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 ...


In Tuesday's post about using Google Earth to teach about Ancient Rome, I asked readers how they fit such tech lessons into their instruction. Over at the Teach Paperless blog, Shelly Blake-Plock takes me to task over the notion that teachers need to "fit in" technology. He makes a great point: if you are struggling to fit it in, you are likely not using technology meaningfully. It should be a natural tool for your classroom. "If you feel like you have to 'fit tech in' to your classroom practice, then you're quickly going to find yourself frustrated," he writes. "You ...


When we envision 21st century learning environments, a lot of us probably picture classrooms loaded with the latest technology and maybe some new skill sets being taught. But at the upcoming Architecture 4 Education symposium taking place this weekend in Pasadena, California, school architects and researchers will converge to talk about what the physical structures of a 21st century learning environment might look like, including how emerging technologies will influence how schools are built. A copy of the symposium's agenda, as well as a list of the speakers that will be presenting, are available from the organization's Web site. And ...


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