No Boundaries

5/15/2005 5:00:00 AM

In this month's cover feature, "Shaping E-Learning Policy", author Gwen Solomon looks at this swiftly-growing phenomena from a new angle. We know e-learning is here to stay, and we know, for the most part, how it's being put to use to assist students, educators, and parents. But what are the sticky issues we're still grappling with "behind the scenes?" Can teacher certification cross state lines? How do seat time requirements translate? What defines the union's jurisdiction?

Predictably, these issues are mostly concerned with boundaries, and though real and practical, they also serve as a natural metaphor for the growing pains of a system moving from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age. The policies we're grappling with were designed for a time when learning and "school" were rooted by geography-contained within the walls of a building, on a lot, in a neighborhood. School walls and fences kept some people out and others in. In the same way, communities defined by their own territorial boundaries knew their particular values and attitudes would be reflected in their schools. And so, though the issues we're dealing with today-such as the quality of online course content-are certainly important, it will undoubt-edly be the broader concerns of culture and perspective in e-learning content that inform our debates down the line.

Also this month, veteran educator and reviewer Jamie Keller test drives three online technology tutorials that provide educators and students with "just in time" instruction on applications they use and integrate into projects every day. See "The New Tech Tutors", for details and an at-a-glance comparison chart.

More product news and buying considerations come to you via our Product Spotlight, where Matt Villano offers tips and a rundown on the latest in digital cameras for schools. For best practices on the myriad creative ways educators are using digital cameras in project-based learning activities, be sure to visit this May's Digital Media in the Classroom e-resource. You can find it online at http://techlearning.com/digitalmedia/.

As well, we bring you up to speed with some quick "how-to's" that you can put into practice right away. Jeff Branzburg gives the how and why of creating macros, and in "The ABCs of RSS," Will Richardson explains what this tool is all about and how you can set up an RSS for yourself or your students.

And last of all, T&L is happy to announce that Tech Forum has expanded beyond its Chicago and New York locations and is on its way to Texas. For early registration deals on both Pallisades, NY on Oct. 19th, and Austin, TX on Nov. 10th, visit www.techlearning.com/techforum.

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