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Empowering Students

Empowering Students | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Empowering Students


Focus on Positive Relationships

When surveyed, students say that the most important aspect of a positive school experience is having teachers who care about them.


Work Should be Real and Authentic

Are classroom activities of interest to students? Are there tools available to students to access current content? When the Arab Spring erupted, students in the Yarmouth Schools had many questions. Teachers were able to help them find valid and real information online. Class discussions were held using Google Docs and face to face. An opportunity to work with a class in Egypt was available later so that students could ask questions.



Alice Barr, Instructional Technology Integrator, Yarmouth High School, Yarmouth ME

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Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership
Leaders, Leadership and Best Practice in K-20 Educational Techonology
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Not sure if a site is safe from 'Heartbleed'? Use this tool to check

Not sure if a site is safe from 'Heartbleed'? Use this tool to check | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
By Salvador Rodriguez

April 9, 2014, 10:59 a.m.

A bug named "Heartbleed" was recently discovered and likely affects most websites on the Internet. Fortunately, an online tool makes it easy for users to quickly check whether a website is secure or not.

Heartbleed is a bug that affects OpenSSL, a technology that is used by many Internet services to keep user data secure. Hackers can take advantage of the bug to steal a key code that can then be used to steal information, including user passwords.

A fix has been created for the bug, but many websites across the Internet have still not implemented it to their services.,0,2218732.story#ixzz2ybCvv8y6

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Google Under Fire for Data-Mining Student Email Messages

Google Under Fire for Data-Mining Student Email Messages | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

As part of a potentially explosive lawsuit making its way through federal court, the giant online-services provider Google has acknowledged scanning the contents of millions of email messages sent and received by student users of the company’sApps for Education tool suite for schools.

In the suit, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company also faces accusations from plaintiffs that it went further, crossing a “creepy line” by using information gleaned from the scans to build “surreptitious” profiles of Apps for Education users that could be used for such purposes as targeted advertising.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is currently hearing the complaint, which alleges that the data-mining practices behind Google’s Gmail electronic-messaging service violate federal and state wiretap and privacy laws. Gmail is a key feature of Google Apps for Education, which has 30 million users worldwide and is provided by the company for free to thousands of educational institutions in the United States.

A Google spokeswoman confirmed to Education Week that the company “scans and indexes” the emails of all Apps for Education users for a variety of purposes, including potential advertising, via automated processes that cannot be turned off—even for Apps for Education customers who elect not to receive ads. The company would not say whether those email scans are used to help build profiles of students or other Apps for Education users, but said the results of its data mining are not used to actually target ads to Apps for Education users unless they choose to receive them.

Student-data-privacy experts contend that the latter claim is contradicted by Google’s own court filings in the California suit. They describe the case as highly troubling and likely to further inflame rising national concern that protection of children’s private educational information is too lax.

“This should draw the attention of the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Trade Commission, and state legislatures,” said Khaliah Barnes, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, a Washington-based advocacy group. “Student privacy is under attack.”


In recent months, a broad cross section of public officials, industry leaders, and advocates has coalesced around the principle that students’ educational data should not be used for commercial purposes.

Regardless of whether the alleged data-mining practices of Google Apps for Education are found to constitute illegal wiretapping, such practices would constitute a direct violation of that principle, advocates say.

The questions swirling around Google Apps for Education also have major implications, observers say, for how the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, will be interpreted and enforced in the new era of digital technology and “big data” in schools.

The Education Department’s recently issued guidance on student-data privacy appears to deem the alleged practices of Google Apps for Education as violating FERPA. Some experts, however, argue that the federal law is too antiquated to effectively address the complex privacy concerns raised by such high-tech data mining.

The confusion is contributing to a growing wariness of cloud-based education service providers, such as Google, among some K-12 officials.

The 210,000-student Houston Independent School District, for example, recently declined to adopt the popular Google Apps for Education tool suite as part of its high-profile 1-to-1 computing initiative. Chief Technology Officer Lenny Schad said that decision was due in large part to concerns over how Google would handle student information.

“The landscape of what districts are facing is changing at light speed,” Mr. Schad said. “We have to come together as educational entities and say to vendors that certain privacy protections are non-negotiable, and we won’t do business with you until they are in place.”

But Judge Lucy H. Koh, whose court is based in San Jose, denied the request for class-action status March 18 on the grounds that it would be impossible to determine which email users consented to Google's privacy policies.

