Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: June 27, 2012

Prepared by June Weis
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2012 SREB Annual Report
The 2012 Southern Regional Education Board annual report describes SREB’s recent activities and new initiatives in its mission to help its 16 member states improve public education. The report also includes remarks from the Board Chair and President, acknowledgement of financial contributors, and lists of the members of the Board, Legislative Advisory Council and SREB staff.
Increasing Online Learning Options for K-12 Students: The Role of School Districts
Holly Lynde, April, 2012
Projections from the results of a 2011 survey conducted by SREB’s Educational Technology Cooperative suggest that as many as three-quarters of all public school districts in the 16 SREB states will offer online learning options by 2015. This report outlines the survey results, including the types of online learning options offered, and looks at the potential implications for SREB states and districts in the future.


Converge Special Report Webinar Update: The Textbook Reformation & Digital Content
August 29, 2012
2 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. Pacific
Duration: 60 minutes

Are textbooks a thing of the past?  A transition to digital content and e-textbooks is undeniably taking place. It’s predicted that 44 percent of college textbooks will be digital by 2017.
FREE Webinar: K–12 Education and the Federal Government
Date: Wednesday, June 27th
Time: 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT
Duration: 1 hour

Host Mickey Revenaugh, Executive Vice President of Connections Learning, featuring Pat Laystrom, Senior Vice President of State Relations for Connections Academy and special guest speaker, Susan Patrick, iNACOL President and CEO
Common Core Standards - A 2012 Progress Report
(Also Connections Academy)
Wednesday, July 18th
To learn more and register, click here.

Notes from ISTE 2012

Learning in the 21st Century: A Five-Year Retrospective on the Growth in Online Learning
Speak Up/Project Tomorrow
This report takes a look at the changes in online learning trends over the last five years based on the Speak Up annual survey results from 2007-2011. The report was released on June 26, 2012 at the ISTE conference.
Curriculum and Tech Leaders Must Have 'Common' Language
Ian Quillen, Digital Education, Education Week, June 25, 2012
Five years ago, members of the Consortium for School Networking at a gathering similar to one held today resolved to make establishing lines of communication between technology leaders and other educational leaders a top priority going forward.
Now, with the snowball that is the implementation of the common standards beginning to roll, it's time to see whether that emphasis has paid off, said technology leaders at CoSN's annual leadership forum here at ISTE 2012 in San Diego.


(SREB states well represented)

Top Ten U.S. School Districts Honored for Technology Know-How
Converge Staff, April 24, 2012
SREB states are well represented here. Top-ranked school districts have been announced in the eighth annual Digital School Districts Survey by The Center for Digital Education, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and

NCES Report

NCES Report: The Condition of Education 2012
The Condition of Education 2012 summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The report presents 49 indicators on the status and condition of education, in addition to a closer look at high schools in the United States over the past twenty years.
I think this is the first time online learning has been mentioned in this report. See page 46. Note it references distance education, not online learning or digital learning.
In 2009-10 some 53% of public school district had high school students enrolled in distance education courses. In these district there were over 1.3 million high school student enrollments in distance education in 2009-10 compared with 0.3 million five years earlier.

Photo Tells the Story

PHOTO: 857 Empty Desks On National Mall Represent Number Of U.S. High School Drop-Outs Per Hour
Tara Culp-Ressler, Think Progress, June 21. 2012
A powerful installation on the National Mall today is meant to call attention to the nation’s current drop-out rate: the 857 desks represent the number of students who drop out of high school in the United States every single hour, according to the College Board’s calculations.

