Selected findings on educational technology in public schools in fall 2008.
— An estimated 100 percent of public schools had one or more instructional computers with Internet access and the ratio of students to instructional computers with Internet access was 3.1 to 1 (table 1). Ninety-seven percent of schools had one or more instructional computers located in classrooms (excluding laptops on carts) and 58 percent of schools had laptops on carts.
— Of the computers in public schools, 91 percent were used for instructional purposes (table 2). Of these instructional computers, 98 percent had Internet access, 15 percent were less than 1 year old, 14 percent were laptops on carts, and 51 percent were located in classrooms (excluding laptops on carts).
— Public schools reported having wireless network access for the whole school (39 percent), or for part of the school (30 percent), or wireless connections only from laptops to carts (9 percent) (table 5).4
— Thirty-one percent of public schools reported having full-time staff in the school whose only responsibility was technology support and/or technology integration (table 7). Forty-seven percent of secondary schools reported having such staff compared with 27 percent of elementary schools. Thirty-five percent of schools with low poverty concentration6 reported having full-time technology staff compared to 28 percent of schools with high poverty concentration.
— Public schools reported the extent to which various staff helped school staff integrate technology into instruction. Teachers helped in 20 percent of schools to a major extent and in 47 percent to a moderate extent (table 8). School-level technology staff helped integrate technology into instruction in 29 percent of schools to a major extent and in 34 percent to a moderate extent. District-level technology staff provided technical support in 59 percent of schools to a major extent and in 27 percent to a moderate extent (table 9). School-level technology staff provided technical support in 42 percent of schools to a major extent and in 30 percent to a moderate extent.
— Opinions on the use of educational technology in the school differed by poverty concentration. A larger percentage of schools with low poverty concentration than schools with high poverty concentration agreed that “teachers are sufficiently trained in technology usage” (74 percent versus 62 percent), “teachers are sufficiently trained to integrate technology into classroom instruction” (67 percent versus 56 percent), “technical support for educational technology is adequate” (74 percent versus 60 percent), and “funding for educational technology is being spent in the most appropriate ways” (79 percent versus 69 percent) (table 10).
Open Courses for Community Colleges
by Steve Kolowich
April 28, 2010, Inside Higher Ed
“President Obama’s original plan for community colleges included $500 million to create free online courses that individual institutions could then customize for their students. That money never materialized — it was left out of the student aid legislation in last month’s health care bill. But a foundation-supported effort with similar goals is actually growing. The National Repository for Online Courses (NROC) was hoping for that government money to help expand its existing vault of free courses, says Gary Lopez, the repository’s director. Still, with online education becoming mainstream and many community colleges experiencing enrollment booms beyond their physical capacity, NROC’s membership is on the rise. At the same time, the repository’s reliance on membership fees calls into question how ‘free’ its courses actually are.” . . .
“The repository, which initially bought its courses from the University of California’s vault of preparatory courses, is also beginning to invest in developing its own courses with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Responding to requests from its members, it is currently building a four-course developmental math sequence, which is designed to assess the abilities of students in real time, and adapt when certain skills need reinforcing — a popular feature of some commercial e-learning programs aimed at a similar audience.” . . .
“Individuals can sign into the HippoCampus and take the courses for free. But if an institution or system wants to deploy the repository’s content at scale, they have to pay an enrollment-based ‘membership’ fee, which can run from $3,000 to $50,000 per year (although the higher range generally applies to state education systems, not single institutions). If an institution or system wants to host the content on its own learning-management systems, it can cost more.” . . .
Education Should Be More Like World of Warcraft…. I Mean The iPad… or Facebook. The Quest for Silver Bullets through New Popular Media/Technology
by Clark Aldrich
April 28, 2010, On Simulations and Serious Games
“Here’s the best way to establish some cred as an education visionary: Take the newest example of consumer media/technology and argue that education should be more like it. I’ll even help you write your presentation. First, show some glossy pictures of the new media/ technology, preferably being used by children. Second, show some graphs displaying its rapid adoption. Third, show a few tentative examples of quasi-educational uses. Then slam schools. Finally, present a giant and impassioned call to action. Cut to applause. You are a visionary. You ‘get it.’ Plus the stuff already exists – you just have to figure out how to pay for it.”
“The critical flaw in all of this thinking is, let’s call, The Disneyland Effect. It is education based on consumerism. In all of these uses of new media, the participants are very carefully and successfully being managed to feel like they have control and relevancy, while in reality they are simply gobbling up more stuff. (Being in a flow state is important, but it also may be more addictive than crack.)” . . .
Florida State College Publishes Digital Textbooks
by Dian Schaffhauser
April 27, 2010, Campus Technology
“Five years after launching a project to develop low-cost and highly interactive course materials, faculty teams at Florida State College at Jacksonville have written 20 general education textbooks. The college has made the digital books available for sale through Follett Higher Education Group’s e-book Web site, CaféScribe. To serve distance learners who had intermittent or low bandwidth access to the Internet, the original initiative, called Sirius, was to replace traditional textbooks with low-cost alternatives–books with fewer than 150 pages that would include both a CD and online elements, such as study questions. Sirius has morphed into a program featuring sub-$50 interactive courses that include digital textbooks, among other components, along with interactive faculty development programs.” . . .
“In October 2009 the college won a $728,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to help adult learners and displaced workers complete college degrees and re-enter the workforce with updated skills and knowledge. As part of that, the Sirius project is working with 10 community colleges around the country to deliver online professional development training to faculty at these institutions. As part of the project participants will beta test the Sirius courses and help develop an additional 20 courses over the next three years.” . . .
