Archive for January, 2012

Why States Should Require Online Learning

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

by Tom Vander Ark, Huffington Post

Question: What do algebra and online learning have in common?

Answer: Most kids would not experience either if not required.

Graduation requirements translate society’s expectations to the young. It’s our collective best guess at the knowledge and skills they will need to participate in the society they will inherit. If we did not require algebra, not many students would take it. Low-income, minority, and struggling students would be steered away from advanced math. Setting minimum education requirements promotes equity and participation. All high school students should take at least one course online while in high school, according to Digital Learning Now!, the state policy project co-chaired by former governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise. This recommendation, and all 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning, resulted from the vigorous discourse of 100 experts.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-vander-ark/online-learning_b_1217377.html

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National Center for Women & Information Technology Awards Computing Aspirations

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

by the National Center for Women and Information Technology

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Bank of America have announced 35 female high-school students as winners of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing, a national award designed to increase the number of women pursuing careers in computing and technology. The 35 national winners were selected from among more than 1,100 applicants representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and overseas military bases. Each Award-winner will receive $500 cash, a laptop computer, an engraved award for both her and her school, and mentoring opportunities with Bank of America employees. The young women will be honored at a Bank of America Technology Stars of the Future Showcase & Awards Ceremony on March 10, 2012, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/national-center-for-women-information-technology-identifies-future-female-tech-talent-2012-01-17

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Twin Falls Schools Offering Online Classes Ahead of Mandate

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

By Julie Wootton, Times-News

Idaho public schools’ shift toward providing more online classes is a learning experience for students and school administrators alike. For the first time, each Twin Falls middle and high school is providing one required class online this year. At Vera C. O’Leary Middle School, eighth-grade students are taking one semester of science online through the Idaho Digital Learning Academy, while the other semester is taught in a traditional classroom setting.

http://magicvalley.com/news/local/twin-falls/twin-falls-schools-offering-online-classes-ahead-of-online-mandate/article_0affe7e6-d512-5fad-9c62-e199706b5479.html

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Technology a relatable tool to help kids learn

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

by Ellen Ciurczak, Hattiesburg American

Kids in grades as low as kindergarten now are using devices such iPod Touches to learn math skills and practice reading. “(Technology) is current, and it relates to the society the children live in,” said Carrie Hornsby, principal of Thames Elementary School in the Hattiesburg Public School District. A new study by the children’s research group Common Sense Media bears out what Hornsby is saying. In “Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America,” the group found a substantial proportion of the time that young children spend with screen media is spent with computers, video game players, cellphones, video iPods, and iPad-style tablet devices. In fact, the study found 52 percent of children now have access to one of the newer mobile devices at home. The group reported 41 percent of children in the study had access to a smartphone.

http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/article/20120115/OPINION/201150311

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School Notebook: Technology helps kids study novel together

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

by Star-Ledger Staff

Thanks to the technology of the computer age and a little planning by teachers, eighth-grade students at Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield studied John Steinbeck’s novel, “Of Mice and Men,” with eighth-grade students five miles away at Cedarbrook K-8 Center in Plainfield. The eighth-graders from both schools and their teachers began by meeting at Roosevelt for a pre-reading activity. The groups kept in touch via Skype, jointly answering study questions and debating points in the novel, and finished their study of the novel last Monday when the Roosevelt eighth-graders went to Cedarbrook for a final discussion on the book and to watch the film together.

http://www.nj.com/news/local/index.ssf/2012/01/school_notebook_technology_hel.html

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Curious Consumers Begin Scanning QR Codes

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

by eMarketer

Top reason to scan was to find out what would happen. Half of smartphone users have now scanned a QR code at least once, according to research from Chadwick Martin Bailey, but findings suggest marketers have still not proven their value to consumers. As QR codes pop up in more places, awareness of them is growing, and many users seem to learn what they do before learning what they are called. Chadwick Martin Bailey found that while just 21% of internet users surveyed had heard of QR codes before, more than four in five knew one when they saw one.

http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008781&ecid=a6506033675d47f881651943c21c5ed4

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Will We Need Teachers Or Algorithms?

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

by VINOD KHOSLA, Tech Crunch

There are new key trends that I see emerging in education enabled by advancing technology: namely decentralization and gamification. By understanding these trends, it is much easier to imagine why we won’t need teachers or why we can free up today’s teachers to be mentors and coaches. Software can free teachers to have more human relationships by giving them the time to be guidance counselors and friends to young kids instead of being lecturers who talk at them. This last possibility is very important—in addition to learning, schools enable critical social development for children through teacher student relationships and interacting with other children—classrooms of peers and teachers provide much more than math lessons. And by freeing up teachers’ time, technology can lead to increased social development rather than less as many assume.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/15/teachers-or-algorithms/

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Virtual College Counseling for $100 an Hour

