Policies to Empower Learning

Rewrite, add, delete, repeat. This is the cycle of school policies on technology. Or at least it should be. Policies need to adapt to the changing times. For School administrators and technology directors/CIO’s adapting to changing times is an important component to a strong leadership for educational technology use (Nets-A) It is the time of year when many schools are updating policies for the upcoming school year. Technology Polices are particularly susceptible to change. Quite simply, new technology forces us to re-imagine classroom environment with the innovations added in.

Handy study tool

Study Blue is a very handy study tool for high-school and college students that works the way they do. Students can use it to store notes and create flashcards. Study materials are then accessible anywhere that students have an internet connection and even from their phone. Best of all, it is free to sign up and get started! Study Blue helps students study more efficiently by keeping track of what students have already mastered, and what they still need work on. => http://bit.ly/jHdDvT

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic–and Ramps

The Kids That Rip! Skateboarding School in Mesa, Ariz., is using Suzanne Selfors’s novel Smells Like Dog (Little, Brown, May) as the basis for its curriculum throughout the 2010-2011 school year. In addition to camps and skateboarding classes, the school is the first in the U.S. to offer a full-time academic and skateboard training program for a handful of students. The students’ lessons will tie in to chapters in the book (they have made their own compasses, studied Homer’s Odyssey, and visited a goat farm), and Selfors plans to visit the school at the end of the academic year. Here, a group of third-grade students visit with a basset hound from the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue.


Public Art in Public Schools

It’s not often that public schools are built by famous architects or house artwork by known artists, but author and art historian Michele Cohen has found more than 1,500 works of art in New York City schools and documents them in Public Art for Public Schools (Random, 2009). All the art in the book is compiled in a database, and some of it is available online and includes lesson plans.

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Business Is Brisk for Teacher Training Alternatives

[Via Joanne Jacobs]

The high unemployment rate has provided an unexpected boon for the nation’s public schools: legions of career-switchers eager to become teachers. … read the whole article

U.S. Male-Female SAT Math Scores: What Accounts for the Gap?

U.S. Male-Female SAT Math Scores: What Accounts for the Gap?



It’s well known that for the SAT mathematics test a) male high school students in the U.S. have higher scores on average than females, b) the gap is large and statistically significant (+30 points), and c) the male-female math test score gap has persisted over time, since at least 1971, and probably much longer (see chart above, data here from the Dept. of Education). >>>

Visual Learning: Using Images to Focus Attention, Evoke Emotions, and Enrich Learning

Say it with words and you’re lucky if they hear it or bother to read it. Tell your story with imagery, and it grabs attention, evokes emotion, and is more instantly processed. Sixty thousand times faster, say some researchers. At Hong Kong International School (HKIS), we have concerns quite similar to those of teachers in the U.S.: We want to engage student interest, we want to efficiently scaffold for students to construct meaning, and we want to motivate and empower them to communicate. Like all educators, we have students who deserve to learn 21st-century media skills and literacy to communicate in ways that are relevant in a new century. Article continues

Blended Learning – More Effective Teaching Methods

The term blended learning is a term used to describe an educational course in which a mixture of face to face student/teacher instruction and online instruction are used together for any given class. The most exciting part of this process is to decide how to transform the teaching and learning experience into one, so that the student’s creativity and thinking skills are enhanced to a higher degree.

Blended Learning Describes a Wide Variety of Teaching Approaches

The term Blended Learning has been used to describe a wide variety of approaches. The term blended learning is also be used to describe arrangements in which conventional, offline and non-electronic based instruction happens to include online tutoring and/or mentoring services. One such course that would be enhanced with blended learning would be a science experiment, where students access their instruction on a computer, and then walk over to a lab table to conduct and experiment.

E-Learning and Traditional School

In most cases blended learning, e-learning is used in a traditional brick and mortal school, to help enhance the student’s educational experience and to make the teaching of courses more efficient.

Why Dabble In Blended Learning?

It’s about getting students to learn. It’s also about saving on cost of textbooks. After decades of teaching students using textbooks, current students are accustomed to reading off a computer screen. Ink on paper is boring to them. They need interaction, instant gratification, multiple actions and movement. Blending face-to-face instruction with a computer screen gets today’s student to learn.

There are more significant reasons: At risk students and exceptional students tend to excel with computer instruction. Rather than being lost among a group of 24 students in a classroom, an at-risk student will often surprisingly excel when offered computer instruction. With a system that offers tracking, a teacher can track progress of each student and pinpoint students who need special assistance in certain areas.

Exceptional students enjoy computerized instruction because they can proceed at their own pace and are not “tied down” by students in a classroom who need extra help.

How to Get Started in Blended Learning

The smartest first step in blending classroom instruction with technology is to use a Learning Management System. There are several different learning management systems on the market. Capterra.com offers a list of Learning management systems along with a breakdown of each system’s features and cost. Some cater to businesses that wish to train their employees. Others, such as Blackboard, are used in the college market.

Susan Bond is a part of IQity – a comprehensive, online educational system that includes IQity Reactor, a learning object repository that allows educators to create and share custom curriculum, organized by state educational standards. Reactor is integrated with a learning management system that allows traditional bricks-and-mortar schools to create an environment that enables students to learn whenever, wherever, and however is most effective for them.

Make a Digital Wish

Digital Wish, a nonprofit group dedicated to modernizing classrooms, hands out a constant stream of small grants to schools and helps teachers acquire funding for technology. Digital Wish not only offers school site licenses on Adobe and Microsoft products, but also automatically matches each purchase by giving 2 to 10 percent back to teachers every time an order is placed. more » » »

Kitty Boitnott on 21st-Century Learning Skills

Kitty Boitnott, a media specialist at Chamberlayne Elementary School in Henrico County, VA, has spent the last year as president of the 60,000-member Virginia Education Association (VEA), the largest and oldest professional organization serving public schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

How is Virginia making sure students learn about 21st-century skills?
My most recent job was in Henrico County, VA, where in 2001, Henrico County Public Schools had just entered into the largest laptop initiative in the country with Apple. Every child in high school received his or her own iBook that he/she was allowed to keep 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the school year. At the middle school level, students starting receiving their own laptops in the middle of their sixth-grade year. And for the first several years of the initiative, every classroom and every library in every school got at least five iMac desktop computers. more » » »