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emPower eLearning: October 2010

emPower eLearning

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How can I identify common safety violations found in facilities that use flammable fuels, solvents or chemicals?

Answered by Glen Carter, chief technical officer, Justrite Manufacturing Co., Des Plaines, IL. Safety managers can use the following "Quick Checklist" to identify the most common safety violations concerning flammable, combustible and hazardous liquids. Following it can quickly and effectively make your operations compliant with OSHA and industry best practices.

    * Look around – are flammable, combustible and hazardous liquids stored in open containers? This violates OSHA and Environmental Protection Agency regulations. All hazardous liquids should be stored in functionally closed containers. Ensure the lids on those containers are closed adequately, and repair or replace containers as required.
    * As an industry best practice and to meet OSHA regulations, flammable and combustible liquids should be stored in a safety can approved by Underwriters Laboratories and FM Global. Safety cans that have been in service should be inspected to ensure the lids operate and close effectively, a flame arrester is present, and that they do not leak. Replace all safety cans that no longer function properly.
    * Look for fluid-soaked rags. They can represent a fire hazard if they are left lying around or are not discarded in approved containers. Use UL- and FM-approved oily waste cans. Always make sure to empty the containers each night, or at the end of each shift, into a safety container located outside the building.
    * Do you have other combustible waste in open or overflowing containers? Replace these containers with UL- and FM-approved waste receptacles. This is important to your operation's fire prevention plan.
    * Drum storage usually indicates the storage of bulk flammable, combustible or hazardous liquid. For EPA compliance, make sure you pick a spill protection pallet for your needs:
          o For indoor applications, choose a polyethylene or metal spill pallet. Base your decision on chemical compatibility.
          o Do you have outdoor drum storage? A covered pallet can offer spill protection and protect your sump from overflow due to rain as required by a responsible spill prevention plan.
    * Drum storage of flammable and combustible liquids should include a safety drum vent on each drum to ensure OSHA compliance. FM-approved safety drum vents provide emergency pressure venting in the event of a fire and the vacuum relief required for dispensing operations or to prevent the drum from crushing in the event of sudden cooling. Vents are available for horizontal or vertical stored drums.
    * If your operation requires dispensing of flammable and combustible liquids from a horizontal drum through a faucet, you need an FM-approved self-closing faucet (required by OSHA).
    * FM-approved flammable safety cabinets help organize flammable and combustible liquids, increase the amount of flammable and combustible liquids stored in an area, and provide a margin of safe egress from an area by personnel in the event of a fire. Replace existing safety cabinets if the doors do not operate correctly or if they have been modified.
    * Always properly ground or bond containers when dispensing Class I flammable liquids.

By following this checklist, you can solve the most common safety violations in the handling of flammable, combustible and hazardous liquid, which will make your operation a safer one. Editor's Note: This article represents the independent views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement. Source: nsc.org

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CNN Student News Highlights iPods in Schools

This morning's episode of CNN Student News features a segment that should be shown to anyone who is opposed to the use of cell phones or iPods in classrooms. The segment highlights math teacher Robert Tang's efforts to use technology in his classroom. Watch the video below.

Note: Please try to see from 6.30 minute.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

What is Mobile Learning?

Mobile Learning, or M-Learning, has different meanings for different users. Mobile learning is a subset of e-learning, which itself is a subset of education, and has a distinct focus on learning through the use of devices that can be easily carried.

What is Mobile Learning in Real-life?

Here are a few examples:
  • Fourth grade students in Oregon use an iPod to record drafts of their papers, catching errors that “just don’t sound right” they may otherwise have missed.1
  • In 2004, Duke University began giving iPods to freshmen, which were used for everything from reviewing pre-loaded orientation information to field recordings of notes, sounds, and audio data.2
  • A few years ago, Merrill Lynch equipped its investment bankers with BlackBerry devices, and saw completion rates of required compliance training increase.3
All of these are example of mobile learning: educational experiences made possible because of a mobile device.

What Mobile Devices are Used for Mobile Learning?