Students Get Break On Books, Some College Titles Offered Free Online
by Scott Travis
April 26, 2010, Sun Sentinel
“Looking for a bargain on those expensive college textbooks? How does free sound? A new state initiative called Orange Grove Texts Plus will provide 120 textbook titles free if students go online to view them. Students can download and print the books, or they can buy bound volumes at about half the cost of normal textbooks. The Board of Governors, the policy-making body for the State University System, plans to announce this ‘open textbook’ initiative at a meeting today. The titles available are a small fraction of the thousands used by professors and students in the state, so it’s unlikely the initiative would make a huge dent in students’ textbook bills. But Florida officials hope professors will increasingly consider using these books.” . . .
FCC Needs to Step Up Regulation of Internet Broadband Service
by David Lazarus
April 27, 2010, Los Angeles Times
“A battle is about to erupt between federal regulators and telecom companies, and nothing less than the future of the Internet could be on the line. At issue is a seemingly benign question: Is the Net an information service or a telecommunication service? As it stands, high-speed Internet service is classified by the Federal Communications Commission as a “Title I” information service in the same way that Google is an information service. This means broadband providers such as phone and cable companies are only lightly regulated by the agency.”
“By reclassifying broadband as a “Title II” telecom service — like, say, phone service — the FCC would be able to more closely oversee providers’ actions and pricing, and would be better positioned to implement its recently announced 10-year plan to bring high-speed Net access to virtually every U.S. home. I know: This is wonky stuff. But the stakes couldn’t be higher, especially at a time when broadband Internet service is playing an increasingly vital role in a wide variety of areas, including entertainment, education and healthcare. ‘This could determine whether the FCC really has the power to act on its broadband plan,’ said Ben Scott, policy director with Free Press, a communications advocacy group. ‘It will define who really runs the Net.’ “ . . .
Under Financial Overhaul, FTC Could Gain Enforcement Power Over Internet
by Cecilia Kang
April 27, 2010, Washington Post
“The Federal Trade Commission could become a more powerful watchdog for Internet users under a little-known provision in financial overhaul legislation that would expand the agency’s ability to create rules. An emboldened FTC would stand in stark contrast to a besieged Federal Communications Commission, whose ability to oversee broadband providers has been cast into doubt after a federal court ruled last month that the agency lacked the ability to punish Comcast for violating open-Internet guidelines.”
“The version of regulatory overhaul legislation passed by the House would allow the FTC to issue rules on a fast track and permit the agency to impose civil penalties on companies that hurt consumers. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz has argued in favor of bolstering his agency’s enforcement ability.” . . . “The proposal comes as uncertainty surrounds the federal government’s ability to regulate the Internet and oversee service providers. Spokeswomen at the FTC and FCC declined to comment. “Everyone is trying to figure out who is on first and what the game is here. Everything is a moving target right now,” said Art Brodsky, a spokesman for Public Knowledge, an advocacy group.”
Google On FCC Broadband Authority: We’re Staying Out Of It
by Cecilia Kang
April 26, 2010, The Washington Post
“Google will stay on the sidelines as others debate how the Federal Communications Commission should ensure its ability to regulate broadband services. In a blog post Monday, media counsel Rick Whitt explained that the search giant is more concerned about net-neutrality policies at the FCC than questions over the agency’s legal maneuvering to ensure its authority over broadband. That authority was cast into doubt after a federal appeals court sided with Comcast, saying the FCC overreached when it sanctioned the cable giant for net-neutrality violations.” . . .
Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Investments to Expand Broadband Internet Access and Spur Economic Growth
April 26, 2010, NTIA
“U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced nine American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and healthcare across the country. The investments, totaling more than $114 million in grants, will increase broadband access and adoption in more than a dozen states. The grants will fund projects that lay the groundwork to bring enhanced high-speed Internet access to thousands of households and businesses and link hundreds of schools, hospitals, libraries, and public safety offices to the information superhighway.”
“Today’s announcement marks the final grant awards from the first round of BTOP applications. All told, NTIA awarded 82 BTOP grants worth $1.2 billion that will expand broadband access and adoption through projects in a majority of states and territories. A total of 45 states and territories will be affected by this round of BTOP grants. NTIA recently began reviewing second round applications with the goal of making the first round two grant announcements this summer.” . . . See the grants awarded at http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/
We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint
by Elisabeth Bumiller
April 26, 2010, New York Times
“Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. The amount of time expended on PowerPoint, the Microsoft presentation program of computer-generated charts, graphs and bullet points, has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan.” . . . “Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat. ‘It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,’ General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. ‘Some problems in the world are not bulletizable.’ ” . . . “Commanders say that the slides impart less information than a five-page paper can hold, and that they relieve the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point. Imagine lawyers presenting arguments before the Supreme Court in slides instead of legal briefs.” . . .
Upcoming Grant Deadlines:
Application Deadline: May 27, 2010
The Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) announced grant funding available for public education programs that provide workers or employers with information about immigration-related employment discrimination under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The program is open to public service and other organizations that provide services to potential victims of immigration-related employment discrimination and/or employers. Recipients will assist discrimination victims; conduct seminars for workers, employers and immigration service providers; distribute educational materials in various languages; and place advertisements in local communities through both mainstream and ethnic media to educate workers and employers about their rights. In 2009, a total of $723,000 was awarded to 12 organizations serving communities throughout the country. The grants ranged from approximately $51,000 to $87,000.
Rehabilitation Training: Rehabilitation Long-Term Training
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Department of Education
Application Deadline: June 7, 2010.
The Rehabilitation Long-Term Training program provides financial assistance for:
(1) Projects that provide basic or advanced training leading to an academic degree in areas of personnel shortages in rehabilitation as identified by the Secretary;
(2) Projects that provide a specified series of courses or program of study leading to the award of a certificate in areas of personnel shortages in rehabilitation as identified by the Secretary; and
(3) Projects that provide support for medical residents enrolled in residency training programs in the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation.