Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: September 9, 2014

Prepared by June Weis
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Connecting the Dots” in ETC Member States
by Mike Abbiatti
I recently attended our son’s graduation from the Texas A&M doctoral program in Pharmacy, and was treated to one of the best ever explanations of why we need high-speed Internet connectivity. A Texas Legislator, who is also a pharmacist, and a person with a clear vision for the future, presented the graduation address. The central message of her speech was that our collective mission in today’s complex world is to “connect the dots.” Needless to say, I was expecting a simple comparison to the children’ s coloring books that required drawing logical lines between dots to reveal a “hidden” image. The actual presentation, however, was not only completely different in approach, but also an inspiring treatise on the challenges we all face in the 21st Century Global Economy.
The speaker focused on the fact that, in today’s world, we need to concern ourselves with connecting a completely new set of dot categories, or domains, that may be connected in an endless number of patterns. Each pattern is unique to the personality and personal goals of the individual citizen, and is also directly tied to the way each of us views our relationship to those around us.
Four of the currently popular “dots” requiring connection are:
  • Dot edu
  • Dot org
  • Dot com
  • Dot gov
The image of “dot connecting” now takes on a more global perspective. In this context we must learn how to connect the dot edu domain in our lives that provides us with the social skills, content knowledge, and ability to learn beyond formal education, to the dot org domain that will involve us in relationships, social organizations, cultural activities, religious activities that represent all aspects of our evolving personal contributions to society as a whole.
Next we must connect our dot edu and dot org experiences to the dot com domain in order to apply the learned skills and behavior to a pursuit (or multiple pursuits) resulting in employment, wealth creation (by whatever definition you choose), and the ability to make a positive contribution to society. Through our individual and collective contributions to our society (taxes) we will continue to generate public assets.
The final dot we must connect resides in the dot gov domain. As contributing citizens to the 21st century global economy, we must make this final connection in order to create, maintain and sustain the type of home, city, region, state and nation we want for our families and ourselves. The dot gov domain provides the environment that can encourage and facilitate the dot connecting process.
So there you have it. The ETC is your tool for connecting the dots that both define and empower us to leverage the ETC 10 Issues Process. Each of our Issues connect and reconnect these core “dots” at the speed of light in order to empower decision-makers, instructional professionals, students, and researchers in their vital quest for new knowledge. This knowledge will transform the world of today into the world of tomorrow bringing forth the “hidden image” that we all strive to see.
In summary, the “dots” of yesterday produced a predetermined image that was the same to every person who elected to pick up a pen and connect them. The result was wholly predictable.  Today, connecting our new “dots” will produce an “image” that is totally individual and rapidly changing. I challenge you to log-on to your ETC resources and get busy “connecting the dots”! The outcome is completely up to you and your critical role as a member of the ETC team.
The ACT and SAT: No Longer Just College Admission Tests
SREB’s policy brief, The ACT and SAT: No Longer Just College Admission Tests, offers analysis of ACT and SAT results from 2008 to 2013 in the SREB region. The brief focuses on the increase in test participation rates and points to policies that SREB states initiated that affected these rates. Five SREB states currently require 100 percent student participation on the ACT. Others include ACT results as part of their school accountability system.

2014 Legislative Report No. 4
Final legislative and budget actions in Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, notes from other SREB states.

Career-Tech Research Center Joins SREB
The National Research Center for Career and Technical Education has joined forces with SREB, bringing together two leading organizations focused on improving the quality of career-technical education in public high schools. 

Bruce Chaloux Memorial Conference Scholarship Fund 
BluDesygn Consulting LLC
The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) announces the creation of the Bruce Chaloux Memorial Conference Scholarship Fund. With the generous support of BluDesygn Consulting LLC, four conference scholarships will be awarded in memory of Dr. Bruce Chaloux, former CEO and Executive Director of OLC (formerly Sloan-C). The scholarship will cover a full conference registration ($695 value) to attend the 20th Online Learning Consortium International Conference. Any additional expenses such as hotel and travel will be the responsibility of the recipient. Read about eligibility and timeline.


