Archive for the ‘Online learning’ Category

Cobb’s great adventure in technology. We all should watch and learn.

Cobb County is about to experiment with integrating the technologies that dominate children’s lives into the classroom through an ambitious pilot project at three middle schools.

This is a growing trend, but one for which effectiveness has yet to be proven.

According to an Education Week story:

While there is much on-going research on new technologies and their effects on teaching and learning, there is little rigorous, large-scale data that makes for solid research, education experts say. The vast majority of the studies available are funded by the very companies and institutions that have created and promoted the technology, raising questions of the research’s validity and objectivity. In addition, the kinds of studies that produce meaningful data often take several years to complete—a timeline that lags far behind the fast pace of emerging and evolving technologies.

For example, it is difficult to pinpoint empirical data to support the case for mobile learning in …

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Today’s teens: Plugged in and pleased about it

Folks, I am on vacation starting today but will be posting a bit and monitoring. I found this study on teens and social media interesting:

Nine out of 10 teenagers in America have used social media, and the majority of them perceive it to be a more positive than negative influence in their lives. But in spite of their widespread use of today’s technology, teens prefer talking in person over texting, tweeting, or connecting on Facebook, and many describe themselves as “addicted” to their digital devices.

“Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives,” a new report from Common Sense Media’s Program for the Study of Children and Media, provides the latest insights on teens’ use of media and technology and how they think it affects their relationships and feelings about themselves. This large-scale, nationally representative quantitative survey of more than 1,000 13- to 17-year-olds reveals that most teens think that social media has had a more positive than …

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A proponent rethinks cell phones in the classroom

A teacher who argued in favor incorporating cell phones into classroom instruction in a 2010 Education Week essay rethinks that position in a new piece.

Writing in Ed Week about his emerging doubts, Kentucky high school teacher Paul Barnwell says, “While summarizing is a real skill, do we really want students to further fragment their thoughts and attention in this age of incessant digital distraction and stimuli with 140-character blurbs? Do we want students to spend even more time in front of a screen, bypassing opportunities to converse and collaborate face-to-face?”

Here is a short excerpt of Barnwell’s essay “Why Twitter and Facebook Are Not Good Instructional Tools.”

A recent report by the Economic & Social Research Council refutes the notion that today’s youth, the “net generation,” is truly tech savvy. After interviewing and collecting data from 2000 first-year college students in Britain, researchers found that only 21.5 percent of students had blogged, and only 12.1 …

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NAEP science: Students can do experiments and get answers but can’t explain or justify their results

NAEP — known as the Nation’s Report Card — released results today of how American students fared on a new component of its science test that included hands-on, interactive experiments and virtual labs.

The new component was added to the 2009 science assessment. In one example, 12th graders were asked to determine a location for a new town based on an assessment of water quality flowing near that site. Students were asked to test water samples, determine levels of pollutants and then justify the decision where they would locate the new town using the data from the experiment they conducted.

Overall, students could conduct the experiments but were not as skilled in using their data to justify conclusions or writing reports. In one example cited in a webinar this morning on the results, 93 percent of fourth graders got the right answer in a science experiment, but only 32 percent could use the evidence from the experiment to justify their answer.

On the webinar announcing the …

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Student: Put down that cell phone and pick up a book

Here is another student essay from a Rockdale Career Academy 10th grader. The assignment was “an argumentative essay about the fate of America’s intelligence.”  This essay is by student Alexis Chisman.

By Alexis Chisman

In the dictionary, the word evolution means a change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such process as mutation, natural selection and genetic drift. According to this definition, human beings in the world today have already made a major leap in evolution, having a physical structure more advanced than our ancestors. We have also evolved technology, creating items that make our everyday lives more accommodating, but what may be making our lives easier is also causing the standards of education into a death spiral. The inhabitants of America are losing intelligence because technology is growing while test scores are dwindling.

