Thursday, August 20, 2009

One-day Education Week Leadership Forum

Register September 25, 2009: Jersey City, New Jersey


Excerpted from their website:

Here are 10 top reasons why you should attend this important one-day event:

  1. Learn from panelists on the front lines of school district ed tech. Each session offers interactive Q&A so you can ask tough questions and get the answers you need.
  2. Upgrade your teacher and administrator technical skills with practical tactics for how to ID, evaluate, and measure the effectiveness of online PD.
  3. Return to your district with innovative strategies for aligning IT with academic achievement goals and best practices for maximizing student-learning management systems.
  4. Discover how to stretch your budget with little-known ways to get more stimulus dollars, by maximizing your e-rate benefits, and by accessing under-the-radar tech grants.
  5. Find out about the latest innovations in online learning, specific tools for narrowing academic gaps and reducing costs, and new ways to harness online ed to raise graduation rates.
  6. Learn from your peers at our working lunch where you can join your choice of table discussions on a wide range of pragmatic ed-tech topics.
  7. Hear directly from K-12 students about technology at school and what works best for them (and doesn’t).
  8. Stay on top of emerging technologies that can help improve student learning, including ways to enhance learning through simulations and games, methods being used to predict and assess the impact of new technologies, and the true impact of 1-to-1 computing.
  9. Meet and network with an elite, experienced group of administrators who can offer insights and advice on your challenges. We limit attendance to no more than 200 educators, creating an environment conducive to networking and problem-solving.
  10. Walk away with a free copy of our soon-to-be-released special Spotlight on technology tactics to improve student learning and manage schools more effectively.
My thoughts: great speakers, interesting topics, one day, close to home = Go!

Dr. Z

Monday, August 03, 2009

Rent a Textbook, Plant a Tree

I usually try not to mandate an expensive textbook for my courses as I usually can find online resources that fulfill the information need. However, I have been using the Grabe book, Integrating Technology for Meaningful Learning with a high degree of success. The downside is that the book costs $110 new! Students who purchase the book online for a discount usually have difficulty getting it shipped within a few weeks in time for class or end up with an older edition.

Now there is a new type of service called: Chegg

Chegg allows you to rent textbooks at a substantial discount. The above referenced Grabe book is $40 to rent for the semester plus shipping, with a shipping date guaranteed.

Also, you get to contribute to saving the environment as Chegg plants a tree for every book it rents.

Here is their story excerpted from their website:

Chegg is the vision of two young entrepreneurs from the Midwest, Osman and Aayush. They started this company because these guys passionately believed that there was a smarter, more economical model than buying expensive college textbooks. It's called renting. After all, we rent tuxedos, we rent DVDs, we rent tons of stuff that's not efficient to own, or that we need to use only once.

So in 2007 they opened shop online with a bold dream of fixing an industry that Wikipedia calls a "broken model" where prices are "out-of-control." Most people told Osman and Aayush that they could never challenge the conventional way textbooks were sold -- that shelling out over $1,000 a year on college textbooks was just a fact of life. Well, they didn't buy it.

It wasn't easy in the beginning; at one point they were buying so many textbooks on so many credit cards that American Express shut them down. But college students loved what they were doing and kept them open.

In fact, students kept coming back and telling their friends. So Chegg grew through word of mouth, without marketing because it was simple and right. Maybe it's obvious, but by renting and re-circulating books, hundreds of thousands of trees are saved every year. And what's more, Chegg plants a new tree for every book it rents. So far, over 750 acres of forest exist thanks to all the students who have chosen to rent from Chegg.