Social media access challenges parents, educators

December 21st, 2014

By Zach Tyler, The Anniston Star

With smartphones and tablet and laptop computers now as common as pencils and notebooks in many classrooms, schools and parents alike are having to figure out how to guide students’ use of technology. Access to the internet for students can mean access to a world of information, but it can just as easily get them to social media sites and apps. That can enhance their learning experience, educators say, but it does come with risks. Piedmont’s schools are in the fifth year of a program that issues laptop computers to all students in grades four through 12. Students in kindergarten to third grade also use mobile devices in the classroom.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/12/16/social-media-access-562/

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5 top tech tools of 2014

December 21st, 2014

By Laura Devaney, eSchool News

Some of the year’s top ed-tech tools include a free slideshow creator, a reading tool with embedded assessments, and an adaptive math practice game. How many of 2014’s top tools have you used? During an edWeb webinar, Ruth Okoye, a Common Sense Graphite Certified Educator, offered insight on five of the top ed-tech tools from Graphite, a free service from Common Sense Education that helps educators choose tools and resources for students. Okoye also is the Communications Chair for the ISTE Ed Tech Coaches Professional Learning Network and is a technology resource teacher for Portsmouth Public Schools in Virginia.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/12/16/tech-tools-2014-823/

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A tool in hand is worth… nothing without proper PD

December 21st, 2014

by Wendy Drexler, eSchool News

Imagine what would happen if hospital leaders announced to surgeons late on a Friday afternoon that when they came to work on Monday they would no longer be doing surgery using the tools they have always used—such as scalpels, scissors and clamps—and all procedures would be done using new high-tech laser tools, with which they may or may not have familiarity. Of course, a change of this magnitude would never be implemented in such a haphazard way in medicine–lives are at stake! I would argue that lives are also at stake in education, and the scenario described above is analogous to the transition to mobile learning in schools. Oftentimes, school leaders announce that the school community is making the switch to mobile learning, pass out devices to everyone, and expect not only that will things continue as they have been, but that the learning environment will be transformed and student achievement will soar.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/12/16/tool-hand-pd-372/

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How Big is Digital Education in the United States? An End of Year Review

December 20th, 2014

by Brookings

Buzz about the potential of digital learning abounds. Despite the excitement, relatively little is known about how many students are actually taking advantage of digital learning opportunities. This is partly due to online learning tools having numerous forms, rendering them difficult to track. In addition, policies also vary greatly across states. A new report, Keeping Pace with K-12 Digital Learning, helps to shed light on the state of online learning in the United States.

http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/techtank/posts/2014/12/15-online-learning-update

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Technology transforms educational opportunities

December 20th, 2014

by Christine Sobek, Daily Herald

In the last two decades, few things have changed our lives more than the Internet and mobile technology. Whether in classrooms, boardrooms or living rooms, the advent of our mobile and online existence has transformed how we work, how we learn and how we all interact with one another. As unimaginable as a life without telephones or televisions would have been to generations raised in the latter half of the 20th Century, so too life without constant connectivity is unfathomable to the new generation of students emerging from high schools and colleges across our country and our world.

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141215/submitted/141218987/

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Survey finds students worry more about book costs than tuition

December 20th, 2014

by Stefanie Botelho, University Business

National concern about the high cost of higher education typically focuses on higher tuition costs. However, in a recent national survey of college students, Nebraska Book Company|Neebo, found that more students (55 percent) worry about textbook costs than worry about the cost of tuition (50 percent). While almost all students surveyed (95 percent) aim to find a way to save on textbook costs this Spring, with most (74 percent) saying they will buy used books and just over half (54 percent) planning to rent their textbooks, some students will turn to less honest methods of saving, with nearly half (47 percent) intending to look for pirated book copies online and many (25 percent) simply photocopying required texts themselves.

http://www.universitybusiness.com/news/survey-finds-students-worry-more-about-book-costs-tuition

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Keys schools try to keep online threats, bullying to a minimum but there are no guarantees

December 19th, 2014

BY WILLIAM AXFORD, Florida Keynoter and Reporter

Mike Michaud, coordinator of safety and security at the Monroe County School District, said online threats and instances of bullying prompt action by administrators. “If there’s anything on social media that causes a disruption, it’s going to be handled like it took place at school,” Michaud said. “We teach kids whatever you put on social media is going to be out there whether you delete it or not. Anybody can go out there and access it, such as former colleagues and employers.” But completely stopping such things as online threats — the Coral Shores student said her message was a joke — isn’t easy.

http://www.keysnet.com/2014/12/13/500227/keys-schools-try-to-keep-online.html?sp=/99/106/

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UW Studio Physics courses lay framework for active learning