In September, Judge Koh denied a motion from Google to dismiss the case, Google Inc. Gmail Litigation, 13-md-02430, entirely.

While much of the California litigation is focused on consumer Gmail users, two of the plaintiffs—Robert Fread, of the University of Hawaii, and Rafael Carrillo, of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.—are students who say they were required to use Gmail accounts when their institutions adopted Google Apps for Education.

Their universities are among the thousands of institutions of higher education and K-12 schools to adopt the “cloud productivity” suite in recent years. (Google could not provide a current number of K-12 users in the United States.)

Proponents say Google Apps for Education contains powerful, easy-to-use free tools that allow users to perform a wide variety of basic digital functions, such as sending email and keeping a calendar; maintaining cloud-based storage of their information; and collaborating using word-processing, spreadsheet, and other software applications.

Apps for Education is also the foundation for the increasingly popular Chromebook, an inexpensive laptop computer that is now used by 22 percent of school districts in the United States, according to the company.

“I don’t think there’s another product on the market that provides the same level of power to its users, regardless of price,” said Henry C. Thiele, the assistant superintendent for technology and learning for the 6,800-student Maine Township High School District 207 in Illinois.

Mr. Thiele said his district has used Google Apps for Education since 2008. Officials there have always been aware that the company does “back-end processing” of students’ email messages, he said, but the district’s agreement with Google precludes such data from being used to serve ads to students or staff members.

As long as the company abides by those terms, Mr. Thiele said, “I don’t have any problem with it.”

In an emailed statement provided to Education Week, Bram Bout, the director of Google Apps for Education, said that “ads in Gmail are turned off by default for Google Apps for Education and we have no plans to change that in the future.”

A company spokeswoman also noted that email scanning supports such features as virus protection, spelling checks, and Gmail’s “priority inbox,” and said that there is “no processing of information” stored in Google Drive, Docs, or other applications in the product.

But Mr. Carrillo and Mr. Fread say that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Those plaintiffs in the California lawsuit allege that Google treats Google Apps for Education email users virtually the same as it treats consumer Gmail users. That means not only mining students’ email messages for key words and other information, but also using resulting data—including newly created derivative information, or “metadata”—for “secret user profiling” that could serve as the basis for such activities as delivering targeted ads in Google products other than Apps for Education, such as Google Search, Google+, and YouTube.

The plaintiffs allege that Google has employed such practices since around 2010, when it began using a new technology, known as Content Onebox, that allows the company to intercept and scan emails before they reach their intended recipients, rather than after messages are delivered to users’ inboxes, regardless of whether ads are turned off.

Mr. Fread and Mr. Carrillo say that neither they nor any other users of Google Apps for Education consented to such practices. They are seeking financial damages amounting to $100 per day of each day of violation for every individual who sent or received an email message using Google Apps for Education during a two-year period beginning in May 2011.

While the allegations by the plaintiffs are explosive, it’s the sworn declarations of Google representatives in response to their claims that have truly raised the eyebrows of observers and privacy experts.

Contrary to the company’s earlier public statements, Google representatives acknowledged in a September motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ request for class certification that the company’s consumer-privacy policy applies to Apps for Education users. Thus, Google argues, it has students’ (and other Apps for Education users’) consent to scan and process their emails.

In November, Kyle C. Wong, a lawyer representing Google, also argued in a formal declaration submitted to the court in opposition to the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification that the company’s data-mining practices are widely known, and that the plaintiffs’ complaints that the scanning and processing of their emails was done secretly are thus invalid. Mr. Wong cited extensive media coverage about Google’s data mining of Gmail consumer users’ messages, as well as the disclosures made by numerous universities to their students about how Google Apps for Education functions.

Mr. Wong’s inclusion of the following reference to the disclosure provided to students at the University of Alaska particularly caught the attention of privacy advocates:

The University of Alaska (“UA”) has a “Google Mail FAQs,” which asks, “I hear that Google reads my email. Is this true?” The answer states, “They do not ‘read’ your email per se. For use in targeted advertising on their other sites, if your email is not encrypted, software (not a person) does scan your email and compile keywords for advertising. For example, if the software looks at 100 emails and identifies the word ‘Doritos’ or ‘camping’ 50 times, they will use that data for advertising on their other sites.”

