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Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: January 22, 2014

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

 

SREB News

The Technology Centers That Work (TCTW) school improvement initiative was formed in 2007 to help these shared-time centers review and implement the actions needed to produce high-demand, high-wage graduates who will be leaders in their selected careers. The network now includes more than 180 sites in 18 states.
 
The Sixth Annual National TCTW Leaders’ Forum: Technology Centers of the Future will be held January 28, 2014 - January 30, 2014 at the Sheraton Oklahoma City Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Sponsored by the Southern Governors’ Association. Fine more information here.

 

2013 Survey of Online Learning Report

2013 Survey of Online Learning Report
Just released from the Babson Survey Research Group, Pearson and the Sloan Consortium. Using responses from more than 2,800 colleges and universities, this study is aimed at answering fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education:
  • Is Online Learning Strategic?
  • Are Learning Outcomes in Online Comparable to Face-to-Face Learning?
  • How Many Students are Learning Online?
  • How are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) faring?
  • And much more...
This survey also reveals that in 2013:
  • 7.1 million of higher education students are taking at least one online course.
  • The 6.1 % growth rate represents over 400,000 additional students taking at least one online course.
  • The percent of academic leaders rating the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those as in face-to-face instruction grew from 57% in 2003 to 74% in 2013.
  • The number of students taking at least one online course continued to grow at a rate far in excess of overall enrollments, but the rate was the lowest in a decade.

Quality Counts 2014

Quality Counts 2014 — District Disruption and Revival
Education Week, Washington, Jan. 8, 2014
(From the Press Release) The 2014 edition of Education Week’s Quality Counts report—District Disruption & Revival delves into the powerful fiscal, academic, and social forces that are reshaping traditional school districts and the forms they can take. As the report’s journalism documents, the impetus for change may come from within, as districts adapt to dramatic demographic shifts that can radically transform a community over the course of a single generation. Sometimes, change is imposed by outside forces, as when persistent budgetary, management, or performance problems prompt civic leaders to take action, read more….
 
Quality Counts 2014 State Report Cards
State-by-state grades and data in six areas of educational policy and performance.

 

Higher Education Reform

A Path Forward
Game-Changing Reforms in Higher Education and the Implications for Business and Financing Models
David A. Bergeron, Center for American Progress, December 2013
 
The U.S. education system lacks clear pathways for students to follow from high school to a career. Emerging approaches to reform show promise for encouraging program completion, reducing costs, and improving the quality of education.
 
At a recent convening of the Alliance of States, Complete College America, a national nonprofit dedicated to growing the pool of American college graduates, advocated for the adoption of five of what it calls “game-changer” strategies that could dramatically increase the number of students who successfully complete college. Well-reasoned and artfully explained, one is left to wonder why any institution or state system would not immediately adopt all five strategies. Indeed, it is clear from the evidence presented by Complete College America that implementing these “game changers” would result in more degrees and other educational credentials being awarded while closing attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations. Also, significantly, no changes in federal policy are necessary to drive forward with the reforms, although some federal policy changes could undoubtedly help quicken the pace of adoption.
 
In this report, we describe ways that reform models such as those identified as game changers by Complete College America, along with stackable credentials and competency-based credentials, that if taken to scale, can dramatically change the outcomes of postsecondary education in the United States
.
 

Net Neutrality

FCC Must Act to Preserve Open Internet
Appeals Court Leaves Consumers Vulnerable to Profiteering Telecoms
WASHINGTON - January 14 - The Federal Communications Commission must step up to protect consumer interests and preserve the Open Internet in the wake of a federal appeals court ruling jeopardizing the easy access to popular websites and applications enjoyed by millions of Americans, Common Cause said today. "The Court’s decision today is poised to end the free, open, and uncensored Internet that we have come to rely on," said former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Initiative.
 
Net Neutrality Is Dead—Here's How to Get It Back
Craig Aaron, Common Dreams, January 15, 2014
Three judges in D.C. just killed Net Neutrality. This could be the end of the Internet as we know it. But it doesn't have to be. The big news: A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet Order. This decision means that companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon — which brought the lawsuit — are now free to block or slow down any website, application or service they like. These companies will rush to change the Web and line their own pockets at our expense — creating new tolls for app makers, expensive price tiers for popular sites, and fast lanes open only to the few content providers that can afford them.
 
Three Dangers of Losing Net Neutrality That Nobody’s Talking About
Wired Opinion, January 20, 2014
While it’s true the issues around net neutrality aren’t black and white, we’ve got a rundown of three risks and unintended consequences of the recent ruling you should be aware of, regardless of the nuances or your politics.
 
But first, you need to know at least this much: Simply put, net neutrality is the principle (it never was a law) that the pipes carrying our information online should be “dumb” — just like our phone lines. If the pipes are too smart, the ISPs that provide them could discriminate or prioritize some content, websites, apps, or users over others. That means, for example, Comcast could slow down BitTorrent traffic (it did) or Liberty Media could charge Netflix more for using more network capacity (it’s already said it wants to). And so on… (Read the three risks here.)
 
