- UC To Vet Online Courses on Student Transcripts
As virtual schools and Internet classes proliferate, colleges are faced with making decisions about how to treat these classes when they appear on a prospective student's transcript.
- Web Donation Site Helps Bring Resources To Needy Classrooms
Teachers know all too well how quickly the limited money they receive for classroom supplies is spent. Some teachers can now turn to DonorsChoose to supplement their own resources.
- Infusing 21st Century Skills into NCLB
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has issued a Statement of Principles designed to provide guidance for integrating 21st Century skills as part of the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.
- MySpace Launches Internet Safety Campaign
MySpace.com, the social networking site, launched an Internet safety campaign with the publication and distribution of Parents' and School Administrators' Guides to Internet Safety.
- Colleges Jump on the Podcasting Bandwagon
Johns Hopkins University is one of dozens of colleges nationwide that is making some classroom lectures almost instantly available on personal computers and hand-held media players.
UC To Vet Online Courses on Student Transcripts
As virtual schools and Internet classes proliferate, colleges are faced with making decisions about how to treat these classes when they appear on a prospective student"s transcript. The University of California (UC) is currently working on establishing a policy about which online classes it will accept in the future. While some states run their own virtual schools, ensuring that online classes are on a par with traditional classroom instruction, California uses a variety of online learning models. Up until now, UC has accepted pretty much any online course that school principals have placed on students" transcripts. But university officials and district administrators know that the quality and requirements of online courses vary widely. That"s part of what the new UC policy will address. In developing the policy, the University is likely to consider whether content experts were involved in developing the online course, whether students had access to teachers as they took the course and how test security was handled. Once the policy is established, the University will accept proposals from online vendors whose courses meet the newly established criteria. In a year or two, students, parents and counselors will be able to check the UC Web site for a list of online courses acceptable for admission. Students who turn to quick online courses with few requirements just to raise grade point averages are likely to be disappointed by the new policy. But for other students who take rigorous online courses that include regular contact with a teacher, require student participation through online postings or scheduled face-to-face meetings and provide proctored exams, the new policy is likely to confirm that they have made a good choice.
Source:The Sacramento Bee
Web Donation Site Helps Bring Resources To Needy Classrooms
Teachers know all too well how quickly the limited money they receive for classroom supplies is spent. Some teachers can now turn to DonorsChoose to supplement their own resources. Since its founding six years ago by New York City teachers looking for a way to fund special projects, the non-profit organization has raised more than $8.2 million for school projects. DonorsChoose serves teachers in four metropolitan areas — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco — and seven other states, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi. Alabama and, most recently, Indiana. In Indiana, 36 projects have been funded so far and a total of $44,000 has been donated. The DonorsChoose web site matches public school teachers with donors willing to fund their projects. Teachers submit a short proposal that describes their project — what they need, how they intend to use it and the cost involved. DonorsChoose volunteers review each proposal prior to posting, contacting schools to confirm details and eligibility. Once a proposal is funded, the project staff purchases the requested materials, which are then delivered to the school. Teachers are required to provide feedback to donors in the form of pictures, thank-you notes or samples of student work. To facilitate the process, the organization sends teachers a disposable camera and a postage-paid envelope. Prospective donors can browse proposals by school location, subject area, grade level, type of resource requested and cost.
Infusing 21st Century Skills into NCLB
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has issued a Statement of Principles designed to provide guidance for integrating 21st Century skills as part of the reauthorization of No Child Lefty Behind. 21st Century Skills include NCLB's core subject content, as well as 21st Century content such as global awareness and financial literacy; learning and thinking skills; information and communications technology (ICT) literacy; and life skills such as leadership and self-direction. The Partnership believes that standards that reflect content mastery alone do not enable accountability and measurement of 21st century skills. And without a comprehensive, valid system of measurement, it is impossible to integrate these skills effectively into classroom instruction or monitor whether students have mastered the skills necessary for success in life and work today. Thus the Statement of Principles calls for including language related to the integration of 21st century skills into state standards for math, reading and science; basing the assessment and accountability system on multiple measures of students" abilities that include 21st century skills; and expanding NCLB"s reporting requirements to include information on whether students are achieving 21st century skills. The Partnership also recommends transitioning the existing 8th grade technology literacy requirement into an ICT literacy requirement, so that the focus is not on technology competency, but the ability to use technology to perform critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication and innovation skills.
MySpace Launches Internet Safety Campaign
MySpace.com, the social networking site, launched an Internet safety campaign with the publication and distribution of Parents' and School Administrators' Guides to Internet Safety. The School Administrators' Guide to Internet Safety is being distributed in October in conjunction with the National School Board Association (NSBA) in celebration of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The Guide explains how MySpace works and addresses the various challenges that students and educators may face in relation to the Website. MySpace will work with the NSBA to send out the guide to approximately 55,000 public school administrators representing grades 7 through 12. Additionally, MySpace is also working with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) to disseminate the Guide to independent schools. The Parents' Guide to Internet Safety will help define MySpace for parents and answer questions about social networks and the Internet in general. Guide topics will include how members use MySpace, information on company safety practices and Seventeen's Web safety tips for teens. The Parents' and School Administrators' Internet Safety Guides will join MySpace's best practices including safety-enabling technology such as heightened security settings for younger users and full privacy options for all members.
Colleges Jump on the Podcasting Bandwagon
Colleges across the country are moving quickly to add podcasts to their list of media tools. Johns Hopkins University is one of dozens of schools that is making some classroom lectures almost instantly available on personal computers and hand-held media players. The trend testifies to the new mobility that is evident on college campuses. On many campuses recorded lectures have been available on the schools" web sites, but podcasting means that now students can listen in any place, any time. Students can download individual lectures or "subscribe" to an entire course and have the most recent class automatically added to their iPod or other device. While some observers express concern that the trend could lead to students skipping class and just listening in later, the same concern was expressed when colleges launched online courses. To help combat worries about attendance, some professors who opt to podcast lectures have begun to hand out points for attendance. At Hopkins, the points are recorded through the use of hand-held voting machines, or "clickers," that students bring to class. Some schools don"t see attendance as such a big issue. The new dental school that just opened at the University of Maryland, Baltimore was designed with fewer lecture halls because the school anticipates distributing more course content through podcasts and other digital-broadcast technologies. Officials these say that the curriculum increasingly includes more so-called hybrid courses where smaller discussion groups are supplemented by virtual lectures that students can download or watch online.
Source:The Baltimore Sun