Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: June 5, 2012

Prepared by June Weis

New SREB Publication

News from SREB
Press Release, Atlanta, May 24, 2012
As Charter Schools Grow, Policy-Makers Need Answers
In less than 20 years, charter schools have grown from educational experiment into a high-profile part of education reform — but key questions remain unanswered about their effectiveness and impact on student performance, according to a new report from the Southern Regional Education Board: Charter Schools in SREB States: Critical Questions and Next Steps for States

SREB Ed Tech Webinar

Thursday, June 21 at 10am EST; we will have 2 presenters:
  • Lisa Gillis, of IES Strategies and chair of iNACOL’s Advocacy and Issues subcommittee, will give a brief overview of the 2012 legislative sessions in the SREB states.
  • Larry Raines, Program Administrator of Alabama’s state virtual school (Alabama ACCESS) will give an overview of the school.
To join the webinar, click on this link:

Other Webinars

eSchool News Webinars (archive)
A collection of archived Webinars from eSchool News in 2012.
Optimizing Learning with BYOD and Cloud Computing
Tech&Learning, June 7, 2012, 4 pm EST
In this webinar, you will learn how client-aware clouds can help optimize service delivery and improve the learner's experience.
Speak Up/Project Tomorrow and NSDL
Project Tomorrow's Julie Evans will do a webinar for NSDL on outcomes and trends from the 2011 Speak Up survey. Project Tomorrow annually conducts Speak Up surveys to teachers, students, parents, and administrators. Julie will highlight the significant trends in attitude, practice, and use of technology in education from these key educational stakeholders, with focus on personalizing the classroom experience, and new data on math instruction. Readytalk invitations for the session will be emailed by June 13. (Please email Eileen McIlvain if you would like to receive an invitation).

State Authorization — Latest update

Commission examining federal rule that could ‘impede access’ to online education
Dennis Carter, eCampus News, June 1, 2012
A group of influential policy makers will review a federal regulation that has drawn the scorn of online college officials who say the government rule could leave students in small states without access to web-based courses.
“State authorization” rules have been at the center of an ongoing debate among federal officials pushing colleges to register online programs in every state in which they operate, and campus decision makers who call the law onerous and overreaching.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) lost a court battle over the state authorization rules last year, but ED officials have continued to push for the regulations. And the U.S. House of Representatives in February voted to eliminate state authorization rules in a rare bipartisan vote.
State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) has announced the Formation of the Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education that will convene on June 12 in Washington DC.

The Learning Registry

The Learning Registry
The Learning Registry is a joint effort of the Department of Education and the Department of Defense, with support of the White House and numerous federal agencies, non-profit organizations, international organizations and private companies.
Key members of the collaboration are:
This effort, begun in 2010, is creating a set of technical protocols as a platform for innovation by content authors and aggregators. Applications built to harness the power of harvesting and analyzing the Learning Registry data will allow educators to quickly find content specific to their unique needs. The Learning Registry will store more than traditional descriptive data (metadata)--it will also allow sharing of ratings, comments, downloads, standards alignment, etc.
Check out the new paper, Building a Network of Resource-Sharing States: An Overview of the Learning Registry for State Decision Makers and Strategists.

