Sunday, February 28, 2010

Students' Input on Tech Use in Schools

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via Wikipedia

A recent article in Education Week looks at student views regarding the use of technology in schools, and also introduces a Ning group which explores the role of students in decisions about the use of technology in schools - an excellent idea, we're all concerned with how best to integrate technology and web 2.0 into the classroom, but there's very little literature or real discussion about what students think of the present state of things.

The 2008 national findings of Project Tomorrow's Speak Up survey, show that only one-third of high school students think their school is "doing a good job preparing them for the jobs of the future", and in the use of technology, most students view their time at school as means “powering down” for a few hours. Many students believe their k-12 school environment is letting them down in the area of technology, and from the few surveys and discussions on this topic it's quite obvious that students want a "more technology-rich learning environments and would like the opportunity to use more Web 2.0 tools and mobile devices in school".

A worthwhile read and the Digital Directions Ning group is a great way to generate some great discussions and possibly lay the foundation for some tech-collaboration among the participants.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Media Multitasking and Children's Learning and Development

Media multitasking is commonplace among the increasing number of children using technology, and as the results of a recent report we covered clearly demonstrated, this activity needs a lot more attention than it is presently being given:
"the study identified the media-usage average time of 7 hours and 38 minutes. But here's the amazing part of the 'media usage' stat, because many of these respondents often multi-task by using more than one type of technology at a time (e.g. texting while watching TV), the study found they actually manage to pack 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into the 7 and a half hours - Generation M2"
What we really need to get a better understanding of is how media multitasking affects their learning and development, and their ability to think and to relate to other people.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Growth of Online Tutoring Services

Virtual Nerd is a tutoring subscription service which uses hundreds of online videos to guide students visually through traditionally, and typically, thorny math and physics concepts like polynomials and factoring a trinomial.

Virtual Nerd is part of a growing industry which is tapping into an attentive audience and a market demand - basically, students are spending massive chunks of their non-school time online, so why not deliver the tutoring service to them online.

What makes these online tutoring services even more attractive is the comparatively low cost when you at the expenses of traditional tutoring services.

There are many online tutoring services, like, which want to cover the entire gamut of disciplines, but services like Virtual Nerd will become more common as they aim to address specific tutoring needs.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The School Library - the need to build both the physical and virtual space

Vancouver Public LibraryImage via Wikipedia

In this week's Education Week Katie Ash's article on school libraries, School Libraries Seek Relevance Through Virtual Access, touches upon a number of topical issues now facing school librarians. Dwindling monies, delivering more digital instruction and resources to remain relevant to students, and becoming a more collaborative and interactive space for working and learning: an odd affirmation of the importance of one's services by asking them to "please do more with less"...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

YayTrail - New Web Annotation Tool

YayTrail is still in development and probably a number months away from any sort of beta release, but its main premise holds quite a bit of promise and points to what may be an exciting product.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Digital Textbooks - Initiatives and Directions

A number of US States and school districts have begun the move toward digital textbooks - in Toronto, Canada, this is still a pretty foreign concept but it would be great to explore.

California, West Virginia, and Georgia are some of the States which have initiated the process of moving toward a digital textbook reality for classrooms.