Easy way for teachers to hold “Office Hours”

Numerade—a fully free online education platform founded with a mission to close the educational opportunity gap by democratizing access to extraordinary educators and content—is making it easy for teachers to support students in a distance learning environment through its “Office Hours” feature. This easy-to-use feature gives educators a simple way to create and upload asynchronous lesson videos and provide answers to anonymous student questions, promoting engagement and equitable access to online instruction.

Like the rest of Numerade’s resources, all features within Office Hours are entirely free for users. It allows teachers to easily create beautiful videos on any topic using the recording and whiteboard system, create a playlist from the more than 250,000 existing lesson videos within Numerade, track student engagement, and create weekly class recaps to ensure all students are getting the clarification they want and need.

The platform allows students to ask questions anonymously and ‘vote up’ questions from classmates, indicating which questions are most popular among the class and should be prioritized. Teachers can then create video responses to questions, which are available for all students to view to gain further clarification on key concepts.…Read More

Education.com unveils guided curriculum for math, reading

Education.com, an online education destination for teachers, parents, and homeschoolers looking to help their kids succeed in school, announced a new guided curriculum that changes the way they help their preschool and elementary children develop essential skills.

The new skills-focused curriculum combines 30,000 expert-created resources from the industry’s most comprehensive learning library with step-by-step guided lessons mapped to specific skills, to more easily and effectively strengthen the math, reading, and writing skills that are essential for school success.

At the heart of education, children need to develop foundational math and reading skills to succeed in school. All kids struggle with these core skills at some level, and their parents and teachers equally face fundamental challenges in trying to help them: identifying the most essential math and reading skills, finding various ways to keep a child engaged in learning, and finding an educational solution that connects foundational skills to the learning needs of the individual child. Education.com’s new math and reading platform uniquely helps parents and teachers address these challenges by combining easy to follow step-by-step lessons with a variety of learning formats for a multi-sensory approach aligned to the essential skills kids need to learn.…Read More

Low-income California Latinos get computers from Latino Community Foundation for health, education

As part of a campaign to help increase low-income and monolingual Latinos’ access to online education, as well as health care information, some groups in California are providing personal computers and internet access, the Latino Post reports. One group in the San Francisco Bay Area have made strides, helped by a holiday-time campaign and fund drive. As we’ve reported previously, the Latino Community Foundation partnered this Christmas season with other Latino community nonprofits, as well as the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) with the goal of raising $30,000 to provide low-cost, internet-ready computers to monolingual and low-income Latino families in California…

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Professors in deal to design online lessons for A.P. classes

To ease the way for students grappling with certain key concepts, professors at Davidson College in North Carolina will design online lessons for high school students in Advanced Placement courses in calculus, physics and macroeconomics and make them widely available through the College Board and edX, a nonprofit online education venture, The New York Times reports. “We joined edX in May, specifically because many of our faculty wanted to work on this Advanced Placement project,” said Carol Quillen, the president of Davidson. “They see kids come into their introductory classes, year after year after year, and get stuck on certain concepts, like the Phillips curve in macroeconomics, and they wanted to create some interactive online units that teachers could use to help teach the hardest ideas.”

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How to bring quality online education to a global student population

From the outside, it is a nondescript building in downtown San Jose, California. But inside, 20 ninth- and tenth-grade students and seven educators are creating a new educational paradigm, Salman Khan reports for Forbes. Armed with individualized plans, students leverage Khan Academy, a pioneer of internet learning, and other online resources to learn math at their own pace. They choose what topics they learn and when they learn them. Educators use real-time data to coach students and monitor progress, but students drive their own progress. When students get stuck they can attend a small group lesson led by a teacher, ask a peer for help, or connect with a teacher one-on-one. When they’ve mastered a set of concepts, students line up eagerly to prove their knowledge.  (Yes, they are lining up to take tests!) While this may seem like an unusual approach to learning, it’s a typical day in math class at Summit San Jose, a charter high school where a team of educators has constructed both a new classroom and a new model for teaching and learning math. At the heart of this model is a reimagined educational experience grounded in mastery-based, personalized learning. It mirrors our own objectives for education at Khan Academy…

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Report questions efficacy of full-time virtual schools

“The current weak measures of effectiveness need updating to measure true student success based on outcomes,” said one online learning advocate.

A report released last week by university researchers is the latest to question the academic merits of full-time virtual schools run by K12 Inc.—and by extension, the promise of cyber education in general.

According to the report, students enrolled in schools run by K12—the nation’s largest virtual school company—have lower scores in math and reading on end-of-year exams than students in traditional schools, and parents are pulling their students out in droves. K12 disputes the report’s findings, saying they fail to measure student growth over time and are based on flawed research methods.

The report, titled “Understanding and Improving Full-Time Virtual Schools,” was released by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado. It comes on the heels of a recent class-action lawsuit against K12 claiming that the company misled investors (see “Online learning provider K12 faces class-action lawsuit”).…Read More

Apple unveils interactive textbooks, revamped iTunes U

The iBooks 2 app is available for free.

Apple might make the heavy backpack an endangered species.

There won’t be much students can’t do with a few taps and swipes of their Apple iPads after the tech giant’s introduction of iBooks 2–a book store that now includes interactive textbooks–and an iTunes University app that could create a comprehensive school experience inside the popular computer tablet.

Apple officials confirmed Jan. 19 weeklong speculation that the company would jump into the textbook market during a press event at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, where Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, introduced the next iteration of the iBooks app, which for the first time will offer textbooks that start at $14.99 or less for high school students.…Read More

Online ed passes grade for many K-12 students

For kids who can’t or don’t want to be in traditional public school classrooms, cyberspace is an alternative—and it’s free, Investor’s Business Daily reports. Online public K-12 programs are increasing, says Bill Tucker, managing director of Education Sector, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit education policy think tank.

“It’s definitely growing very quickly,” Tucker said. “We’re seeing more students accessing online courses, and more school districts and states offering them.”

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