Data Systems

The Closing the Gap: Turning SIS/LMS Data into Action project was inspired to address the continuing call for accountability in education. New layers of education policy and legislation require schools to collect, interpret and use a tremendous volume of data, and to convey their findings to variety of stakeholders. By providing these resources and reaching out to stakeholders, the project addresses increased accountability and moves beyond to envision a data-rich culture.
Closing the Gap; Turning Data into Action
In the current era of accountability, educators are increasingly called upon to make classroom-level data available, usable and relevant to inform and improve instructional practices. Student information systems (SIS) and learning management systems (LMS) are often viewed as the tools to provide the identified data elements and to generate the reports and analysis. Closing the Gap: Turning SIS/LMS Data into Action produces resources that provide education agencies with a vision of how to best review, procure and deploy SIS and LMS solutions to maximize their positive impact on instructional planning and practice.
Closing the Gap: Turning SIS/LMS Data into Action resources will be published to the educational community through the Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action Website. These foundational resources will include key findings and next step recommendations.
  • Report on Education Community Attitudes Toward SIS/LMS Solutions
  • Report on SIS/LMS Selection and Implementation Approaches
  • Report on SIS/LMS Vendor Product Features
  • Assistance Templates and Frameworks for SIS/LMS Adoption and Implementation
  • School District Case Studies
Gartner, Inc. surveyed District Leaders, School Leaders, Technology/IT Leaders, and Teachers in the U.S. K-12 education community to understand their attitudes toward the data housed in SIS and LMS solutions and how this data is currently used to improve classroom practice and student learning. That report was published in February: Education Community Attitudes Toward SIS/LMS Solutions.
The K-12 educational community is invited to join the Closing the Gap. Read about how to get involved in this program.
For more information about the development of Closing the Gap, see this announcement posted by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) last February. Closing the Gapis funded through the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Closing the Gap: Turning SIS/LMS Data into Action
WASHINGTON, DC (February 3, 2012) – In collaboration with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Gartner, Inc. has released the first two reports from the Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action program, titled:
  • Education Community Attitudes Toward SIS/LMS Solutions
  • Implementation and Selection Approaches Toward SIS/LMS Solutions
Gartner, Inc. requested input from a broad group of educators, including district leaders, school leaders, technology/IT leaders and teachers in the U.S. K-12 education community, on how data housed in student information systems (SIS) and learning management systems (LMS) can be used to improve teaching and learning. Each report provides key findings and next steps for the K-12 education and vendor communities to consider.
Gartner uncovered the following key findings from the Education Community Attitudes Toward SIS/LMS Solutions report:
  • District leaders, school leaders and teachers agree that existing SIS and LMS solutions do not fully meet the needs of the U.S. K-12 education community, and the current educational culture presents barriers to increased data and solution usage, and ultimately, student learning.
  • On the other hand, district leaders, school leaders and teachers disagree on their satisfaction with the solutions and training.
Data Systems That Enable School Leaders to Make a Difference
Provided by SAS
This white paper explains how Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, which had information from 80 schools spread across 22 databases, integrated its data resources to provide faster, more meaningful data that makes a difference in student performance and success...

Blended Learning

Classifying K-12 Blended Learning
Heather Staker and Michael B. Horn, Innosight, May, 2012
Innosight Institute’s report, Classifying K-12 blended learning, introduces a refined definition of blended learning and distinguishes blended learning from other education practices. It highlights four blended-learning models and sub-models that are appearing across the K-12 field and provides examples of schools and districts that have implemented them. As educators begin to converge on a shared language about the emerging phenomenon of blended learning, they will be better able to advance the pace and quality of the innovation.
In the white papers, titled The rise of K-12 blended learning and The rise of K-12 blended learning: Profiles of emerging models, we suggested a preliminary definition of blended learning and categorization structure. This white paper introduces a refined definition and description of models based on feedback from over 80 organizations and 100 educators who commented on the initial research.
Read John Watson’s comments about this report in the Keeping Pace blog.
Carpe Diem and Rocketship Expanding
Amy Murin, Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning, May 9, 2012
In the world of blended learning, few schools or management organizations have received more attention than Rocketship Education and Carpe Diem, both of which have been approved to open new schools in the Midwest. Both Rocketship and Carpe Diem rely on a mix of highly qualified teachers and technology-driven instruction to individualize the student learning experience.
Connections Education to Open New “Blended” High Schools for the 2012-2013 School Year
(Article from THE Journal posted below under Charter Schools)
Baltimore (May 21, 2012)— Connections Education, a leading provider of high-quality, highly accountable online and blended learning, will open high schools in Fall 2012 that offer students a comprehensive high school experience (including 18 Advanced Placement and many more honors level courses), in a more personalized, innovative and flexible school setting. The new Nexus Academy schools are tuition-free, open enrollment public high schools focused on college prep.

