Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: May 27, 2014

Prepared by June Weis
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SREB and State Authorization

SREB and the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)
SREB’s Electronic Campus, a regional system for sharing online college courses, has helped lay the groundwork for a national agreement to address new regulatory requirements. Consult this site for background and details on SARA.
State Authorization: SREB’s Electronic Campus Regional Reciprocity Agreement (SECRRA) and National State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)
This site provides a host of information about SARA that is hosted by SREB.
nc-sara National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements
Among other important items, SARA establishes standards for interstate offering of distance education courses and programs. Check out the various offerings here, and find out how to join and have your state participate.

IT Trends

2014 IT Spending Forecast: Slightly Slower Growth Than Expected
David Nagel, THE Journal, May 19, 2014
One industry forecast of worldwide spending is being revised slightly downward, despite market improvements in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. The main culprits behind the slowdown seem to be mobile devices and "macroeconomic wildcards."
In 2013, according to IDC, worldwide IT spending surpassed $2 trillion for the first time ever, with hardware topping $1 trillion for the first time. The forecast for 2014 had been 5 percent growth on top of that, but that figure was quickly revised to 4.6 percent. Now it's being revised again, this time to 4.1 percent. Read more…..
The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014 
David W. Cearley, Gartner, February 19, 2014
Gartner has compiled its annual list of the top 10 strategic technology trends that have the potential to disrupt individuals, businesses and IT organizations. This year's list highlights the disruptive impact of the Nexus of Forces: mobile, social, cloud and information.
30 Trends In Education Technology For 2015 
teach@thought, May 19, 2014
See trends on the up, those that lie in the middle and those that are trending downward: 30 Trends In Education Technology For The 2015 School Year
11 ed-tech tools emerge as SIIA Innovation Incubators
Dennis Pierce, eSchool News, May 22, 2014
These emerging ed-tech services were recognized for their impact and potential in spring 2014.
5 technology trends poised to rock higher education
Peter Sclafani and Mike Siegel, eCampus News, April 9, 2014
Read digitally here: eCampus News, May 2014
From the hottest tech degree to a tool for everyone, these trends are changing higher-ed in 2014-15. Trends like “devices,” “MOOCs,” and “Twitter,” are making the rounds in higher education, but what do these trends means for admin and students, and how are they affecting classroom practice and IT capabilities?
In this 2014 higher education trends report, we’ve talked with some of the country’s most tech-savvy professors to discuss the finer points of these broad issues.
Digital Learning Readiness
Read it digitally: Digital Learning Readiness
CDW-G Reference Guide, March 2014
The ABCs of Common Core and other online testing standards, mobile devices in the classroom and other trends shaping K-12 education.

MOOCs’ disruption is only beginning
Clayton M. Christensen and Michelle R. Weise, Boston Globe, May 09, 2014
How important is disruption in higher education? Tuition costs have been ballooning faster than general inflation and even faster than health care. And what do we get in return? Nearly half of all bachelor’s-degree holders do not find employment or are underemployed upon graduation. At the same time, employers have not been satisfied with degree candidates. Two recent Gallup polls showed that although 96 percent of chief academic officers believe they’re doing a good job of preparing students for employment, only 11 percent of business leaders agree that graduates have the requisite skills for success in the workforce. And this is all occurring while higher education leaders were convinced that they were innovating all along.
It was just the wrong kind of innovation.
Conventional Online Higher Education Will Absorb MOOCs, 2 Reports Say
Steve Kolowich, Chronicle, May 15, 2014
Massive open online courses will not fundamentally reshape higher education, nor will they disappear altogether. Those are the conclusions of separate reports released this week by Teachers College at Columbia University and Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit advisory group.


Modernizing E-Rate: A Must Have in Education 
Dan Domenech, aasaconnect, May 9, 2014
The long-term success of E-Rate relies on its ability to be updated to reflect the ever-changing world of connectivity and educational technology while remaining committed to its focus on equity and program sustainability. Though most schools and libraries are now connected to the Internet, the quality and speed of that connection does not always meet the demand. We still have school districts that do not have the technological capacity to keep up with the mandated online formative assessments and the tracking of massive amounts of data through the state longitudinal data systems.
From an AASA point of view, we strongly support a two-pronged approach to modernizing the E-Rate program.
Connecting America’s Students: Opportunities for Action
An Analysis of E-rate Spending Offers Key Insights for Expanding Educational Opportunity
Education SuperHighway, 2014
According to the 2013 results of EducationSuperHighway’s National SchoolSpeedTest, an online tool used to measure available bandwidth at school sites, the median bandwidth per school in the U.S. is 33 Mbps.
This leaves the median school in the U.S. almost 25% behind the Current Goals and over 90% below the Five Year Goals. Moreover, many schools in areas that are hard-to-reach or where broadband is too expensive are significantly further behind. In fact, 50% of students in America would have only the equivalent of dial-up speeds (up to 56 kbps per student) if their classrooms were to transition to a 1:1 digital learning environment. Data from the SchoolSpeedTest indicates that 63% of U.S. schools do not meet the Current Goals for high-speed connectivity. Because schools with large student populations are more likely to have inadequate bandwidth, this connectivity gap impacts an estimated 75% of K-12 students, leaving nearly 40 million children without enough bandwidth for digital learning. Looking ahead to projected bandwidth needs in five years, 99% of schools will be behind the standard, impacting approximately 50 million.

