- New Data on Online Learning
Roughly two-thirds of-three American K-12 schools currently have students taking either online or blended courses and another 21% plan to introduce online courses over the next three years.
- Mr. Gates Goes to Washington
Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, went to Capitol Hill last week to tell legislators that they need to strengthen K-12 education if they hope to see America retain its competitive edge.
- Teachers Rewarded for Innovative Technology Use
A class of deaf elementary school students will soon be receiving video iPods that their teacher will use to record sign language support for homework.
- Korea Opts for Digital Textbook
The Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development has announced plans to support the development of a digital textbook as the primary content delivery mechanism for its educational system.
- How Much Is Too Much?
In a new white paper, high tech research and consulting company IDC reports that some 161 exabytes — or 161 billion gigabytes — of digital data were created during 2006.
New Data on Online Learning
Roughly two-thirds of-three American K-12 schools currently have students taking either online or blended courses and another 21% plan to introduce online courses over the next there years."K-12 Online Learning: A Survey of U.S. School District Administrators," a new study from the Sloan Consortium, says that some 700,000 students were enrolled on online courses during the 2005-06 school year and districts indicate that they expect their online enrollments to continue to grow.
The study is based on a national survey of American school district chief administrators during the 2005-2006 academic year. The most important drivers respondents cite for offering online courses are familiar: offering courses not otherwise available at the school, meting the needs of specific groups of students and offering Advanced Placement or college-level courses. Essentially, online learning is meeting the specific needs of a range of students, from those who need extra help to those who want to take more advanced courses and whose districts do not have enough teachers to offer certain subjects. The most important barriers schools face include concerns about course quality, course development and/or purchasing costs, concerns about receiving funding based on student attendance for online and/or blended/hybrid education courses and the need for teacher training. Many school districts are using multiple providers of online coursework, with the leading sources being postsecondary institutions, independent vendors, state virtual schools within the district's home state and the school districts themselves.
Source:The Sloan Consortium
Mr. Gates Goes to Washington
Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, went to Capitol Hill last week to tell legislators that they need to strengthen K-12 education if they hope to see America retain its competitive edge. Testifying before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Gates argued that"America cannot maintain its innovation leadership if it does not educate world-class innovators and train its workforce to use innovations effectively." Gates contended that American schools, and high schools in particular, have not adapted and changed to meet the demands of an economy that is now based on knowledge and technology, not farming and manufacturing. Saying that every student in America, without exception, should graduate from high school ready for college, career and life, Gates urged Congress to place an equal focus on standards, measurements and data, and additional support for students and teachers. Gates spoke of the need for more for rigorous coursework and higher standards and the related need for transparent data collection systems to allow educators and the public to understand what is working and for whom. He urged Congress to create a Center for State Education Data, which would"serve as a national resource for state education data and provide one-stop access for education research and policymakers, along with a public website to streamline education data reporting. Gates also spoke in support of the Teacher Incentive Fund as an important first step in ensuring that teachers are rewarded, valued and respected as they would be at Microsoft or any other corporate entity.
Teachers Rewarded for Innovative Technology Use
A class of deaf elementary school students will soon be receiving video iPods that their teacher will use to record sign language support for homework. The teacher, Michelle Tanner, won a small Qwest grant to support the project in recognition of her innovative use of technology in the classroom. The students attend an extension program of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind at Gearld Wright Elementary School. Tanner plans to use the iPods to help her deaf students with their homework. Since sign language is a visual medium, Tanner will make videos of herself signing the assignments and vocabulary words for the week. She can put the words she is signing at the bottom of the screen so that parents can understand the lesson. Students will get added reinforcement of their signing skills and parents, who often don't know how to sign the words on the week's spelling list, will be better able to help their child with homework. Tanner is already doing some of this using videotapes, but the iPods will make it easier to manage. The lessons can be uploaded to iTunes, allowing students to access them from anywhere. Another teacher at Wright Elementary has also received a $2,000 Qwest grant that she will use to buy software to support her students as they plan the city of the future. Using real city planning software and SimCity, the students will work together to create utility lines, plan traffic patterns, develop business and residential areas and even devise cultural activities.
Source:Deseret Morning News
Korea Opts for Digital Textbook
The Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development has announced plans to support the development of a digital textbook as the primary content delivery mechanism for its educational system. The digital textbook, accessed via personal computers or wired or wireless networks, will provide students with multiple interactive applications, combining print, audio, animation, video and simulations. Since the content is digital, it can be updated and revised easily and regularly. The Ministry piloted the concept in four elementary schools last year and found that students responded positively. Students with lower academic achievement showed great improvement. Initially, the Ministry plans to develop digital textbooks in all fifth and sixth grade subject area, three middle school subject areas and to high school subjects. The program will launch in 20 elementary schools in 2008 and in 100 elementary, middle and high schools nationwide in 2011. The Project has an estimated budget of 66 billion won (US $69.7 million).
Source:The Korea Times
How Much Is Too Much?
In a new white paper, high tech research and consulting company IDC reports that some 161 exabytes — or 161 billion gigabytes — of digital data were created during 2006. According to"The Expanding Digital Universe: A Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2010," the biggest chunk of this mass of data was e-mail; IDC reports that person-to-person communications alone accounted for six billion gigabytes of data. Storage giant EMC, who commissioned the IDC report, predicts that the amount of digital data will increase by a factor of six by 2010. By that time, close to 70% of the annual output of digital data will be user created — e-mail, blogs, videos, digital photo collections. The good news is that much of that output is never saved or stored. But the demand for storage, both personal and corporate, will continue to grow. For one thing, more and more people are online. There are now 1.1 billion people online worldwide and IDC predicts another 500 million will move online over the next four years. And most of them will have cameras of some sort. IDC estimates that in 2006, there were one billion devices capable of capturing digital images. Approximately 150 billion images were taken with digital cameras, and another 100 billion with cell phones.