Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: November 19, 2012

Prepared by June Weis
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Recent SREB Publication

Recognizing Academic Achievement in Career/Technical Education: Conditions for Awarding Academic Credit for Career/Technical Courses
School Improvement is excited to announce a new publication hot off the press this week. Recognizing Academic Achievement in Career/Technical Education: Conditions for Awarding Academic Credit for Career/Technical Courses details the merits and challenges involved in awarding academic credit to career/technical courses that embrace rigorous college-and career-readiness standards equivalent to those found in traditional academic courses.


Digital Community Colleges Survey Overview Webinar - 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PST
Each year, the Center for Digital Education invites all U.S. community colleges to participate in its annual Digital Community Colleges Survey. The Survey recognizes and showcases community colleges’ use of technology to provide a high level of service to their faculty, students and communities.
Please register for this complimentary webinar and join representatives from winning colleges and the Center for Digital Education to discuss campus trends in:
  • Mobile Device management
  • Cloud applications and virtualized environments
  • Emergency/Disruption Preparedness
  • Technology Integration in the Classroom
  • Professional Development
  • Online learning capabilities
  • And more!
For questions or details, contact: Lee Vang, Registration Coordinator, at 800-940-6039 x1407,

Top IT Issues 2012

Reflecting on the Top IT Issues of 2012
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, November 15, 2012
MOOCs may seem to be at the tip of every IT leader's tongue these days, but the No. 1 concern for IT in higher education is staff and skills development, according to the annual "Educause Top-Ten IT Issues 2012" research project run by Educause's Center for Applied Research (ECAR).

Big Data

What Is It and Why Does It Matter?
Check out the October issue of Campus Technology for several feature articles on Big Data.

State Authorization

Tracking SARA: An Update on the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement
EDUCAUSE, November 14, 2012
The federal regulation requiring institutions to get local approval (if needed) when serving students in other states is on hold but might return. Meanwhile, the states still expect institutions to follow their laws before they serve students within their boundaries. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) would allow states to recognize the approval process within an institution’s home state.
This session will provide you with an update on the players involved in this agreement, the current proposals on how states join the agreement, the proposed steps for institutions to participate, the impact on students, and the time frame for implementing SARA.

Professional Development

5 Professional Development Tips for Open Educational Resources
Bridget McCrea, THE Journal, November 10, 2012
Here are five ways to make sure your school’s teachers are ready to use and embrace open educational resources.
OER may be a new concept for some professors, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t enough resources to go around. In fact, Geoff Cain, director of distance education for Eureka, CA-based College of the Redwoods, said the number of resources is so vast that it can paralyze instructors. “Helping faculty find appropriate resources is a major issue,” said Cain, whose institution is a member of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources.

Mobile Computing

How a Governance Program Can Curb the Mobile “Wild West”
Toni Fuhman, Campus Technology, November 08, 2012
With mobile computing integral to every aspect of campus life, it’s important for schools to create order out of the chaos with a multiyear strategy and governance plans.
By now, just about every college and university has embarked on a mobile program. But who “owns” the mobile app program? Who makes the decisions? What will the program look like three years from now? How will it be funded, and who will be included in the planning? Surprisingly few schools have developed a long-term plan that answers these and other key questions about the mobile program on campus.
MASLO: An Open Source Mobile Learning Platform
Rovy Branon’s blog (ADL Co-Lab)
The unofficial MASLO post – we are getting a new site up over at the Academic Advanced Distributed Learning Lab so this post will help people to learn more about MASLO until the site is ready.
The Academic ADL Co-lab (at University of Wisconsin-Extension) is continuing to build a new open source mobile learning platform called MASLO. MASLO stands for Mobile Access to Supplementary Learning Objects, which was not meant to be a permanent name but these things have a way of sticking around.  If you want to follow MASLO development and be notified when code updates are available, head over to the Co-Lab MASLO page to get on the mailing list.

