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Accountability, Yes. Teaching to the Test, No.

Since the 1950s, standardized test scores have been used to compare and rank schools, districts, states, and now nations, according to Rick Stiggins (2007), founder of the Educational Testing Service's Assessment Training Institute. In a commentary on assessment myths, he posed a question that has probably been discussed since standardized testing was chosen as the large-scale measure of effectiveness of schools: "Are we helping students and teachers with our assessment practices, or contributing to their problems?" (p. 28).

A Taste of Web 2.0

In the initial launch of Collaboration 2.0, Dave Nagel (2008) reported that during 2008 educators can look for "a continued trend toward more and more hosted, mashed-up, collaborative tools in education, from assessment platforms to collaborative learning tools (such as blogs and wikis) to online delivery of audio and video to full-blown productivity tools, such as Google Apps for Education and others" (p. 2). Everything on the Web sounds good.

Social Media: How to 'Sell It' to Your Team

Social media is something that many younger teachers will have a familiarity with outside of the classroom. Ask any colleague under the age of, say, 30, and it's fairly likely that he or she will have a profile on a social network like Facebook or MySpace. Business-facing social networks like LinkedIn have also seen explosive growth from educators in the last year.

Tips for Using Chat as an Instructional Tool

Chat software (text or media-based) provides an excellent tool in supporting academic dialog (exchange), critical thinking, and knowledge building. The immediacy of the technology provides students with a direct connection with the instructor as well as other students. While chat software is usually used for "chatting," and, therefore, it has a relaxed and colloquial protocol, with a little thought and planning, it can also be used well to support instruction.

Web 2.0 in Education: Trends for 2008

While the technologies collectively known as Web 2.0 have penetrated the consumer sector rapidly over the last four years or so, the process has been much slower and more measured in education. There were some breakthroughs in 2007, with upward trends in the adoption--or at least availability--of Web 2.0 technologies in the areas of teacher professional development and supplemental instructional technologies, such as podcasting, streaming media, and blogging.

K-12 Online Teaching Endorsements: Are They Needed?

According to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (2007), "Research shows that the single most important school-related factor in raising student achievement is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Today, in the era of high standards and increased accountability, boosting teacher quality is more crucial than ever before" (p. 4). The nature of the 21st-century classroom is rapidly changing. Online education in K-12, also called virtual schooling, is growing at about 30 percent annually (North American Council for Online Learning [NACOL], 2007). With this rise comes an increase in demand for experienced teachers to teach online, which adds another dimension to this issue of teacher quality.

Planning for the Next Disaster: Pandemic

The experts tell us that a pandemic is inevitable. The only question is when it will happen. Is your organization ready? Can you keep essential IT functions running? What can you do to be prepared?

The Great Debate: Effectiveness of Technology in Education

I sometimes wonder why there is debate on the effectiveness of technology in education. The whole point of a debate is to examine issues in such a way that decisions can be made. However, in this case, we can hardly say, "Remove all technology from education!" Or, "Don't add any more because we are not getting an adequate return on our current investment--technology is not improving the quality of education." What would we put in its place?

Getting Started with Videogame Development

In the first segment in this series, we covered the pedagogy behind student videogame development.  We addressed how learning as doing, collaborative & peer learning, tutoring, ownership, and publication are critical components to game development.  We also addressed benefits of videogame making, including content area knowledge acquisition, students as producers of information, and the potential of game-making for encouraging STEM-related careers for women and minorities. 

Can Game Development Impact Academic Achievement?

Electronic gaming has recently been hailed as the great new potential for transforming education. A growing body of research and practice suggests videogames can motivate as well as teach and help users learn. Fewer scientific studies, but just as much potential, exist within the area of student game development. In part 1 of this two-part article series, we look at the foundational reasons for why game development matters in the K-12 curriculum, both inside and outside of school.

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