Worthy of Note: April 6, 2012

In this Worthy of Note ...

SREB Educational Technology Cooperative: New Publication
Creative Commons and OER
Leslie Fetzer: 2012 NOTY
Digital Resources
Flipped Classrooms
The LEAD Commission
Social Media
Charter Schools
Online Learning
Online Assessments
The Cloud
Other Resources
Just Interesting

SREB Educational Technology Cooperative: New Publication

**Increasing Online Learning Options for K-12 Students: the Role of Districts**
Projections from the results of a 2011 survey conducted by SREB’s Educational Technology Cooperative suggest that as many as three-quarters of all public school districts in the 16 SREB states will offer online learning options by 2015. This report outlines the survey results, including the types of online learning options offered, and looks at the potential implications for SREB states and districts in the future.

Creative Commons and OER

The second item is a message/request from Cable Green of Creative Commons. Creative Commons has received a small grant to create an “OER Policy Registry,” and he would like for you to share any OER policies you have. Read more…. Cable has been a presenter at an annual meeting you may recall.

Greetings Open Colleagues
The open community shares a need for more information to help us with our work. We know, for example, there are many policies supporting open education at institutions and governments throughout the world. Many of us know some of these policies, but it would be extremely helpful if we had a single database of open education policies, from around the world, that the entire community could access and update.

To meet this goal, Creative Commons (CC) has received a small grant to create an “OER Policy Registry.” The Open Education Resources (OER) Policy Registry will be a place for policy makers and open advocates to easily share and update OER legislation, OER institutional policies and supporting OER policy resources. We have begun to enter OER policies into the registry, but we need your help to make it a truly useful global resource.

The open movement is reaching a stage where we've had some real, concrete OER policy victories and there is the potential to achieve many more. Sharing our collective knowledge of existing OER policies, in the same way we believe in sharing educational resources, will help advocates and policymakers worldwide be more successful.

Will you please:
  1. Contribute any OER policies you know about on this form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dE5GSHVONzBBX1lMa1dSZWR1UmtPOFE6MQ. We are collecting both legislative AND institutional (non-legislative) OER policies from around the world. Your form submissions will be added to this draft list of OER policies.
  2. Review the draft list of OER policies: https://docs.google.com/a/creativecommons.org/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aqx2YcmBjqvbdE5GSHVONzBBX1lMa1dSZWR1UmtPOFE#gid=0. If any entries need to be fixed, please email us at oer@creativecommons.org
  3. Forward this message to your colleagues, to your lists, blogs, and other channels, to ensure that we get as much input as possible. As the OER movement is global, it is critical that we capture OER policies from around the world.

Everyone can add OER policies to the google form for the next month. Beginning on May 1, the OER Policy Registry will move to the Creative Commons (CC) Wiki. Anyone will be able to edit the OER Policy Registry on the CC Wiki, and all wiki text will be licensed under CC BY.

We're starting with a Google form because (a) it's easy and (b) wikis require you to create an account before editing, and that may be a barrier to participation.

CC is in contact with other projects that started to collect similar information, including UNESCO, CoL, the Florida Distance Learning Consortium, EU OCW and a project in New Zealand. We will add OER policy data they gather as it becomes available. If anyone knows of other efforts to gather OER policies, please send them to Anna Daniel: anna@creativecommons.org and we will reach out to them too.

If you have any suggestions or feedback on the content and/or framework, please let us know.

Warmest regards and thank you!

Cable Green, PhD
Director of Global Learning
Creative Commons

Leslie Fetzer: 2012 NOTY

Online teaching rewards virtually unending
It’s virtually impossible not to get caught up in Leslie Fetzer’s love of and enthusiasm for teaching. That’s why it’s understandable that Fetzer was named North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) Teacher of the Year last fall.

It’s also not surprising that the Alfred University graduate — class of 2003 — has been named America’s 2012 National Online Teacher of the Year for K-12 education by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the International Association award the honor for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). The Award recognizes an outstanding online teacher for exceptional contributions.

