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Opinion


Expert Teachers: The Risk of Becoming Knowledge Workers

How can teachers become the workers or facilitators of knowledge development rather than merely remain as sources and transmitters of information? How can students be supported in knowledge growth that expands individual knowledge through meaningful application within the confines of regular coursework?

Stop Being a Victim of Federal Funding Cuts!

As the new school year starts, many technologists and curriculum directors are waiting with bated breath to see if and how much of E2T2 (Enhancing Education Through Technology) federal funding will be restored by Congress.

Biometrics in K-12: Vendor Claims and Your Business Plan

My own quest for "The Truth about Biometric Devices in Schools" led to this three-part series on biometrics in K-12. It's a controversial topic, not just in the United States, but in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, which has its own concerned citizens fighting to ban fingerprinting of children in schools. My premise has been that before you decide to ban its use or buy into biometrics, you need to have an understanding of the technology itself and applications available, knowledge of key issues and concerns that have been raised, a keen eye for vendor claims, and then a sound business plan of action that leads to a security solution you really need.

Data Protection: Make a Wise Decision

It's not unusual for school district staff members to emulate Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter, wearing six or eight hats simultaneously in their everyday efforts. Sometimes, the hat hardest to wear is IT management, which is important and challenging at the same time.

Designing Learning Spaces for Instruction, not Control

Never before has it been more viable for educators to put instruction front and center of learning space design than now. Never before has collaboration with students and peers and with the world been more possible than now. So why are our learning spaces still so reminiscent of the past? Why are these spaces still so constrained?

Homework: A Math Dilemma and What To Do About It

The issue of assigning homework is controversial in terms of its purpose, what to assign, the amount of time needed to complete it, parental involvement, its actual affect on learning and achievement, and impact on family life and other valuable activities that occur outside of school hours. I have encountered all of those controversies in my years of teaching mathematics. Math homework is usually a daily event. Unfortunately, many teachers assign most homework from problem sets following the section of the text that was addressed that day. There is little differentiation. For the most part the entire class gets the same assignment. (In fairness, teachers do take into consideration the nature of those problems, which are often grouped by difficulty, deciding which to assign based on the general ability level of students in the class: below average, average, above average, or mixed.)

3 Simple Steps to Do-it-yourself Professional Development

Today every teacher needs to be in charge of his or her own professional development, if for no other reason than district budgets require everyone to be so much more creative. Here are a few ways teachers can better take advantage of formal and informal learning, the use of a back channel, and modeling life-long learning.

Interactive Whiteboards: Truths and Consequences

What do we know about interactive whiteboards? For some, they're indispensable teaching tools. For others, they're just IT waste. Either way, the research isn't really there yet to tell us whether they've resulted in any kind of academic gain for students in the years they've been in use in classrooms. Education consultant Patricia Deubel breaks down the issues and looks for some interim answers.

HTML5: The Web Beyond Web 2.0

The implications for HTML5 technologies on learning are profound. As technologies become more "intelligent" and requirements shift away from the manual skills needed to use them, teaching and learning can focus more clearly on the processes of thinking and application.

Can We Have Qualifying Tests for School Board Members? (A Rant)

I just got off the phone with a colleague who had returned from a business trip. After visiting with various school districts, she presented remedial reading products to a school board in an affluent suburban school district. When she finished presenting the need for her product, the school board member asked, "Why are you bothering to build remedial reading products when there are so many kids who are performing in the middle of the pack?"

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