Print vs. Digital and eBooks

Cutting Costs and Quality?
Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, September 2, 2014
An institution’s decision to drop print books for ebooks may rankle traditionalists, but at the University Colorado at Boulder, it’s the open-to-innovation crowd that is speaking out.
Readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper, study finds
Allison Flood, The Guardian, August 19, 2014
Students Retain More With Actual Books Than Devices?
Mollie McCarrick, TechFaster, August 22, 2014
The proponents of the traditional classroom and the edtech naysayers have been insisting over the past few years that students need to learn from actual books. Most feel that these more traditional educators just aren’t caught up with the times. But they’ve been screaming loudly.
Here at Techfaster we’ve seen first hand the effects of technology driven learning over traditional learning and are strong proponents of e-tech. However, new research may validate some of the naysayers when it comes to memory and plot retention.
The Guardian reports that “readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper” The study took place at an educational conference in Italy last month. 50 student readers were given the same short story by Elizabeth George to read. Half of the students read the 28-page story on Kindles while the other half read the story in a traditional paper book.
In this particular study; “The Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure, ie, when they were asked to place 14 events in the correct order.” Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University said.
Survey: Digital Textbooks Gaining Esteem in Student Eyes
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, September 2, 2014
Digital textbooks are becoming a bigger part of the vernacular in higher education. A recent survey showed that slightly more than three out of five students use interactive textbooks with features that include video, audio and quizzes; more than two out of five students work in courses that use apps, social media and online productivity tools; and one out of three students has attended flipped classrooms in which they watch video lectures before heading to class. About a quarter of students have attended some form of massive, open, online course.
Of those forms of technology students said the most helpful one is the interactive textbook. Of all the benefits of using a digital textbook, 31 percent reported the top one being that they make lessons easier to understand; 23 percent stated that they help students complete assignments more quickly; and 21 percent said they help students stay more organized.


Digital Literacy

New Digital Literacy Program Educates K-12 Students on Internet Safety
EdTech Focus on K-12
The free curriculum is designed to facilitate conversations between teachers and students about digital citizenship in the 21st century.


Community Colleges

Community College Research Center
Scout Report, Volume 20, No. 33
With the increasing cost of four-year colleges, as well as some stats that show wages of graduates from two-year colleges can outpace those with bachelor’s degrees, community colleges are becoming more popular every year. The Community College Research Center at Columbia University has its finger on the pulse of this trend. With a refreshingly open source attitude, the center offers recently published articles for free download. Current topics include “Evaluating Your College's Readiness for Technology Adoption” and “The Effects of English as a Second Language Courses on Language Minority Community College Students,” among many others. Educators and administers alike will benefit from this beautifully maintained and generously informative site.


Technology Integration

Technology Integration
Scout Report, Volume 20, No. 33
Technology has transformed education, yet questions about how to best integrate it into the classroom persist. This comprehensive site from Edutopia seeks to answer a number of perennial quandaries. For instance, which tools are most helpful to students? How should those tools be used? What limits should be placed on access? Educators will want to begin with the site’s Overview, which includes a well-produced five-minute introductory video. Next, the History section explores the last fifty years of integrating technology into the classroom, beginning with MIT professor, Seymour Papert. The Experts link features almost a dozen short articles by noted researchers in the field, and the Why section highlights reasons to integrate technology into your curriculum. Lastly, the Research link will take you to empirical studies from around the web.


Technology Trends

EdTech 10: What’s Trending
Getting Smart Staff, September 5, 2014
Tom Vander Ark kicked off the week discussing better access, next gen learning, and next gen PD–3 of 5 Big EdTech Trends. This week’s EdTech 10 shows what’s trending.
Technology Defines Much of Higher Education’s New Normal [#Infographic]
EdTech Focus on Higher Ed
Today’s college students have more options than their 1980s counterparts had, but their time is also stretched more thinly across the school day. A lot has changed about the typical college experience over the past 30 years.
A new infographic from Flat World Education highlights the differences in college costs, student demographics and factors affecting work-life balance, among other features of college life, between college students of the 1980s and those of today.