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

By Eric Hoover, Chronicle of Higher Ed

In the Internet Age, it’s been said, high-school students can search for colleges in their pajamas. Now they can have a face-to-face talk with a college counselor while sitting in their living rooms. A company called Unigo has started an online service that allows students to participate in one-one-one video chats with counselors from public and private secondary schools. The charge: $100 for 60 minutes. Jordan Goldman, Unigo’s founder and chief executive, describes the venture as a cost-effective way of leveling the precollege playing field. “College counseling in America, despite the best efforts of many amazing counselors, is broken,” he says. “There are too many students who don’t get enough college counseling.”

http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/virtual-college-counseling-for-100-an-hour/29467

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Online learning is cheaper than people think, report suggests

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

by UK Virtual College

Online learning can save an institution or business a lot of money, according to a new report. The Cost of Online Learning from Fordham’s Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series suggested that full-time virtual classrooms cost around $6,400 (£4,167) per pupil. Blended schools – those which combine online learning with face-to-face teaching – could cost up to $8,900 per learner, while traditional brick-and-mortar schools cost on average $10,000. A team from strategic advisor Parthenon led by researcher Tammy Battaglino concluded that the benefits of e-learning are clearly seen through this cost-effectiveness when compared to traditional learning methods. The report suggested that “new technology-rich education models will need to be evaluated based on their productivity”.

http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/news/Elearning-is-cheaper-than-people-think-report-suggests-newsitems-801262963.aspx

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You Can Summarize Your Thesis in a Tweet, but Should You?

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

By Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Call it the ultimate exercise in brevity. Or the digital equivalent of an academic elevator pitch. Just don’t call it simple. Students across the world are using the Twitter hashtag #tweetyourthesis to shrink their academic thesis work down to single 140-character posts. The concept isn’t new: Boston University held a #BUthesis contest in April 2010, and #TweCon, a Twitter conference, has happened twice. But this week, the thesis-shrinking idea went viral and #tweetyourthesis sparked a debate among academics on Twitter about the social network’s potential for sharpening an idea.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/you-can-summarize-your-thesis-in-a-tweet-but-should-you/34962

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Across Idaho, schools plan for technology upgrades

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

by Jessie L. Bonner, Associated Press

Districts across the state are taking advantage of the $13 million lawmakers set aside in 2011 for technology upgrades in the classroom to purchase devices for students that include iPads, laptops, and desktop computers. Idaho will eventually phase in laptops for every high school teacher and student while making online courses a requirement to graduate, under a plan that was crafted by public schools chief Tom Luna and signed into law last year. But the $13 million included in this year’s public schools budget is not part of the statewide laptop program. The funding is being sent to schools this year to help pay for things like Internet access, technology hardware and teacher training in preparation for the changes. Many districts are, however, opting to spend the money on various types of computers for students in kindergarten through eighth grades, with hopes of better preparing them for the classrooms that await them once they enter high school.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700215733/Across-Idaho-schools-plan-for-technology-upgrades.html

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Can Technology Transform Education Before It’s Too Late?

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

by Perna Gupta, Tech Crunch

As technology continues its march toward the Singularity, transforming the way we work, socialize and play at an increasing rate, there is one very important aspect of American society that lags behind: education. Many in Silicon Valley have strong opinions on how education should be improved, perhaps most notably Peter Thiel, who believes we are in a higher education bubble and should be encouraging kids to skip college and pursue entrepreneurship instead. I agree that Americans are placing too much emphasis on higher education, but I think the debate over Thiel’s statements misses a much deeper point.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/15/can-technology-transform-education-before-its-too-late/

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iBooks 2: Apple Didn’t ‘Reinvent Textbooks,’ But It Did Start The Conversation

Friday, January 20th, 2012

by Jason Gilbert, Huffington Post

The software that Apple introduced Thursday morning at its “Reinventing Textbooks” event represents many, many great things for education in America — none of which, alas, is a reinvention of the textbook. Though Apple’s interactive digital iBooks could, in a best-case scenario, provide the heavy artillery to force a much-needed change to the way that K-12 students learn in and out of the classroom (more on that later), it does not fundamentally change anything about the learning technology currently available to students; to wit, much of what Apple showed off will be familiar to anyone who has used Inkling, an iPad app and startup founded by an ex-Apple Education Exec named Matt MacInnis. MacInnis left Apple a few years ago to — well, to reinvent the textbook. What he saw at Apple’s education event gave him a sincere sense of deja vu.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-gilbert/ibooks-2-apple-textbooks_b_1216687.html

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5 K-12 Ed Tech Trends for 2012

Friday, January 20th, 2012

By D.A. Barber, THE Journal

As the new year begins, education technology experts look at what’s ahead for learners and educators. In 2012 education technology will see an increased focus on individualization–from personalized learning environments to digital textbooks designed to connect students to the resources that work best for them. And with a growing number of students using handheld devices to access these learning tools, trend watchers can expect to see big pushes for faster innovation to tie everything together. “There are a few trends worth watching this next year,” said Karen Cator, the United States Department of Education’s (ED) director of technology. “I would say the expansion of mobile devices is one, expansion of ever improving digital content is another, and the expansion of social networking for learning is another.”

http://thejournal.com/articles/2012/01/10/5-k-12-ed-tech-for-2012.aspx

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When It Comes to Education Technology, Video Won’t Kill the Radio Star

Friday, January 20th, 2012

by K. WALSH, Emerging Ed Tech

Emerging technologies are not limiting teacher’s roles – they are expanding their tool kits, improving their availability, and empowering them in many exciting new ways. Imagine a class of 50 students preparing for a biology exam on a digital learning platform. Patterns emerge from the students’ annotations in the cloud: perhaps more students are highlighting and discussing sections in the book related to Mendel’s Model of Inheritance than any other topic. From course analytics, the instructor can see which discussions are more likely to lead to an improvement on the exam, and which ones are correlated with discussions and exam outcomes in other subject matter. The result: the instructor can tailor his or her course curricula, and student understanding of Mendelian inheritance improves.

