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 ...


This Business Week article is a good read for those of you wondering what exactly President-elect Barack Obama is planning to do for ed tech once he takes office. The story talks quite a bit about President-elect Barack Obama's plans to provide computers with Internet access to schools as part of the economic stimulus plan that is currently being constructed. The details of the plan are still pretty sketchy, but based on what he's said at press conferences recently, the tech community will probably be seeing a big jump in the number of jobs available in that sector because of ...


Getting caught up on recent tech news, I ran across a couple of stories that I think are worth checking out. This AP story talks about scientists who are starting to investigate how daily exposure to technology is affecting people's brains. While violent video games have gotten a lot of public attention, some current concerns go well beyond that. Some scientists think the wired world may be changing the way we read, learn, and interact with each other.There are no firm answers yet. But Dr. Gary Small, a psychiatrist at UCLA, argues that daily exposure to digital technologies such ...


Would you hire a French teacher who had certification, say, only in Spanish; or who had merely taken some undergraduate classes in French culture; or who once visited France but couldn’t speak the language; or who was a native French speaker with no preparation for teaching? Of course you wouldn’t. But weak certification requirements in computer science teaching are apparently allowing teachers with comparable gaps to teach computer science in U.S. high schools, according to a new report by the Computer Science Teachers Association. The report, by CSTA’s Certification Task Force, finds that, in most states, ...


This paper (PDF) written by three researchers at Duke University puts a new spin on what educators should do about the "digital divide." After analyzing data from 2000 to 2005 of North Carolina public school students, the researchers found that there was a persistent gap between students who had access to computers with Internet access in their homes, which was most strongly tied with their parents' level of education (as in, those students whose parents were highly educated were more likely to have a computer in the home than students whose parents had lower levels of education). That's not really ...


This blog post at Hitwise, an online company that tracks trends through the Internet, notes that in the wake of the current recession, interest in online universities has continued to rise, as visits to traditional educational institutions have begun to decrease. The post raises an interesting and important question: Will students whose families are feeling the pinch of the recession turn to online universities as a way to cut costs without giving up a college education? A scathing report (PDF) released last week by the San Jose, Calif.-based National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education gives all states ...


This story in The Oregonian talks about how designing, creating, and coding video games is becoming a career path, rather than just a hobby, for this generation of students. The article notes that the number of colleges that teach video game design has increased from 50 to 200 in the past few years and that some high schools and community colleges in Oregon have begun to offer classes in that discipline as well. Video game design can be applied to other subjects, as well, says the article. And students who might not be motivated to excel in those subjects are ...


’Tis the quadrennial season for groups to promote their special interests to the winners in the latest national election. And yesterday, a coalition of organizations—including some education associations—were pumping up the prospects in Washington for extensive upgrades to the nation’s broadband networks, with education as one of the key areas that would benefit. The diverse collection of allies issued “A Call to Action for a National Broadband Strategy” to President-elect Obama and the next Congress to develop and start implementing a comprehensive broadband strategy in 2009. The two-page call to action lays out five goals that the ...


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