Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: January 31, 2013

Prepared by June Weis
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2013 SREB/iNACOL National Online Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced


SREB, iNACOL Announce Finalists for National Online K-12 Teacher of the Year Award
Atlanta — January 30, 2013 — Three finalists for the National Online Teacher of the Year Award for K-12 online learning were announced today by the two nonprofit organizations that present the honor, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). One of these finalists will be named 2013 National Online Teacher of the Year on March 7.
The SREB/iNACOL National Online Teacher of the Year Award is the national award to recognize an outstanding online teacher for exceptional quality in online K-12 education. This year’s judging committee evaluated 49 nominations of online educators in public schools and state virtual schools from 19 states to make the selections.
The finalists are: Educational Technology Cooperative's 2013 Symposium on Virtual Teaching and Learning
The NOTY winner will be announced on Thursday, March 7 as part of the SREB Educational Technology Cooperative's 2013 Symposium on Virtual Teaching and Learning. We hope you will join us!
If you would like to attend the Symposium, email or

Other SREB News

Updates from the States
Please take a look at a new SREB feature, Updates from the States, where you will find timely information on current policy actions and proposals from governors, legislatures and education agencies in the region. This service was created based on suggestions made following the annual meeting of legislative and governors’ staff in October.
Major Grants: Advancing Common Core Standards, Educator Effectiveness and College Readiness in SREB States.
SREB has received significant grant funding to support work in a number of areas that will benefit SREB states, including benchmarking the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, educator effectiveness, Literacy Design Collaborative and Math Design Collaborative (LDC and MDC), career and technical education, transitional courses to boost “unready” high school juniors and seniors to meet college-readiness standards, and college completion.

Digital Learning Day

Digital Learning Day
On February 6, 2013
Digital Learning Day is a national campaign that celebrates teachers and shines a spotlight on successful instructional practice and effective use of technology in classrooms across the country. The inaugural Digital Learning Day boasted tens of thousands of teachers representing nearly 2 million students.
The second annual Digital Learning Day is gaining momentum with ongoing activities, ideas, and collaboration opportunities leading up to February 6, 2013. Join the wave of education champions who seek to engage students, celebrate and empower teachers, and create a healthy learning environment, personalized for every child. Participation is free and easy.
SREB Will Observe Digital Learning Day
Educational Technology Cooperative
SREB is showcasing online teaching through its ShortTakes project! ShortTakes are five-minute (or less) Web 2.0 demonstration recordings. Each demonstration will be recorded by an online teacher and launched on Digital Learning Day through SREB’s website, social media and mass emailing. The initial ShortTakes recordings will be available through the summer. With submissions from online teachers, SREB will continue to update its list with lessons that resulted in “aha” moments for teachers and students.
EdTech Leaders Online
ETLO provides capacity-building, research-based programs, courses and services to enable organizations to build successful online and blended learning programs that meet the needs of their teachers, administrators and students. In celebration of Digital Learning Day, ETLO is hosting an online conversation on Wednesday, February 6th at 4:00 PM ET. This interactive, live webinar event will include a panel of K–12 teachers, students and members of the ETLO team discussing how teaching and learning with digital resources can create authentic motivation and engagement.

Higher Ed Data Central

Higher Ed Data Central
Education Sector Biweekly Digest, January 10, 2013
We’re happy to unveil our latest project, a new analytical tool for higher education called Higher Ed Data Central. Andrew Gillen, Education Sector’s research director, has collected heaps of data from several different sources, including IPEDS and DAS, and combined them into one gigantic database that is any data lover’s dream. Higher Ed Data Central doesn’t contain new information, just more complete information in one place. It will allow Gillen to customize groupings and dig deeper into data points that are rarely examined. Higher Ed Data Central isn’t publicly available, but the information is drawn from sources that are. Each week, Gillen will feature an interesting data point or chart on The Quick & the Ed. To start, he’s explaining the functionalities of the tool in a series of posts that will continue through next week. Then, he’ll start taking your requests: Is there something you want to know? A potential trend in higher ed you want to identify? Send your suggestions to Gillen.

