Thursday, December 16, 2010

Education & Digital Learning Current Awareness for December 19/10

A review of news and blog articles, commentaries, research, reports, and technology issues as they relate to education, digital learning, children and youth. Covering the week ending December 19, 2010.

Changes to Full-Day Kindergarten Program in Ontario

Kindergarten in FrankfurtImage via WikipediaDepending on where you first read of the Full-Day Kindergarten Program changes, the pros and cons can be, unsurprisingly, polarized.

The Ontario Ministry of Education Press Release talks about providing families with "more options for before- and after-school programs". The Ontario government "plans to introduce legislation that would, if passed, give school boards the option to deliver before- and after-school programs directly, or to make agreements with third-party providers to offer these programs on an ongoing basis."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rate Your Teacher....a Gates Foundation study sheds a little light on a thorny web practice

Logo da fundação Bill & Melinda GatesImage via WikipediaA Gates Foundation research initiative has found that students who rated their teachers highly also scored better on standardized tests than their peers.

Teachers whose students described them as skillful at maintaining classroom order, at focusing their instruction and at helping their charges learn from their mistakes are often the same teachers whose students learn the most in the course of a year, as measured by gains on standardized test scores, according to a progress report on the research. [NY Times, What Works in the Classroom? Ask the Students, published December 10, 2010]

These findings are part of the Gates foundation’s $45 million Measure of Effective Teaching study project. A joint partnership / project involving a massive team of social scientists and circa 3000 teachers from various districts across the US. The project is basically hoping to build a 'metrics' for identifying effective teaching: i.e. lay the foundation for managing future teachers and "overhaul" the current system. (Yup, the entire premise is quite scary, and definitely not "teacher-friendly" study if you're a good teacher but, for whatever reason, not necessarily liked by students.)

A Gates Foundation report on this topic was released earlier this year in June, Working with Teachers to Develop Fair and Reliable Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) .

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Education & Digital Learning Current Awareness for December 12/10

A review of news and blog articles, commentaries, research, reports, and technology issues as they relate to education, digital learning, children and youth. Covering the week ending December 12, 2010.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

K-12 Online Learning in Canada - The 2010 Report

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) has recently (November 2010) released its State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada report, 2010 edition.

Some key points:
  • In most jurisdictions, K-12
    distance education is not viewed as an educational option of choice, only one of necessity
  • K-12 distance education enrolment in Canada is somewhere between 2.8% and 3.4% of the total K-12 student population

  • In many instances, the method of distance education delivery is still using print-based materials

  • In many instances, the method of distance education delivery is still using print-based materials
Not exactly the picture we had of online learning in Canada, but it should be emphasized that much of the K-12 distance education in Canada is still treated as substitute "option" for when face-to-face learning is not feasible or economic.

There are some shifts happening, particularly in Alberta where it has started looking at creating an "online and blended learning" educational environment: no longer taking the view of online learning as a "distance education tool" but a foundation which can become the textbook and whiteboard of the near future.

The report provides a national overview, with the Ottawa Carleton e-School being the focus for Ontario.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

OECD's PISA 2009 Literacy and Reading Results

The logo of the Organisation for Economic Co-o...Image via WikipediaThe OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) just released it's annual report and survey, and Canada is in the top 10 (6th). PISA is a reading and literacy survey of 15 year olds in industrialized countries / economies - approximately 65 countries. The programme's conception of reading literacy "encompasses the range of situations in which people read, the different ways written texts are presented, and the variety of ways that readers approach and use texts, from the functional and finite, such as finding a particular piece of practical information, to the deep and far-reaching, such as understanding other ways of doing, thinking and being"...well, nice to know we're doing okay.

Here's a link to the Executive Summary of the PISA Results 2009.

The Ontario Ministry of Education released a news release on this achievement. But what really stands out for us in the PISA results is that girls outperform boys in reading skills in every participating country...that's truly an amazing stat.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Google Cloud Picker...I'm sure they'll change the name

A whack of media over the last couple of days on Google's new, upcoming, feature...Cloud Picker. An unfortunate name, and one I'm willing to bet they'll change as this feature matures.

What is it? It's an online storage product that connects several of Google's services under one storage space, e.g. YouTube, Docs, Maps and Picasa photos. Basically, a sort of online drive (G Drive anyone) which allows for easy insertion of docs and objects into many of Google services like Blogger and Google Sites.

Education & Digital Learning Current Awareness for December 4/10

Research & Reports


International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNOCL) - Two New Reports

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNOCL), November 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Big Victory for Website Accessibility in Canada

Supreme Court of CanadaImage via WikipediaA massive win for those with vision disabilities in Canada, as Donna Jodhan, a special needs consultant who is blind, took the Canadian Federal government, and their "inaccessible" web sites and services, to court and won: see our previous article on this.

It was a constitutional challenge which has now put the Federal government in the position of having 15 months to make its websites accessible to visually impaired users: an unenviable and expensive task given the size of their web presence, but they only have themselves to blame, they should have started this years ago.

Here's a link to the 83 page decision now available on CanLII, Jodhan v. Canada (Attorney General), 2010 FC 1197.

I can't help but think that this will filter down to other jurisdictions in Canada, quickly, and that Ontario's Information and Communications Standard, when finally packaged and ready to file as a regulation in 2011, will have a more progressive compliance date.