Education Vital Signs: Technology Focus
The “first wave” of school technology was characterized by the heady if somewhat ill formed idea that schools could do something big with the Internet and related technology. The “second wave” was all about building the digital infrastructure. Schools across the country, aided by funds from the federal E-rate, raced to connect to the Internet. Now schools are well into perhaps the most interesting and challenging age of all: In this so-called third wave, school districts are experimenting with integrating technology into all aspects of their programs, from instruction and assessment, to attendance, transportation, procurement and communications. In the instructional realm, districts are using innovative technology to assist students with disabilities and have been working to close the “digital divide” between disadvantaged students and the majority. One thing is for certain: technology will continue to change at a rapid pace – both in schools and in society at large.
Online K-12 Schooling in the U.S.
The rapid increase of full-time virtual schools has also increased concern that the schools are largely unregulated and that little or no data exists on how these schools are performing, according to Online K-12 Schooling in the U.S., a study by the National Education Policy Center. The study authors recommend an accreditation system for virtual schools, as well as required state financial audits and making sure that student testing is performed in person.
Teacher’s Use of Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools: 2009
Ninety-seven percent of teachers participating in a 2009 federal survey on educational technology availability and use in public elementary and secondary schools said that they had one or more computers available in their classroom every day. Ninety-three percent of those classroom computers had Internet access. Forty percent of the teachers surveyed reported that they or their students used the computers during instruction time “often.” The ratio of students to computers in the classrooms was 5.3 to 1.
Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds
Today’s 8- to 18-year-olds spend 7.5 hours a day consuming media -- more time than most of their parents spend at work, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, Generation M2. Because children tend to multitask while consuming media -- talking on their cell phones while listening to their MP3 players while surfing Facebook -- those 7.5 hours effectively become 10 hours and 45 minutes of media usage per day. Twenty percent of all youth media consumption now occurs on mobile devices.
K-12 Online Learning: A 2008 Follow-up of the Survey of U.S. School District Administrators
K-12 Online Learning: A 2008 Follow-up of the Survey of U.S. School District Administrators, a new study from the Sloan Consortium, reports that 1.03 million K-12 students engaged in online courses in 2007-08, an increase of 47 percent since 2005-06. Seventy-five percent of the public school districts responding had one or more students enrolled in a fully online or blended course.
Online Learning Policy Survey: A Survey of the States
Results of a national survey by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Education (CDE) reveal significant growth in state and district support for online learning in K-12 education. Statewide initiatives are now in place in 27 states. CDE named Florida as the No. 1 state in online education. Nearly 125,000 students attend Florida’s Virtual School. CDE’s top 10 states in online education are Florida, South Carolina, New Mexico, Hawaii, Michigan, Louisiana, Idaho, Minnesota, Oregon, and Arkansas.
Online School for Girls
A consortium of independent all-girls’ schools that includes Harpeth Hall School (Tenn.), Holton-Arms School (Md.), Laurel School (Ohio), and Westover School (Conn.) is launching the new Online School for Girls. It is addressing two trends at once: single-sex education and online learning. The new school will offer two pilot courses in the fall semester and four courses in the spring semester. As Holton’s Director of Technology Brad Rathgeber says “We believe that girls inhabit online spaces differently than boys, and that this initiative can combine a powerful, transformative online learning environment for girls with a high-quality, 21st century academic experience.”
2009 Vision K-20 Survey Results
More schools are using high-speed Internet than ever, but progress remains slow in terms of broader adoption of educational technology and using these tools to improve instruction and student learning, according to a survey by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA). The SIIA Vision K-20 Survey says schools’ progress in incorporating tech-based assessment tools is hampered by tight budgets.
Leadership for Web 2.0 in Education: Promise and Reality
While school administrators recognize the potential of Web 2.0 applications to accelerate learning, they remain hesitant to expand their use, according to a Consortium for School Networking report. Most administrators work to control or limit their use in classrooms. The report found that administrators were willing to revise their policies, but worry that such tools may waste student’s or teacher’s time.
Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies
A report from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) finds that online learning is more effective than face-to-face instruction. The DOE’s report, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, shows that average students who took some or all of a course online tended to perform in the 59th percentile. Average classroom-based students tended to score in the 50th percentile.
ExploraVision Awards Program
The Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Awards Program is now accepting entries for its 2010 program. ExploraVision challenges teams of two to four students to design innovative technologies that could exist 20 years in the future, stimulating them to research scientific principles and current technologies. Students on four first-place teams will each receive a $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond. Students on the four second-place teams will each receive a $5,000 bond. All of the winners, their families, mentors, and coaches will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June 2010 for a gala awards weekend.