Virtual Learning

The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Scout Report, Volume 20, No. 33
Many experts believe distance learning will constitute a substantial slice of the higher education pie in the near future. Still, comparatively little research has been published on the topic. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance learning, a freely accessible e-journal based in Alberta, Canada, seeks to disseminate original research, theory, and best practice in open and distance learning worldwide. Special issues have covered such topics as “Open Education Resources: Opening Access to Knowledge” and “Towards a European Perspective on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS): The Past, the Present and the Future.” Featuring dozens of accessible, empirical articles, this academic journal is a welcome resource for anyone interested in online learning.


Blended Learning

What does a blended classroom look like?
Amy Murin, Keeping Pace, September 4, 2014
If a school is using blended learning in a transformative way, it is likely that classrooms will look different from a traditional set-up with rows of desks facing the teacher. The space must allow for independent work, small group instruction, and occasional full-group instruction, as well as the need for flexibility on any given day.
Decisions about physical space are driven first by the academic goals of the blended learning implementation, and then by the instructional approach being used by the program. For example, building an after school credit recovery program would suggest a different physical space than a blended middle school class. The 2013 Planning for Quality guide (also available inside Keeping Pace 2013) assists program leaders with the decision-making process, helping to refine academic goals and begin to give shape to the program.
25 Next Gen Tools for the Inquiry Classroom
Bonnie Lathram, Getting Smart, September 3, 2014
Next gen tools provide meaningful ways teachers and students can explore, question, reflect and share–leading to Deeper Learning and blended and personalized opportunities for students. Here are 25 ideas for using next gen tools this year in your classroom.
5 Accessible Design Tips for Blended Courses
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, September 3, 2014
Revamping a course to be accessible to students with physical or learning disabilities can help make it more accessible to everybody else too.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom: First Impressions 
Konrad M. Lawson, The Chronicle, August 26, 2014
Overall, beyond a clean interface, Google Classroom in its current form does not offer anything that Moodle, or a host of other LMS offerings do not already provide. The classroom stream can provide a central location for comments and quick updates, but if you already have a running Moodle class or another LMS through your institution, or even a WordPress blog with some educational or social plugins such as BuddyPress, it is hard, at this point, to see any justification to make the switch.
For those contemplating running Google Classroom on their own domain, should their institution not already provide Google Apps for Education to all its students and faculty, keep in mind that all students who join your course will also have to have user accounts configured in your system. As with all Google Apps services, this means that everyone will have to manage the switching between any personal Google account they primarily use, and the one specifically attached to the class. If you are considering Google Classroom, there is a nice in-depth review by Phil Hill on e-Literate, including some slides from a presentation by Meg Tufano.


Classroom Policy

Why I’m Asking You Not to Use Laptops
Anne Curzan, The Chronicle, August 25, 2014
I am far from alone in asking students not to use laptops (or phones) in class. Some of my colleagues, though, seem surprised that I don’t get pushback from students about this policy. I like to think it has something to do with my taking the time to explain my laptop policy for the class and then working hard to keep up my end of the contract. Follow her explanation.


Learning and Games

How Students Learn From Games
James M. Lang, The Chronicle, August 25, 2014
In the second of a three-part series, a professor looks at the use of simulation games in the classroom.
In last month’s column, I provided an introduction to Reacting to the Past, a teaching methodology pioneered by Mark Carnes at Barnard College in the 1990’s, and now spreading rapidly across higher education.
I promised that in this month’s column I would delve into the mechanics of teaching a Reacting game. I asked Kurt Squire to deepen my analysis by helping me to understand the connections between games and learning, identify what kinds of learning are best stimulated by games, and note the potential pitfalls of using games in the classroom.
In the finale of this three-part series, I will conclude by exploring more deeply the work of Mark Carnes, who has a new book out soon on Reacting. In that book, he offers a fascinating account of the history of subversive play in higher education, from students’ drinking rituals to fraternity hazing, and argues that role-immersion games like Reacting to the Past can help channel the energy that students put into those subversive role-play worlds into powerful learning experiences.


Future of Libraries?

