Opinion


What's Online Education All About?

Unless you are directly involved with teaching online, have students taking courses online, or have taken an online course yourself, chances are that you find the concept of online education quite nebulous. You might not have any interest in it. Terms like distance education, fully online, blended courses, virtual courses, e-learning, hybrid courses, mixed-mode, asynchronous learning, distributed learning, Web-facilitated, and Web-enhanced learning add to the confusion. However, online learning is on the rise in K-12 education, and you should know some of the basics and issues surrounding it. It is adding flexibility to the traditional school experience, meeting the needs of specific groups of students, and increasing course offerings. If it has not already done so, it probably will affect your teaching scenario before too long. So, what's online education all about? Well ... it's all in who you ask or what resources you consult.

Note to Tablet Companies: Education is an Enterprise

Schools are one of the biggest markets for tablets. So why do districts have to do workarounds to manage the devices?

Open-Source Schools: Got Data?

We all have our opinions about open-source technologies. While many are in favor of "free" and "open" software conceptually, there are those whose reservations about open source trump even the high ace in the deck, also known as budgetary restrictions. So, no matter how good open source might seem to many of us--no matter how many benefits we can enumerate--those reservations hold back any serious attempts at implementation.

Shifting Focus from Technology to Student Learning

In the world of education technology, we are often guilty of preaching to the choir—the believers who know in their hearts (and now more often with data) that technology can improve teaching and learning.

Forget About Blended Learning Best Practices

In the first installment in our new monthly column, blended learning experts Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker advise schools to skip the "best practices" and instead seek innovations that work in their unique circumstances.

A Time and Place for Cell Phones?

T.H.E. Journal Executive Editor Michael Hart talks about the storm of comments readers had to a handful of articles published over the last few weeks concerning the use of mobile devices in education, in general, and the use of smartphones either in or after class, in particular.

Can Game Development Impact Academic Achievement?

Electronic gaming has recently been hailed as the great new potential for transforming education. A growing body of research and practice suggests videogames can motivate as well as teach and help users learn. Fewer scientific studies, but just as much potential, exist within the area of student game development. In part 1 of this two-part article series, we look at the foundational reasons for why game development matters in the K-12 curriculum, both inside and outside of school.

Technology's Impact on Learning Outcomes: Can It Be Measured?

The ongoing debate on the effectiveness of technology use for student learning outcomes still seems to have no clear answers. Some will say technology is highly effective for students; others will say technology has had no measurable impact on outcomes. Why is this, and what can be done about it?

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.

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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