Digital Learning Initiatives

Multi-State and National Digital Learning Initiatives
The information that follows is from these papers: Obstacles and Opportunities for Entrepreneurs in Education; MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest, November 2012; and Learning Resource Metadata Initiative, Learning Registry and Shared Learning Infrastructure
Paul Jesukiewicz and Daniel R. Rehak, Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2011
The Learning Registry, a joint project of the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Education, provides an infrastructure that enables instructors, teachers, trainees and students to discover and use the learning resources held by various federal agencies and international partners.
The Learning Registry provides a structured index—not a repository—of digital educational content from various free and paid sources. It can present a visual map of available content directly in a browser or from within other tools. That makes things easier for teachers to find, in one place, related content and lesson plans by subject, grade level or other criteria. As an index, it can be replicated in real-time across the web in copies called “nodes.” One key point: the Learning Registry recognizes LRMI tags. It also applies other kinds of tags to content, reflecting how the content is used and how teachers might rate it.
Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) spearheaded by the Association of Educational Publishers and Creative Commons. It provides taxonomy to consistently tag digital learning content so teachers can easily find it in web search. LRMI’s version 1.0 spec has been submitted to, and when approved, means it will be used by Google, Bing and Yahoo in delivering search results. McGraw-Hill, Pearson, CK12, Curriki and others are already tagging digital content as proof-of-concept.
Shared Learning Infrastructure (SLI) was instigated by the Council of Chief State School Officers and is driven by the Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation under the aegis of the Shared Learning Collaborative, an alliance of states, foundations, educators, content providers, developers and vendors who are passionate about using technology to improve education. The goal of the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) is to help teachers more efficiently enable effective, personalized instruction.

Common Learning Standards

The Common Core State Standards Initiative, or CCSS, is an initiative—led by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center)—to establish national standards for mathematics and English-language arts.
Another state-based initiative, this time for the development of national Next Generation Science Standards, is being led by Achieve—in collaboration with the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The standards are based on a July 2011 framework developed by the National Academy of Science’s National Research Council.
The National Standards for Arts Education was last released in 1994. Currently, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, a partnership of organizations and states, is developing revised grade-level standards for dance, media arts, music, theatre and visual arts.
National Standards for Foreign Language Learning The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) led an 11-member task force to produce the first content standards for foreign language learning in 1996. The resulting document, Edition Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, is now in its third edition.
Currently, ACTFL is currently working to explicitly link its language learning standards with the Common Core State Standards.

Online Courses (K-20)

What do Students [Really] Want in an Online Course?
A blog about Open and Online Education
Debbie Morrison, Online Learning Insights, January 9, 2013

