Opinion


21st Century Learning: Making Technology Relevant in Today's Classrooms

"21st Century Learning" is currently the hottest catchphrase in education, but what it means has yet to be fully determined. Technology is a part of students' everyday lives, and substantial advances in technology have profoundly affected the way they learn. As a result, educators are working hard to meet the ever-evolving needs of 21st century learners. Translating the ongoing technological revolution into a learning experience is a fundamental part of that challenge.

Caller ID Spoofing: Is There an Answer?

Caller ID spoofing causes the caller ID display on a phone to display something other than the real caller. It isn't a new technology; it's been around since caller ID became popular. While the original spoofing implementations were somewhat kludgy, with the advent of Voice Over IP (VoIP) they became much better. It's an easy hack that endangers institutional data through "social engineering." Are your faculty and staff aware of this potential threat?

7 Reasons to Learn Apple iBooks Author Now

Apple's new software lets anyone create digitally rich eBooks for iPads. iBooks Author experts Joe Wood and Burt Lo share why this new software is important and how to introduce it to schools right now.

The Great Debate: Effectiveness of Technology in Education

I sometimes wonder why there is debate on the effectiveness of technology in education. The whole point of a debate is to examine issues in such a way that decisions can be made. However, in this case, we can hardly say, "Remove all technology from education!" Or, "Don't add any more because we are not getting an adequate return on our current investment--technology is not improving the quality of education." What would we put in its place?

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.

Interactive Whiteboards: Truths and Consequences

What do we know about interactive whiteboards? For some, they're indispensable teaching tools. For others, they're just IT waste. Either way, the research isn't really there yet to tell us whether they've resulted in any kind of academic gain for students in the years they've been in use in classrooms. Education consultant Patricia Deubel breaks down the issues and looks for some interim answers.

HTML5: The Web Beyond Web 2.0

The implications for HTML5 technologies on learning are profound. As technologies become more "intelligent" and requirements shift away from the manual skills needed to use them, teaching and learning can focus more clearly on the processes of thinking and application.

Can We Have Qualifying Tests for School Board Members? (A Rant)

I just got off the phone with a colleague who had returned from a business trip. After visiting with various school districts, she presented remedial reading products to a school board in an affluent suburban school district. When she finished presenting the need for her product, the school board member asked, "Why are you bothering to build remedial reading products when there are so many kids who are performing in the middle of the pack?"

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