Public School Alternatives

Public School Alternatives Gather Steam in States
Ben Wieder, Stateline, June 13, 2012
This source provides an update on charter schools and such private options in states. Among the states described are Alabama, Louisiana, Washington, South Carolina, Georgia, Maine, Michigan and New Jersey.
While 41 states allow for charter schools, most recently Maine last year, far fewer have statewide private school voucher or scholarship tax credit programs. As this year’s session began, 13 states offered voucher programs, which provide state-funded scholarships for students to attend private schools, or tuition tax credit programs, which provide tax breaks to companies or individuals who donate money used to provide private school scholarships, according to the American Federation for Children, which advocates for both.
Stateline is an editorially independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Center on the States that provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy.
A Standoff Over a Virtual Charter in North Carolina
Sean Cavanaugh, Charters and Choice, Education Week, June 15, 2012
The two sides fighting over the creation of a virtual charter school in North Carolina seem to agree on this much: It would eventually provide online services to thousands of students in communities across the state.
That's where the consensus ends. Plans to open the North Carolina Virtual Academy have drawn objections from North Carolina's state board of education and representatives of a majority of the state's districts. They claim that the statewide charter school has circumvented the process necessary to approve a school that will affect other school systems, and that the virtual charter will sap other districts' student enrollment and throw their budgets into chaos.
How Choice May Kill Public Education
Diane Ravitch, blog, June 24, 2012
Ms. Ravitch writes: a reader posted a comment that I think is profound. The more that people begin to see education as a consumer choice, the more they will be unwilling to pay for other people’s children. And if they have no children in school, then they have no reason to underwrite other people’s private choices.
Litigation Almost a Given with Louisiana Ed Reform
Shreveport Times, June 18, 2012
"It's almost a given that education reforms will be challenged by someone when you have a statewide voucher piece," said Kathy Christie, vice president of knowledge, information management and dissemination for the Education Commission of the States in Denver.
The Louisiana Association of Educators and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the education package, which among other things spends public school funds on tuition at private schools and alters the public school funding formula.

Cyberschool Companies and Charter Schools Laws

When Will the Cyberschooling Giants Start Acquiring EMOs?
Gene V. Glass, National Education Policy Center, April 12, 2012
Now the cyberschool companies use the charter school laws to make their money. It’s obvious if you think about it. So can alliances and mergers between the biggies — K12 Inc and Pearson (Connections) — and the EMOs be far in the future? For a report on the state of the EMOs, see Profiles of For-Profit and Nonprofit Education Management Organizations: Thirteenth Annual Report - 2010-2011.
Currently in the U.S., there are approximately 5,500 charter schools enrolling more than 1.7 Million students. That works out to about 1,700,000/50,000,000 = 3.4% of all the k-12 school children in the nation. Now if we strike a “price” of about $10,000 per student—the current average expenditure in the U.S. for a k-12 student—we can see that the charter school business is a $17 Billion market (“B”, not “M”). In 2010-2011, EMOs managed about 1,900 charter schools enrolling approximately 750,000 students in Kindergarten through grade 12. These three-quarter million EMO-managed charter school students represent a $7.5 Billion market for the cyberschool industry. K12 Inc., the big shot in the cyberschool business, has annual revenues just more than a half billion dollars.
Cyber school funding formulas draw ire
eSchool News Staff, June 22, 2012
The tuition for a student living in one Pennsylvania district who is enrolled in a public cyber charter school might be thousands of dollars different from that for a similar student enrolled at the same school who lives in another district in the state. There is more to this story….