BYOD and Mobile Learning

Solving the Smart Device Dilemma; Understanding and Addressing IT Challenges in a BYOD World
(New white paper)
Tech&Learning, Aerohive, May 2012
Virtualization, cloud computing, and wireless technology are fundamentally changing enterprise computing, providing revolutionary gains in productivity and cost savings. These changes demand that IT organizations think strategically about their Wi-Fi infrastructures, so that they can maximize the benefits of mobility and virtualization while helping ensure the flexibility needed to accommodate rapid growth and changing user needs. This transformation presents multiple challenges. Find out what and how to solve them in this whitepaper.
Conquering Today's BYOD Challenges
Aruba Networks
This paper discusses the benefits and considerations associated with BYOD, and how organizations can effectively deploy a unified access management solution for any wireless, wired or VPN network.
The Teacher Report: 5 Ways to Make BYOD Work For You
WeAreTeachers Blog, April 11, 2012
Whether your district has an established bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy or whether you’re just beginning to explore the idea, here are some best practices for making BYOD a success.
The Mobile Learner; Learning and Teaching with Mobile Devices
Rob De Lorenzo (blog)
Check out this mobile learning Website.
Mobile Technology Can Be Assistive Technology
Clif’s Notes, May 17, 2012
“Mobile learning is seen by many as a disruptive technology. This is because it has been identified as a technology that holds great potential to transform the learning and teaching within a classroom. What follows is a mash-up presented at the NSWDEC 5th Biennial Equity Conference in 2011 which explains some of the issues.”

Digital Learning

Searching for the reality of virtual schools--at a glance
Center for Public Education
K-12 online learning is growing rapidly. Many players see opportunities in this burgeoning market and are pushing states and districts to expand their offerings of virtual courses and schools. They include the ed tech community; major education think tanks; school choice and home school advocates; and online learning providers, including several major software companies.
Yet there is little solid research on the impact of online courses or schools. In writing this paper, we found a few examples of online learning having a positive effect, but most of what we were able to uncover is not encouraging. At least not yet. In order to assure the public, parents and students that online learning produces the results we want, it’s imperative for school leaders and policymakers to educate themselves.
Read the full report.
Read comments about the report from Education Week Report: Full-Time Virtual Ed. Lacking Accountability
Katie Ash, Digital Education, Education Week, May 14, 2012
Although virtual schools continue to grow each year, more research and accountability is needed to foster and support effective online educational environments, says a new report from the National School Boards Association's Center for Public Education.
Full-time online schools have gained 50,000 more students in the past year alone, bringing the total number of students participating in such virtual learning environments up to 250,000, the report said.
However, the research on how successful those schools are is mixed, with the majority of research finding higher dropout rates and lower test scores for full-time online students than their counterparts in brick-and-mortar schools. On the other hand, two small-scale studies found that online students actually had higher rates of academic growth, suggesting that online learning can be an effective way of educating students.
Going the Distance
John K. Waters, Campus Technology, June 2, 2012
As demand rises -— and technology and course design improve  — distance-learning programs are taking off at traditional brick-and-mortar schools.
Digital Learning is Critical for Move to Learner-Centered Instruction
(New report from Digital Learning Now)
Getting Smart Staff, May 31, 2012
Washington, DC – Preparing all students to succeed in today’s increasingly complex world requires a shift from a teacher-centric culture to learner-centered instruction that recognizes students’ individual learning needs, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education.
The report, Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered by Digital Learning, examines the support that educators and schools will require to implement genuine teaching practices that are personalized for each student. Digital learning, the report argues, can be a major strategy for enabling teachers to meet varied students’ needs while also supporting necessary cultural shifts in teaching.
Virginia’s new high school graduation requirement: One online course
Emma Brown, Washington Post, April 06, 2012
Virginia joins several other states, including Idaho and Florida, which have adopted online-course graduation requirements in recent years. An Act to amend and reenact §§ 22.1-253.13:4 and 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia, relating to secondary school graduation requirements; diplomas.
Personalizing the Classroom Experience – Teachers, Librarians and Administrators Connect the Dots with Digital Learning
Speak Up 2011 National Findings K-12 Educators, May 2012
This is the second in a two part series to document the key national findings from Speak Up 2011. This report focuses on how today’s educators are personalizing the learning process for students. The ways that educators are personalizing learning centers around their own experiences with online learning, socially-based media and digital content - much like the students in their own classrooms are already doing! The key questions being addressed in this report include:
  • What are educators’ experiences with online learning?
  • How does it inform their perspectives on student learning?
  • What policies and practices are administrators considering around the “Bring Your Own Technology” movement?
  • How do we transform the classroom from a “one size fits all” model to a truly individualized learning experience for students?
In the first report published in April on the Speak Up 2011 National Findings from K-12 students and their parents, Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey – K-12 Students and Parents Connect the Dots with Digital Learning, explored how many students are already personalizing their education outside of school through the use of a wide range of emerging technologies.
Speak Up/Project Tomorrow and NSDL
Project Tomorrow's Julie Evans will do a webinar for NSDL on outcomes and trends from the 2011 Speak Up survey. Project Tomorrow annually conducts Speak Up surveys to teachers, students, parents, and administrators. Julie will highlight the significant trends in attitude, practice, and use of technology in education from these key educational stakeholders, with focus on personalizing the classroom experience, and new data on math instruction. Readytalk invitations for the session will be emailed by June 13. (Please  Eileen McIlvain if you would like to receive an invitation).