Getting schooled on next-generation mobility
Center for Digital Education
This whitepaper discusses how K-12 districts can unleash the freedom that Wi-Fi affords then in learning and administration, by embracing sophisticated WLANS. It provides an overview of wireless learning, the HP Advantage, protecting students/data, easing and unifying management and how to lower TCO. Register to download this detailed whitepaper and learn more. Sponsored by HP and Intel®

College and Career Readiness

SREB GO Alliance
SREB's Go Alliance is an interstate cooperative that works to increase college access, awareness, and attendance through the use of applied social marketing techniques. Go Alliance aims to send clear messages to students about the importance of graduating from high school as well as how to get ready for college and overcome common financial and personal barriers. Member states jointly develop and/or share college marketing materials (such as radio and television spots, research, posters, and brochures) as well as ideas about programs that reach students in direct ways
NGLC Announces $5.4 Million in Latest Grants Supporting Breakthrough Models for College Readiness and Completion
NGLC’s purpose in funding the new models is to expand educational innovation and to inform the development of other new models. NGLC seeks to ensure that the models developed catalyze change among practitioners, policy makers, researchers, and innovators.
“The response to NGLC’s new-model challenge is game changing, in terms of the ideas as well as the potential impact on learners,” according to Diana Oblinger, President and CEO of EDUCAUSE, which leads the Next Generation Learning Challenges. “While education works well for many, it doesn’t for everyone. We hope these new models will allow more students to be successful in college, career, and society.” Information about the grantees and the models they will build can be found at NGLC’s newly redesigned website,
PARCC States
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is a group of states committed to building a next-generation assessment system.

PARCC states collectively educate about 25 million public K-12 students in the United States. What brought all of these states together is a shared commitment to develop an assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards that is anchored in college and career readiness; provides comparability across states; has the ability to assess and measure higher-order skills such as critical thinking, communications, and problem solving; and provides truly useful information for educators, parents, and students alike.

While each state has their own priorities and challenges, PARCC provides the opportunity for participating states to come together and collectively move the field forward and break new ground in assessment design. In addition, many of the PARCC states are on the leading edge of education reform, including 10 of the 12-winning Race to the Top states.

Common Core

How to Sustain Common Core Efforts (ASCD Report)
eSchool News, November 8, 2012
Educators and policy makers are heavily invested in the Common Core State Standards, and a new ASCD report aims to help school leaders effectively implement the standards to begin educational transformation.
Fulfilling the Promise of the Common Core State Standards: Moving from Adoption to Implementation to Sustainability” identifies activities that educators and policy makers at all levels can undertake to implement the standards successfully.
EduCore; Tools for Teaching the Common Core — Literacy Tools
Understand the framework, learn how to use the models, and view sample units based on the templates created by the LDC.
This work is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information about ASCD’s Common Core State Standards resources, visit
How Are Districts Covering the Tech. Costs of Common Core?
Mike Bock, Education Week, Digital Education, November 2, 2012
Online testing is soon be a staple of every district's assessment plan thanks to the Common Core State Standards, but education officials across the nation are worried they won't have enough resources to put the testing measures in place by the 2014-2015 school year. Here’s what some systems are doing to answer the problem.

Charter Schools

Charter schools win support in Georgia vote (A follow-up)
eSchool News, November 9, 2012
Two ballot measures concerning charter schools, which are publicly financed but privately operated, spawned fierce battles in Georgia and Washington State, reports The New York Times. Georgia’s measure, which passed handily on Tuesday, asked voters to amend the State Constitution to allow for a commission that would approve new schools that had been rejected by local school boards. Opponents, who said that the Constitution did not need to be amended and that charter schools already had routes of appeal, pointed to heavy spending by out-of-state donors. Supporters of the amendment outspent opponents by about 15 to 1…

Open Source

Taking the next step with open source
Meris Stansbury, eSchool News, November 12, 2012
According to Ken Ingle, executive director of emerging technology at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C., there are a set of considerations every school should use to determine its fit with open source, as well as a rubric to make implementation as effective as possible.
According to Ingle, it’s important to begin the conversation about open source by separating fact from fiction…
Read the full story on our higher-ed site,

Keeping Pace Findings

Online options still determined by zip code
Amy Murin, Keeping Pace, November 13, 2012
Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning 2012 has been released, and in this and subsequent blog posts we will take a deeper dive into some of the trends and themes identified in this year’s report. Let’s start with a theme identified in 2011 that still applies in 2012, and is perhaps the most important message in this year’s report:
Many states have created or allowed some online and blended learning opportunities, but no state has yet created or allowed a full range of online learning options for students…
The report goes on to explain that there is one exception: 
Florida in 2012 has passed laws that, in theory at least, make a full range of supplemental and full-time online options available to all K-12 students. At the other end of the spectrum, in many states at least some students still have few or no online options; their educational opportunities continue to be determined by their zip code. Read more….


