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Minnesota Leads the Way in Rural Schools Innovation

If you caught Secretary Arne Duncan on the Jon Stewart show back on February 16th, the Secretary reiterated an education theme that has been common over the years for the Obama administration. When pressed by Stewart on how the U.S. Department of Education can help drive innovation in our schools, Duncan answered, the real creative breakthroughs “…need to spring from the local district, superintendents & principals themselves … and not the Washington bureaucracy.”

Enter Itasca Schools — in the very rural outstretches of northeast Minnesota. It’s another example, along with Mooresville Schools in North Carolina, of how local schools and school districts are doing exactly that.

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Challenging Colleges to Cut Costs Through Technology

March 5, 2012 at 9:24 am PST

If you’re a parent, you might want to sit down. Some financial advisors predict a four-year college education that begins in 2015 will cost about $120,000. And that’s for public school. The private price tag runs closer to $230,000.

You can exhale now. Thankfully, the federal government has taken note of the ever-heavier burden families bear to cover college tuition. In his January 24 State of the Union address, President Obama challenged higher education institutions to find innovative ways to cut costs and acknowledged universities that have optimized their technology in an effort to lower student expenses. His praises echoed those delivered by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the November 2011 Financial Student Aid conference. Read More »

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Education IT Leaders Innovate and Save

February 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm PST

Education IT leaders continue to be challenged by declining budgets, rapidly changing technology and increasing demands to deliver platforms for 21st century teaching and learning.  In this current environment, a growing number of  IT professionals in education and government are leveraging next generation technologies like virtualization, collaboration, mobility and video to transform their organizations.

We’ll be sharing these best practices during the National Townhall, Celebrating how the Public Sector Connects, Innovates and Saves on March 1st at 11 AM, U.S. Pacific Time. Education speakers include:

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Interactive Distance Learning Transforming the Future of Education

February 20, 2012 at 11:42 am PST

Distance learning for students and teachers is a growing trend as the leaders of today and tomorrow look for new, efficient ways to learn, educate, and inspire.

A recent Education Week article highlights some of the ways universities are improving their online professional development options. For example, Arizona State has partnered with the state’s Department of Education to host the IDEAL program, which offers online teacher education in language arts, math, and science instruction, as well as technology integration and classroom management. Boise State has also launched an online portal through which K-12 instructors can take an assortment of online, facilitator-led workshops. Read More »

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Universities Adjust to Teaching a Different Kind of College Freshman

February 8, 2012 at 5:14 am PST

There’s a different kind of college freshman on university campuses these days. According to EdWeek’s report on The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011 survey, today’s freshman bears more of the cost of his or her own education than did past first-year college students, and, as a high school senior, today’s freshman paid more attention to his or her studies than those who came before.

So what does this mean for colleges?

For one, today’s students’ higher academic engagement could translate into demand for more innovative, challenging courses. But with the survey showing more students taking out large student loans as their parents’ unemployment rates remain stagnant, universities cannot raise tuition price tags to hire more faculty to develop new classes. President Obama said as much in his January 24 State of the Union address, mandating that schools use tools like “better technology” to improve their course offerings without raising costs. Read More »

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