Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: May 17, 2013

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


Just a reminder:
Education Group Launches Video Tool for Teachers
Victoria O'Dea, Ed Week, Digital Education
The Southern Regional Education Board has launched a new online tool designed to help teachers share strategies for improving teaching and learning through instructional videos.
The project, dubbed SREB ShortTakes, offers ten videos designed to show teachers the latest web 2.0 tools, and their application in the classroom. One video, for instance, offers a demonstration of teachers using Google+ Hangouts to try to increase student success.
5 Must-Have Elements for Every Online Class
Corey Murray, EdTech, May 5, 2013
Online Teacher of the Year Renee Citlau offers advice for taking K–12 learning virtual.

NOTY Finalist Named Google Glass Explorer
Andrew Vanden Heuvel, one of the 2011 SREB/iNACOL National Online Teacher of the Year finalists, was recently named a Google Glass Explorer. Google sent him to the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
Here is his adventure:
Over the past three weeks, I've had quite an amazing adventure, and I wanted to briefly share it with you. I applied for and was accepted to be a Google Glass Explorer. Because of my background in online learning and STEM education, Google offered me a truly exceptional opportunity to visit the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and share the experience with physics students back home using my new Glass device. They documented the experience in the video below.
The video can be found here.
Andrew's blog can be found here.

Digital Learning (including MOOCs)

Massive (But Not Open)
Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed, May 14, 2013
The Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a $7,000 online master’s degree to 10,000 new students over the next three years without hiring much more than a handful of new instructors.
Georgia Tech will work with AT&T and Udacity, the 15-month-old Silicon Valley-based company, to offer a new online master’s degree in computer science to students across the world at a sixth of the price of its current degree.
Also, read comments about this in The Chronicle.
5 Must-Have Elements for Every Online Class
Corey Murray, EdTech, May 5, 2013
Online Teacher of the Year Renee Citlau offers advice for taking K–12 learning virtual.

NEA Policy Statement on Digital Learning
In the fast-paced, worldwide, competitive workplace we now live in, our traditional school models are not capable of meeting the needs of the 21st century student. All students—pre-k through graduate students—need to develop advanced critical thinking and information literacy skills and master new digital tools. At the same time, they need to develop the initiative to become self-directed learners while adapting to the ever-changing digital information landscape.  NEA embraces this new environment and these new technologies to better prepare our students for college and for 21st century careers.
Show Me the Money
Tech & Learning, April 29, 2013
The new Digital Learning Now! Whitepaper by John Bailey, Carri Schneider, and Tom Vander Ark concludes that today’s school finance system was not created with the flexibility needed to support the wave of educational innovations exploding in schools. The authors make recommendations to create scalable financial systems that will be flexible enough to meet the needs of technology growth.
Digital Learning Now! Releases White Paper on How Blended Learning Can Improve the Teaching Profession
WASHINGTON – In honor of National Teacher Day, Digital Learning Now! (DLN), a national campaign under the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), today released the seventh DLN Smart Series interactive paper: “Improving Conditions & Careers: How Blended Learning Can Improve the Teaching Profession.”
This paper, which serves to inform educators, leaders, educational stakeholders, policymakers and influencers, presents a vision of blended learning that offers better teaching conditions and enables better career opportunities. In addition to confronting misconceptions about blended learning, the authors advocate for thoughtful policies that will allow teachers to create personalized learning experiences and facilitate the deeper learning necessary to master higher standards.
A District Guide to Online Learning
Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart, May 4, 2013
Online learning can expand student (and staff) options, grow enrollment, and power blended learning. It shares many critical success factors with traditional education, but different enough that you need to do your homework and develop a good plan. Following is a 10-point district/network guide to online learning.
Virginia’s first statewide virtual school likely to close
Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post, May 1, 2013
The Carroll County School Board plans to end its partnership with the contractor that operates Virginia’s largest full-time statewide virtual school, effectively shutting down a program that serves more than 350 students.
The decision to close what was also the state’s first online school deals a blow to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s goal of expanding virtual education options. It also leaves hundreds of families, including many in Northern Virginia, in the lurch for the coming school year.
Quick and Dirty Research
Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, May 1, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO – To keep up with the breakneck pace of developments in online education, higher education researchers must be nimble and sometimes make do with “dirty” and quickly gathered data. Otherwise weighty discussions about student learning might get lost in all the hype around massive open online courses and other digital innovations.
That was a takeaway Tuesday during a panel discussion here at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Participants in the session tried to define a meaningful research agenda around emerging forms of course delivery.
3 School Districts Earn Top Honors for Technology Prowess
Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education, April 15, 2013
Three school districts received top honors for technology integration in the 2013 Digital School Districts Survey.
The ninth annual survey from the Center for Digital Education and the National School Boards Association ranked school districts by student population in three categories, with at least 10 districts in each category earning recognition for their work.
Colleges Adapt Online Courses to Ease Burden
Tamar Lewin, New York Times, April 29, 2013
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Dazzled by the potential of free online college classes, educators are now turning to the gritty task of harnessing online materials to meet the toughest challenges in American higher education: giving more students access to college, and helping them graduate on time.
MOOCs have enrolled millions of students around the world, most who enroll never start a single assignment, and very few complete the courses. So to reach students who are not ready for college-level work, or struggling with introductory courses, universities are beginning to add extra supports to the online materials, in hopes of improving success rates.
Here at San Jose State, for example, two pilot programs weave material from the online classes into the instructional mix and allow students to earn credit for them.  Read more….
As MOOC Debate Simmers at San Jose State, American U. Calls a Halt
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle, May 9, 2013
In the latest salvo in a debate over MOOCs that has drawn national attention, the San Jose State University chapter of the California Faculty Association has thrown its weight behind recent criticisms of the university's partnerships with outside providers of massive open online courses—specifically, edX and Udacity.
Meantime, on the opposite side of the country, American University has announced a "moratorium on MOOCs."
Partnership Gives Students Access to a High-Price Text on a MOOC Budget
Jake New, The Chronicle, May 8, 2013
Later this month, Michael Schatz, a physics professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will begin teaching a massive open online physics course through Coursera. Because of the complexity of physics and because the course uses computer modeling, students taking the MOOC will need access to something that doesn't often come with a free online course: an expensive textbook.
But that textbook, which is called Matter and Interactions and is published by John Wiley & Sons, can cost more than $150. With many participants enrolling in MOOCs as a way to learn while saving money, how to bring high quality, mainstream textbooks into a service that is meant to be free, or at least inexpensive, remains a puzzle.
Coursera and Chegg, the online textbook-rental company, are hoping their new partnership could yield the answer.  Read more….
Check out the latest technology news in The Chronicle.

