Worthy of Note: August 10, 2011

“If we teach today’s students as we did yesterday’s, we are robbing them of tomorrow.”
— John Dewey

Educational Technology Cooperative Information Sites

SREB WikiSpaces has information you can use from the Educational Technology Cooperative. Featured now is SREB EdTech Worthy of Note, 2010 State Virtual School reports and a recent ETC brochure.

SREBWorthy of Note also is posted as a blog on this site– usually the following day.

Social Media

The 10 Best and Worst Ways Social Media Impacts Education
Social networking communities are here to stay. Facebook has over 500 million users, while Twitter has over 200 million. That’s not even counting blogs or YouTube video blogs. There’s no doubt that students are actively engaged in online communities, but what kind of effects are these sites having and how can parents counteract the bad and bolster the positive?

For insight into how students feel about social media consult the 2009 Speak Up Report.
Project Tomorrow (2010) - Creating our Future: Students Speak up About Their Vision for 21st Century Learning

Social Media Policy

(Most of these articles relate to K-12; higher ed is referenced in the last two articles.)

Social Media Access in K-12 Schools: Intractable Policy ...
June Ahn, Lauren Bivona and Jeffrey DiScala, University of Maryland, (n.d.)
Complete title: Social Media Access in K-12 Schools: Intractable Policy; Controversies in an Evolving World
The use of social media in public primary and secondary education (K-12) presents schools with numerous obstacles and constraints. Education leaders and policymakers face difficult questions of how to promote access and use of technology while safeguarding children. In this paper, we present a frame analysis of several policy forces that govern technology use in K-12 schools.

Social media introduces controversy because it blurs the line between school and the outside world. Policies are needed that clarify how schools will deal with out-of-school behavior as well as in-school conduct.

Student Internet Use – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (policy)
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools provides an electronic communications network (CMS network) that allows students internal access of CMS information resources and external access to the Internet.

Acceptable Use Policies in the Web 2.0 and Mobile Era
Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
A Guide for School Districts
Web 2.0 applications and mobile Internet devices have added new issues to the safety/access situation for schools. The purpose of this CoSN guide is to assist school districts in developing, rethinking, or revising Internet policies as a consequence of the emergence of Web 2.0, and the growing pervasiveness of smart phone use.

Moving From 'Acceptable' to 'Responsible' Use in a Web 2.0 World
Jim Bosco & Keith Krueger, Education Week, July 20, 2011
(Commentary) "Highly restrictive Internet and mobile policies in the school environment provide only a false sense of protecting kids."

U.S. Teachers Protest Social Media Crackdown
Associated Press in Education Week Teacher, August 5, 2011
As they prepare lesson plans for fall, teachers across Missouri have an extra chore before the new school year begins: purging their Facebook friend lists to comply with a new state law that limits their contact with students on social networks. The law was proposed after an Associated Press investigation found 87 Missouri teachers had lost their licenses between 2001 and 2005 because of sexual misconduct, some of which involved exchanging explicit online messages with students. But many teachers are protesting the new restrictions, complaining the law will hurt their ability to keep in contact with students, whether for classroom purposes, personal problems or even emergencies.

Read more about what Ian Quillen (Education Week, August 6) has to say about this:
'Show Me' Your Facebook Friends, Internet Filters. This topic is making local and national headlines, and the information here is explanatory of the information above.

'Safe' Social Networking Tailored for K-12 Schools
Michelle R. Davis, Education Week, June 13, 2011
Descriptions of some controlled environments.

Social Media & FERPA Guidelines for Schools & Educators
Rebecca Peterson, Storify, February 8, 2011
This collection highlights recent articles on social media policy and practices of educators (higher ed and k-12). Also contains links to social media policy examples.

To Friend, Follow, or Connect?
Eric Stoller, Inside Higher Ed, July 5, 2011
Does your institution regulate your contact with students on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? I've read several conversations about whether or not we should connect with students in online social spaces. Scores of professionals seem to insist on grouping every single social media site into an "all or nothing" / "yes or no" scenario. My opinion is that social media are far too nuanced for one "policy" that covers every site. Stoller comments on the top three social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin). Agree, disagree, that's okay he says, but at least note that not every social media site is the same.

