Welcome to our periodic Worthy of Note!
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
SREB Educational Technology Cooperative
Worthy of Note: August 5, 2013

Prepared by June Weis
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Demographics, Affordability Collide to Challenge College Completion
Press Release, SREB News
Atlanta — August 1, 2013 — Economic and demographic trends are testing states’ drives to maintain growth in education attainment. The 2013 Fact Book on Higher Education from the Southern Regional Education Board shows that rapid demographic change is making progress more difficult, but that enrollment and graduation trends are promising.
The Fact Book details current data for the 50 states and D.C, plus the four U.S. Census regions and the nation as a whole. Essays, spreadsheets, charts and graphs cover tuition and fees, college affordability and net price, college participation and completion, faculty and administrators, population and the economy, state government revenues and expenditures, and college and university revenues and expenditures.
2013 Legislative Report No. 4, August 2013
Final legislative and budget actions reported for several states.

Project-/Competency-Based Learning

All The Project-Based Learning Terms You Should Know
Jeff Dunn, edudemic, July 24, 2013
Project-based learning is far and away one of the most popular strategies teachers are discussing right now. So that means it’s probably time everyone should start getting on the same page in terms of project-based learning terms. Find resources at Project Based Learning created by Buck Institute for Education.
Best Practices in Alternative & Competency-Based Learning
Ed Week, Blog, Tom Vander Ark on Innovations, August 2, 2013
As noted Wednesday on EdWeek, I recently visited GPS Education Partners, a high school manufacturing apprenticeship-based program serving students in Southern Wisconsin. We invited the folks from Edvisions Schools and Jobs for the Future to join a conversation about alternative and competency-based learning. The experts listed eight key strategies.
In short, Edvisions wants to change the school day to change the learning life. They transition from spoon feeding (traditional public education) to showing students they’re able to start feeding themselves with choice about their education based on their interest.
Jobs for the Future’s Students at the Center initiative summarizes what they’ve learned in this category in nine reports.  Also supported by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation is CompetencyWorks, an iNACOL supported resource for competency-based learning.
Deeper Project Based Learning
Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart, July 27, 2013
We’ve been visiting and interviewing schools that provoke deeper learning.  They ask students to think and struggle. Larry Rosenstock, High Tech High, likes students (and teachers) to experience a bit of perplexity often resolved in a focus on production of high quality products.
We’ve summarized How Digital Learning Contributes to Deeper Learning and think tech-enabled project-based learning holds great promise to boost college and career preparation. We found a couple schools that are particularly good examples.

Digital Textbooks

E-Textbooks Report Questions Cost Savings
Tanya Roscoria, Center for Digital Education, July 18, 2013
Digital textbooks are gaining ground in education, as shown by a study released by the Book Industry Study Group earlier this year: Students' preference for print text over digital dropped from 72 percent in November 2011 to 60 percent in late 2012.
And a recent EDUCAUSE study finds that students and faculty value lower-cost textbooks -- though they aren't sure that the current digital textbook model will drive prices down.
Last fall, more than 5,000 students and faculty at 23 colleges and universities participated in an e-textbook pilot with EDUCAUSE, Internet2, McGraw-Hill Education and Courseload, and the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) published the findings in Understanding What Higher Education Needs from E-Textbooks: An EDUCAUSE/Internet2 Pilot.
How to Prepare Teachers for Digital Education
Tanya Roscoria, Center for Digital Education, July 8, 2013
In today's teacher preparation programs, college professors balance technology with content and knowledge, focus on context, emphasize classroom practice and use appropriate technology tools for different tasks.
This article features some more details on these four key elements that make up today's digital teacher preparation programs -- programs that give students a chance to learn about and practice teaching in a supportive environment so that when they start teaching full-time, they're better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Wireless Connectivity

Wireless Connectivity in Education: New Tools to Scale Wi-Fi Infrastructure for 21stCentury Learning
Center for Digital Education, Strategic Paper
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend sweeping through K-12 and higher education is changing the face of teaching and learning as more students use their own devices at home and in school. A Project Tomorrow survey of more than 360,000 K-12 students revealed ”80 percent of students in grades 9-12, 65 percent of students in grades 6-8, and 45 percent of students in grades 3-5 use smartphones.”
An Ed Tech survey conducted by Australia’s Charles Sturt University found that 87 percent of university students want to revisit lecture material on their mobile devices. There are other examples featured here.
This Center for Digital Education white paper provides an overview of the network issues that education institutions grapple with as they introduce thousands of student and faculty mobile devices into the learning environment, and discusses new wireless network technologies that help schools harness the power of BYOD.