Online Public University

Florida To Open First Online-Only Public University In U.S.
Bill Cotterell, HuffPost Miami, April 21, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, April 22 (Reuters) - Public university students in Florida next year will be able to start working toward college degrees without actually going to college, under a law Governor Rick Scott signed on Monday in front of educators and business lobbyists. The state-run University of Florida plans to start a series of online bachelor's degree programs next year, with $15 million start-up funds for 2014.

Blended Learning

Blended Learning & The Teaching Profession (Infographic)
Getting Smart, April20, 2013
This infographic shows how blended learning is not about replacing teachers with technology, but rather empowering them with new opportunities. The infographic previews the next DLN Smart Series paper “Improving Conditions & Careers: How Blended Learning Will Improve the Teaching Profession” that will be released later this month.

Teacher Effectiveness

InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards and Learning Progressions for Teachers 1.0
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), through its Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), is pleased to offer this set of combined resources that both define and support ongoing teacher effectiveness to ensure students reach college and career ready standards.
This document includes the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards: A Resource for State Dialogue, which were released in April 2011, and the new "InTASC Learning Progressions for Teachers 1.0: A Resource for Ongoing Teacher Development (2013)." Together they describe the new vision of teaching needed for today’s learners, how teaching practice that is aligned to the new vision develops over time, and what strategies teachers can employ to improve their practice both individually and collectively.

Professional Development (Cousera)

Coursera Announces Professional Development Courses to Facilitate Lifelong Learning for Teachers
Editor’s Note: Julia Stiglitz is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development at Coursera
Seven leading schools of education have joined this initiative, including the College of Education, University of Washington; Curry School of Education, University of Virginia; Johns Hopkins University School of Education; Match Education’s Sposato Graduate School of Education; Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University; Relay Graduate School of Education; and University of California, Irvine Extension.
Additionally, we welcome a new network of educational institutions and museums, including the American Museum of Natural History; The Commonwealth Education Trust; Exploratorium; The Museum of Modern Art; and New Teacher Center.
See a partial listing of courses in this article.
New 'MOOC' Model for Online PD Offers Diverse Course Lineup
Sean Cavanagh, Education Week, May 7, 2013
Coursera's co-founder, Andrew Ng, told Education Week that the initial courses offered by the schools of education and other institutions are not meant to be taken for credit, but rather to serve as continuing education for teachers who have requirements to fulfill, or for educators and others who are otherwise interested in honing a skill.
So what MOOCs are initially being offered to K-12 teachers and others through Coursera? It's an eclectic list of 28 courses, in some cases delving into specific content, in others focused on strengthening educators' overall classroom skills.