“The fact that Google put this in their declaration means we take it as true,” said Ms. Barnes of the privacy watchdog group EPIC. Google’s sworn court statements reveal that the company has violated student trust by using students’ education records for profit.”

To illustrate the potential harm of Google’s alleged data-mining practices, Bradley S. Shear, a social-media and digital-privacy lawyer based in Bethesda, Md., posed a hypothetical situation in which a teacher using Google Apps for Education emails a parent with information related to a child’s disability status or mental health.

If the full range of allegations in the California suit is true, Mr. Shear said, the contents of such an email could be used by Google to build a digital-user profile that might follow that student indefinitely.

“Who knows what the hell Google is doing with that information, and who knows what problems it could cause for that child in the future,” he said. “Years ago, it might have been put in a filing cabinet, but it wouldn’t be tagged to the child forever.”

'Major FERPA Violations'

Mr. Shear said he saw “major FERPA violations” in Google’s activities and suggested that the Education Department should investigate the company. The Federal Trade Commission, which is responsible for monitoring deceptive business practices, should also take note, he said.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act was enacted in 1974 to protect the privacy of children’s educational records and to prevent unwarranted disclosure.

Last month, the Education Department issued guidance to schools and districts for how to interpret and apply the law in the new age of cloud-based educational services, massive collection of digital data, and increased outsourcing to ed-tech vendors.

One of the scenarios detailed in the guidance appears to closely describe the alleged data-mining practices of Google Apps for Education:

EXAMPLE 4: A district contracts under the school official exception with a provider for basic productivity applications to help educate students: email, calendaring, web-search, and document-collaboration software. The district sets up the user accounts, using basic enrollment information (name, grade, etc.) from student records. Under FERPA, the provider may not use data about individual student preferences gleaned from scanning student content to target ads to individual students for clothing or toys, because using the data for these purposes was not authorized by the district and does not constitute a legitimate educational interest as specified in the district’s annual notification of FERPA rights.

If a student, parent, or educator complains about a vendor potentially violating FERPA or other federal statutes, the department has the authority to investigate those claims and issue written findings back to the school in question and to the public.

Education Department spokeswoman Dorie Nolt said the department would be concerned if a vendor were using personally identifiable information from students’ educational records to target them with ads, but she would not comment on whether the department believes the alleged data-mining practices of Google Apps for Education violate federal law.

Joel R. Reidenberg, a law professor at Fordham University and the author of a much-discussed recent study of districts’ contracts with cloud-service providers such as Google, says that’s an open question, in part because the 40-year-old FERPA does not adequately define what constitutes an educational record in an era in which a previously unthinkable amount of digital data about students proliferates.

“The data-mining and data-processing activities involved in Google Apps for Education are very problematic for student privacy,” Mr. Reidenberg said. “But the complexity of these arrangements exceeds what FERPA is really capable of addressing.”

Greater Scrutiny Ahead

Some of Mr. Reidenberg’s recent work has been funded by Microsoft, the Redmond, Wash.-based computer and software corporation that has been competing with Google for business and challenging the younger company’s privacy policies and practices for years.

In an interview with Education Week, Cameron Evans, Microsoft’s chief technology officer for education, called on Google to be more transparent.

“If they’re not doing anything wrong, they need to step up and say it and explain to people in unambiguous terms how they capture and use [students’] data,” he said.

Mr. Bout of Google, in his statement to Education Week, said the company is “committed to protecting the privacy and security of our users—and that includes students—to make sure their information is safe, secure, and always available to them.”

Of course, the problem extends far beyond Google, Mr. Evans said. A growing number of companies rely on “freemium” business models in which they provide technology services to schools in exchange for access to an increasingly comprehensive body of information about students—including “ambient” data about where they are located, what devices the

y are using, with whom they are interacting, and more.

As consumers grow savvier, lawsuits such as the one in California will become more frequent, Mr. Evans predicted, and pressure to modernize state and federal data-privacy laws will grow more intense.

The privacy policy for Microsoft’s Office 365, the company’s competitor product for Google Apps for Education, states “We do not mine your data for advertising purposes. It is our policy to not use your data for purposes other than providing you productivity services.”



That approach was appealing to Houston school officials, said Mr. Schad, the district’s CTO.

When seeking vendors as part of its new PowerUp technology initiative, the Houston district was aware of the “thousands of other districts using Google Apps for Education very successfully,” said Mr. Schad, but ultimately elected to contract with Microsoft. Google’s data-mining practices were a red flag, he said, as was the company’s lack of responsiveness to Houston’s concerns about how student data would be handled.

