In the fourth installment of their monthly column, blended learning experts Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker discuss the growth of open online resources and their impact on blended learning.
- By Michael Horn, Heather Staker
The spread of cheap and powerful videoconferencing tools had led to widespread adoption of the technology in an effort to lower costs and put resources to better use. But Education Consultant and Executive Director of Academic Programs and Faculty at Daymar Colleges Group Ruth Reynard argues that it can improve teaching and learning as well.
Over the last decade or so, numerous articles have appeared that conflate the ideas of a virtual science lab and a simulated science lab. For example, the College Board, in its guidelines, says, "A virtual lab is an interactive experience during which students observe and manipulate computer-generated objects, data, or phenomena in order to fulfill the learning objectives of a laboratory experience."
- By Harrison Keller
The emergence of open educational resources and the implications for learning
Students can have a range of physical, cognitive, sensory, and learning disabilities that affect their entire lives. Any of these might pose unique academic challenges, particularly when learning mathematics. The good news is that technology is removing barriers for the education of students with disabilities in regular classrooms. Unfortunately, not all software is based on principles of universal design.
While the technologies collectively known as Web 2.0 have penetrated the consumer sector rapidly over the last four years or so, the process has been much slower and more measured in education. There were some breakthroughs in 2007, with upward trends in the adoption--or at least availability--of Web 2.0 technologies in the areas of teacher professional development and supplemental instructional technologies, such as podcasting, streaming media, and blogging.
I began this three-part investigation on using biometrics in K-12 after reading The Truth about Biometric Devices in Schools. In part 1, I defined biometrics and indicated that they are creeping into nearly every market in our society, particularly since the tragedy of September 11. There are applications used in education to authenticate transactions; control entry into various facilities; monitor time and attendance; secure access to laptops, PCs, and networks; and more. I introduced you to the most commonly used biometrics in schools, which are fingerprints and handprints, provided resources for you to make your own investigation into the nature of those technologies and products available, and left you with concerns to think about. Now I'll delve more into those issues that have been raised by parents, students, and civil liberties groups. All of this is intended to help you better decide to ban its use or buy into biometrics. Stay with me, for in part 3 we'll look at vendor claims and a sound business plan of action that leads to a security solution you really need.
- By Patricia Deubel
If I still taught in K-12, would I use a blog? It's one of those new technology tools that some of us digital immigrants might struggle to appreciate. Knowing what I do now, I probably would at least try one because blogs can support the collaborative element so important for peer to peer learning. While some blogs serve personal agendas, in education they can be used for student journals and portfolios, communication with parents and community members, faculty coaching, classroom management (e.g., posting assignments), and other knowledge management tools (Long, 2002) and enhancing classroom discussion.
- By Patricia Deubel
While there is quite a lot being written about Web 2.0 tools and how they can increase opportunities for students to engage with content, their peers, and teachers, more must be explored in terms of the skill benefits to students when these tools are used effectively.
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.