After analyzing student feedback from over twenty courses in our college’s online program, a dominant theme emerged—students appear to want to interact with their peers online, to engage in stimulating discussions, and look for constructive feedback from their instructor. Students not only want to learn, but are looking to establish a personal connection, a sense of presence. In this post I include a synopsis of anonymous, end-of-course student feedback, and several of the students [unedited] comments.
Managing High-Enrollment Online Courses
Rob Kelly, Online Education, in Faculty Focus, January 15, 2013
Online instructors are being asked to accommodate an increasing number of students in their courses. The challenge is to manage the workload associated with these high-enrollment courses. Susan Fein, eLearning consultant/instructional designer at Washington State University, offered some advice on how to do this.
Being Present: Essay on the Flaws of Distance Education
Bob Samuels, Inside Higher Ed, January 24, 2013
Bob Samuels presents a case against distance education, which he says is trying to replicate large lecture classes rather than the best of academe.
MOOCs for Credit
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, January 23, 2013
Georgia State University will evaluate courses much like it reviews other work done by students before they enroll. Academic Partnerships, which helps universities put degree programs online, will work with institutions to make first course in each degree a MOOC.
Revolution Hits the Universities
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, January 26, 2013
LORD knows there’s a lot of bad news in the world today to get you down, but there is one big thing happening that leaves me incredibly hopeful about the future, and that is the budding revolution in global online higher education. Nothing has more potential to lift more people out of poverty — by providing them an affordable education to get a job or improve in the job they have. Nothing has more potential to unlock a billion more brains to solve the world’s biggest problems. And nothing has more potential to enable us to reimagine higher education than the massive open online course, or MOOC, platforms that are being developed by the likes of Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and companies like Coursera and Udacity.
One Click Away: Online Courseware Promotes Free Access to Math Instruction
National Science Foundation
Autar Kaw, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of South Florida, combines classroom instruction with a host of online resources to help students master advanced math concepts.
College Enrollment in Online Courses Continues to Rise, Study Shows
Victoria O'Dea, Digital Education, Education Week, January 17, 2013
A total of 6.7 million college students—almost one-third of the students in higher education—have enrolled in at least one online course, a new survey shows.
This is the tenth annual survey the Babson Survey Research Group has made on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. The survey, which is free with registration, says that close to 70 percent of higher education institutions report that online education is critical to their long-term strategy, but many academic leaders are concerned about finding sustainable forms of online education.
'Bill of Rights' Seeks to Protect Students' Interests as Online Learning Rapidly Expands
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle, January 23, 2013
A dozen educators met last month in Palo Alto, Calif., to discuss the future of higher education. Sebastian Thrun, a pioneer of massive open online courses, had convened them at the epicenter of technological innovation in higher education and yet the task at hand had nothing to do with software or strategy. It had to do with citizenship. The 12 educators, many of them well known in online-education circles, did manage to draft a document that they hope will serve as a philosophical framework for protecting the interests of students as online education, propelled and complicated by the rise of MOOCs, hurtles into a new phase.
Called "A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age," the document proposes a set of "inalienable rights" that the authors say students and their advocates should demand from institutions and companies that offer online courses and technology tools.
Authors of 'Bill of Rights' for Online Learners Face Criticism
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle, Wired Campus, January 25, 2013
Some say the document’s private drafting, without student involvement, and its tightly controlled unveiling do not square with its purportedly populist aims.
Calling for Success: Online Retention Rates Get Boost From Personal Outreach
Mandy Zatynksi, Educator Sector, January 16, 2013
Texts, phone calls, emails—anything personal that shows a professor on the other end of the blank forum makes the student feel less like a screen name and more like a participant.
Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning
K-12 educators face a similar challenge. According to this report written by the Evergreen Education Group, the number of students enrolling in one-semester-long online courses increased by 16 percent last year, and that only accounts for online learning programs offered by state-run virtual schools. The report shows that there is a growing demand for online learning, and states are working to develop new laws and policies to provide a range of online learning options for K-12 students.
Community Partnerships for the Digital Learning Revolution
Michael Robbins, Getting Smart, January 22, 2013
I wasn’t surprised to learn that my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama –The Rocket City – has launched one of the largest school district transitions to digital learning in the nation. I recently visited Huntsville to learn from their experience, and my conversations there reinforced for me that community and family partnerships are essential for the success of digital learning…. Community partnerships are key to realizing a digital learning revolution that is more than trading textbooks for tablets.
Desire2Learn Acquires Course-Suggestion Software Inspired by Netflix and Amazon
Jake New, Wired Campus, The Chronicle, January 24, 2013
If you watch a film on Netflix or buy a book on Amazon, those online services quickly provide suggestions of what else you might like. A similar service for college advising is now entering the marketplace.

