Archive for the ‘Online learning’ Category

Cobb faces drastic actions to cope with school budget crisis. Considers some online high school classes.

computer (Medium)Georgians can grasp just how grave the underfunding of education has become when they read about what’s happening in Cobb County, long considered one of the state’s top school districts and among its most stable.

Tonight, the school chief proposed shifting many high school classes into online courses, cutting five days from the school year, eliminating transportation to several thousand students and giving district staff five furlough days to address an $86.4 million deficit.

This is occurring in one of more affluent counties in the state, a county that lured new residents on the reputation of its schools.

How are the rest of Georgia districts — few with the financial resources and educated middle-class populace of Cobb — coping with drastic funding cuts to their schools? Never mind bake sales. Are they holding blood drives?

I’m not sure how happy Cobb parents are going to be when word of these proposed economies reach them. Many parents will have questions about the online …

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Cheating or collaboration? Do students really not know the difference?

crcted.0920 (Medium)A reader sent me this note about cheating and asked that I put the issue before the Get Schooled blog readership:

I am wondering if you have done much on student cheating? I have read about teacher cheating but don’t remember anything on the student side of the equation.

Now that my child is in high school, I am amazed at what online resources are available at the click of the button. I am aware of an instance where a teacher used an online study guide as a test….most of the students used it (teacher was unaware it was public domain) and received 100 percent on the test.  Smart on the students’ part, I’d say yes. Lazy on the teacher’s part, I’d say yes.

I’ve had some discussions with parents. Teachers don’t change their test, and the students share what’s on the test with their classmates who have not taken yet taken it.

That is cheating. But the parents I’ve spoken to call it “collaboration” and see nothing wrong with it. Teachers are aware it goes on but say it is …

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College grads in the workplace. Quick with answers but not always looking beyond computer screen

computer (Medium)Another interesting study to mull over today: College graduates understand and excel at Internet grazing, but are less comfortable or familiar with more traditional research methodology, including calling and talking to people, reading annual reports and scouring databases.

This gap is becoming apparent to employers who are impressed with their young hires’ online skills, but also concerned about their lack of more standard research competencies.

According to the “Learning Curve” Project Information Literacy Research Report:

In a world where technology abounds, social networks buzz, and connectivity is as commonplace as electricity, graduates may post their resume on Monster, apply for a few coveted internships they have found on Vault, and hook up with some new housemates on Craigslist. As dating options diminish after college, they may find themselves browsing profiles on But once they settle into a new job, many of today’s graduates soon discover that the …

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Digital natives: Are schools foreign to them?

Dr. Jason Huett

Dr. Jason Huett

Technology guru and University of West Georgia professor Jason B. Huett said a frontier teacher from a century ago popped into today’s modern era would be agape at the changes she saw every place but one — the classroom.

“When she walked into a school, she would immediately know what this is, and she could pretty much swap her prairie dress for a pants suit and go right to work,” said Huett, West Georgia’s associate dean of online development and USG eCore, a multi-institution collaborative where college students can take classes online.

Huett is among the those urging schools to use technology to make schools more relevant, accessible and flexible and less like a prison sentence.

School districts are heeding that advice — to a point.

For example, DeKalb County Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson announced this week that more than 8,200 students at seven middle schools will receive netbooks in the fall loaded with all their textbooks.

“And by August of …

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Georgia Cyber Academy: Is virtual charter ignoring real problems with special ed services?

The last time we discussed Georgia Cyber Academy was in response to parent comments about their significant roles as academic coaches under the online school’s instructional model.

Now, it is the state board of education discussing the state’s first online school, suggesting it will pull its charter if it does not improve services for students with disabilities.

Georgia Cyber Academy is part of K12 Inc., a for-profit company that is the nation’s largest virtual school provider with online public schools in 30 states.

The charter school’s parent company has been garnering headlines lately, many of which have not been flattering, including a scathing investigation by The New York Times.

