Policy makers, educators, and the private sector ask for federal investments in computer science education
An online petition urges Congress to provide $250 million to help schools and districts integrate computer science into the curriculum.
In a letter sent to Congress, the authors note that technology is quickly changing society, and “participating in this world requires access to computer science in our schools.”
They also state that more than 100 school districts are working to roll out computer science courses, and 20 states have passed policies around the subject and are in the process of identifying professional development for computer science teachers. But despite pockets of growth, three-quarters of U.S. schools do not offer meaningful computer science courses.…Read More
A big move into education, Amazon edges out OverDrive to capture NYC e-book contract
Amazon.com has won a $30 million contract to sell digital textbooks to New York City’s public schools over the next three years, in a deal that could extend an additional three years and be worth a total $65 million.
Under the terms, Amazon would have the right to sell e-books and other content but not devices like Kindles through an internal marketplace site. The e-books will be readable on e-readers, tablets, smartphones, laptops and other devices.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Panel for Educational Policy approved the three-year contract on Wednesday for the Department of Education, who could spend as much as $4.3 million in the first year of the contract. The deal has the option to be extended an additional two years.…Read More
Part of $3.3 billion annual investment to advance computer science education and increase diversity in technology fields globally
In conjunction with The White House Science Fair 2016, Oracle and The White House recently announced Oracle’s plan to invest $200 million in direct and in-kind support for computer science education in the United States over the next 18 months.
Oracle’s pledge supports the Administration’s Computer Science for All initiative and is part of the company’ greater annual worldwide investment of $3.3 billion to empower computer science educators and engage diverse student populations globally. Today’s commitment expects to reach more than 232,000 students in over 1,100 U.S. institutions through Oracle Academy, its philanthropic computer science-focused educational program that impacts more than 2.6 million students in 106 countries.
In 2015, only 2 percent of all participants in the College Board’s AP program took Computer Science and a mere 22 percent of those participants were female. Yet, programming jobs are growing 50 percent faster than the market overall, according to new research by Oracle Academy and Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market company. The study (2016), which analyzed and interpreted real-time data from millions of online job postings from nearly 40,000 sources, revealed that demand for computer science, programming, and coding skills is large, growing, and far more widespread than just IT jobs.…Read More
Expansion of the Lifeline program will affect more than 13 million Americans
A recently-approved expansion of an FCC program will grant millions of low-income households a discount on internet access in an effort to help close what is becoming known as the digital divide — the lack of reliable high-speed internet access for lower income families.
FCC commissioners voted on the proposed expansion 3 to 2 along party lines, as expected. Eligible households (those at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty level) will now be able to apply the $9.25 subsidy to broadband, wireless, or a bundled voice and internet package. Previously, the program, called Lifeline, was only applicable to phone service.
According to the FCC, nearly all households with annual incomes of more than $150,000 currently have high-speed internet; by contrast, nearly half of those with incomes less than $25,000 claim the same.…Read More
Growing number of schools using Google’s programs can now share learning resources created in Curriculum Foundry
Learning.com‘s Curriculum Foundry, a solution for seamlessly accessing, organizing and sharing digital content, is now fully integrated with Google Drive and Google Apps for Education.
The growing number of schools that use Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks will be able to share the learning objects, lessons, units and courses they have created in Curriculum Foundry through Google Drive.
According to Google, more than 50 million students and teachers around the world use Google programs and, according to Futuresource Consulting, more than 50 percent of the devices sold to U.S. schools in the third quarter of 2015 were Chromebooks. With Curriculum Foundry’s new integration with Google Drive and Google Apps for Education, thousands of schools and districts around the country now have a seamless end-to-end solution for digital learning.…Read More
A custom web-based system is making for more thoughtful classroom observation
Instructional leaders need to know what is happening when the bell rings and the door closes — in every classroom, in every building, every day. And the best way to do that is through careful but effective classroom observation. The challenge, then, is how to design a customizable, user-friendly system to observe classroom teaching that doesn’t seem like a top-down affair.
Just over five years ago, my organization, the Southwest Plains Regional Service Center in Kansas, set out to do just that, and to date, 13,572 teachers have been observed in 726 schools. This includes over 150,000 observations and over 6.5 million data points.
First, here’s what we know: Quality of teaching is the number one factor affecting student learning; collaborative dialogue is the number one factor affecting quality of teaching; and collaborative dialogue requires data.…Read More
Defined STEM Curriculum aims to engage students in statewide renewable energy initiatives
The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is moving to further support Ka Hei, its statewide strategic program kicked off in 2014 that educates students about sustainable energy transitions happening across schools throughout the state, through partnerships with Defined STEM, the flagship curriculum supplement of Defined Learning, and OpTerra Energy Services.
Hawai’i is the most fossil-fuel-dependent state in the nation, and the state’s schools spend $48 million a year on electricity alone. The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative aims to relieve the state’s dependence on oil by using 100 percent clean energy by 2045.
The goal of the Ka Hei program is to integrate innovative energy technology with meaningful learning experiences, all while reducing energy costs.…Read More
How to write an education tweet that adds value and gets noticed
Since getting its start less than a decade ago, more than a billion users have signed up for Twitter, with an estimated 320 million of them currently active. While Katy Perry (@katyperry) may top the charts with the most followers (80 million and counting), the average number of Twitter followers for those of us who aren’t pop sensations is a more modest 208. Regardless of who the user may be or the number of followers one may have, each tweet is restricted to a simple 140 characters. What you do with them is up to you.
While some tweeters may elect to update the world when they brush their teeth, many choose to use Twitter as an effective communication tool; one that generates conversation, pushes thinking, and at times, brings about change. And every day, millions of education-related tweets are posted to the site.
So what makes a Tweet valuable and worth reading? Why do some tweets receive a large amount of attention while others are left to themselves with no interaction at all?…Read More
What makes Chromebooks popular, and will they outlast their buzz?
As the familiar refrain goes, “It’s not about the device,” but even so schools need to choose one to advance their digital instruction goals. And by all accounts, Chromebooks are the device of the moment, with 2.5 million shipped to schools in the first half of this year alone. There’s no doubt they’re trendy, but is there any deeper reasons for the sales surge beyond appearance and affordability? Recently, I joined host Larry Jacobs and Google Certified Innovator and trainer Chris Scott for an episode of Education Talk Radio in which we talked through these issues at length and came up with a handful of reasons for the Chromebook’s trendsetting status. Here’s the CliffsNotes of that discussion, but be sure to check out the full conversation available online.
Google’s name has staying power. We’ve been Googling for more than a decade by this point, and with the near ubiquity of Google Apps for Education in the nation’s classrooms, educators and students feel comfortable with the Google ecosystem. Branding helps, but at the end of the day, educators do realize that Google is just the conduit for students to advance their learning, not the first and last steps.
Chromebooks have some surface-level advantages. First, they’re cheap, with models often starting around $200. And while the cheaper cost can mean lower quality, it also means cheap replacement parts, too. IT management is simple — and there are few horror stories equaling what schools went through with iPads. They’re easy to share among students, and at a time when online high-stakes testing is still very much a part of the conversation, Chromebooks have the all-important built-in keyboard. None of these things necessarily makes the Chromebook the ideal or superior device for education, but they certainly don’t hurt.…Read More