While there is no strict definition, mobile devices are any device that can be easily carried by a student. This includes smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). More specifically, many popular mobile devices include:
Learning Experiences of Mobile Learning

As I commented earlier, mobile learning has a number of advantages either as a supplement to or replacement of classroom experiences. Learning experiences may take a number of forms, at a variety of levels:

Individual Mobile Learning
  • Original course work: usually in some combination of text, audio, and visual components. May include reading e-books or listening to audiobooks, listening to lectures, watching demonstrations, reviewing assignments.
  • Skill practice: writing drafts of papers, recording oral practicing of everything from vocabulary practices to speeches.
  • Research: using Internet access to find source content.
  • Content capture: taking notes, recording audio/visual content.
Peer-to-Peer or Peer-to-Instructor Mobile Learning
  • Posting questions or work products on shared websites, sending files to peers or instructors.
  • Sending emails, IMs, texts to peers or instructors to get fast answers to questions, checking on assignments, setting up meetings.
Group Sharing Mobile Learning
  • Using social networking sites/shared websites to collaborate with others anywhere in the world.
These same levels apply if you look at the learning experience from the instructor level. The individual teacher can post assignments, lecture notes, and course content so students can access them anytime, anywhere. K-12 and college-level teachers can use mobile technologies to communicate and work collaboratively with other teachers on campus, across the country, or around the world.

The technologies are especially useful to instructors working inside businesses since their “students” are, by definition, mobile, and it is often impossible to get business people together in a room for a learning experience.

Mobile Learning in the Near Future

Mobile device sales have exploded in the past few years and all estimates project continued exponential growth, which presents a tremendous opportunity for educators – especially as the price of mobile devices continues to decrease.

1Student Achievement Data 2009-2010,” iPod User Group, 2010.

2Duke University iPod First Year Experience Final Evaluation Report,” Duke University, 2005.

3Merrill Lynch: Bullish on Mobile Learning,” Kristofor Swanson, 2008.


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    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Education Investments in Wireless Continue To Grow

    Academic institutions in the United States are spending more than $5 billion annually on wireless hardware, software, and services. And, according to new research, that figure will climb to $6.8 billion by 2014.

    According to a new report from Compass Intelligence, an IT consultancy and market research firm, this year alone, education institutions--both K-12 and higher ed--will spend $5.7 billion on wireless services and equipment, growing at a compound annual rate of 5.2 percent through 2014.

    What's driving this growth?

    It's largely owing to accelerating adoption of wireless classroom technologies, including digital readers, smart phones, and other handheld electronics. According to information released by Compass Intelligence: "Technology and mobility use for classroom instruction and interactive learning is becoming an exciting new trend in both K-12 and higher education, outside of traditional administrative and general communications use. College campuses are enticing students by providing students with devices such as e-readers, smart phones, and embedded mobile broadband devices with WiFi upon entry into the universities. Compass Intelligence also expects a high growth in free and licensed mobile applications to be made available for students to download on their mobile devices for use in the classroom and for learning."

    Stephanie Atkinson, managing partner at Compass Intelligence, told us that the picture in K-12 right now is about the same as it was in higher education about five years ago, and it's picking up and spreading out, just as higher education did. "K-12 has historically been slower to upgrade and build out 802.11n networks, but the cost of the infrastructure is becoming very affordable and even a very affordable option for rural school districts," Atkinson said. "We are already starting to see adoption of wireless equipment and infrastructure pick up in K-12, and this is expected to continue very similar to what we saw in higher education five years ago. Adoption will first occur in building networks in the more common and gathering areas such as libraries, laboratories, and meeting rooms. Eventually, K-12 campuses will build out these networks across the campus. K-12 school districts are utilizing wireless networks to ramp up networks quickly, replace leased line and T-1 connections, enhance security, and retrofit older buildings and portable building where fixed line network construction is challenging."

    Atkinson also told us that traditional wireless technologies will not be the only factor driving growth. 4G and mobile broadband will also have an impact on education, although right now, of course, adoption is hindered owing to limited availability.

