Archives for : technology and education

Online Education Poll Results

via Chronicle of Higher Education


In early October, Gallup asked two groups, each composed of more than 1,000 adults, whether they thought “online education is better” in a series of categories. In terms of “providing a wide range of options for curriculum” and “good value for the money,” online education got slightly better scores than traditional classroom-based education.

But online education scored much worse in four areas: in delivering “instruction tailored to each individual,” in providing “high-quality instruction from well-qualified instructors,” in offering “rigorous testing and grading that can be trusted,” and—finally, worst of all—in dispensing “a degree that will be viewed positively by employers.”

Only a third of the respondents rated online programs as “excellent” or “good,” while 68 percent gave excellent or good ratings to four-year colleges and universities, and 64 percent gave such ratings to community colleges.

AP’s for Teacher Lesson Plans and Organization

  • NextLesson – A marketplace of classroom-tested, CCSS-aligned lesson plans and materials. A nice complement to TeachersPayTeachers.
  • A to Z Teacher Stuff – Lots of free lesson plans, thematic units, printables, worksheets, and other classroom resources.
  • Polldaddy – Need to create a quick multiple-choice quiz? Here is an easy way to make online polls and questionnaires.
  • Alchemy: SmartBinder – Create lesson plans for free with this online tool. Includes ability to attach files and get summative assessments.
  • SyncSpace – A collaborative whiteboard app that allows multiple simultaneous editors. Works on both iOS and Android devices.
  • Constitute – Not quite a lesson planning tool, but here is a neat way to search through and read the constitutions of the countries in the world.

via EdShelf


Problems with Common Ap cause colleges to push back deadlines


via the Washington Post  by Valerie Strauss

Problems with the new version of the online Common Application — which is accepted for college admissions by more than 500 colleges and universities — has prompted some schools to push back early decision deadlines, and others are waiting to see when the problems are resolved before deciding whether to do the same thing.

Panicked students and high school admissions counselors as well as college admissions offices have been complaining for weeks that many students have had problems getting onto the Common App site, including staying on the site, entering information, requesting teacher recommendations  and making payments.

For some time, essays that were entered into the Common App writing section showed no paragraph breaks because, according to a recent e-mail from Common App spokesman Rob Killion, “Paragraph breaks weren’t originally supported in our writing text box (Line breaks yes, paragraph breaks no).”  Students and counselors spent hours trying to find ways to get around it, but there was no way to do so until it was fixed.

This note was on the Common App Web site Tuesday morning:

We are aware that some users are experiencing problems with the PDF previews. We are investigating the cause and will report as soon as we have information to share. As frustrating as this problem is for those who encounter it, please know that it is not systemic and does not impact all users.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Georgia Tech are among the schools that have announced that the original Oct. 15 deadlines have been pushed back to Oct. 21 after weeks of troubles with the Common App Web site.  Other schools, such as Princeton University, gave students a different method of applying, such as using the Universal College Application, which is different than the Common App. The Universal College Application is accepted at about three dozen schools, but more may sign on now.

Tablet efforts scrapped in one school district.



In Texas, the 70,000-student Fort Bend school district scrapped a 19-month-old initiative to deliver an interactive science curriculum via iPads issued to students, dubbed iAchieve, after a consultant found that “the program fell short of its mission due to a combination of unrealistic goals, insufficient planning and project management, lack of consistency with existing FBISD curriculum-development standards, and poor contract-management practices.”

Leslie Wilson, the chief executive officer of the Mason, Mich.-based One-to-One Institute, a nonprofit organization that supports districts in implementing 1-to-1 computing programs, said she was dismayed to hear of the setbacks.

“These were absolutely avoidable situations,” Ms. Wilson said, citing research on 12 years’ worth of 1-to-1 programs in more than 2,000 school sites nationwide. “As a school leader, you’ve got to do your due diligence and get a strong foundation in place before you spend a dime on a device.”

Americans Strongly Support Experiential Learning

from a Northeastern University study released 10-8-2013


Amer­i­cans strongly sup­port expe­ri­en­tial learning in which a student’s class­room edu­ca­tion is inte­grated with pro­fes­sional work expe­ri­ence. Nearly nine in 10 Amer­i­cans (89 per­cent) believe that stu­dents with work expe­ri­ence related to their field of study are more suc­cessful employees—and nearly three in four hiring decision-​​makers (74 per­cent) agree. Among those that gained work expe­ri­ence during col­lege, a large majority (82 per­cent) says it was valu­able for their per­sonal and pro­fes­sional development.

