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 ...


With the National Educational Computing Conference, or NECC, about a month and a half away, my inbox is currently being flooded with invitations from various ed. tech. public relations firms, hoping to garner some time to meet with their clients. And perhaps it is because of this sudden influx of requests that at least one PR group has decided to do something to stand out from the crowd. Instead of PR pitches, they're writing rhyming couplets, inspired by NECC. I should say up front that this is in no way an endorsement, just something I'd like to share. With Obama ...


I've heard many educators and school reform advocates talk about the importance of increased communication between teachers and parents. The more information teachers share with parents about their child's progress, the better, right? Well, teachers in Louisiana will have to adhere to some pretty stringent guidelines for reaching out to parents and students using their own personal computers, cellphones, and other communication devices. Lawmakers in the state legislature in Baton Rouge could be close to finalizing a bill that would restrict teachers from using personal devices to communicate with their constituents. For many educators around the country, communication with students' ...


While catching up with my blog roll this morning after the weekend, I discovered a lot of buzz about WolframAlpha, a new Web tool that you can use to type in equations and get the answers. If you're at all interested in data, statistics, or little bits of information, it's worth spending a few minutes checking out. I highly recommend the screencast of WolframAlpha to get an idea of how it works and what kinds of information is available from it. Although you can type in mathematical equations and get the results, you can also type in questions about things ...


Within the past year or so, a new trend has cropped up called "sexting"—where teens send naked pictures of themselves through text messages, which has implications for educators, administrators, parents, and students.


Blackboard Inc., a dominant company in the U.S. for e-learning tools, announced this week that it had acquired education software developer ANGEL Learning Inc. The Indianapolis-based ANGEL’s products include learning management software and an electronic portfolio system that tracks student progress. 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. The Washington-based company, which reported significant losses in revenue last year but has since seen revenues improve, said it anticipates seeing savings by combining some of the two companies’ infrastructure, sales, and administrative ...


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