High Stakes for Educators

High stakes tests for students have garnered a very noisy percentage of the dialogue around K-12 education issues in recent years, but surprisingly, when it comes to high stakes issues for educators, things have been pretty quiet. This month's cover feature "Cyber Security: A Survival Guide," by Chris Seiberling, aims to be a first step in turning up the volume on one particularly crucial high stakes topic. Taking a role-based, rather tongue-in-cheek approach, the feature is designed to be a broad and entertaining introduction to the many possible security-related vulnerabilities lurking in the nooks and crannies of the typical district. As usual, we follow up this identification of "danger zones" with practical information on what you can do to avoid trouble. We hope you'll take advantage of our offer to copy this article for use in your security awareness professional training sessions — but please be sure to let us know (e-mail: techlearning_editors@cmp.com).

Recently, the new National Education Technology Plan was unveiled by outgoing Secretary of Education Rod Paige. Among the seven primary areas the plan aims to address (see TrendWatch) is the fast-growing field of virtual learning. We give you a leg up in getting your own efforts off the ground in Crai Bower's Product Spotlight "Ready for a Virtual Course Management System?" Bower offers buyer's tips and details in depth the issues to consider before deciding on the best platform for your own education needs.

Addressing another focus of the National Education Technology Plan — "more digital content" — is Judy Salpeter's "Telling Tales with Technology," which gives the why's and how's of integrating digital storytelling into the curriculum.

On the more techie end of the spectrum is Richard Hoffman's "Driving Ms. Data: Creating Data-Driven Possibilities." Tech directors and others leading the school and district's data mining efforts will find his seasoned advice and direction solid groundwork for creating a more "self-service," less IT-intensive, data-based Web site.

You'll note this month we also bring you the first of our three 25th anniversary reports, "Celebrating Students." We'd like to thank all of our readers and advisors who've contributed to this compendium of "turning point" stories. We will be continuing to collect stories, anecdotes, and other types of information for our upcoming reports, "Saluting Innovation" (May) and "Envisioning the Future" (November). If you are interested in contributing to these reports, please visit www.techlearning.com and look for our 25th Anniversary Input section.