Common Core

4 reasons why the Common Core Standards are losing popularity
Meris Stansbury, eSchool News, July 19, 2013
Many states, policy makers, and educators are saying that though giving the go-ahead was easy, successful implementation planning didn’t factor well enough into the decision to adopt, causing problems states are only now beginning to fully comprehend.
Here you’ll find the four most widely discussed contentions with CCSS. Do you think these points are valid?


Lifting All Boats: How MOOCs Can Bring Higher Ed Together
Steven Mintz, Campus Technology, July 24, 2013
Steven Mintz, executive director of the Institute for Transformational Learning at the University of Texas System, writes that instead of arguing about whether MOOCs will stratify education or threaten tenure and job security for instructors, educators should see them as an opportunity to rethink pedagogy and instructional design for a new century and a new generation of students.
MOOCs—Key Legal and Policy Issues for Colleges and Universities
EDUCAUSE, July 25, 2013
The National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), ACE, and EDUCAUAUSE held a webinar on July 25th, 2013 on the key legal and policy issues regarding massive open online courses (MOOCs).
The program addressed major legal and policy issues that can arise from institutional creation of or participation in MOOCs. Specific issues discussed included:
  • Determining institutional goals and underlying considerations;
  • Various institutional options for offering MOOCs and the pros and cons of each;
  • Third-party provider agreements;
  • Faculty legal and policy issues resulting from MOOC development and participation;
  • Course development and management responsibilities and issues; and
  • Data use, privacy and conduct issues.
Download the resource.
MOOCs – A Question of Credit
John Ebersole, WCET Learn, July 31, 2013
In this blog posting John covers the necessary elements for assessment, the need for academic integrity, the availability of alternative methods of credit assessment, and provides a path for MOOCs to be eligible for college credit.

Online Learning

Who Is Driving the Online Locomotive?
Rob Jenkins, Chronicle of Higher Ed, July 24, 2013
Proponents of online learning often use train metaphors to describe its growing impact on the educational landscape. Those of us, who teach at two-year colleges, especially, are constantly encouraged, prodded, hectored, cajoled—and sometimes even ordered—to get on board. Otherwise, we're told, we're likely to be run over.
…. Thinking about that phenomenon has led me to wonder, lately, just who is at the throttle. I think that's a question well worth asking, and the answer ought to inform our response as faculty members. It seems to me that there are only a handful of possibilities. He considers five.

Next Generation Learning Challenges Grant

Florida Virtual School® Awarded Esteemed Next Generation Learning Challenges Grant
Press Release, Florida Virtual School, July 16, 2013
Florida Virtual School is one of the 30 Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) Wave IV Planning Grant recipients. The $100,000 grant will help FLVS to develop a plan for Project TAM, a long standing, revolutionary school model that’s been thought about and talked about and planned for at FLVS since 2002. The FLVS Breakthrough School is a whole new concept, a brave new platform where an individual student will receive an individual l education perfectly suited for them. By synchronizing students with their learning, Project TAM will boost engagement and achievement.
Moving schooling forward: Next-gen grants possess promise
Michael Horn, Clayton Christensen Institute, July 26, 2013
Michael makes some very important observations about the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grants.

Blended Learning

Virtual Schools in Florida, New Hampshire, to Add Blended Models
Benjamin Harold, Ed Week, Digital Education, July 31, 2013
Two prominent providers of full-time virtual education, including Florida's largest hub of online K-12 classes, will look to add physical spaces to deliver face-to-face instructional programs after receiving grants earlier this month from a group called Next Generation Learning Challenges.
With its new $150,000 planning grant, FLVS, which currently operates a full-time virtual school in partnership with the for-profit Connections Academy and provides individual online classes to thousands of students across in traditional schools across Florida, aims to lay the groundwork for a statewide network of "community learning centers" where both students and non-students can go to "attend a TED talk, work one-on-one with an adult, or collaborate with peers and adults," among other things.
The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School in New Hampshire, which CEO Stephen Kossakoski said enrolls about 10,000 students, received a $450,000 grant to implement a blended model. Their program will focus on providing students with real-world opportunities to demonstrate competency across a variety of subjects.
Lead Blended Learning in Three Steps!
Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers, Ed Week, Leadership 360, July 18, 2013
No tool is useful without a skilled head and hand. We cannot advocate for a new instructional delivery system without paying close attention to those who will make it effective. Teachers and students working collaboratively will determine whether blended learning offers next generation learning or is just another fad. If it is the former it may help resolve the nagging issue of differentiating instruction for each child and result in greater collective achievement. If it is the latter, part of the blame for its failure will come to leaders. So, let's think this through well and implement carefully.
Is K–12 blended learning disruptive? An introduction of the theory of hybrids
Clayton Christensen, Michael Horn, Heather Staker, May 2013
The Clayton Christensen Institute, formerly Innosight Institute, has published three papers describing the rise of K−12 blended learning—that is, formal education programs that combine online learning and brick-and-mortar schools. This fourth paper is the first to analyze blended learning through the lens of disruptive innovation theory to help people anticipate and plan for the likely effects of blended learning on the classrooms of today and schools of tomorrow. Download the paper here.

