Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: August 23, 2013

Prepared by June Weis
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New Initiative Aids Postsecondary Distance Education
SREB, August 5, 2013
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and its partners — including SREB — have been awarded a $2.3 million grant from Lumina Foundation for a national initiative that will make distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines, as well as making it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) will create interstate reciprocity in the regulation of postsecondary distance education.
“States, institutions and especially students will find SARA to be of great value,” says David Spence, SREB’s president. “For many students, online classes are key to finishing their course work and graduating, both of which are critical to SREB’s work in helping states increase college completion rates and have a better educated workforce.” See WICHE’s press release.
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative — Top 10 Educational Technology Issues
ETC has been working with colleagues to identify the Top Ten Educational Technology Issues. Four of these issues will be on topic at the annual meeting in September: Data Analytics, Bandwidth, Quality Instruction and Professional Development.

Top-Ten IT Issues: EDUCAUSE

Top-Ten IT Issues, 2013: Welcome to the Connected Age
Susan Grajek, EDUCAUSEReview, June 3, 2013
EDUCAUSE presents the top-ten IT-related issues facing higher education institutions. In this article, members of the 2012-2013 EDUCAUSE IT Issues Panel frame each issue with discussion and a set of strategic questions.


ConnectED – Making it Happen
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
2:00 – 3:30 PM, EDT
Next week, The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will be hosting a webinar on President Obama’s ConnectEd Initiative for CCI, SBA, PCC and SBI recipients. Please mark your calendars for the event.
Registration:  Conference #: 800-369-3337 Participant Code: 5967403
This webinar will discuss the White House’s recently set goal to connect 99 percent of America’sstudents to ultra-fast broadband within five years. President Obama’s ConnectED initiative ( envisions Internet speeds of 100 megabits per second to 1 Gigabit per second to K-12 schools and libraries across the nation. This webinar will contribute to the conversation about how best to realize this vision, including core concepts such as cost effectiveness, aggregating demand, and public-private partnerships among others.

Big Data

Stats in schools: what data lessons can education learn from baseball?
Andy Kerwood, The Guardian, July 17, 2013
Watching the Brad Pitt film Moneyball reminded assistant head Andy Kerwood about the power of data in schools, but also of the perils of winning over skeptical staff.
Ethics, Big Data, and Analytics: A Model for Application
James E. Willis, III, John P. Campbell, and Matthew D. Pistilli, EDUCAUSEReview, May 6, 2013
The use of big data and analytics to predict student success presents unique ethical questions for higher education administrators relating to the nature of knowledge; in education, "to know" entails an obligation to act on behalf of the student. The Potter Box framework can help administrators address these questions and provide a framework for action.

The Implications of Big Data and Education: Reforming Grading
Kristen Swanson, blog, July 25, 2013
Importantly, modern tools of the digital era have shifted the ways that we perceive and collect data. It is much, much easier to collect increasingly large quantities of data. Calls, texts, tweets, and swipes are recorded in databases across the world, creating a complex tapestry of human interactions with society. However, as data sets gets larger, it also gets messier. Because the size is so massive, messiness can be tolerated. In many cases, a large, messy set of data actually returns more accurate results when compared to a very precise random sample.
So what does this mean for grading? Big data theories suggest that an effective description of student performance is best generated from a large, messy set of data. Carefully selecting 5-6 "grades" per semester results in a precise, yet ineffective picture of a child. Big data trends indicate that we will be able to capture hundreds and thousands of data points about a student as they learn. From this large, messy set of data, we'll be able to extract high-level themes, provide targeted feedback, and accelerate progress. Read more….


DLN: The Essential Guide To E-Rate
Digital Learning Now, August 5, 2013
Seventeen years after the inception of the program, times have changed, and the needs of schools have changed, but E-Rate has largely stayed the same. A bipartisan consensus has formed around the need to reevaluate the goals and methods of this program, and the FCC has officially kicked off the Notice of Rule Making Process for modernizing E-Rate. To provide background and a foundation for this discussion, an E-rate Policy Brief has been compiled.