Competency Education (Personalized Learning)

Competency Education Series: Policy Brief One; an Emerging Federal Role in Competency Education
Knowledge Works, April 25, 20113
Part one of the Competency based education series includes a working definition for competency education, examples of states doing the ground breaking work in this area and an appropriate role for the federal government to remove policy barriers and to create diagnostic and assessment tools to measure effectiveness. Included in this publication is a continuum to help innovators and policymakers differentiate between full-scale competency models and those that have begun to pave the way for this work.
Check out other resources from Competency Works here.
inBloom Inc. is a nonprofit provider of technology services that allow states and public school districts to better integrate student data and third-party applications to support sustainable, cost-effective personalized learning. To learn more about inBloom’s vision for making personalized learning a reality, click here.
Nine states and ten districts in those states have participated in the development and testing of the inBloom technology to ensure it meets the needs of states, districts, teachers, students and families. These states and districts are committed to adopting the technology and compatible applications state- and district-wide following pilot testing. For more information about the pilot states and districts, click here.
Of That
Education, Technology, Energy and Trust (blog)

inBloom - For My Concerned Friends
Brandt Redd, May 02, 2013
In my post about the Common Core State Standards I wrote about how concerned pundits have lumped together five related but independent efforts. Today I'm writing about inBloom which I'll contrast Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems – two more of those five.
InBloom is a service designed to help students achieve academic success through personalized learning. Those of us who helped develop the Shared Learning Collaborative (which was renamed inBloom in February) are convinced that personalizing the learning experience is the best way to improve student achievement. Whether personalization is being done by a teacher, an online learning system, or a synergistic combination of the two, it happens when information about what the student needs to learn intersects with information about available learning materials.


Join the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) for a report release and briefing
Transforming Data to Information in Service of Learning
Tuesday, May 21, 2013, from 10:00-11:30 am ET
National Press Club, Washington, DC 20045
SETDA developed this new report, "Transforming Data to Information in Service of Learning," to raise awareness about the major K-12 data standards and interoperability initiatives underway to address this gap and to offer recommendations for how K-12 education can become more responsive to educators and better targeted toward individual student success. The report will help education leaders understand the context for these interoperability initiatives and their relationship to teaching and learning. The widespread implementation of new and emerging interoperability initiatives will be instrumental to realizing the full potential of technology in education.

EdTech Evolution

10 ed-tech tools of the 70s, 80s, and 90s
Meris Stansbury, eSchool News, May 10, 2013
To celebrate technologies of the past, the editors of eSchool News have compiled a list of the education technologies our teachers and we used back in the day–you know, before the internet even existed.
Can you think of an ed-tech tool not on the list? What was your favorite classroom tool when you were in school?
Infographic: Evolution of EdTech
Caroline Vander Ark Davis, Getting Smart, April 30, 2013
This is another interesting infographic that shows the path education technology has taken. Who knew when Oregon Trail was released in 1985 it would kick off an educational gaming trend? The mix of entertainment and education value has created edtech programs that continue to improve learning opportunities around the country.
ImagineK12 Launches 10 More EdTech Startups
Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart, May 5, 2013
Palo Alto edtech accelerator ImagineK12 held its third demo day on Thursday.  The cohort of 10 startups made competent pitches. Some, like content sharing app Padlet, have good early traction. Accredible addresses the new opportunity of documenting informal learning.  The rest of the new companies attack current K-12 classroom challenges.
Perceptions of Technology in the Classroom (Infographic)
News Staff, Center for Digital Education, April 29, 2013
Integrating technology in education is essential, and many districts do it well, as demonstrated by the Digital School Districts Survey.
But not everyone sees the use of technology in the classroom in the same way. According to the following infographic from, parents primarily see technology as positive, noting that it personalizes learning, increases student engagement and extends the learning day, to name just a few things.
Many teachers, on the other hand, think that search engines have conditioned students to expect to be able to find information quickly and easily, that the amount of information available online is overwhelming to students and that today's digital technologies discourage students from finding and using a wide range of sources for research. 

