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).
- By Patricia Deubel
With the move to hybrid or "blended" course delivery that is taking place in many institutions, there is a challenge for teachers to think through the pedagogical implications of both methods and develop new designs for instruction and course delivery that maximizes both environments. The goal in the design of the instruction is to make the experience as "seamless" as possible for students, providing intentionality for each environment and the technology used. This intentionality must emerge from the learning outcomes of the course, as well as the engagement of the student throughout and the effective use of technology to heighten interaction and to support the production of learning.
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?
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.
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.
- By Patricia Deubel
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.
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.
- By Geoffrey H. Fletcher
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.
- By Patricia Deubel
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.
Steven Paine, superintendent of education for West Virginia, recently mentioned at a conference that West Virginia requires 18 hours of professional development time for teachers every year.