March 1st, 2011 in E-Learning, News, Wireless Technology

The future of libraries

In a world where online shopping and eco-friendly alternatives are increasingly popular, the e-book reader seems to be a sustainable option for book collectors to cut down on shelf space. But what about the original eco-friendly option – the public library?

The future seems to be in e-book loans, but these are a hot topic for publishers. Regular books wear and tear, inevitably needing replacement, which ensures authors and publishers get their dues. But what is an appropriate cap-off for the number of loans before e-books need replacement?

According to Library Journal, Harper Collins has set the limit at 26 times. Some think 26 is too low a number and an unfair cost to libraries. Whatever the case, publishers and libraries need to address e-book lending.

Read more:  This Library E-Book Will Self-Destruct After 26 Check Outs

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August 6th, 2010 in Broadband, E-Learning

Making Online Education More Social

“The three-quarters of 18 to 29 year-olds who have profiles on social networks are likely wondering why online course offerings aren’t nearly as enticing as the content that they find on their favorite social websites.”

Social media is everywhere. Now your parents are on Facebook, Twitter is an essential part of business strategy and even the federal government is trying is joining in on the revolution. So why aren’t the powerful tools and concepts at the heart of social media being used for education?

Marco Masoni, a lawyer turned educator and co-founder of, recently wrote a post for social media blog Mashable about the need for innovation in online education.  Masoni argues that it’s no longer enough for schools to simply make courses accessible online. They must now also consider the social and interactive tools they have available to provide a more dynamic learning experience.

The state of Wisconsin recently received over $65 million in federal funding from the USDA to expand broadband access to previously underserved rural areas. Access to high-speed Internet, made possible by these types of funding projects, coupled with the kinds of innovative educational tools that Masoni is recommending, is key for ensuring Wisconsin students are given the necessary tools to compete in an increasingly high-tech job market.

Masoni cites The Ocean Portal as a particularly good online educational tool. What are some others that you’ve used, good or bad?

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April 5th, 2010 in E-Learning, Jobs and Economy, News

Green Tech Makes Our Day

Our coalition cares about many technology-related issues. Technology and education? Check. Broadband deployment? Check. High-tech job creation and industry development? Check.

So hearing about a $4.81 million dollar project that promotes almost all of Wired Wisconsin’s top issues really makes our day.

The Village of Plain, in Sauk County, will soon be the home of the Green Technology Training and Enterprise Center.

In a press release from the Office of the Governor,

The center is being designed as a regional facility that will provide workforce training and business development in green building and green energy trades to high school students, recent high school graduates, entry-level workers, displaced and/or undertrained workers and corporate employees. It will also serve as an industry showcase for career sector marketing.

The center will be built with a $1.1 million grant from the WI Department of Commerce in addition to a $2.4 million dollar grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Hooray for Wisconsin demonstrating again and again that our state is the place to be for everything pro-technology development and innovation!

To read Governor Doyle’s press release in its entirety:

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March 10th, 2010 in Consumers, E-Learning, Government

12th Annual National Consumer Protection Week AND You

This week, March 7-13, marks the 12th Annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW). The purpose of this week is to encourage consumers to be more knowledgeable about what their law-protected rights are as consumers.

Digging a little deeper into the website, I found many useful tools consumers should use to educate themselves on a variety of issues such as ways to avoid identity theft and how to safely get out of debt.

President Obama and Congress have been working hard to ensure the proper consumer protections are in place and passing the new credit card laws were a good step. I don’t know about you, but seeing how long it would take to pay off my credit card by only making the minimum payment really put things into perspective.

All the new technologies enabled by the advent of the internet (did you know the internet was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize last year?) are great, but it’s important that we have policies that reflect the ever-changing tech landscape AND continue to provide consumer protections like proper oversight over things like billing, sales, consumer fraud, and collections.

So educate yourself friends!

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions also have great websites full of free resources for consumers looking to get a better handle on their financial situation as well as protect themselves from scams.

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January 15th, 2010 in E-Learning

College 2.0

21st Century E-Learning from the Perspective of a Wired Wisconsin Intern

As a college student in 2010, technology affects my education every day.  My experience is starkly different from my mother who attended the same university many years ago or even my brother who attended the same university just 3 years ago.

Last semester, for the first time, I had an e-book.  I didn’t head to the bookstore to purchase a text; I went online to purchase an account.  I was able to type in my password and access my e-book at any computer instead of lugging around an extra textbook.

