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Educational Technology Trends for 2014

What’s new and what’s next for educational technologies? iLibrarian Ellyssa Kroski recently compiled a list of 7 Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2014. The list includes technologies that are impacting both higher ed and K-12 classrooms. As these technologies continue to make an impact on education, librarians should also consider how the use of these technologies will impact learning styles. These new educational technology trends may also help librarians transform their own teaching styles.

The seven trends include:

  • 3D Printing
  • MOOCs
  • Big Data
  • Digital Textbooks
  • Gamification
  • The Flipped Classroom
  • Mobile Learning

Several of these trends have been discussed in previous Blogadillo posts, but the discussion provided in the blog post linked above provides more in-depth information about each of these trends.

Many of these trending topics having been gaining attention over the course of 2013 and are expected to be more widely implemented this year. Several were listed as part of the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) 2013 Horizon Report.

Are you seeing these technologies impact medical librarians and health professionals? If so how? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

Flu Season Still in Full Swing

Elbow Cough

With flu season still in swing, it’s more important than ever to get that flu shot and practice good health behavior! As of the week ending on January 4, 2014 at least 35 states are now showing widespread geographic influenza activity according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition to the activity across the country, every state in the South Central Region is showing the highest level of influenza activity. The unusually high number of those affected by the flu prompted the CDC to issue an official health advisory notice to clinicians.

The health advisory notice states:

From November through December 2013, CDC has received a number of reports of severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults, many of whom were infected with influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 (pH1N1) virus. Multiple pH1N1-associated hospitalizations, including many requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and some fatalities have been reported. The pH1N1 virus that emerged in 2009 caused more illness in children and young adults, compared to older adults, although severe illness was seen in all age groups.

One common misconception of the flu is that fatalities are more likely to occur in the very young and very old–this is not the case with the pH1N1 strain. According to the Influenza Associated Hospitalizations in the CDC FluView Weekly Index, those ages 18-64 account for 61% of hospitalizations. This means everyone is at risk for catching the flu, regardless of age and health status. Despite these numbers, those in 18-64 age range are still the least likely to get vaccinated.

To do your part in preventing the spread of flu germs, here are the CDC’s Good Health Habit tips:

1. Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
2. Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
3. Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
4. Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

 

Recording Available: Right on the Money: SCR CONNECTions Funding webinar

The recording of January 15th SCR CONNECTions webinar, Right on the Money: 2014 NN/LM SCR Funding Opportunities, is now available in the SCR CONNECTions archives.  A link to the PowerPoint is also available from the page.

Interested in learning more about NN/LM SCR Funding?  The Funding page contains a list of current and upcoming opportunities.

The Internet of Things

Internet of Things

What if all of the devices in your home or office could communicate with one another? What if they could communicate with you? While this futuristic concept sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, the idea of the Internet of Things was first identified in 2009 and today’s latest technologies are making the Internet of Things a reality.

Today many devices are connected the internet, these devices are also often tracking data. Through the integration of built in connections through WiFi, Bluetooth, and RFID (radio frequency identification) these devices can begin sharing the data they are collecting. Because a growing number of devices and machines can be connected to the internet and to one another new devices enable a network of machine to machine (M2M) communication.

In a recent blog post Jason Griffy describes the effect of the Internet of Things:

“Your alarm clock goes off, and the lights in your bedroom automatically come on, slowly brightening to full strength. The thermostat slowly brings the room to a comfortable temperature even before your alarm sounds so that you’re comfy getting out from under the blankets. Your coffee starts brewing in the other room when you get out of the shower so that it’s hot when you get to the kitchen. It’s a specific instantiation of the idea of the ‘internet of things,’ communication between previously unnetworked objects.”

A recent survey of IT decision makers estimates that by 2020 more than 24 billion devices will be connected to the internet. This makes for a large and growing network for the Internet of Things.  As these devices track data, a wealth of real-time information will be generated leading to increases in big data analytics.

One of the best ways to keep abreast of new technology trends is by watching for news from the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held annually in Las Vegas. At This Year’s CES many new advances in the Internet of Things were introduced.

