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Opinion


Survival Tips for the New School Year

The start of any school year can be very stressful for a building- or district-level technology director. To deal with the pressure, here are a few tips to help you get through the first few weeks. Some of these suggestions are too late to implement this year; however, it’s never too early to start planning ahead for next year.

Making the Leap to Interactive Whiteboards

Interactive whiteboards are replacing chalkboards in many districts across the country. Could your district be next? You better hope so.

Long Odds, Short Fuses

Following last month's unprecedented massacre at Virginia Tech, security has, once again, temporarily moved to the top of the policy agenda in schools. As educators, parents, school staff, and concerned human beings in general, we all want to provide the absolute safest environment possible for the children in our care. Incidents of violence on college and school campuses remind us of our vulnerabilities. Couple this feeling of vulnerability with major media coverage, and we wind up with pressures both internal and external pushing administrators into immediate action.

Web 2.0 in Instruction: Adding Spice to Math Education

Math education has not kept up with technology--especially with Web 2.0 tools, which have the potential to transform and expand learning beyond the classroom and into kids' social and recreational lives. What can be done, and what free resources are available to educators to help make a transition possible?

In the Company of Sages

We all pay lip service to the need for educators to be learners as well as teachers, but how often do we really act on it?

Job Skills? Try World Peace Skills

This may be the first generation of educators whose students know more about their literacy tools than their teachers. When monks taught writing, they were also the experts on the quill, but today's teachers are more likely to be taught by their students on how to set up a blog.

How Much Does Blended Learning Cost?

In the second installment of their monthly column, blended learning experts Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker address the issue of blended learning costs.

Driving Digital Change

Several states have taken steps to make adopting digital content easier for schools. Not all have been entirely successful yet, but their early mistakes can be guideposts for others considering the same thing.

Should States Mandate Online Learning?

In Keeping pace with K-12 online learning: A review of state level policy and practice, Watkins and Lewis (2006) reported, "As of September 2006, 38 states have either state-led online learning programs, significant policies regulating online education, or both." (p. 6). In 2006, "Michigan passed a law creating an online learning experience requirement for high school graduation" (p. 7). Michigan Merit Curriculum Guidelines (2006) indicate "Students must take an online course or learning experience or have the online learning experience incorporated into each course of the required curriculum beginning with the class of 2011" (p. 8). I have a concern about any state or education institution mandating online learning for any education level. 

Web 3.0 and Its Relevance for Instruction

While Web 3.0 has been talked about for some time, there has been increasing and ongoing discussion as to how it should best be defined and what the foundational characteristics of the technology are or will be. The reality is, however, that while there are attempts at clear definitions, the ideas and concepts continue to evolve as users make sense of where things are going.

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