BYOD, OER and Blended Learning

Policy Implications of Online & Blended Learning
Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart, blog, June 22, 2012
At the National Charter School Conference (#NCSC) in Minneapolis yesterday, I participated in a discussion of the Policy Implications of Online & Blended Learning with Jim Griffin, Colorado League of Charter Schools, Mickey Revenaugh, Connections Learning, and David Hanson.
I told the audience of school heads, authorizers, network leaders and district administrators that Digital Learning Now!, chaired by former governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise, was created to address the policy implications created by new learning opportunities. The 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning are framework for state education policy. If you haven’t, check out The Nation’s Digital Learning Report Card and see how your state faired on the 72-point rubric.
The panel weighed in on six big questions. Read on….
School Reform Through Blended Learning
Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal, June 6, 2012
One of the lowest performing schools in Washington, DC is looking to blended learning to help raise proficiency levels and student engagement. So far, it's working.
Conquering Today’s Bring-Your-Own Device Challenges
IDG Connect, April 20, 2012, provided by Aruba
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon is changing the way IT organizations and users address network access security. This white 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.
Winners and Losers with Open Education Resources
Michael Horn, Heather Staker, THE Journal, June 7, 2012
In the fourth installment of their monthly column, blended learning experts Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker discuss the growth of open online resources and their impact on blended learning.
First, the good news. As bleak budgets induce more schools to embrace blended learning, free and open online resources can make the economics of blended learning enticing. One specific set of these materials, open educational resources (OER), meaning online teaching and learning resources that are available for everyone to use under a set of licenses, are a huge boon to several populations.
The first-place winners in terms of quantity of lives affected are poor students in developing countries. Tom Vander Ark wrote in Getting Smart that cheap devices combined with online material make it possible for almost anyone to learn anything. He predicted that in five years, "Low-cost blended private schools will serve close to two hundred million students in India, China, and Africa."  Read more…..
Information Security Research Library, May 15, 2012
It may be from Australia and aimed at the business community, but it is still applicable.
The iEverything Enterprise: Understanding and Addressing IT's Dilema in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) World
Sponsored by: Aerohive Networks
IT departments need to prepare their companies for wireless transformation with the right Wi-Fi architecture. To deliver mission-critical applications to mobile devices requires high performance, security and manageability. Inside, learn how to solve the smart device dilemma and eliminate architectural limitations for a simple yet effective Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Web Searching (Having trouble?)

Survey Results Show Need for More Targeted Results When Searching Online for Learning Resources
Dave Gladney, AEP, and Alyssa Giustino, KEH Communications; LRMI, Learning Resource Metadata Initiative
WILMINGTON, DE, June 4, 2012–Educators need faster ways to find the resources they are looking for and resource providers want better discoverability on the Internet, according to results from recent surveys conducted by the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI). The LRMI, co-led by the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) and Creative Commons, aims to improve online search for learning resources by creating a standard markup language for identifying educational content on the web. The surveys, designed to gather feedback from both educators and resource providers about the current state of online educational search, are an important step in identifying the needs of all stakeholders impacted by the LRMI.
Ian Quillen comments on this in Education Week, June 07, 2012: Survey: Educators, Publishers Agree on Need for Improved Web Search. In a survey of 21,000 K-12 educators, only about a quarter described their Web searches for educational resources as "successful," and in a separate, parallel survey of educational publishers, a bit more than half said their customers find it "difficult" or "somewhat difficult" to find that publisher's content through a Web search.

Tools and Resources

Some Handy Tools For You Tube
Steven Anderson, Digital Learning Environment Blogs
Many districts are realizing the potential that YouTube learning can have in the classroom. There are lots of great videos and channels out there on 1000's of topics. I have put together a list of some of my favorite tools to use with YouTube. Some are for the creation end, while some are for the consumption end.

