At Microsoft, we believe providing quality education to the 1.4 billion students around the world is essential to the future of our society. Effective, immersive learning experiences inspire students to demonstrate creative thinking. The right technology can empower education, inspire learning anywhere, and unlock the potential of students, educators, and schools. To make this technology available worldwide we partner with education communities, delivering solutions, services and programs that enhance learning and school management.
Microsoft in education empowers educators to:
• Inspire students to create and demonstrate critical thinking • Learn anytime, anywhere • Prepare students for their futures • Transform and modernize schools and college campuses
The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, or Gig.U, is a broad-based group of over 30 leading research universities from across the United States. Drawing on America’s rich history of community-led innovation in research and entrepreneurship, Gig.U seeks to accelerate the deployment of ultra high-speed networks to leading U.S. universities and their surrounding communities. Improvements to these networks drive economic growth and stimulate a new generationof innovations addressing critical needs, such as health care and education.
Gig.U members understand that next-gen networks lead to next-gen opportunities.
Gordon Dahlby's insight:
Do we need a similar K12 non-profit? What would gig to every building and classroom look like and to what benefits?
Schools and libraries are going to get a big boost in their Internet connectivity over the next few years.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a second E-rate Modernization Order in December, making further changes to the program that subsidizes Internet connectivity at schools and libraries across the country. Building on the FCC’s July E-rate Modernization Order — which took initial steps to improve Wi-Fi connectivity in schools and libraries and streamline program administration and data collection — the new ordertackles the underlying connectivity challenges and addresses the fact that the program has been historically underfunded. While the media coverage of the latest reforms has focused primarily on the $1.5 billion expansion of E-rate funding, it’s important to recognize that the additional money comes alongside key changes to the program rules to streamline and incentivize cost effective purchasing and investment in long-term, scalable infrastructure solutions. Taken together, these changes will substantially help schools and libraries to meet the connectivity challenges of today and tomorrow.
“A Guide for Administrators” is the newest resource from CoSN’s Leadership for Mobile Learning initiative. Designed to support school leaders interested in mobile learning, this initiative addresses the capacity of district leadership to overcome the barriers and develop, plan, implement and manage policies to use mobile devices for improving teaching and learning.
Supporting states and school districts in successful digital learning implementation
With the influx of new technology and increased connectivity, focused strategic planning is more important than ever to ensure digital learning opportunities for all students and educators. Most school districts have made investments in technology equipment, bandwidth and networking, training teachers and supporting both the technology and those using it. Many are looking at upgrading and expanding their use of technology either because of a specific initiative such as online assessment or for a broader push to a 1 to 1 program to accomplish specific school improvement goals. There are a number of factors for districts to consider as they embark upon this effort, key among them being planning, professional learning, software and digital content, broadband, devices, pedagogy and technology support. This resource is intended to provide guidance for districts to consider as they heighten their focus to ensure smooth implementation of digital learning. In addition, this resource includes proven resources and digital learning examples from across the nation to support discussions.
NEWS Federal Communications Commission 445 12 th Street, S.W. Washington, D. C. 20554 This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974). News Media Information 202 / 418-0500 Internet: http://www.fcc.gov TTY: 1-888-835-5322 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NEWS MEDIA CONTACT: December 11, 2014 Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253 E-mail: Mark.Wigfield@fcc.gov FCC CONTINUES E-RATE REBOOT TO TO MEET THE NEEDS OF 21 st CENTURY DIGITAL LEARNING Funding Boost Will Enable Schools, Libraries Nationwide to Reach Connectivity Goals over the Next Five Years Washington, D.C. ñ Taking significant additional steps to ensure that the nationís schools and libraries have access to robust high-speed broadband connections, the Federal Communications Commission today approved further modernization of its E-rate program, the nationís largest program supporting education technology. Broadband is transforming 21 st Century education and life-long learning. The Commission is implementing a fundamental reset of E-rate, the first such effort since the programís creation 18 years ago, so that it can keep pace with the exploding demands for ever-faster Internet service placed on school and library networks by digital learning applications, which often rely on individually connected tablets and laptops. Today the Commission adopted an Order aimed at closing this connectivity gap by making more funding available for libraries and schools to purchase broadband connectivity capable of delivering gigabit service over the next five years. The Order also provides schools and libraries additional flexibility and options for purchasing broadband services to enable schools and libraries to meet their Internet capacity needs in the most cost-effective way possible. The Order builds on action taken by the Commission in July to meet another critical need: robust Wi-Fi networks inside libraries and schools capable of supporting individualized learning. The July Order freed up funds for Wi-Fi through improved fiscal management and by ending or phasing out legacy services like paging and phone service. The July Order also increased program fairness by ensuring that all schools and libraries have equitable access to funding for Wi-Fi. And it strengthened the hand of educators in negotiations with service providers by requiring that prices and terms for E-rate subsidized services nationwide be posted transparently on the Internet. While schools and libraries are now on a path to providing robust Wi-Fi for students, teachers and patrons over the next five years, data the FCC has been gathering over the past six months has revealed the depth of the connectivity gap. For example, 63% of public schools ñ with over 40 million students ñ donít have broadband connections to the building capable of taking advantage of modern digital learning. That gap that will only grow as digital learning applications increase their requirements for bandwidth. According to data submitted to the FCC: ? 