- Texas Begins Move to Online Testing
Next spring, school districts across Texas will have the option of administering the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test online for students in grade 7 and higher.
- Teachers Adapt to Combat Online Plagiarism
The ease of cutting and pasting combined with greatly increased access to the Internet and its riches have contributed to a significant increase in student plagiarism.
- Utah Leads Nation in Virtual School Enrollments
With more than 50,000 students enrolled, the Utah Electronic High School operates the nationâ€™s largest online learning program.
- Arkansas Plans Online Professional Development
Starting this fall, Arkansas IDEAS (Internet-Delivered Education for Arkansas Schools) will offer online professional development opportunities to Arkansas teachers.
- A Man with a Mission
Ten years ago, Brewster Kahle founded the Internet Archive, with the original mission of archiving the Internet.
Texas Begins Move to Online Testing
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is about to start promoting a new service â€“ online TAKS testing. Students across the stateâ€™s 7,000 schools all take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills every spring. Next spring, school districts will have the option of administering the test online to students in grade 7 and up. Itâ€™s still to early to tell how many districts and students will move to the online format. But the TEA believes that the time is right and the stateâ€™s director of student assessment notes that itâ€™s possible that within three years some tests may only be available online. For the present, the TEA urges the districts to consider online testing in order to reduce the amount of paper that is shipped around the state and speed access to student results. For the past several years, 8th graders in some Texas schools have participated in a pilot of online testing. The move online will require some preparation and raises some questions related to computer access. Schools with newer and better infrastructure — high bandwidth Internet access and enough support staff to handle problems as they arise — will be the likeliest to move rapidly to online testing. The TEA says that its system will be ready to meet the demand of delivering tests to hundreds of thousands of students at the same time. Everyone expects there will be bumps along the way as the schools accommodate to this new way of doing their required testing. But there are models in place. In Virginia, for example, more than 90% of this spring's state high-school assessments were taken online and online testing is being expanded to middle and elementary schools.
Source:Dallas Morning News
Teachers Adapt to Combat Online Plagiarism
The ease of cutting and pasting combined with greatly increased access to the Internet and its riches have contributed to a significant increase in student plagiarism. Teachers at all levels report that their students are falling prey to the temptation to copy information from the Web into their term papers or essays without proper attribution. Teachers find that teaching about copyright, intellectual property and the correct way to cite Web resources helps. So, too, do tools like software that automatically scans student work for plagiarism. But many teachers are changing their traditional tem paper assignments to assure that the work students turn in is really their own. Some teachers are requiring students to turn in their research note, and require hand written rough drafts. They also may require an interim oral presentation that helps them gauge how much a student has internalized his or her research findings. Other teachers are turning away from term papers, relying more on in-class writing assignments, oral reports with visual aids and PowerPoint presentations. There are concerns that assignments of this type are no substitute for the more sustained challenge of researching, organizing and supporting an argument in a term paper. The addition of an essay requirement to the SAT may tell us if student writing is becoming more superficial.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Utah Leads Nation in Virtual School Enrollments
The Utah Electronic High School serves more students than any other online learning program in the nation. More than 50,000 students are enrolled in the Utah Electronic High School program, more than double the 20,000 students enrolled at Florida Virtual School, the nationâ€™s second biggest online institution. Of course, Utahâ€™s been at it a long time. Its online education program predates the advent of the graphical browser. Back in 1993 students relied on file transfer protocol (FTP) to receive and deliver assignments. Itâ€™s easier for students today and more engaging, but the reasons students turn to online learning remain largely the same â€“ schedule conflicts, credit recovery, the desire to get ahead. The school also serves homeschoolers and high school dropouts who want to earn a diploma. Utah Electronic High Schoolâ€™s enrollment has doubled each year since 2000. The school offers around 150 courses, with physical education one of the most popular course offerings. Online PE students log required workouts and study health-related topics. English, algebra and U.S. government are also popular courses. The State Board of Education has approved a plan that calls for the development of a second Electronic High School campus that would target 18-to-30-year-olds who do not have high school diplomas. This program would be marketed nationally, with the stateâ€™s cut of the profits rolled back into the existing Electronic High School program.
Arkansas Plans Online Professional Development
This fall, teachers in Arkansas will have a new professional development resource. The Arkansas IDEAS (Internet-Delivered Education for Arkansas Schools) program will allow anytime, anywhere access to online training. Time teachers put in online will be monitored, allowing the users to apply it toward the stateâ€™s required 60-hours of annual training. Online offerings for teachers will include training in the areas of reading, writing, math and science, as well as courses on student testing data offered by the University of Arkansas. There will also be content appropriate for school administrators. The Arkansas legislature authorized $500,000 to pay for IDEA, allowing teachers to access the training for free. The training portal is being developed in cooperation with the Arkansas Educational Television Network. The State Department of Education is developing an Arkansas History course for educators that will include oral history accounts from the state's World War II veterans. The site will also offer Web-based tours of Arkansas historical sites, including the Governor's Mansion.
Source:Arkansas News Bureau
A Man with a Mission
Ten years ago, Brewster Kahle founded the Internet Archive, with the original mission of archiving the Internet. To that end, the archive began collecting snapshots of the Web, copies of pages taken at various points in time. But that proved too small an undertaking and Kahle is now dedicated to digitizing existing collections of books, television programs, movies and music. Though Kahle is a modest man, he is not modest in terms of his ambitions for the massive digital archive he is building, referring to it as the "Library of Alexandria, v.2." His biggest concern is that commercial efforts will fence off some of these resources, thereby limiting free universal access. To help protect the concept of free access to information, Kahle serves on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and on the national digital strategy advisory board at The Library of Congress. Kahle is also involved in a lawsuit challenging recent copyright term extension.