Online Teacher of the Year: Individualized instruction is key
Laura Devaney, eSchool News, March 15, 2012
Leslie Fetzer says blended learning can help each student reach a ‘light bulb’ moment, because personalization of instruction is easier.

Digital Resources

OpenStax College
OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Our free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of your course. Through our partnerships with companies and foundations committed to reducing costs for students, OpenStax College is working to improve access to higher education for all. OpenStax College is an initiative of Rice University and Connexions and is made possible through the generous support of several philanthropic foundations.

It’s innovation in education. And the time is right. OpenStax College offers students free textbooks that meet scope and sequence requirements for most courses. These are peer-reviewed texts written by professional content developers. Adopt a book today for a turnkey classroom solution or modify it to suit your teaching approach. Free online and low-cost in print, OpenStax College books are built for today’s student budgets.

Play with the Student Savings Calculator to see how much can be saved.

Electronic textbooks: What's the rush?
Daniel Willingham, April 2, 2012
We should note that there are not many studies out there regarding the use of electronic textbooks, but those that exist show mixed results. A consistent finding is that, given the choice, students prefer traditional textbooks. That's true regardless of their experience with eBooks, so it's not because students are unfamiliar with them (Woody, Daniel & Baker, 2010). Further, some data indicate that reading electronic textbooks, although it leads to comparable comprehension, takes longer (e.g., Dillon, 1992; Woody et al, 2010).

Why don't students like electronic textbooks if they like eBooks? The two differ. Ebooks typically often have a narrative structure, they are usually pretty easy to read, and we read them for pleasure. Textbooks in contrast, have a hierarchical structure, the material is difficult and unfamiliar, and we read them for learning and retention. Students likely interact with textbooks differently than books they read for pleasure. Read more…

Do E-Books Make It Harder to Remember What You Just Read?
Maia Szalavitz, Time Magazine, March 14, 2012
Digital books are lighter and more convenient to tote around than paper books, but there may be advantages to old technology.

63% of High School Students Want Textbooks that Communicate with Classmates [Infographic]

Today’s students are digital natives, and they are using their devices to connect with each other all the time during school. A new infographic looks at just how many of them are using social networks, and what they are doing on those social networks during school. The infographic also asks how schools can harness this social force for learning.

FCC & ED Push Digital Textbooks
Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart, March 29, 2012
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Education hosted a meeting recently with the goal of getting digital textbooks in every child’s hands in five years. Karen Cator, the Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, helped organize the meeting and provides energy and insight to the Departments focus on the shift to digital learning.

Cator says, “When people ask me what a digital textbook is, I say it is a bridge to a powerful new way to learn, a phenomenon that may be as significant as the invention of the printing press.”

College students: Tablets will replace textbooks by 2017
Dennis Carter, eCampus News, March 12, 2012
Latest survey on computer tablets – including the iPad – is the first to show widespread tablet use in higher education

Flipped Classrooms

How 'Flipping' the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture
Dan Berrett, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 19, 2012
While the idea is not new, the topic of flipping has consistently cropped up during discussions at recent conferences about teaching and learning—and often when the subject turns to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or the STEM disciplines. The recent interest is driven by the convergence of several trends.

Virtualizing the Science Lab with Late Nite Labs
Audrey Watters, Inside Higher Ed, March 1, 2012
Late Nite Labs wants to offer schools -- and budding scientists -- a solution: a virtual, Web-based lab.

The Flipped Class: Myths vs. Reality
The Flipped Class: What it is and What it is Not, Part 1 of 3
Jon Bergmann, Jerry Overmyer and Brett Wilie, The Daily Riff, March 15, 2012
From their perspectives, as successful flipped teachers, the authors realize there is a lot of mis-information about the Flipped Classroom and quite a bit of controversy about whether or not this is a viable instructional methodology. The purpose of this article is to list out what we believe it is and what we believe it is not.

