Monday, October 25, 2010

Schools going Mobile, Students Embrace Kindle, and Male Teachers - This Past Week's News

Schools Open Doors to Students' Mobile Devices
...students returned from summer break to learn they were free not only to bring their mobile devices to school, but also to use them at their teachers discretion to connect to the school’s wireless network to do their work.

Education Week, Oct. 20, 2010

Kindles at High School Bring Praise, Surprises
Social studies teacher Kathy Biddle was giving a lecture recently when she noticed a handful of students fiddling with their Kindles...Biddle stopped her lesson. She scolded her charges, telling them to focus on what she was saying. She thought they were texting their friends or looking at Facebook. They weren't. The students were taking notes on Biddle's lecture, using a feature on the electronic book-reader called 'My Clippings.' They then instructed the rest of the class how to do it.

Education Week, Oct. 19, 2010

We need tool-savvy teachers
Quebec is fast becoming ground zero in the battle against high dropout rates among high-school students. The situation is particularly acute among boys, what with one in three male Quebeckers leaving high school without a diploma.

While opinions vary as to the cause, several critics point to the “feminization” of the classroom as the main culprit. The solution, they say, is to simply recruit more male teachers, even if it means creating quotas. But this is simplistic. What we need is a complete rethink.

Globe and Mail, Oct. 20, 2010

Mother's outrage makes school trips latest front in the nut-free fight
Following a parent’s complaint about teacher conduct on a school field trip, trustees at the Halton Catholic District School Board considered Tuesday whether to review the rules regarding parent and teacher chaperones.

Globe and Mail, Oct. 20, 2010

The endangered male teacher
A new study says male elementary teachers live in a steady state of anxiety, with 13 per cent reporting they had been wrongly accused of inappropriate contact with students. Part 2 of a six-part series.

Globe and Mail, Oct. 22, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Online Privacy Poll - Parents Say Social Networks Aren't Protecting Kids' Online Privacy

Interesting national poll (US) released a few weeks ago on parents' perception of social networks and the protection of their kids' online privacy. The poll, commissioned and released by Common Sense Media (CSM), found that "92 percent of parents are concerned that kids share too much information online, and 85 percent of parents say they're more concerned about online privacy than they were five years ago".

The poll also found that the sharing of kids' geo-location is a source of real worry for parents, and many would prefer that this process be somehow authorized or accessible by parents. The biggest fear for parents who expressed concern about information sharing is, as expected, sexual predators: despite the many recent high-profile tragedies linked to cyberbullying over the past year, 72 percent of parents indicated sexual predators as their primary concern, with only 2 percent listing cyberbullying as their main concern, surprisingly behind "difficulty securing job or college placement (10 percent).

But here's the surprsing stat for schools, most "parents (70%) say they think schools should play a role in educating students about protecting their privacy online." Would be great to know what Canadian parents' think about this topic...

The poll was actually conducted by Zogby International, and you can access the full list of results on Education Week's site.

For more information on CMS's privacy initiative, visit their Protect Our Privacy—Protect Our Kids site.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Next Generation Learning - A NASBE Report

The National Association of State Boards of Education released a report this month which recommends using technology and other modern tools to move away from class "seat-time" models and toward models that promote both in-class and out-of-class innovation, a blended learning model - No Time to Wait: Creating Contemporary School Structures for All Students Today and Tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Google "Research Tool"... in the development stage

Automatic Generation of Research Trails in Web History - Just released a few days ago, this paper outlines what appears to be a new research tool being developed for Google: a " research trail" generator. This browser end tool would deliver a method to organize web content(s), which a user spent some time researching (think brower history), into distinct research sessions. "Research trails are automatically constructed by filtering and organizing users’ activity history, using a combination of semantic and temporal criteria for grouping similar web activity" (beSpecific).

Here's an explanation of Research Trails taken from the paper's abstract:
We propose the concept of research trails to help web users create and reestablish context across fragmented research processes without requiring them to explicitly structure and organize the material. A research trail is an ordered sequence of web pages that were accessed as part of a larger investigation; they are automatically constructed by filtering and organizing users’ activity history, using a combination of semantic and activity based criteria for grouping similar visited web pages. The design was informed by an ethnographic study of ordinary people doing research on the web, emphasizing a need to support research processes that are fragmented and where the research question is still in formation. This paper motivates and describes our algorithms for generating research trails.
Sounds like this will be a great addition to Google's suite of tools.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Training Teachers, Child Development Accounts, e-Readers, and more - A Review of Some Recent Reports and Studies

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education just released a report advocating the need to better train teachers in the rudiments of developmental science, The Road Less Traveled: How the Developmental Sciences Can Prepare Educators to Improve Student Achievement. The report included a multidisciplinary panel of experts, such as experts in teacher education, developmental science and early childhood. It asserts that while there has been an explosion of research demonstrating that teacher understanding of and ability to apply developmental sciences knowledge leads to increased student achievement results, this research and body of knowledge is rarely being used to train teachers.