February 13, 2013
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Head of the Class
The right and wrong ways to use technology in the classroom
Teachers should regularly allow students to use cellphones, flip cameras and other tools to record lessons and classroom exchanges, but avoid relying too heavily on technology and online polling programs that provide shortcuts to check for understanding, writes high-school teacher Paul Barnwell. In this commentary, Barnwell offers some advice to help teachers navigate the complicated field of classroom technology. Other suggestions include encouraging students to make phone calls when conducting research, but not rely on texting and e-mail. Education Week Teacher (premium article access compliments of EdWeek.org) (2/12)
Supporters line up on both sides of flipped instruction debate
The flipped instructional method has become increasingly popular in New Jersey and elsewhere, despite criticism that the approach is unfair to students who lack access to technology at home. Despite opposition, supporters say the approach allows students to learn at their own pace and use class time more effectively. "This way, I can show them that they do know how to solve the problem. It gives them a sense of tenacity and I think that's been huge," said Kathleen Chesmel, a science teacher at New Egypt High School in New Jersey. Asbury Park Press (Neptune-Asbury Park, N.J.)/The Associated Press (2/11)
Will common core's questions kill the love of reading?
The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts push a practice known as "close reading," in which students are asked questions as they read to assess their understanding. Colette Marie Bennett, the English Department chairwoman at Wamogo High School in Connecticut, criticizes this practice as insulting to authors. Bennett writes in this blog post that the practice could lead educators to kill students' love of reading. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (2/12)
Other News
Systems Management
These teachers were made for walking
Teachers at an elementary school in Mississippi are tracking their steps using pedometers. Each pedometer is outfitted with a USB port, allowing the 65 participating educators to record their progress by plugging the "smart" pedometers into a kiosk in the school library. The goal is that teachers will lower their body mass index by the end of the program. The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.) (2/12)
Managing Budgets
Education takeaways from Obama's State of the Union address
President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for a greater investment in preschool for children, saying all students should have access to high-quality programs. In his State of the Union address, Obama also called for greater investment in modern school buildings, as well as rewards for high schools that offer high-tech curricula. In the Republican response to the address, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida called for an increased focus on Advanced Placement courses, vocational training and expanded school choice. Education Week/Politics K-12 blog (2/12), CNN/Schools of Thought blog (2/13)
Schools and Social Media
Social media presents a challenge for schools, officials say
Missouri school district officials say Twitter exchanges were at the root of a recent fight at St. Charles West High School that resulted in 11 student suspensions. District officials and police say the incident has led them to consider ways they can use social media to their advantage in dealing with such incidents. "If their privacy settings are such that we can't get it, they have to agree to show it to us. Some students show us information that's been sent to them and we rely on that," said superintendent Jeff Marion. KSDK-TV (St. Louis) (2/12)
Your Views
Which type of support is driving the current level of classroom-technology use in your school or district? 
VoteNational or state policies and campaigns
VoteDistrict policies and initiatives
VoteSchool- or teacher-led programs
VoteAll of the above
Last Byte
All-female coding class turns out software engineers in 10 weeks
Women looking for a career change or to enhance their education in related fields are finding new opportunities in programs such as Hackbright Academy in San Francisco. In just 10 weeks, Hackbright students learn computer programming, with many graduates stepping right into software engineering jobs with startups, such as SurveyMonkey and RealGravity, recent alumnus of Hackbright Academy Susan Tan explains in this blog post. Women 2.0 blog (2/6)
Editor's Note
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Noticed a change? SmartBrief on EdTech has the same valuable content but with a reworked design to make reading and sharing stories easier, especially on mobile devices. Have feedback on the change? Send it our way!
Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not.
Nathaniel Hawthorne,
American author

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