Blended Learning

Is Blended Learning the Best of Both Worlds?
A blog about Open and Online Education
Debbie Morrison, Online Learning Insights, January 17, 2013

Blended learning is a method that has proven to be not only effective in terms of learning outcomes, but ranks high on ratings of satisfaction with students and instructors (Dzuiban, Hartman & Moskal, 2004). Yet there has been little coverage of blended learning in higher education news in recent months. It seems we’ve gone from zero to one hundred without passing GO and collecting $200—where ’0′ is traditional classroom learning, and ’100′ is 100% online courses. There has been little consideration of the blended approach, which falls somewhere along the continuum of learning modalities.
How to do a blended learning Power Hour
Heather Clayton Staker, Innosight Institute, January 17, 2013
Many schools are curious about blended learning, but not ready for a whole-school transformation. One option is to consider piloting a Blended Learning Power Hour, where students step away from the traditional classroom structure for only an hour each day and target high priority learning needs using online learning, individual tutoring, and small-group instruction…. In 2010, Pamela Barrier helped an independent school in Austin, TX implement a Power Hour program called “Extensions” among first and second graders. Today the popular program serves kindergarten through 6th grade and continues to inspire instructional innovation across the school. I sat down with Pamela recently to learn how she did it. The summary is included here.

Digital Textbooks

Free Digital Textbooks Surge in Popularity
Sarah Langmead,, eCampus News, January 22, 2013
As college textbook prices continue to climb, a free alternative to traditional textbooks has gathered steam—and its provider claims that students at more than half of U.S. colleges are taking advantage.
The Object Formerly Known as the Textbook
Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle, January 27, 2013
Textbook publishers argue that their newest digital products shouldn't even be called "textbooks." They're really software programs built to deliver a mix of text, videos, and homework assignments. But delivering them is just the beginning. No old-school textbook could be customized for each student in the classroom. The books never graded the homework. And while they contain sample exam questions, they couldn't administer the test themselves.
One publisher calls its products "personalized learning experiences," another "courseware," and one insists on using its own brand name, "MindTap." For now, this new product could be called "the object formerly known as the textbook."  Read more….

Social Media

ELC 002: Using Social Media For Learning
The eLearning Coach
In this conversation with, Jane Bozarth, PhD, we talk about how to use social media tools to implement a complete learning experience or to simply enhance online learning. Jane provides many actionable tips, innovative examples and common sense guidelines. Subscribe in iTunes.
How The World Uses Social Networks
Jeff Dunn, edudemic, January 21, 2013
Most infographics touch on the rough edges of data. They dabble in studies and research. Not this one. It dives in and relishes the massive amount of information on how the world uses social networks.
If Social Jumpstart and hasai infographic tells us anything, it’s that we’re only at the very beginning of connecting our world together.

NCES Data: Public School Graduates and Dropouts

Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2009-10
NCES, January 2013
U.S. Department of Education releases data showing improved graduation rates for high school students in most states.

Intellectual Property

Tips for Understanding Copyright Rules
Laura Devaney, eCampus News, January 14, 2013
With headlines about tough copyright rulings fresh in their minds, educators across the nation might hesitate when it comes to using copyrighted material in their lessons or sharing copyrighted works with students. But according to the American Library Association (ALA), educators should not worry about using such material to boost student knowledge if it falls under the scope of fair use.


How Technology Is Raising the Stakes in Classroom Cheating
edudemic, Elise Redmann, January 16, 2013
The influx of technology has brought the problem of classroom cheating front and center as we all discuss how much technology is enough for classrooms.

Virtual Charter Schools

Another State Says Yes to Virtual Charter Schools, but with Restrictions
Amy Murin, Keeping Pace, January 25, 2013
North Carolina’s SB8 (2011) significantly revised charter school law, but it did not specifically address the creation and operation of virtual charter schools. After more than a year of controversy and confusion, the North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE) approved policy on the procedures and operation of virtual charter schools (115C-238.29A). Read more….

