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Flipping the Classroom – Is it Really all About Technology?

January 20, 2012 at 9:22 am PST

Los Gatos High School, located in Los Gatos, California, recently switched to block scheduling, effectively decreasing the number of school days by 15 a year.  For science teacher, Steve Hammack, what began as a way to provide students with the lecture content they would necessarily need to pass his courses in the face of a decreased number of school days, has ended up as a new model for students to learn massive amounts of information for his AP Biology and Physics classes.  For a technology fan who spends her days at Cisco Systems focused on educators who are using technology to improve learning outcomes, I was intrigued.

I quickly became aware of Mr. Hammack’s approach when I walked into my teenage son’s bedraggled bedroom and heard a familiar voice emanating from the direction of his PC.  It sounded like someone I’d met at back-to-school night.  My son, Joe, a senior at Los Gatos, was reclined in his chair, feet up on his bed, notebook on his lap, busily listening to the voice and taking copious notes.  As I entered his room, Joe clicked a pause button and asked, “What’s up?”  “What’s up with you?  What are you doing?”  He pointed to his screen and said, “Listening to my biology lecture for Mr. Hammack’s class.  We do this every night, then we have a quiz or test every day when we come into class.” Interested, I said, “Tell me more.  Do you like it?”

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Properly Placed Telepresence a Must-Have in Higher Ed

January 19, 2012 at 6:54 am PST

We’ve seen telepresence take off in higher education programs, as we shared in a post on how the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business uses the technology to connect its students with executives across the world.

As more and more universities, including Duke in North Carolina, Madison College in Wisconsin, and Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania join the ranks of schools with fully equipped telepresence classrooms, it’s exciting to think of how these institutions are forging global scholarly dialogues and worldwide collaboration.

Witnessing the power of video to connect the academic world made me especially appreciative of a recent informative story in University Business. Writer Kristen Domonell details the importance of installing telepresence equipment in fully operational telepresence rooms in order for higher ed students to realize the benefits of the video technology. Read More »

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Reflections from the Education World Forum

The Education World Forum meeting in London last week felt different from previous years.

In recent times the presiding genius has been the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher. The main plot line has been how the best education countries in the world – Finland, Canada, and Singapore – can go to the next level. The sub plot has been the route they should take, and whether they should shift toward equipping their students with higher order capabilities, to restore their national economies’ innovative edge.

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PISA Will Assess Collaborative Problem Solving Skills in 2015 Acknowledges ATC21S Program

January 12, 2012 at 11:10 am PST

The second day of the 2012 Education World Forum (EWF) was a busy one, with a full schedule of talks and events.

In the morning opening keynote addresses were delivered by representatives of UNESCO, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Brookings Institute, and Intel. This was followed by two plenary sessions; the first addressed research from large-scale pilot projects and initiatives and the second focused on how countries such as Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are improving their national education systems.

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Telepresence Key to Boosting the Nation’s Science and Math IQ

January 11, 2012 at 7:46 am PST

Though it’s wonderful to read about recent positive trends, there’s no question that the jobless rate has caused concern for some time now. Did you know, however, that in some sectors there are consistently more job openings than there are qualified candidates?

According to a U.S. News blog post by Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, a New Jersey-based charter school founder, fields including computer science, environmental science, medicine, and engineering all need trained professionals. The problem, Bonilla-Santiago says, is that America’s schools don’t provide adequate training in the STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—so there aren’t enough prepared people for the available jobs.

Part of the issue, Bonilla-Santiago suggests, is that teachers do not have adequate training in the sciences to effectively teach these subjects. Congress considered solutions that would bring more qualified instructors into the classroom, including encouraging STEM professionals to transition from their industry jobs to teaching positions. But wouldn’t this shift just exacerbate the current vacancy rates in the STEM fields? Read More »

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