Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest Post: Sarah Wenger

It’s time for the old adage that women neither like nor do well in math and science be put to rest …
Women are increasingly involved in the tech field, both as consumers and as practitioners, which shouldn't come as a surprise since over half of social media users are women and the average social gamer is a woman in her 40s.
This trend is also reflected in education. Of the computer science majors graduating in 2013 from Harvard, women make up 41%. And although only 25% of science, tech, engineering and math (STEM) jobs are currently held by women, the numbers are beginning to shift. Between January of 2011 and 2012, the number of women in the IT field jumped by more than 28%.
The benefits for women who enter tech are hard to deny. They experience smaller wage gaps due to gender than women in other industries. But the relationship between women and tech companies isn’t one-sided – the companies get some nice perks, too. Companies whose boards of directors contain 3 or more female members had higher returns on sales, returns on investments and returns on equity.
The infographic below delves deeper into how the phenomenon of women in tech is on the rise.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Power to the Online People

I am sharing a new infographic from Sarah Wenger developed for Open Site. You can contact Sarah at .
 Where were you when news of the tsunami hit Japan in 2011? How about when Michael Jackson died? Probably online, according to many experts who claim that social media has become the main media source for hundreds of millions of people. Not just in the U.S., either; Facebook alone has more than 900 million users spread across the globe as of 2012. Other social media giants like Twitter have facilitated revolution against unjust leaders and warned people of impending natural disaster. In fact, so many people regularly interact online that if the Internet were a nation, it would exceed the Americas, Europe and the Middle East combined in population. No wonder more than 13 million members of the online community used Reddit and other media platforms to protest SOPA, a proposed Internet censorship bill. Keep this graphic in mind next time you log on, because knowledge is power — and a little knowledge goes a long way in the Internet Age.

  Power To The Online People
Do you agree with Sarah about the power of internet? Do you have an example to share about the power of the internet?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Education and the Economy

Acknowledging the Link between Education and the Economy
With the rise of the economic crisis and growing public concern regarding the U.S. health care system, the issue of education has often taken a back seat in American politics. However, recent events have shown that this important issue is slowly making its way to the foreground once again, with both presidential candidates publicly addressing the issue. This new focus on education indicates that the candidates are attempting to address voter concerns on this issue, which polls have shown to be somewhat significant when compared with other issues.
Analyzing the Numbers
The New York Times teamed up with CBS in April of this year to poll the American people about what political issues they were most concerned about with the presidential election right around the corner. The results revealed that education was cited as the biggest problem facing the country, right behind the economy, health care, and the national debt. A poll in February of this year was consistent with these results--revealing that the public most wanted to hear presidential candidates address issues surrounding education, but still behind the three priority issues of the economy, health care, and the national deficit.
Although it's clear that the public highly values the importance of education, only 4 percent of respondents identified education as an issue of primary concern, while almost 50 percent named the economy as the single biggest problem in the country today. It's true that each of these issues plays a key role in the function of the country as a whole; however, perhaps more of an emphasis would be placed on education if it were widely understood how interrelated this issue is with the state of the economy.
Despite the minimal public focus on the importance of education, the growing emphasis on an online learning environment has made education more accessible for a larger portion of the population. As a result, a larger portion of the population can take advantage of higher education by earning a degree through Internet-based institutions.
Education as the Foundation of a Functional Economy
Education and the economy are often divided in politics as two distinct issues, when in reality the former often predicts the behavior of the latter. In fact, school choice advocate Michelle Rhee has explicitly pointed out how the two affect one another. In an article by Ginger Gibson of Politico, she emphasizes the relationship between the two by stating "I think [the candidates] need to really start to make the connection for the American public between what happens in the public education system and the long-term viability of this country."
George P. Schultz and Eric A. Hanushek of the Wall Street Journal seconded this notion in a recent article regarding the importance of education reform on both a K-12 and college level. The journalists argued "An improved education system would lead to a dramatically different future for the U.S., because educational outcomes strongly affect economic growth and the distribution of income." This statement falls in line with recent studies, which have shown that countries with higher math and science skills tend to experience greater economic growth than those with less skilled populations.
Just how dramatic of an effect would educational improvements have on the U.S. economy? According to the same article, the GDP would quickly skyrocket over the next 80 years, which would deliver an annual income boost of 20 percent for each worker in the U.S. over his or her career. As a result of this increase, the U.S. deficit could effortlessly be eliminated. With a greater focus on education reform, the presidential candidates can essentially kill two birds with one stone.
About the author: Matt Herndon lives in Indianapolis with his wife and children. He has completed his graduate work in Upper East Tennessee where he studied communication and leadership development.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Children and Technology