Net Neutrality

FCC passes proposal to create rules on net neutrality, further threatening an open Internet
Sarah Gray, Salon, May 15, 2014
Today (May 15) the Federal Communications Commission, in a 3-2 vote, advanced proposals that threaten an open Internet.
The Net neutrality debate Part I: How we got here
Marguerite Reardon, CNET, May 25, 2014
The Net neutrality debate Part II: What it means to the average Joe
Marguerite Reardon, CNET, May 26, 2014
These two articles give a very good overview of what net neutrality is all about. For more than a decade Net neutrality was an esoteric subject discussed only among telecommunications policy wonks; Washington, DC, lawyers; and the supernerdy. Today the topic is front page news. And if you believe the headlines, the Internet as we know it will soon be dead. But is that really true?
Still Time to Speak Your Mind on Net Neutrality
Michael Winship, Common Dreams, May 14, 2014
“Occupy Maine Avenue” may not have quite the same zing as “Occupy Wall Street,” but protesters camped outside the Federal Communications Commission’s headquarters on Maine Avenue in southwest Washington, DC, are just as determined to be seen and heard as those who set up camp in Manhattan’s Financial District in 2011.
How the FCC Created Its Own Net Neutrality Mess
Robert McMillan, Wired, May 09, 2014
The FCC hasn’t officially discussed its proposed rules — it’s set to do that next week; the FCC will vote on them by year’s end — but nevertheless, the agency is already dealing with a political firestorm. Two commissioners are now calling for the FCC to push back its vote on the proposal. The commission has received tens of thousands of emails on the subject. And lobbyists worried this could mark the end of net neutrality — the principal that all internet traffic should be treated equally, are hitting it hard.
Schools Could Face Slower Internet Under Proposed 'Net Neutrality' Rules
Michele Molner, Education Week, (blog) Marketplace K12, May 15, 2014
(Only available to subscribers)
Consult an earlier article: Schools Could Be on Internet 'Slow Track' Under Proposed FCC Rules, Michele Molnar, Education Week, Marketplace K-12, April 24, 2014.
Creating a "fast lane" online is seen as a plus for large companies like Apple, Netflix, Google, and YouTube, which could enter into agreements to get speedier service for the content they deliver. The FCC would rule on whether each of these arrangements between an Internet service provider and a content company is "commercially reasonable," using a series of questions to test whether such an agreement meets their standards.
For schools, the issue is more problematic. Unless educational services are offered preferential treatment by providers, "schools could find themselves even further challenged to make use of digital learning tools and services," Douglas Levin, executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association, (SETDA) wrote in an email.

The Cloud

Hazards of the Cloud: Data-Storage Service’s Crash Sets Back Researchers
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle, Mary 12, 2014
Dedoose, a cloud-based application for managing research data, suffered a “devastating” technical failure last week that caused academics across the country to lose large amounts of research work, some of which may be gone for good.
SocioCultural Research Consultants, the company that sells Dedoose, is still scrambling to recover as much of its customers’ work as possible, and has said in a blog post that “the vast majority” of research data on its platform were not affected. The crash nonetheless has dealt frustrating setbacks to a number of researchers, highlighting the risks of entrusting data to third-party stewards. Read more….


SETDA Debuts Free Resource for Online Testing Requirements
Joshua Bolkan, SEDTA, May 12, 2014
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has launched a new Web site, The Guide to Technology Requirements, designed to help K-12 leaders understand requirements for online assessments.

Digital Skills

Educators Face ‘Silent Dilemma’ in Digital Skills Divide
D. Frank Smith, EdTech, May 8, 2014
Nearly a third of Americans have trouble navigating the Internet, says one researcher.
Digital Learning Readiness
Read it digitally: Digital Learning Readiness
CDW-G Reference Guide, March 2014
The ABCs of Common Core and other online testing standards, mobile devices in the classroom and other trends shaping K-12 education.