December 19th, 2014

BY TIM STEERE, Laramie Boomerang

The studio physics model is a hybridization of nearly the entire physics education process. In other words, the approach combines the traditional lecture, lab and discussion period into one comprehensive session. Most of the time, students work in small groups of three or four to solve conceptual problems or experiment with lab equipment. As a result, both Dale and Kobulnicky see improved attendance, material retention and fewer students seeking help outside class. “We’ve got some dramatic attendance numbers,” Kobulnicky said. “My attendance average is well over 90 percent and that’s remarkable for an introductory physics course at a state university. I had everybody there today. I would not want to go back to a traditional lecture where students are sitting there falling asleep. That’s no way to learn physics.”

http://www.laramieboomerang.com/articles/2014/12/14/news/doc548d204e44586192174651.txt

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Blended courses becoming norm in central WI schools

December 19th, 2014

by Melanie Lawder, Daily Tribune

High school students who like the idea of taking an online course but don’t necessarily want to forgo the interaction with their teachers have a new option. Blended courses — classes where students split their time between between online instruction and face-to-face teaching — are increasingly becoming an alternative course in curricula at high schools and junior high schools. Unlike virtual programs, in which a teenager might do all his or her coursework on a computer, students in these blended courses often are enrolled in traditional classes on campus as well.

http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/story/news/local/2014/12/13/blended-courses-becoming-norm-central-wi-schools/20319901/

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3 Tech Tools That Boost Early Literacy

December 18th, 2014

by Greg Thompson, THE Journal

It’s not written in stone, but educators agree that third grade represents a milestone in the race to establish literacy. As the saying goes, students are “learning to read” through third grade, and “reading to learn” after that. Realistically, the foundations of literacy are built well before children even enter the classroom. According to Rick Miller, superintendent of the Santa Ana Unified School District (CA), “Literacy probably starts from the womb. From the time my kids and grandkids were born, they had print awareness and heard adults reading aloud, all of which develops literacy skills and demonstrates that literacy is often connected to families.” Early-grade teachers acknowledge that it’s not easy to bridge the gap between students who have been exposed to lots of reading and those who haven’t, but the good news is that technology can help.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/11/19/3-tech-tools-that-boost-early-literacy.aspx

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Ed Tech Leaders Applaud FCC Decision to Increase Funding for Broadband by $1.5 Billion a Year

December 18th, 2014

By Christopher Piehler, THE Journal

The Federal Communications Commission voted today to increase the E-rate fund by $1.5 billion annually. According to a release from the FCC, the decision will allow the United States to expand high-speed WiFi access to 43.5 million additional students, more than 101,000 additional schools and nearly 16,000 additional libraries. To pay for the increase in funding, the FCC expects that a consumer or business will see their telephone bills increase by about 16 cents a month or $1.90 a year. Before today’s vote, E-rate funding had been capped 16 years ago at $2.25 billion a year.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/12/11/ed-tech-leaders-applaud-fcc-decision-to-increase-funding-for-broadband.aspx

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Educational Program Helps Students Thrive In A Digital World

December 18th, 2014

by Before It’s News

The program — called Project Engage — increases access to computer science classes in high school; increases college readiness of Texas high school students and tackles the hard problem of the shortage of computer science teachers. Project Engage is especially focused on reaching girls and underrepresented minority students. Project Engage offers the schools a computer science principles course called “Thriving in our Digital World,” which encourages students to actively learn by solving problems. This is in direct contrast to traditional, lecture-based classes that relegate students to the role of passive recipients of instruction. “Thriving in our Digital World” introduces students to the big ideas in computer science that exist across disciplinary boundaries.

http://beforeitsnews.com/science-and-technology/2014/12/educational-program-helps-students-thrive-in-a-digital-world-2737148.html

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Chromebooks changing learning environment in Austintown

December 17th, 2014

By Lauren Wood, channel 27 WKBN

It has been nearly a month since the Austintown, Ohio Local School District began rolling out a program that gives every student in 6th grade through 12th grade a Google Chromebook for use in the classroom and at home. Austintown Fitch senior Tara Swecker said she feels like her school’s new Chromebook program is giving her a taste of college a year early. “I think this is the atmosphere of how college is going to be. A lot of the stuff is turning into technology and this is really helping with that,” Swecker said. The Chromebook program is revolutionizing the way things are done at Fitch. Gone are the days of students sitting in rows at a computer lab because the Chromebooks are always with them. “Everything is done online. All their submissions are done online. So this is preparing them to get used to getting away from pencil and paper copies.” 12th-grade English teacher Steven Ward said. He said the new computers help hold students accountable.

http://wkbn.com/2014/12/10/chromebooks-changing-learning-environment-in-austintown/

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How digital technology is ushering in a new age of learning

