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November 15, 2012
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Head of the Class 
  • Federal director of educational technology to step down
    Karen Cator announced Wednesday that she will step down from her role as director of educational technology for the U.S. Department of Education. It is still unclear who will replace Cator, whose tenure with the department will end in 2013. During her tenure, Cator advocated for education technology and professional development to help teachers master classroom technology. Her office also released the first national education-technology plan. Education Week/Digital Education blog (11/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Survey: Technology has shortened students' attention spans
    Two-thirds of middle- and high-school teachers surveyed said they believe digital technology has created a generation of students who are easily distracted and have short attention spans. Research has shown that students' distractions are primarily rooted in technology, including texting and logging into Facebook. Researchers working with students found that if the students check Facebook once in a 15-minute study period, they are more likely to have lower grades than their peers. eCampus News (free registration) (11/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Other News
Systems Management 
  • Neb. district reverses course on iPad integration
    Officials in a Nebraska school district have reversed an earlier decision to purchase iPads for students over concerns the devices may not meet the needs of the schools and their students. At issue, officials said, is concerns about off-site filtering of Web content and the "testing capabilities" of the iPads. For now, officials say, students will continue to have access to laptop computers. Kearney Hub (Neb.) (11/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Managing Budgets 
  • 1,189 districts are represented in Race to the Top competition
    In the latest round of the federal Race to the Top grant competition, 371 applications, representing 1,189 school districts, were received. This most recent round was open to school districts or a consortia of districts, which were required to provide plans to personalize instruction for students. Klint Willert, a superintendent of Marshall Public Schools in Minnesota, said his consortia's application "established a vision of creating an experience where learning is the constant and time is the variable." Education Week/District Dossier blog (11/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • NYC focuses on education technology in Race to the Top application: In an application for $40 million in Race to the Top funds, New York City officials are seeking to expand their Innovation Zone schools. Such schools are focused on using new technologies in instruction. The city's application also includes plans to train teachers in the use of technology in classroom instruction. (New York) (11/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Schools and Social Media 
  • Social media privacy is focus of high-school essay contest
    In New Hampshire, middle- and high-school students who penned Constitution Day essays focused their writing on whether employers or school officials are allowed under the Constitution to request social media passwords. Reid Zuckerman, a high-school senior who won the high-school category, wrote that companies are not banned under the law, but they should be. The Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.) (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Other News
Last Byte 
  • FTC chairman sees progress on children's online privacy issues
    A children's online privacy bill that has been in the works for some time might be finished by the end of the year, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz says. Breakthroughs in "do not track" guidance for developers and updated regulations for the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act are currently in the works. The FTC wants to make websites, mobile applications and data brokers responsible for securing parental consent before collecting data from youth. Reuters (11/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."
--Marie Curie,
Polish-French physicist and chemist

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