OpenStax Textbooks Teams With Blending Education, LLC to Introduce Content-Driven Microlearning

HOUSTONJan. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Blending Education, LLC today announced a partnership with OpenStax that will enhance and personalize the learning experience for students through microlearning developed from OpenStax’s free, open-source textbooks.

Blending Education, LLC, a provider of microlearning libraries and content-driven digital education services, will commence its partnership with OpenStax, a Rice University-based nonprofit organization that makes education more accessible for students, to provide greater access to quality, cost-effective course materials and advanced digital solutions.

“Microlearning is a way of delivering content in small, manageable units, and opens up new possibilities for cost-effective, personalized learning for each student. Blending Education is committed to driving student and teacher success, with OpenStax demonstrating that same commitment,” said Veronica Volz, Co-Founder of Blending Education, LLC.

“The new partnership announced today will open up opportunities for all schools, colleges and universities to benefit from the microlearning and blended learning services we provide,” added Ian F Simpson, Co-Founder of Blending Education, LLC.

Both Co-Founders expressed their joy in recent results in immersing teaching staff and students to test the effectiveness of this system. “The results have been positive, and the impact already felt in field testing this system for the past three years has proven its potency,” said Ian.

Blending Education, LLC helps educators, administrators, instructional designers and anyone else interested in teaching and learning to easily implement blended learning into their course, program, faculty or school. Their microlearning products are self-grading, mobile-responsive and save time and effort. Instructors simply upload them to their own Learning Management System (LMS) or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in just a few steps. Students can then access these on any smartphone, tablet or computer for “anytime, anywhere” learning.

The measurement of learning outcomes, recordable data and secure analytics offers immediate, live insights into how well each student is performing, and the unique style of delivering content in short bursts aids retention and promotes self-directed learning. Microlearning provides instant feedback to students and eases the workload teachers face by automatically reporting students’ grades back to the institution’s own learning management system.

And unlike most other content-driven platforms, their microlearning products work within the school or university’s own LMS, so there is no learning curve, subscription cost, or “per-student” fees. Each microlearning product can be used and re-used freely year after year on unlimited students, resulting in an ultimate cost-savings. Keeping student data within the confines of the institutional LMS also affords educators and administrators peace of mind, knowing that it is safe and secure.

By using Blending Education’s OpenStax-based resources, schools, colleges and universities will gain affordable solutions and analytical insights that will help increase student success. Additionally, the Company will open up a wider distribution of OpenStax’s free textbooks through their promotion throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.

“We look forward to seeing how our partnership with Blending Education brings affordable and powerful personalized learning technology to students in the UK and Europe,” said Daniel Williamson, managing director of OpenStax. “Our growing ecosystem of resources is helping us broaden our reach and improve access to higher education for more students.”

The Company has been aware of the incredible impact that OpenStax has had on the broader educational community recently, and the co-founders of Blending Education are pleased to be working with such an innovative company. As the company continues to grow its digital solutions, relationships with organizations such as OpenStax uniquely position Blending Education to act as a complete support system in increasing student demands and retention.

About Blending Education, LLC & OpenStax

Blending Education, LLC offers professional blended learning services and a broad catalog of digital titles in core subjects. The company acts as a strategic partner to drive student success, provide value and support to students and faculty, and create loyalty and retention while supporting the goals of academic partners.

General information on Blending Education, LLC can be obtained by visiting the Company’s website: https://blending.education

Blending Education will be exhibiting at BETT Jan. 24-27, 2018 at ExCeL, London, England. BETT is the largest Educational and EdTech Expo outside the U.S.

OpenStax is a nonprofit initiative of Rice University and is made possible by the generous support of philanthropic partners, including Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Charitable Foundation, Ann and John Doerr, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google Inc., the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, Charles Koch Foundation, Leon Lowenstein Foundation Inc., the Maxfield Foundation, Michelson 20MM Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Jumee Yhu and David E. Park III, Brian D. Patterson USA-International Foundation, and the Bill and Stephanie Sick Fund. For more information, visit http://openstax.org.

[“Source-prnewswire”]

Google Combines YouTube Music, Google Play Music Teams; Unified App Likely to Launch Soon

Google Combines YouTube Music, Google Play Music Teams; Unified App Likely to Launch Soon
HIGHLIGHTS
Google Play Music and YouTube Music teams combined
Google likely to launch unified music app
YouTube Music offered music with and without video
Google has confirmed that it has merged the teams behind YouTube Music and Google Play Music. The move is said to be a way Google wants to pave the way for a unified Music app though it may be in initial stages.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the move to The Verge without offering any major details about the future product. In a statement, spokesperson said, “Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.”

The merger isn’t likely to affect users of both the Google Play Music and YouTube Music apps as of now. The Verge claims that both the apps “will continue to exist independently for the moment.”
It adds that the business development teams of Google Play Music and YouTube Music were combined last year. The move to combine business development teams was said to make negotiating deals with labels and artists easier. Notably, YouTube Red, a premium service that allows advertisement-free access to subscribers, already offers access to both YouTube Music and Google Play Music services.