LMS Rankings

Study Ranks Accessibility of Top Learning Management Systems
Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal, May 13, 2013
The review examined four major LMSes: Blackboard Learn version 9.1 Service Pack 6 and 8, Desire2Learn version 10, Moodle version 2.3, and Sakai version 2.8. Each of these organizations runs an interest group to guide improvements in accessibility of their products. They were also part of previous evaluations done by the same group in 2010 and 2012.
The disabilities tested for encompassed visual, mobility, learning, and cognitive. Testing and evaluation categories covered functional accessibility in nine broad areas.


PTAC (Privacy)
The U.S. Department of Education established the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) as a “one-stop” resource for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems. PTAC provides timely information and updated guidance on privacy, confidentiality, and security practices through a variety of resources, including training materials and opportunities to receive direct assistance with privacy, security, and confidentiality of longitudinal data systems. Check out their latest publications. Read more.
ED Kicks Off Information Management Week with a Data Privacy Panel
Rodney Peterson, EDUCAUSE, May 7, 2013
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Chief Privacy Officer kicked off Information Management Week (May 7-9, 2013) with a keynote panel discussion on "Big Data, Small Data, Apps & Analytics: Can We Transform Education Without Sacrificing Privacy?" CPO Kathleen Styles opened the event by commenting on the explosion of online data and communications and the shift from when data was only collected for decision-making purposes to an era when virtually everything related to our use of technology devices is collected - often without our knowledge and occasionally with no intial intended use in mind. She also described the impact of our mobile devices that are with us everywhere that we go, and most ot them include geolocation tools.
Richard Culatta, Acting Director of the Department's Office of Educational Technology, set the stage by describing the challenges that we face in education.

State Authorization

SHEEO State Authorization Resources Updated
Jarret Cummings, EDUCAUSE, May 10, 2013
Sharmila Mann, a senior policy analyst at the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) association, issued the following announcement this week on SHEEO's freshly updated state authorization resources, including its guide to the authorization regulations, processes, and contacts for various states. Note that she also discusses the process and timing for the next round of updates, which SHEEO plans to start in January 2014.
States Look to Share Online Courses for College Students
Matt Fleming, EdWeek, Digital Education, April 26, 2013
Representatives from 47 states met recently to discuss plans to establish an agreement that would streamline the process of universities offering distance learning across state lines, an idea that could have implications for K-12 virtual education.
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement would be based on voluntary participation of states and higher education institutions. But it is expected to be widely adopted, given the broad participation in developing it, predicted the Commission on the Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education, which led the effort to establish the multi-state agreements.
The commission, the idea of which was spearheaded by many people, including Paul Lingenfelter of the State Higher Education Executive Officers, Peter McPherson of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, is aimed at finding a way to easily navigate the wide variety of state laws and regulations governing distance learning.


NOTY Finalist Named Google Glass Explorer
Andrew Vanden Heuvel, one of the 2011 SREB/iNACOL National Online Teacher of the Year finalists, was recently named a Google Glass Explorer. Google sent him to the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
Here is his adventure:
Over the past three weeks, I've had quite an amazing adventure, and I wanted to briefly share it with you. I applied for and was accepted to be a Google Glass Explorer. Because of my background in online learning and STEM education, Google offered me a truly exceptional opportunity to visit the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and share the experience with physics students back home using my new Glass device. They documented the experience in the video below.
The video can be found here.
Andrew's blog can be found here.

Google’s Aggregator Gives Way to an Heir
David Pogue, New York Times, May 8, 2013
Well, if we didn’t get it before, we get it now: Google giveth, and Google taketh away.
On July 1, it will take away Google Reader. To the dismay of millions, that service will go the way of Google Answers, Google Buzz, iGoogle and GOOG-411. Google hasn’t provided much in the way of a satisfying reason for this “spring cleaning,” saying only that “usage has declined.”
This column is intended to help two kinds of people: Those who used Google Reader, and those who never even knew what it is.
The one everybody keeps saying is the natural heir to Google Reader, though, is In fact, Feedly says the ranks of its four million users have swelled to seven million since Google’s Reader death sentence was announced.  Read more…
Ready for a new Google Docs alternative? Meet open source OX Documents
Katherine Noyes, PCWorld, March 20, 2013
As the free trial period for Microsoft Office 2013 draws to a close, it's a pretty safe bet that more users than ever are thinking long and hard about whether or not to buy or subscribe.
There's no doubt competitors such as the open source LibreOffice and the browser-based Google Docs offer compelling alternatives, but soon there will be yet another contender to consider.
Unveiled on Wednesday by Open-Xchange, OX Documents will be a productivity suite that's both open source and browser-based, thus combining a bit of each of those leading alternatives.

