Expert Perspectives


Higher Ed v. Lower Ed: Pursuing Personalized Learning — in Opposing Directions?

Both higher ed and lower ed are seeking to provide learners with personalized instruction. The issue, however, is this: Who does the personalizing -- the individual or the computer? We argue that higher is choosing the former approach while K-12 is choosing the latter approach. Has K-12 made a good decision?

The $10 Data Plan: 2 Game-Changing but Simple Proposals

The FCC needs to act now to support K-12 and solve the "connectivity access problem." Here's where to start.

Are Your Classrooms Color Smart?

We've all in our lives made the mistake of thinking of color as this fixed quantity—some sort of absolute that can be communicated, interpreted and reproduced losslessly. The sky is blue. The tree is green. The car is red. I can write those words, and the colors materialize in your mind. But are the colors you "see" in your mind the same as the ones I intended to communicate to you? In other words, do they match? Surely not.

What's Full-Time for K-12 Online Teaching?—a Dilemma

After reading Keeping pace with K-12 online learning: A review of state level policy and practice (Watson & Ryan, 2006), I became concerned that policy makers need to take a closer look at the K-12 online teaching scenario itself. Based on Lawrence Tomei's (2006) post-secondary finding that "14 percent more hours were required to teach the same number of students online at a distance than in the traditional classroom" (p. 539), there is reason to suspect that per virtual course or virtual classroom, the time commitment for K-12 online teaching is also greater than teaching face to face. Yet states have not fully determined what constitutes full time for that environment, most likely because sufficient research is lacking for comparison. At the present time, most states are employing online teachers on a part-time basis, with Florida Virtual School (FLVS) being the exception. I'd like to elaborate on some of the realities, based on my experiences with traditional and online teaching.

3 Challenges to Wiki Use in Instruction

There are always challenges in the actual use of technology in instruction, not only in practical terms with familiarity with the technology itself, but more importantly, in a pedagogical sense as the benefits to teaching and learning are examined more thoroughly. How can the instructional uses of a wiki be maximized to ensure this higher level of engagement with students?

HTML5: The Web Beyond Web 2.0

The implications for HTML5 technologies on learning are profound. As technologies become more "intelligent" and requirements shift away from the manual skills needed to use them, teaching and learning can focus more clearly on the processes of thinking and application.

K-12 Online Teaching Endorsements: Are They Needed?

According to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (2007), "Research shows that the single most important school-related factor in raising student achievement is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Today, in the era of high standards and increased accountability, boosting teacher quality is more crucial than ever before" (p. 4). The nature of the 21st-century classroom is rapidly changing. Online education in K-12, also called virtual schooling, is growing at about 30 percent annually (North American Council for Online Learning [NACOL], 2007). With this rise comes an increase in demand for experienced teachers to teach online, which adds another dimension to this issue of teacher quality.

Mutually Assured Learning

If we start with the premise that online education is not only inevitable but desirable, the involvement of for-profit and charter entities in the e-learning marketplace could be a symbiotic relationship that benefits all involved.

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.

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.

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