Charter Schools

Read comments about Pearson’s new school in THE Journal:
Pearson’s Virtual School Operator Opening Physical High Schools
Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal, May 29, 2012
Education publishing and technology company, Pearson will be opening physical versions of its virtual schools in five cities starting in August 2012. Connections Education, a business Pearson acquired in September 2011, has announced plans to create Nexus Academy charter schools in three cities in Ohio and two cities in Michigan, catering to grades 9 through 12. Up to now, Connections Ed has focused on providing virtual school options for traditional school districts and other education entities.
The new schools will be tuition-free and open enrollment public high schools, limited to serving between 250 and 300 students….

Higher Education Costs

4 Ways Technology Can Reduce Higher Ed Costs
Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed, May 22, 2012
Every project that technology touches (which now means most things we do in higher ed) should be looked at through the lenses of quality, access and costs.  It is no longer adequate to address one or two legs of this three-legged stool
The Cost of College
Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker, May 28, 2012
This graduation season, the national conversation seems to be going into apocalypse mode about the cost of higher education. Tuition has been rising faster than the inflation rate for years, even through the Great Recession. State governments are cutting funding, and thus pushing more students into the loan market. Student-loan debt is also rapidly rising. Hundreds of thousands of students start college every year, but only about three-fifths get a degree. The job market for graduates is weak. Two years ago, Steve Eisman, the investor who made a fortune shorting subprime mortgages, gave a speech, entitled “Subprime Goes to College,” in which he predicted a 2008-style meltdown at for-profit universities, driven by systemic defaults on student loans. That prediction is now being applied to traditional colleges, too. Why, then, are both (presidential) candidates proposing to further inflate a bubble that’s about to burst?
What Will $10,000 Get Me? ($10,000 degree)
Kevin Kiley, Inside Higher Ed, May 9, 2012
Several Texas universities have set up programs to meet the governor’s $10,000-degree challenge, but experts question whether the programs are subsidized by fellow students who pay more and whether these programs can ever have a broad impact.

The Flipped Classroom — Universal Design

UDL and The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture
Jackie Gerstein, blog
In response to all of the attention given to the flipped classroom, I proposed The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture and The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture for Higher Education in which the viewing of videos (often discussed on the primary focus of the flipped classroom) becomes a part of a larger cycle of learning based on an experiential cycle of learning.

Social Media

50 Higher Ed Admins Worth Following On Twitter
Jeff Dunn, Edudemic, May 29, 2012
Here, you’ll find a list of college professors, provosts, chancellors, and deans who are using Twitter to connect with other higher ed professionals, share information about their schools, build a stronger relationship with their communities, and sometimes, just to have fun. Give them a read to get connected with these administrators and to learn more about what it takes to make a college or university work.

Top 10 Twitter Accounts to Follow For Education Technology
Laura Bates, Fractus Learning, May 25, 2012
To save you the time and energy, we’ve combed Twitter for 10 of the very best educators to follow for fantastic, up-to-the minute news, resources and tips on education technology.
100 (Updated) Ways To Use Facebook In Your Classroom
Terry Heick, Edudemic, May 22, 2012
Back in 2009, we wrote a popular post, 100 Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom. Now almost three years later, educators are still finding great ideas for putting Facebook to work on our list. But at the same time, Facebook has changed so much, and the site has even more to offer for the classroom. So we’ve compiled a fresh batch of ways to make Facebook work in your classroom, some tried and true, and others that have evolved with Facebook.
Teachers' Comprehensive Guide to The Use of Social Networking in Education
Mohamed Kharbach, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2012
Part 1 begins with a history of how we got “here” via the Internet and proceeds to discuss reasons why we should embrace social networking in education and benefits for students and teachers. Part 2, Top 25 Social Networks for Educators and Part 3, Teachers Guide to the Use of Linkedin have been posted.
How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School
Steven Anderson, Edutopia
Get the seven steps (and a roundup of valuable resources) you need to help bring social media in your classroom. The guide, part of a collaboration between Edutopia and Facebook, lists steps teachers should take to introduce a formal social media policy–a document that states, in very specific terms, how teachers and students should behave while using social media.