Vodcasting and the Flipped Classroom
This site is maintained by Jerry Overmyer and is devoted to teaching educators how to use vodcasting to flip your classroom. This method of learning is the brainchild of Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams who are pioneers in the field of using vodcasts in the classroom.

The flipped classroom model encompasses any use of using Internet technology to leverage the learning in your classroom, so you can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing. This is most commonly being done using teacher created videos (aka vodcasting) that students view outside of class time.


Cisco Webex
There are several webinars here, one on Flipped Classrooms on May 3.

The LEAD Commission

Leading Education and Technology Advocates Announce the “Leading Education by Advancing Digital” (Lead) Commission, Organized to Advance the Nation’s Transition to Digital Learning
Answering a challenge from the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Education, experts on education and technology announced the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission. The Commission will develop a blueprint detailing the opportunity for using technology as a catalyst to transform and improve American education. The LEAD Commission will be Co-Chaired by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger; Co-Founder of TPG Capital James Coulter; former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings; and Common Sense Media Founder and CEO James Steyer, with the support of the FCC and the Department of Education. The LEAD Commission will incorporate input from a cross-section of teachers, parents, local government officials, school officials, students and education technology industry leaders and expects to release its findings and a blueprint for action in late 2012.

Social Media

Developing sound social media policies for schools
eClassroom News, March 28th, 2012
Steven Anderson, instructional technologist for North Carolina’s Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WSFCS), and Sam Walker, a technology facilitator at the district’s Kimmel Farm Elementary School, presented a session called “Understanding and Creating Social Media Guidelines for Educators” during ASCD’s 67th annual conference March 25.

Anderson and Walker are leaders in bringing social media into the classroom and teaching students how to use social media safely and ethically. Under their guidance, Kimmel Farm reportedly became the first school in North Carolina to include the teaching of social media in its school improvement plan.

One element of the plan reads: “Create a school environment where faculty are educated and can educate students in 21st-century literacy and best practices in the uses of social media, and Web 2.0 tools, in a globally connected world.”

Social Media as a Teaching Tool
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, March 12, 2012
At Georgetown University, Professor Betsy Sigman is using Google+ in her courses at the McDonough School of Business. There she's trying out the social networking platform to help students keep up with current events on data, the topic of the course she's teaching. Read more….

Using Twitter To Support Learning
Ruth Reynard, Campus Technology, April 5, 2012
Can Twitter help support and facilitate the instructional process itself? If so, how, and in what ways can instructors successfully integrate the technology with existing courses?

Charter Schools

Charter schools are about money, not choice
Barry L. Paschal, Columbia County Times, March 18, 2012
A survey last week of Georgians’ opinions regarding several issues before the state Legislature determined that just 16 percent strongly favor the attempt to amend the state constitution to allow charter schools without local oversight.

That tiny minority who still harbor a tingly fondness for charter schools, then, really should read the recent commentary by Dick Yarbrough in The Athens Daily News Yarbrough follows the money trail and nails it:

“It’s not about the kids,” he writes. “It’s about money and politics and influence-peddling.”

Online Learning

Getting to Where We Need to Be
Amy Murin, Keeping Pace, March 23, 2012
Keeping Pace has focused largely on state-level policy issues, occasionally touching on district policies such as online learning graduation requirements. This focus has reflected the fact that most online learning policies are state laws or regulations. But we’re also increasingly realizing that federal policy and action plays an important role as well, from ESEA to funding to research that is needed at a scale that only the federal government can support.

iNACOL has been thinking about federal policy issues, which has helped our thinking on these issues. We plan to explore federal issues in Keeping Pace 2012 in more detail than we have in past years, using the issues that iNACOL has highlighted as a starting point. We are basing our thinking on the recently-released iNACOL brief entitled “Top 5 Federal Policy Issues” that details background and recommendations around five key issues. The issues below are pulled directly from the brief; the comments following are ours.

