Educational Technology

FBI Seizes Los Angeles Schools’ iPad Documents

Educational Technology News Blog - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 00:32

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO, Associated Press

FBI agents seized 20 boxes of documents related to Los Angeles Unified School District’s beleaguered $1 billion iPad project, officials confirmed Tuesday. Agents confiscated documents at the district’s offices Monday regarding procurement practices involving the Common Core Technology project, LAUSD’s plan to equip all schools with 21st century learning devices. The FBI confirmed an investigation into the district, but would not provide any further information, citing the ongoing probe. “The L.A Unified School District will offer its full cooperation to federal authorities during the course of the investigation,” Interim Superintendent Ramon Cortines said in a statement. The FBI action was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.

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Barbie should break the geek ceiling

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 00:40

by Chicago Tribune

Q:How many young women does it take to design and program a computer game?

A. None. Only boys know how to do that.

This, believe it or not, is the message to 4- and 5-year-old girls in the Barbie book, “I Can Be … a Computer Engineer.”

Written for beginning readers, the book tells the tale of a teen Barbie who is creating a computer game but crashes her laptop. She immediately gives up on the idea of solving the problem herself. Barbie also confesses to little sister Skipper that she can’t write software code. “I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!” Barbie says.  The Barbie book, published in 2010 and available on, has taken a recent pummeling on the internet as misogynistic trash. Amazon last week showed 165 reviews–148 gave the book one star. One critic created a website called Feminist Hacker Barbie that invited contributors to, er, revise the book’s message by rewriting scenes.

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Autodesk offers free design software to students across the globe

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 00:35

by eSchool News

Earlier this year, Autodesk made its software available to U.S. middle and high school students for free in support of President Obama’s ConnectED initiative, and now the company is expanding free access to its professional design software to 188 countries across the globe. More than 680 million students and educators from more than 800,000 secondary and post-secondary schools will be able to use Autodesk’s 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software for both in-school and at-home educational use, though commercial use is not allowed.

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7 free flipped classroom creation apps you might not know

Educational Technology News Blog - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 00:30

by Stephen Noonoo, eSchool News

You might not know these apps for creating lessons, video, and more—perfect for the flipped classroom. The flipped classroom gives students more time in class to do, not just listen, and gives teachers new opportunities to revamp their lessons in creative, multimedia ways for at-home consumption. But for all that you need the right tools. Here, we’ve gathered a handful of apps for content creation, from video to podcasting to slideshows, summarized on, an app resource site with more than 6,000 apps in more than 300 subcategories. And this time, we’ve selected apps that don’t typically crop up on flipped classroom lists, so you and your students can try something new.

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Learning online worth the cost?: What’s the value, agenda of ‘free’ courses

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 12/07/2014 - 00:40

By Kelly Gorkoff, Winnipeg Free Press

Primary and secondary online learning materials are a resource to a curriculum. My daughter uses Kahn Academy for math, but only because her teacher tells her to. It’s a great resource for home-schoolers, too. It has a place as a resource for those who guide the education of youngsters. Youngsters themselves would rather watch cat videos on YouTube. Then there is higher learning (a.k.a. post-secondary education), advanced learning and the newest buzzword, lifelong learning. Many of the innovations here in online offerings claim to be a silver bullet, a way to overcome the problems of a traditional bricks-and-mortar university education, which has become too expensive, complicated, ideological and detached from the masses. Anant Agarwal is the president of edX, an online learning platform and provider of MOOCs (massive open online courses) many of which are free and offered worldwide. It’s also open-source. It sounds like it’s a solution.

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Regular classrooms replaced with online distance-learning in war-hit eastern Ukraine

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 12/07/2014 - 00:35

by Balint Szlanko, The Associated Press

Like most children his age, Denis Akimov spends hours daily on his computer surfing the Internet. It isn’t just for fun. As schools are forced to limit operations in the conflict-battered eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, educators are turning to the Web to keep their charges learning. “It’s not comparable to normal school, because there is no proper atmosphere for studying,” said Akimov, 15, sitting in front of a laptop in the living room of his home. “Very often you get distracted because of all kinds of things, like websites.” Schools and kindergartens haven’t been spared death and destruction in the last seven months of fighting between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.