Slow CookerThis year Belkin introduced a new product that allows you to add internet connectivity to any device with a DC switch with it’s WeMo Maker. WeMo already provides a variety of solutions which allow users to control devices through adapters that can be added to power outlets. Once the devices are networked using WeMo solutions a user can then control them through a smartphone app. WeMo even has partnerships with Crock-Pot®, Mr. Coffee®, and others which have already lead to a a crock-pot which can be controlled with the press of a button from a device miles away. WeMo can also provide control for light bulbs!

WeMo is just one of many options which are leading the push for the Internet of Things.Nest Thermostat

Another player in the Internet of Things, Nest, an advanced home thermostat, has also been in the news recently. Nest is described as a “sensor-driven, WiFi-enabled, self-learning, programmable thermostat” and provides users with the ability to monitor and control the temperature in their home using a mobile app. Nest makes a note of the changes you make to the temperature setting and the time of day in order to anticipate how hot or cold you would like it. After learning your daily routine, Nest goes above standard programing to help you stay comfortable while also helping you safe money by not running when you don’t need it. Nest also has a home fire and carbon monoxide sensor on the market as well. Nest was recently acquired by Google for $3.2 billion dollars. This could mean that you will soon be able to monitor home temperature, safety, and maybe even more from the comfort of your Google Account.

Look for other WiFi-enabled devices which should be hitting the market soon. The Internet of Things is quickly becoming a reality.

50th Anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

Variety of no smoking signs

January 11, 2014 marked 50 years since U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released the landmark report that concluded smoking causes cancer. Since the report was released in 1964, the United States has seen a number of tobacco control campaigns and litigation in an attempt to improve public health. Here are some of the highlights, taken from JAMA’s interactive timeline of  Tobacco-Related Events, United States, 1900-2014. 

  • In 1965 the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act is passed and US Congress requires health warnings on cigarette packages.
  • In 1966 warning labels reading “Caution—Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” begin to appear on cigarette packaging.
  • 1967 marks the first World Conference on Smoking and Health in New York.
  • 1969/1970 Congress passes the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969 which requires a stronger warning label on packaging. The act also bans cigarette advertising on television and radio.
  • January 2, 1971 sees the television and radio advertisement ban go into effect.
  • In 1975 Minnesota becomes the first state to enact the Clean Indoor Air Act, which ”requires separate smoking and nonsmoking areas in public settings”.
  • 1983 marks the beginning of workplace smoking restrictions.
  • In 1984 the Food and Drug Administration approves “nicotine gum as a pharmacologic aid for smoking cessation”.
  • In 1988 California voters approve Propsition 99, “ increasing the cigarette tax from 10 cents to 35 cents per pack. Revenues are earmarked for tobacco-related public health initiatives and research.”
  • 1990 marks the end of smoking on airplanes.
  • In 1996 the Clinical Practice Guideline on Smoking Cessation is published by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
  • After being denied in 2000, the FDA gains regulatory authority over tobacco products in 2009.
  • In 2012-2013 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launch the first fully federally funded “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign encouraging smokers to quit.

Although much progress has been made in the past 50 years, there is still much work to be done; according to the CDC an estimated total of 43.8 million people are still smokers who put themselves and others at risk every day. Cigarette smoking is also the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, something which many organizations are working to change. Examples of anti-tobacco organizations and campaigns include Smokefree Women and Tobacco Free Kids.

For more information on the Surgeon General’s Report and tobacco control, check out the following resources:

In addition to the interactive timeline, JAMA has also designated this month’s theme as “50 Years of Tobacco Control“.

To read more about the original 1964 report, visit the CDC’s page on the History of the Surgeon General’s Reports on Smoking and Health.

To read an interview with acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak on “The past, present and future of tobacco”, visit the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Public Health Newswire Voices page.

 

January 2014 Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available

NIH News in Health Jan 2014Check out the January issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this edition:

Features:

 Health Capsules:

Click here to download a PDF version for printing.

Registration Open for Online Super Searcher Class

The NN/LM SCR is happy to offer the online version of “Super Searcher: Enhancing Your Online Search Super Powers” class.

Woman wearing a cape flying holding a computerThis self-paced online class will open February 3,  2014 and remain open until March 9, 2014.

