Helene Blowers has identified the new Digital Divide ( Reality Check 2.010 ), as one between those with the skills to find and use information and those without. Among some of the skills she highlights are:
Knowing how to “think” about search
Knowing how to validate soft information
Knowing how to get information to travel to you instead of chasing it
Knowing where to find information in new “hot” channel
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At Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, a select group of freshmen received Kindles, an online book reader, instead of the textbooks.
Reading on the Kindle will get students to read books independently, but it is also all-inclusive and boosts their reading and critical thinking skills regardless of reading level, said Deanna Isley.
What I’d Buy Instead of an Interactive Whiteboard by Bill Ferriter, The Tempered Radical
Give me $5,000-$6,000 to spend on a middle school classroom with 25 students and I’ll buy:
5 Netbook Computers Cost: $1,250
Give me one netbook for every 5 kids in my classroom and I can create instant workstations for groups.
5 YEARS of VoiceThread for my Students Cost: $300
With little digital skill, kids of all ages can interact in Socratic style conversations on school related topics with one another both in and out of school.
5 YEARS of Brainpop Access for my Classroom Cost: $731
Brainpop is a service that creates short (3-5 minute) animated videos on topics across the curriculum.
5 YEARS of Access to Poll Everywhere Cost: $645
What makes Poll Everywhere—an online application that allows teachers to create and deliver quick surveys—unique is that students can respond to surveys via text message from their cell phones, making the need for student responders obsolete in most middle school classrooms considering the number of students carrying cell phones to school each day.
A Mid-Range Data Projector Cost: $595
Total = $3,521
Camtasia Screencasting Software Cost: $179
Students need to be more involved in their own learning
The single most important factor in a student's achievement is the quality of his or her teacher. Reports by: The National Council on Teacher Quality ("Increasing the Odds," 2005) and The New Teacher Project ("The Widget Effect," 2009)