    "I have been talking with mostly the vendors to get their perspective and really the only activity I am seeing with 4G at this stage is with Sprint/Clearwire, primarily Sprint. Sprint is getting a great bit amount of interest in their 4G network capabilities primarily because in the cities where the network is already launched, schools are seeing 4G as a way to combine with mobile devices (handhelds, smart phones, iPods, e-readers, and other devices that have embedded wireless) with 4G to get the coverage, speed, and reliability needed to collaborate, use video, advance application use, and other applications to enhance the learning environment. They see this as a way for students to bring devices home and still have coverage, instead of just relying on the campus network."

    She said mobile broadband is likely to affect academic institutions following the traditional pattern. "As with other technologies, most of the adoption will occur in Higher Education first, and then K-12 will follow suit."

    She cited several advantages for 4G and mobile broadband over traditional wireless technologies that will fuel adoption, such as the ability to push expenses to a monthly schedule (as opposed to large, upfront expenses), improved security, wider coverage, and faster speeds in some cases. "The rollout of purpose-built devices and handheld devices along with educational applications will continue to require mobile broadband to effectively be used in a classroom or campus environment. Distance learning, interactive learning portals, district connectivity, and other applications are driving the need for wireless more than ever."

    Atkinson added, however, that schools in rural areas are unlikely to see the same benefits from 4G or mobile broadband as their metropolitan counterparts. "Most of the impact from 4G/MBB will come in the larger cities, since that is how the vendors are rolling out WiMAX and 4G from a network perspective, and that is where the better coverage areas are today with even 3G. The rural areas are still struggling to get the bandwidth and speed the larger cities have, and this will continue to be an issue unless they roll out private WiFi, WiMAX, or LTE networks...."

    As part of the research that went into the report, Compass interviewed about 50 education IT leaders and found that nearly a third of them--30.6 percent--reported increased spending on wireless data services this year compared with last year. The also reported that priorities for upcoming budgets will include data security, computer systems, and Web infrastructure.

    A complete report is available through a subscription to Compass Intelligence's Education Vertical subscription service. It's being offered at a 25 percent discount through the end of the year. Further information, along with a free, downloadable report on technology in education, can be foundhere.

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    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    iLearn Survey

    Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

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    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Who wants a portion of $10,000,000 to fund their school’s mobile technology needs?

    The FCC is piloting a new program called “E-Rate Deployed Ubiquitously.” What a tongue twister!

    This pilot program is giving ten million dollars in the 2011 fiscal year to support innovative and interactive off-premise wireless device connectivity for schools and libraries.

    Does this mean funding can be provided for mobile devices that utilize cellular networks, or is it limited to just providing the mobile hardware?

    One thing is for sure – the need for funding mobile technology is finally being addressed. Maybe with this new funding, we’ll see more of an effort from Apple, Amazon, and other mobile hardware developers to penetrate our classrooms.

    The FCC is using the pilot program to gain more information about the issues surrounding the use of mobile technology at off-site locations. This information will then help establish permanent rules, which leads me to believe that the FCC is looking to provide future financial support for mobile hardware.

    If your district ends up receiving funds from this pilot program, the FCC expects data reports back from you… I guess that’s one caveat, which isn’t really that big of one.

    The application is a two-step process – the FCC will release due dates for the first part of the application process in a Public Notice. Interested applicants will then need to submit information about the program they’d like to implement directly to the FCC. Following this, applicants must also apply for e-rate, following the regular e-rate rules and timeframes.

    It looks like they’re giving preference to those that already have mobile programs in place; however, don’t let that discourage you or your district from applying.

    I’ll post more information when I receive it. If you have any questions or any information that might help readers, please post in the comments section below.

    For more information relating directly to this new program and other new E-Rate funding guidelines, please view this slideshow provided by the Universal Service Administration Company (www.usac.org). To learn more about new E-Rate guidelines, please click here to be directed to E-Ratecentral.com.

    Source: k12mobilelearning.com