From what I know about Jim Burke, he isn't the type to worry about his relevance as an English teacher. Burke, the founder of the English Companion Web site, Ning, and a long-running listserv, as well as the author of a bunch of books about teaching, has had a huge influence on thousands of his colleagues around the country, and untold numbers of students throughout his career. But a conversation Burke started recently on the popular Ning site hints at his, and other teachers', anxiety over the rapidly growing world of online education. As his district outside San Francisco turns ...


Online dual credit programs are certainly proving popular with North Carolina students. In just two years, the number of high school students who registered for online college-credit courses was up to more than 5,400 in 2009, compared with about 1,400 in 2007, according to state officials. The Learn and Earn program, which I wrote about several years ago, allows students to earn college credit while completing their high school program. They can do so by attending one of the state's Learn and Earn high schools, which are housed on or close to college campuses, or through the online ...


As a follow-up to yesterday's post about the Florida Virtual School and their new game-based American history course, we received an e-mail about another resource for teachers and students who are interested in educational games. Calculation Nation, created by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, or NCTM, has a series of online math games that allow students to challenge the math skills of students around the globe. The games are standards-based, according to the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics and Curriculum Focal Points, and are designed for late elementary and middle school math students. There are five different ...


Socialization is a huge issue in online education. It comes up from both supporters and critics of virtual education in almost every interview I do. It's one of the main reasons that the National Education Association does not recommend full-time online education for younger students—the teachers union feels that elementary school students need the classroom experience with lots of face-to-face interaction with their teachers and peers that they just won't get from an online program. And it's something that came up over and over again while I was researching a story about what makes an online teacher effective. Almost ...


The Florida Virtual School has just launched a new game-based online American History course. The game, called Conspiracy Code, is an espionage-themed course-long game that will count for a full credit of American History. Designed by 360Ed, the game is available to students starting this month. It will be interesting to see how students and instructors alike react to this game. It seems like a natural extension of what Florida Virtual School is doing, and it makes sense to explore the game-based method of teaching since the infrastructure is already in place. But as I've discovered through my reporting about ...


A couple times a week I remind my kids that "there are starving children in the world, now eat your green beans." In most American homes the message has become cliche. When I was a child in the 1970s my mother referred to the children in famine-plagued Cambodia to make her point. There have been plenty of other examples—from Ethiopia in the 80s to the more recent food shortages in North Korea or Sudan—for subsequent generations of moms to use in the hope of getting their children to clean their plate. I'm pretty certain, however, that the larger...


A colleague of mine forwarded me a good resource for ed-tech folks looking for some online videos to check out. This blog post, off of the open thinking blog, has a list of 80+ videos for educators, administrators, parents, and students about the way that technology is affecting the way we teach and learn. And it's probably worth poking around the rest of the blog, too. Lots of good information and resources. And to give you a taste, here's a video one teacher made about his journey to becoming a "21st Century Teacher":...


Sean Cavanagh, my colleague over at Curriculum Matters, has this post about an online summit from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Check it out. While you're at it, you might also be interested in Sean's entry about two Chicago boys who've created a cell phone application for math calculations. And on the same blog, Mary Ann Zehr has this report on language-acquisition software....


Blackboard Inc.'s purchase of ANGEL Learning last month has drawn the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, according to this story in Campus Technology. As I reported here a couple weeks ago, the $95 million deal will expand Blackboard’s client base to nearly 6,000 schools, colleges, government agencies, and corporations, according to a company statement. But the Campus Technology story mentions concerns among ANGEL Learning clients, without specifying the nature of the complaints. Blackboard officials say they are cooperating with the inquiry, but confident that it will be resolved without complications for the merger. "The ...


This article about texting from The New York Times points to some of the frustrations of allowing cell phones in the classroom. According to the article, teenagers are spending more and more time texting each other, including during class, with their cell phones hidden underneath their desks or jackets. It's to the point where teachers find it more productive to ignore the behavior than stop class to reprimand those who engage in covert in-class texting. And it's not just in the classroom that texting is causing problems. Many teens are now sending hundreds of text messages a day, which works ...


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