How Streaming Media Could Threaten the Mission of Libraries 
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle, August 22, 2014
In March 2011, the University of Washington’s library tried to get a copy of a new recording of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, playing Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique that the library could lend to students. But the recording was available only as a digital download, and Amazon and iTunes forbid renting out digital files.
So the librarians contacted the Philharmonic to see if there was some way they could get a copy of the album that they could lend out like a compact disc. The orchestra referred them to a distributor, which referred them to the publisher, the Universal Music Publishing Group. At first the corporation said it couldn’t license the recording to the university, according to the librarians. Later it offered to license 25 percent of the album for two years in exchange for a licensing fee plus a $250 processing fee.
No thanks, the librarians said.
Welcome to content licensing, a great source of anxiety for librarians in the digital era. In previous decades the university librarians might have bought a CD of the album for $25 and kept it in circulation for as long as the disc remained viable.


Internet of Things

Cloud Infographic – What Is The Internet of Things?
Lilit Melkonyan, Cloud Tweaks, September 3, 2014
Included is a very in-depth infographic and look into the exciting world of The Internet of Things.
NIST Launches into the Internet of Things
Scott Loughlin, Chronicle of Data Protection, August 13, 2014
This week, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) convened the first face-to-face meeting of the cyber-physical systems public working group (CPS PWG) to develop and implement a new cybersecurity framework dedicated to cyber-physical systems (CPS), also known as the “Internet of Things.” Companies developing products and services involving CPS may consider participating in the CPS PWG, as participation in webinars and meetings is open and intended to be convenient. The group’s efforts may affect the legal landscape developing around CPS.
With $30 Million More in Hand, IFTTT Looks to the Internet of Things
Mike Isaac, The New York Times, August 28, 2014
One ambitious start-up wants to reroute the plumbing of the consumer Internet. Now it has the money to try to make it happen. The start-up, called IFTTT (pronounced like “gift” without the “g”), announced on Thursday it had raised $30 million in funding, its largest round yet, from the venture capital firms Norwest Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz.
If nothing else, IFTTT’s service is rather clever. The title is an acronym — short for “If This Then That” — which neatly describes the function of the product. It is essentially a giant switchboard to connect disparate services, anything from Facebook to text messages to telephone calls. Users can create “recipes” in which an action on one service can trigger an action on another entirely different service.



Broadband Poll: Strong Support For ARE-ON Expansion (UPDATED)
Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics, September 3, 2014
A statewide survey conducted last week found that a strong majority of Arkansans is persuaded by a variety of arguments to increase broadband access to K-12 schools and students.
The poll of 600 registered voters was conducted August 25-27 by Washington, D.C.-based Winston Group on behalf of FASTER Arkansas, a working group formed by Gov. Mike Beebe after education policymakers determined that most Arkansas schools did not have adequate broadband capabilities to participate in online Common Core testing or to take advantage of the internet for instructional purposes.
There are several key poll results from the FASTER survey.

Competency-based Learning

What’s New in Competency Education (Sept 5)
Chris Sturgis, Competency Works, September 5, 2014
Check the links to information for K-12 and Higher Education.



Learning Registry for Educators
The learning registry is a new approach to capturing, connecting and sharing data about learning resources available online with the goal of making it easier for educators and students to access the rich content available in our ever-expanding digital universe.
Check the Learning Registry page for educators! The goal of the Learning Registry is to help you access high-quality digital resources for use with your students. Browse by subjects and browse by standards.
Remind: Safe Classroom Communication
Remind (formerly Remind101) offers teachers a free, safe and simple way to instantly text students and parents. Teachers can send or schedule reminders, assignments, homework, assessments, or motivational messages directly to students' and parents' phones. Interactions are safe because phone numbers are always kept private, and messages are sent with no open replies. Teachers, students and parents can see messages from all their classes in one place. Remind 101 is designed for iPhone and iPad.
70 FREE Apps to Teach the Common Core
Class Tech Tips
Designed for K-8 and math, these can be used with students in whole class and small group activities aligned to the Common Core State Standards. For video explanations of how to use apps in your classroom, check out my online course and special promo code.
How To Use Google Voice In Education
Jen Roberts, Edudemic, April 5, 2014
Education is about communication, but few educators are willing to hand out their personal mobile number. With Google Voice you don’t have to. When you go to you can set up a new number with Google. It will ask you for a forwarding number. This must be an actual landline or mobile number in the US. (You can turn off the forwarding once you are set up.)
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