December 17th, 2014

by Rebecca Merrett, CIO

Digital disruption is driving education outside the boundaries of the classroom and into a host of new online opportunities. Interacting with new technologies is also a core focus across several Australian schools. To do this, book repository libraries are being transformed by several institutions into makerspaces, allowing students to tinker and experiment with technologies and learn in a non-structured environment. One of the first schools in Australia to transform its library is St Columba Anglican School in NSW. Its director of e-learning, Matt Richards, says his year 9 IT students are developing first-person shooter games for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, while year 3 students are designing electronic controllers for games.

http://www.cio.com.au/article/562330/how-digital-technology-ushering-new-age-learning/

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IU School of Education professor earns NSF grant focused on informal science learning online

December 17th, 2014

by Indiana University

The Indiana University School of Education’s Sean Duncan is a co-principal investigator on a new grant from the National Science Foundation to examine informal online spaces where youth may learn science. The goal of the project is to better understand and utilize affinity spaces, which are online environments where youth can develop deep interest and engagement in specific topics and interact with others who share common interests. Duncan is deeply involved in researching learning games and affinity spaces in particular. He directs the Playful Culture Lab at IU, a research group within the Center for Research on Learning and Technology, focusing especially on learning through informal online settings. He’s received a previous grant for studying use of digital badges for credentialing learning through affinity spaces. Duncan also researches how online spaces shape the way teachers, parents and children discuss media.

http://news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2014/12/informal-science-learning-grant.shtml

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Small Favor Request from Ray

December 16th, 2014
If you read my postings and live in/are from South Carolina, would you ping me?
<p>
I ask this as an informal poll to help me with an application.  Thanks for following the blog, and I apologize for this tiny interruption.  Best holiday wishes!  @rayschroeder / rschr1@uis.edu  -ray
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Want more diversity in STEM?

December 16th, 2014

By Pooja Sankar, eCampus News

Last week, during Computer Science Education Week, as educators and administrators discussed ways to attract more students—women and minorities especially—to study computer science, we were reminded that it’s not enough to simply encourage under-represented groups to take their first STEM classes. Educators must recognize that they play a major role in keeping these students engaged and supported throughout their academic careers. Traditional class structures can perpetuate feelings of isolation. Attracting women and minorities to computer science is one thing; keeping them there and easing their path to graduation (and beyond) is a separate thing altogether.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/diversity-computer-science-229/

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Robot platform for STEM to inspire next generation

December 16th, 2014

by eCampus News

Educators and students interested in next-level robotics education now have the chance to not only program and design robots, but work with online printable 3D files. iRobot Corp. announced updates to the company’s STEM outreach program, including the launch of Create 2–a pre-assembled robot platform, based off the company’s Roomba® that gives educators, students and developers firsthand robotic programming experience.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/business-news/robot-platform-stem-682/

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How to turn a traditional course into a unique online course

December 16th, 2014

By David Brooks, eCampus News

Turning a college course into an online course requires more than video-recording the lecture.  Creating a college course may not be easy but at least it’s understood; people have been doing it since Socrates lectured in ancient Greece. Creating an online college course is another matter. There’s no Socratic judgement on the relative benefits of asynchronous videos, real-time discussion boards or e-books in the cloud. Those judgments are being created right now, by experience. “We’re trying not to just do old things with new technology,” said Fran Keefe, who as instructional designer for Rivier University works with professors and adjuncts to move existing “face-to-face” courses online, or create new courses entirely online. “I encourage faculty members not to lecture just because that’s what they’ve always done, then videotape it, put it online and make students watch it–but to consider new ways of presenting material.”

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/unique-online-course-191/

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10 Most Popular Teaching Tools Used This Year

December 15th, 2014

by Edudemic

Edudemic published a list of the most essential and popular educational tools used in modern classrooms across the globe. While many of 2013′s contenders retain top spots for 2014, there are a few new and noteworthy tools that made it onto this year’s list, and some of last year’s mentions have shifted in the rankings. We highly recommend taking a look at these “battle-tested” teaching tools; some of them may be a perfect fit for your modern classroom.

http://www.edudemic.com/10-popular-teaching-tools-2014/

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How to Help Students With Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

December 15th, 2014

By Leah Levy, Edudemic

The first time I encountered the term, “nonverbal learning disability,” I was in the middle of an intake call with a parent, and I had no idea what she was talking about. “Is that a kind of autism?” I asked, feeling sheepish. The answer was complex: yes, according to some academics and educators; no according to the DSMIV. That’s probably why I hadn’t heard of it, and many educators still probably haven’t either. Still, squabbles over exact definitions aside, the parent told me, this was her son’s diagnosis. It came with an array of symptoms that certainly fit, and she needed my help. I told her I’d try my best, and immediately began my research.I learned a lot over the next year, both in my preparatory work and as I worked up close with my student, even as the disability was continually redefined by the educational community. Here is what I learned.

http://www.edudemic.com/how-to-help-students-with-nonverbal-learning-disabilities/

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