Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: December 2, 2013

Prepared by June Weis
Find archives of Worthy of Note here. Sign up for our e-mailing lists there, too.


2014 National Technology Centers That Work Leaders’ Forum: Technology Centers of the Future
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 1:00 PM - Thursday, January 30, 2014 12:00 PM (Central Time)
Location: Sheraton Oklahoma City, 1 North Broadway Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102

The purpose of the Leaders’ Forum is to provide an opportunity for administrators and other instructional leaders to focus exclusively on shared-time centers — whether they are career centers, career-technical (CT) centers, technology centers or academies. Participants will have opportunities to gain information from others at all levels regarding quality school leadership strategies that improve the culture of shared-time centers. Participants may choose  from the following strands:
Strand 1: Addressing the Nation’s Workforce Needs
Strand 2: Graduating Students Who Are College and Career Ready
Strand 3: Developing Rigorous CT Programs That Address Industry Sector Needs
Strand 4: Strengthening the Use of Technology to Improve Student Learning
Get it in Writing; Making Adolescent Writing an Immediate Priority in Texas
SREB, 2013
This report is a call to action for Texas middle grades and high schools to make writing instruction a priority. Writing is not only a critical skill for employees and citizens; it is also an essential tool for learning academic content in any discipline. Get It in Writing summarizes the status of writing instruction and learning, outlines challenges to progress and lists valuable resources to help with the task ¾ including “Eleven Elements of Effective Adolescent Writing Instruction.
Commission Focuses on Critical Role of Community Colleges
SREB, October 18, 2013
SREB's Community College Commission is charged with recommending ways to strengthen the role of community and technical colleges in raising educational attainment in Southern states. The Commission will focus on policies and strategies with significant potential to increase college access and success — and help more students graduate from college and enter careers in demand in their communities.


Keeping Pace

Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice (2013)
Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice (2013) is the 10th in a series of annual reports that began in 2004 that examine the status of K-12 online education across the country. The report provides an overview of the latest policies, practices, and trends affecting online learning programs across all 50 states.
Keeping Pace in Review: Single-District Programs
KP Staff, November 14, 2013
District online and blended programs — those that are created by a school district, entirely or primarily for that district’s students — are the largest and fastest-growing segment of online and blended learning, as they have been for several years. The numbers of programs and students, however, are not well known. In other categories of programs, data are generally more available because either 1) the schools are public schools that report data to the state and are identified as online (e.g., fully online charter schools); or 2) the number of programs is limited so we are able to track many of them down and contact them directly (e.g., state virtual schools and large consortium or district programs). Neither of these is true of district programs. Most states do not require single-district programs to report online or blended learning enrollments any differently than they would report traditional classroom enrollments.

New Technology

F.C.C. Chairman Calls for Transforming the Technology Used by Phone Systems
Edward Wyatt, New York Times, November 19, 2013
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said on Tuesday that the agency would begin “a diverse set of experiments” next year that would begin to move the nation’s telephone system from its century-old network of circuits, switches and copper wires to one that transmits phone calls in a manner similar to that used for Internet data.
New technology makes Wi-Fi faster, more reliable
Staff, eSchool News, November 20, 2013
Providers of wireless access points and other equipment have started to release products that conform with a next-generation standard, called “gigabit Wi-Fi,” that has the potential to be up to four times as fast as the current 802.11n technology.

Career Tech

Should Career-and-Tech Dollars Be Competitive? No Way, Says Congress
Alyson Klein, Education Week, Politics K-12, November 19, 2013
Democrats and Republicans on the House education committee came to two bipartisan conclusions at a hearing on the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act today. The first? Making the $1.1 billion vocational education program — the biggest federal funding stream aimed at high schools — competitive within states is a bad, bad idea. And the second? The administration should have given lawmakers a heads-up on its plan to take $100 million in U.S. Department of Labor discretionary funds to finance a competitive grant program for high school redesign. The administration had already put a similar proposal forward in its fiscal year 2014 budget request, but had been rebuffed by Congress: Senate Democrats didn't find money to create the plan in its spending bill. The administration's new plan will not require congressional approval.
Obama Puts $100-Million Into Tech Training
Katherine Mangan, The Chronicle, November 20, 2013
The grants encourage letting students earn college and industry credentials while in high school.

