March 2012

Senator Durbin’s golden opportunity to address college costs

I coauthored this piece with Gunnar Counselman, the founder and CEO of Fidelis, a venture-backed technology company that partners with leading colleges, veterans’ organizations, and companies to solve the military-to-career transition for the nation’s service members. He has also been a colleague of mine for the past several years as an adjunct fellow at Innosight Institute. Although long overdue, […]


Virginia bill would let districts veto enrollment in online programs

Entering 2012, the state of Virginia was coping with the effects of a faulty funding formula, which did not provide equity for all students statewide, that the existence of full-time virtual schools had exposed. Senate Bill 598 was introduced in January to fix the problem by insuring fair funding for public school students who wanted […]


Teaching a child to read on a shoestring

“I do believe we can teach a child to read for less than a dollar.” So said Shane Hill at the SXSW education-technology conference in Austin, Texas. But how? The Australian-born Hill created Mathletics, a popular math video game. After he sold that company in 2008, he attempted to build a nonprofit social venture to […]


Lessons from a one-to-one iPad program

Educators, administrators, techies and entrepreneurs descended upon Austin, Texas for the 2nd annual South by Southwest Education conference (SXSWedu) on March 6th. The opening day’s sessions spanned multiple panels on e-textbooks and the spread of open education resources (OERs), free content that can be used and shared by teachers and students. Other sessions covered the […]


Backtracking from video games

Here at SXSW’s Ed Tech Conference, there’s a lot of talk about using video games as instructional devices. After all, video games are fun, absorbing and motivating. Why shouldn’t school be the same? I went to a panel session led by Anthony Salcito of Microsoft, which is experimenting with how to deploy its Xbox game […]


Bright spots shine in online blended learning

A month has passed since the first-ever national Digital Learning Day. Given the excitement generated from teachers and others tuning in to the National Town Hall meeting and given the recent National Leadership Summit on Online Learning up on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. that iNACOL sponsored, I thought it was worth noting some great examples that weren’t highlighted during the day’s festivities. […]


The limits of online assessments

How tough is it for a math teacher to know if his or her students understand basic math? Tougher than you think, according Marilyn Burns, a veteran math educator and founder of Math Solutions, a unit of Scholastic Inc. She found that an alarming number of middle-school students couldn’t subtract 998 from 1000 in their […]