This self-paced online course offering focuses on the advanced search features of web search engines and online searching. Participants will use various search engines, compare the features of each and broaden their knowledge of search strategies and online search techniques. Participants will develop search strategies that will increase the precision and scope of their online searching ability. In the online version of the class, participants will view short video demonstrations, engage in online discussions and complete exercise sets focused on improving online search skills. The class includes: information about web search engines, strategies for searching for online media including images, videos and books. The class concludes with a discussion on real-time search, mobile search and what the future of search holds.

The class content has recently been updated to address the launch of the Google Search Algorithm Hummingbird and additional topics on the future of search engines.

Participants may work at their own pace during this class but are expected to interact with other class participants in discussion forums.

Upon successful completion of this class, each participant will receive 4 hours of continuing education credit awarded by the Medical Library Association.

Registration for this class is required.

As always, all NN/LM SCR classes are free and open to anyone.

e-Reader and e-Book Overview

Thinking of reading more e-books in 2014? Maybe you got a new e-reader or smartphone as a gift this holiday and need an app to read all your favorite books on. This post provides an overview of some of the most popular applications (apps) for accessing digital content. There are more options than you think!

Devices

Girl looking at a tabletFor e-reader fans who are looking for a stand alone device for all their reading needs the choices can be limitless. There are many devices to choose from. When trying to make a decision about which to buy it is important to keep mind the differences between e-readers and tablets. An e-reader is a device specific for reading books or periodicals. E-readers typically rely on electronic or e-ink to display text on a screen. Unlike tablet devices e-readers have screens that do not produce a glare when in direct light. In addition e-readers are designed to be light and portable as well as have extended battery life. Most e-readers can store hundreds if not thousands of titles. Popular e-readers include the Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Kobo. The 2014 Best eBook Reader Reviews and Comparisons post provides an overview of features and reviews of some of the most popular devices. Keep in mind that unlike tablets e-readers do not typically provide access to a range of games or other applications for other purposes.

Tablets are another option for individuals who are not interested or able to purchase an e-reader device for reading alone. Tablet devices perform a wide range of tasks and users can customize a tablet with apps for various activities including reading. Tablet devices tend to be heavier than e-readers and typically have backlit screens with full color displays. The backlit screen typically means shorter battery for the device. Viewing a tablet screen can be difficult in sunlight or other environments where light causes a glare on the reflective screen surface. To read on a tablet users will either need to have access to an online collection of materials or a specialized app for reading. Apps and content providers are described below.

Free Apps

There are a number of free reading apps available for tablet devices. It is import to consider that a free app does not mean that the content is free. Once a free app is downloaded users may need to purchase content to read. Another consideration for app users is the content that the app is able to access. Some apps are specific for licensed content while others allow users to read any digital format as long as it is supported. Two free apps are described below. The Very Best Book Apps: Our Top 15 Picks post from iLibrarian provides an good overview of other apps to consider.

Kindle

The Kindle app is available on Android, iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, and Blackberry. Access your book collection no matter what your device. The app is free to download and install. Books can be purchased through the app or Amazon.com. PDFs can also be read on the app. Take advantage of some of the app features such as note taking, highlighting, and quick definitions.

Scribd

Scribd is a digital library, featuring a subscription service with premier books including New York Times bestsellers and classics. The app is free to download but a $8.99 monthly subscribtion fee is necessary to access content on tablets and smartphones. The subscription fee providers users with unlimited access to more than 100,000 books from over 900 publishers, including Harper Collins, Rosetta, and Workman.

Paid Apps

Marvin

Marvin is currently $2.99 and available only for Apple iOS devices. Marvin does not sell e-books but rather provides a rich interface for interacting with them on tablet devices. Marvin can’t open EPUB books with DRM (iBooks and Kindle books), but it provides a bundle of free e-books to get you started and other DRM free book sources are available. The app features links to to public domain catalogs such as Project Gutenberg. Users can add books from Dropbox as well as other sources. The app provides a specialized layout which helps users organize, annotate, and share readings. Several built in features include a reading timer, a dictionary, customizable high-contrast themes, large text and bottom-heavy font to assist readers with dyslexia.

Content

You can visit sites such as Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble to purchase and download a variety of books and other digital content. These sites often have feature titles at a discount or for free. Watch for deals.

There are several other sites to try for free content. Many of the books in these collections are out of copyright. Internet Archive offers access to over 5 million e-books and had organized collections of materials. Project Gutenburg offers over 40,000 free e-books to choose from.

