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Debunking Popular Misconceptions about the Internet and Digital Learning

June 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm PST

I just read an interesting article claiming that technology companies would like parents and government officials to believe that the internet can save education.  It would be nice if the internet alone could save education, but even those of us in technology know that it’s not that simple.

The author goes on to cite the joint Harvard-MIT project to offer free courses on line and content from the Khan Academy and acknowledges new flipped learning models as a way for students to consume digital content prior to attending live courses.  The author states, “I couldn’t shake the idea of why online video lessons won’t by themselves make us all smarter: There’s nothing like being there.”

I immediately realized that many well-meaning education opinionates are missing what it takes to design digital learning environments that leverage the internet and that work.  Digital learning and the internet are not just about one-way video or delivering courses on-line.  Digital learning is about creating individualized, anytime-anywhere learning experiences that are right-sized for students.

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Reconnecting McDowell Boosts Education in West Virginia School District

June 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm PST

For some, the economic hard times began before the recession hit. McDowell County, an ex-coal mining county in West Virginia, has been in decline since the coal industry began pulling out in the 1960s.

What used to be a town of 120,000 is now barely 22,000 and the county has ranked last in education in the state for most of the past decade. But a new project launched in December is aiming to change all this.

Reconnecting McDowell is a comprehensive, long-term effort to make educational improvement in McDowell County. Under the leadership of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the West Virginia State Board of Education, more than 80 partners from businesses, non-profits, governments and labor have signed a covenant illustrating their commitment to solving McDowell’s hardships by providing services, money, products and/or expertise to schools and students and their families. Read More »

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Abu Dhabi Transforming Education Summit

Last week, Education leaders from around the globe flew to the Gulf. We were there to give a public vote of confidence to one of the world’s most ambitious programs of school system transformation at the Transforming Education Summit.  The first annual Transforming Education Summit (TES) was conceived by conference host the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of ADEC. The summit’s vision is “to create a forum for effective transformation leadership and an open dialogue between the leaders of education transformation and their key stakeholders.”

Through a deep investment in teachers and technology, Abu Dhabi plans to turn its under-achieving students into world-beaters. Arab Spring governments have paid a high price for under-investing in young people. Those lessons are not lost on the UAE sheikhs.

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Video in Education – What the Research Says and How Educators Can Prepare for the Future

May 2, 2012 at 11:24 am PST

Schools, colleges and universities around the world are using video technologies as a fundamental agent in the process of education transformation. A new white paper commissioned by Cisco and conducted by Wainhouse Research concludes:

In concert with global macro-economic changes and the growth of social interconnectedness worldwide, education is undergoing a major shift, as brick-and-mortar classrooms are opening up to rich media content, subject matter experts, and to one another. This shift has been influenced largely by technological and pedagogical trends, greater worldwide access to the Internet, an explosion of mobile phone users, and the appreciation for these technologies by young people, as well as by teachers. Video appears poised to be a major contributor to the shift in the educational landscape, acting as a powerful agent that adds value and enhances the quality of the learning experience.

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Video Blog: Been to the Great Barrier Reef Lately?

March 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm PST

A great discussion here following a virtual fieldtrip (VFT) to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia by a 5th grade class at Augusta Elementary School in Greenville, South Carolina,  .

Cisco’s Dr. Lance Ford discusses the experience with one of the 5th grade students and her father who also attended the VFT.

Margaret Murphy, the 5th grade teacher who planned the VFT had this to say:

“Extending an opportunity to students to (voluntarily) come to school and immerse themselves in a foreign ecosystem is an amazing new method to reach our children…. Read More »

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