It is widely assumed among education technology enthusiasts that as younger teachers enter the classroom ed tech will gain more of a footing in improving learning. Younger teachers, common wisdom dictates, are more comfortable with technology and have broad experience using it in their everyday lives. Even so, it may take longer than we think for the teacher corps to be savvy and effective users of electronic and online instructional tools, according to an interesting study I came across on digital natives in teacher preparation programs. In an article in the Spring 2009 issue of the Journal of Computing in ...


A couple weeks back, school officials in Maine announced that they would be expanding their 1-to-1 laptop program. Now local school officials are beginning to question assurances that the program will be paid for and will not require any extra funds. Although schools would not have to pay extra for the laptops themselves, they are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of those computers, which may require hiring an extra staff member—a cost that the district will have to foot, say superintendents. I'm sure experts would agree with the superintendents that it's essential to hire an extra person to ...


Sean Cavanagh, my colleague over at Curriculum Matters, beat me to this story about a conference to help spread education throughout Africa with techology. "Next month, an effort to improve students' access to education in the developing world will be taking place in Dakar, Senegal. It's a conference run by an organization called eLearning Africa, which supports the use and distribution of basic technologies in schools across the continent. The event seeks to bring together nonprofit leaders, university officials, and IT experts with the expertise and connections to get school technology where it's needed." Sean reports that the eLearning Africa ...


My colleague Sean Cavanagh's story about nanotechnology is a fascinating read and a great example of the way that teaching cutting-edge technology can capture students' interest. Nanotechnology—or the study of materials or particles at the molecular or atomic level—is a field of research that's rapidly expanding. It is being used to figure out how to make materials stronger, more stain-resistant, and also how to make computer chips more intricate and sophisticated. It's normally taught at the university level, but students in "Tech Valley," near Albany, N.Y., are getting lessons in the newly emerging field, as well. Part ...


I don't know if we needed a study to confirm this, but the Council on Research Excellence released survey results this week showing that the youngest of the baby boomers are the biggest consumers of the video media among people age 45 or older. Those boomers ages 45 to 54 appear to be the biggest media consumers among all adults in the survey, spending more than 9 1/2 hours daily with blackberries, computers, televisions, and other video-capable devices. The $3.5 million Video Mapping Study, conducted by the Ball State University Center for Media Design, found that despite the ...


I've been getting up to speed on Twitter little by little, learning the lingo and mastering the 140-character format. That's been the hardest part for a journalist who likes to go in depth and who often surpasses my allotted space for print stories, just ask my editor. Twitter, texting, and other communication tools may be a bit uncomfortable for us veterans, as far as written venues go. But I tend to think of today's students as being able to pick up on them more instinctively. So I thought this article was interesting. I found it thanks to the Ed Tech ...


Over at Curriculum Matters, my colleague Sean Cavanagh writes about an online site featuring virtual manipulatives for math and science classes. David Wetzel offers a variety of interactive math resources at his Teachscienceandmath blog, here, including math games and Google Earth math applications. As Sean writes, manipulatives are boxes, shapes, figures and games that students can handle in class to make connections to math concepts. I've heard a lot of experts caution about putting traditional curriculum materials on the Web without adapting them appropriately to the digital format. This is an interesting example of how a standard classroom tool can ...


Ed Week's annual report on educational technology, Technology Counts 2009, was published today. The full report and individual state reports are available for download. This year's report focuses on issues and trends in online learning and grades the states on educational technology use and capacity. As the world of online education continues to evolve, brick-and-mortar schools are incorporating digital curricula and virtual teachers into their classrooms in ways that have surprised even the advocates of the online education movement, according to the 12th annual report. Once mostly catering to advanced students who educators believed had the motivation to pursue education ...


As a follow-up to my co-blogger Kathleen's post about the story I recently wrote for Education Week about the cost of virtual education, I thought I might take a few minutes to talk about some of the challenges of writing this article as well as some of the information I found that didn't quite make it in. The first thing I found when I started reporting on this story was that there is no easy answer to the question of how cost-effective virtual education is. It's hard to say, "Yes, online education is cheaper," or "No, it is not." Instead, ...


In the midst of tremendous growth in online learning opportunities there's an ongoing debate about how cost-effective it is for districts and states to provide virtual courses versus traditional classroom offerings. Katie Ash focuses on this issue in her Ed Week piece this week. There are competing views and data about the cost benefits of online programming. Many education leaders are interested in starting or expanding virtual schools so they give students' alternatives, as well as more opportunities to take courses that might not be widely available where they are. A couple of days ago I met with a San ...


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