Deeper Learning

Roadtrip Nation Releases Deeper Learning Report
Katie Vander Ark, Getting Smart, August 14, 2013
Roadtrip Nation launched into the education field in 2008 as a school-based program for students to “define their own roads in life”. To date, over 100,000 students from over 1,800 schools across 22 states have participated in the Roadtrip Nation Experience.
To show that deeper learning has occurred over the several years of the programs existence, Roadtrip Nation with support by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation released Journey Toward Deeper Learning: An Evaluation of the Roadtrip Nation Experience. This deep dive evaluates their high school program and implementation in three San Jose Unified School District PLUS Academies during 2011-2012.
Deeper Learning
Alliance for Excellent Education
Deeper Learning is about delivering rigorous core content to students in innovative ways that allow them to learn, apply what they have learned, and demonstrate mastery. See more at:
Deeper Learning
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Deeper learning delivers the skills and knowledge students will need to succeed in a world that is changing at an unprecedented pace. Deeper learning prepares students to:
  • Master core academic content
  • Think critically and solve complex problems
  • Work collaboratively
  • Communicate effectively
  • Learn how to learn (e.g., self-directed learning)

Managing Your K-12 Network

Is Your K-12 Network Ready for Next-Generation Learning?
Center for Digital Education (paper sponsored by CDW-G and Cisco)
This Center for Digital Education issue brief walks you through the successful actions taken by two school districts to show how you can ready your network to become a platform for next-generation learning. It also offers 11 invaluable network upgrade tips.

Security: Higher Ed

Top 2 Information Security Challenges for Higher Education
Center for Digital Education (paper sponsored by Dell)
Higher education institutions face common information security issues – tight budgets, mobile devices, low awareness of security risks. These common challenges make these institutions easy targets for hackers. 

Mobile Technology

Mobile Technology Use in K-12 Schools
eSchool News, July 15, 2013, Whitepaper
Mobile technology is on the rise. Worldwide, tablet sales grew about 70 percent from 2012 to 2013 and are projected to surpass the sale of laptops and desktops by 2015. In this rapidly changing technology environment, how are U.S. school districts adapting? This report summarizes the findings of a national survey of K-12 leaders on their adoption of mobile technology, their key challenges -- and how they are overcoming these.

MOOCs Continued

MOOCs are Maturing
WCET Learn, Guest blogger: Ray Schroeder, posted by Russ Poulin, August 8, 2013
What will this adolescent, MOOC, become when it grows up? Some key traits are apparent even at this early point in the development of this movement. MOOCs, by definition, reach massive audiences. Where there are massive audiences, there are efficiencies that may be had, and there is money to be made through advertising. MOOCs are pioneering new modes of assessment that may be applicable across all of education.
Master’s Degree Is New Frontier of Study Online
Tamar Lewin, New York Times, August 17, 2013
Next January, the Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a master’s degree in computer science through massive open online courses for a fraction of the on-campus cost, a first for an elite institution. If it even approaches its goal of drawing thousands of students, it could signal a change to the landscape of higher education.
Note on Virtual U. This is the fourth article in a series that is examining free online college-level classes and how they are transforming higher education. Previous articles in the series:

