My own quest for "The Truth about Biometric Devices in Schools" led to this three-part series on biometrics in K-12. It's a controversial topic, not just in the United States, but in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, which has its own concerned citizens fighting to ban fingerprinting of children in schools. My premise has been that before you decide to ban its use or buy into biometrics, you need to have an understanding of the technology itself and applications available, knowledge of key issues and concerns that have been raised, a keen eye for vendor claims, and then a sound business plan of action that leads to a security solution you really need.
- By Patricia Deubel
Have you ever wondered what the "THE" in THE Journal means? Occasionally? Even fleetingly? No? Well, I'll tell you anyway. It stands for "Technological Horizons in Education." Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? Hence the acronym. But that aside, what it indicates is that we take as our premise that technology is inherently beneficial to education--that it can make the lives of educators easier, that it can facilitate learning, and that it can, when approached the right way, stimulate new ideas about learning and the teaching process. (And, as a side benefit, it happens to keep all of you IT folk off the streets.)
Steven Paine, superintendent of education for West Virginia, recently mentioned at a conference that West Virginia requires 18 hours of professional development time for teachers every year.
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.
The acceleration of technological change in schools is apparent to virtually all educators. What are these new technologies that are the cause of the collision of educational philosophies? They are evident in hardware and in software, in systems and in pedagogy.
- By Michael Chimes
Key words in data security are confidentiality, integrity, and availability. While K-12 school districts can address data security by putting systems and policies into place, I suspect that one additional issue is often overlooked. That is, data security is a people issue. Network administrators can't do it all. It takes knowledgeable and vigilant staff and students to support the process. One might categorize security at macro and micro levels.
- By Patricia Deubel
So teachers are told to use computers (laptops, iPad--it doesn’t matter) in a curriculum that was made for pencil-and-paper learning activities. So teachers are given a Learning Management System that makes it harder for them, rather than easier, to deal with student artifacts. What’s wrong with this picture?!?!
- By Cathie Norris, Elliot Soloway
T.H.E. Journal recently invited Carolina Nugent, education director of startup app finder KinderTown, to review a few of her favorite apps geared for the K-1 set.
- By Carolina Nugent
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.
School administrators are a cautious group. But the pressure to adopt social networking in school settings is on, and it's forcing them to consider how to implement these potentially valuable educational tools with the privacy and "safety" needs of their underage constituents in mind. Christopher Wells, director of IT policies and communications for Gwinnett County Public Schools, looks at ways administrators can protect their students while continuing to move forward with technology. He also supplies six concrete tips for crafting an Internet policy.
- By Christopher Wells