The 10 biggest higher-ed tech stories of 2010

5. Education plays a key role in the new National Broadband Plan.

College faculty whose campuses are surrounded by neighborhoods that rely on antiquated dial-up internet connections are hoping the Federal Communication Commission’s National Broadband Plan will bring faster connections that won’t send students running to their campus’s high-speed network every time they need to complete an assignment online.

4. Campus leaders turn to technology to help boost college completion rates.

The United States used to lead the world in the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees; now it ranks 12th among 36 developed nations. That’s something the Obama administration hopes to change by focusing heavily in the last year on boosting the nation’s college completion rate—and technology has played a key role in many of these efforts.

3. A federal crackdown on for-profit education providers sends shockwaves throughout the online-learning marketplace.

Enrollment in online college classes grew by more than 1 million students over the past year as more people returned to school in the midst of the economic downturn—but this phenomenal growth might be short-lived, a new study suggests. That’s partly because of new federal rules aimed at cracking down on misleading recruiting practices by for-profit education providers, who also are among the nation’s largest providers of online instruction.

2. Online privacy becomes a key priority for federal regulators, lawmakers … and campus leaders.

Giving web users more control of their personal information online became a key priority for members of Congress in the past year, as well as for federal regulators and the technology industry, which sought to head off new rules by suggesting guidelines of its own.

1. Apple’s iPad spurs a whole new technology movement … and helps change how people read.

With a large touch screen that can display electronic texts in color, Apple’s iPad was greeted with huge enthusiasm by many ed-tech advocates when it debuted earlier this year. The device also inspired a host of competitors and sparked an eReader price war as it threatened to shake up the eBook market.

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