Is technology in the classroom just about academics? Some educators see it as a way to forge rich connections between students and their communities. I spoke recently with Vicky G. Cline, the technology director for the Greenbrier County schools in West Virginia, who has a vision to use technology to help build students’ “pride of place.” Though known for the ritzy Greenbrier resort, the county offers limited economic prospects to its young people, and many move away after high school, Cline says. But she has led a project that puts “global positioning system” devices into the hands of math students ...


Last week's chat on edweek.org may be of particular interest to readers of this blog. Susan Patrick, the president and chief executive officer of the North American Council for Online Learning; Julie Young, the president and chief executive officer of the Florida Virtual School; and Cheryl Vedoe, the president and chief executive officer of Apex Learning, answered questions from readers about trends and approaches in online teaching and learning. The conversation touched on such subjects as online security, student engagement, online courses for at-risk students, technical difficulties, teacher quality, online professional development for teachers, and student evaluation and assessment, ...


This commentary on edweek.org ties in literacy rates with 21st century skills and outlines how an emphasis on digital media and proficiency can help increase academic achievement. Using new, innovative technology can help students who are struggling with language to increase their vocabulary and form associations between what they're learning with the real world, say the authors of this commentary. Also, becoming familiar with technology helps kids gain the skills they need in order to be successful in a global economy. What I thought was most interesting about the article was the suggestions they outlined to promote technology in ...


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 ...


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