Diigo is a free social bookmarking, research, and knowledge sharing tool created to mimic the ease of taking notes while providing a network for sharing and discovering information.
What Does Diigo Do? Diigo allows you to take personal notes and highlight text information on web pages just as you would on a piece of paper. You can then bookmark and save this information for further review, while adding tags to keep everything organized.
Check out Diigo bookmarks on George Siemens’ Website (

Quick Guide: How to Speak ‘Twitter’
Terry Heick, Edudemic, May 17, 2012

Okay, let’s start at the very beginning for those shrewd late adopters who don’t use certain technology until it’s absolutely ridiculous not to. With twitter, we may have reached that point–that critical mass where you should at least get on board to fully understand what it is you’re rejecting. 

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

There's a whole lot of MOOC'en going on!
Curtis Bonk, blog
Continued from last WON…Seems much is happening in the MOOC (i.e., Massive Open Online Course) world and in open education in general. Curtis gives his own way of dealing with the abundance of information to read, watch and listen every week. Focus is on edX (Harvard and MIT) and other ventures like Udacity, Coursera, etc.
Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
Dr. Charles Severance University of Michigan, Slideshare, May 2012
A good visual overview and history of MOOCs.

Common Core

Common Core backlash continues
John Watson, Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning, May 10, 2012
Back in December we wrote about the early and emerging backlash against the Common Core State Standards that we were seeing. For an updated and more in-depth look at these issues, see the recent Wall Street Journal article “School-Standards Pushback: Conservative Groups Oppose National ‘Common Core’ as an Intrusion on States.” John notes that ALEC is set to vote in opposition to Common Core, but apparently that has not taken place yet, or if it will.
How Much Will the Common Core Cost?
Catherine Gewertz, Education Week, May 30, 2012
States face key spending decisions as they implement the Common Core State Standards, and a new study finds that they could save about $927 million—or spend as much as $8.3 billion—depending on the approaches they choose in three vital areas: curriculum materials, tests, and professional development.
The report Putting a Price Tag on the Common Core: How Much Will Smart Implementation Cost? by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, issued today, examines the net costs of three hypothetical transition routes to the new standards in mathematics and English/language arts.
Common Core Will Save Not Cost Billions
Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart, May 30, 2012
(Tom reacts to the article above.)
Common Core State Standards lift expectations and create opportunity to compare results and share tools—a terrific set of benefits that America will reap for years.
Fordham released a report today on the Cost of Implementing the Common Core. They concluded that states could save about $1 billion if they take full advantage of digital assessments and materials.
In her coverage, Catherine Gewertz of EdWeek, feels obligated to give airtime to the boneheaded Pioneer report that claims the Common Core will cost billions….
10 Steps for Migrating Curriculum to Common Core
Provided by Acheive3000
Based on insights from leading K-12 experts and curriculum developers, this new white paper identifies the key steps for successful migration to the Common Core. Steps include performing gap analyses to determine how your state standards differ from the new Common Core standards and creating a repository of lessons plans to fill curricular gaps for...
Incoming College Board Head Wants SAT to Reflect Common Core
Catherine Gewertz, Education Week, May 16, 2012
One of the chief architects of the Common Core State Standards, David Coleman, was named the next president of the College Board today and said one of his top priorities is to reshape the organization’s influential college-admissions test, the SAT, to better reflect the new standards.
Read comments by staff of Getting Smart about Coleman’s appointment.

Landmark Copyright Lawsuit

COPYRIGHT DISPUTE; Ga. digital case has vast reach
Bill Rankin, Laura Diamond; Staff, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 15,2012
Landmark lawsuit tests 'fair use,' key way colleges teach.
A federal judge in Atlanta has ruled mostly in favor of Georgia State University in a copyright case that would allow professors to continue posting excerpts of published works online for their students.
In a case closely watched by academia and publishers, Senior U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans rejected 69 copyright claims filed by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publications. She found that Georgia State had violated copyright infringement law by using five excerpts from four books.
The suit was the first of its kind in the country and examined a key way college professors teach and students learn in the digital age. In the lawsuit, publishers accused Georgia State of "massive" copyright violations for allowing professors to download and reproduce excerpts from published works for course materials without getting publishers' permission or paying licensing fees.
The decision, if upheld on appeal, means students will continue to have easy access to excerpted academic and scholarly material posted in online reading rooms managed by colleges.
Read comments about this ruling for K-12 in eSchool News, Court: Schools can publish small excerpts of texts online for students