The New Interactive Whiteboard: Using Apple TV in the Classroom (an ad)
Early adopters of Apple TV in the classroom believe that it is a cost-effective alternative to the interactive whiteboard; offering benefits that the whiteboard does not. Using Apple TV with any Apple device allows teachers the greatest flexibility with their instruction and management of the class. Teachers can move around the room working with individual students or small groups while keeping the entire class focused on the lesson.
There isn’t much software out there that allows us to manipulate the text of a PDF, copy images, or delete and enter data. With millions downloaded, Able2Extract is industry-leading PDF to Word (doc) software that is the most accurate solution available today. The PDF to Doc conversion option specifically addresses the conversion needs of users wanting to transfer text and images from PDF data into perfectly formatted editable Word documents for repurposing.
K-12 Guide to Going Google
Richard Byrne, Free Technology for Teachers, June 17, 2012
Google's K12 Guide to Going Google contains six very detailed sections on deployment of Google Apps for Edu. The guide covers technical integration, outreach, professional development, promotion, launch, and staying up to date. There are step-by-step plans outlined in the technical integration, outreach, and professional development sections. The promotion and launch sections provide templates for your use. The staying up to date section refers administrators to the new Google Apps What's New? site.
16 Classroom Tools Teachers should know about
Mohamed Kharbach, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2012
Integrating technology into our classrooms is a must in today’s education. Our students are digitally focused and unless we speak digital with them our communication will be a complete fiasco. I know some of you are new to the concept of digitizing a classroom and others are well experienced and have already been using some technology with their students, be it a beginner or advanced user, the following tools are of great help and, if you are not going to use all of them now, you should at least know about them. This list is not conclusive and features only some of the important classroom tools.
Understanding all about Literacy
Mohamed Kharbach, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2012
As technology and advanced modes of learning are developing, still decent portions of people in all around the globe suffer from some kind of illiteracy issues. The US that is one of the leading countries in the world has some alarming stats about reading and math literacy. Check out this infographic about reading and math literacy.
The 33 Digital Skills Every 21st Century Teacher should have
Mohamed Kharbach, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, 2012
There is no blinking the fact that the types of students we teach today are completely different from last century's. We definitely need to look at some of the skills we, as teachers, need to equip ourselves with to better live up to the challenge. Among all the challenges we would have in education, there is not as daunting a challenge as catching students’ focus and getting them engaged in the learning process. For this particular reason, and in addition to the skills I initially mentioned in 21st Century Teaching Skills article, I would like to provide you with another list of some equally important digital skills that you, as a teacher, need to seriously consider if you want to pave the way for the 21st century teaching. I have added a list of web tools under each skill for teachers to better exploit it.
Please, remember that I have spent many laborious hours working on this post and all I ask is a credit back to Educational Technology and Mobile Learning when re-using this content somewhere else.
Lots of learning to do here!

Ten Tips for Selecting the Best Educational Games
Ian Quillen, Digital Education, Education Week, June 8, 2012
For parents and teachers looking for ways to determine the relative quality of educational video games, Common Sense Media has released a list of 10 suggestions to help you sort out the best from the rest.
The review comes on the heels of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit youth media watchdog group based in San Francisco, launching its new educational ratings program for video games and other digital media consumed by kids. Common Sense Media had previously rated movies, games, apps, and other media for age appropriateness, but not educational content.
CK-12 Flexbooks
If you don’t know about CK-12 flexbooks, check this out. They provide a library of tutorial videos.

Blogs and Websites

Creating Blogs and Websites
Richard Byrne, Free Technology for Teachers, SlideShare, March 17, 2010
A good basic visual source for creating blogs and Websites.
Here are some of the topics:
Video Tutorial: What is a Blog?
Tech&Learning, June 3, 2012 

Good Examples of Accessible Web Sites
Terrill Thompson, blog.
Last week Steven Faulkner blogged about real world ARIA landmark use. He analyzed the HTML home pages of the top 10,000 websites, looking for ARIA landmark roles. Among his findings, he discovered that 130 of these pages are using role="main".
I'm often asked for good real-world examples of accessible websites, and this seemed like a perfect starting point for identifying some promising practices. So I spent a couple of hours over the last few days opening up each of those 130 pages and giving them my 10-second web accessibility assessment; Here’s how to do it.

Free Online Courses

500 Free Online Courses from Top Universities
Open Culture
If you're looking to learn something new or brush-up on your content area knowledge, Open Culture probably has a course listing for you.  The latest update brings the total offerings up to 500. The course content is hosted on a variety of platforms including iTunes, YouTube, and Vimeo. The courses come from notable universities including Stanford, Harvard, and Yale. And the list is organized by subject area.
Coursera offers courses from the top universities, for free. Learn from world-class professors, watch high quality lectures, achieve mastery via interactive exercises, and collaborate with a global community of students.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 18, 2012— An interactive online learning system created by two Stanford computer scientists announced on Wednesday that it has secured $16 million in venture capital and partnerships with four major universities. Online Education Venture Lures Cash Infusion and Deals With 5 Top Universities (John Markoff, NYTimes