Students and Online Privacy

Federal Lawmakers Propose Expansion of Children's Online Privacy Protections
Sean Cavanagh, Education Week, Digital Directions, (blog) November 15, 2013
A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers has introduced legislation designed to ramp up protection on students' online privacy—an area of concern among parents and advocates in a growing number of states and school districts. The measure, dubbed the "Do Not Track Kids Act," would expand the provisions of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which became law in 1998.
See this article under Data below:
Opening School Data Carries Economic Value, Report Contends
Sean Cavanagh and Michele Molnar, Education Week, November 20, 2013


Opening School Data Carries Economic Value, Report Contends
Sean Cavanagh and Michele Molnar, Education Week, November 20, 2013
(For subscribers only, but the referenced report can be accessed below.)
The increasingly ubiquitous flow of data across education has caused anxiety among parents and privacy advocates, who fear that information about students will be released or shared with outside entities without permission. Yet a new report, Open data: Unlocking Innovation and Performance with Liquid Information, while acknowledging those concerns, focuses on a potential payoff in expanding the openness of data across K-12: robust economic growth.
That analysis, released by the global consulting business McKinsey & Co., concludes that creating more open and transparent data in education from both public and private sources could "unlock" between $900 billion and $1.2 trillion in annual economic value worldwide, about a third of it in the United States.
Universities diving into Big Data
eCampus News, November 22, 2013
Educational institutions are increasingly on the case of making sense of growing piles of big data, and the latest data science effort involves UC Berkeley, the University of Washington and New York University joining forces under a program funded via $37.8 million in grants, NetworkWorld reports.
The effort, funded through the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Sloan Foundation, was announced last week in Washington, D.C., at an event hosted by John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Obama administration last year announced plans for a $200 million Big Data Initiative under which programs like this fall.

Technology in the Classroom

From the Classroom: Best Tech Practice Video of the Week
Tech & Learning, TL Advisor Blog, November 20, 2013
Michigan Online Teacher of the Year Andrew Vanden Heuvel uses Google Glass to record his exploration of diffraction — the rainbow-like phenomenon caused by light waves moving through small openings — in common household items, from a CD to a light bulb.
Do Your Students Know How To Search? (Do you?)
Holly Clark, Edudemic, October 16, 2013
There is a new digital divide on the horizon. It is not based around who has devices and who does not, but instead the new digital divide will be based around students who know how to effectively find and curate information and those who do not. Helene Blowers has come up with seven ideas about the new digital divide – four of them, the ones I felt related to searching, are listed below.
20 Education Technology Tools Everybody Should Know About
Sandra Miller, Edudemic, November 17, 2013
Although educators tend to feel like they are left all on their own to deal with students that are getting crazier by the day, there are plenty of technology resources that can make their teaching job more effective. Educators should definitely start using some of the online solutions that are meant to promote modern education and take the classroom organization to the next level. In this article, we will cover 20 education technology tools that educators should start using as soon as possible.
Getting schools up to 21st-century speed
Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post, November 13, 2013
When a student at Elliston Elementary in rural Montana logs onto her laptop for a remote lesson over the Internet, Tressa Graveley must ration the Web for the rest of her tiny school. The teacher tells other students to shut down their browsers and stop streaming video or there won’t be enough bandwidth for the eighth-grader’s lesson.
Wikispaces Classroom
Wikispaces Classroom is a social writing platform for education. We make it incredibly easy to create a classroom workspace where you and your students can communicate and work on writing projects alone or in teams. Rich assessment tools give you the power to measure student contribution and engagement in real-time. Wikispaces Classroom works great on modern browsers, tablets, and phones. Wikispaces Classroom is free for teachers and students.
Digital Curriculum
Many images and links to digital curriculum.
How school leaders can empower the digital transition
Laura Devaney, eSchool News, November 20, 2013
In moving to a digital curriculum, it’s important that administrators make sure teacher still adhere to that curriculum as they’re finding digital resources to use in the classroom. Important questions to ask in a digital transition, Moran said, include: “How do we find resources to support teachers in great face-to-face instruction, as well as giving kids great virtual resources? What makes a great curriculum come alive for teachers, so that kids are getting real authentic experiences?”
Meet Pencil: The Best iPad Stylus Yet, From the Makers of ‘Paper’
Kyle VanHemert, Wired, November 19, 2013
Steve Jobs thought the best stylus was the one between your thumb and your middle finger. The iPad and iPhone were built around that simple idea — that fingers were the ideal tools for interacting with touchscreens — and as a consequence, iPad styluses haven’t been able to do much that our fingertips can’t. Pencil is different. Built by FiftyThree, makers of the beloved iPad sketching app Paper, it proves that a stylus can be far more than a replacement digit. (Original article for subscribers only)
Using QR Codes in the Classroom
Denise Webster, Richland School District 2, Columbia, SC
This slide program provides easy instructions on what QR codes are and how they can be used in instruction. Additional resources can be found here: 50 QR code resources for the classroom and here: Watch this: Google Docs can automatically generate QR Codes

