes it, “graduates have nothing except a photograph of their graduation ceremony to show for the years they spent at university.”

Yet with a healthy dose of determination, some Myanmar students still manage to acquire an advanced education. One example is 22-year-old Thaw Tar, who has supplemented his undergraduate studies through OCW and MITx, and hopes that his own curiosity and initiative will continue to open doors for him.

Growing up in the rural township of Aunglan, he describes his own early education as typical of many students in Myanmar. “Although most teachers are good-natured and hardworking, the style of teaching is very non-interactive, and few of them really teach children how to think. My education was largely about simply memorizing my lessons by heart.”

Fortunately, he says, his parents pushed him to become a critical thinker. “My mother taught high school and she made me read lots of books. I knew I needed to learn how to think scientifically since I was a boy, thanks to these books. Without them, I might not be where I am now.” Read more.