How 'Big Three' Publishers Are Approaching iPad Textbooks
Stephen Noonoo, THE Journal, November 08, 2012
Questions and opportunities surround the still-nascent iPad textbook market. T.H.E. Journal looked at the offerings from the 'big three' publishers -- Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and HMH -- to discern where the industry is, and where it might be headed.
Cambridge University Press launches Explore Shakespeare interactive apps
PRWeb – Wed, Oct 31, 2012
Cambridge University Press have today launched the Explore Shakespeare series at RADA, bringing Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth to life on iPad in the most truly interactive and inspiring version ever made. These unique apps bring the latest technology together with 500 years of dramatic tradition and more than three decades of research and teaching experience.

Proficiency-Based Grading System

What Proficiency-based Grading Means for Your Student
Logan Smith, Getting Smart, November 12, 2012
The new Standards-Based grading system currently used throughout the U.S. education system is significantly different from the letter-grade system that most parents grew up with. This system is designed to allow high-achieving students to progress more rapidly through the curriculum, and ensure that all students reach a certain lower bound of proficiency. Each student’s level of achievement can be measured, and the over-all degree of learning advancement attained by the entire class can also be more accurately determined.

Blended Learning

Is the technology ‘ready’ for blended learning?
Michael B. Horn, Innosight Institute, November 7, 2012
As an industry matures, the technology improves. It ceases to be “not good enough” for most users and begins to overshoot what most users need in terms of raw functionality and reliability.
As this happens, customers begin to prioritize new dimensions of performance. With functionality and reliability assured, they prize flexibility and customization, which proprietary products cannot supply.
The new solutions that arise to offer these customized solutions have a modular architecture—where different components fit and work together in well-understood and highly defined ways. Standards arise that specify the fit and function of all elements so completely that it doesn’t matter who makes the components or subsystems, as long as they meet the specifications. Modular architectures optimize flexibility, but because they require tight specification, it limits the freedom that engineers have to push the boundaries in terms of raw functionality.
Blended-Learning Model Definitions
Innosight Institute
  • Rotation model 
  • Flex model
  • Self-Blend Enriched
  • Enriched-Virtual model

Project Based Learning

Project-Based Learning (PBL) for the 21st Century
In Project-Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. Rigorous projects help students learn key academic content and practice 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking).
The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) was founded in 1987 as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that receives partial funding from the Leonard and Beryl Buck Trust.
In the late 1990s, BIE began to focus its work on Project Based Learning, which was a feature of some schools’ instructional reform efforts at the time and the subject of an annual conference sponsored by the Autodesk Foundation. Read more….


Online Educational Delivery Models: A Descriptive View
Phil Hill, EDUCAUSE, November 1, 2012
Although there has been a long history of distance education, the creation of online education occurred just over a decade and a half ago—a relatively short time in academic terms. Early course delivery via the web had started by 1994, soon followed by a more structured approach using the new category of course management systems. Since that time, online education has slowly but steadily grown in popularity, to the point that in the fall of 2010, almost one-third of U.S. postsecondary students were taking at least one course online. Fast forward to 2012: a new concept called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is generating widespread interest in higher education circles. Most significantly, it has opened up strategic discussions in higher education cabinets and boardrooms about online education. Stanford, MIT, Harvard, the University of California–Berkeley, and others have thrown their support—in terms of investment, resources, and presidential backing—behind the transformative power of MOOCs and online education. National media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and The Atlantic are touting what David Brooks has called "the campus tsunami" of online education.
MOOCs and Accreditation: Focus on the Quality of "Direct-to-Students" Education
Judith S. Eaton, Inside Accreditation with the President of CHEA, November 7, 2012
The most conspicuous, challenging and controversial subject of these discussions is “MOOCs” – massive open online courses. MOOCs such as Coursera, Udacity and edX, all launched in early 2012, have received extensive media coverage accompanied by a lot of commentary. What type of education is offered here? Will it last? How do we judge its quality? Is there a role for accreditation?
MOOC Madness
The Virtual Classroom
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Online Learning, Special Report, MOOC Madness, The Virtual Classroom
An inside look at the latest phenomenon in online learning. In this special report, we look at the hype, the hope, and the details—and offer the voices of the pioneers, converts, skeptics, and the undecided.
What You Need to Know About MOOC's
The Chronicle of Higher Education, frequently updated
A compilation of articles that are regularly updated. Call it the year of the mega-class. Colleges and professors have rushed to try a new form of online teaching known as MOOC’s—short for "massive open online courses." The courses raise questions about the future of teaching, the value of a degree, and the effect technology will have on how colleges operate. Struggling to make sense of it all? On this page you’ll find highlights from The Chronicle's coverage of MOOC's.
Three articles on MOOCs featured in the New York Times:
The Big Three at a Glance
November 2, 2012
The Year of the MOOC
Laura Pappano, New York Times, November 2, 2012
College Credit Eyed for Online Courses
Tamar Lewin, New York Times, November 13, 2012