Tech skills in children can have a positive application in the classroom
This guest post is from Melissa Crossman. You can find her @melcrossman3.
As personal tech tools and toys have trickled down into the smallest of hands, technology literacy rates among children are higher than they've ever been before. A recent poll of 2,200 mothers found that 58 percent of children between age two and five were able to play a simple computer game. By contrast, only 43 percent of children ages two and three knew how to ride a bike. And young children are more likely to know how to open a Web browser (25 percent) than how to swim unaided (20 percent).
That might strike fear into the hearts of parents at first blush, but a second glance reveals that things aren't as bad as they might initially seem. Yes, children are more tech-savvy than ever, but technology is a part of our society that isn't about to disappear anytime soon. Although it can have negative applications, in many cases technology exists to make our lives simpler or to empower us to do more than we could without it.
The same can be said about technology in the classroom: with children understanding technology at a younger age, elementary school classrooms have an unprecedented opportunity to utilize those tech skills as a means of providing new learning tools and strategies to children. But successfully implementing these new approaches requires teacher preparation and a commitment to professional development that emphasizes tech literacy.
Managing technology use at home
Granted, not every child grows up with personal electronic devices like a cell phone or music player. And many parents still make an effort to minimize their young children's exposure to computers, televisions, or anything with a glowing screen. While that may be admirable and is every parent's right, any child growing up in American culture will be heavily exposed to technology once they enter school.
The positive by-product is that evolving technologies continue to create more applications for education. Parents may want to keep their children from becoming addicted to or dependent on technology, but they might find it advantageous to give their children some exposure to certain electronic devices—particularly those that can aid in childhood development while acclimating kids to the kinds of products they'll be handling for the rest of their lives.
Teaching through technology
Getting a commitment from teachers is paramount, and sometimes the toughest task—older teachers who have resisted advances in computers and personal technology may actually be less tech literate than the grade school students they are educating. That can be intimidating to teachers and make them less likely to incorporate technology as a learning tool.
But if teachers are willing to put traditional methods aside in favor of a new teaching model, the results could revolutionize how children are taught. Rather than force-feeding technology at the elementary school level, schools can capitalize on pre-existing tech skills to incorporate computer programs, learning modules, and interactive games and programs that educate students in an environment they recognize, understand and enjoy.
These interactive tech programs can even enhance the student experience by providing direct and immediate feedback to a classroom full of children simultaneously, providing customized direction and assistance on a scale no individual teacher could ever match. Far from disenfranchising teachers, technology can improve classroom efficiency and make life easier for both the teachers and their students.
About the author: Melissa Crossman earned her Master of Education while living and working in the Indianapolis area. She blogs on behalf of

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Your Voice On High-Stakes Testing Is Needed

You can make a difference in changing high-stakes testing. Read the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing and click on the individual button to sign.

Additional articles to support the resolution:

“I think if you talk to any parent, educator, student and now you have fiscal administrators speaking out all across the state, saying that we’ve gone way too far. We’re spending 45 days out of the school year preparing for benchmarks, drilling, and the whole thing, for the test,” resident Mike Corwin said during citizen’s communication. “I think there is a broad consensus that has come together to say we’ve overstepped on this issue.”

The authors conclude that there is no convincing evidence that the pressure
associated with high-stakes testing leads to any important benefits for students’
achievement.  They call for a moratorium on policies that force the public education
system to rely on high-stakes testing. 

