Opinion


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.

7 Strategies for iPads and iPods in the (Math) Classroom

Strategies for using your iOS devices in the math--or any--classroom environment.

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.

Was I Wrong on Obama?

President Obama released his fiscal year 2011 budget request Feb. 1, and the news for the ed tech world, at least at first glance, was not good.

Podcasts: Improving Quality and Accessibility

Podcasts are increasingly being used in K-12 and in higher education. In part 1 of this two-part series, I discussed their nature, demonstrated their potential for learning, and pointed out that in developing podcasts, students become involved with the project method, which is a real-world experience. I also voiced my concern that many podcasts I've heard suffer from poor quality of the audio, content, and speaker presentation. Accessibility is also a major issue that is being overlooked in their development. Let's now look at what you might do to improve the quality and accessibility of your podcasts, so that all learners can benefit, including those with disabilities.

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?

Designing Learning Spaces for Instruction, not Control

Never before has it been more viable for educators to put instruction front and center of learning space design than now. Never before has collaboration with students and peers and with the world been more possible than now. So why are our learning spaces still so reminiscent of the past? Why are these spaces still so constrained?

Homework: A Math Dilemma and What To Do About It

The issue of assigning homework is controversial in terms of its purpose, what to assign, the amount of time needed to complete it, parental involvement, its actual affect on learning and achievement, and impact on family life and other valuable activities that occur outside of school hours. I have encountered all of those controversies in my years of teaching mathematics. Math homework is usually a daily event. Unfortunately, many teachers assign most homework from problem sets following the section of the text that was addressed that day. There is little differentiation. For the most part the entire class gets the same assignment. (In fairness, teachers do take into consideration the nature of those problems, which are often grouped by difficulty, deciding which to assign based on the general ability level of students in the class: below average, average, above average, or mixed.)

3 Simple Steps to Do-it-yourself Professional Development

Today every teacher needs to be in charge of his or her own professional development, if for no other reason than district budgets require everyone to be so much more creative. Here are a few ways teachers can better take advantage of formal and informal learning, the use of a back channel, and modeling life-long learning.

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