A report released this summer by the National Education Policy Center found that less than 28 percent of K12-run schools were meeting Adequate Yearly Progress during the 2010-11 school year, compared with 52 percent of brick-and-mortar schools nationwide. Georgia Cyber also did not make AYP in …

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Author of “Working on the Work” explains how the work of teaching has to change

Phil Schlechty

Phil Schlechty

In Atlanta, noted reformer Phil Schlechty, author of “Working on the Work” and “Shaking up the Schoolhouse,” said there are two current paths being touted for fixing schools by political leaders — bureaucratic centralization or fragmentation/privatization.

“I say a pox on both their houses,” he told the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation at an all-day conference Monday.

Neither path, said Schlechty, recognizes the changing and critical role of teachers in a world where information is now easily obtained by an 8-year-old with a laptop.

“We don’t really understand that the primary role of the teacher has been absorbed,” Schlechty said. “Most of us still see teachers as instructors because we see ourselves in the knowledge distribution business. Today, kids can go out and get the knowledge. What we have to become are knowledge work systems to help kids work on and with that knowledge.”

Teachers today must become …

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Virtual schools and real profits: Industry shapes state policies

computer (Medium)The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram published an impressive investigation on a trend that we are seeing in Georgia: For-profit online k-12 schools “aiding” legislators in writing laws that create a demand and favorable climate for their product.

One of the changes pushed by the for-profit online sector: Statewide requirements that all students take at least one online course. We saw that effort here in Georgia. Senate Bill 289 initially mandated that all Georgia high school students complete at least one online course starting in 2014.

But as passed and signed by the governor, the law says districts have to make online courses available to their students and increase options for online learning.

The law states:

The State Board of Education shall establish rules and regulations to maximize the number
of students, beginning with students entering ninth grade in the 2014-2015 school year, who complete prior to graduation at least one course containing online …

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The promise — and peril — of online learning

computer (Medium)I listened to a panel this morning on “The Promise and Impact of Broadband Education.” The online panel discussed the role of high-speed Internet – including wireless broadband – on schools and looked at an initiative at Kramer Middle School, a public school in Washington, D.C.

The panelists were Kwame Simmons, principal at Kramer Middle School, and David Teeter, director of policy at the 3,800-member International Association for K-12 Online learning.

The session demonstrated one of the ongoing problems of online education. Both panelists encountered technical issues, which delayed the program. The moderator — referencing the “peril and the promise” of technology — had to stall for time, asking one panelist questions, while the other tried for several minutes to join the event. There were lots of “Are you there?”

Among the points made by panelists:

–30 states have virtual school/online initiatives.

–There is a trend to blend digital content and student management systems …

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Free for the taking: Elite colleges including Tech put classes online

computer (Medium) A dozen major research universities including Georgia Tech, Princeton, Duke, Johns Hopkins and the University of Virginia announced plans this week to offer 100 free online courses that will enable millions worldwide to take the same classes as students at elite U.S. campuses.

The announcement by Coursera, a year-old company founded by two Stanford professors, represents a giant leap forward in the expanding inventory of what has become known as MOOCs — massive open online courses.

“I think this is the most remarkable social development certainly of the last few years,” said Eric D. Fingerhut at a Brookings Institution webinar Tuesday. The former chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, Fingerhut is vice president of education and STEM learning for the Ohio-based research and development firm Batelle.

“One of America’s greatest products is our higher education system,” said Fingerhut. “And we are opening it up for free to people anywhere in the world. You’d …

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Bill Gates: Getting schools into the game to engage students

I was ill last week and missed a chance to interview Bill Gates while he was in town. Much thanks to my colleague Jaime Sarrio who stepped in at the last minute and produced an interesting story:

By Jaime Sarrio

Check out the classroom of the future, Bill Gates’ style: Students are grouped according to skill set. One cluster huddles around a computer terminal, playing an educational game or working on a simulator. Another works with a human teacher getting direct instruction, while another gets a digital lesson delivered from their teacher’s avatar.

This kind of “game-based” learning is one of the priorities of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the Microsoft creator.

Last year, the foundation announced it would invest $20 million in a variety of teacher tools, including this and other technologies geared toward changing the way teachers teach and kids learn.

Gates sat down with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week while he was in town speaking …

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