Ed-tech leaders reveal keen insights

eSN-TV and JDL Horizons conducted nearly three dozen video interviews with CoSN conference participants.
eSN-TV and JDL Horizons conducted nearly three dozen video interviews with CoSN conference participants.

What do U.S. students want most when it comes to technology? How is one school system saving thousands of dollars per year in software licensing fees? How is a European nation about to embark on revolutionary experiment in computer-based testing?

These were some of the many insights captured by eSchool News TV in video interviews with education technology leaders during the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) annual conference in Washington, D.C., last month.

All told, eSN-TV (in conjunction with JDL Horizons, maker of the EduVision platform for streaming and archiving Flash-based video) conducted nearly three dozen video interviews with CoSN conference participants. You can watch all of these short video clips at www.eschoolnews.tv; here are some of the highlights.

What students want most from ed tech

Julie Evans, CEO of the nonprofit group Project Tomorrow, discussed the latest findings from her organization’s annual Speak Up survey of students, parents, teachers, and school administrators.

The newest findings from the student data reveal two significant trends, Evans said.

No. 1, “it’s all about mobile, mobile, mobile” with today’s students, she said: They’re interested in using “the computers they’re carrying around in their pockets—the smart phones” for learning.

Nearly a third of high school students (32 percent) who took part in the survey said they now carry smart phones, Evans said, and a quarter of middle school students who responded now own smart phones. That opens up “all kinds of opportunities to really leverage that kind of technology” in education, she said.

No. 2, students are interested in replacing their traditional textbooks “with a truly interactive learning experience,” Evans said. Not an eReader device, like the Kindle—but an online environment that includes educational games and simulations, as well as links to outside experts and web sites and the ability to download this online environment to their smart phone.

(Watch our interview with Julie Evans below.)

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Evans said her organization would release the latest findings from the teacher and administrator surveys later this year.

A ‘social network for social good’

Michael Furdyk, co-creator of the web site TakingITGlobal.org, talked about his organization, which he described as a “social network for social good.”

Furdyk was using an old Commodore 64 computer in 1985, at the age of two, and in middle school he created his own company—a web site about computers and technology that he sold to a New York City firm in 1999. After selling his company, he received eMail messages from young people all over the country looking for advice on entrepreneurship.

“I realized there was … a need online for a network that could support young people and their ideas to make a difference in the world,” Furdyk said.

He launched TakingITGlobal.org ten years ago as a way to help students address global challenges—and to help teachers integrate global learning opportunities into their classrooms.

The site contains hundreds of lesson plans relevant to subjects such as social students and political science, Furdyk said—like creating a blog or other artifact and sharing it with students in other countries.

(Watch our interview with Michael Furdyk below.)

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eSchool News Staff

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