68% of all districts (73% of rural districts) say that not a single school in their district can meet the long-term high-speed Internet connectivity targets today. ? Approximately 41% of rural public schools lack access to fiber networks sufficient to meet modern connectivity goals for digital learning, compared to 31% of suburban and urban public schools. ? 39% of schools in affluent areas currently meet speed targets, but only 14% of schools in low-income rural and urban areas meet those targets. ? 45% of school districts lack sufficient Wi-Fi capacity to move to one-to-one student-to-device deployments which is increasingly necessary to achieve modern digital learning objectives. ? Half of all public libraries report connections of less than 10 Mbps (70% of rural libraries) ñ or less than 10% of the target for libraries with smaller service areas and less than 1% of the speed target for libraries serving larger numbers of people. ? More than half (58%) of districts say the monthly recurring expense of connections is the most significant barrier to faster service. ? Nearly 40% of districts indicate they canít afford the high up-front capital costs of infrastructure upgrades The FCCís actions close the connectivity gap through continued efforts to lower the prices schools and libraries pay for connectivity, and by increasing the amount of support available for connections to the Internet, known as category one of the program. Based on a comprehensive record, the Order raises the spending cap on the E-rate program from the current $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion -- the first reset of the cap since it was initially set at $2.25 million in 1997, an amount that wasnít adjusted for inflation until 2010. E-rate is one of four universal service programs funded by an assessment on interstate and international telephone revenues, a cost companies may recover from their residential and business customers. If demand for E-rate funds from schools and libraries ramps up to reach the full $3.9 billion cap, the estimated additional cost to an individual rate payer would be approximately 16 cents a month, about a half a penny per day or about $1.90 a year ñ less than a large soda at fast food restaurant or a cup of coffee. By providing certainty about the future of E-rate funding, raising the cap enables schools and libraries to plan how best to upgrade their networks and at what pace. Todayís Order also takes further steps to improve the overall administration of the program and maximizes the options schools and libraries have for purchasing affordable high-speed broadband connectivity by: ? Suspending the requirement that applicants seek funding for large up front construction costs over several years, and allowing applicants to pay their share of one-time, up-front construction costs over multiple years ? Equalizing the treatment of schools and libraries seeking support for dark fiber with those seeking support for lit fiber. Dark fiber leases allow the purchase of capacity without the service of transmitting data ñ lighting the fiber. Dark fiber can be an especially cost-effective option for smaller, rural districts ? Allowing schools and libraries to build high-speed broadband facilities themselves when that is the most cost-effective option, subject to a number of safeguards ? Providing an incentive for state support of last-mile broadband facilities through a match from E-rate of up to 10% of the cost of construction, with special consideration for Tribal schools ? Requiring carriers that receive subsidies from the universal service program for rural areas ñ called the High Cost program ñ to offer high-speed broadband to schools and libraries located in geographic areas receiving those subsidies at rates reasonably comparable to similar services in urban areas ? Increasing the certainty and predictability of funding for Wi-Fi by expanding the five-year budget approach to providing more equitable support for internal connections ñ known as category two ñ through funding year 2019 While the cost to consumers of these changes to the E-rate program is small, the benefits to students, life- long learners, and the nationís competitiveness are great. Action by the Commission December 11, 2014, by Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration (FCC 14-189). Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel with Commissioners Pai and OíRielly dissenting. Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and OíRielly issuing statements. FCC- More information about E-rate is available at www.fcc.gov/e-rate-update
If we want to close the digital access gap, we need to foster high-level technology initiatives in Title I schools. We partnered with the National Title I Association to discuss the best ways to pursue educational equity in our new toolkit, Rethinking Equity in a Digital Era: Forging a Strong Partnership Between District Title I and Technology Leaders. The toolkit includes a discussion guide for planning technology integration into Title I Programs, tips for building collaboration between the Title I Director and the CTO, and three in-depth case studies. Money is always in short supply. Make sure you're getting the most out of yours! - See more at: http://cosn.org/focus-areas/leadership-vision/digital-equity#sthash.nznEbxpT.dpuf
Welcome to this open experiment in uncovering new ideas – and brand-new ways to communicate them.
If you’ve always wanted to give a TED Talk, dive in! And if the traditional TED Talk style isn’t for you, try something new. Share your ideas in visuals or animation or lyrics or any style you’ve been imagining.