Open Education Resources

Running a School on Open Educational Resources
Bridget McCrea, THE Journal, May 09, 2012
Open educational resources are a mainstay at Open High School of Utah, a Salt Lake City, UT-based public charter school that opened its virtual doors to students in 2009. Free for students, the institution was founded by David Wiley, an associate professor of instructional psychology and technology at Brigham Young University and the founder of
Wiley said he wanted to create a school that relied completely on open content for its instructional subject matter. His vision is playing out successfully at Open High School, which gleans about 90 percent of its coursework from such resources.

Obstacles to Faculty Adoption of OER and Open Textbooks
Rob Reynolds, The Learning Lot, May 15, 2012
It's certainly interesting to note the effect that e-books and self-publishing have had on the trade fiction industry. The digital evolution has resulted in an overhaul of publishing processes, an upheaval of traditional supply chain roles, and a complete change in value and pricing. He focuses on the primary differences in e-textbooks and trade e-books and what it will take to drive faculty adoption of OER and open textbooks.

Vetting Future Textbooks

Who Will Vet the Textbooks of the Future?
Geoffrey H. Fletcher, THE Journal, May 16, 2012
Because Texas is one of the country’s largest single markets for textbooks, in the past the outcome of those hearings and the education board’s deliberation have affected schools and students from Alaska to Alabama--but things are changing. Beginning this year that impact will be diminished due to changes in Texas state law that will allow school districts to select their own textbooks, even if the state board deems them unacceptable. The local superintendent and school board must certify that the district is teaching all the state standards and has sufficient materials to do so, but that is their only limitation. Read more about the greater impact.

Another Digital Divide

Wasting Time Is New Divide in Digital Era
Matt Richtel, New York Times, May 29, 2012
As access to devices has spread, children in poorer families are spending considerably more time than children from more well-off families using their television and gadgets to watch shows and videos, play games and connect on social networking sites, studies show.
This growing time wasting gap, policy makers and researchers say, is more a reflection of the ability of parents to monitor and limit how children use technology than of access to it.
“So often we have parents come up to us and say, ‘I have no idea how to monitor Facebook,’ ” she said.
The new divide is such a cause of concern for the Federal Communications Commission that it is considering a proposal to spend $200 million to create a digital literacy corps. This group of hundreds, even thousands, of trainers would fan out to schools and libraries to teach productive uses of computers for parents, students and job seekers.


My Favourite Plagiarism Checker Tool (Great for Teachers and Students)
Mohamed Kharbach, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2012
Plagtracker is a great plagiarism checker that I personally prefer over all the other tools. This is a web-based service, which means that you do not need to download or install any software. It does not even require any sign up or registration. All you need to do is head over to its homepage and paste the text you want to check. Plagtracker will instantly start scanning all Internet pages and more than 20 million academic works for any plagiarized copy. After the scan is over (it normally takes a minute or two) you will then be provided with a detailed report containing information about sections of the scan that needs to be cited and list of sources.

Why Technology?

SETDA Releases Report On K-12 Infrastructure Needs
Getting Smart Staff, May 21, 2012
(Washington, D.C.) Today the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released The Broadband Imperative: Recommendations to Address K-­‐12 Education Infrastructure Needs. This report examines current trends driving the need for more broadband in teaching, learning and school operations; provides state and district examples of the impact of robust deployment of broadband; and offers specific recommendations for the broadband capacity needed to ensure all students have access to the tools and resources they need to be college and career ready.
Use Technology to Upend Traditional Classrooms
Justin Riech, Education Week, May 21, 2012
"Do schools spend huge sums on technology to do different things or to do the same things faster?" The most interesting debate in education technology today is not about tablets vs. laptops or school-supplied tablets vs. bring-your-own-device scenarios. The choice is really between two metaphors and two visions of education—the factory vs. the creative agency. My hunch is that teachers and school leaders would almost universally agree that we hope our students are prepared to work in creative agencies rather than on assembly lines. Educators need to decide whether their technology investments are intended to speed up an old model of education or to fashion a new one.
How Technology is Changing Students Study Habits
Mohamed Kharbach, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2012
Here is a good infographic on how technology is changing college life.
6 Emerging Technologies From the 2012 K-12 Horizon Report
Tanya Roscoria, Converge, May 16, 2012
In the next year or so, the Horizon Report suggests that mobile devices and apps as well as tablet computing will enter the mainstream in K-12 education.
(The NMC Horizon Report > 2012 K-12 Edition is a collaborative research effort between the NMC, the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). This report will be officially released in June at the 2012 NMC Summer Conference in Boston, hosted by MIT.) The report highlights three schools that have changed their policies so students can use mobile devices: Forsyth County Schools in Georgia, New Milford High School in New Jersey and Osseo Area Schools in Minnesota.


