Unnecessary E-books, Digital Tools & More in This Week’s EdTech Report

Each week, Boundless collects the best edtech news to keep you informed of the latest trends.

Mike Tracy, Art Institute of Orange County Teacher, Fired for Not Forcing Students to Buy Pointless E-Textbooks
via OC Weekly 

Some educators go above and beyond to ensure that their students save money on textbooks and school supplies for class. One such educator is Mike Tracy, the now former animation director for the Art Institute of California—Orange County. He refused to require his students to purchase what he saw as unnecessary and expensive ebooks for class, but the school had other plans. Tracy wrote on his Facebook page,

Today, the President of the school, Greg Marick, presented me with an ultimatum; either choose a book by Tuesday, Aug 14th or the company will terminate my employment for insubordination. My response, of course, is that I will not change my mind on this issue and that I’m determined to resist the policy however I can. I think this means that, as of this week, I will no longer be teaching at AI.

Unnecessary Ebooks, Digital Tools & More in This Week’s EdTech Report

Reach 99.8% of Students with the One Thing You’re Not Doing

via Edcetera

Maybe you’ve tried reaching students with everything from Twitter to Facebook and email to carrier pigeon, but there’s one simple option you’re missing: texting. Nearly 100% of students have a cell phone on campus, meaning you can reach almost your entire class via text. Statistics show that students text far more than they talk and check their email. Get some tips on using texting for education from Edcetera in this blog post.

Five Smart Habits to Develop for Back to School
via Mind/Shift

Make this school year the best yet with these tips. Our favorite one? “Move beyond the textbook.” Mind/Shift writes,

Textbooks are by nature restrictive. The chapter order is an imposition; the information within the book is only as current as the publication date. If you can, liberate yourself from the book!

We couldn’t agree more! Supplementing textbooks with platforms like Edmodo or Wikispaces not only greatly reduces the cost of learning but also gives you more options in terms of selecting the content you want. Of course, another choice is to replace textbooks entirely with Boundless.

20 Schools Innovating With Digital Tools
via Education Week

An interesting question made its way across Twitter recently: “Do you know any US schools that are REALLY using digital tools in an INTERESTING way for communication, marketing, or learning?”

Tom Vander Ark and Sarah Cargill delivered in their list of innovative schools. One that stood out to us was Eagle Tech Academy, which created a New Tech Network-wide project called #myparty12 in which each student created his/her own political party. The parties had to defend a policy, create a campaign video, and participate in an online debate.

Buying Ponies: What Works and What Doesn’t in the Tough and Tumble World of Teaching
via Huffington Post

Remember your first day in front of the classroom? So does author Adam Saenz. During his first day as a substitute teacher, he promised to buy ponies for four of the class’s “most chronically-misbehaving students.” Though assuring students of new pets was not on his to-do list that morning, it was part of an overall whirlwind and eye-opening day. He writes,

Usually, I am on a campus as “the expert,” observing, interviewing, and collecting the data that will inform intervention recommendations for the tried-everything-and-nothing’s-worked students. I wanted just a glimpse of what it is like to be on the receiving end of those recommendations.

What edtech news were you watching this week? Tell us in the comments below.

Photo by Flickr user anotherkindofdrew


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