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Opinion


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.

Social Media: How to 'Sell It' to Your Team

Social media is something that many younger teachers will have a familiarity with outside of the classroom. Ask any colleague under the age of, say, 30, and it's fairly likely that he or she will have a profile on a social network like Facebook or MySpace. Business-facing social networks like LinkedIn have also seen explosive growth from educators in the last year.

Education Decisions: Where's the Evidence and Research Base?

Remember the old Monty Hall program Let's Make a Deal? In that game show, you could win the prize behind one of three doors. If you started by choosing door 1, should you have changed your mind and selected door 2, if Monty showed you what's behind door 3? What has this to do with research? Well ... people are convinced what they know is the right thing and forge ahead with decisions based on their rationalizations, no matter what research indicates.

Technology Planning: Doing the Right Thing

Today’s technology planners face a huge dilemma: Technology planning activities throughout the United States have morphed from a locally driven assembly and alignment of visions that functioned quite successfully just a few years ago, into a veritable puppet show in which the strings are being pulled by superior agencies that hold the threat of money—or the lack of it—over our heads.

Why Wikis?

Most Web 2.0 tools are discussed at length in terms of their application to the learning process. While there is much that can be learned from using these tools in instruction, there are also principles upon which that use rests that have long been the goals of instruction at various levels. In other words, while the tools may change, the goals of teaching and learning remain much the same.

Six Degrees of Speculation

Speculation is as indigenous to Washington, DC as the national monuments; part of the game is trying to understand which rumors, leaks, and parcels of inside information are worth heeding and which are not. I think one bit of speculation now circulating through the Beltway warrants following: Dedicated funding for technology may not be included in the next reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

21st Century Learning: Making Technology Relevant in Today's Classrooms

"21st Century Learning" is currently the hottest catchphrase in education, but what it means has yet to be fully determined. Technology is a part of students' everyday lives, and substantial advances in technology have profoundly affected the way they learn. As a result, educators are working hard to meet the ever-evolving needs of 21st century learners. Translating the ongoing technological revolution into a learning experience is a fundamental part of that challenge.

Caller ID Spoofing: Is There an Answer?

Caller ID spoofing causes the caller ID display on a phone to display something other than the real caller. It isn't a new technology; it's been around since caller ID became popular. While the original spoofing implementations were somewhat kludgy, with the advent of Voice Over IP (VoIP) they became much better. It's an easy hack that endangers institutional data through "social engineering." Are your faculty and staff aware of this potential threat?