Repositioning NSDL for Next Generation
NSDL, May 31, 2012
A dissemination site for progress and news on NSDL's grant from the National Science Foundation: Repositioning NSDL for the Next Generation of Digital Learning (DUE #1144560). Period of Performance: October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2013.
This is a very important resourcefor expanded key elements of recent NSDL work to additional cross-network partnerships, including Pathways and other NSDL partners, for long-term sustainability. If you want information about alignment to standards, STEM, project partners, policies and guidelines, and draft guidelines in development for Common Core collection building, then this is an important resource for you.

For IT Leaders

Breaking the Ice
David Raths, Campus Technology, May 01, 2012
6 ideas to help vendors and IT leaders forge a more productive relationship.

Just for Fun

15 Current Technologies A Child Born Today Will Never Use
Avram Piltch,, May 13, 2012
The author is not talking about long dead-and-buried technologies such as the VHS recorder or the 35mm camera. Rather, he is thinking about devices and concepts most of us use today that will fall out of mainstream use so soon that these young children won’t remember them, or will only have very hazy memories of having lived with them.

32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow
Maggie Koerth-Baker,New York Times, June 2, 2012
The fairy-tale view of history implies that innovation has an end. It doesn’t. What we want and what we need keeps changing. The incandescent light was a 19th-century failure and a 20th- century success. Now it’s a failure again, edged out by new technologies, like LEDs, that were, themselves, failures for many years.
That’s what this issue is about: all the little failures, trivialities and not-quite-solved mysteries that make the successes possible. This is what innovation looks like. It’s messy, and it’s awesome.


Paperless grading is finally here! GradeMark saves instructors time and provides richer feedback to students by enabling editorial highlights, custom comments, and QuickMark editing marks directly on the student papers.
MentorMob: What’s On Your Playlist?
Alison Anderson, Getting Smart, May 31, 2012
A few months ago, I discovered MentorMob (MM), which allows any user to create “learning playlists” to share or open up to other fellow learners who might want to add or edit the content in the playlist. The end product is the ultimate learning tool for students, especially when the playlist is populated with high-quality content, including visual, audio and interactive elements. I started to experiment on the site and quickly discovered how easy it is to do on MM, which is incredible for teachers. My mind started to spin. Suggestions for use are included.
Game-based learning catching on in schools
eSchool News, May 8, 2012
Known as Quest Atlantis, the multi-user, 3-D interactive space allows students to direct avatars on screen through different environments to solve missions based on academic concepts and social skills. Chat windows allow them to engage with classmates’ digital personas, and with the avatars representing students working simultaneously in different states or different countries.
Sentences Crisp, Sassy, Stirring
Constance Hale, Opinionator, New York Times, May 28, 2012
This is the sixth in a series of writing lessons by the author, starting with the basics and leading to more advanced techniques.
Memplai Easily Create Videos for your Classroom
Mohamed Kharbach, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2012
Memplai is a new website I have recently discovered. It is basically a video- creating utility that allows users to easily create intuitive videos for free. I think Memplai is very much similar to WeVideo, which is another video editing tool I have covered in an earlier post in Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.
Memplai has a collaborative feature that is ideal for students. They can work in pairs to create their own video clips to share with others. The process is very easy and does not require any advanced technology skills.
i-Spot can best be described as social networking for nature lovers. People take photos of wildlife and upload them to the site, where other people, if needs be, can identify the subject. The site includes keys to help you identify what you’re looking at. So this ties in with science, IT (databases), geography and possibly even Citizenship. There’s a mobile app being launched for the general public on 6th June. So imagine being on a field trip and having your students, each with their own mobile phone, taking photos, sharing their findings in real time, and recording data in a very engaging way (digital photography).
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