No matter how you navigate the net neutrality discussions moving forward, just remember that the question you need to keep in front of you is how will the users be affected? Because that’s what this discussion really needs to be about.

 

Flipped Classroom or Not

Why 86 Percent of UNC-Chapel Hill Students Prefer the Flipped Classroom
Jimmy Daly, EdTech Focus on Higher Education, December 18, 2013
Students spend more time discussing the application of learning content to their careers and less time scribbling notes. Dr. Russell Mumper, Vice Dean and professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently flipped the classroom for students in his pharmacy class. The results were revealing. Dr. Mumper saw test scores increase by 5 percent, and 91 percent of his students said their learning was enhanced as a result of the flipped classroom; 86 percent preferred the flipped model rather than the sage-on-the-stage format.
 
For his part, Dr. Mumper recorded 25 lectures, which can now be repurposed for future classes, allowing him to spend more time engaging with his students. EdTech caught up with Dr. Mumper to discuss the experience. Check out his interview and the infographic below to learn more.

 

Everything Digital 

Obama Uses Press Event to Tout 'ConnectEd' Program
Ben Kamisar, Education Week, Digital Education, December 20, 2013
Despite the gridlock plaguing Washington, President Barack Obama predicted that his digital education plan would move forward in 2014 with or without help from federal lawmakers.
 
eSN Special Report: Powering the Digital Classroom
eSchool News, November 26, 2013
In case you missed this earlier from Project Tomorrow…. How students want to learn, and how they’re actually learning and using digital tools, don’t match up in many schools. How can education leaders balance this equation? When Julie Evans began reviewing the student responses to last year’s survey, she noted the continuation of a long-running trend: In too many cases, there seems to be a “disconnect” between how students say they want to learn and how they’re actually learning in the classroom.
 
Will Digital Networks Ruin Us?
Joe Nocera, New York Times, Opinion, January 6, 2014
Nocera references Jaron Lanier’s “Who Owns the Future?” published in May. With unemployment seemingly stalled out at around 7 percent in the aftermath of the Great Recession, with the leak of thousands of National Security Agency documents making news almost daily, with the continuing stories about the erosion of privacy in the digital economy, “Who Owns the Future?” puts forth a kind of universal theory that ties all these things together. It also puts forth some provocative, unconventional ideas for ensuring that the inevitable dominance of software in every corner of society will be healthy instead of harmful.
 
George Siemens: A New Lab for Research on Technology and Digital Networks
Mary Grush, Campus Technology, January 15, 2014
This spring, George Siemens will make the move stateside to the University of Texas-Arlington, where he will base his research on how technology and digital networks influence the knowledge development process within society, and related implications for the future of higher education institutions. Siemens is an internationally known and highly respected researcher, currently based at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada, an author of books on connectivism and knowledge processes, and a highly active collaborator with global research organizations.

 

Learning Registry

Federal 'Learning Registry' Aims to Connect Educators, Content Providers
Sean Cavanagh, Education Week, Digital Education, January 3, 2014
Websites are destinations, but the Learning Registry is meant to offer something different. Its backers describe it as an online highway, or a network of roads designed to bring educators to the content they want.
 
More specifically, the tool developed by the U.S. Department of Education is an open communication o information network for delivering academic resources to educators and the public, set up to allow sharing of information among peers, sorted to meet individual teachers' and students' needs.

 

Predictions and Trends

What Technology Will Define 2014?
Jimmy Daly, EdTech Focus on Higher Education, January 10, 2014
Between CES and a number of year-end roundups, everyone has ideas about what to expect this year. For instance, pay attention to smartwatches and mobile devices that increasingly rely on voice input.
 
What 5 Tech Experts Expect in 2014
The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 6, 2014
Education technology enjoyed a headline-grabbing year in 2013. Debate about the potential, and the limitations, of massive open online courses reached a fevered pitch. Technology-enabled, competency-based degrees got a green light from the U.S. Department of Education. And data analytics proved to be an increasingly important reference point in campus operations. The momentum shows little sign of abating in 2014. New tools are shaping everything from in-classroom instruction to White House policy making. The Chronicle asked five education-technology experts to think about the year ahead and identify major themes at the intersection of education technology and higher education.

Predictions from 2013: MOOCs and Competency-based Education Top Pick
Russ Poulin, WCET, January 7, 2014
“Predict something that will happen this year regarding teaching, learning, technology, business of e-learning, policy, regulations, student behavior, or other related items.” That was the suggestion in January 2013. Find out what was number one! And make your prediction for 2014.
 
6 Ways Tech Will Change Education Forever
Issie Lapowsky, INC, November 21, 2013
Want to know what college will look like in 10, 20, 30 years? Here are six predictions from some of the brightest minds in academia and business. Tensions were high at New York University's Stern School of Business, as a group of academics, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs faced off during a panel discussion on the future of higher education. The panelists, including NYU President John Sexton, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, and Codecademy CEO Zach Sims, among others, were charged with predicting the future of the traditional university. Will emerging technology and online learning dismantle the notion of "college" as we know it?
 