Online Learning and Online Evaluations

Gov. Perry Announces Creation of WGU Texas
WGU Texas, 8/3/11
Gov. Rick Perry announced the creation of WGU Texas, a subsidiary of Western Governors University (WGU), which is an accredited, nationally recognized, nonprofit university. WGU Texas will offer an affordable and flexible alternative for Texans seeking a higher education degree.

Online College Rule Struck Down
Christopher Magan and Meagan Engle, Hamilton Journal News, Ohio (MCT) Reported in Education Week, Digital Directions, July 25, 2011
A summary of this decision with link to the rule (pdf file).

The Price of an Online IT Degree: Fort Hays Cheapest; Mercy College Priciest
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, August 4, 2011
The average cost for an online bachelor degree in information technology or computer science currently stands at $46,758. Findings come out of a research project by GetEducated.com, a Web site that provides information about online colleges.

Five Common Pitfalls of Online Course Design
Elizabeth St. Germain, Faculty Focus, July 6, 2011
Much of what passes for an “online course” these days could more accurately be described as the electronic version of class hand-outs. These courses usually consist of a course description, a syllabus, lecture notes, reading lists, and assignment checklists. In other words, whatever materials a student might have viewed on paper in the past are now read onscreen, and whatever presentations a student might have watched in the classroom are now observed on their screen.

The “online” in online course does not mean uploading Word documents into a course template rather than printing them out. Expand your view of how computer applications and Web resources can be used to increase the relevance, power, and memorability of the educational experiences you create.

Community-College Students Perform Worse Online Than Face to Face
Ryan Brown, The Chronicle, July 18, 2011
Community-college students enrolled in online courses fail and drop out more often than those whose coursework is classroom-based, according to a new study released by the Community College Research Center at the Teachers College at Columbia University.

Oregon Colleges Implement Online Teacher Evaluations
Tim Sohn, Campus Technology, July 25, 2011
What-Do-You-Think? from Portland, OR-based CollegeNet, is different from Web sites such as ratemyprofessors.com in that the evaluations are not made public. They are accessible only by students, faculty and administrators. Rate My Professors allows the public to search anonymous evaluations by professor for free. Check out the features of What-Do-You-Think?

Blended Learning

10 Reasons Teachers Love Blended Learning
Tom VanderArk, Huffington Post, July 11, 2011
Blended learning is a shift to an online environment, for at least a portion of the student day, made to improve learning and operating productivity. Blending the best of online and on-site learning can work better for students and teachers. Tom presents ten reasons that blended learning makes teaching a better job

Tom Vander Ark is CEO of Open Education Solutions and a partner in Learn Capital, a fund focused on innovative learning tools and formats. He was the first business executive to serve as a public school superintendent and was the first Executive Director for Education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Educational Technology Cooperative-Sponsored Webinars on Blended Learning
We have posted announcements about the Cooperative sponsored webinars on Blended Learning in previous Worthy of Notes. Here is the first one archived. The remaining ones will be archived and posted in the next Worthy of Note.

To see the archived sessions, click the link and enter your name and email address.

Session 1: The Westside High School Initiative: Blended Learning Across The Disciplines
August 8, 2011 at 10:00 AM (EST)

The session was recorded. To view the recording, please click the link below:

Session 2: Case Study of The Florida Virtual School Blended Learning Models
Dianna Miller
August 9, 2011 10:00 AM (ET)

This session was recorded. To view the recording, please click the link below:

Common Core and 21st Century Skills

P21 Common Core Toolkit
Partnership for 21st Century Skills
(Common Core Toolkit Aligns Standards with 21st Century Skills Framework, THE Journal, August 2, 2011)
For the first time in U.S. education history, a majority of states (44 to date) have agreed to a common baseline for academic knowledge and college readiness skills. The release of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2010 has been an important turning point in the standards movement.

Over the past decade, many organizations such as P21 have advocated for standards that adequately address both the core academic knowledge and the complex thinking skills that are required for success in college, life and career in the 21st century. Partnership for 21st Century Skills urges the integration of the CCSS into teaching and learning in ways that honor the fusion of the 3Rs and 4Cs.