Teens in the Digital World

How Teens Do Research in the Digital World
Kristen Percell, et al, Pew Internet, November 01, 2012
The teachers who instruct the most advanced American secondary school students render mixed verdicts about students’ research habits and the impact of technology on their studies.
Some 77% of advanced placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers surveyed say that the internet and digital search tools have had a “mostly positive” impact on their students’ research work. But 87% say these technologies are creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans” and 64% say today’s digital technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically.”
According to this survey of teachers, conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project in collaboration with the College Board and the National Writing Project, the internet has opened up a vast world of information for today’s students, yet students’ digital literacy skills have yet to catch up. Read more…
Digital Technologies Have Mixed Effect on Students' Research Habits (about Pew Internet Study above)
Leila Meyer, THE Journal, November 02, 2012
Teachers are conflicted about the effect of the Internet and digital search tools on their students' research and writing habits, according to the Pew Research Center's report, "How Teens Do Research in the Digital World."
The Pew Research Center conducted the survey early this year to find out how teachers think today's digital environment is affecting the research and writing habits of middle and high school students. The organization conducted an online survey of nearly 2,500 middle and high school teachers from the Advanced Placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) communities, as well as a series of online and offline focus groups with middle and high school teachers and students.
School libraries changing with move to digital resources
Laura Devaney, eSchool News, October 30, 2012
Traditional concepts make way for open educational resources, online research As schools across the nation move from printed textbooks to digital materials and digital learning environments, school libraries are adapting to keep pace—and new advancements are changing the very definition of school libraries and library media specialists. 

Future of Teaching and Learning

Future of learning: obsolescence of knowledge, return to real teaching
Ki Mae Heusser, Gigaom, October 23, 2012
Leading entrepreneurs and thought leaders provide a look at the future of education in a short documentary from Ericsson. It discusses how technology is changing the way students learn as well as what it means to learn and teach in a connected era.
Customization Is the Future of Teaching, Harvard Researcher Says
Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle, June25, 2012
Most college courses are one-size-fits-all—a lecturer delivers the same information to everyone in the room, regardless of whether some students already know the material or others are utterly lost.
It doesn't have to be that way, says Chris Dede, a professor of learning technologies at Harvard University. He outlines a vision of how technology can help personalize learning in a new book that he co-edited, called Digital Teaching Platforms: Customizing Classroom Learning for Each Student.
Educating Players: Are Games the Future of Education?
Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, October 26, 2012
“The issue isn’t education or schools—it’s learning,” panelist Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman emeritus of M.I.T.’s Media Lab and the chairman of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) foundation, said. “The fork in the road is the difference between knowing and understanding. We test people on what they know, but they might not understand a thing.”
Not a new argument, but Negroponte’s approach to resolving it has been novel. Although OLPC’s efforts to put low-cost computers in the hands of underprivileged students has met with varying degrees of success, his latest focus is on what he says are the 100 million children worldwide without access to any formal education. While it’s impractical for a single organization to try to build schools for all of these children living in remote areas across the globe, an alternative might be giving these children tools and technology they can use to teach themselves, one another and their parents.