Digital Learning

Academic Integrity: Florida Virtual School’s Systematic and Scalable Solutions
WCET Learn, Angela Anastacio (FLVS), posted by Russ Poulin, August 21, 2013
Thanks to Angela Anastacio, Academic Integrity Manager for Florida Virtual School, for her guest blog on the ways they prevent and deal with cheating on academic assessments. Florida Virtual School served more than 148,000 students in 2011-12.  While they serve K-12 students, I believe that many of their lessons are applicable in a higher education environment, as well. (Russ Poulin)
Evidence of outcomes in online learning: education management organizations are getting better at sharing their results
John Watson, Keeping Pace, August 13, 2013
Although I was quite critical of the NEPC report in my previous post, I appreciate the report’s highlighting of the shortage of good information on outcomes being reported by states. In the absence of good state reporting, we are beginning to see some data being published by education management organizations such as Connections Education (disclosure: Connections is an Evergreen client).
He provides some encouraging data on the topic in this article: Challenges in Measuring Online School Performance.
Cajon Valley Union School District: Changing the Culture of Learning to Empower Students
Alliance for Excellence for Education, May 2013
This interactive video profile is the second in a series of real-life practical stories about how district and school leaders are improving student-learning outcomes through the effective use of digital learning. Much more than “online learning,” digital learning is defined as “any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience,” and encompasses a wide spectrum of tools and practices.
Critical elements include an emphasis on high-quality instruction and access to challenging content, feedback through formative assessment, opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere, and individualized instruction to ensure that all students reach their full potential to succeed in college and a career. It is important to note that the strategies will look different in each district setting, and that they are constantly evolving.
Florida Virtual School, Other E-Schools Face Difficult Times
Benjamin Herold, Digital Education, August 13, 2013
Virtual schools in Florida, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee are facing enrollment challenges and tough questions. Here's a roundup of some recent news reports.
The Economist provides an excellent primer for those new to eLearning
Keeping Pace, John Watson, August 8, 2013
The articles provide an excellent primer for anyone who is not yet very familiar with the issues in online and blended learning. In particular, the articles touch on different types of online and blended learning, and discuss why the authors believe that technology will (this time) truly transform education, after many false starts with previous technologies. In this regard the articles build on the work of the Christensen Institute.
“More American Parents Customize Their Coffee Than Their Child’s Education”
John Watson, Keeping Pace, August 21, 2013
Give K12 Inc. credit for a creative headline and opening to the press release about its recent poll: 39% of parents in the U.S. customize their coffee, and only 29% customize their children’s education.
I expect that some people will dismiss the findings, because of the source, and perhaps because of the methodology, which is explained as an “online survey…not based on a probability sample.” Other readers will question whether only 39% of adults customize their coffee. Does that mean that 61% of coffee drinkers take their coffee however it’s handed to them? I find that hard to believe.
Still, many of the other findings ring true and provide a valuable reminder that online courses, and fully online schools in particular, are not well recognized and understood by many educators, families, and policymakers. Read more….
Online Learning in West Virginia...
Curtis Bonk, TravelinEdMan, blog, July 10, 2013
Thinking Back to my West Virginia Days...
A few weeks ago, one of my former students from my days at West Virginia University (WVU) over 2 decades wrote me (1989-1992). His name is Dr. Budd Sapp. Budd was in my class on critical and creative thinking one summer back in 1990 or 1991. It was the first time that I taught my instructional strategies course. Bud is now Professor at Fairmont State University in Fairmont, West Virginia.
Budd said, "I am part of a team who is teaching in a Certificate of Online Teaching (COT) professional development program – which is now being offered to professors throughout the state of WV. The Introduction to Online Learning class that we are teaching has an Online Course Management Module which features your YouTube Video related to “Managing an Online Class” – we also have an “Ask the Expert” Discussion in the Module as well - that is where the favor request comes in – We would like you to be the “Expert”"
I agreed to answer questions from Budd's class. I put some of their general questions (not the entire post) below with my quick responses.
New Initiative Aids Postsecondary Distance Education
SREB, August 5, 2013
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and its partners — including SREB — have been awarded a $2.3 million grant from Lumina Foundation for a national initiative that will make distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines, as well as making it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) will create interstate reciprocity in the regulation of postsecondary distance education.
“States, institutions and especially students will find SARA to be of great value,” says David Spence, SREB’s president. “For many students, online classes are key to finishing their course work and graduating, both of which are critical to SREB’s work in helping states increase college completion rates and have a better educated workforce.” See WICHE’s press release.

Direct2Degree: Kentucky

Direct2Degree: College One Course at a Time
James Selbe and Sandy Cook, EDUCAUSEReview, August 5, 2013
Key Takeaways
  • In its existing program, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System offers students enhanced schedule flexibility and modular courses that they can start at any time.
  • To achieve both higher student retention and faster degree completion, the new Direct2Degree model builds on this existing flexibility and lets students take one full-time course at a time.
  • Students in competency-based environments need financial aid that mimics their progress, not a college calendar; the KCTCS is currently assessing alternative financial assistance models that better meet these needs.
  • Direct2Degree is designed to utilize a monthly subscription model for tuition because the faster students move toward a degree, the more money they save.