Are you giving a Speech? Tech Must-Haves for Success?


Via Profhacker

Writer Brian Croxall gives us his list of indispensable items for a successful public speaking gig.  He considers the following essentials:

I gave a talk recently and that VGA adapter was essential.  You can’t depend on an AV department to have one for you since Macs have no VGA port.     What tools do find essential?

Los Angeles Unified Puts IPADS in Hands of All Students


via Educational Dive

This year marks the start of Los Angeles Unified School District’s massive $1-billion iPad deployment. Putting one of the Apple devices in the hands of all 640,000 of its students is an ambitious move by the nation’s second-largest school district—perhaps even too ambitious for the seemingly short time frame in which it was launched.

There have been some bumps in the road and we can all learn from their struggles so that when we roll out these tablet adoptions, we can minimize the mistakes.  Here are some of them:

  • Take your time.  Their plan was to roll out all 640,000 ipads by the end of 2014.  They are going to struggle to meet that deadline.
  • Make sure the Wi-Fi is upgraded at each school and plan for those expenses in your budget. An Ipad with insufficient wifi is frustrating to use.
  • Make sure that your students have access to the bluetooth keyboards for various parts of the curriculum.
  • Make sure your teachers know at least as much as their students.  Kids are very adept right from the start at using their ipad.
  • Find out who is going to be responsible for breakage and losses.

If your school is considering a tablet adoption consider pairing the hardware with the available software.  Los Angeles Unified paired Apple with software from Pearson Education.  Per their contract Apple is responsible for replacing equipment that is broken up to 5% of the contract price.

Teaching Future Teachers by Critiquing Their Uploaded Performances

via Campus Technology

This looks like a great solution to the problem of new teacher performance in the classroom.   Here’s another use for IPADs in the classroom as well.

Gardner-Webb University’s (GWU) School of Education has adopted a new Web-based program to augment in-class instruction and help student educators fine tune their teaching practices.

GWU began using Teachscape this fall as part of its teacher preparation program. The implementation supports a larger statewide move toward a digital learning environment.

“We’re committed to continuously improving our program and empowering our students and teachers to continuously improve as well,” said Kelly Taylor, assistant professor and chair of middle grades education at the university, in a prepared statement. “With the state moving to textbook-free teaching, we need to prepare our students to teach in an environment where content is digital and Teachscape is helping us do this.”

As part of the new program, students are now taking courses online through Teachscape Learn. The Web courses, taken in conjunction with on-campus classes, are designed to supplement the in-class instruction, reinforcing key concepts and practices. Professors use the platform to “deliver the courses, track and monitor student learning progress, and provide targeted instruction as needed.”

Students are also using the system to observe, evaluate, and receive constructive feedback on their teaching practices. Students use iPads to capture video of their student teaching sessions then upload the recordings to the platform for peers and instructors to assess.

GWU’s new resource fills a practical need, according to student teacher Amber Travis, a senior in the School of Education’s elementary education program and president of the Student North Carolina Association of Educators (SNCAE).

“As rising educators, we’ll be able to use these new tools from Teachscape to critique ourselves and further challenge the learning experiences we already have in class time and in the field,” said Travis.


University of Florida gets Approval for completely Online Bachelors Degrees



The University of Florida got a green light on Friday to begin offering a wide range of fully online bachelor’s-degree programs in January. The programs, planned at the behest of the state’s Legislature, are intended to expand access to the university without further crowding its campus, which administrators say is full.

The online offerings will also save students money. Online tuition for in-state students is capped by state law at 75 percent of what students attending classes in person pay—which will come to $112 per credit hour—while students from other states will pay “market rates” in the vicinity of $450 to $500 per credit hour, the university says.

Online students will also avoid some $8,400 in room and board costs and many fees paid by on-campus students. And the university plans to rely as much as possible on e-textbooks, which are usually cheaper than their print textbooks.

What do you think about an all online degree?  Let us know what you think about your experiences with BLACKBOARD!  It will be interesting to see how many students chose this option at UF.

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