Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: October 16, 2014
Prepared by June Weis


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SREB Launches Commission College Affordability in the South
Atlanta — October 6, 2014 — The Southern Regional Education Board today launched the Commission on College Affordability in the South to focus state policies on the goal of affordability for students. SREB's Commission on College Affordability in the South will focus state policies on the goal of affordability for students. Members from all 16 SREB states will consider ways to improve college affordability by better coordinating the different types of financing policies — tuition, state appropriations to institutions, and state financial aid to students. Glen D. Johnson, chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, chairs the Commission.

eRate Changes

Dennis Pierce of eSchool News has written six articles examining the new eRate rules and how they will affect schools. Links to each article are provided below.
eRate changes aim to cut costs, boost efficiency
New rules encourage greater eRate transparency, volume purchasing. (sixth and final article)
New discount method could help—or hurt—eRate applicants
School districts must use a single discount percentage for all of their schools, leading to more—or less—funding for some. (fifth article in series)
School eMail, websites hit by eRate changes
New rules would eliminate eRate discounts on eMail, voice mail, and website hosting beginning next year. (fourth article in series)
eRate changes prompt new voice options for schools
New rules would eliminate eRate discounts on voice-related services within the next five years. (third article in series)
New eRate rules invite a new approach: Managed Wi-Fi
The FCC’s extensive eRate overhaul includes a new type of eligible service, managed Wi-Fi, which could lead to more outsourced networks in K-12 schools (second article in series)
A $5 billion bounty: How to use eRate support for Wi-Fi
The eRate will provide $5 billion over the next five years to help schools and libraries install Wi-Fi and other technologies needed to deliver broadband within their buildings; here’s how. (first in article series)

Competency-Based Education

Experts offer new resources for competency-based education
Meris Stansbury, eCampus News, October 7, 2014
Competency-based education (CBE) is making the rounds in higher education as colleges and universities eager to explore alternative pathways discuss the model’s potential. However, many initiatives have already laid extensive groundwork, offering multiple resources covering everything from CBE’s basic definition to implementation best practices.
According to Michael Offerman of Offerman Consulting, during an EDUCAUSE 2014 panel, a number of national initiatives dedicated specifically to CBE have partnered together to provide as many diverse resources as possible for institutions ranging from the simply curious to those in final implementation stages.

Distance Education Policy

The must-know changes in distance education policy
Meris Stansbury, eCampus News, October 10, 2014
Did you know that when offering online courses, collaboration options for students are a requirement? Or that faculty participation in designing the implementation of an online learning program is mandatory?
These are just a glimpse of some of the most recent (within the last two years) updates to distance education policy standards set forth by regional and national accrediting organizations in the U.S.

Ed Tech Privacy

What a Pledge Says About the State of Ed Tech Privacy
Tanya Roscoria, Center for Digital Education, October 10, 2014
A student privacy pledge continues the national conversation about technology tools in schools.
Public concern has been rising over the last year as parents and privacy advocates learn more about how education technology vendors are using their students' data — and don't like what they find. Notably, Google admitted to scanning student emails for advertising purposes this year, though it later said it would no longer continue the practice.
And a Politico investigative piece in May highlighted the practices and policies of many other companies. Read more…

Teachers Learn Management Skills

As Apprentices in Classroom, Teachers Learn What Works
Motoko Rich, New York Times, October 10, 2014
The idea is that teachers, like doctors in medical residencies, need to practice repeatedly with experienced supervisors before they can be responsible for classes on their own. At Aspire, mentors believe that the most important thing that novice teachers need to master is the seemingly unexciting — but actually quite complex — task of managing a classroom full of children. Once internalized, the thinking goes, such skills make all the difference between calm and bedlam, and can free teachers to focus on student learning.
With its lengthy and intense mentorship, the Aspire model, one of a number of such programs emerging across the country, is a radical departure from traditional teacher training, which tends to favor theory over practice.
Classroom Management: Strategies and Technologies to Improve Teaching and Learning
Center for Digital Education
Technology has turned teaching on its head and transformed the learning environment. Now it’s time to hone in on how to effectively manage technology and ensure educators have the tools they need to help students achieve higher levels of learning. This Special Report covers the most important considerations and investments K-12 and higher education leaders should make to optimize classroom management and positively impact student achievement. Download the report.


