February 21, 2013
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Head of the Class
Digital tool aids teacher collaboration, development
Google Hangouts can help schools improve professional development and communication, writes Ben Johnson, an education consultant, online teacher and learning coach. In this blog post, he writes that the tool can help busy teachers collaborate and offers a lot of flexibility for teachers, who can participate in discussions from home or on-the-go. Educators also can use Google Hangouts to observe their peers, receive feedback and build instructional practices, among other things. Edutopia.org/Ben Johnson's blog (2/19)
Mentor relationships thrive when students use technology
Five high schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas are participating in an e-mentoring program, operated through Big Brothers Big Sisters, in which local professionals are more easily able to interact with students. Now, there are plans to expand the mentor2.0 program, which launched in September, to Houston. "This program is speeding up that whole process of getting to know someone," said Big Brothers Big Sisters' marketing director, Dan Stuchal. "The kids are so comfortable with this digital environment that they open up more quickly." The Dallas Morning News (free content) (2/19)
Student-led initiative prompts expansion of STEM education
To answer a question posed by the Iowa Quality Center, students in the gifted and talented program at a high school in Iowa spent three days investigating whether science, technology, engineering and math subjects were being adequately integrated into the curriculum. They determined their school could be doing more to enhance STEM education, which has sparked educators to seek professional development in this area. The Indianapolis Star (tiered subscription model) (2/17)
Systems Management
How a spider can help schools assess workforce needs
Colleges and universities are using "spiders" -- technology that scans Internet search engines -- to analyze the latest trends in the job market. The spiders can reveal which jobs are in demand so institutions, such as the Lone Star College System in Texas, can tailor the programs they offer. "My job is to make sure that the college career programs that we have are the ones that are needed, and that we don't offer the ones any more where there aren't jobs at the end," said Lone Star's Linda Head. The Hechinger Report (2/19)
Other News
Managing Budgets
Will Fla. schools be tech-ready for common core?
Some Florida State Board of Education members voiced concerns during a meeting Monday about whether schools will have adequate technology in place to implement Common Core State Standards assessments in 2015. The board had asked the state for $400 million in funding for new technology, but current budget proposals instead call for $100 million. Orlando Sentinel (Fla.) (2/18)
Schools and Social Media
Online game mirrors real-world realities for girls
The Facebook social cause game Half the Sky Movement: The Game, provides a range of stories for the main character, Radhika, on a journey from her small village in India to Kenya, Vietnam, Afghanistan and the U.S. "As the game progresses, players will get an opportunity to unlock real-world giving opportunities that mirror actions in the game," writes Nishtha Kanal. TechCrunch (2/18), Tech2 (India) (2/19)
Last Byte
Principal: Technology frees professional learning to happen anywhere
Technology has made learning an ongoing process no longer limited to annual events, writes Steven Weber, principal of Hillsborough Elementary School in North Carolina. While attending the annual North Carolina ASCD Conference gave him invaluable opportunities to connect with some of the more than 1,000 fellow educators in attendance and learn from experts, Weber writes in this blog post that such learning is not confined to annual conferences alone, but it also occurs on Twitter and through videos, blogs and other venues. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (2/20)
The psychic task which a person can and must set for himself is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity."
-- Erich Fromm,
German psychologist
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