Connected Educators

Connected Educators
In collaboration with a wide range of educational organizations and educators, the Connected Educators project is increasing the quality, accessibility, and connectedness of existing and emerging online communities of practice.
The 2010 National Education Technology Plan demonstrates the importance of educators becoming more connected to resources, tools, colleagues, experts, and learning activities, both within and beyond schools. Participation in online communities of practice is a key way educators connect. Robust online participation contributes both to individual excellence and to the vitality of the profession as a whole. The Connected Online Communities of Practice project (COCP) will steward a scalable, sustainable ecology of online communities in education to improve teacher and leader effectiveness, enhance student learning and and increase productivity.
Sign up to participate, receive updates about Connected Educator Month, the CEM Kickoff and the Connected Educators initiative.

Notes on Common Core

The Common Core and the Common Good
Charles Blow, New York Times, August 22, 2013 (Opinion)
This opinion column recaps statistics related to state of education and offers a plea for Common Core implementation.
Our educational system is not keeping up with that of many other industrialized countries, even as the job market becomes more global and international competition for jobs becomes steeper.
… we need a national standard for what the kind of education that we want our children to receive. Our educational system has become so tangled in experiments and exams and excuses that we’ve drifted away from the basis of what makes education great: learning to think critically and solve problems.

Project Tomorrow

Project Tomorrow/Speak Up
Speak Up 2013 will open October 2 – December 20, 2013
Speak Up, a national online research project facilitated by Project Tomorrow®, gives students, teachers, parents, school/district/technology administrators, and community members the opportunity to share their unfiltered viewpoints about key educational issues, particularly concerning 21st century education and technology. Each year, findings are summarized and shared with national and state policy makers. Participating schools and districts can access their data online, free-of-charge in early February.


Federal Registry for Educational Excellence (beta)
Browse by subject; brose by Standard. The Federal Registry for Educational Excellence (FREE) makes it easier to find digital teaching and learning resources created and maintained by the federal government and public and private organizations.
The U.S. Department of Education does not mandate or prescribe particular curricula or lesson plans. This site contains links to learning resources created and maintained by other public and private organizations. This information is provided for the visitor’s convenience and is included here as an example of the many resources that educators may find helpful and use at their option. The U.S. Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information.
The Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf: 100 Must-Reads For Kids 9-14
NPR, August 5, 2013
Back in June, — our book club for young readers — asked you, the NPR audience, your favorite books for kids age 9-14. More than 2,000 of you replied, giving us hundreds and hundreds of titles to consider. So we turned to our expert panel (read more about them — and their Newbery honors! —), which combined audience favorites with their own choices to come up with a curated list of 100 must-reads.
The final 100 has a little bit of everything: tales of trying to fit in, escaping to magical lands, facing prejudice, coming of age and fighting to survive. There are animal stories, pioneer sagas, science-fiction adventures and, of course, beloved classics.
Calling All Science Teachers! New MasteryConnect App is a Must.
Getting Smart, August 14, 2013
MasteryConnect just released a new Next Generation Science Standards app on iOS and Android (the windows version comes out next week).
Like MasteryConnect’s Common Core State Standards app, the free science app is a great resource for teachers, parents, and students. The app is easy to navigate. You can search by grade level, topic or keyword. Encouraging integration, the new science app also makes referencing standards in the Common Core so easy.
Google in Education
Whether it's Google Docs, Google Apps, YouTube or any other Google Product in Education we have got you covered.  Be sure to check back regularly for the latest in Google for Education. See more at:
The Library of Congress: Thomas
THOMAS is the source for legislative information from the Library of Congress. Follow current activities, the latest House and Senate bills, contact your representatives…and much more.
Teachers on Pinterest
An inspiring place for teachers to find and share creative ideas. Follow these boards for lesson plans, classroom decor and lots more for lively learning.

Just Interesting

13.7 Cosmos and Culture
NPR, Blog
Just an interesting blog provided by NPR that features commentary on science and society. Check out the article on multi-tasking and new research that suggests we may be doing ourselves, and others, more harm than good as we constantly shift focus.
The Best 1:1 Device is a Good Teacher
Edutopia, July 29, 2013
The best device a school can roll out is a teacher who can adapt to new and emerging technologies, does not always require formal training for learning and staying current, and is not tethered to a product (such as PowerPoint or a SmartBoard) in order to teach. Education technology will continue to progress, and part of this evolution will be for students and teachers to stay current with both curriculum and digital literacy. Even in the absence of technology, a great teacher will continually seek out ways to engage his or her students in great lessons, simulations or challenges.
Copyright © 2013 Southern Regional Education Board, All rights reserved.
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