Fall Apps - 2014
October 2014
Produced by Robbie Melton, Tennessee Board of Regents, for WCET
WCET has released the Fall 2014 Mobile App Series produced by our apologist, Robbie Melton, associate vice chancellor of e-Learning mobilization for the Tennessee Board of Regents.  In this installation, Robbie looks at the best-updated apps for iOS 8 – which runs the newest products, including iPhone 6s.
New smartphones, tablets, lap tops, and now emerging wearable technologies of glasses, watches, clothes, shoes and smart gadgets are transforming teaching, learning, and delivery of education.  Along with these smarter devices are new designs and interaction features of mobile apps.Here are some of the latest updates of free mobile apps that are commonly used in postsecondary for teaching, learning, and productivity. (Information cited from VERGE, Mashable, Cult of Mac, BGR, and iTunes and recommended by faculty.) Consult the Website for Free Productivity Updated Apps for iOS 8 Devices and New iPhone 6s

Mobile Computing

10 Mobile Apps Changing the World
What are the most influential applications of mobile technology? How will they impact you?  View free mobile webinar.

Apps can deliver new ways of doing business or fulfilling constituent needs. Devices can recognize geographical location and allow for new kinds of input, including audio, video, scanned codes or wireHow to create truly innovative mobile apps.
In this free webinar, you will learn:
  • How the most innovative mobile apps are disrupting the world.
  • New ways mobile apps can engage customers and employees.
  • How to create truly innovative mobile apps.

Top 10 IT Issues in Higher Ed

The Top 10 IT Issues in Higher Ed for 2015
Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education, October 2, 2014
These issues highlight three major trends: "Inflection point," "from technical to business" and "the new normal."
The "inflection point" issues have finally reached a place where universities need to move from talk to action. Issues in the "from technical to business" trend highlight the increasing importance of technology in university business operations. And "the new normal" issues reflect that day-to-day operations are strategic.
This annual list comes out of an EDUCAUSE IT panel made up of higher education leaders who identify the top strategic priorities for their institutions. Once they come up with their initial list, the community gets to vote, and then it's published in the January/February issue of the EDUCAUSE Review. Here is the sneak peek.
Top 10 IT Issues — EDUCAUSE
Which issues will have greatest impact in 2015?
The annual survey of IT leaders to select next year's top IT
As you read through the EDUCAUSE Issues, note that each Issue has one or more action-oriented counterpart(s) within SREB’s 10 Issues. A real validation of our 10 Issues Process. (Mike Abbiatti)

Online Learning

Admin give 7 scalable tips for common challenges in online learning
Meris Stansbury, eCampus News, September 22, 2014 According to recent polls and surveys among college and universities that are either in the final stages, or have fully implemented, online learning courses and platforms, there are a number of common, well-defined challenges and trends experienced by IT departments and faculty. The good news is: there are also scalable tips.
The data comes from a recent UPCEA and NASPA report  (noted below) on thoughts from higher-ed leaders on the challenges and emerging trends in online education.
Thoughts from higher education leaders: Challenges and emerging trends in online education 
UPCEA and NASPA, 2014
InsideTrack, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education began this effort by surveying 675 senior administrators at
UPCEA and NASPA member institutions to better understand trends in strategic decision-making efforts to support the success of students in online programs.
The vast majority of respondents from both associations indicated that decision-making about online learning has been elevated to at least the level of the Provost.
Online Education: More Than MOOCs
Inside Higher Ed
"Online Education: More Than MOOCs" is a collection of news articles and opinion essays -- in print-on-demand format -- about the many forms of online learning that continue to develop outside the white-hot glare of hype surrounding massive open online courses. The articles aim to put recent developments in online education into long-term context, and the essays present the timely thinking of commentators about experts about how distance education is affecting learning and colleges' business models.
The goal is to provide some of Inside Higher Ed's best recent material (both news articles and opinion essays) in one easy-to-read place. Download the booklet here.