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2012/01/when-it-comes-to-education-technology-video-won%E2%80%99t-kill-the-radio-star/

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Is there too much innovation in education?

Friday, January 20th, 2012

by Tony Bates, Online Learning and Distance Education Resources Blog

Maxim Jean-Louis in a recent comment to my post on the e-learning outlook for 2012 referred to observations by Ben Levin who in an interesting interview with Cheryl Jackson argues that what the education system needs is not more innovation, but tested and evaluated improvements. In particular in the interview he singled out technology as an area that had failed to lead to improvements in the educational system. Ben Levin is a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and formerly a top administrator (Deputy Minister) in the Ontario provincial government’s Ministry of Education. I strongly recommend you view the 12 minute video before reading this post.

http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/01/14/is-there-too-much-innovation-in-education/

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Ownership of PCs and tablets teaches students more than ICT lessons?

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

By Carrie-Ann Skinner, PC Advisor

Nearly four in five (79 percent) school ICT managers believe more IT skills are learnt through use of personal PCs and laptops than in the classroom, says Equanet. Just a day after Education Secretary Michael Gove unveiled plans to scrap the current ICT program in schools in favour of individually developed Computer Science courses, revealed 76 percent believe new technology takes more than two years to reach the classroom. Furthermore, over a third (37 percent) said tablet PCs are the most important technology currently used in the classroom with 92 percent admitting the devices are underused in the classroom. The majority (97 percent) also believe technology desperately needs more funding in education.

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/tablets/3329634/ownership-of-pcs-tablets-teaches-students-more-than-ict-lessons/

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Looking into the future for jobs

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

By Larry Rulison, Times-Union

If the Capital Region is going to become a major center for advanced manufacturing and renewable energy technologies, the workforce has to be trained even before college. That’s the approach educators at Questar III’s Columbia-Greene Educational Center here in Hudson are taking with their students. The school, part of the state’s BOCES system, provides hands-on training for some of the most sought out careers in the country even before the students graduate high school. And these aren’t run-of-the-mill vocational courses, but high-level training in solar electricity, wind power, batteries, semiconductors and high-tech manufacturing and robotics. While some students go straight into industry, others move on to schools like Hudson Valley Community College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy.

http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Looking-into-the-future-for-jobs-2474802.php

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‘Dull’ computer classes to be ditched in UK

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

by RICHARD GARNER, The Independent

The days of teachers standing in front of a class delivering lessons could be over within a decade, Education Secretary Michael Gove said yesterday. Speaking at the BETT show for educational technology in London, he also announced plans for a shake-up of the way technology is taught. Mr Gove called the current ICT (information and communication technology) curriculum “demotivating and dull”. From September it will be replaced by a flexible curriculum in computer science and programming. He said this would create young people “able to work at the forefront of technological change”. The Education Secretary warned that education had “barely changed” while technological advances had altered the world.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/dull-computer-classes-to-be-ditched-6288350.html

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Free classes to remove intimidation factor from computer programming

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

by Dick Mason, The Observer

The computer technology program in the Union School District is receiving a big boost from the Oregon University System which will benefit not only Union students but people throughout the Grande Ronde Valley. The Union School District has received a $9,600 technology education grant which will allow the school district to offer two free eight-week computer programming classes, which will be open to the public, one this year and one in 2013. Funds from the grant will also be used by the school district to purchase eight laptop computers for students.

http://www.lagrandeobserver.com/News/Local-News/Free-classes-to-remove-intimidation-factor-from-computer-programming

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U.K. Computer Teaching Gets With the Program

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

by Ben Rooney, Wall Street Journal

Every school computer suite across England should hang a picture of Eric Schmidt on the wall, and children should sing songs in his honor for saving them from the mind-crushing tedium of the government’s soon-to-be-abandoned computing curriculum. It was the executive chairman of Google who used his Edinburgh MacTaggart lecture last August to shame the U.K. government into action. “I was flabbergasted to learn that today computer science isn’t even taught as standard in U.K. schools,” he said. “That is just throwing away your great computing heritage.” The U.K. government took on board the stinging criticism of the computing curriculum and the education minister, Michael Gove, Wednesday announced that he was scrapping the current curriculum. “From this September, all schools will be free to use the amazing resources that already exist on the Web,” he told the annual education technology conference in London.

http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2012/01/12/u-k-computer-teaching-gets-with-the-program/?mod=google_news_blog

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