Illinois high school juniors no longer will be tested on writing skills during the state’s standardized tests every spring, eliminating the last Illinois writing exam and shaving about $2.4 million amid budgetary shortfalls, reports the Chicago Tribune. While students might welcome being spared the sweating over topic sentences and persuasive verbs, many educators worry the essential skill could get short shrift in Illinois classrooms as a result……Read More
Podcast Series: Innovations in Education
Explore the full series of eSchool News podcasts hosted by Kevin Hogan—created to keep you on the cutting edge of innovations in education.
Should students ‘friend’ teachers online?
As teachers increasingly connect with their students online, school districts are working to define appropriate ways for teachers and students to communicate outside the classroom, reports the Chicago Tribune. It’s a murky area with a variety of questions: Should teachers use a Facebook fan page to contact students? Should they allow students to “friend” them on their personal profiles or post pictures on their walls? Should they notify parents that they are using social networking sites to communicate? The Illinois school code requires that districts develop polices for social networking and teach students how to safely use chat rooms, eMail, and instant messaging. Some districts have responded with vague policies open for interpretation, while others have banned all use of social media between teachers and students. In Community High School District 128 in Libertyville, the school board approved a set of “expectations” for social networking between teachers, coaches, and students, which are now incorporated into employee policies. It deems district-provided eMail and school-based web sites acceptable forms of communication. However, it warns that text messages are highly personal, can quickly get “off topic,” and be easily misinterpreted by a parent. “What you want to avoid is a parent seeing a coach’s cell-phone number on their daughter’s phone and being surprised,” said Mick Torres, the district’s technology director……Read More
MSU starts online ed technology doctorate option
Michigan State University is starting an online option in its Ph.D. program in educational technology, the Chicago Tribune reports. The program is designed for working professionals. The school says the online track in its Educational Psychology and Educational Technology will take four to five years, combining online coursework with summer classes on campus. Michigan State says the system is designed for people who wish to continue working while pursuing their doctorates. It says the students will come from those working in schools, universities and research institutions. The College of Education is accepting applications for the first students, with classes set to start in June……Read More