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Tech-Savvy Teaching: How Online Learning Helps Students & Teachers

Educational Technology News Blog - Sun, 12/07/2014 - 00:29

By RACHEL MORELLO, Indiana Public Media

President Obama is pushing for schools to increase their use of technology in the classroom. Teachers nationwide are introducing “Bring Your Own Device” policies, and beginning to use tools like Skype to bring in guest lecturers from around the world. Teachers in Indiana are being recognized for paving the way when it comes to new technology, but effectively incorporating it into teaching can be a challenge.

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5 Things to Share With Your Teachers About Educational Technology

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 00:40

by Rob Furman, Huffington Post

Even today, we still have teachers across the country fighting the integration of educational technology into their classrooms. Many use similar excuses as to why they should not waste their time learning technology. The simple fact is that they typically are nervous to learn something new and possibly failing. I think everyone can understand that feeling (especially in front of our peers and our students). So… they make up a variety of reasons why they think it is a bad idea to spend time on technology use, or they simply just close their door and leave the technology in the corner of the room. What do we do? Here is a list of the top 5 things you should share with your teachers in regards to educational technology.

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Learner Revolution in, Ed Tech Revolution out

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 00:35

by Ron Bethke, eCampusNews

New report suggests investors should focus on companies servicing the “Learner Revolution,” which creates pathways of success that guide individual students. The Ed Tech Revolution is on its way out, and something new is set to take its place: The Learner Revolution. According to a new Education Design Lab report released during the recent National Education Week conference in Washington

D.C., investment in education has been mostly relegated to surface-level areas where returns are quick, but which are unfocused on the personal experiences of students. As a result, the report suggests that investors should shift their focus to companies leading the charge towards utilizing mobile, software, and analytical platforms in order to offer services that create pathways of success and assistance for the individual learner.

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When letter grades won’t work, there’s an app for that

Educational Technology News Blog - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 00:28

By Trevor Shaw, eSchool News

Educators need a way to track traditionally “hard-to-measure” skills–an app might be the solution. In my eighth grade physical computing class, I have a grade problem. The things that are most important to me–things like creativity, curiosity, persistence, critical thinking–are nearly impossible to quantify. I’m sure that I could come up with ways to measure these things indirectly and incorporate them into a mathematical formula, but I don’t believe such a formula would be accurate. Many of these skills and traits are neither linear nor hierarchical. For example, many of us are persistent and curious, but not about everything and not all the time. Furthermore, there is substantial research that indicates that the minute we place extrinsic motivators like grades on something like creativity or critical thinking, we end up reducing the thing we are trying to incentivize.

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Stephen Colbert on Service and Love

Educause - Connect, Technology In Academia - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 19:23

Bill Hogue, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, University of South Carolina

Stephen Colbert is a famous comedian and satirist. It’s easy to imagine that he was an overnight success. But like many other great performers, Colbert spent years honing his skills and developing his craft in relative anonymity before he emerged as a cultural phenomenon. His preparation for stardom included several years studying improvisational theater (improv), first at Northwestern University and then as a member of The Second City in Chicago, one of the most influential comedy theaters in the country.

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Competency-based Accelerated Training

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 00:40

by Annie Myers, EDUCAUSE Review

Broward College is piloting accelerated competency-based education as part of its online program. The first associate of science degree offered in the Accelerated IT Training Program is computer system specialist, with courses leading to technical certificates and industry certifications also available. Students can begin courses on a rolling start date and proceed at their own pace, using course and unit assessments to measure mastery of course concepts. Academic coaches support students throughout the program, helping them develop their goals and persist in the face of challenges, and intervene as needed during their studies.

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10 Apps to Make Reading in the Classroom Even More Fun

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 00:40

By Leah Levy, Edudemic

Just about a year ago, we published a post detailing the 10 best web tools for enhancing the reading experience. We still love those tools (almost as much as we love books and reading and libraries), and now we’re adding another 10 to take reading for you and your students up yet another level. Together, you’re sure to have a reading bonanza!

