4 min read
Ann Carrns in The New York Times
A new report from The Student Public Interest Research Groups (Student PIRGs) suggests that college students could save an average of $128 per course if traditional textbooks were replaced with open source electronic options. The College Board reports that the annual cost of books and supplies costs sets students back by an average of $1,200 to $1,300 each year.
Open source textbooks can be download electronically, printed at low cost if needed, and rearranged to suit the syllabus and lesson plan for a specific class. Professors often aren’t aware that high quality open source textbooks exist in their subject area.
Linda Poon on NPR
In Sierra Leone schools have been shut down to stop the spread of Ebola. That’s left a million school-aged children with no classroom to go to. In October, the government partnered with UNICEF and other organizations to launch an educational radio program. Teachers are writing and recording hour-long lessons that are then aired on 41 different government radio stations every day.
Radio is the most common way for Sierra Leoneans to get their daily information, but only around 25% of the population owns a radio. To add interactivity to the radio lessons, students are encouraged to text their questions. However, many poor students can’t afford a phone.
Jason Song in the LA Times
Mitchell Stevens, a Stanford University education professor, believes that large prestigious universities like Stanford aren’t adopting to the changing trends in higher education and learning environments. Where the traditional university model meant attending a four-year institution, taking classes in person, and paying a large tuition, more students are now turning to options that better fit into their lives, like online courses and two-year colleges.
In 1988, 39% of students attended community college, but by 2008 57% of first-year undergraduates were attending two-year colleges. Some private colleges, like Harvey Mudd College - in Claremont, CA - and Davidson College - in Charlotte, NC - have been exploring options around the “flipped” classroom. Flipped courses allow students to watch course lectures via video and then spend classroom time discussing and interacting with peers and professors.
Jeff Bradbury on TeacherCast
Do you have a 1:1 Apple Macbook Air classroom interested in podcasting? Maybe you’re just an Apple user with a desire to record lectures, interviews, thoughts. This post has some great recommendations on getting ready to podcast. Bradbury lists microphone recommendations for personal use and for use with a classroom. He also includes software picks for editing the podcast. And did you know that Known is a great platform for releasing a podcast? Upload each show as an audio file, include any shownotes or related resources, and build a stream for your next podcast.
Suren Ramasubbu in The Huffington Post
Ramasubbu believes the introduction of technology into the classroom hinges on the attitudes, beliefs, and skills of the teacher. In this post he shares and summarizes some of the data around technology adoption in the classroom. A study from Maine found that math performance in middle school students taught by teachers trained in laptop use increased dramatically.
In another study, only 39% of teachers cited “moderate” or “frequent” use of technology in the classroom, despite a growing population of teachers familiar with technology.