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Education

Did Michael Gove really veto U.S. literature for UK GCSEs?
May 28, 2014 | 10:25 am

mockingbirdUK Education Secretary Michael Gove is not the most popular man, or even minister, in Britain. Indeed, some openly revile him. But there is still some doubt as to whether he really is guilty of trying to remove some U.S. literary classics from the GCSE English literature syllabus, as the Sunday Times claimed, declaring that: "classic works such as To Kill A Mockingbird are being dropped from English GCSEs because Michael Gove, the education secretary, wants teenagers to focus on works by British writers, it emerged yesterday. As well as the Harper Lee novel, American texts including Of Mice And...

Changing how people learn with digital textbooks
May 16, 2014 | 10:34 am

digital textbooksEBooks are changing education, starting from the teachers on down. Two recent stories have showed how developers are using digital textbooks to change the way teachers and students engage. The first story comes out of Pennsylvania where teachers at Mercersburg Academy have created textbooks they want using iBooks. According to a release, teachers have created a suite 22 e-textbooks on a number of topics such as Latin, robotics, history and math. “The eBook revolutionized my class,” said Academic Dean Julia Maurer, the driving force behind the eBooks initiative, in a release. “I had been teaching Robotics for four years but developing my own...

Storium enters last day of Kickstarter with educational version fully funded
May 8, 2014 | 4:14 am

storiumfinalIt’s the last day of Storium’s Kickstarter, and at the moment it’s raised over $212,000. This puts it well past the $200,000 goal to create a version specifically tailored for educational uses. At the rate Storium had been picking up new users until the last couple of days, I hadn’t expected it to make it. But it has, and I’m really happy about it. This is a product I’m already using, and that I firmly believe in. A lot of big names have stepped up to offer up worlds to play in. Those include official adaptations of Steve Jackson...

Storium Kickstarter turns writing into a game, seeks to fund educational version
May 2, 2014 | 3:17 am

With under a week left on the Kickstarter, I wanted to go into more detail about Storium, a slick, well-constructed web-based system for moderated play-by-post storytelling gaming that I first mentioned a few days ago. With $129,000 kicked in so far out of a $25,000 goal, it's definitely getting funded. But unlike most Kickstarters, you can actually start using it right now—pledging at least $10 gets you access to the beta, even if you later decide to cancel the pledge. The way it works is that you've got a narrator and several players, and a system of...

Why aren’t eBooks disrupting the college textbook market?
April 11, 2014 | 12:25 pm

college textbook marketThanks to Nate at The Digital Reader for sending this article my way. The write-up, from a blog called Fast Company has some interesting insights into why the college textbook market has not been taken over by ebooks yet. I have long held my own ideas on this matter. I have taken one course which had an online textbook option, and the functionality was so limited that it wasn't even worth bothering. Cut and paste was completely disabled, the books could not be read offline, they were scanned PDF and not OCR-searchable, and they expired the day after the course ended....

Review: Reading A-Z.com
April 3, 2014 | 4:40 pm

reading a-z.comMy school recently purchased, at my request, a one-year subscription to the website Reading A-Z.com. The website offers hundreds of printable leveled reader books in a variety of languages (English, British English, French, Spanish), and I found it when I was looking for French resources I could use to enhance my program for a child who speaks French at home. I think this resource will be useful for other teachers in my school, and I am looking forward to seeing what people do with it. I had thought initially that I could save the PDF files for use on my iPad....

Defining digital literacy
April 1, 2014 | 12:25 pm

digital literacyAn article making the rounds in today's news details the Canadian government's interest in 'defining' digital literacy for teachers and students. From the article: The report released by People for Education on Monday finds that the vast majority of Ontario secondary school teachers use some form of digital technology in the classroom, though it noted that the type of technology and the way it is used varies greatly, necessitating the need for a clearer policy on what makes for a digitally literate student. As both an Ontario teacher, and one who was explicitly trained in integrating technology into the classroom, I have...

Biblionasium: Where kids write book reviews
March 29, 2014 | 2:33 pm

BiblionasiumDigital Book World has a great write-up about Biblionasium, a site I have not heard about until now which describes itself as a 'Goodreads for Kids.' They previously got around the whole 'social media websites and children under 13' privacy issues by limiting their young user's review-writing options to selecting pre-fab options from a drop-down menu. But in response to requests from teachers and librarians, they have now opened up true review-writing abilities for users of all ages. The write-up points out that the site does restrict these posting abilities so that parents and educators can pre-determine where this stuff gets...

OLPC, or not to be?
March 13, 2014 | 1:26 pm

olpcLaptopPDFgerrymWowioBlog Has OLPC jumped the shark? OLPC News seems to think so. In a recent (and controversial) post on the blog, Wayan Vota wonders if there’s any point to OLPC anymore. Vota contends that the XO-1 laptop is 7 years old—ancient technology in Internet time—and that Sugar, its operating system, is “history.” (Though he doesn’t mention the more recent XO-1.75 that came out in 2012.) It’s closed down its Boston office and its founder, Nicholas Negroponte, has long since moved on the global literacy X-Prize project. Yet let us be...

Story Cards tablet CCG gamifies reading for K-12 students
March 12, 2014 | 2:58 pm

storycardsHere's an intriguing game I just learned about. Educational publisher Amplify, makers of the Amplify Android tablet we covered last year, has come up with a way to gamify classic literature, in the hopes of getting students interested in reading it. Story Cards is a turn-based character-driven CCG. Players unlock character cards with specific abilities by reading the books they come from, and can gain bonuses by answering trivia questions related to the books in question. The game supports both single-player and multi-player modes. Students can build their own decks and compete with the game or each other. The...

A digital game plan for education is sorely needed
March 5, 2014 | 11:15 am

digital game plan for educationIn today's Morning Links, there was a wonderful article from The Digital Shift, which reported on a recent conference at which educators and school administrators explored technology. The comments from participants highlighted many of the issues I myself have written about on this blog before: the lack of forethought and planning in rolling out technology programs, the lack of teacher training and the need to prepare future educators before they hit the classroom. From the article: “It’s imperative that we rethink professional development,” says Linda Clark, superintendent for the Meridian Joint School District No. 2 in Idaho. “Many of us were...

Students today and their fancy, new-fangled technology
January 19, 2014 | 4:34 am

chalkboard (Found via Women Rock Science.)...