Online Learning

Benchmark Report for Online Learning
Market Data Retrieval (MDR) and K¹²
Market Data Retrieval (MDR) and K¹² recently conducted a survey of more than 220 educators at all levels to understand the most critical success factors for implementing credit recovery, online courses, and full-time programs. This report reveals:
  • The four highest rated factors that are critical to a successful implementation of credit recovery, online courses, and full time online schooling
  • The different implementation best practices unique to each of these program types
  • How many of your peers are creating online learning curricula in-house vs. working with partners
  • Districts' view of the cost of online learning vs. traditional learning

Common Core

Advertisements for the Common Core
Editorial Board, New York Times, November 19, 2013
The country is engaged in a fierce debate about two educational reforms that bear directly on the future of its schoolchildren: first, teacher evaluation systems that are taking hold just about everywhere, (Principal and Teacher, a Complex Duet, Brent Staples, New York Times, September 28, 2013) and (Teacher Evaluation in Practice: Implementing Chicago's REACH Students), second, the Common Core learning standards that have been adopted by all but a few states and are supposed to move the schools toward a more challenging, writing-intensive curriculum. Read about Tennessee and the District of Columbia — this shows that improvement is possible if the states strengthen their resolve and apply solutions that have been shown to work.

Facebook vs. Messenger Apps

Teenagers say goodbye to Facebook and hello to messenger apps
Parmy Olson, The Guardian, November 9, 2013
Facebook made a startling admission in its earnings announcement this month: it was seeing a "decrease in daily users, specifically among teens". In other words, teenagers are still on Facebook; they're just not using it as much as they did. It was a landmark statement, since teens are the demographic that often point the rest of us towards the next big thing. Their gradual exodus to messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat and KakaoTalk boils down to Facebook becoming a victim of its own success.
Check this article from Forbes: These Numbers Show Facebook Is Trailing Social Messaging Apps Globally (November 26, 2013). There are other options other than the ones noted in the article above.

Speak Up Continued

2013 Speak Up Survey
Speak Up, a national online research project facilitated by Project Tomorrow®, gives individuals the opportunity to share their viewpoints about key educational issues, particularly concerning 21st century education and technology. Each year, findings are summarized and shared with national and state policy makers. Participating schools and districts can access their data online, free-of-charge on February 2014.

Online Assessment

Desktop Virtualization for K-12
Center for Digital Education
As the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) deadline for online testing approaches, students aren’t the only ones staying up all night preparing for tests. Many district and school administrators — not to mention CIOs and IT staff — are under mounting pressure to deliver highly scalable, secure, concurrent online testing despite limited time and resources. This white paper discusses these online assessment challenges, and examines desktop virtualization as a path for addressing these challenges and moving quickly, securely and cost-effectively toward complying with the 2014-2015 deadline for CCSS online testing. It also explores funding and suggests best practices for successfully executing the transition to online testing.

Personalized Learning +

Hybrid learning’s promise for personalized education
Laura Devaney, eSchool News, November 15, 2013
Hybrid learning offers a much-needed solution to student populations, experts say. Some technology trends are just that: trends and fads. Others – like hybrid learning – have sticking power, because they enable students and teachers to personalize teaching and learning.
The Future of Learning: Personalized, Adaptive and Competency-Based
Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart, DreamBox Learning, 2013 (White paper)
We are in the midst of a revolution in K-12 education, represented by the shift to digital, highly personalized learning. Students, educators, parents, and policymakers are finding compelling ways to use multiple modalities and technologies to enrich learning and personalize instruction. The use of technology-powered blended learning holds great promise as a cost-effective and egalitarian means to help greater numbers of young people accelerate their learning, graduate, and meet challenges in a competitive world. The key to making personalized learning work for the greatest number of students is adaptive digital environments and experiences, particularly Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ with its ability to precisely adjust to the individual learner.


