For years every educator has struggled with finding new and modern ways to connect with students and engage them in the learning process. The problem is students are often ahead of the curve, adopting new technology and communication tools while our educators are woefully behind. It”s not that everyone should believe that learning should be more fun for our students, but we should believe that every student should have access to the tools and technology that will make them a savvy and knowledgeable member of the job force.

In this week”s countdown of the top education articles, we”re taking a look at studies, articles and interviews which talk about revolutionary technology shaking up the classroom.

1. Twitter Increases Student Engagement

by Sarah Kessler, Mashable

According to new research, asking the average student to pack an entire idea or concept into Twitter’s 140 characters does not limit their creativity and potential, but instead, helps them achieve it.

In this study, Dr. Reynol Junco, who has been studying tech’s effect on students for over 10 years, makes a surprising connection between Twitter and increased student engagement in and outside of the classroom.

2. Blackboard Users: Consider the Parable of the Tailor

by Wesley Fryer, Speed of Creativity

Frustrated and bothered by school administrations pushing him and his students to use Blackboard/WebCT, Wesley Fryer turned to his personal blog to ask if teachers/students felt genuinely compelled to use the program, or if they were just using it because of the program”s reputation.

To prove his point that the Blackboard system may just be bells and whistles with no substantial benefit to teachers, Wesley cites the Parable of the Tailor as a call to action for teachers to be skeptical of a program with such a great reputation that no one truly use well.

by Sarah Kiewel, The Chronicle

In Stargate Universe, a sci-fi show about a group of scientists and military personal who get stranded on an alien vessel in deep space, one of the main characters is selected on the team because he was able to solve a problem hidden inside a video game which, until that point, was unsolvable by anyone currently known to man.

The ability to measure a student’s problem-solving and critical thinking is extremely important to college recruiters today. That’s why researchers are turning to video games to help them test and measure how student’s think. By hiding critical assessments in video games, educators are able to watch students solve  students solve complex tasks while immersed in virtual worlds.

4. Ushering iPad into the Classroom

by Denise Harrison, The Journal

Are the stars aligning for the iPad to become the go-to student learning tool? Afterall, it is lightweight and relatively inexpensive (when compared with computers), plus the interface is one that most young people understand and can use with ease.

In this article, writer Denise Harrison examines some of the reasons that the iPad could be in the classroom sooner than we think.

5. Avinash Kaushik on Higher Ed Websites and Web Analytics

by Karine Joly, Higher Ed Analytics

Educational consultants and tutors may have never heard of Avinash Kaushik, Google’s top web analytics guru, but that didn’t stop Karine Joly from interviewing him about the plight of higher education websites. It should also not stop you from taking his expert advice when redesigning your website.

According to Kaushik, higher education websites range from “Shout Marketing” to “Unimaginative Marketing”, when they could be creating websites that infuse everything cool about the web with the intelligence of the higher education community. He believes that higher education communities should use data acquired from their students and prospects ( through modern survey methods and online usability testing in coordination with web analytical data) to rebuild their websites slowly over time with baby steps.

featured photo “Robin Sloan Teaches Students About Twitter” by Twitter


What did you think about this week”s education article count-down? Is there a fantastic article you believe we missed?

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  • Blythe

    I totally agree with the article on twittering and student engagment. I recently attended a seminar that covered the importance of “limited word count” in student writing, as it is a way enhance creativity in linear thinkers and to teach concise thinking techniques (word choice decision-making) with more robust writers.

    Join Forest Trail Academy’s twitter page at

  • Shannon Sweetser

    Thanks for stopping by Blythe!

    I was in creative writing for many years and one thing I’ve learned is that guidelines are beautiful things when you’re in the learning process.

    It also makes sense that the guidelines that students would feel comfortable using is the language of our times (tweets!). I love the idea of bringing “tweeting” into the classroom: A.) It gives a lot of transparency into the classroom and between student ideas – thus teaching collaboration B.) with the limitations of 140 characters, students have to whittle ideas down to their core

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