Archive for the ‘Current trends’ Category

Congressional Briefing on Speak Up K12 Data

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Interesting results of  Project Tomorrow’s  2013 Speak Up – K-12  Survey was presented on Capitol Hill April 9, 2014. The session was arranged to help congressional leaders and the education community…”learn what K-12 students think about the role of technology in the classroom and hear directly from a panel of students themselves on topics such as mobile and flipped/blended learning, school to home communications, broadband capacity, and designing the ultimate school for today’s learners.”

Our EDMT students have participated in the  Speak Up study previously (thanks Drs Jones and McVey!). You may want to consider having your own school contribute the next time around. View  the recording to hear what students are saying about educational technology.

Google’s Battle for Your Data

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Have you ever notice those little ads creeping into your browsing experience? You know, the ones that seem vaguely familiar to products you may have shopped for online or maybe something you talked to someone about in an email message?

 With the continued growth of electronic mail use, a person’s right to privacy remains a huge issue for many reasons. Data mining is one of the larger reasons that causes much debate.  Facebook is continually being accused of invading its users’ privacy, and, as a result, is continually tweaking its privacy settings to satisfy members. Recently, Google was taken to task for its data mining of Gmail for target marketing purposes. In a 39-page motion filed in June to have a class-action data-mining lawsuit dismissed, the Web giant cited Smith v. Maryland, a 1979 Supreme Court decision that upheld the collection of electronic communications without a warrant: “Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient’s e-mail provider in the course of delivery.

Indeed, a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.’” So it seems that Google’s policy is that users gave up their right to privacy when they agreed to use its services. So now we have to consider the possible effects of having the content of our email being scrutinized by another entity. Despite Google’s dismissive comments, they have tentatively agreed to a settlement of $8.5 million with the plaintiffs, among them, the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, the World Privacy Forum, the MacArthur Foundation and AARP, based on the claim the Internet search company violated users’ privacy by leaking their search queries, which may include names or other identifying information, to operators of websites that the users may visit.

But will this legal action result in Google ceasing its data mining tactics? Or will it just cause them to refine and make their mining more covert? Since this is from which Google fills their coffers, I think, most likely the latter. What I’ve learned from this is that the U.S mail is much more private, and I won’t get a slew of pop ups on my computer. So I won’t use Gmail for anything I would like to keep really private. In fact, maybe I’ll just go back to Hotmail since Microsoft claims they don’t do what Google does. We’ll see about that.

Programming for Kindergarteners

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The Department of Education in the United Kingdom last month announced plans to begin introducing “rigorous computer science” to all children from 5 to 14.

This touches on an interesting argument that has been all but ignored in many ed tech quarters – the dumbing down of technology in schools. Over the years, computer education moved from learning Fortran, Basic, and Pascal to a more ubiquitous ICT – Information Communications Technology. The thinking was that most students did not need to understand the workings of a computer, just how to use one.

Image courtesy of

This move to engage students more directly and formally with computer programming dovetails well with movements in North America to include more programming at a very basic level using applications such as Scratch. It may be time to start teaching programming to our pre-service teachers. Not sure? Here is a recent headline from the British press:

‘Harmful’ ICT curriculum set to be dropped to make way for rigorous computer science

You might look at which has been pressing for this in Britain for over a year now.

iPad Schools

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

How are school teachers and administrators dealing with the preponderance of handheld devices used by their students? Since many students would like to use their devices in school, many school systems are developing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies about bringing one’s own device to school to use in the classroom. The BYOD situation presents many issues such as cross-operating system compatibilities, compatibility with software, hardware, security issues, network issues and so forth. Some students simply can’t afford the devices and some can afford better devices than others. Some schools dole out handheld devices such as laptops and tablets on carts for a period or two, with limited ability for the students because there are only so many to go around. One solution for these issues can be found developing in the Netherlands.

Starting in August 2013, 11 schools will open in the Netherlands based on Steve Jobs’ vision of transforming education using the iPad. Approximately 1,000 children from 4to 12 years old will attend the schools, without notebooks, books or backpacks. Each of them, however, will have his or her own iPad. There will be no blackboards, chalk or classrooms, homeroom teachers, formal classes, lesson plans, seating charts, pens, teachers teaching from the front of the room, schedules, parent-teacher meetings, grades, recess bells, fixed school days and school vacations. If a child would rather play on his or her iPad instead of learning, it will be okay. And the children will choose what they wish to learn based on what they happen to be curious about. For proponents of Constructivist education also known as student centered learning, this is just the type of learning program that fits their ideology. Many school systems in the US are embracing and attempting to implement Constructivism as well as designing a technology infused curriculum. Educators in the Netherlands, by way of Steve Jobs’ vision, may have found the solution.

Like the Constructivist model of individualized instruction, students will learn at their own pace by using iPad apps, with teachers serving as coaches to help them reach goals and advance to subsequent levels. Teachers, children, and parents meet to discuss goals for each six-week period, setting up standards to help students gain the knowledge and skills to move on to the next level. The schools will be open from 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM every day of the year except Christmas and New Year’s Day, with children free to come and go as they please as long as they are present during the core school day that runs from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM.

This is far from an experiment and can be viewed as an all-out movement, as Dutch researcher Maurice de Hond, the man behind the initiative, believes that the number of schools should grow to at least forty next year, with the schools being publicly funded and open to all children and subsidies available to families unable to afford an iPad. Will this be playing soon in a school system near me? Let’s hope so.

Online instruction, all the time

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

I graduated from Michigan State University with a grade-point average a shade above a 3.0.

I lived on campus my entire time as an MSU student and I really enjoyed living in East Lansing.

But I’m performing much better, grade-point wise, as a graduate student in the Eastern Michigan University Education Media and Technology online program. Sure, I don’t have as heavy a course load as I had as an undergrad, but I feel I am given more time to complete tasks. It also feels to me like I’m retaining more information that I will be able to use in the future.Since I started the EDMT online masters program in August 2011, I’ve often wondered why there hasn’t been a push for more online instruction at the high school level? I don’t think online instruction could be implemented at any lower level, simply because I believe children in grades K-8 are still developing other skills (social, motor, etc.).

But could online instruction work with high school students?

Feel free to leave your comments in the section below.