How could the brainpower of United States citizens possibly be ebbing? Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg …

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New digital divide: Lower-income kids waste more time with their gadgets

When technology first began to infiltrate American childhoods, there were fears of a digital divide; children from lower-income families would not have access to the emerging new technologies because of the cost and thus fall behind their more affluent peers whose families could afford cell phones, computers and video game systems.

However, now that access to cell phones and other electronics is widespread, there are fears of a new divide: Poorer kids are wasting more time on their assorted electronic and computer gadgets than more affluent peers.

“Despite the educational potential of computers, the reality is that their use for education or meaningful content creation is minuscule compared to their use for pure entertainment,” said Vicky Rideout, author of a decade-long Kaiser study on online patterns, in a New York Times story on the issue. “Instead of closing the achievement gap, they’re widening the time-wasting gap.”

Closing the digital divide is not improving the …

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Rockdale student: Make students work for grades and limit reliance on technology

computer (Medium)I love to publish the work of students. Here is an essay by Rockdale Career Academy 10th grader Jennifer Lee, sent to me by her teacher Joanna Anglin, who was Georgia Council of Teachers of English state Teacher of the Year  in 2011.

Jennifer takes an interesting position, that the attachment of her generation to technology is undermining their education and their work ethic. She also argues that we give students too many opportunities to make up lackluster performance, thus reducing the pressure on them to work hard in the first place.

Here is Jennifer’s essay:

The greatest feat of man was evolving and developing into the intelligent beings we are today. However, recently people’s minds have been reverting back to their basic, primary state, that of the mind of a monkey.

People in the United States have become increasingly dependent on technology to the point where they no longer have to work as diligently to learn. In turn, people do not apply themselves as actively in …

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Should schools walk or run into the digital era?

computer (Medium)In every district, in every school, in every grade, there is that great teacher who all parents want for their children. So, parents cross their fingers that their child is among the lucky ones to end up on that teacher’s roster.

What if that terrific teacher could reach two, three or even five times as many students?

That is one of the promises of online learning, said Bryan Hassel, co-director of Public Impact and a speaker at today’s webcasted Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s panel on Education Reform for a Digital Era.

Hassel said that only about 25 percent of classes have one of these top-tier teachers at a given time. That means the other 75 percent don’t.

Education can enlarge the classroom of the teachers achieving the best results with their students and pay them more for doing so by multiplying their reach through technology, said Hassel.

Relieve those great teachers of non-instructional tasks and use video to reach more students and smart software to personalize …

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Legislature endorses more cyber classes: They’re shiny and new but are they effective with k-12 students?

computer (Medium)A teenage neighbor told me that he intended to be among the first in line for the new iPad that made its debut a few weeks ago. Since he already owned an iPad, I asked if the new model offered some innovation that he needed.

“I don’t know,” he told me, “but I know it’s better than what I’ve got.”

That seems to be the attitude of policymakers toward online learning, including some in the Georgia Legislature, which approved a new law pushing cyber high school courses:

Senate Bill 289 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 learning….A local school system shall not prohibit any student from taking a course through the Georgia Virtual School, regardless of whether the school in which the student is enrolled offers the same course.

Cybereducation is shiny and new. …

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The Hunger Games for Georgia schools: Less money, more mandates and micromanagement from Legislature

Pelham City school chief Jim Arnold is one of my favorite guest posters because he doesn’t pull any punches. If you haven’t read his stuff before, I think you will enjoy his essay on this year’s damage tally to education from the Georgia Legislature.

This is a long piece, so I am pulling out the key passage here for those of you with only seconds to spare: I think this paragraph by Dr. Arnold says it all:

It’s becoming harder and harder for educators – especially teachers – to provide damage control from what amounts to friendly fire, and I believe that is part and parcel of what these initiatives are all about. Sooner or later, even legislators must see it’s not about race, it’s about poverty; it’s not about a test score, it’s about student achievement; it’s not about a standardized curriculum, it’s about good teaching; it’s not about the business model, it’s about personalization; it’s not about competition, it’s about cooperation. Until that time, we will continue …

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