Online Classes and College Completion
Rob Jenkins, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 13, 2012
The latest buzzword in higher education is "completion." It combines the idea of enrollment growth with what we used to call "retention"—that is, getting more students into college and then keeping them there long enough to graduate or (in the case of community-college students) transfer successfully to four-year institutions.

The Costs of Online Learning
Tamara Butler Battaglino, Matt Haldeman, and Eleanor Laurans, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, January 20, 2012
The latest installment of the Fordham Institute’s Creating Sound Policy for Digital Learning series investigates one of the more controversial aspects of digital learning: How much does it cost? In this paper, the Parthenon Group uses interviews with more than fifty vendors and online-schooling experts to estimate today's average per-pupil cost for a variety of schooling models, traditional and online, and presents a nuanced analysis of the important variance in cost between different school designs. These ranges—from $5,100 to $7,700 for full-time virtual schools, and $7,600 to $10,200 for the blended version—highlight both the potential for low-cost online schooling and the need for better data on costs and outcomes in order for policymakers to reach confident conclusions related to the productivity and efficiency of these promising new models.

The LMS-less Blended Course: Why & Howy ou might free yourself from an LMS
Mike Shumake, Getting Smart, March 22, 2012
One of the largest state-run online programs in the country is going through some small growing pains this semester. Blackboard, the learning management system (LMS) that it’s used for years, just became too expensive for the state’s funding formula. Luckily its leadership is flexible and familiar with Moodle, the open source alternative to expensive online LMS’s.

The path they’ve chosen is to shift courses from Blackboard to Moodle over the next couple of years and run a dual platform service until all courses are in Moodle.

Tips to Building Relationships with Your Online Classmates
Charles Latch, Edudemic, March 12, 2012
There are two levels of online classmate relationships. One is the formal requirement to participate in online discussions by the instructor. The other comprises the informal peer-to-peer relationships that develop between and among students. They are interdependent.

Online Assessments

The limits of online assessments
Published by The Heckinger Report
How tough is it for a math teacher to know if his or her students understand basic math? Tougher than you think, according Marilyn Burns, a veteran math educator and founder of Math Solutions, a unit of Scholastic Inc. She found that an alarming number of middle-school students couldn’t subtract 998 from 1000 in their heads. Instead, they cross out zeroes and subtract digit by digit without really understanding or thinking through what they’re doing. Burns says teachers too often assume that students who compute properly understand what they are doing, but often these students are unable to apply simple math in the real world. “Right answers can mask confusion and wrong answers can hide understanding,” says Burns.

Burns’ latest math solution? Teachers in grades 4 through 8 should spend oodles of time interviewing students individually to understand each student’s reasoning and catalogue the answers in a new online assessment tool, the Math Reasoning Inventory (free).


NMC's New List of Metatrends--It's Not Just About The Technology
Mary Grush, Campus Technology, March 21, 2012
For a decade the New Media Consortium's Horizon Project has, through its research, obtained consensus from experts about the technologies that most impact teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. NMC Horizon Project research, shared in its annual NMC Horizon Report > Higher Education Edition and other NMC Horizon Project publications, also identifies metatrends and global challenges for education--providing some important perspectives and context for campus technology planners. Here, CT talked with NMC CEO Larry Johnson (photo, right) about the latest list of metatrends from the NMC Horizon Project.

The Vendor Solution, Part 1
How colleges are reaching out to manufacturers to help fill IT infrastructure budgeting voids
Bridget McCrea, Campus Technology, Marcy 15, 2012
Traditional vendor-higher education relationships were built on the premise of giving out money in exchange for goods. Today's competitive funding environment requires a more creative approach and finds more colleges turning to IT manufacturers for funding, support, and resources. In this series we'll look at how three different schools have successfully funded IT infrastructure changes with the help of their vendors, explain how the process worked, and show the benefits they've reaped as a result.

Georgia district implements virtual-world technology (Could this become a trend?)
eClassroom News, March 28, 2012
Forsyth County Schools in metro Atlanta, Georgia’s ninth-largest school district with 38,000 students, is using Dreamland Metaverse to host the NOBLE Virtual World on the OpenSim platform, which offers the ability for enterprise-level account management, school groups, and tools and procedures that make for a secure online environment for students.

