Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The business of education: Is the trend troubling you?

In tandem with my earlier blog on the Fordham panel on digital learning, I want to direct you to a blog from Will Richardson, a former public school educator and author of several books on learning and technology.

Richardson writes in response to this week’s Education Innovation Summit at Arizona State University and begins with a series of tweets from educator and blogger Chris Lehmann about the Gates Foundation sponsored event. Lehmann is principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia and co-chair of EduCon.

Among Lehmann’s tweets about the summit: Educators – if you don’t see that there is a billion dollar industry wanting to take over schools using tech as the Trojan Horse, wake up…Jeb Bush has said: a) he does not read edu research. b) he does not care about anything that is not a test score. ProblematicThis is what scares me – those who do not believe in schools will use edu-tech-speak to dismantle the things we hold most dear.

In his blog, Richardson …

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Students and Facebook: Still no clear lines with schools

Several of my friends do not have Facebook pages, and don’t intend to get them because of privacy fears.

It’s stories like this one today that confirm their suspicions that Facebook can land you in trouble:

(I checked and it is legal to drink and buy cigarettes in the Philippines at age 18 so this high school senior was probably not breaking any criminal laws there. Of course, school rules are another matter. )

From the Associated Press:

A Catholic school student has been banned from graduation ceremonies in the Philippines because a photo on her Facebook page shows her wearing a bikini while holding a cigarette and a liquor bottle.

Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali said Wednesday the department will investigate a complaint by the girl’s mother against the St. Theresa’s College High School in central Cebu City to determine whether the penalty was appropriate.

The girl will graduate but has been told she cannot join her classmates in the ceremonies. Reports …

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Online learning: Before we rush down that path, make sure we know where we are going

I have been researching online/distance/virtual learning because our General Assembly was attempting to mandate it as part of the high school graduation requirements.

Last week, the bill was changed so online high school courses are not mandated, but encouraged.

And that was a good thing, given what I have been finding in talking to researchers and reading the research about online education.

I fear that uninformed investments in expanded online learning will lead Georgia down the same dead end that technology spending did 20 years ago. As a state, we wasted millions of dollars on impractical and unworkable technology because we allowed the vendors to tell us what schools needed.

School systems had computers they couldn’t operate. Stuff sat in boxes. Nothing connected. Lacking staff expertise, systems trusted the vendors, forgetting that their first allegiance was to profit margins.

Now, Georgia is at risk of wasting millions  on online learning because the well-funded and …

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Should every Georgia high school student take an online course? Why?

computer (Medium)Update: This afternoon the House Education Committee passed the online learning bill with the mandate removed.

Now, the bill urges school systems to maximize digital learning rather than mandating that students take at least one online course to graduate.

In presenting his bill, state Sen. Chip Rogers said the legislation was needed to prepare students to work digitally and ready them for  “a future outside the classroom. Society is moving in that direction at a rapid rate.”

A second reason to push systems to embrace greater online learning, said Rogers, is that students won’t know if they learn better digitally if they lack the option.

Now, this was the original post this morning:

Senate Bill 289 sponsored by state Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, would mandate that all Georgia high school students complete at least one online course starting in 2014.

The problem with the bill is that there’s no reliable body of research documenting the effectiveness of online learning in …

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Where do schools legally draw the line on online pranks, bullying and insults?

computer (Medium)A high school honor student in Pennsylvania created a parody MySpace profile for his principal that included such comments as “Birthday: too drunk to remember.”

Suspended by the school and banned from extracurricular activities, 17-year-old Justin Layshock and his parents sued on the grounds that his First Amendment rights were violated and won, including $10,000 in compensatory damages.

In its 2011 ruling upholding the student’s victory, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decreed, “It would be an unseemly and dangerous precedent to allow the state, in the guise of school authorities, to reach into a child’s home and control his/her actions there to the same extent that it can control that child when he/she participates in school-sponsored activities.” The court felt that the parody – circulated to a limited number of the student’s classmates — did not create a substantial disruption of the school.

