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 ...


Virginia Tech has launched a "Kids' Tech University" initiative to introduce 8- to 12-year-old kids to science, technology, engineering, and math research at the university level, as described in this AP story. Beginning in January, up to 250 youngsters will come to the campus for monthly talks from experts in STEM fields who have been selected for their passion and interest in communicating with children, according to a spokesperson for the program. Lectures will be built around kid-friendly questions, such as: "Why are there animals with spotted bodies and striped tails, but no animal with a striped body and a ...


The State Educational Technology Directors Association, or SETDA, has recently released an action plan for the class of 2020 that emphasizes increased technology resources and better technology integration to increase the competitiveness of the U.S. in today's global economy. The plan is a compilation of five publications put out by SETDA about some of the most critical issues facing ed tech today: broadband needs, STEM, technology-based assessment, professional development for teachers, and virtual learning. If you want to learn more about any of those areas, I highly recommend checking out the reports. I know SETDA's broadband paper was a ...


The National Center for Technology Innovation held a two-day education conference in Washington this week about thriving in a global marketplace. A long roster of ed-tech experts gave presentations at the gathering, which is reflected in the extensive coverage on their conference blog. If you poke around, you'll find lots of interesting highlights and summaries of the topics discussed there, like this panel discussion, moderated by Digital Directions' executive editor Kevin Bushweller, on where U.S. students rank in the global economy and in student achievement. Panelists discussed the current state of American students' global competitiveness and the keys to ...


Too bad for us, perhaps, but Margaret Spellings did not choose the Digital Education blog to release her new white paper on educational technology. The U.S. secretary of education chose instead eduwonk for her debut as a guest blogger. On the other hand, maybe it's just as well, because what is probably the Bush administration’s last gasp on the subject of educational technology is an anemic effort. The 10-page document, available here, basically echoes the administration’s previous positions on ed-tech. It states support for expansion of online and virtual schools, better data systems, individualization of education (through ...


The Oregon Department of Education is not scoring very well in its 2-year-old dispute with Vantage Learning. On Friday, an Oregon jury awarded $3.5 million to the online testing company to compensate it for tests that it had administered but that were not paid for by the state. The jury of the Marion County Circuit Court found that the education department breached its contract with Vantage by failing to negotiate in good faith to settle the payment issue, establish a new pricing structure, and deal fairly with the company. The jury unanimously rejected the education department’s claim that ...


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