Tech luminaries urge schools to provide programming courses | Helping students gauge the quality of online resources | Using digital tools to improve math instruction under the common core
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February 28, 2013
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Head of the Class
Survey: Teachers increasingly are comfortable with technology
A recent survey of middle- and high-school Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers finds that educators are increasingly using technology in the classroom and in their personal lives. Of those surveyed, 92% said technology has had a "major impact" on their ability to access resources, and 73% say they or their students use cellphones for classroom work. However, 84% of teachers also report that technology is creating a greater divide between disadvantaged and more affluent schools. Education Week/Digital Education blog (2/28), Mashable (2/28)
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Tech luminaries urge schools to provide programming courses
A nonprofit computer science organization is calling on schools to introduce and expand programming curricula and is getting help from the most successful in the industry, including Bill Gates and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The two tech titans are starring in's first video marketing effort. According to the group, only 1 in 10 U.S. schools offer computer science courses. Reuters (2/26)
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Other News
Systems Management
Study looks at tech-focused PD approaches in Tenn.
Researchers are studying professional development in the Memphis, Tenn., school district to determine which methods that include technology work best for teachers. Under review are two approaches, one that includes teachers videotaping themselves while teaching and having their recordings evaluated by a mentor. In the second approach, teachers are provided with various professional-development resources online. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (2/27)
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Managing Budgets
Mass. district seeks balance in technology funding request
A Massachusetts school district has scaled back a request for additional school-technology funds to what it believes is a "minimal" level of support. Officials said the infusion of money was necessary for students to compete in an increasingly tech-savvy world and because of what they describe as unfunded government mandates regarding education technology. Officials say they now are seeking about $500,000 -- down from their original request of $700,955 -- for education technology above normal operating expenses. The Sun (Lowell, Mass.) (2/28)
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Schools and Social Media
How to use cellphones to engage parents in education
Four free, easy-to-use resources can help educators engage with parents via cellphones, writes Lisa Nielsen, a public-school educator and administrator. Among Nielsen's suggestions in this blog post are to use mass-texting services that allow for safe, one-way communication for reminders and announcements and to use Twitter to relay information to parents. Other recommended tools include ClassPager, which allows parents to respond to polls and questions using their own devices, and Poll Everywhere, which gives parents a chance to relay their opinions. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (2/27)
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Last Byte
Study: Laptops for students in Peru do not affect achievement
A laptop distribution effort in Peru may not have led to the anticipated uptick in students' academic achievement, according to a recent study. The U.S.-based National Bureau of Economic Research found that students considered underprivileged who received the laptops displayed small or insignificant boosts in achievement, and were found to read less -- either online or off. Researchers also found that students were more likely to use the devices to play games and listen to music. Reuters (2/26)
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief blogs from FedGIS and ARPA-E
SmartBrief is blogging from the Esri Federal GIS Conference and the Department of Energy's ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit this week. Here are a few topics we're writing about on SmartBrief's SmartBlogs network.
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The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization."
-- Sigmund Freud,
Austrian physician and founder of psychoanalysis
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