In earlier posts, I have advocated banning high-stakes testing as a means of making significant decisions about student performance (achievement in a course, passing a course—end-of-year-tests, being promoted, and graduating from high school).  I suggested this because the research evidence does not support continuing the practice in American schools.

Do you have a comment on this testing mania our students are enduring?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mobile Learning

Lisa Johnson and Yolanda Barker (NEISD San Antonio Texas) visit with Kathy Burdick (Director of Development for Learning A-Z) about Mobile Learning. Kathy shares her passion for learning and how to connect with students. They also share valuable information on educational apps. I promise you this blogtalkradio session will get you excited about mobile learning and the use of apps in the classroom. Check out Kathy Burdick at Mobile iEducator and Lisa & Yolanda at Techchef4u

Listen to internet radio with Techchef4u on Blog Talk   Radio

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Value of Play

It seems education around the world has gone mad for testing and wanting kids to read earlier and earlier. Yes, a small percentage of four years are reading. I have a family member in that category but she is the exception not the rule. The age range for those beginning to read is very wide and getting wider. What’s the big rush! The best gift you can give a child is the gift of time and with this time hopefully comes some major time for play. Young children are learning through play! Play should not stop as children enter school. In fact, play time should be an essential part of the curriculum for children as they begin formal schooling. Play should continue through every young person’s school years. Hey, I would go so far as to say, play should also be an important part of our adult life. Now check out this video: Caine’s Arcade
I was reintroduced to the video with a blog post from Education Stormfront written by Andrew Barras. Here is the closing to his blog in titled “Caine’s Arcade – Teachers Should Watch This Video”: In this video Caine is learning the following skills: 1. Business 2. Marketing 3. Promotions 4. Math 5. Problem solving 6. Persistence 7. Creative thinking 8. Finances 9.
Things you can do with tape and cardboard. So the question you have to ask is how many of these skills will Caine learn in public school? Very few I bet. Even math will be learned in the abstract. I will wager that making this arcade will have more of an impact on his life than the 12 years he spends in a public school.

 What value do you see in play? Do you agree with the learning that Andrew Barras sees in Caine’s Arcade? Are you still playing and learning? At 73 years old I sure am!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Khan Academy

This guest post comes from Sean Gray. For those not familiar with the Khan Academy, Sean gives you a little history and a basic over view of the concept.

The Khan Academy and its methodology has become one of the hottest topics in the world of education. The reason it has become such a hot topic is because the Academy has “flipped” the traditional classroom and the way that lessons are presented to students. Traditionally, the teacher presented the material in a lecture format in the classroom and the students were assigned exercises that they were responsible for completing before the next day’s class. The Khan Academy, on the other hand, consists of lectures in video format that the students could watch on their own time and then go over the exercises with the teacher the next day in class.

The idea for the Khan Academy started simply enough. Sal Khan was tutoring his nephews long distance through phone calls. One day he got the idea to record the tutoring lesson and upload it to YouTube because he would not be able to connect with his nephews over the phone. The nephews enjoyed the lesson in this format so much that they asked him to continue recording the lessons rather than the phone calls. 

What Sal realized is that his nephews were able to use the videos whenever they needed. They could go back over the lessons as many times as they needed, including when they were doing their exercises. Their scores started to improve and word started to get around about the videos. The idea for these videos continued to grow until even Bill Gates of Microsoft fame invested in the Khan Academy.

The Khan Academy now boasts over 3000 videos on topics ranging from biology to physics. The videos themselves are simple enough, with hand-drawn explanations on a whiteboard with narration from the presenter. As the Khan Academy has grown, it has gained volunteers to present who are experts on these different topics. 
The Khan Academy itself is a non-profit organization with the simple goal of helping students achieve their academic goals. While even Sal Khan recognizes that the videos cannot replace a live instructor, the videos have proven to be a helpful resource for the students to use to help reinforce the teachings from their teacher's lectures. Some teachers have issues with the Khan Academy’s videos and its methodology. The technology is free and easy to use for those same teachers. They could take advantage and record their own lessons to help their students. \

What are your thoughts on the Khan Academy? You can leave a comment here or contact me, Sean Gray at

