Tag: Digital Learning

By Eric Wearne Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation The New Teacher Project (TNTP) is a national organization that “works with schools, districts and states to provide excellent teachers to the students who need them most and advance policies and practices that ensure effective teaching in every classroom.” TNTP recently published a report called “The Irreplaceables,” which discusses the “real retention crisis in America’s urban schools.”*  For the purposes of this report, TNTP defines “Irreplaceables” by looking at the value-added test data provided by four large urban school systems. Those whose students gained 5-6 more months of learning each year compared to lower-performing teachers were deemed “Irreplaceable” – about 20 percent of the teachers in each… View Article
By Eric Wearne Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Each year the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announce results for tests that make up the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  This week, results of 2009 school year science tests in grades four, eight, and 12 were announced in a report titled “Science in Action.”  This announcement was different because for the first time results include assessments of interactive computer tasks (ICTs). The results include both hands-on and interactive computer tasks.  Students have been doing hands-on activities on NAEP science tests since the 1990s. A video describing the hands-on tasks is here.  In these tasks, students receive… View Article

Can Online Learning and Common Core Co-Exist?

By Eric Wearne Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Recently I spoke at Georgia State University’s NET-Q Summer Institute, which focused on several aspects of the Common Core State Standards.  During the various breakout sessions, my co-panelists and I discussed several topics around the creation of the Common Core, including its practical impact on stakeholders, the use of assessments, and other issues. One aspect that gets probably too little coverage is the possible effect of the Common Core on technology and online learning. The two concepts are different in kind: online learning is an approach or tactic, while the Common Core is a set of content standards.  Yet in some ways, online learning and the Common… View Article

Half a Cheer for Tablets in the Classroom

By Eric Wearne Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation The high school I attended, decades ago, was considered cutting edge technologically.  The internet had just been born, and my school (a new one), was going to have six desktop computers in every classroom.  I do not know if the effects of this policy were ever measured, but I can say anecdotally that students at my school logged a lot of time playing Oregon Trail and Hot Dog Stand.  (While neither of those games were as addictive as, say, Facebook, both at least had some educational value). It’s easy to criticize plans for computer use from a time when we had no idea what they might be useful for… View Article

Education Reform for the Digital Era

By Eric Wearne While many books, websites, and events exist to catalog new concepts in online education, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Education Reform for the Digital Era offers both a discussion and some practical solutions.  First, the editors, Checker Finn and Daniela Fairchild, describe three barriers to change which currently hinder online learning: Interest groups that try to either “capture the potential of technology to advance their own interests or to shackle it in ways that keep it from harming those interests”; The governance and financing structure of the current public school system; and, Issues of organizational capacity within the current public school system. The authors of the various chapters outline ways to address all three issues. First, regarding… View Article
By Eric Wearne Recently Governor Nathan Deal announced a task force to “recommend ways to improve student achievement through the creation of robust digital learning environments, which may include the transition to digital textbooks and the effective use of wireless mobile devices.” In his remarks, the Governor stated that, “Students need to develop technical literacy in order to attain 21st century skills and become competitive in the global marketplace, and our state will invest in that education. We must increase the quality and quantity of our digital learning opportunities to ensure that our students are college or career ready.” Leaving aside the fact that a great many of the students in school today probably already have better “technical literacy” than… View Article
By Eric Wearne Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Harvard University Professor Clayton M. Christensen argues in his book Disrupting Class and elsewhere that the best and most long-lasting changes in any market tend to come from new entrants, rather than established players. Christensen argues that, in any field, new entrants gain a foothold into the market by taking on simple or unwanted tasks, often providing them at lower quality than existing players.  Then, after a time, quality, accessibility, and/or convenience increase, providing the new entrants an advantage and changing the market as a whole. Christensen’s idea is currently being put to the test in online education, and two organizations are poised to represent major changes in the… View Article
By Mike Klein The final breath has  been drawn by this year’s Georgia General Assembly.  Here is what lawmakers did on seven issues that are closely tracked by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.  This article discusses state charter schools, digital learning, criminal justice and juvenile code reform, pension and tax reform and health care reform.  All of these will require more work going forward and in some cases, much more work starting soon. State Charter Schools This November voters will decide who got it right:  Lawmakers four years ago when they created a state charter schools commission or the state Supreme Court last spring when it ruled that the commission was unconstitutional.  The very fact that voters – not the… View Article

TED-Ed – More Ideas Worth Spreading

By Eric Wearne Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation TED (originally “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” but now just TED) bills itself as “a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.”  Its award-winning TEDTalks site hosts video talks by both well-known (and lesser-known) speakers on topics ranging from “tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data” to ethical questions about bio-engineering to how schools help kill students’ creativity. TED hosts two annual conferences, an award-winning video site (TEDTalks), and several other programs.  TED itself is well worth perusing as an educational tool on a variety of topics.  But the organization has begun to work on education explicitly, with potentially powerful results. TED-Ed is the… View Article
By Mike Klein Georgia legislators have begun to remove shackles that prevented the Georgia Virtual School from achieving its vast potential to help connect students with digital learning.  Two bills would fix a flawed funding model, prohibit schools from blocking students who want to enroll in GAVS courses, and create an expanded clearinghouse of courses available statewide. Legislation (SB 289) to fix the funding formula and significantly expand student access to digital learning has passed the Senate and this week it received unanimous voice vote approval in a House education committee hearing.  Legislation (HB 175) to create the state clearinghouse of online course offerings has passed the House and Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers sponsored SB 289.   As originally… View Article

…One of the best things about the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is that it has such a broad membership base.

Dr. Wendy L. Gramm, Former Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more quotes