Campus survives the ‘iPad jitters’

Two-thirds of Seton Hill faculty members say they frequently use the iPad in class.

Putting Apple iPads in the hands of every student and professor on a PC-based campus required some convincing, but a year later, Seton Hill University officials said the tablet program has changed the way classes are taught.

Seton Hill in Greensburg, Pa., a small campus of about 2,400 students, drew international attention in 2009 when officials there said every student and educator would receive an iPad just after the tablet was announced.

Other schools, from research campuses like Oklahoma State University to small institutions like Washington College in Chestertown, Md., followed Seton Hill’s lead and experimented with a limited number of iPads.

During a session at EduComm 2011, an annual educational technology conference in Orlando, three Seton Hill decision makers who oversaw the iPad rollout said the device has remained popular among students and staff, even though most educators weren’t among the Apple faithful.

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Rhode Island’s ban on Facebook in schools too dumb to be a joke

On Thursday, the Rhode Island legislature passed HB 5941, an “anti-bullying” measure that, among its other provisions, imposes a blanket ban on the use of “social networking sites” (whatever those are, post-web 2.0) on school grounds, reports Adam Goldstein, attorney for the Student Press Law Center. Because as everyone knows, anyone who encounters another user on a website is immediately bullied into submission. Right? There’s so much wrong with this bill that it’s hard to know where to start. What is a “social networking site,” really? The bill doesn’t define it…

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Inner city parents protest NAACP, teachers’ union

According to the Daily Caller, minority parents in New York have a message for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT): you are hurting our children. In New York Monday, charter school parents staged another of several rallies to voice opposition to a lawsuit brought by the UFT and NAACP against the New York City Department of Education. If the organizations are successful with their suit, it would prevent enrollment or re-enrollment in 17 charter schools and stop the closure of 22 public schools…

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Amount of time teens spend online can improve digital literacy

Don’t disconnect your kids: teenagers who spend time on the web are more digitally literate during a time when technological proficiency is increasingly important, a recent report suggests, says the Huffington Post. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of students who reported having access to Internet at home nearly doubled–to 89 percent from 45 percent, according to the Digital Technologies and Performance report published by the Programme for International Student Assessment…

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Wisconsin teachers react to Gov. Scott Walker’s newly signed budget

This weekend, Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) signed into law a budget that scrapped $800 million in education funding following an earlier law that reduced collective bargaining rights to almost nothing, reports the Huffington Post. As Walker put pen to paper, teacher Margaret Allen felt mixed emotions.

“Having that legislation official, now signed into law, it’s a done deal,” she said. “It’s been heartbreaking but it also strengthens my resolve to continue being politically active.”

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NYC teachers from Caribbean seek immigration help

Hundreds of New York City teachers recruited from Jamaica, Trinidad and other Caribbean countries a decade ago say city officials have not followed through on promises to help them obtain U.S. citizenship, reports the Associated Press. The teachers were recruited in 2001 when the city faced a teacher shortage. Some say they are now worried about being deported…

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Warehouse manager earns his district thousands through online auction

Arizmendi has sold everything from buses to band equipment online.

While schools around the country are dealing with major budget cuts, one supply warehouse manager has figured out how to put money back into the hands of his district.

Gilbert Arizmendi, a supply warehouse manager for Greeley-Evans School District 6 in Greeley Tribune, Colo., used an online public auction service to rid the district of surplus materials while also earning it money.

With all of the old equipment Arizmendi and his team had to handle, space was filling up quickly.

“We had a facility building that was an old bus garage, and it just overflowed so much that we couldn’t even get to our lawn mowers. We also had a bus wash bay that we took over and filled up,” Arizmendi recalled.

The supply managing team examined a variety of different options to get rid of the unused items, but these all would have cost the district money.

Instead, Arizmendi turned to a website that specializes in auctioning public surpluses.

“We found that it’s a good way to help the district raise money on some items that normally would not have been sold,” he said.

The auction has raised significant funds for the district, with more than $40,000 raised between 2009 and 2011.

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Curriki launches a video lesson plan contest for teachers

One of the largest sources of free teaching and learning content on the web, Curriki.org now offers more than 43,000 learning assets contributed by educators and available under the Creative Commons license. Users can search for materials by subject or grade level, and they can see how a Curriki review committee and members of the Curriki community have rated each learning asset, with the top-rated assets appearing at the top of a search query.

At the annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia this week, Curriki announced a Video Lesson Plan Challenge. Teachers are encouraged to submit their best lesson plan ideas that involve the use of video, and a panel of experts will evaluate these and choose several finalists. The 187,000 members of the Curriki community then will vote on their favorites. The grand-prize winner will receive $5,000, and there will be prizes for the second through fourth-place winners as well. The organization’s goal is to highlight exemplary uses of video in engaging students. The deadline for submissions is July 31. http://www.curriki.org/

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Fight over education funding heads to state Supreme Court

The state constitution says it’s Washington’s “paramount duty to make ample provisions for the education of all children,” but is it failing to do that? This afternoon, the state Supreme Court will consider arguments on both sides, NPR reports. The past few years have been tough on the state’s public schools. Lawmakers have slashed nearly $4 billion in funding to districts. At the same time, they’ve raised the bar for students, teachers and administrators.

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Teachers sue over new state ratings system

New York’s new teacher-evaluation system–designed to rate them based in part on student scores in reading and math–is in jeopardy after the state teachers union filed a lawsuit challenging its legality, reports the New York Post. The lawsuit, filed yesterday in State Supreme Court in Albany, signals a major rift in cooperation between the union and the state Education Department–which had worked together to win nearly $700 million in federal funds through the Race to the Top competition…

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