Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

Education Technology Platforms

Fear No More: Technology Platform Brings Financial Literacy to Schools

June 16, 2011

I have a confession to make – and please don’t judge me – but when I was in high school, I can promise you I did not know the first thing about credit scores, mortgages or IRA accounts (or the fact that if I didn’t pay off my credit card on time I would get a bad credit score because once again, what is a credit score?)

Almost six years out of high school, I can save face and tell you that I have a rudimentary understanding of the financial world (but, after all, how good can it be until I buy my first house or start actively planning for my retirement?) But the thought remains: If my generation had understood credit scores earlier, would more of us have been able to rent our first apartments without needing a guarantor? And if we had known about the importance of paying a credit card bill on time, would our parents still have had to bail us out?

Fortunately for many of you high school students out there, education technology leader EverFi is paving the way for financial literacy and helping you guys stay ahead of the game.

Move over Blackboard: A New Education Technology Platform is in Town

July 5, 2011

Don’t we all want a little homework help?

As one of the only girls in her undergraduate program at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, an elite engineering school in India, Pooja Nath had a hard time getting some extra help with her work when all the boys band together to collaborate on assignments. In fact, Nath recounts to the New York Times that she sat “on the sidelines just watching” as others got the homework help they needed.

That experience, however, served as the catalyst for her creating Piazza, a website in which students can post questions to their course page and then peers and educators can respond.

The Missouri Facebook Crackdown Inciting Anger

August 9, 2011

The contention surrounding Missouri’s latest law that it is now illegal for teachers to be “friends” with students on any social networking sites that allow for private communications is quickly gaining speed, particularly as Missourians prepare to go back to school in a few days.

This September, in addition to getting new dry erase markers, creating new lesson plans and making sure SMART Boards are in tip top condition, teachers are tasked with scouring through their Facebook friend lists to make sure that they are in accordance with the new law. The law was created after an Associated Press investigation found 87 Missouri teachers had lost their licenses between 2001 and 2005 because of sexual misconduct, some of which involved exchanging explicit online messages with students, according to an MSNBC report.

But many teachers are speaking out against this act, noting that this law precludes them from getting through to their students on the very technology platform that kids use every day.

A Safe Social Media Site for Teacher-Student Interactions?

August 25, 2011

While some school districts are shutting the doors to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, others seem to have found a soft spot for Google+, the latest social site that allows users to create "circles," or specific groups of family, friends or work associates, to share information online.

In just a few months, Google+ has taken cyberspace by storm, garnering more than 25 million users since it was launched at the end of June. One of the most popular aspects of the site is that users can divide their contacts into groups and control which information they share with what group; sounds like a pretty fail proof teaching supplement right?

"I think it's fantastic," Esther Wojcicki, a journalism and English teacher at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif., told The Journal in a recent article. "I can put my students in a circle and we don’t have to share everything with everybody, like you have to do on Facebook.

Who's the Most Popular Kid in School?

September 8, 2011

Move over you pre-adolescent girls who are sporting the best Juicy Couture outfits and you boys who have season tickets to the Yankees. There is a new cool kid in school – the Edison Township School District.

The district is about to earn some pretty nifty bragging rights as it will become the first in the state of New Jersey to implement a full algebra curriculum on iPads by introducing HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 app to students. The year-long pilot program kicks off Monday Sept. 12.

Do Teachers Want Help with Homework? Skype Thinks So

September 22, 2011

It’s a common site in any elementary school, high school or college – hoards of students clustered around tables with their backpacks messily strewn about with their notebooks (or laptops) and textbooks flooding the table. After all, two heads are better than one and four heads are certainly better than two when it comes to completing school assignments, right?

Well not unlike students, teachers are looking to get in on the power of collaboration and thanks to Skype, it looks like teacher collaboration just got a whole lot trendier.

Recently, Skype, the educational technology platform that currently has 16,448 educators signed up from 171 countries, announced a number of improvements to its free online education resource which is designed to help teachers create projects and collaborate with other instructors.

Blackboard's Mobile Venture Gains Traction

October 25, 2011

When I was a student at Syracuse University, one of the neatest things to hit campus was Blackboard –a site that collocated information about your test scores, attendance and homework assignments for each class under one user-friendly interface. (Yes, I know this makes me sound lame but c’mon you have to admit it was a school version of Facebook).

In fact, instead of having to remember what I got on that Spanish quiz weeks ago (to figure out how what I had to score on the upcoming quiz to get an A for the semester), I could just go to Blackboard and glean all my grades for the entire semester.

And for teachers – whether they are at the high school or college level – Blackboard allows instructors to have one central hub in which students can be directed which contains all relevant coursework and information.

A Cold Front is Coming for Google Apps

December 6, 2011

Is Google on Santa’s “Naughty” list this year?

It may appear so as the search engine King is not on the receiving end of holiday cheer lately.

Today, Consumer Watchdog – a nonprofit consumer advocate group – cautioned the third largest school district in the nation, Chicago Public Schools, against implementing an email system from Google as it searches for a new system. It’s chief rationale?

Industry Awaits Apple's Big Education Announcement Thursday

January 17, 2012

The Big Apple may be the city that never sleeps, but Apple is certainly the company that never snoozes either.  Therefore, perhaps it is fitting that Apple has sent out an invitation stating, “Join us for an education announcement in the Big Apple,” which will take place at 10 a.m. EST Thursday, Jan. 19, at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum.

From iPhones to iPads to iTouches, to anything i-related, Apple has certainly never been one to take a nap when it comes to technology innovations.

Paperless Classes: Might Want to Rethink 'The Dog Ate my Homework' Excuse

February 9, 2012

So I have a question for you students out there: Is it no longer acceptable to show up for class with a trusty pen and notebook? Do students who opt for traditional classroom items look un-cool in the face of their laptop toting, iPad wielding classmates?

Well, for students at McPherson College, not only will you look un-cool if you show up at “Intercultural Communication” class, taught by Dr. Becki Bowman, assistant professor of communication, but you will be violating Bowman’s declaration that Intercultural Communication will be a “paperless class.”

From the very first day of class, students will not be handed one single piece of paper – no paper tests, syllabi, or assignments.

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