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Redefining Research

From After 244 years, the Encyclopedia Britannica has decided to halt the presses and go out of print. Facing the realities and the stiff competition from Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia Britannica will now focus primarily on their online services. But even then, it might be too late. Wikipedia has grown to be the number one source for students. In fact, many students will stop research and change topics if it’s not on Wikipedia. Wikipedia provides a wealth of information with over 26 billion pages of content. Though the quality of Wikipedia has been questioned, the editors of Wikipedia, known as Wikipedians, are vigilant with ensuring the data in Wikipedia is current and accurate. Studies have even shown that Wikipedia is almost as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica. This infographic highlights how Wikipedia has revolutionized research and how it has become a reliable fountain of knowledge. Wikipedia
Via: Do use Wikipedia for your research? If so, how often do you visit Wikipedia? Do you have a comment on the infographic from Open-Site?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Students Love Technology

Thanks to Cool Cat Teacher (Vicki Davis)  for calling this infographic on how students use technology to my attention.

Students Love Technology

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How Education is Being Changed by Technology

This Guest post is by Christine Kane from internet service providers, she is a graduate of Communication and Journalism. She enjoys writing about a wide-variety of subjects for different blogs. She can be reached via email at: Christi.Kane00 @

When you think of a school setting what comes to mind? If you went to school anytime during the 1990’s or earlier you likely think of sitting in a classroom with your textbooks, pencils, notebooks, and backpacks. However if you’re a child of the 2000 era then your view of a traditional school setting is probably a little bit different. Technology has seeped into more and more aspects of the traditional school setting and slowly changed them to fit the emerging trends.

1.      From Libraries to the Internet
Before we had access to anything and everything at the touch of our fingers people did actually do research in books at libraries. However now that finding something is as easy as typing the topic into a search engine, it makes poring through books looking for the perfect morsels of information seem tedious and outdated.

2.      Online courses versus classroom setting
When online courses initially began being offered it was seen as a cop out, something that wasn’t nearly as challenging as a traditional class setting. However online education has taken the world by storm and now it’s become more the norm than the exception. It even helps cut back on spending for traditional schools, making it a win-win for everyone.

3.      Tablets taking over textbooks
Anyone who went to school before laptops and tablets took hold can attest to hauling around heavy backpacks laden with colossal textbooks. However more and more schools are adopting the practice of issuing each student their own laptop or tablet on secure networks so that they can submit homework and do research online.

4.      Lectures bring in YouTube
With the implementation of things like YouTube it has become easier than ever to make lectures more exciting by supplementing them with different short video clips. This is especially true for subjects like history because teachers can bring up all kinds of videos, such as old presidential campaigns or clips from movies. Being able to break up the monotony of lecturing helps keeps students more focused and engaged, and enables them to get more out of the whole learning experience.

5.      Shift in students
Before computers, tablets, and smartphones became the norm students came to classes ready to learn how to use computers, type, etc. However now children are exposed at a younger age to technology and many come into schools already being quite proficient with computers in every form. Students are becoming better at multi-tasking earlier on because of this constant exposure to computers, the internet, social media, and even video games.
Technology has been changing education steadily over the years, but recently has taken an even stronger hold in how the school systems work. We can only expect technology to continue to strengthen its footholds in education as it continues to grow. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Adventures of Annie and Her Boys: Phillip Island

Years ago, 1967-68 to be exact, I was a Fulbright Exchange Teacher in Australia. It was a wonderful year of making new friends and taking in the sights of the land down under. This year I was contacted by Annie Tunheim from Denver Colorado. Her husband is an art teacher and she shared with me they would spend a year in Australia. Chris will be teaching in small town just south of Sydney. Annie begins blogging about the year in Aussie land a few months before they departed. She is a marvelous writer and I know you will enjoy reading her blog The Adventure of Annie and Her Boys.

The Adventures of Annie and Her Boys: Phillip Island: We left Wilsons Prom, my heart full of wombats, and drove over to Phillip Island. On the way there, we stopped and saw the pelican feeding ...