Will MOOCs Change the Way Professors Handle the Classroom?
The Chronicle, November 7, 2013 (Based on a book cited below)
Massive open online courses: Either the answer to the biggest problems in higher education, or a sign of the commodification of college. What’s all the fuss about MOOCs? The article on this page is an excerpt from a new e-book, Beyond the MOOC Hype, which provides a helpful and compelling guide. The e-book’s author, Jeffrey R. Young, technology editor at The Chronicle, says that while MOOCs are not the typical tech fad, they may not be the savior their proponents promise. Succeed or fail, they have touched off a battle over the future of higher education.
MOOCs Are Largely Reaching Privileged Learners, Survey Finds
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle, Wired Campus, November 20, 2013
Most people who take massive open online courses already hold a degree from a traditional institution, according to a new paper from the University of Pennsylvania. The paper is based on a survey of 34,779 students worldwide who took 24 courses offered by Penn professors on the Coursera platform. The findings — among the first from outside researchers, rather than MOOC providers — reinforce the truism that most people who take MOOCs are already well educated. Additional comments in the New York Times: Online Courses Attract Degree Holders, Survey Finds (Tamar Lewis, New York Times, November 20, 2013).
MOOCs: Top 10 Sites for Free Education With Elite Universities
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. Although there has been access to free online courses on the Internet for years, the quality and quantity of courses has changed. Access to free courses has allowed students to obtain a level of education that many only author Tamar Lewin stated, “in the past few months hundreds of thousands of motivated students around the world who lack access to elite universities have been embracing them as a path toward sophisticated skills and high-paying jobs, without paying tuition or collecting a college degree.” This has changed the face of education. The New York Times article Instruction for Masses Knocked Down Campus Walls welcomes you to the brave new world of Massive Open Online Courses — known as MOOCs — a tool for democratizing higher education.

College Degree via Mobile Device?

College Degree via Mobile Device?
Denny Carter, eCampus News, November 22, 2013
The definition of class participation has changed for college students at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering. The USC engineering program’s Distance Education Network, a model for distance learning in higher education, has enabled students to stream live lectures on their smart phones and tablets, and participate in lecture hall discussions through their various mobile devices. It’s an entirely new level of anywhere, anytime education, as students can join live class discussions via chat, phone, or voice over IP.

Google Glass

Libraries and GLASS: 7 things to think about as wearable computing emerges
Brian Mathews, The Chronicle, October 10, 2013
I joined the Google Glass community last week. A Glass Explorer at Virginia Tech invited me in and it has been an interesting experience so far. We are forming a cohort of Glass Explorers on our campus. This is an effort to apply the technology to both teaching and research situations. Together the four of us will be exploring new practices and we also want to develop applications that could benefit higher ed. I’m glad that the library was invited in the mix; it’s interesting to observe the way faculty think and to contribute to the venture.
Google Glass developers: We're still flying half-blind
Seth Rosenblatt, CNET, November 24, 2013
If the product is ever to appeal to mainstream users, software developers say, it's up to Google to offer more leadership -- or more access.

From the Classroom: Best Tech Practice Video of the Week
Tech & Learning, TL Advisor Blog, November 20, 2013
Michigan Online Teacher of the Year Andrew Vanden Heuvel uses Google Glass to record his exploration of diffraction — the rainbow-like phenomenon caused by light waves moving through small openings — in common household items, from a CD to a light bulb

State Authorization

Federal State Authorization Regulation: It’s Baaaack!! (Almost)
WCET, November 20, 2013
The Department of Education took the next steps in reinstating the federal regulation requiring institutions to demonstrate that they have the proper authorization to serve distance students in other states. Earlier this week the Department announced in the Federal Register its intent to seat a Negotiated Rulemaking Committee that (among other items) will consider regulations for “state authorization for programs offered through distance education or correspondence education.”
There are also other regulations that will be considered that are of great interest to the distance education community. WCET testified at a hearing in June 2013 regarding the issues that are under consideration.

Higher Education Evolution

Higher Education Evolution Part 3: Administrators’ Challenge in 2023
Jake New, eCampus News, November 21, 2013
For university administrators, whether they’ll still have a campus to govern come 2023 will depend on how quickly they can embrace changes in fundraising, faculty demands, and student demographics. (This is the third story in an eCampus News series examining the technological changes in higher education over the next 10 years. Read parts one and two.)


197 Educational YouTube Channels You Should Know About
informED, Saga Bridges, November 11, 2013
Nearly every major educational institution in the world now hosts its own collection of videos featuring news, lectures, tutorials, and open courseware. Just as many individuals have their own channel, curating their expertise in a series of broadcasted lessons. These channels allow instructors to share information and blend media in unprecedented and exciting new ways. From teaching Mandarin Chinese to busting myths about Astronomy, the educational possibilities are virtually endless pun intended!
School News Today
eSchool News, November 14, 2013
There are links to lots of interesting and important articles from eSchool News. They are worth a look.

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