A few months ago, I wrote a post in another edweek.org blog called Motivation Matters about the pros and cons of online classes. This growing trend is something my co-blogger Andrew has written quite a bit about, and something we're both keeping our eyes on as the number of students taking online classes increases. But recently I've had an experience that I think gives me a little more insight into the world of online learning. This summer, I moved from my home in the Washington area to Portland, Ore., and in the process my work environment has changed from ...


The "open content" movement in education is getting a boost from the state of Wyoming, a regional education agency, and a for-profit virtual school. All have all agreed to share teacher-created curricula on Curriki, an online community for creating and sharing open source K-12 curricula, the nonprofit company announced yesterday. Under a typical open content license, anyone can take the materials, use them and modify them freely, and even republish them. Wyoming's Department of Education has made available on Curriki a 6th grade Spanish curriculum that was developed with federal funding. The materials can be accessed, downloaded, and modified as ...


I find support for this week’s Pew study of teens, video games, and civics (see my Sept. 17 post) in my own basement--where my two sons, ages 13 and 10, regularly play video games. The study links some aspects of video games with positive social and civic engagement among teenagers—a conclusion that, I hope, will lead to further study. My boys play an online Star Wars combat game, one of a couple of online games they play. The game operates on multiple computers that permit hundreds of people to play in separate or joint games. In realistic virtual ...


STEM is a hot topic in education, but a new survey by the Bayer Corporation actually calls for more attention about it from both U.S. Presidential candidates. The study surveyed 100 Fortune 1000 executives and found that 95 percent thought the U.S. was in danger of losing its global position because of a lack of students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, also collectively known as STEM. Fifty-five percent reported already feeling that shortage, says the press release. Almost all the executives surveyed (98 percent) felt that improving STEM education should be a major priority for both Presidential ...


If you think teenagers who play video games are insular or antisocial and that video games will draw them away from civic participation, consider a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The study, released Sept. 16, finds that teenagers’ gaming experiences are often social and have earmarks of civic engagement. The large-scale study adds a new dimension to the research on teenagers and video games, which generally has focused on the impact on academic achievement and negative social effects, especially aggression. More understanding of video game activity is a good thing, because 97 percent of teens ages ...


Incorporating the Internet and other technologies into the classroom provides teachers with more ways to present material to students and more resources to help them learn. But does a teaching approach that blends technology with traditional teaching methods work better than a purely traditional approach? That's the question Shawna Strickland, director of the Respiratory Therapy Program at the University of Missouri's School of Health Professions, hoped to answer in a study of college students that compared a "blended" technology and traditional learning environment with a traditional classroom with little or no technology use, according to this press release from the ...


My colleague Sean Cavanagh has written an interesting story about Spore--a new computer game designed by the makers of SimCity that focuses on evolution. The game allows users to create organisms by giving them various (hopefully advantageous) traits to help them survive. As these organisms evolve, players continue to build civilizations and worlds. One of the most interesting parts about this game to me is the wide audience it has attracted--which goes beyond the education crowd and includes the tech-savvy gaming folks as well. To succeed as a commercial game, it has to be a delicate balance of educational fact ...


Thanks for reading our new ed-tech blog. Please let us know what you would like to see us covering in this blog. One thing we will be doing here is passing on ideas from experts whom we encounter in the course of reporting. My expert du jour is Joseph S. Renzulli, the director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut. In a phone chat, he said his career has mostly focused on gifted students, but for some 25 years he has been interested in how technology can help students of all ability ...


According to this press release, sent out by the University of California, Los Angeles, the university will be launching a new technology research center, which will focus, at least initially, on the relationship between gaming and students' math skills. As someone who has written a number of stories about gaming in education, I've heard quite a bit of anecdotal evidence about how including video and computer games in classroom lessons can boost motivation and achievement levels, but hard-hitting research on whether that's actually true is pretty thin, although new organizations designed to provide just that seem to be cropping up ...


Welcome to Digital Education, a new blog that aims to provide news updates, solutions, and analysis to help ed-tech leaders and others address the technological challenges they face today. This blog is a partnership between Education Week and its sister publication, Digital Directions, which are working together to expand coverage of ed-tech issues in K-12. As Digital Education gets going, please tell Andrew and Katie what you think are the most important ed-tech challenges of today and how schools should go about tackling those challenges. They are very interested in hearing what you have to say. Kevin Bushweller Executive Editor ...


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