A student in West Virginia did not fare as well in her legal …

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Cyberbaiting teachers: In the media, but is it in the schools?

After reading several news items on cyberbaiting  –  students taunting teachers to the point of outburst and then recording and broadcasting the scenes  — I checked out a few YouTube videos of teachers “losing it.”  Very few of the so-called tirades caught on cell phones struck me as extreme; I found the students who deliberately goaded the teachers far more disconcerting than the angry teachers.

But apparently some teachers are concerned about cyberbaiting.  I am not sure if this is an issue that is getting attention  because it is trendy or because it is actually occurring. As with the recent study that found incidents of sexting by adolescents have been exaggerated, I wonder about the true prevalence of cyberbaiting.

Anybody see this much in real life?

A recent Education Week blog stated:

A new study, which looked at the effects of technology on youth and the impact on parents and teachers, found that one in five teachers has either experienced or known another …

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Less ’sexting’ than we think, but should young kids even have cell phones?

Interesting AJC story this morning on how far fewer kids are “sexting” than what most of us believe.

My favorite line in this story: “…teenagers are neurologically programmed to do dumb things.”

This story found that only 1 percent of kids aged 10 to 17 have shared images of themselves or others that involve explicit nudity.

A controversy sidestepped by the story is whether kids as young as 10 should even have cell phones. I suspect that many of you will argue that they should not, given the example in the piece of a 10-year-old boy sending out photos of his genitalia to “gross out” a classmate.

I gave my twins cell phones about eight months ago for safety reasons. My kids are about to turn 13 this month. My son never uses his or even remembers to take it with him — he is not a talk on the phone or text type. His sister will carry her phone, but also seldom uses it, although she yearns for one with a keyboard. (I bought them the basic, cheap flip phones, which is what I …

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CEO: Math and science are the ticket to good jobs and to America’s prosperity

Eric Spiegel is the U.S. CEO of Siemens Corporation, a global energy and engineering company with operations in 190 countries. This piece runs Monday in the AJC Opinion pages;

By Eric Spiegel

Some of America’s most promising students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) recently competed in the nation’s premier math and science competition at Georgia Tech. Every year, our company hosts the competition to support the best and brightest high school students – the next great innovators.

They aren’t the ones I worry about. As the CEO of a company that employs more than 60,000 employees in all 50 states, I’m much more concerned with those who shudder at the thought of algebra or chemistry; those who don’t realize that in the new economy, even in fields you wouldn’t expect, STEM proficiency is essential.

Over the past decade, STEM job openings grew three times faster than non-STEM jobs. STEM workers are expected to earn, on average, 26 percent more than their …

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State will ask students for feedback on teachers: How well did teachers know the material?

I participated in an education panel Friday night at Mercer University, sharing the stage with three impressive people, Philip D. Lanoue, Clarke County superintendent, Daundria Phillips, assistant principal of the Gwinnett Online Campus, and Kristin Bernhard, education policy adviser to Nathan Deal.

Since we both arrived early, Dr. Phillips, a Mercer grad, and I talked about her online high school in Gwinnett, which offers both a full-time program and supplemental courses for students enrolled in brick and mortar schools.

The online high school is a full-time, diploma granting high school that appeals to students who want flexibility — including kids who are performers or athletes. The virtual high school opened in August for students.

Students in the online school must meet all county graduation requirements. Students can work online any time of the day or night on their courses. The school has 100 full-time students, but expects to grow as parents and students in Gwinnett …

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Schools without computers — by choice and conviction that they don’t help kids

If you read Tuesday’s blog entry on the startling numbers of babies and toddlers parked in front of TVs and computers screens, take a look at this New York Times story on how many Silicon Valley computer execs — including the chief technology officer of eBay — send their kids to the Waldorf school, a school that shuns technology in its classrooms.

(There is a Waldorf school in Decatur.)

According to the story:

But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.

Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.

This is …

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