Social Media and Other Resources

Research on Kids' Social-Media Habits Seen Lacking
Mike Bock, Education Week, Digital Education, November 8, 2012
A new 69-page report released by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center concludes that more research is needed to understand children and teenagers' social-media habits. The Cooney Center is a nonprofit think tank founded by Sesame Workshop in 2007 that focuses on learning through digital media.
Authors Sarah Grimes, a professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, and Deborah Fields, an instructional sciences and learning professor at Utah State University, wrote the report because of concerns about the lack of substantive research about kids' social-media habits and the rising popularity of social-networking sites marketed toward youths.
Customize Your Edmodo Account
Adam Renfro, Getting Smart, November 7, 2012
The author delved into the app store at Edmodo and got super charged at what he found.
What is Edmodo? It’s a free social learning platform that allows teachers to share content and manage projects, assignments, notifications, quizzes, and events. There are seven million Edmodo users in over 80,000 schools. That’s approaching ubiquity!
If you’re teaching in a district that’s not already using Edmodo, no worries. Sign up is free, and you will have your students enrolled in no time. If you’re already an Edmodo user, you have to check out the apps in the Edmodo Store. You’ll recognize many familiar web apps like MangaHigh, Pixton, instaGrok, Rocketfuel, BrainNook, and Desmos.
Better & More Writing: Review of 42 Apps
Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart, November 7, 2012
Math gets all the love–at least that appears to be the case in the edtech world. But applications of automated essay scoring have been growing steadily for 15 years. The shift to digital instructional materials, preparations for state online assessment, and a new crop of writing apps is adding new energy to digital ELA.
We’ve collected more than 30 scoring engines and other literacy apps here.
TeacherLink: NASA Instructional Units and Lesson Plans
Created by the TeacherLink initiative at the Utah State University College of Education, this site provides direct access to NASA instructional units and lesson plans. Visitors will note that there are over 40 different resources here, listed alphabetically. The resources are designed for students from kindergarten to college, and they include titles such as "Amusement Park Physics with a NASA Twist" and "Rockets Educator Guide." Another notable item here is the "Packing Up For the Moon" human exploration project, which was created to help young people learn about lunar plant growth. It's a site that teachers will want to bookmark for future reference and share with their friends.
NASA Regional Educator Resource Center @ USU
NASA Instructional Units and Lesson Plans
As NASA explores frontiers of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), it seeks to assist teachers and students to explore them as well. NASA also encourages youth to explore STEM careers. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Through its dissemination network, NASA provides educational materials, information, services, and other resources to our nation's classrooms. NASA Educator Resource Centers and NASA Regional Educator Resource Centers are part of this network that serve both formal educators (public school teachers) and informal educators (homeschool parents, etc.) for the state in which they reside.
Florida Virtual School Adopts Adaptive Learning Math Program
Leila Meyer, THE Journal, October 25, 2012
The FLVS has announced a strategic alliance with DreamBox Learning, a provider of adaptive learning solutions. The alliance was forged after a decision by the state of Florida to allow students in kindergarten through grade 5 to access part-time online coursework through FLVS. FLVS is the first virtual institution to provide its teachers and students with access to the DreamBox Learning math program as part of an online or blended learning environment, according the company.
DreamBox Learning's math program offers more than 720 lessons at the K-5 level. The program provides lessons and hints, and the level of difficulty, pace, and sequence adapt to each student, with potentially millions of unique paths through the curriculum, according to the company. It aligns with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in counting and cardinality; comparing; operations and algebraic thinking; number and operations in base ten; and number and operations in fractions. DreamBox also provides academic progress reports measured against the CCSS.
United Classrooms; Where Your Class Meets the World
United Classrooms is a FREE platform that connects classrooms around the world. When a teacher signs their class up, students can log in to a secure classroom profile page where they can share content with their own teachers, classmates and parents as well as collaborate with other classrooms across the globe. It unites students from diverse backgrounds in the creation of a safe and dynamic global community where knowledge, experience and relationship are shared beyond the classroom walls.
5 Outstanding Learning Tools for your Students
Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, Med Kharbach, 2012
Below is a list of some great web tools that your students can use in their learning. We selected them in such a way that they would cover different skills, for instance one will improve your students video skills, another their research skills...etc. Check them out below and let us know what you think about them.  
Tips for Building Your Web 2.0 Toolbox
Ed Tech Focus on K-12
Cloud-based apps and content resources make 24x7 teaching and learning possible for educators — and for the tech-savvy students in their charge.

Everything you need to know about eReaders
eSchool News, October 29, 2012
Whether you’re buying, gifting, or expecting an eReader this holiday season, the market’s changed a lot from last year and the year before that. Here’s a complete buyer’s guide, starting with the basics and working through the latest trends, says Yahoo! News. Kindle, Nook, or? What exactly an “eReader” is, to you, might depend on where you first saw them.
The World's Best Grammar Checker
Grammarly is an automated proofreader and your personal grammar coach. Correct up to 10 times more mistakes than popular word processors.
What is the Electoral College?
A good explanation relies on National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the official site of the U. S. Government. Here is another one specifically for teachers and students.
Copyright © 2012 Southern Regional Education Board, All rights reserved.
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