Digital Education

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Narrative

Portal:Digital Education Sara’s a girl who knows what she wants. She’s juggling three sports each school year, ballet classes, and babysitting duty for her younger brother. What’s more, she wants to take a full load of rigorous academic courses her junior year, and there just isn’t time in her schedule for a PE class. The course offerings have been finalized over the summer, and she discovers that PE isn’t her only problem: her chemistry and US history classes are offered during the same period, and she’ll have to choose between the two.

10 years ago, Sara would just have to watch her perfectly planned schedule go up in flames. Now, she has access to more teachers than those who walk the halls of her high school and more choices than are offered in the recycled paper course catalog in the main office. She can go online.

Benefits

“The Peak Group, an education technology research and consulting firm, expects that more than 1 million students will take advantage of "virtual schools" this school year. Another research firm, Eduventures, predicted the online distance learning market will grow more than 38 percent in 2004, taking in $5.1 billion in revenue”

http://www.cnn.com/2004/EDUCATION/08/13/b2s.elearning/

Shape of the Nation: Executive Summary: “Almost one-fourth of states (24% or 12) allow required physical education credits to be earned through online physical education courses. Those states are: Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. Of those 12 states, six offer online comprehensive physical education (defined as addressing all state or national physical education standards), and five offer an online personal fitness/wellness course. Only two states offer online sport courses and online weight training courses.” http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:L9dQpArnpdwJ:www.aahperd.org/naspe/ShapeOfTheNation/template.cfm%3Ftemplate%3DexecutiveSummary.html+what+nation+percent+high+schools+offer+credit+for+online+courses&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1

Fall 2006 Stanford opens online school for the gifted

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/08/14/BAGBCKHTNE1.DTL

Problems (for high school) How do we know the education being had is of equal quality? (suggest an interview-someone from Harvard’s GS in education, maybe? Or state or fed education dept?)

Solution (for high school): (propose asking numerous high schools about how they test for quality) For the core kinds of classes like sciences, use the STAR testing results to determine if it will count for credit or not. That way, using resources already in existence and not creating a new burden of oversight on the part of the school system/gvmt.

Broader than just the schedule conflicts of a high school student:

Has expanded that you can earn a high school diploma online, for homebound students. Or supplementary courses for elementary and middle school students. http://yorkcountyschools.org/VirtualHS/index.html


Intellectual powerhouses like MIT are making all course materials available online. May not have the teacher to integrate the information, but you certainly have the raw materials to work with in the next ten years. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2001/ocw.html

Online education for college for middle-aged people going back to school to seek degree (possible contact eduventures or some such consulting firm)

Problems

But wait, this isn’t the end of the education story. Let’s look at Sara’s life again.

Sara’s a girl who knows what she wants. She’s juggling three sports each school year, ballet classes, and babysitting duty for her younger brother. What’s more, she wants to take a full load of rigorous academic courses her junior year, and there just isn’t time…


The temptation for students in high-pressure-cooker environments to cheat has always existed. However, in the new technological age, there are more options for them to do so.

Touches on graphing calculators, cell phone photos of tests, survey statistics on cheating and who cheats in high schools, plagiarism, etc. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=230738

Dictating notes into an ipod, listen during test http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/18/education/18cheating.html?ex=1305604800&en=78a0726e8afa89f8&ei=5088

Solutions

Creating a database turnitin.com where everyone’s paper is compared against each other

http://www.nysun.com/article/28420?access=595190

And maybe the solution isn’t a quick-fix legal regulation. Maybe it requires cultural change, especially in wealthy high pressure cooker world where each kids feels obligated to do 7 sports and activities. Maybe we should instituted regulation that would not turn the tide of cheating (which is a symptom), but which would turn the tide of cultural mores and cultural message/tradition (which is the actually cause/disease).

Relevant Research and Articles

Teach-nology

In Digital Age, More T's Are Crossed Poorly, Boston Globe, May 2007

AMA's Initial Report on Youth, Gaming, and Addiction, July 2007

Digital Education

Engage Me or Enrage Me - What Today's Learners Demand, Prensky (2005)

Digital Literacy

Copy and Paste Literacy: Literacy practices in the production of a MySpace profile (Perkel, 2006)

The School of Second Life (Edutopia, 2006)

Why Heather Can Write (Technology Review, 2004)

Learning 2.0 - "an online self-discovery program that encourages the exploration of web 2.0 tools and new technologies"