Online higher education for the masses
Stephen Carson and Jan Philipp Schmidt, University World News, June 23, 2012
The term ‘massive open online course’, or MOOC (coined by Dave Cormier and Bryan Alexander) describes courses that take place online; are open in the sense that participation is typically free of charge and learning materials can be modified, reused and distributed to others; and reach massive communities – of tens of thousands – of learners.
MOOCs are a relatively new phenomenon, but they recently captured public attention when Stanford University launched a set of free online courses.
Sebastian Thrun, one of the MOOC pioneers at Stanford, created the artificial intelligence course that attracted more than 160,000 users (though only 25,000 finished the course). Inspired by this success he founded Udacity, a for-profit start-up that will use a similar model for online instruction, with the goal of making an entire computer science course available at no cost.  Read a quick review of the key characteristics these MOOCs share will help us better understand what opportunities they offer to universities and professors.
4 Professors Discuss Teaching Free Online Courses for Thousands of Students
Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2012
The faculty members, each teaching a different subject on a different platform, share their thoughts on the experience so far.
Just in case you have not read about edX:
MIT and Harvard announce edX
edX is a joint partnership between The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University to offer online learning to millions of people around the world. edX will offer Harvard and MIT classes online for free. Through this partnership, the institutions aim to extend their collective reach to build a global community of online learners and to improve education for everyone.
At the recent news conference announcing edX, a $60 million Harvard-MIT partnership in online education, university leaders spoke of reaching millions of new students in India, China and around the globe. They talked of the "revolutionary" potential of online learning, hailing it as the "single biggest change in education since the printing press."
Heady talk indeed, but they are right according to John E. Chubb and Terry M Moe, both associated with Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Chubb and Moe: Higher Education's Online Revolution The nation, and the world, are in the early stages of a historic transformation in how students learn, teachers teach, and schools and school systems are organized. (WSJ, May 30, 2012).
Read a good summary by Michael Schnurman, Revolution under way in higher education, Star-Telegram, May 30, 2012
The End of Liberal Arts Education? (Read how this relates to the edX topic.)
Therese Mageau, THE Journal, June 06, 2012
Historic forces in higher education may have serious repercussions for K-12. If you thought the announcement between MIT and Harvard had no bearing on your job, you might just think again.

Demographic Data: Online Learning and MOOCs

Understanding the Student's View of the Online Learning Experience
Rob Kelly, Teaching and Learning, Magna Publications, June 8, 2012
Barbara Zuck, assistant professor of business at Montana State University–Northern, was teaching a 100-level online course in business leadership and wanted to understand her students’ experiences in the course. So at the end of the course she asked students three open-ended questions: 1) what are the two greatest difficulties you had taking this course in an online environment? 2) What three things surprised you most by taking this course in an online learning environment? 3) What three things would you change about this course, assuming it were also taught in an online learning environment? Despite the small sample size (19), Zuck has gleaned some useful information that has influenced how she teaches the course. (She continues to ask students these questions to get a larger sample and more useful insights.)
Early Demographic Data Hints at What Type of Student Takes a MOOC
Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2012
Data from Coursera and Udacity scratch the surface of crucial questions about MOOC demographics. One early finding is that most of the students are from outside the U.S.

Safety and Security

Tech Savvy: How to stay safe online with a click-quick mentality
Michelle Maltais, Los Angeles Times, June 07, 2012
If you're on Facebook you've probably seen the tantalizing come-on: full downloads of the just-released blockbuster movie, free gift cards at your favorite store, and even a look at who is peeping at your profile.
The only thing these promises fulfill is making a sucker — and victim — out of you with a click that takes a nanosecond.
Securing Voice over IP
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, June 20, 2012
Sure, voice over IP can save your schools money, but don't neglect the security aspects in your rush to get it running.

Competency-Based Learning

Khan’s Big Contribution Will Be Competency-Based Learning
Tom Vander Ark, Competency Works, June 22, 2012
Check out the new Website, Competency Works.
And Heather Clayton Staker of Innosight Institute re-posted her remarks at the opening of the site: How to build a competency-oriented system, Innosight Institute, June 7, 2012.