National Education Policy Center

Comments by John Watson on the Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2013: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence
A second review of NEPC report recommendations
John Watson, Keeping Pace, July 23, 2013
In previous blog posts I commented on the NEPC Virtual Schools report here and here, and then on the recommendations with which I agree, here. In comments in this article John lists the key recommendations with which he disagrees.

State Authorization

SARA Update: All Dressed Up and Raring to Go
Russell Poulin, July 17, 2013
Russ is providing update on SARA, State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. He also reports on recent legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The ball is in the court of the four regional higher education compacts (Midwestern Higher Education Compact, New England Board of Higher Education, Southern Regional Education Board, and Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education) for further action.  Read more….

Cloud Services

Cloud contracts poor on security, says Gartner
Warwick Ashford, Computer Weekly, August 1,2013
Buyers of commercial cloud services – especially software as a service (SaaS) – are finding security provisions inadequate, according to a report by research firm Gartner.


3 Ways to Encourage Higher Order Thinking with Technology
Susan Oxnevad, Getting Smart, July 30, 2013
By the author: This summer I have fully embraced the SAMR model of tech integration, fine tuned my ability to align learning experiences to the CCSS and discovered some new flexible and digital tools along the way. She suggests three ways for teachers to prepare to design learning experiences that encourage higher order thinking through the use of technology as a tool for learning.

10 Tools Every Teacher Should Master This Summer
Alison Anderson, Getting Smart, July 10, 2013
According to Common Sense Media, 95% of teachers agree that using technology increases student engagement and 92% of teachers want to add more technology to their classroom.
Alison shares 10 great tools that we were introduced at ISTE and the reasons they are so worth taking the time to master this summer. These are the tools that will transform your classroom in the fall because you will notice the definite threads that run throughout all these applications… real-time, collaborate and creative! Those words together are sure to build a lot of excitement around exactly how educational technology is developing and transforming what school looks like!

Just Interesting

The Real Number Of Hours Teachers Work In One Eye-Opening Graphic
Brandon Weber, Upworthy
When you look at the time teachers actually spend working, you can see that it's not a cakewalk — at all. The next time your city or state wants to cut back on teacher salaries or hammer their pensions, here's something to show around to folks before they make a decision. An interesting Infographic.
Smart List: 30 People Shaping the Future of K-12 Education
Getting Smart, August 2, 2013
30 thought leaders and important actors shaping the future of U.S. K-12 education.
Do we need a U.S. Department Of Technology?
eSchool News, August 2, 2013
Tech industries grow because of the availability of research and development dollars, a high-quality education system, a tech-savvy workforce, a large local technology marketplace and government incentives, InformationWeek reports. The U.S. has no intrinsic advantage in the technology industry. Past wins have been a function of dollars invested, bipartisan leadership and lack of global competition. However, now the global competition is heating up — just ask Apple, HP, Ericsson and Boeing, and they’ll tell you Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei and Airbus are tough global competitors. South Korea, China and the European Union governments are investing heavily in the growth of the tech industry…
We need to create a new cabinet-level Department of Technology (USDoTech) now, while we are still leading in the technology world. The goal of the department should be to drive collaborative public-private technology innovations that maximize public value through private growth.
Learning in the Digital Age
Scientific American, August 2013
The current issue (August) of Scientific American features several articles worth checking out about learning in the digital age…online learning, big data, MOOCs and more. Read what the public reads about these topics.
Here is one interesting article: Diane Ravitch: 3 Dubious Uses of Technology in Schools: Technology can inspire creativity or dehumanize learning…read more.

What the Future of Learning Might Look Like
Tina Barseghian, Mind/Shift, July 25, 2013
Education and learning could look radically different in the next few years. The education foundation KnowledgeWorks has released a forecast on the future of learning, focusing on ways that technology and new teaching strategies are shaking up traditional models. Check out this snapshot of an infographic the organization created to depict a learning ecosystem that includes whole communities in education. Make sure to check out the full infographic
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