The only restriction: It needs to exist as a video (not a slide deck or audio-only file). And it should be 6 minutes or less.
The High Cost of Low Technology Skills in the U.S.--and What We Can Do About ItAlthough American millennials are the first generation of "digital natives"--that is, people who grew up with computers and the internet--they are not very tech savvy. That fact would probably come as a shock to most Americans--especially to millennials themselves. After all, millennials are glued to their phones, tablets, and other devices. Many assume that using technology often means using it well.
By: Scott Anthony David Duncan Pontus M.A. SirenDecember 2014 IssuePractically every company innovates. But few do so in an orderly, reliable way. In far too many organizations, the big breakthroughs happen despite the company. Successful innovations typically follow invisible development paths and require acts of individual heroism or a heavy dose of serendipity. Successive efforts to jump-start innovation through, say, hack-a-thons, cash prizes for inventive concepts, and on-again, off-again task forces frequently prove fruitless. Great ideas remain captive in the heads of employees, innovation initiatives take way too long, and the ideas that are developed are not necessarily the best efforts or the best fit with strategic priorities.
Most executives will freely admit that their innovation engine doesn’t hum the way they would like it to. But turning sundry innovation efforts into a function that operates consistently and at scale feels like a monumental task. And in many cases it is, requiring new organizational structures, new hires, and substantial investment, as the “innovation factory” Procter & Gamble built in the early 2000s did
Ebooks in 2015: Trends and Forecasts Part 2 by Nancy K. Herther Posted On January 20, 2015 PAGE: 1 2
With all of the Big Five publishers now agreeing to ebook-lending terms with libraries, we are finally seeing stability on this point across the book industry. Additionally, we are also starting to see publishers setting up their own sales/access portals as well as working with vendors and other distribution channels.
This is the second article in a two-part report that aims to provide the information you need to catch up and keep up with this complex area of the information industry. (Click here for Part 1.)
Ebook Subscription Services Arise
YouTube brought video viewing to users anytime, anywhere just 10 years ago, and 2 years later Netflix began to offer streaming video. Given the market dynamics, it was only a matter of time before ebook subscription ventures would also arise. Oyster and Scribd launched their services in 2013. In July 2014, Amazon introduced Kindle Unlimited with a 600,000-plus-title catalog heavy on classics, best-sellers, and books from authors who self-publish on Amazon. Each of these services offers unlimited access to its catalog for $9–$10 per month. There is no limit to the number of books you can read online or download for offline reading (without due dates)—unless you decide to cancel your subscription, when you can no longer access any saved titles.
This model is a bit pricey for all but the voracious reader, perhaps. Amazon’s service has attracted severe criticism from its own self-published authors who clearly see adding their titles to the Unlimited collection as bringing them far less revenue for their efforts than when titles are offered individually. Prolific indie romance author H.M. Ward notes, “I had my serials in it for 60 days and lost approx 75% of my income. That’s counting borrows and bonuses. My sales dropped like a stone. The number of borrows was higher than sales. They didn’t complement each other, as expected. … This model needs to be changed for it to work. Authors shouldn’t be paid lottery style. For this system to work we need a flat rate for borrows, borrowed or not borrowed (not this 10% crap), and it needs to be win win for the reader AND the writer. <-- That is the crux of the matter. I’d like to see Amazon create something new, something better instead of falling in step with Scribd and Oyster.” Amazon has a reputation for strong-arming publishers (which was recently apparent in its negotiation with Hachette Book Group). However, Amazon’s efforts to shortchange its own authors are creating significant frustration in its carefully cultivated indie author community.
Scribd is clearly a company to watch in 2015. On Jan. 5, 2015, it announced “that it has closed a $22 million financing led by Khosla Ventures with reinvestment from existing backers including Redpoint Ventures, Charles River Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank. … This brings Scribd’s total funding to date up to $48M,” with a currently estimated 80 million customers—a number that has been increasing by an average of 31% each month.
“We had a fantastic 2014 at Scribd,” co-founder and CEO Trip Adler explained in the same announcement. “We launched audiobooks with 30,000 titles from publishers like Blackstone and Scholastic. We also doubled our e-Book titles, adding content from 1,000+ publishers—including Big 5 publishers HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster—along with industry leaders like Harlequin, Houghton Mifflin, Lonely Planet, Perseus and Wiley. This new funding round will enable us to work towards achieving our goal of creating the most comprehensive library of the future for our millions of users around the world.”
Is Print Dead? Or Are We Not Asking the Right Questions?
In September 2014, the British trade paper The Bookseller surveyed 16–24-year-olds and found that nearly 75% preferred print to ebooks or audiobooks. In December 2014, Nielsen reported on a survey of the reading habits of 13–17-year-olds, saying, “Despite teens’ tech-savvy reputation, this group continues to lag behind adults when it comes to reading e-books, even with the young adult genre’s digital growth relative to the total e-book market.”