Personalized Learning

Personalized Learningis the tailoring of pedagogy, curriculum and learning environments to meet the needs and aspirations of individual learners, often with extensive use of technology in the process. (Wikipedia) Some resources use the term synonymously with competency-based learning.
Warning signs for personalized learning
Heather Clayton Staker, Innosight Institute, June 18, 2012
When Julie Young founded the Florida Virtual School in 1997, her team coined the slogan “any time, any place, any path, any pace” to describe how the school’s online courses liberate students from traditional classroom constraints. That phrase has become the mantra for people who are trying to articulate how K-12 schools need to change from a “factory-based” model, in which students progress in standardized batches with monolithic instruction, to a more personalized, student-centric model. The growing consensus is that, like it or not, digital technology is the one innovation that can bring personalized learning into reach, because it makes customized education for all students affordable.
The trouble is that digital technology is a huge category, and many do not bother to unpack it. Read on…
Laptops, personalized learning replace lectures in schools
eClasssroom News, June 21 2012
Read about Waukesha STEM Academy in Wisconsin. It appears to be a thriving charter school.

Higher Education: the Future?

College Crackup and the Online Future
By Mark C. Taylor, Bloomberg, May 21, 2012
In the coming decade, emerging technologies will thoroughly transform higher education. Although distance learning and computer-assisted education have been around since the 1960s, financial pressures are forcing institutions to develop aggressive online programs.
When education goes online, how professors teach, what students learn and how institutions are structured will change significantly. Some changes are well under way. In 2009, about 29 percent of college students took at least one course online; by 2014, that number is projected to increase to 50 percent. Read more…..
College president: Improved federal rules needed to cut costs, grow online education
John Ebersole, eCampus News, June 18, 2012
Excelsior College president says a tangle of regulations in the last higher-education law have proven onerous for online programs 

Thanks in part to the more than 150 new rules and regulations that emerged from the current version of the HEOA, higher education in America has never been more expensive for students in the traditional lecture hall or the online classroom.
Read more about online regulations in higher education…
Online college officials cheer court ruling on controversial federal regulation
Commission examining federal rule that could ‘impeded access’ to online learning
Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012
Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, June 21, 2012
Faculty members are far less excited by, and more fearful of, the recent growth of online education than are academic technology administrators, according to a new study by Inside Higher Ed and the Babson Survey Research Group.
The study was based on a pair of related surveys about online education, co-designed by Inside Higher Ed and administered and analyzed by the Babson Survey Research Group, which has studied online education for more than a decade. Download pdf.
The Real Education Crisis Is Just Over That Cliff
Anthony P. Carnevale, The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 10, 2012
The various legislative proposals designed to keep student-loan interest rates from doubling in July are now so loaded to the gunwales with ifs, ands, or buts that the whole boat is in danger of sinking. But the rancorous partisan debate is just an election-season show staged for the benefit of the college crowd. The real story is that this country is disinvesting in higher education at an alarming rate—as it has been doing for decades—and we are hurtling into the future unprepared for the economy that awaits us.
Negotiators are closing in on a deal as of this posting.
WASHINGTON (AP) June 23, 2012, Alan Fram - Congressional bargainers appeared to be closing in on a compromise that would head off a July 1 doubling of interest rates on federal loans to 7.4 million college students and end an election-year battle between President Barack Obama and Congress.
Senate aides from both parties said Friday the two sides were moving toward a deal on how to pay the measure's $6 billion price tag, the chief source of partisan conflict.
The goal is to push legislation through Congress next week so the current 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans can be preserved for another year.
A Technological Cloud Hangs Over Higher Education (Commentary)
Keith A. Williams, The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 3, 2012
And so the instructor is the multimedia rainmaker who summons from the cloud everything that the modern American scholar must learn. The student is spared the necessity of a library; the library is in the cloud. Lecture demonstrations are also in the cloud, in the form of flashlets and applets sanitized of any complicating realities, non-idealities, and inefficiencies. And if a student should miss a lecture, the cloud will oblige: The student need no longer request notes from an instructor or colleague. Everything is in the cloud—even some of the most popular instructors. And that cloud hangs over all of America's institutions of higher education.

