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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.

Afternoon Announcements: February 2, 2012

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February 02, 2012 07:58 pm


We hope that you were too busy enjoying the Digital Learning Day live stream to notice the break from Afternoon Announcements yesterday. But if you’ve been anxiously awaiting getting caught up on all the critical education news here is a double dose just for you. You’re welcome.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Public Schools’ is lifting a ban on YouTube. As an efforts to expand digital learning in the classroom, CPS is allowing students and faculty limited access to the video content sharing website in hopes that it will better engage students in  the learning process. Teachers will also be able to jump onto YouTube and find other teaching tools on that website and others to create playlists.

As a part of Digital Learning Day, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski challenged schools and companies to get digital textbooks in students’ hands within five years. As reported by the Associated Press, the Education Secretary implored both federal and local governments to get on board with providing the resource for schools to get ahead-of-the-curve with digital technology, including offering entirely digital textbooks by 2017.

The Chicago Tribune also reports that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is pushing state lawmakers to raise the age students can legally drop out of school from 17 to 18. The  move is targeting improving graduation rates and stems from the same push given by President Obama during his State of the Union address. But the goal is one that local educators say won’t accomplish much unless the state also provides the money to keep at-risk students in school.

Education Week From Education Week, the state schools chief of California has assigned an expert team to boost the achievement of the state’s 1 million English-language learners. A critical part of the team’s responsibilities will include updating the state’s current English-language-development standards to be aligned with the common academic standards in English/language arts and mathematics that California and 45 other states have adopted.

The Alliance for Excellent Education is also featured in a number of publications in relation to increased technology in the classroom and Digital Learning Day!

U.S. News and World Report highlights the increased use of digital technology such as gaming to transform traditional learning of math, history and sciences. Additionally, in an effort to circulate innovative ideas about integrating electronic gaming in the classroom, the NEA Foundation, along with Microsoft, is hosting a competition for the best ideas on how to develop interactive technology and game-based learning to improve teaching and learning.

After Governor Mitch Daniel declared February 1st Digital Learning Day, the Indiana Department of Education announced it is challenging teachers to instruct their students digitally. The Indianapolis Star reports that state agency is hosting a “29-Day Web 2.0 Challenge” that will feature an online resource with educator tutorials and tips for each day in February.

The Christian Science Monitor also showcases Digital Learning by emphasizing the progress made in integrating digital technologies into the classroom and the challenges the initiative faces. Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise offered his thoughts on the push for technological innovation saying “It is time we stop asking students to ‘power down’ when they go to school and instead to ‘power up’ and use their interest in technology as a new way to learn.”


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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.