State Authorization

Regulating Online Postsecondary Education: State Issues and Options
EDUCAUSE, January 17, 2013
This issue brief published by the National Governors Association (NGA) states that as providers and regulators of online education, governors should consider calling for a review of current state laws and regulations surrounding authorization of online programs, focusing on questions in three key areas:
  • Purpose: What is the state trying to accomplish through the authorization process?
  • Requirements: What is required of institutions seeking authorization? How do the requirements relate to the purpose(s) of authorization?
  • Capacity and cost: Does the state have a sustainable model for authorization, assuming that the number of online institutions and programs seeking authorization will continue to grow? Could economies of scale be realized by joining with other states to authorize online institutions and programs?
Distance Ed Regulation Commission’s Work Continues
Jarret Cummings, EDUCAUSE, January 8, 2013
As highlighted before the holidays, in both a blog post and an EDUCAUSE Live! online presentation, the Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education, chartered by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), has been actively exploring the potential of a state authorization reciprocity agreement (SARA) model for right-sizing the burden of state regulation on online learning programs. Read more…

Graduation Statistics (K-20)

High school graduation rate highest in 34 years
Staff, eSchool News, January 22, 2013
The nation’s high school graduation rate is the highest since 1976, but more than a fifth of students are still failing to get their diploma in four years, the Education Department said in a study released Jan. 22. Officials said the steady rise of students completing their education is a reflection of the struggling economy and a greater competition for new jobs.
Record Number Complete High School and College
Tamar Lewin, New York Times, November 5, 2012
Although the United States no longer leads the world in educational attainment, record numbers of young Americans are completing high school, going to college and finishing college, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available census data.

Online Teachers: Certification

S.C. Teacher Certification Extends to Those Online
By Vicki Grooms, The Sun News, S.C.
Digital Directions, Education Week, January 14, 2013

The South Carolina education department is beginning to apply the state's certification regulations to teachers of online courses, raising questions about future course offerings for school districts that rely on outside providers.  Read more….


30 EdTools to Reinvent Your Classroom
Daniel Razac, EdReach, December 27, 2012
At EdReach, since September, ToolZeit has been building a stockpile of some of education’s best tools and platforms for the innovative educator. ToolZeit, the show created by Fred Delventhal and Renee Shaw, is a short, 3-5 minute review of some of the Web’s greatest Ed tools. We’ve embedded a playlist for you, of all of their 30 shows over the past few months. Enjoy- and pass it on! welcomes SAS® Curriculum Pathways® to growing digital content library
Portland, Ore. (Jan. 22, 2013)SAS Curriculum Pathways is the newest product to join the growing digital content library at, the celebrated source for connecting educators and students to the right digital content.
”Today’s students respond best to engaging, interactive resources that promote the skills to succeed in school and beyond,” said Scott McQuiggan, Director, SAS Curriculum Pathways. “While SAS Curriculum Pathways resources are available at no cost to educators and their students, connects thousands more teachers and students with SAS Curriculum Pathways’ compelling content.”
The Common Core Standards App (for iPads and iPhones)
Looking to familiarize yourself with the CCSS? The Common Core Standards app from MasteryConnect is an easy to use app that keeps the Common Core State Standards at your fingertips. Users can easily browse standards for Language Arts, as well as traditional and Integrated pathways for Math.  Check out this blog; there may be other things you like there, too.
A Look Back: EdReach’s Top 10 Posts of 2012
As is customary in the education field, as the blogging field- reflecting on the year is one of the great traditions. This past year saw EdReach gain lots of new readers and new listeners. On the audio side of things, most of the EdReach shows are now in iTunes What’s Hot for K12. That’s a pretty cool statistic. Also, EdReach shows have 7 of the Top Education Podcasts in the Stitcher List.
As is pretty customary with education, Top 10 lists are pretty popular. So, check out their top 10 written posts for the year.

A Quick Look

Microsoft retools Office for touch screen, web use
eSchool News, January 30, 2013
College students, teachers can buy Office 2013's online product for $80 for four years.

Library Services in the Digital Age
Kathryn Zickuhr, Lee Rainie and Kristen Purcell, Pew Internet Libraries, January 22, 2013
Patrons embrace new technologies – and would welcome more. But many still want printed books to hold their central place.
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