Think fast: What is the purpose of education? Ask any group of people — including any group of educators — and you’re likely to hear a different answer from each. Therein is a clue. If each of us gives a different answer to this age-old question, doesn’t it follow that education serves a unique purpose, for each individual?

Indeed, if there is a common theme to answers given to this question, it typically revolves around the individual: “To give each person a life-long love of learning.” “To give learners practical skills that will enable them to support themselves.” “To ground each student in a philosophy of life that will allow him or her to flourish.” Is each a legitimate answer to the question? Yes. Is each focused on an individual’s growth and success? Yes.

For millennia, the practice of education has aimed for and fallen short of this ideal of individualized growth. (read more…)

tablet on white background. Isolated 3D imageThis past spring, I was asked to substitute teach in one of our first-grade classrooms. There were no guest teachers available that day so, as the elementary principal, I was it. Being a former fifth- and sixth-grade teacher, I was a bit out of my comfort zone. How would I document what students learned during their time with me?

During the literacy block, I found moments to capture learning with my iPad. Using the device’s camera, I was able to take photos of both the students’ work and of them actually working. Along with images, I typed up reflections from our experience. In addition, I recorded audio of one student reading aloud their own writing to me. All of this information — text, images and audio — were stored within one note in Evernote. When I was done, I emailed the note to the classroom teacher. Once shared, the teacher was then free to add any or all of the content from this one note to the students’ digital portfolios within Evernote. (read more…)

SmartBrief on EdTech recently polled readers to discern how well they feel today’s schools are using technology to prepare students for college and careers, and to better understand what such preparation might look like. In addition, we wanted to gauge readers’ views on the use of massive open online courses — or MOOCs — in the context of higher education.

Our findings showed that a majority of readers — 82.16% — feel their schools are at least doing “somewhat well” at preparing students with the technology skills needed for college and careers, while the remainder gave their school or district lower ratings.

Regarding the specific type of tech skills being taught, respondents chose digital citizenship skills and online learning skills in almost equal numbers as the skills that are most valuable for students. A much smaller number put the highest importance on teaching students to use the latest technology devices.

More than half of readers weighing in on MOOCs in higher education responded that such courses may be a viable option for all students, while a smaller number — just over 16% — believe MOOCs may disrupt the higher education landscape as a whole. (read more…)

This month’s hottest stories from SmartBrief for the Higher Ed Leader span issues from MOOCs to enrollment at community colleges. For more education news and to keep up-to-date all summer long, subscribe to a daily email newsbrief.

1. What will higher education look like in 10 years?
Over the next decade, colleges and universities will be seeking secondary funding resources, embracing technology and offering more than traditional degrees, predicts University of Texas at Austin history professor Steven Mintz. Read more.

2. Why colleges must be more “intentional” about part-time faculty
College and university administrators must become more “intentional” about hiring contingent faculty, according to Paul Yakoboski, senior economist for the TIAA-CREF Institute. Read more.

3. Colleges in Ohio, Pa. lead list of most expensive schools
Ohio’s Miami University-Oxford was the most expensive four-year public institution in the country during the 2012-13 academic year with a net price of $24,674, according to U.S. (read more…)

Here are the most popular stories from SmartBrief on EdTech this month. For more education news and to keep up-to-date all summer long, subscribe to a daily email newsbrief.

1. How well does the Khan Academy work?
The U.S. Department of Education is investing $3 million in a study to determine whether the Khan Academy’s online courses are working. Read more.

2. What are common mistakes schools make with iPads?
Schools nationwide are making common mistakes when it comes to integrating iPads, EdTechTeacher director and co-founder Tom Daccord said at the International Society for Technology in Education conference. Read more.

3. Actress shares story of childhood struggles at ISTE conference
Ashley Judd was Saturday evening’s opening keynote speaker at the International Society for Technology in Education’s 35th annual conference and expo. Read more.

4. How students can improve note taking with technology
With students increasingly using technology to take and record notes in class, teacher and author Vicki Davis in this blog post shares a five-step process she’s developed to help students have success with electronic notetaking. (read more…)