Thursday, November 29, 2012

Strategic Technology Trends for Education

I was reading the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013 by Gartner, Inc. this morning and found some interesting predictions for the next year that I wanted to share with you. I also want to mention that I realize that governmental and educational entities will seldom be on the cutting edge of these predictions, but the list does give us hope for where we might be headed and for how we might start planning for the future.

The top ten strategic trends for 2013 include:
  • Mobile Device Battles
  • Mobile Applications and HTML5
  • Personal Cloud
  • Enterprise App Stores
  • The Internet of Things
  • Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing
  • Strategic Big Data
  • Actionable Analytics
  • In Memory Computing
  • Integrated Ecosystems
The trends clearly show a change in the role and function of your IT department as the shift toward cloud computing continues and as our uses become more personalized. Gartner predicts that "mobile phones will overtake PC's by 2013 as the most common Web access device worldwide" and the internet is truly becoming the "Internet of Things" as cellular technology is being embedded into many new types of devices.

I hope you will read the "Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013" by clicking HERE and please share your thoughts.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Who is Teaching Your Children? Teachers Hire Test-Takers to Take Their Certification Exams

Teaching has always been a time-honored and respected profession as a Gallup poll shows high school teachers rank as the fourth highest profession in regards to honesty and ethical standards.

Is this ranking in jeopardy given the cheating scandals in Atlanta and Houston and today's disturbing Associated Press article written by Adrian Sainz, entitled "Feds: Teachers Embroiled in Test-Taking Fraud?"

This fifteen year-long conspiracy involved aspiring public school teachers in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas who hired a proxy to cheat on the tests they must pass to prove they are qualified to lead their classrooms.

Although this has happened a few other times on teacher certification tests, most cheating involves students cheating on tests and those stories seem to be more and more common as time goes by.

Do people not think that cheating is wrong anymore?

Please read the article in its entirety by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Is Creativity Innate or Can it be Learned?

Adobe recently released a study, Creativity and Education: Why It Matters. Here are some interesting statistics from this survey of 1,000+ Americans ages 25+ who are college-educated and full-time (salaried) employees:
57% of survey respondents believe creativity is a learned skill that can be learned in their career
65% believe creativity is a personality trait that is innate
78% believe creativity is important to their current career
85% believe creative thinking is critical for problem solving in their career
88% believe creativity should be built into education curriculum
72% think they were more focused on subject matter than creative thinking in school
94% agreed with the statement "It is important for educators to encourage creative thinking in their students
Here are some additional statistics that are cause for concern:
80% of education majors (vs. 54% of engineering majors) believe creativity is an innate skill (a skill you are born with)
47% felt there is enough opportunity in school for students to demonstrate creativity
41% felt academic test scores are the best indicators for success in school and beyond
32% do not feel comforable thinking creatively at work
Why the disconnect with educators? Shouldn't every educator stress creativity within the classroom? Are educators worried that creativity cannot be objectively measured?

I agree that it is difficult to define creativity, but we can add more creativity into our instructional design. We must also recognize the importance of originality because creativity is what makes the world a better place. In other words, creativity improves the existing outcome in everything that we do.

Ask yourself if you are part of the 32% who do not feel comfortable thinking creatively at work and why? It's ok if you feel this way, but we need to get out of our comfort zone and focus on creativity in the classroom because 85% of us agree that creativity is important for success in our chosen occupation.

Also read:
The Phenomenons Called Curiosity and Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

There Are No Traffic Jams on the Extra Mile

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free Online Libraries

I wanted to share "20+ Free Online Libraries" from the Getting Smart site. As the post states:
"It’s a shame more people are not aware of the wide array of free online libraries. Databases, books, videos, audio recordings and e-books are available, just waiting to be viewed and used. This guide will help avid readers, serious researchers and casual surfers alike get the most out of free web libraries."
There are a lot of great links to free online libraries that can benefit you and your students. The sites range from the Internet Archive to the Library of Congress to kobo and Bartleby. I think you will at least find a few sites that will be new and useful to you. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Recognizing Academic Achievement in Career/Technical Education

SREB (Southern Regional Education Board) just released "Recognizing Academic Achievment in Career/Technical Education: Conditions for Awarding Academic Credit for Career/Technical Courses" which details the merits and challenges involved in awarding academic credit to caree/technical courses that embrace rigorous college and career-readiness standards equivalent to those found in traditional academic courses.

