Opinion


Note to Tablet Companies: Education is an Enterprise

Schools are one of the biggest markets for tablets. So why do districts have to do workarounds to manage the devices?

What's Full-Time for K-12 Online Teaching?—a Dilemma

After reading Keeping pace with K-12 online learning: A review of state level policy and practice (Watson & Ryan, 2006), I became concerned that policy makers need to take a closer look at the K-12 online teaching scenario itself. Based on Lawrence Tomei's (2006) post-secondary finding that "14 percent more hours were required to teach the same number of students online at a distance than in the traditional classroom" (p. 539), there is reason to suspect that per virtual course or virtual classroom, the time commitment for K-12 online teaching is also greater than teaching face to face. Yet states have not fully determined what constitutes full time for that environment, most likely because sufficient research is lacking for comparison. At the present time, most states are employing online teachers on a part-time basis, with Florida Virtual School (FLVS) being the exception. I'd like to elaborate on some of the realities, based on my experiences with traditional and online teaching.

Test Prep and Math Realities

As another school year is getting well under way, educators are faced with starting the process all over again for preparing students for standardized testing. It's not something that can be put off until the last moment. Failure to pass "the test" sometimes prevents high school students from receiving their graduation diplomas. Elementary students might be retained in a grade. There is the usual dilemma of teaching to the test versus incorporating activities that help students develop 21st century skills valued in the real world.

Technology's Impact on Effective Teaching Strategies

While technology has changed what is possible in education, the principles of effective instruction never really change. Technology is not what drives learning but simply what mediates and supports the process. What has significantly changed is the way in which effective teaching strategies can be achieved at a higher level using new technologies.

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?

Are Your Classrooms Color Smart?

We've all in our lives made the mistake of thinking of color as this fixed quantity—some sort of absolute that can be communicated, interpreted and reproduced losslessly. The sky is blue. The tree is green. The car is red. I can write those words, and the colors materialize in your mind. But are the colors you "see" in your mind the same as the ones I intended to communicate to you? In other words, do they match? Surely not.

Is It Really Hip to Flip?

"Try it! You might like it!" is not a sufficient reason for initiating flipped instruction. What are the questions educators should be asking in order to ensure the best outcomes for students?

Avoiding the 5 Most Common Mistakes in Using Blogs with Students

Blogging can be an effective tool for learning, but its benefits shouldn't be taken for granted. It takes careful planning and skillful management to make it work in an educational setting. Here are five of the most common mistakes for instructors to avoid when incorporating blogs into instruction.

Controlling Social Media: Current Policy Trends in K-12 Education

As social media becomes ubiquitous, schools and districts should shift from trying to control its use and toward teaching faculty and students how to build successful learning communities.

Biometrics in K-12: The Legal Conundrum

Biometrics are among the latest implementations for school security. There are many issues to consider, which have been voiced by parents, students, and civil liberties groups. It's an international issue. Just look at LeaveThemKidsAlone.com, and you will see the extent of the uproar raised in the United Kingdom regarding fingerprinting of children in schools. For the most part, questions are the same ones being posed in our own country. Blogs are in use to discuss the issue in the United States and abroad, such as Pippa King's Biometrics in Schools.

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