 Technology also influences how I study.  While there’s nothing wrong with doing good old-fashioned research at the library; I have the additional option of using online scholarly search engines to find information.   And if I have a question?  Well, then I can just ask a librarian—I can ask via email, text, or even instant messenger.

I am also able to communicate with my professors and fellow classmates through online discussions, or I can just take my entire class online.

The expansion of technology has even allowed me to be taught by a professor in another country.  Once my professor was doing research abroad and had to miss class.  He used ichat, a video chat program, which was projected onto the wall, to teach a class of over 100 students. 

I know that technology has enriched my education.  It also makes learning more accessible for people like non-traditional students who struggle with hectic work schedules or demanding family responsibilities.   The development of technology has provided conveniences such as online classes—advancements that just might be the solution to make furthering their education a reality.  21st Century e-learning is my Wired Wisconsin Issue.  What’s yours?

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October 30th, 2009 in E-Learning, Event, Government, News

Government 2.0: Utilizing Social Media Event Called a Success!

This week, we at Wired Wisconsin were able to see the months of hard work come to fruition, with our first coalition event: Government 2.0: Utilizing Social Media called a success by many of the attendees who ranged from legislators and their staffers to 9 government agencies.

The purpose of this event was to get the conversation started about the importance of government officials and agencies incorporating social media into their current communications plan. It is Wired Wisconsin’s position that social media provides greater opportunities for outreach, education, and collaboration between government and citizens.

For many of us, we look to our favorite social media channels as a “one stop shop” for all of our information needs. We expect that we can go to our Facebook or Twitter pages and find all the latest news, events, and issues.

Wendy Soucie does a good job summing up what was discussed here.

There were  great questions and comments. The event which was supposed to take no longer than hour, ran almost 45 minutes over as we tried to answer and address everyone’s concerns about incorporating social media. A lively discussion to be sure!

A huge thank you to everyone who attended!

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October 2nd, 2009 in Broadband, E-Learning, Government

21st Century E-Learning: The Key to Academic Success

We have had the privilege of traveling all over Wisconsin introducing our coalition to individuals, businesses, and policy makers. When we get to the 21st Century E-Learning discussion, the real importance of giving students–no matter where they live and what their economic status—access to technology-enriched education reaffirms our commitment to fulfilling coalition goals.

The impact of having access to technology-enriched education is demonstrated well with this video.

“Currently preparing kids for jobs that don’t exist yet

 using technology that hasn’t yet been invented

in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet” (video excerpt)

As our nation’s schools struggle to keep up, and in some cases catch up, with countries around the world, having technology in the classroom part of the overall learning environment rather than a special class during the day is integral to our student’s being able to compete in the global marketplace.

“Online learning is becoming an important facet of K12 education in meeting the requirements for highly qualified teachers in every classroom, in providing professional development for teachers and school choice and in tutoring options to students and parents” (Department of Education).

This interactive map created by The Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International shows how technology can be used in the classroom and the community overall to give our students multiple educational pathways to success.

 The reliance on the internet to educate our children in the classroom and ourselves at home or in the office will continue to increase as accessibility grows to meet demand. We are home to one of the world’s most recognized research institutions, the University of Wisconsin, their slogan, Forward. Thinking.  encapsulates Wired Wisconsin’s goal of expanding 21st century e-learning for today and tomorrow

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September 28th, 2009 in Broadband, E-Learning, News

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, A Technology-Enhanced Dream Come True

Our coalition strives to generate discussion on a broad range of technology issues including green technology.  Folded within this issue is supporting renewable energy such as wind energy. I was recently watching Good Morning America and caught this inspiring story of an African man, William Kamkwamba, who recycled old motor components, a bicycle wheel, and a PVC pipe to make a wind turbine from scratch.

So with a piqued curiosity, I did some research and found this great video all about Kamkwamba’s work and impact on his severely impoverished village. Check it out

Not only did Kamkwamba teach himself about the fundamentals of harnessing wind energy but did so reading books written in a foreign language—English. Oh, and he was only 14 years old. Yeah.

Kamkwamba’s wind mill enabled his village to decrease their dependency on kerosene—powering 4 lights and 2 radios, and even mobile phones.

It is Wired Wisconsin’s hope that we all recognize the potential adopting and creating technology has in achieving our dreams and changing our realities. Technological growth depends on drawing ideas and knowledge from many sources and making the connections to link them together. What will your technology-enhanced dream be?

The Boy who Harnessed the Wind: William Kamkwamba (website)

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