Download the P21 Common Core Toolkit.

Open Source (LMSs and Resources)

A Guide to K-12 Open Source LMS Options
Natasha Wanchek, THE Journal, July 27, 2011
Which open source learning management systems are right for K-12? Which districts are using them? And what has the experience been compared with commercial alternatives? THE Journal offers this overview of both popular and emerging LMS options for K-12 technology decision makers.

Open Questions on Open Courseware
Eric Jansson, Inside Higher Ed, July 7, 2011
Sustainability of digital projects is in the news again. The announcement that the National Science Digital Library, or NSDL, will be de-funded in 2012 serves as the latest reminder of the difficulties of sustaining large-scale efforts to aggregate and publish digital academic content. That the NSDL will lose funding in the midst of a recognized crisis in STEM instruction makes the warning that much more clear.

Open courseware initiatives are vulnerable too: efforts to digitize and publish online the academic output of a number of our elite research universities. Collectively, these initiatives are higher education’s principal homegrown variety of open educational resources, or OER. Read more…..

Charter Schools (Face-to-Face and Virtual)

Equal or Fair? A Study of Revenues and Expenditures in American Charter Schools
Gary Miron and Jessica Urschel, Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, IssueLab, June 6, 2010
Summary/Abstract: A new study finds that charter schools typically get less funding than traditional public schools. And it also reveals that the primary reason charters tend to get less funding is because traditional public schools must offer far more special education, transportation and student support services. Spending on those programs and services -- often not available in charter schools -- accounts for much or all of the difference in funding each receives. This finding is one of several that Professor Gary Miron and his co-author Jessica Urschel make in Equal or Fair? A Study of Revenues and Expenditures in American Charter Schools, released by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

‘Overwhelming’ Interest in State’s Virtual Charter Schools
Heather Miller, The ind.com, July 1, 2011
According to The Monroe News Star, Louisiana Connections Academy, a state-approved online virtual charter school, has seen “overwhelming” interest from parents seeking alternative choices to traditional public schools.

Louisiana’s other virtual charter school, Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy, has a 1,320-student capacity and 1,400 applicants, 80 percent of which have already been approved for enrollment.

And in Tennessee: Interest Grows in Virtual School

There’s a downside though. Who gets all the funding?
For instance, Tennessee Virtual Academy Draws Interest & Concern


E-Textbooks: 4 Keys to Going All-Digital
John K. Waters, Campus Technology, August 3, 2011
When Daytona State College, a 53-year-old former community college in Florida, now a state college offering a four year degree, set out to implement an all-electronic book program two years ago, its goal was to drive down the cost of textbooks by 80 percent. The school is well on its way to achieving that goal, and along the way it made some discoveries about what it takes to make a successful transition to e-texts.

Would Students Really Give Up Sex for E-Books?
Inside Higher Ed, July 28, 2011
A full quarter of college students would rather wear a chastity belt than a backpack. This according to research commissioned by Kno, Inc., a software company that sells e-textbooks optimized for mobile devices. Absent any evidence that students want e-textbooks instead the printed kind, Kno's study focused on what students don't want: backpacks full of heavy print volumes that can be easily lost. In a survey of 506 students at four-year institutions, conducted by the marketing research firm Kelton Research, the company says that 25 percent would give up sex for year to alleviate the burden of hauling their textbooks around for four years. More than a third said they would stay home on Saturday night for a whole semester. "The findings of the study show a shift in perception from college students and lend new light to the future of digital learning," the company declared in its press release.

Oh, could this study have a little bias? According to Sex vs. Textbooks’ Survey Doesn’t Jibe with Student Preferences (Dennis Carter, eCampus News, July 29, 2011) there are polls and surveys in which college students say they’re not yet willing to give up traditional books. We’ve heard that several times.

Teaching with the iPad

Teaching with the iPad (and Angry Birds)
John K. Waters, Campus Technology, July 26, 2011
Several faculty at Marian University (Indianapolis, IN) share their experiences with the iPad tablet in the classroom, and offer a list of links to apps with potential for educational use.

