“In both of the stories I have written for this issue of Digital Directions, one about digital textbooks and another about using technology to help struggling readers, the idea of creating authentic and relevant contexts for learning through technology kept coming up. Whether it is envisioning a classroom where textbooks can pull information from the Internet to personalize the text for students or connecting struggling readers with a worldwide audience for their blogs and podcasts, providing students with learning opportunities that are both authentic and relevant to their lives is a top reason educators are seeking to incorporate technology into instruction. The next step will be assessing just how much of an impact such approaches have on raising student achievement.”
“Cyberbullying is a growing problem, and I learned in my reporting for this issue of the magazine that many school leaders appear to be taking cyberbullying very seriously. But I was surprised to find out just how little specific guidance there is for principals, who see cases of this bad online behavior on a regular basis. School administrators are finding themselves in a legal gray area: The courts haven’t been clear about how far a school can go to intervene in such cases, and students who have been disciplined for cyberbullying are filing lawsuits in protest and sometimes winning. On the other hand, parents and society are clamoring for harsh penalties and added responsibilities for schools to prevent and punish such behavior. I hope that the courts, as well as policymakers, clear up some of this legal confusion soon so school administrators can be confident that the actions they take are fair, sensible, and effective.”
“I always grow a little leery when I hear ‘Wild West’ related to education technology. Yes, the use of educational iPhone apps and Skype videoconferencing software, which I explore in this issue, is highly unregulated. But does that really equate to a frontier where those who break the rules are rewarded with all the spoils? If I’ve been struck by anything during my first year at Digital Directions, it’s how willing ed-tech professionals are to cooperate rather than to compete, even if they would be considered competitors under standard business conventions. So perhaps a better historical analogy is the Enlightenment, where a critical mass of people are dedicated to the experimental method, in order to find out the truth about how ed-tech helps students and how it doesn’t.”
Vol. 04, Issue 02, Page 10Published in Print: February 9, 2011, as DD Writers
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