As SREB states in their summary:
Putting in place the right set of policies for awarding academic credit for CT courses is one way to recognize CT programs with signature features that truly advance students’ technical, academic and cognitive skills development. It is our hope that this report will assist states in their continuing efforts to develop rigorous optional pathways designed around authentic learning experiences that will result in more students graduating from high school and graduating both college and career-ready.
I hope you will take the time to read this publication and share your thoughts.

How to Get Started and Effectively Use Twitter

I still find that many educators are reluctant to use Twitter and they really don't see a need for it, but Edudemic has written a guide that should help anyone understand the many uses of Twitter entitled "100 Simple Ways to Effectively Use Twitter."

This article provides great information on how to get started on Twitter, how to conduct searches, get organized, build authority, and, most importantly, how to get value out of your Twitter experience.

Once you get started on Twitter, I hope you will follow us and please remember that the list on Edudemic is a great starting point, but you should modify your Twitter experience to meet your own needs. I think you will find that you enjoy your Twitter experience more than you ever thought you would!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Week in Review: The Most Popular Posts of the Week

Good morning from the CareerTech Testing Center's world headquarters in Stillwater, Oklahoma!

The temperature outside has finally started to cool off and it feels like fall is officially here. This of course means much more football to watch and lots of great food in the next few weeks. I'll admit I'm not the greatest fan of turkey, but bring on the desserts!

I haven't been posting much lately for one reason or another, but I wanted to say thank you to all of you who are searching for and continuing to read the information that we provide. I have quite a few posts lined up for you in the next few weeks so get ready! 

I wanted to share the most popular posts of the week:
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Today’s Employees Require Continuous Development

Did you know that the skills you acquire during college have an expected life of only five years?

Did you know that it isn’t only white-collar workers that face a major issue with skills obsolescence?

Technology and certification requirements have affected all of our jobs and it’s an ongoing challenge for employers and employees to remain relevant in the world economy.

All employees must constantly enhance their skills if they are to stay relevant and marketable in today’s workforce. Many employers provide professional development, but 28% of the most promising positions will require “considerable to extensive preparation.” To be honest, most employers will not offer training at this level so I believe “the future belongs to those who take charge of their own learning.”

Career and technical education is a key component in the training and re-training of America's workforce that, all too often, doesn't get the credit that it deserves. CareerTech provides nationally recognized competency-based curriculum, education, and training for a myriad of specialized and customized courses and training opportunities.

Just like I was asked last week, "Isn't CareerTech just for high school students?".... No, it's for high school students, adults of any age, law offenders, and business and industry.

I'm also frequently asked, "Isn't CareerTech just the traditional trade areas?".... No, we instruct students in not only trade and industrial programs, but business, marketing and information technology, health, family and consumer science, agriculture, and science, technology, engineering and math. To be honest, this list is only the major headings for the hundreds of programs that we offer from pre-engineering, culinary arts, 3D modeling and animation, drafting, aviation mechanics, etc. This doesn't even begin to encompass the various customized trainings that we do for business and industry.

CareerTech is a dynamic educational entity that has evolved over time, but they remain consistent in how they utilize business and industy's needs to drive their educational programs. These ties to industry are how CareerTech can best meet the needs of both employers and employees as the seek the training needed to be relevant in today's economy.

I believe career and technical education will continue to grow in significance and become a major force in the revitalization of America's workforce. It's truly a great way to make yourself or your company relevant in an ever-changing world economy.
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