Apps for the iPad are arranged by topic, i.e., English Language Arts, Math, Science, etc. Also, this Apple apps site may be helpful, too.


The Center for Digital Initiatives: Arkansas State University
The mission of the Center for Digital Initiatives (CDI) at Arkansas State University is "to promote ASU's position as a leader in the use of virtual environments for cross-disciplinary teaching, research, and service." To that end, they continue to post their engaging projects on this website, and visitors can get started by clicking on the "Projects" tab. All of these projects are hosted in Second Life, which is an immersive virtual environment that allows users to wander around and act with people, buildings, and so on. There are several heritage sites here, including the "Lost" town of Napoleon, Arkansas and the Southern Tenant Farmers' Museum. Visitors can also read about the motivating principles behind each project and listen to their podcasts, which provide more details on each project. Overall, the site will be quite compelling to people with an interest in new and emergent technologies, and it is one that visitors will want to share with others. (Internet Scout Project)

BioEd Online: Spider in Space Mission Page
Biology Teacher Resources from Baylor College of Medicine
Beyond the bounds of the Earth's atmosphere, two golden orb spiders are living and flourishing on the International Space Station. Each one lives in separate habitat chambers, and they have a bountiful supply of fruit flies. Each chamber contains cameras and lighting systems, and visitors can use this site from BioEd Online to peer into their world up above. BioEd Online also provides an amazing teachers guide here for educators, along with a dozen or so archived spider videos. Educators take also take advantage of the PowerPoint presentations, and a collection of links to pamphlets on the operation of rockets and microgravity. (Internet Scout Project)

ISTE 2011 Highlights from the Conference and Related Events

Free Email and Collaboration Tools for Schools Google
For higher ed, K-12 and states and systems

Other Interesting Articles

For-Profit College Group Sued as U.S. Lays Out Wide Fraud
Tamar Lewin, New York Times, August 9, 2011
The Department of Justice and four states on Monday filed a multibillion-dollar fraud suit against the Education Management Corporation, the nation’s second-largest for-profit college company, charging that it was not eligible for the $11 billion in state and federal financial aid it had received from July 2003 through June 2011.

Maryland Becomes First State with Environmental Literacy Requirement
Jena Zwang, eSchool News, August 3, 2011
Environmental issues will be taught in multiple core disciplines; counties are free to develop or choose curricula themselves.

Public Opinion On Teacher Compensation
Matthew Yglesias Think Progress, Aug 3, 2011
Interesting data from Education Next on public opinion about school reform highlights that people think teachers should get paid more unless they’re informed that the average teacher salary is already $54,819.

Technology not a Priority for Most College Administrators, Report Finds
Tanya Roscorla, Converge, July 28, 2011
While 98 percent of college administrators surveyed say technology skills are important for student careers, few list technology as a priority, according to the CDW-G 21st Century Campus Report.

Is a Bookless Library Still a Library?
Tim Newcomb, Time, July 11, 2011
We've been hearing about it for years, but the bookless library has finally arrived, making a beachhead on college campuses. At Drexel University's new Library Learning Terrace, which opened just last month, there is nary a bound volume, just rows of computers and plenty of seating offering access to the Philadelphia university's 170 million electronic items. Scott Erdy, designer of the new library, says open, flexible space — the furniture is movable and the walls act as one giant whiteboard — allows student and staff "knowledge transfer," a concept reinforced by Danuta Nitecki, dean of Drexel's libraries. "We don't just house books, we house learning," she says.

Cuts to K-12 Expected in Wake of Debt Deal
Michele McNeil, Education Week, August 9, 2011
Education advocates are bracing for the fallout from the eleventh-hour congressional vote to lift the federal debt ceiling—and the significant belt-tightening that comes along with it.

The Committee for Education Funding, a coalition of 85 education groups, estimated those automatic cuts would amount to 6.7 percent in most agencies, which for the U.S. Department of Education would translate into about $3 billion annually. Read more…..

Digital Edition: Multimedia Transformation
Education Week
Download the report about multimedia in schools, Multimedia Transformation, and read more about it here.