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Opinion


The Ever-Expanding School Day

The term "flipped classroom" is becoming more familiar all the time. Learning no longer need take place just between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. or within the walls of the old-school classroom. I probably heard the term "flipped classroom" a dozen times during the Consortium for School Networking conference in Washington, DC, in March.

Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: Are We Creating an Education Nightmare?

In our ongoing effort to overhaul teacher evaluations, we're creating a potential disaster for education by adopting value-added models to rate the effectiveness of individual educators.

A Presenter's Highlights of FETC 2012

Each person who attends the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) arrives feeling the same buzz. For those who have a hunger to learn about technology and its effectiveness in education, it's like a natural high. People everywhere, all friendly faces, some you know from social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, while so many more are new faces. All are open opportunities to engage in great conversations focused on one goal: to become better educators.

Open-Source Schools: Got Data?

We all have our opinions about open-source technologies. While many are in favor of "free" and "open" software conceptually, there are those whose reservations about open source trump even the high ace in the deck, also known as budgetary restrictions. So, no matter how good open source might seem to many of us--no matter how many benefits we can enumerate--those reservations hold back any serious attempts at implementation.

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?

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.

Data Protection: Make a Wise Decision

It's not unusual for school district staff members to emulate Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter, wearing six or eight hats simultaneously in their everyday efforts. Sometimes, the hat hardest to wear is IT management, which is important and challenging at the same time.

Technology & Teaching Tomorrow's Thinkers

As educators, we are called upon to challenge the way students already think and guide them into new patterns or ways of thinking as required, in order for them to grasp central concepts and applications of learning. Collaborative technologies, while not central to the process, can help facilitate this core function of education.

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.)

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