In December 2014, scientists published research on the impact of e-reading on sleep, finding that “those that read from an e-reader such as an iPad or a Kindle before going to bed, had a much more difficult time getting to sleep, and once they were slumbering, they spent less time in a crucial phase of the sleep process and were highly fatigued the following day.” Worse yet, disruption to circadian rhythms can lead to heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, obesity, and a wide variety of other serious health issues. Perhaps technology isn’t always best.
Scott Pack, a HarperCollins publisher, says, “I believe the reader of 2020 or 2030 will have two libraries, print and digital, with different types of books and publications in each. While I have no qualms about trying out a debut author on e-book or loading up some holiday reading on to my Kindle, when it comes to my favourite authors I have to own the print edition, and I remain a sucker for a beautifully designed and printed book.”
I had the chance to meet with Bob Crumley, Superintendent of the Chugach School District. He’s worked his way up, starting as a teacher in the village of Whittier, becoming the assistant superintendent in 1999 and superintendent in 2005. Crumley has a powerful story to share, as he’s been part of the team that transformed Chugach into a performance-based system and sustained it for twenty years.
Crumley has tremendous insights into every aspect of creating and managing a personalized, performance-based system. The emphasis on empowerment, situational leadership-management styles, and courage reminded me of my conversation with Virgel Hammonds, Superintendent of RSU2 in Maine. Below, Crumley addresses several key elements of managing a performance-based system:
Personalized is Community-Based: On the Importance of Community Engagement
Creating a personalized, performance-based system starts with engaging the community in an authentic way. Our entire transformation started with the communities and school board challenging us – they wanted to know why their children were not reading at grade level. Our communities were not sure they trusted the schools and teachers. This was partially based on the history of Alaska and how Native Alaskan communities were treated. However, it was also based on the fact that we were not currently effective in helping our children to learn the basics or preparing them for success in their lives. We had to find a way to overcome that.
The superintendent at the time, Roger Sampson, was committed to responding to the community and implemented a top-down reading program. Reading skills did improve, but it also raised questions for all of us about what we needed to do to respond to students to help them learn. With the leadership of Sampson and Richard DeLorenzo, Assistant Superintendent, we took a step back in order to redesign our system.
Twenty years later, we are thankful for how our community guided us in the right direction through difficult-to-answer common sense questions, which we honored by building right into the new system. Should we expect all students to learn the same material, in the same way, at the same pace? Should we allow our system to hold back students who are ready to advance to new learning material? Should we advance students to new learning levels before they are ready? Should we consider the state-tested content areas as the most important, or consider all content areas equally important?
The common sense questions led us to responses, which reversed the traditional education equation. In our past traditional system, time – 180 school days per year – was the constant, and the amount learned by each student each year was the variable.
Community members from Tatitlek, Whittier, and Chenega Bay were involved in the process. Their description of what they wanted for their children helped us to understand we needed to approach students holistically. We needed to be able to prepare students for being successful in their lives – whether that was to live in remote areas, live in urban areas, go to college, work in a business, or create their own methods of supporting themselves. In order to be comprehensive, we created ten content areas that include academic skills, personal and social skills, and employability skills. Our community members also wanted to make sure that their children knew how to learn, so we began to think about the focus of teaching as helping students build content skills through, and with, process skills.
I think the biggest mistake that districts moving towards performance-based systems make is that they skip the community engagement piece. To community members, it quickly becomes “your system” and not “our system.” Too many districts glance through that step, and it always comes back and bites them. When we transform our schools to a personalized system, we have to start with being community-based. We simply can’t think about our students as outside of our own community.
Student Learning: The Core of System-Building
Early on, Sampson and DeLorenzo embraced a continuous improvement model that would be the foundation of the Chugach system. This resulted in CSD receiving the Baldrige award in 2001 and the Alaska Performance Excellence Award in 2009. We continue to be very focused on the continuous improvement approach in our strategic planning process.
Gordon Dahlby's insight:
This is the fourth post in the Chugach School District series. Read the first, second, and third posts here.
DOCSIS 3.1, a standard designed to deliver downloads at up to 10Gbps on existing hybrid fibre-coax cable television networks, has passed an interoperability test.
The Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) standard is overseen by Cable Labs, a not-for-profit outfit that conducts research for the cable companies who fund it and fill its membership roster. Cable companies have an obvious interest in squeezing more out of their existing networks and DOCSIS 3.1 certainly does that: the standard's spec calls for download speeds of up to 10Gbps and uploads at 1Gbps, albeit over short distances.
On December 10, the Center for Technology Innovation hosted an event to discuss mobile technology’s role and potential future in developing economies as part of the ongoing Mobile Economy Project event series.
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