To recall, YouTube Music app was launched in 2015 and was expected to bring Google in the helm against the likes of other music streaming services. YouTube Music offered songs both with and without video with an option for users to choose audio-only mode. In its initial impressions, YouTube Music was touted as far less cluttered than competing services like Apple Music, which had more lists and tabs.

Google last year gave its Play Music app a total overhaul with smart features which was powered by Google’s machine learning and contextual tools.

Tags: Apps, Google, Google Play Music, YouTube Music, YouTube Red, YouTube

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Apple Is Said to Plan Improved Cloud Services by Unifying Teams

Apple Is Said to Plan Improved Cloud Services by Unifying Teams

Apple Inc. plans to unify its separate Internet services groups into a single campus to better compete with Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. in the cloud, according to people familiar with the plans.

Apple cloud services teams run by executive Eddy Cue, including Siri, Maps, iCloud, Apple Pay, Apple News and parts of iTunes and Apple Music, will move together into the company’s existing Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California, the people said. Currently, most Apple services are developed separately from each other in office parks rented out in other parts of Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California.

The current structure contributes to software bugs and slow product development, the people said. Bringing the teams together at a single, dedicated campus is designed to improve growth of the services business and fight competition from Google and Amazon, the people added. They did not want to be identified talking about private Apple plans. Apple declined to comment.

As iPhone growth slows and Apple goes behind the scenes to develop new hardware, the services business has been a bright spot. It grew almost 20 percent in the third quarter and may soon pass the Mac and iPad as Apple’s second-largest revenue source. Still, Apple’s cloud services have been criticized by users because of technical issues and a lack of new features. The company also stumbled in 2008 with MobileMe and in 2012 with Maps.

Cloud Space
Space for the cloud teams at the current headquarters will begin to open as Apple inches toward the launch of Apple Campus 2, a futuristic, spherical structure with multiple floors of open work space. Apple will begin moving employees there in 2017, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in March. Apple broke ground on the new campus in 2013, following a well-documented announcement by company co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011.

While many Apple executives want to relocate their teams to the new campus, Cue thinks unifying at the old campus is a suitable way to improve his organization, one of the people said.

A committee of Apple managers is working on the plan to reorganize Apple across its current and future locations. Recently that plan has changed, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Apple originally expected up to 13,000 employees at the new campus. Now that number will increase by thousands and Apple is adjusting internal office space accordingly, the person said.

The new building features open floor plans and few traditional offices. While some of Apple’s senior vice presidents are expected to see their offices move over to the new campus – less than a five minute drive from the current headquarters – management must be at a vice president level or above to get a formal office, one of the people said. Previous plans included office space for senior directors, who report to vice presidents.

The new campus will be made up of bench seating, long work tables, and open cubicle spaces, potentially irking employees used to quiet office environments, two people briefed on the new campus’s plans said.

Apple’s Pie
Apple is also reorganizing its cloud computing resources to bolster its services business. The company is moving its infrastructure – things like software to process Siri queries and Apple Music downloads – onto a single, Apple-made system, according to people familiar with the matter. Code-named Pie, the platform gives Apple more control and may speed up load times.

Apple has begun moving over parts of Siri, the iTunes Store, and Apple News to the new platform, one of the people said. Apple plans to move other services, including Maps, to its new system over the next few years. Apple has also developed an internal photo storage system dubbed McQueen to gradually end its reliance on Google and Amazon servers, the people said.

The company recently indicated it is taking the cloud more seriously by hiring former Time Warner Cable executive Peter Stern as a vice president leading cloud services.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Apple, Mobiles, Apps, Tim Cook
[“Source-Gadgets”]

IBM Teams With Apple on Artificial Intelligence Health Program

IBM Teams With Apple on Artificial Intelligence Health Program

IBM on Monday announced alliances with Apple and others to put artificial intelligence to work drawing potentially life-saving insights from the booming amount of health data generated on personal devices.

IBM is collaborating with Apple, Medtronic, and Johnson & Johnson to use its Watson artificial intelligence system to give users insights and advice from personal health information gathered from fitness trackers, smartphones, implants or other devices.

The initiative is trying to take advantage of medical records increasingly being digitized, allowing quick access for patients and healthcare providers if the information can be stored and shared effectively. IBM wants to create a platform for that sharing.

“All this data can be overwhelming for providers and patients alike, but it also presents an unprecedented opportunity to transform the ways in which we manage our health,” IBM senior vice president John Kelly said in a news release.

“We need better ways to tap into and analyze all of this information in real-time to benefit patients and to improve wellness globally.”

IBM expects more companies to join the health platform, which it envisions growing to a global scale.

In addition, the New York based company said it is acquiring a pair of healthcare technology companies and establishing an IBM health unit.

Watson is a cognitive computing system that bested human competition in a Jeopardy trivia television game show.

Under the partnership it will be able to handle data collected using health applications from Apple mobile devices, according to IBM.

“Now IBM’s secure cloud and analytics capabilities provide additional tools to help accelerate discoveries across a wide variety of health issues,” Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said in a release.

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Tags: Apple, Artificial Intelligence, IBM, Watson Supercomputer
[“source-ndtv”]