Posts in B-1-30
Whispers about online learning: Five common misconceptions

As a child, did you ever play the game telephone? It starts when one person whispers something into another person’s ear and then the message is passed on from person to person. At the end, the message is completely different from what was first whispered. We see this a lot in real life. Unless a person experiences something for themselves, they typically align themselves with what they’ve heard from others!

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Online safety tips for learners

Major advances in technology over the last three decades have significantly changed how we communicate with each other, especially through the Internet. Today, children are surrounded by technology. From a young age, most learn about how to use the Internet and end up more tech-savvy than many of the adults in their lives. However, being tech-savvy and knowing how to use the Internet doesn’t always mean that children understand how to stay safe online.

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Blended isn’t just about online learning—it’s making space for real-world relationships

Blended learning is helping to unshackle schools from the one-teacher one-classroom model and usher in more creative and diverse instructional approaches. Beyond just restructuring the classroom, blended-learning models are starting to open up new connections and diversify students’ networks. This has huge potential to address not just achievement gaps, but opportunity gaps.

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Office of Civil Rights: Ensuring equitable access to online learning

As online learning and digital applications expand into almost every aspect of a student’s education and as fully online, blended, and supplemental online course programs continue to expand, state departments and school districts must consider how implementation of this wide range of digital options impacts equity in educational opportunities for families and students with disabilities.

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MOOCs never amounted to much

If you’re not familiar with the Gartner hype cycle, you should be, because it provides a useful framework for thinking about the excitement/puff/hysteria that seems to accompany so much technology in education. The cycle diagram shows expectations rapidly rising after a new innovation is introduced, followed by an equally fast fall into the “trough of disillusionment.”

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B-1-30, Blog PostJohn WatsonMOOCs
Digging deeper into the i3 Grant evaluation

Honestly, both my conversation with and subsequent column in The Hechinger Report may have focused more on the difficulty of research and educational innovation, and not enough on the importance of building an evidence base. Evidence is the only way to determine which innovations are promising and effective, and integrating evidence helps prevent practitioners from implementing ineffective ideas, like the 1 development project found to have statistically negative effects in the i3 evaluation.

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Teacher commitment to education technology is necessary

Introducing technology into the classroom requires accommodating changes to a school’s curriculum.  When technology is implemented it represents a shift away from traditional methods of teaching; we must realize that not all teachers have the facility to commit, engage, and leverage technology effectively.

This may be due to a lack of belief in education technology, or it may be as simple as a lack of opportunity to develop the necessary skills and conceptualize its benefits. Teachers are not always comfortable with technology in the classroom, but there needs to be an affective commitment in order for technology to be effective in their classroom. According to “Acquiring Teacher Commitment to 1:1 Initiatives: The Role of the Technology Facilitator,” in the Journal of Research on Technology in Education, affective commitment in terms of technology integration is evident in three ways:

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B-1-30, Blog PostDavid Cicero
5 myths to bust about blended learning, what it is, and the benefits it has for students

Over the past several years, more and more schools across the U.S. have been implementing blended-learning strategies for their students. What is blended learning? … This isn’t an exhaustive picture of K-12 blended implementations across the world. But it provides a framework for busting some common myths about what blended learning is, and isn’t.

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Are we too quick to judge innovation grant findings?

A recent column from The Hechinger Report shared findings from U.S. Department of Education’s innovation grants and what Hechinger calls “the ‘dirty secret.’” These grants were created to boost the economy after the 2008 recession and served as a “first test of using rigorous scientific evidence as a way of issuing grants in education.” Those programs that had a concept that was well-proven were issued $25-50 million while programs who did not have an evidence-based concept were given $5 million or less to help build that base. Unfortunately, the results show that only 18%, or 12 out of 67, innovations have shown an increase in student achievement.

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B-1-30, Blog PostKathryn Kennedy
The research-to-practice gap in education is especially important to digital instruction

Many educators and most researchers know that there’s a gap between research and practice in K-12 education. This gap is especially important regarding online courses, tools, and resources, because digital instructional practices are new and often considered to be unproven.

But relatively few people seem to understand the extent of the gap, why it is important, and what to do about it.

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Using technology to teach critical thinking skills

Results from the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) set off alarm bells when they revealed that US high school students lacked critical thinking skills. The test, designed to measure the capacity for 15-year-old students to apply reading, mathematics, and science knowledge to real-world settings, found that American students ranked 31st in math, 24th in science, and 21st in reading, in a comparison with students from 65 other countries. These findings indicated that American students not only struggle to recall rote procedures and facts, but they also had trouble analyzing, reasoning, and communicating effectively as they solved or interpreted problems.

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We think this is important, so let's make kids learn it

The idea that school leaders, teachers, and students should have more autonomy seems to be gaining traction, as the centralized approach of NCLB gives way to (some) increased flexibility in ESSA.

But for this greater autonomy to truly take hold, we need fewer stakeholder groups advocating that their area of expertise is something that all K-12 students should learn and know.

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