SimCityEDU aligns gaming with common core | What are the benefits of classroom technology? | Should machines be used to grade student writing?
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March 15, 2013
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Head of the Class
Survey: How education leaders leverage technology
The Consortium for School Networking this week released the results of a survey, in which education IT leaders reveal how they use technology in the classroom. Of the leaders surveyed, most listed their top priorities as establishing high-speed broadband Internet connections, bring-your-own-device programs and preparing for new online assessments under the Common Core State Standards. EdTech magazine (3/2013)
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eLearning
SimCityEDU aligns gaming with common core
The creators of the new SimCityEDU, designed for sixth-grade students, expect it to be a powerful tool for teaching and learning -- helping to engage students and provide a type of formative assessment aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Students will be challenged to decide what kind of power plant to build in the town while the game assesses their choices, providing a tool for teachers to see how students' knowledge matches up with the standards. KQED.org/Mind/Shift blog (3/14)
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Other News
Systems Management
Should machines be used to grade student writing?
Les Perelman, former director of writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is questioning a recent study that found that machines could grade students' essays as well as humans. He finds that the study is flawed, and using machines could lead teachers to begin teaching students to write for "robo-readers." Perelman's concerns come as many states are expected to introduce new K-12 standardized tests that include writing graded by machines as part of the transition to Common Core State Standards. InsideHigherEd.com (3/15)
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Other News
Managing Budgets
$15M could be saved in Calif. by suspending some exams
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is supporting legislation in California to suspend some standardized tests while new computerized exams are being developed, a move that would save the state $15 million. Lawmakers now are considering legislation that would suspend some tests beginning next fall, as well as a separate bill that would delay the suspension until 2016. Tests required by the federal government would not be suspended. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)/L.A. Now blog (3/13)
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Schools and Social Media
N.C. district to allow on-campus access to social media sites
School officials in Greensboro, N.C., say that after spring break they will begin removing Internet filters that have prevented access to social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter on school campuses. The initial ban was put in place to comply with federal rules about restricting students' access to potentially inappropriate material online. However, parents, teachers and others complained that the filters limited communication. The News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.)/The Chalkboard blog (3/14)
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Your Views
Is technology improving math achievement for students in your school or district? 
VoteStudents' math achievement is greatly improved because of technology
VoteMath achievement is somewhat improved because of technology
VoteTechnology has made little or no impact on student achievement in math
Last Byte
Will the common core inhibit education reform?
Middle-school teacher Mark Barnes wonders in this blog post whether Common Core State Standards and education reform can happen at the same time. Barnes, a member of his school's Common Core Transition Team, writes that the rigid standards do not foster true education reform, which would call for the abolition of standardized testing and accountability, and instead allow teachers to "create vibrant, chaotic, collaborative, technology-rich classrooms that encourage a thirst for learning." SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (3/14)
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SmartQuote
Any party which takes credit for the rain must not be surprised if its opponents blame it for the drought."
-- Dwight Morrow,
American businessman, politician and diplomat
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