Questions About Google

Is Google Making Students Stupid?
Nick Romeo, The Atlantic, September 30, 2014
Outsourcing menial tasks to machines can seem liberating, but it may be robbing a whole generation of certain basic mental abilities.
One of the oldest metaphors for human interaction with technology is the relationship of master and slave. Aristotle imagined that technology could replace slavery if devices like the loom became automated. In the 19th century, Oscar Wilde foresaw a future when machines performed all dull and unpleasant labor, freeing humanity to amuse itself by “making beautiful things,” or simply “contemplating the world with admiration and delight.” Marx and Engels saw things differently. “Masses of laborers are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine,” they wrote in the Communist Manifesto. Machines had not saved us from slavery; they had become a means of enslavement.

Blended Learning

The Evergreen Education Group and Christensen Institute launch project to find and publicize examples of success in blended learning
John Watson, Keeping Pace, October 6, 2014
The Evergreen Education Group and Christensen Institute are launching a project to find and publicize examples of success in blended learning. If your public school or district fits the criteria KP describes, please visit to fill out the short survey telling them about your success.

State of the Internet Report

These maps show the Internet is getting faster in (almost) every state 
Niraj Chokshi, Washington Post, September 30, 2014
Pity Nevada and Rhode Island, the only states to see Internet speeds slow down between the first and second quarters of the year, according to a new report.
The vast majority of states saw Internet speeds accelerate in the second quarter from the quarter before: seven even saw double-digit increases in average speeds between the first two quarters of the year, according to Internet infrastructure provider Akamai. Speeds in the second quarter of the year were also universally—and often significantly—higher from the year before, according to data provided in the organization’s quarterly State of the Internet Report.

Education Market Thoughts

Venture Capitalists Are Poised to ‘Disrupt’ Everything About the Education Market
Lee Fang, The Nation, September 25, 2014
Venture capitalists and for-profit firms are salivating over the exploding $788.7 billion market in K-12 education. What does this mean for public school students?
Read portion about K-12 INC: Does free market competition ensure accountability in education by turning bad operators into economic losers? That’s what privatizers claim, but the record so far suggests otherwise. (The info is very lengthy.)
What Happens When Your Teacher Is a Video Game?
Gordon Lafer, The Nation, September 24, 2014
Education reformers want to use technology in the classroom—for almost everything. According to The Nation Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, a new type of segregation is spreading across the urban landscape. The US Chamber of Commerce, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Americans for Prosperity and their legislative allies are promoting an ambitious, two-pronged agenda for poor cities: replace public schools with privately run charter schools, and replace teachers with technology.

Power of Collaboration

Unizin is an example of the power of collaboration.
The Unizin Consortium is universities coming together in a strategic way to exert greater control and influence over the digital learning landscape.  It enables each institution, its faculty, and students to draw on an evolving set of tools to support digital learning for residential, flipped classroom, online courses/degrees, badged experiences for Alumni, or even MOOCs if desired.  Unizin supports the differing missions and strategies of universities.
Consult this article by Joshua Kim for more information about Unizin, 5 Questions About Unizin for Instructure, Inside Higher Ed, October 15, 2014. And this blog by Shelton Waggener, Why Unizin?, Internet 2, June 11, 2014.


11 Simple Ways To Start Using Technology In Your Classroom
Jeff Dunn, Edudemic, September 19, 2014
What if there was some sort of timesaving handy visual that could help you dream up nearly a dozen new ways to use technology in your classroom? That’s exactly what you’ve got with this fabulous graphic below. It’s designed by the folks at Really Good Stuff to be simple to read, understand, and implement.
Being a Connected Educator: How to Start Blogging
Andrew Marcinek, October 6, 2014
Why should I blog?
The term blog is thrown around a lot in education. In the last five years, blogs have become a public voice for many educators. Blogs allow teachers to share and connect with others. Teachers can subscribe to other educators’ blogs and see how another teacher is teaching Hamlet in North Dakota. Education blogs have evolved from “here’s what I think about everything” to a place where educators can share their educational practices, make meaningful connections with other educators, and reflect on the work he or she has done over the course of year. Blogs have become an open source curriculum binder that helps all educators connect, share and grow professionally.
BTW, the author reminds us that October is Connected Educator Month. Learning how to blog fits the topic perfectly.

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