Mobile Technology

Smartphones a Standard for Majority of Students by High School, Survey Finds
Sean Cavanagh, EdWeek, Digital Education, May 2, 2013
A new nationwide survey reveals the extent to which mobile devices have become an inextricable part of students' and families' lives—while also indicating that parents see potential benefits, and drawbacks, to those technology tools.
By the time they enter high school, 51 percent of all students are carrying a smartphone to school with them every day, the survey of parents shows. Nearly a quarter of all students in K-12, overall, are doing so, while 8 percent of students in grades 3-5 are bringing a smartphone to school.
Infographic: Tapping into Mobile Technology
Caroline Vander Ark David, Getting Smart, May 2, 2013
This infographic highlights findings from the mobile learning report, Living & Learning with Mobile Devices, released today from Grunwald Associates LLC and the Learning First Alliance. According to the report more than 50 percent of parents believe that schools should make more use of mobile devices in education. It’s apparent that parents want mobile technology used for learning.


Wikispaces Classroom
We're pleased to announce Wikispaces Classroom, a brand new product designed exclusively for teachers and students. Over the years, we've distilled what we do and why we do it down to the one simple thing: help teachers help students. Wikispaces Classroom takes this to a new level by focusing on simplicity, engagement, and student outcomes. Read more about our exciting new product for educators.

Common Core

The Common Core on Campus
Libby Nelson, Inside Higher Ed, May 3, 2013  
For traditional college freshmen, the gap between high school and college is easy to step across -- a few months, at the most, between graduating from one institution and enrolling at another. For those institutions, though, the distance between K-12 and higher education is often more like an unbridgeable chasm.
5 Major Benefits of Media Literacy and its Relationship to the Common Core State Standards
Don Goble, EdReach, March 27, 2013
It has become apparent to educators around the world, that the 21st Century learning model must be different that the 20th century. In fact, 46 states around the country are making plans to implement a new initiative called the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The CCSS standards “are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.”
Media literacy is a term that has been around a long time, but some people may not understand the concept, or even know the definition. Media literacy encompasses skills and abilities that enable us to analyze, evaluate, and create messages in a variety of media. Most prominently now for me and our students, digital media. There is a tremendous St. Louis organization for which I belong, the Gateway Media Literacy Partners (GMLP), who are devoted to educating our community, and to advocating for this necessary life skill.
There are 5 key questions to answer or discuss “at the core of inquiry-based media literacy pedagogy:” (Center for Media Literacy),

Just Interesting

Education in a Defined Benefits World
Getting Smart, May 1, 2013
“Education is the number one issue where ever you go,” said Tom Friedman to Ted Mitchell in the #NSVFSummit opening.
“We left a ‘defined benefits’ world where workers retired with a pension, and we’ve moved into a ‘defined contributions’ world,” said Friedman, “where it’s your responsibility to open an account, make the money, and develop the competencies you need to learn and thrive.” (See Freidman’s NYT column.)
Author of That Used To Be Us, Friedman thinks “education is the top national security risk.” And he thinks, “The most dangerous thing a country or species can do is misread their environment.”
History of the Web
World Wide Web Foundation
Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989, about 20 years after the first connection was established over what is today known as the Internet. At the time, Tim was a software engineer at CERN, the large particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. Many scientists participated in experiments at CERN for extended periods of time, then returned to their laboratories around the world. These scientists were eager to exchange data and results, but had difficulties doing so. Tim understood this need, and understood the unrealized potential of millions of computers connected together through the Internet. Read more.

Spreading Community and Love of Books 'Little Free Libraries' Sprout Worldwide
Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams, April 30, 2013
In an era of smart-phone-reading, electronic tablets, and 'books on ipod' a new wave in old fashioned books is sweeping the nation.
The Little Free Library is a movement started by Wisconsin native Todd Bol, who in 2009 built a small one-room house, filled it with books and affixed a sign which reads: "Take a book, Return a book."
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