A Big and Rocky Year for 1-to-1 Computing
Benjamin Herold, Education Week, Digital Education, December 30, 2013
With big initiatives, new products, and some high-profile missteps, 2013 was a big—but not necessarily good—year for 1-to-1 computing. Here's a look back at five of the stories and trends in 1-to-1 that made headlines.
 
New Study Says MOOCs Have Few Active Users
Tech & Learning, January 6, 2014
A new study from the Alliance for Higher Education & Democracy at University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education reveals some interesting findings related to MOOCs.
 
Public schools show mixed record on technology gains
Will Sentell, The Advocate, January 16, 2014
Louisiana has made huge strides in improving public-school technology but is a long way from providing all students with individualized computers, state Superintendent of Education John White said Wednesday.

 

Apps

Top 100 Apps of the Year
David Kapular, Tech & Learning, January 6, 2014
The app explosion continued through 2013, with digital storytelling and math being some of the most popular topics covered.
 
The Best Apps of 2014
eSchool News
eSchool News has covered these topics this week:

Keeping Pace

Student-teacher ratios in blended classrooms
John Watson, Keeping Pace, January 7, 2014
Policymakers and reporters often ask us whether we believe that state policies should set a limit on student-teacher ratios for online or blended schools. This is a harder question than it may first appear, especially because of the tendency of media reporters and the policy/political process to want sound bites and short answers to complex questions. Find out John’s thoughts here.
 
Candy Crush Education
Stacy Hawthorne, Keeping Pace, January 17, 2014
Have you played Candy Crush? John has a few tips for you here. A little aside: Candy Crush is a free download and while I’ve never personally paid for any extra lives or boosters, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reports that Candy Crush Saga has made over $860,000 a day in revenue. I think there is more to be learned about education from Candy Crush….

 

Digital Badges

New Company Offers Third-Party Validation of Digital Badges
Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology, January 6, 2014
A new company called Accreditrust hopes to address the need for independent, third-party certification of digital badges. Its flagship offering, BadgeSafe, is a digital credential validation service that can be integrated into the learning environment to ensure badge authenticity.

 

Salman Khan

Salman Khan, The Most Influential Person In Education Technology
Peter High, Forbes, January 6, 2014
I met him in his office, and had a chance to see the microphone he uses for the tutorials that he delivers. He was informal, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, and the microphone that I used to record our podcast interview was perched on a log that stood in between us. He was affable, bright, and the leadership skills that enabled him to be class president of his senior class at MIT and of his class at Harvard Business School before becoming a serial entrepreneur was quite clear. What followed as a fascinating conversation about the genesis of Khan Academy, his thoughts on the future of education, and his beliefs about the balance between technology enabled learning versus classroom learning. (To listen to an extended audio interview with Salman Khan, visit this link).
 
Comcast, Khan Academy Join Forces to Improve Web Access
Sean Cavanaugh, Education Week, K-12 Marketplace, December 17, 2013
A major cable and Internet corporation is joining with one of the nation's best-known sources of free, open-education resources to try to expand access to the Web and online content for impoverished students and families. The partnership brings together Comcast, which describes itself as the nation's largest provider of video, high-speed Web access, and phone service to residential customers, and Khan Academy, a nonprofit that estimates it has delivered 330 million online lessons to date. Khan will develop public service announcements about its online courses and how they can be accessed through the Internet Essentials program, said Salman Khan, the organization's founder, in an online interview accompanying the announcement. Comcast, in turn, will promote the resources available through Khan Academy, which reports that it draws 10 million online users per month, who come seeking academic content across subjects. That promotion will occur via the Web and television over the next few years, in English and Spanish, Charlie Douglas, a spokesman for the Internet and cable company, told Education Week.

 

Best Online College Programs

U.S. News Releases Ranking Of Best Online College Programs For 2014

Use of Technology in Learning

Ten Guiding Principles for the Use of Technology in Learning
Contact North/Contact Nord, Ontario, Canada
Ontario colleges, universities, secondary schools, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the Ministry of Education, as well as service and technology providers from the public and the private sectors are investing significant funds, time and energy on technology in learning. At Contact North/Contact Nord, Ontario’s distance education & training network, we believe there is a critical need to articulate the fundamental guiding principles that drive our decisions and policymaking with respect to technology in learning. This article offers a summary of ten principles that have had merit for us at Contact North | Contact Nord over the years, and may have merit for others.

 

Do You Read E-Books?

How Do E-Books Change the Reading Experience? 
Mohsin Hamid, and Anna Holmes, New York Times, Sunday Book Review, December 31, 2013
Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Mohsin Hamid and Anna Holmes discuss how technology affects the way we read.

 

Just Interesting

Discovery Education: Fluorescent Lights
Tech & Learning, January 10,2014
January 10 was National Cut Your Energy Day. In this video Bill Nye, the Science Guy, explains how the incandescent light bulb is an energy hog. He gives a little history about the bulb and how it works. He then explains fluorescence and how it works in a tube. He explains how the new compact fluorescence lights work and why they can help save tons of energy. He does talk about the mercury in the light and why that can be a problem, but he encourages us to find ways to use the CFLs and then recycle them responsibly.
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