District Administration - February 2012 - (Page 59)
Technology from The cIo perspecTIve
YouTube for Schools Makes its Debut
any districts have blocked YouTube because it either served as a distraction or raised concerns over appropriate use. Its new portal, however, offers solutions to teachers. The Web 2.0 video site launched YouTube for Schools on Dec. 12, which allows schools to sign up for the site’s education channel, YouTube EDU, which previously only hosted videos from colleges and university professors. By joining this site, schools automatically disable certain often distracting features, such as posting comments. According to a blog post by YouTube in early December, there is increased feedback from educators about wanting to use educational videos without the risk of students viewing inappropriate or unintended material: “We’ve been hearing from teachers that they want to use the vast array of educational videos on YouTube in their classrooms, but are concerned that students will be distracted by the latest music video or cute cat, or a video that wasn’t appropriate for students.” It isn’t always clear, however, what makes a video educational. While a video’s relevancy depends on which course and grade level is using it, ultimately, if the video is not posted on YouTube EDU, it cannot be accessed by YouTube for Schools. YouTube worked with teachers and 600 organizations to select content for YouTube EDU. There are more than 400 playlists available, differentiated by grade level and subject. To sign up or learn more about it, visit www.youtube.com/schools.
Mobile Learning’s Impact on Mathematics’ Instruction and Achievement
n 2007, Onslow County (N.C.) Public Schools agreed to work with Digital Millennial Consulting (DMC), a private consulting firm offering education technology solutions to schools and state agencies, in pioneering Project K-Nect, a mobile learning initiative aimed to increase math proficiency. The program, funded in part through Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Initiative, provided high school students in this rural district with smartphones equipped with DMC monitoring software that tracked their usage of the devices and provided a safe network through which they could collaborate. Project Tomorrow, a nonprofit education organization, evaluated the program during the 2009-2010 school year and found that not only did math scores increase, but teachers changed their manner of instruction and students were more engaged than ever. When the project first began, one-third of the students did not have access to the Internet at home, says Julie Evans, executive director of Project Tomorrow. The goal was not only to improve math scores, but to bridge the digital divide. According to Evans, the monitoring software was a critical component of this proOnslow County students first began using mobile devices gram. “Monitoring software is in their math classes in 2008. The district transitioned the next step in the maturation from smartphones to HTC Flyer tablets this past fall. process of mobile devices,” says Evans. “There’s a greater interest in products that provide that type of security, and DMC provided it for Onslow.” Judy Copeland, Onslow County director of instructional technology, says teachers were paired with a licensed technology facilitator to help them make the transition to use mobile devices in the classroom. Evans feels that these mobile devices may just be the “magic wand” needed for teachers to comfortably and seamlessly incorporate technology into the classroom. “These devices proved to be the perfect catalyst to get teachers to shift to a different teaching practice,” she says. In fall 2011, Onslow County Public Schools replaced the smartphone mobile devices with HTC Flyer tablet computers with funding from several other grants. Although expansion of the project is contingent on funding, Copeland says, “the district is lead by a superintendent who is determined to find the funding.” Visit www.tomorrow.org to view Project Tomorrow’s report.
YouTube launched a site for educational videos.
February 2012 59
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - February 2012
District Administration - February 2012
From the Editor
What Can U.S. Schools Learn From Foreign Counterparts?
A New Prescription for Fighting Drug Abuse
The Game Changer
The Legal Implications of Surveillance Cameras
Mobile Devices Drive Creative Instruction
District Administration - February 2012