Expert Perspectives


Science Labs: Virtual Versus Simulated

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."

Second Life: Do You Need One? (Part 1)

Second Life appears to be the biggest online community to hit the Internet in recent times. It's a 3D digital world, imagined, created, and owned by its residents, which number more than 7 million from more than 100 countries at the time of this writing. It's not a site that most K-12 educators would consider using, as Second Life requires residents in its main grid to be at least 18. A number of businesses, universities, libraries, museums, and a few educational organizations that cater to K-12 have joined Second Life, and at least one middle school, Suffern Middle School (NY). As a newbie, I wondered what the excitement is all about and decided to explore. What I found was that reading about Second Life and actually experiencing it are a world apart.

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!

Getting Started with Videogame Development

In the first segment in this series, we covered the pedagogy behind student videogame development.  We addressed how learning as doing, collaborative & peer learning, tutoring, ownership, and publication are critical components to game development.  We also addressed benefits of videogame making, including content area knowledge acquisition, students as producers of information, and the potential of game-making for encouraging STEM-related careers for women and minorities. 

Creating Assignments That Work for Digital Learning Environments

How can teachers really create assignments that demonstrate what students know both in content and in technology skill development? And how can these assignments be rigorous, accessible, and holistic--yet also specific--and all the while remain student-centered and integrate technology freely?

7 Reasons to Learn Apple iBooks Author Now

Apple's new software lets anyone create digitally rich eBooks for iPads. iBooks Author experts Joe Wood and Burt Lo share why this new software is important and how to introduce it to schools right now.

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.

21st Century Teaching and Learning: Assessing New Knowledge

As technology continues to change and affect how students think and process information, instructors must realize that there is an opportunity now to capture and assess in ways not formerly possible. Research continues to enforce the importance of learning as a process, student engagement, and learning outcomes in the process of learning. Technology does not change this reality, but it can provide new ways to evaluate learning.

Designing a Working Space for Chat

In the first installment this two-part series, we looked at chat as an instructional tool in general terms. Now we take a look at some of the major concepts in using chat effectively in the process of moving the thinking process forward: building ideas, constructing media, and establishing which elements are critical to making the environment dynamic and relevant to the student.

Mobile Devices: Facing Challenges and Opportunities for Learning

The issue of mobile devices two pronged: that of administrators charged with overall school safety of our children and that of the educators who desire some degree of academic freedom to wisely select whatever it takes to prepare every student in their charge with 21st century skills within a safe environment. Which side do we take? Can we make both sides happy? What are potential challenges and opportunities for learning via mobile devices? It's time to explore.

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