Tag: Technology

For foreign languages, economy of scale has gone to one

A small high school in central Wisconsin recently lost its Chinese language program, despite a trading relationship with China that goes back a century. That did not need to happen.

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Guest Post: Big things often start small — the Florida Virtual story

Julie Young, President and CEO of Florida Virtual School, describes the appeal of online learning, and the dramatic growth the organization has sustained over the past 15 years. It is a cogent reminder that substantial innovations often start small—in the case of FVS, with 77 students.

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The power of motivation—if young people want to learn, you can’t stop them

Professor Sugata Mitra’s famous ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiment clearly shows the tremendous potential of motivation on the part of students. When we look at a school, and its design and function, shouldn’t a first question be: Does this school work to elicit or suppress student and teacher motivation?

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Guest Post: Effective technology should help teachers access and utilize Web-based information.

In this guest post Bob Bilyk, founder and former director Cyber Village Academy, a charter school in Saint Paul, envisions technology’s capacity to customize education for students. Now, the founder of LodeStar Learning, he argues most vendors’ curriculum is so expensive that teachers cannot mix and match curricula. He argues for a new type of school, and a new attitude that focuses on integrating the full capacities of technology to help both teachers and students access and effectively utilize Web-based information.

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Guest Post: UK teacher describes bringing iPads into school: "It is finding many uses."

Fraser Speirs is a software developer and teaches computing at Cedars School of Excellence, an independent school in the UK. He maintains a blog and recently wrote about bringing iPads into their school. Here he describes their experience supplying all 106 students with an an iPad, giving them space to use it as they see fit. "It is finding many uses."

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Guest Post: Students are demonstrating alternative forms of achievement in Build San Francisco program

In this guest post Will Fowler, program director at the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco, describes a partnership between AFSF and San Francisco Unified School District to create opportunities to allow students to demonstrate expanded forms of achievement from the usual schoolwork.

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iPads open the year in Chicago

Chicago Public Schools is beginning to move on use of the iPad, bringing them into 20 schools this year. How the devices are picked up in the schools, and what trends of adoption and use emerge, will illustrate the potential and limitations of this new kind of technology in traditional schools. More and more as technologies advance learning models will need to be rethought to accommodate the capacity of technologies, instead of trying to fit new devices into existing schools and programs.

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Apple effectively teaches customers on $100/yr

The senior vice president of retail for Apple Computer recently described how Apple successfully brings thousands of customers each year from inexperience to proficiency with their software, for a relatively small cost. In the One-to-One program, for one hundred dollars per year customers get one hour per week with a Mac Genius.

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New technologies require a rethinking of school models

A senior administrator from a major public university said recently, about technology, “We could say we use technology, that it’s in all our classrooms and labs—we spend enormously on IT—but really it’s not an effective improvement.”

He was alluding to a point that there really are two fundamentally different ways of applying technology. The first is in support of existing practice. The second way to apply new technologies is to use them to enable fundamentally new kinds of learning. To be successful this often requires combining innovations in technology with innovations in school models.

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Learning math and languages, live and personalized

Languages and math are the first two areas where technology is evolving to enable effective learning without a teacher, or by connecting students directly with expert teachers and peers that can meet them where they are. There is enormous potential for personalization, particularly with cooperation among students.

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