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Opinion


Putting the Mobile Puzzle Together Today: It's Worth the Struggle!

It is inevitable that eventually a school will be able to purchase a total, mobile learning package. But today, putting a pedagogically effective mobile learning initiative into a K-12 classroom means putting pieces to a puzzle together. Based on personal experiences in mobile learning classrooms we are here to bear witness: it IS worth the struggle!

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.

Beyond Social Networking: Building Toward Learning Communities

Much has been written recently about the impact of social networking tools in teaching and learning and how educators can build on the skills of their students in using these tools. But if educators only integrate the ability of students to connect and socialize, deeper points of learning will be missed. While good teaching and learning rests on effective relationships, in an active learning community, those relationships should evolve into actual idea exchange and knowledge construction.

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.

The Case for Michigan's Online Learning Mandate

In a recent editorial in K-12 Tech Trends by Patricia Deubel, Ph.D, "Should States Mandate Online Learning," the author questions Michigan's new high school graduation requirement, which mandates students take an non-credit online course or learning experience. It should be noted that, in addition to this experience, Michigan has adopted 16 credits state graduation requirements, including four credits in mathematics and three in science—yes, Algebra, Algebra II, Biology, and Chemistry which will go into effect for the Class of 2011.

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?"

Focus Your 1-to-1 Program 'Around Learning, Not the Device'

Leslie Wilson of the One to One Institute explains how when it comes to 1-to-1 programs, it's not about the device. It's about teaching, learning, and transforming school.

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.

Web 2.0 Tools and K-12 Challenges

Much of the debate about the mainstreaming of Web 2.0 tools in K-12 education here is in the United States centers on the challenges the kind of delivery of instruction required would face. That is, while we remain fairly rigid in how instruction is delivered and the idea of teacher-driven models, the use of Web 2.0 tools will always be marginalized.

Blended Learning Training Resources for Teachers

In the sixth installment of their monthly column, blended learning experts Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker outline what teachers need to know about blended learning training resources, and where they can go to get them.

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