The e-Books and Digital Library Projects post provides additional information on free access to e-books from other sources.

Free Apps and Content

Woman with ereader in libraryCheck with your local library to find out if they participate in an program like Overdrive or ebrary.

OverDrive

OverDrive currently has the largest selection of digital media available for lending. OverDrive began with e-book and audio content and has recently started providing audio and movie content as well. Libraries that participate in OverDrive provide users with access to the content through a digital interface. Items can be checkout and downloaded to a device for a limited amount of time before they are automatically returned the library’s OverDrive lending collection. Users can place items on hold and receive notification when items are ready for downloading or viewing. OverDrive e-book content can be accessed on tablet devices using the OverDrive app or on e-reader devices.

ebrary

ebrary is an online digital library of over 70,000 scholarly e-books. This resource for academic e-books is most readily available through academic libraries. The library also includes sheet music and government documents.

Rollout of the ACA and Healthcare.gov in the SCR

Health Insurance Marketplace

As of January 1, 2014, many individuals have gained healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act via the Healthcare.gov website. Since October 1st there has been a constant stream of information and publicity about the continued roll out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka “Obamacare” and the Healthcare.gov website. As individuals began to sign up for coverage last fall, many libraries throughout the country provided assistance to their patrons for the process through a variety of services in their libraries. Before the beginning of open enrollment on October 1, NN/LM SCR staff provided several webinars created to support libraries, and, in particular public libraries, in their efforts with the ACA which reached more than 800 attendees. The NN/LM SCR is now listed as a Champion for Coverage.

Many of the SCR Resource Libraries and their outreach contacts have been on the front lines of providing information to their patrons about these initiatives. Below are some of the ways the NN/LM SCR Resource libraries have provided information regarding the ACA. Advance apologies for any omissions; this information was current based on available information at this time.

 LSU Health Sciences Center Medical Library, Shreveport, LA (via Donna Timm): added information to their Healthelinks home page.

The TMC Library, Houston, TX (via Adela Justice): created a LibGuide on the library website. The metro Houston area has two large public library systems – Houston Public Library and the Harris County Public Library (HCPL). HCPL has this link on their website: http://www.houstonlibrary.org/affordable-healthcare-act

University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library and Information Center, Albuquerque, NM: created a LibGuide on the library website, “Affordable Care Act.”

University of Texas Health Sciences Center Libraries, San Antonio, TX (via Peg Seger): engaged in a large initiative supporting an on-campus Champions for Coverage student effort. The library discussed the ACA at their Community Advisors meeting in November. Several documents were created for use in promotion of the libraries as resources for ACA-related questions. The San Antonio Public Library has provided several locations with onsite navigators for enrollment assistance and has a page on their website devoted to ACA materials.

UT Southwestern Library, Dallas, TX: John Fullinwider (former outreach contact) provided a series of programs on the ACA to small town and rural public libraries in their service area, and also provided a Roundtable discussion at the SCC/MLA annual meeting in October on these efforts.

UTMB Health Moody Medical Library,  Galveston, TX: created a LibGuide on the library website, “Affordable Care Act & Health Care Reform.”

For a recent summary of the status of the ACA roll out and what the new year will bring, see the article from the January edition of The Nation’s Health: “Affordable Care Act brings new benefits as marketplace enrollment progresses: Reform advancing.”

For more information on resources related to the ACA, visit the NN/LM SCR webpage.

Winter Weather Preparedness

Car on snow covered road

Winter weather preparedness is just as important as surviving the heat of the summer!

Did you know that you can use the same emergency preparedness kit you made for summer storms with only a few adjustments? In addition to including standard kit items (such as food, water, batteries, hand-crank radio, first aid supplies, medication, etc.), cold weather items should be added.

The American Red Cross suggests including the following:

  • Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery
  • Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members
  • Ample alternate heating methods such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website also has some great resources for frequently asked questions about winter weather, such as recognizing signs and symptoms of hypothermia and knowing what to do if stranded in cold weather.

Ready.gov is another great place to look for winter weather preparedness resources. This website takes you through every step of preparing for winter weather, from beginning (like winterizing your vehicle and home), to during (like dressing for winter and driving in icy conditions), to after the weather has passed. Also included are related websites with additional information.

Stay safe this winter!