The Bytes & Books ball last night was full of high spirits for the Obama administration and the prospects for greater investment in education technology for the nation’s schools. “I think there are very good times ahead for ed tech,” said Mark A. Schneiderman, a lobbyist for the Software & Information Industry Association. “President Obama believes very much in what teaching and learning can look like if technology is used efficiently.” Schneiderman is also the treasurer of the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET), which hosted the event. He brushed aside a suggestion that a flood of federal ...


So now we have arrived at the weekend before Inauguration Day. And on Tuesday night, the 20th, this reporter will be attending the black-tie "Bytes and Books Inaugural Ball," which is sponsored by a coalition of companies and education groups promoting education technology and, especially, federal funding of same. Several ed-tech friendly members of Congress are expected to attend. And four individuals will be honored for their contributions: U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy; Filmmaker George Lucas, who started the George Lucas Educational Foundation; Barbara Stein, the longtime ed-tech policy expert at the National Education Association; and Bill Thomas, the director ...


Education technology is likely to receive a major federal boost from the economic stimulus package, based on the House Democrats' version of the plan, released today. The House Democrats' "American Recovery and Reinvestment" plan includes "$1 billion for 21st century classrooms, including computer and science labs and teacher technology training." This plan, which Capitol Hill sources say was developed in collaboration with the incoming Obama administration, is not the final one, as the Senate Dems are developing their version of the stimulus plan, which may have different numbers. But it is a key piece of the emerging picture of what ...


Six college students at the University of Central Florida will be taking part of their practical training in education as interns with virtual teachers at the Florida Virtual School. The trial internship program will help address the online school's need for teachers with appropriate skills and the university's need to produce educators who are prepared for a K-12 online learning market that is growing by 30 percent annually, according to officials of the two Orlando, Fla.-based institutions. The half-dozen education majors at the University of Central Florida will work mouse-in-hand with FLVS teachers for seven weeks, helping provide direct ...


Educators who are skeptical about students spending their time at social-networking Web sites may have a reason to rethink that opinion. The U.S. space agency has started a Facebook page as a way to engage young people with its activities involving science, technology, engineering, and math education. The NASA page is intended for students in grades 9-12 and higher ed. It offers news about competitions, feature articles, podcasts, and videos. Students must have their own (free) Facebook membership before signing up for the NASA site. The page will also update students on opportunities that have an upcoming deadline, timetables ...


Web 2.0 technologies are showing flashes of potential for allowing K-12 students to collaborate globally about important issues. I glimpsed some of that potential recently in a Web conference on global warming that involved some middle and high school students on the east and west coasts of the United States and in Africa. Taking part were students at the Ni River Middle School, in Spotsylvania County, Va.; the Insight School of Washington, an online school based in Spokane, Wash.; and Le Petit Séminaire de Pabré, near Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in central Africa. The schools are in ...


Here's an in-depth article from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiling one family which has enrolled its children in the Georgia Virtual Academy after deciding that online education is the right choice for them. The Georgia Virtual Academy has become one of the biggest in the nation, with about 4,400 middle and elementary school students. Although enrollment in this school, and other online academies, is growing, some opponents of online education are worried about test scores from virtual schools. For example, at the Georgia Virtual Academy, 74 percent of 8th graders failed their state math test, compared with 38 percent of ...


There's an interesting story up on The Sacramento Bee about a new law that will take effect on Jan. 1 in California that allows school districts to punish students for cyberbullying. Specifically, the law allows schools to suspend or expel students for bullying other students over the Internet, through text messages, and other electronic means. Part of the impetus for the passing of the bill was the case of Megan Meier, a 13-year-old girl who committed suicide after a complicated case of cyberbullying and deception on MySpace. (You can read more about that here.) As cyberbullying becomes more and more ...


I just finished up a story for Digital Directions today about what Obama plans to do for the ed-tech community and how that measures up to what prominent members of that community believe he should do once he takes office on Jan. 20. As we mentioned before, Obama has pledged to put more computers in schools and expand broadband access to homes and schools as part of his economic-recovery plan that he hopes will create up to 3 million jobs. In addition, Obama has indicated that technology will play a much larger role in the infrastructure of government, something ed-tech ...


As many folks have predicted, I think we've just seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to distance learning, which is pretty much an umbrella term for any situation where a teacher interacts with students who are not in the same classroom, such as online classes or interactive-TV classes. This AP story examines how schools in Minnesota are using distance learning, mostly through Project SOCRATES. Distance learning is having a particularly strong impact in smaller, rural districts, according to the article. "These classes are really crucial for school districts," said Dave Henning, SOCRATES E-learning manager, "especially some of ...


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