Social Media

How Educators Are Using Learnist
Mindshift, June 6, 2012
There is a lot to learn here. Request an invite to the beta-release. Learnist, as many have already pointed out, works much like Pinterest — a way to catalog online resources on a topic and share them with the user’s social network. And like Pinterest, it looks like a digital bulletin board with pictures and messages, and connects with Facebook accounts. In fact, the site’s “learning boards” look quite a bit like Facebook’s timeline feature, and Facebook membership is required to use Learnist at this point.
Check out the favorite apps for education.
The 2012 A-Z List Of Educational Twitter Hashtags
Jeff Dunn, Edudemic, June 14, 2012
Want to know more about Twitter and hashtags; this is a good place to begin.

Ed-Tech Companies to Watch

Twelve new ed-tech companies to watch
eSchool News Staff, June 6, 2012
Game-based learning, mobile apps among the new products recognized by SIIA for their potential 

US DOE Wins One

U.S. Department of Education Gets Top Marks For Clarity
While the federal government has a reputation for gobbledygook when it comes to communicating information, the U.S. Department of Education won top honors for its clear explanation of how students are performing on the National Assessment of Education Progress.
This week, the Center for Plain Language awarded its ClearMark Grand Prize to the National Center for Education Statistics for its online research tools for the NAEP, also known as “the Nation’s Report Card.” NCES beat out entries from both the public and private sector.

Why Not eTextbooks?

10 Reasons Why Students Aren’t Using eTextbooks
Staff Writers, Online, June 4, 2012
When e-textbooks were first introduced, they were supposed to be the wave of the future, and experts thought we’d see e-reader-toting students littering college campuses, and of course being adopted in droves by online university students. But they haven’t taken off quite as expected: according to market research firm Student Monitor, only about 11% of college students have bought e-textbooks. So what happened? Here, we’ll explore several reasons why students aren’t yet warming up to the idea of e-textbooks today.

Common Core

Assessment: Where’s the Tech in the Common Core?
Ellen Ullman, School CIO Editor, Tech&Learning, May 30, 2012
It’s hard to go a day without seeing an article about the Common Core standards. The final standards — released in June 2010 — have been adopted by all states except Nebraska, Minnesota, Texas, Alaska, and Virginia. But what does this mean in terms of technology? Will schools need to toss out their interactive whiteboards? Will 1:1 and BYOD be superfluous?
Tech & Learning editors spoke with industry experts to get insight about how technology will be used to both leverage and manage the delivery of curriculum that meets Common Core standards. Here’s what they had to say.

State Authorization

Links for Information on State Authorization
Here’s a little catch-up on information of late, some prior to the June 12th meeting and highlights of the meeting.
Read comments by Russ Poulin on the topic: WCET Learn/Frontiers.
Overturning of state authorization reg. upheld on appeal
Jarret Cummings, Educause blogger, June 6, 2012
Paul Shiffman is the Assistant Vice President for Strategic and Government Relations for Excelsior College. He also leads the Presidents’ Forum’s efforts to create the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. Paul gives us highlights of what happened in the meeting.

New Publication: SETDA Report

SETDA Report Identifies Key Ed-Tech Priorities
Mike Brock, Digital Education, Education Week, June 22, 2012
The State Educational Technology Directors Association, or SETDA, has released a 132-page report on key priorities and national trends in digital education: Maximizing the Impact; the Pivotal Role of Technology in a 21st Century Classroom.
The report focuses on new learning initiatives, which are grouped into four general categories, serving as a resource for educators seeking to improve their own local technology programs. The entire document, complete with appendices, is available for free.

New Publication: Alliance for Excellent Education

The Digital Learning Imperative; How Technology and Teaching Meet Today’s Education Challenges
at the Center for Secondary School Digital Learning and Policy
Alliance for Excellent Education, June 2012
In February 2010, the Alliance for Excellent Education (Alliance) released a brief entitled “The Online Learning Imperative: A Solution to Three Looming Crises in Education.” Since then, in part because of rapidly shifting educational conditions, the Alliance has increased its focus on digital learning and technology to help ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college and a career. In only a short time, the education technology policy landscape has changed greatly. The U.S. Department of Education published its 2010 National Education Technology Plan; the Digital Learning Council released “10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning” and “Roadmap for Reform”; the federal Enhancing Education Through Technology funding stream to states was eliminated; seven states enacted legislation promoting digital or online learning or online course requirements; and the number of administrators saying they offered a “blended” learning experience to students nearly doubled.1 Meanwhile, the United States continues to struggle with budgetary, graduation, and postsecondary completion issues along with faltering academic performance compared to other countries. Because of the current education climate and emerging ideas of how digital learning and technology can help to address these challenges, the Alliance is providing this major updating of the previous brief. Read on….


