Schools are one of the biggest markets for tablets. So why do districts have to do workarounds to manage the devices?
- By Therese Mageau
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.
- By Patricia Deubel
As another school year is getting well under way, educators are faced with starting the process all over again for preparing students for standardized testing. It's not something that can be put off until the last moment. Failure to pass "the test" sometimes prevents high school students from receiving their graduation diplomas. Elementary students might be retained in a grade. There is the usual dilemma of teaching to the test versus incorporating activities that help students develop 21st century skills valued in the real world.
- By Patricia Deubel
While technology has changed what is possible in education, the principles of effective instruction never really change. Technology is not what drives learning but simply what mediates and supports the process. What has significantly changed is the way in which effective teaching strategies can be achieved at a higher level using new technologies.
The experts tell us that a pandemic is inevitable. The only question is when it will happen. Is your organization ready? Can you keep essential IT functions running? What can you do to be prepared?
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.
- By Geoffrey H. Fletcher
Chat software (text or media-based) provides an excellent tool in supporting academic dialog (exchange), critical thinking, and knowledge building. The immediacy of the technology provides students with a direct connection with the instructor as well as other students. While chat software is usually used for "chatting," and, therefore, it has a relaxed and colloquial protocol, with a little thought and planning, it can also be used well to support instruction.
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!
- By Cathie Norris, Elliot Soloway
Much has been written recently about the impact of social networking tools in teaching and learning and how educators can build on the skills of their students in using these tools. But if educators only integrate the ability of students to connect and socialize, deeper points of learning will be missed. While good teaching and learning rests on effective relationships, in an active learning community, those relationships should evolve into actual idea exchange and knowledge construction.