‘Bring your own device’ catching on in schools

Some district initiatives ask students to bring their own mobile devices to class.

Mobile devices are now found in the hands of most children, and school leaders are using that to their advantage by incorporating devices that students already own into classroom lessons and projects.

Concerns remain about students who are unable to purchase or borrow a device for use in the classroom, but districts might find creative ways—such as asking local businesses or community organizations for help—to provide devices in such instances, advocates of the trend say.

With access issues in mind, allowing students to bring their own devices from home can offer educational benefits, as well as some surprisingly positive results when it comes to creative thinking and classroom behavior.

While there has not been a large amount of research on mobile learning devices in the classroom, research on one-to-one computing is a type of presage to some of the current research on mobile technology, said Richard Hezel of Hezel  Associates, during an International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) webinar that focused on mobile learning.

Studies of Maine’s one-to-one laptop program, for instance, revealed that laptops were used for math and science, organizing and sharing information, and playing educational games.

“In Maine, findings indicate that teacher knowledge and practices and use of technology increased,” Hezel said. Math and reading scores increased, and all involved learned lessons about technology, learning, and assessment.

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How schools can get better media coverage in the digital news ecosystem

School leaders must learn how to navigate the new digital news ecosystem, Brookings researchers say.

According to a new study by the Brookings Institution, Americans want more news coverage of their public schools. But to improve the media’s coverage of public education, school leaders must learn how to navigate the new digital news ecosystem.

Not surprisingly, given the federal policy shift in favor of performance pay for teachers, Americans say they want more information from the media about teacher effectiveness and student achievement.

The media’s obsession with school crime and violence—currently at historic lows—also shows its power to shape public opinion about public education: According to the Brookings study, Americans want to see more news stories about school crime and violence, as well as more information about teaching and learning, finances, and school reform.

School leaders must learn how to navigate the new digital news ecosystem, Brookings researchers say. New technologies are lowering news production costs while expanding communication channels through the internet, social media, blogs, eReaders, texting, and smart phones.

“The new ecosystem has clear strengths, including immediacy, interactivity, and diversity,” according to Brookings’ executive summary. “But these virtues must be linked effectively to the delivery of in-depth and substantive reporting.”

While some might view television or internet news coverage and “in-depth, substantive reporting” as an oxymoron, getting better media coverage is possible. Here’s how:

Create an in-house news gathering operation.

To pitch good stories to reporters, school officials need a system for identifying potential news opportunities. Internal key communicator programs are a good place to start.

These programs recruit employee volunteers to serve as news reporters for their schools or departments, and then feed story ideas and other information to the principal or district communications office.

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Roommate charged with hate crime in NJ webcam case

Clementi's body was recovered Sept. 29 in the Hudson River.

A former Rutgers University freshman who prosecutors said used a webcam to spy on his roommate’s same-sex encounter was charged April 20 with a hate crime and accused of deleting tweets and texts to cover up his tracks.

Dharun Ravi, 19, was indicted in Middlesex County on 15 counts including bias intimidation and invasion of privacy in events that predated the suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who in death started a national conversation on the perils of bullying.

Ravi had already faced invasion of privacy charges along with another Rutgers student, Molly Wei.

It took prosecutors months to present their case to a grand jury alleging that Ravi targeted Clementi because of his sexual orientation and tried to broadcast the encounter online to intimidate his roommate.

Read the full story on eCampus News

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$35,000 for 21st century classrooms

This grant will help educators develop 21st century classrooms and improve achievement by providing effective, engaging technology and professional development tools.

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$10K for STEM competition

This competition is dedicated to providing scholarships and increasing access to higher education for talented mathematics, science, engineering, and technology students in the United States.

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Green classroom technologies

Entrants should visit the Toshiba Innovation Facebook page and fill out a form explaining what they, their classroom, or school is doing this year to take part in protecting our environment.  One sweepstakes winner will receive a Green “kid-friendly” laptop, a Green netbook for the teacher, a 32″ LED/DVD combo TV and 10 Toshiba LED eco-friendly light bulbs for the classroom.

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$1,000 for innovative cell phone use

This program challenges entrants to create innovative solutions for using cell phones and smartphones in the classroom, for everything from student data collection to engagement.

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Up to $10,000 for child welfare and education

The mission of the Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation is to make life more bearable for children, families, and pets in need of the kindness of others. Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation will make grants to qualified nonprofit organizations that support the health and wellness of children and families, the care and welfare of animals, and the promotion of literacy and education for all.

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Multiple mathematics award opportunities

The Mathematics Education Trust channels the generosity of contributors through the creation and funding of grants, awards, honors, and other projects that support the improvement of mathematics teaching and learning.

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