1. Baltimore County school board approves $140 million technology contract. The Baltimore County school board approved a $140 million technology contract Tuesday night that would expand its four-year-old technology initiative into its high schools. The county is one of the first districts in the state to provide every student with a free laptop to use at school and for the older students to take home.
2. States take a look at online learning prices. As tuition and student debt levels continue to rise, so has the political and public pressure on colleges to keep costs for students under control. Online education, still emerging, hasn't escaped those conversations. Legislatures in several states have taken steps in recent years to curb fees that institutions charge exclusively to online students, or to incentivize institutions to spend less on their online programs.
3. Report: instructional design support helps increase student-to-student interaction in online courses. When instructional designers are involved in online course design, student-to-student interaction goes up, according to a new survey of online education leaders from Quality Matters and Eduventures Research. The survey compared reported student interaction levels at institutions where instructional design support is required for online course development vs. those where such support is absent or optional. Perhaps not surprisingly, respondents perceived interactivity to be significantly higher for the former.
4. WeWork is quickly expanding the Flatiron school with a new location in Houston. Part of the reason the school has waited to grow its footprint is because of its focus on quality education and accessibility. Getting good teachers, while also keeping classes within financial reach for less affluent populations, is near impossible, says Enbar. “If we really want to be able to scale, there’s only one answer to that and it’s technology,” he says.
5. Some schools are easing up on strict cell phone policies. The rigid cellphone policy at Northampton Area School District was costing administrators two to three hours a day to enforce. A cellphone left in the open by a student was enough to merit a write-up and a trip to the assistant principal’s office for discipline, according to Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik. New data shows that the percentage of K-12 schools banning cellphones across the nation has dropped from more than 90 percent in 2009-10 to 66 percent in 2015-16, according to a survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.
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