Startups Say a New Platform is Dawning in the Wake of LMS
Sarah Cargill, Getting Smart, April 3, 2012
A new platform is developing out of the learning management system (LMS) era, says CEO Paul Lambert of the upcoming startup Matygo. Matygo, a course delivery platform developed in Vancouver, B.C., was a LAUNCHedu finalist at SXSWedu in Austin, Texas this March.

Matygo allows educators to run flipped classrooms, where lecture material is assigned as homework, and live class time is spent engaging in active learning.

“The biggest differentiator between us and the LMS category is that our system has an opinion on how people can learn more effectively. We focus our features around what helps educators teach more effectively while keeping students engaged,” says Lambert.

The Cloud

Gartner Says the Personal Cloud Will Replace the Personal Computer as the Center of Users' Digital Lives by 2014
A new report from Gartner suggests that by 2014 users will store more of their data in the cloud than on their personal computers. Gartner analysts said they believe that this shift will provide users with greater device flexibility and enable them to be more productive, while organizations will have to rethink their delivery of applications and services.

Gartner analysts identified five megatrends that are driving this shift toward the "personal cloud," as they call it. The megatrends are consumerization, virtualization, app-ification, the ever-available self-service cloud, and the mobility shift.

Other Resources

TED Launches TED-Ed To Help Spread Lessons Beyond the Classroom
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, March 21, 2012
TED, the non-profit organization known for its captivating conferences and thought-provoking sub-20-minute videos on a tapestry of ideas, has launched a new education initiative for K-12, college, and lifelong learning. TED-Ed will bring teachers and professors with excellent classroom lessons together with animators to create versions of those lessons for online sharing on a new education channel on YouTube. Organizers said they hope the videos will provide instructors with new, free material to supplement their curriculum.

TED-Ed's mission is to capture and amplify the voices of great educators around the world. We do this by pairing extraordinary educators with talented animators to produce a new library of curiosity-igniting videos. A new site, which will launch in early April 2012, will feature these new TED-Ed Originals as well as some powerful new learning tools. To kick off the new channel, the initiative released a dozen videos, all less than 10 minutes long.

In case you missed them: Here are our top tens
eSchool News
Apps, resources, social media and more…

Get More Out of Google
Improve Your Google Search Skills [Infographic]
Tips and tricks for students conducting online research.

Guest Post | 10 Ways to Talk to Students About Sensitive Issues in the News
Katherine Schulten, The Learning Network, New York Times, March 23, 2012
How do you talk about difficult or sensitive news stories with young people, whether in your classroom or at your dinner table? On The Learning Network it is our mission to help educators and parents find generative and appropriate ways to raise the issues of the day — whether through teaching full lesson plans, or through less formal discussion or writing.

We asked Jinnie Spiegler of TeachableMoment, a site with a similar mission and a history of offering teaching materials around sensitive subjects, to add their ideas to our own by putting some of their tried-and-true tips in writing.

Just Interesting

Survey: Teacher morale at its lowest in decades
eSchool News, March 8, 2012
Teachers are less satisfied with their jobs than they have been in decades, but parent engagement with their schools has increased, according to the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Teachers, Parents and the Economy, the 28th in an annual series of surveys commissioned by MetLife and conducted by Harris Interactive.

The report, based on a survey of public school teachers, parents, and students during the current school year, is the first large-scale national survey to fully reflect the effects of the economy on the teaching profession, MetLife says.

The Rise and Fall of the Graduation Rate
Jeff Selingo, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 2, 2012
A college's graduation rate is such a basic consumer fact for would-be students these days that it's difficult to imagine that the federal government didn't even collect the information as recently as the early 1990s.

If not for two former Olympic basketball players who made their way to Congress and wanted college athletes to know about their chances of graduating, we might still be in the dark about how well a college does in graduating the students it enrolls.