Here's an article, written by my colleague Debra Viadero, about whether or not reading and math software programs lead to learning gains. The study didn't find many differences between the control groups, who did not use the software programs, and the ones that did, but critics of the study say that the experimental research methods used for the study were flawed. It does seem to be one of those studies that anyone can look at and see what they want. "If you already have the hardware in the classroom and you want one of these products, this would not dissuade ...


It's only Friday, so there's still time to read an electronic text to commemorate "Read an e-Book Week," which runs through tomorrow. Some experts predict there will be huge growth in this area; not exactly a prophetic statement given the proliferation of mobile devices that can accommodate e-books and the growing popularity of e-reader gadgets. There are a lot of proponents, and commercial providers, who would like to see e-textbooks gain ground in districts across the country. Some, like Sony, have donated millions of e-books to schools in the hopes that the trend will catch on. And now the Internet ...


At Edweek.org, my colleague Michele McNeil has a piece with the details on the $250 million in stimulus cash for education data systems. The topic was featured in President Obama's March 10 education address, Michele reports. “Far too few states have data systems like the one in Florida that keep track of a student’s education from childhood through college. And far too few districts are emulating the example of Houston and Long Beach, and using data to track how much progress a student is making and where that student is struggling,” Mr. Obama said in his speech to ...


I wasn't able to make it to the CoSN conference in Austin this week, but Andrew Trotter, a blogger and former Ed Week reporter was there. He's been posting his observations on his new blog. He has this report from yesterday: There's been "near-constant discussion at CoSN about Twitter, Facebook, blogging, podcasting, Wikipedia, open content, curriculum wikis, online video games, and smartphones–and how those Web 2.0 tools fit together with the traditional school staples of assessment, curriculum, student privacy, and safety, budgets, and so on," Andrew writes. "The international symposium on March 10, here in Austin, made clear ...


Hat tip to Remote Access for turning me on to a new publication put out by MIT press called the International Journal of Learning and Media


As we ask ourselves questions about social networking, mobile technologies, online learning, and other emerging technological concerns, it's important to remember that not all school districts in this country are all that far along technologically. In fact, many schools, as well as businesses and homes, are still struggling to secure stable, high-speed broadband connections, as this report, released by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, reminds us. The report calls for a renewed focus on getting all Americans hooked up to high-speed broadband Internet. The number of Americans connected to broadband has increased dramatically since the beginning of the decade, ...


Sean Cavanagh, my colleague over the Curriculum Matters blog, has this report from the National Assessment Governing Board meeting: There's a lot of debate these days about how to define "technology literacy," but in a couple years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress will take the unusual step of testing students in those skills. This week, the panel that oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress heard an early report on how it is attempting to forge a working definition, in preparation for judging students' tech literacy in 2012. The National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the NAEP, ...


Florida instituted new rules to prevent cyberbullying this school year, with clear procedures for reporting it, even anonymously, and detailed consequences for perpetrators, according to this article in the St. Petersburg Times. The article highlights the extra steps being taken in the Pinellas and Hillsborough districts to head off online bullies and stalkers. More and more districts are taking cyberbullying, and prevention of this type of harassment, seriously. A federal law passed in the fall, in fact, requires schools that receive E-rate funding to have an education campaign about such online behaviors. But most schools and districts are still trying ...


I'm currently digging up lots of research for a story I'm writing for Education Week about the role of games—like video games, computer games, and simulations—in the classroom. Last week, I came across two white papers, published by Education Arcade, a research initiative on gaming and school primarily by researchers from MIT. The first one, Moving Learning Games Forward, is one of the most comprehensive reports I've read about the challenges that schools face when introducing games into the classroom and the differences between games and formal education that make it challenging to integrate the two in a ...


I've joined LinkedIn and Facebook. I blog and Twitter. I've hosted Web chats, downloaded and posted video, and I've even fiddled a bit with wikis and podcasts. But I'm still wondering if all this has been an effective way to reach Ed Week and Digital Directions readers. According to McKinsey & Co., many companies are wondering the same thing. In the February edition of the McKinsey Quarterly, the business journal of the global management-consulting company, there are some tips for making Web 2.0 work for you. The second generation of Web usage is all about communication and collaboration, as well ...


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