The Education Frontier
One Teacher's Journey in Online Education
Kristin Kipp, 2011 SREB/iNACOL National Online Teacher of the Year
Kristin writes about the implications of a new LMS:
“Next fall my program will be making the switch to a new Learning Management System. We’ve used Blackboardsince the school first began three years ago and now we’re switching to Schoology. While I’m really excited about the prospect of using some new tools, I’m also overwhelmed. The equivalent change for a f2f classroom would be moving to a completely new classroom with bean bags instead of desks and a whole new set of technology tools that you’re required to use to manage your classroom! It’s exciting but completely unfamiliar!” Read her comments….

Top IT Trends: Gartner

Gartner: Mobility, Big Data on the Rise; Cloud Not so Much
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, June 21, 2012
Mobile devices and data-driven decision-making tip the scales in Gartner's midyear re-evaluation of top IT trends.
In developing its list of trends, the company examines both emerging technologies as well as existing ones that can be applied in new ways, said Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst Carl Claunch during a public webinar. "Typically there's a confluence of differing enabling factors or technologies that come together at a sufficient level to make it reasonable to do something, whereas before it might not," he explained.
This year's trends cover 10 discrete areas described here.

It’s All About Data

Analytics: Sensemaking, Predictions & Performance (Slideshare)
George Siemens, Athabasca University, Canada, June 6, 2012
Presented at the 8th annual eLearning Symposium, George Mason University.
Focusing on the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts to improve understandings of teaching and learning and optimize the design of learning environments. Leveraging the power of data mining, interpretation, and analysis models to assess academic progress, predict future performance, and provide advice and insight on learning.

Mobile Technologies — the Future

Companies Predict Mobile Technologies will Improve Organization Learning in Next Three Years
ASTD Staff, June 14, 2012
Obviously, this is members-only information, and for the business community, but the summary here may be interesting for you and a reliable prediction for education, too. Research indicates approximately four billion smart phones will be sold between 2011 and 2015. According to the International Telecommunications Union, at the end of 2011 there were 5.9 billion mobile cellular subscribers – an 87 percent global penetration. Mobile technologies are transforming how people work and learn which is why workplace learning and development professionals need to pay careful attention to the mobile learning trend and make sure their learning strategies are effective and aligned with business needs, according the latest research from ASTD and the Institute for Corporate productivity (i4cp).
eLearning in a Foreign Language
Danielle Geary, eLearn Magazine, June 2012
While distance education is growing more and more popular by the year in a variety of fields, eLearning a foreign language is still, well…foreign, in many ways, especially when it comes to research, data, and teaching methodology. Online second language courses differ radically from other subjects in which students interact and communicate in their own language in order to learn new material.
Millennials: They Aren’t So Tech Savvy After All
Brian Proffitt, ReadWriteWeb, June 7, 2012
Conventional wisdom has it that kids and young adults now coming of age have been so steeped in everything from video games to social networking that they bring amazing new technology skills to the workforce. The truth may not be so rosy
More Focus on Psychological Impact of Digital Media?
Ian Quillen, Digital Education, Education Week, June 1, 2012
A story in Tuesday's Sydney Morning Heraldin Australia suggests that overexposure to devices such as tablet computers and smartphones, particularly at a young age, can lead to obsession or addiction, according to several mental health professionals.


You Tube - UNICEF tackles cyberbullying
May 25, 2012
According to Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the child, all children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence while in the care of parents or other caregivers. This problem needs awareness and education. UNICEF Digital Citizenship and Safety project team is working in tacking cyberbullying. Credit: Gobee Group.
The Cyberbullying Research Center
…provides current information on the topic. The Bullying and Cyberbullying Laws Fact Sheet, updated in June 2012, is available for download.

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