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Rural kids get fewer AP classes

Educational Technology News Blog - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 00:32

By Catherine Candisky & Jim Siegel, Columbus Dispatch

Students in Dublin schools can pick among dozens of rigorous courses such as Advanced Placement studio art, computer science and calculus, along with engineering design, statistics, theater and a variety of International Baccalaureate classes. In all, Dublin offers 92 advanced courses to students. That’s 10 times as many as are available to Hamilton Local students on the other end of Franklin County. According to state data, they have nine available. Some state legislators want to take a more serious look at ways to level the field, including interactive distance learning, in which a teacher can present a class to students in a number of districts. State data show that 99 percent of high-school courses are taught face to face.

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Leading and Learning for a Successful Digital Transformation

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 00:40

by Steve Webb, Edutopia

Education, like so many other aspects of our society, has been undergoing a digital transformation. Accepting this reality is inevitable. Embracing it would be wise. But my district has chosen to go a step beyond that as we strive to lead the transformation. Digital transformation in Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) began with our second-generation strategic planning process, which we call Design II. Launched in January 2007, the process engaged hundreds of staff and community members in shaping the future of our district. Flexible learning environments for the 21st century emerged as the strategic goal area for Design II, challenging us to think differently about the use of time, space, and technology to maximize learning potential.

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Blended Learning: Making it Work in Your Classroom

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 00:36

by P.K. Yonge Devlopmental Research School

Blended learning is a core part of P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School. Since 2010, the school has taken a schoolwide approach to integrating digital content as part of their instructional framework. Driven by changes already happening at the higher education levels and the need to prepare students for the 21st century workplace, blended learning provides the school with a variety of ways to address student needs, differentiate instruction, and provide teachers with data for instructional decision-making. P. K. Yonge views blended learning as the combination of digital content and activity with face-to-face content and activity. It looks very different in each class at the school. When a teacher has an activity that works well face-toface, there isn’t any reason to look for a digital replacement. If they can find something digital that is more effective or efficient, then that is implemented.

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edX joins ConnectED efforts with PD courses for teachers

Educational Technology News Blog - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 00:28

by eSchool News

Answering President Obama’s call to help schools embrace technology and digital learning in U.S. classrooms, edX will offer professional development courses for teachers. As part of ConnectEd, edX partner universities and colleges will offer teacher professional development courses, along with courses to prepare students for AP exams. “EdX and our university partners are pleased to stand with President Obama to offer U.S. teachers and school districts free, innovative resources to improve teaching and learning outcomes,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO. “These courses will empower teachers to use technology in the classroom in creative and personalized ways.”

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Oklahoma State U offers in-depth view of agriculture through ‘Farm to Fork’ Massive Open Online Course

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 00:40

By Melissa Mourer, Oklahoma State University

Bailey Norwood, associate professor in the department of agricultural education for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University, will be using the latest teaching methods to take learning to a new level with a Massive Open Online Course titled “Farm to Fork: A Panoramic View of Agriculture.” The 16-week course will be conducted entirely online and is open to anyone. It will focus on topics including livestock-care techniques, the industrialization of agriculture, the impact of local food on the local economy and the role of politics and culture in food. The format of the online course provides Norwood with an opportunity to explore new and contemporary teaching methods.

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Some schools to avoid snow days through e-learning

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 00:35

by Kristine Guerra, Indianapolis Star

The Internet is bringing an end to snow days for some Indiana schoolchildren. Northwestern Consolidated Schools in Shelby County is among 29 public school systems and eight private schools that have received approval from the Indiana Department of Education to use a virtual learning option on days when students have to stay home from school due to inclement weather. On those days, Northwestern students at Triton Central, Triton Middle and Triton Elementary schools will use their school-issued iPads and Chromebooks to do their homework, work through lessons and communicate with their teachers.

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Private companies want to scoop up your child’s data enrolled in MOOCs

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 00:30


Massive open online courses, first envisioned as a way to democratize higher education, have made their way into high schools, but Washington is powerless to stop the flood of personal data about teenage students from flowing to private companies, thanks to loopholes in federal privacy laws. But when middle and high school students participate in classes with names like “Mars: The Next Frontier” or “The Road to Selective College Admissions,” they may be unwittingly transmitting into private hands a torrent of data about their academic strengths and weaknesses, their learning styles and thought processes — even the way they approach challenges. They may also be handing over birth dates, addresses and even drivers license information.

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