Data Analytics

Analytics in Online Higher Education: Three Categories
Acrobatiq, (blog) April 25, 2014
Data needed for institutional analytics is often readily available in colleges and universities within the institution’s registration system. The task, then, is to organize the data and identify the metrics that are most important to the institution. The value of the information can be multiplied by linking this data to other systems, such as enrollment and learning management systems, student support applications, and customer relationship management software. Analytics of this type is commonly the purview of the institution’s internal research and business analysts.
Much of the data required can be found within the institutions’ registration system, but the value of the information can be multiplied by linking this data to other systems, such as enrollment and learning management systems, student support applications and customer relationship management software. Analytics of this type is commonly the purview of the institution’s internal research and business analysts.
We propose three categories of analytics in online higher education, each concerned with student performance:
  • Institutional Analytics
  • Engagement Analytics
  • Learning Analytics
White House Report Places Priority on Student Big Data
Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education, May 1, 2014
A big data report commissioned by U.S. President Barack Obama includes student data use as one of its six recommendations in this field.
In the report released on Thursday, May 1, they recommended that the federal government should make sure that data collection in schools is used for educational purposes and supports innovation to help students learn. The government should also consider revamping existing privacy regulations including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act because they were enacted before current technology came into play.

Collaborative Learning

How ‘collaborative learning’ is transforming higher education
Jennifer Nastu, eCampus News, May 12, 2014
At Duke University, business school students use a state-of-the-art “virtual lecture hall” to have conversations with CEOs and fellow students from around the world....

Active Learning

Empirical Zeal
Active Learning Leads to Higher Grades and Fewer Failing Students in Science, Math, and Engineering.
Aatish Bhatia, Wired, May 12, 2014
What if classroom learning was a little more active? Would university instruction be more effective if students spent some of their class time on active forms of learning like activities, discussions, or group work, instead of spending all of their class time listening?
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences addressed this question by conducting the largest and most comprehensive review of the effect of active learning on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. Their answer is a resounding yes. According to Scott Freeman, one of the authors of the new study, “The impact of these data should be like the Surgeon General’s report on “Smoking and Health” in 1964–they should put to rest any debate about whether active learning is more effective than lecturing.”

Reading is Still Important

Read, Kids, Read
Frank Bruni, New York Times, May 12, 2014
Frank Bruni promotes kids reading in this opinion column in The New York Times.

Google LMS

Google Unveils 'Classroom' Learning Management System
Michele Molnar, EdWeek, May 7, 2014
Google is entering the world of "learning management systems" with the pre-release of Classroom, designed to work with the Google Apps for Education suite currently used by 30 million students and educators.
The tool, which Google announced on its blog Tuesday, will give teachers a way to create and collect assignments, provide real-time feedback to individual students, make announcements, ask questions, and organize their folders by assignment or by student.

Higher Ed Online Faculty

Southern New Hampshire U. Designs a New Template for Faculty Jobs
Steve Kololwich, Chronicle, May 8, 2014
(Holly Lynde, ETC Research and Policy Coordinator, attended this WCET meeting, and she found Greg Fowler to be a compelling speaker about pathways to credentialing.)
A different take on teaching online. Delilah Caldwell, a philosophy instructor at Southern New Hampshire University, may well represent the future of higher education’s teaching force. As one of the first full-time faculty members at Southern New Hampshire’s online college, Ms. Caldwell taught 20 online courses last year: four at a time for five terms, each eight weeks long. The textbooks and syllabi were provided by the university; Ms. Caldwell’s job was to teach. She was told to grade and give feedback on all student work in 72 hours or less.

Public Schools/Private Schools

The Public School Advantage
Christopher A. Lubienski and Sarah Theule Labienski, University of Chicago Press Books, 2014
Nearly the whole of America’s partisan politics centers on a single question: Can markets solve our social problems? And for years this question has played out ferociously in the debates about how we should educate our children. From the growth of vouchers and charter schools to the implementation of No Child Left Behind, policy makers have increasingly turned to market-based models to help improve our schools, believing that private institutions—because they are competitively driven—are better than public ones. With The Public School Advantage, Christopher A. and Sarah Theule Lubienski offer powerful evidence to undercut this belief, showing that public schools in fact outperform private ones.


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ISTE Conference
Atlanta, June 28-July 1


New York Times, Sunday Review, February 9, 2014
Metadata — the word inspires anxiety sometime — but not at this level in education. You may find other cartoons in this series interesting, but only the first one relates to metadata.
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