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.
With the right tools, students can experience science in a meaningful way, while being challenged and engaged. Erika Fosgreen, accelerated program coordinator at Imagine Rosefield and Imagine Prep Surprise in Arizona, shares her experience doing just that.
- By Erika Fosgreen
The federal government lately has been passing out lots of money through competitive programs by way of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Together, the grants represent a huge investment in education, while providing one more example of the golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. What will those rules be going forward?
- By Geoffrey H. Fletcher
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.
As part of an ongoing effort to assess the role of technology in education, the United States Department of Education (ED) has started seeking comments from those who work closely with it. Last week ED sent out a request for opinions from the public, looking to "hear your ideas on the integration of technology in education." We at THE Journal see this as a fantastic opportunity for educators and administrators to bolster federal support for ed tech and encourage all of our readers to participate.