While researchers have identified major benefits of teacher online connectivity to fill the gap between what preservice teachers experience in the university and what they will find in schools, preservice teachers have little motivation to participate in university-based online communities, according to a new report from edWeb.net. Once they graduate and enter the classroom, however, they have “strong intent” to participate in online communities to support their work. The edWeb.net report, Pathways to Participation for Preservice Teachers: Using Online Networks to Connect to Real-World Practice and Experience, describes how online networks can help preservice and new teachers connect with practicing educators who can provide them with valuable resources, mentoring, and general support.  Continue reading

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With field testing of the exams measuring mastery of the Common Core State Standards now well underway across the United States, attention is focusing on practical questions relating to execution. In addition, some people have raised the conceptual question of whether the exams developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) can truly deliver what they promised in their original bids for federal funding, according to a recent article in Education Week. The assessment article is part of an EdWeek package of coverage on various aspects of Common Core.

Both testing consortia have scaled back the length or complexity of some test elements, said the article, with testing experts saying that the consortia’s current accomplishments seem like a “first draft of their original goals.” Still, Scott Marion of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment said the 2014-2015 tests “will be better than almost all existing state tests, if not all.”

Meanwhile, a number of states are continuing to wrestle with their involvement in the Common Core standards and assessment. In Tennessee, the House of Representatives recently passed a measure delaying implementation of PARCC testing for one year. In the meantime, the state will keep its current TCAP tests in place and will put the new testing contract out for bid. To learn more, read this article from the Nashville Post.

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Winning a major award brings excitement and validation to creators of educational content. Knowing that the award came in a rigorous competition makes the honor even more special. For nearly 50 years, the REVERE Awards (formerly known as the AEP Awards) program has prided itself on the fact that earning a spot as a finalist or winner marks a truly special accomplishment.  Continue reading

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Everyone realizes the potential benefits of personalized learning for students, and nearly everyone understands the power of data in helping make this possible. On the flip side are concerns about how that student data might be used—or misused. Parents and other advocates for students’ rights want to ensure that students’ personal data remains private and especially that it not be made available to third parties for marketing purposes.  Continue reading

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Meeting the nation’s goal of providing high-speed Internet connectivity for 99% of U.S. students within five years presents many challenges, according to a new report from the EducationSuperHighway. The nonprofit organization’s latest report indicates vast gaps between wealthy and poor school districts’ access to high-quality technologies, according to this Digital Education blog article in Education Week. The report is based on data collected from more than 1,000 school districts in 45 states.  Continue reading

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