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21st-century learning

When Charles Soriano enrolled in classes a few years ago in the Mid-Career Doctorate in Educational Leadership program at the University of Pennsylvania, he was already an accomplished school administrator. Assistant superintendent of schools in the East Hampton (N.Y.) Union Free School District, Soriano had two master’s degrees—in English literature and educational leadership—and had served on state panels and advisory committees. He wasn’t satisfied and chose to pursue professional development. “I really believe school leadership is a craft,” he says.








Harvard law professor John Palfrey's new book examines the lives of digital natives.


Over the past decade, online learning has risen to become one of the fastest growing sectors in education and certainly one of the most intriguing. Today, more and more students at all levels of education—elementary to postsecondary—are opting to take courses online. It is a testament to the effectiveness of this model of education.

Giddings, Texas, is a small town located in the middle of a very large and rural state. “We’re pretty much an agricultural, oil and gas type community,” says Michael S. Kuhrt, superintendent of the 1,900-student school district.


In early March, as he addressed the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., President Obama spoke at great length of the reforms he believes will give Americans “a complete and competitive education, from the cradle up through a career.” The proposals he laid out for improving early childhood education, K12 standards and assessments, graduation rates, teacher quality and college funding will be debated for months to come by thousands of school administrators, teachers, parents and politicians.

 

Blogs:

In the digital world we live in, being a “viewer ” is past. Web 2.0 tools—social networks, wikis, blogs, voicestream, YouTube, Google Docs—allow users to be participants. Instead of creating isolated users, such technologies foster community and collaboration.

Even if the intention exists to strengthen teaching and learning through technology, accomplishing it is not easy. For school leaders and teachers pursuing technology professional development, a number of factors can easily thwart their success:


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Edugaming is in the midst of a resurgence. After the initial successes of the 1970s and 1980s, intense competition from console game systems from companies such as Nintendo, Sega and later Sony severely cut into demand for PC-based educational games, which often paled in comparison. As a result, many edugame companies were quickly outpaced and outspent and were either sold, downsized or forced out of business.

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