“Four years ago, data privacy was not on people’s radar screens,” Mr. Schad said. “But this issue has legitimate legs, and big [cloud-based tool suites] like Google Apps for Education are going to be under greater scrutiny.”

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Only the naive are surprised. 

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International Data Explorer

Do you have questions about U.S. students' knowledge and skills in comparison to their international peers? Do you have questions about U.S. adults' skills and competencies compared to their international peers?

With the International Data Explorer (IDE) you can create statistical tables and charts to help you find answers. Explore student performance in reading, mathematics, and science, as well as contextual data including student demographics, instructional experiences, and school characteristics. Explore adult performance on numeracy, literacy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments, as well as contextual data including educational background, workplace experiences and skills, occupational attainment, and use of technology.


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Interesting site to assess K12 staff assessment literacy. What statements can they make backed up by available data as a small group exercise.  

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Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services | Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) | U.S. Department of Education

Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services | Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) | U.S. Department of Education | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

PTAC is pleased to announce the release of new guidance, “Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services.”   This guidance should clarify questions related to student privacy and the use of educational technology in the classroom. 

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Projections of Education Statistics to 2022

This publication provides projections for key education statistics. It includes statistics on enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools, and enrollment and earned degrees conferred expenditures of degree-granting institutions. For the Nation, the tables, figures, and text contain data on enrollment, teachers, graduates, and expenditures for the past 14 years and projections to the year 2022. For the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2022. In addition, the report includes a methodology section describing models and assumptions used to develop national and state-level projections.
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#STEM Education: Over 25 STEAM Links Filled With Resources and Information

#STEM Education: Over 25 STEAM Links Filled With Resources and Information | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
The Resource for Education Technology Leaders focusing on K-12 educators. Site contains a Software Reviews Database, articles from Technology & Learning Magazine, articles from Educators in Educators' eZine, Event and Contest listings, Reader suggested Web sites, and weekly news updates on education technology leaders.
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The ABCs of school technology programs | eSchool News | eSchool News

The ABCs of school technology programs | eSchool News | eSchool News | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Making the decision to allocate school district resources to a digital conversion, and planning for and sustaining that technology conversion, requires effort and dedication.

And while no time will ever be the perfect time to make the digital transition, any time is the right time, said Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of the Miami-Dade Public Schools, a 2011 eSN Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards winner, and 2014 American Association of School Administrators Superintendent of the Year.

The need for technology-rich school environments that mimic the environments in which today’s students will one day work and compete becomes evident “when we acknowledge the fact that, from zip code to zip code…there are significant gaps. There are literally and figuratively digital deserts in our communities,” said Carvalho,


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SchoolCIO Blogs - DAILY INSIGHT: The best app for monitoring students

SchoolCIO Blogs - DAILY INSIGHT: The best app for monitoring students | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
SchoolCIO Advisors Blog
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Kannapolis City Schools wins national award for technology partnership

Kannapolis City Schools wins national award for technology partnership | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
The National School Boards Association has honored Kannapolis City Schools with a first place prize in the nationwide Magna Award competition. The...
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Five reasons to get excited about 5G networks

Five reasons to get excited about 5G networks | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
Next-generation 5G networks could be a reality by 2020. Get ready to be wowed.
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Excellent ideas
Laurel Wilson's curator insight, March 22, 6:22 PM

not necessarily related to education, but very interesting!

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The enterprise technologies to watch in 2014 | ZDNet

The enterprise technologies to watch in 2014 | ZDNet | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
Emerging tech often takes a while to get into the enterprise. This year's watchlist shows that there's plenty of hot new spaces to watch, while a few much older trends are just now reaching mainstream.
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ConnectEDucators: Leveraging Technology in the Classroom | U.S. Department of Education

ConnectEDucators: Leveraging Technology in the Classroom | U.S. Department of Education | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Technology offers extraordinary new capacities to teachers. The vast breadth and depth of educational materials and other information available on the Internet can break boundaries, making any subject accessible anywhere. And new technologies give teachers innovative tools and flexibility to engage students and work smarter. President Obama’s ConnectED initiative will provide high-speed Internet to every school in America, and will help to make affordable computers, tablets, software, and other digital resources widely available. Yet these capacities offer their greatest benefits to students only when teachers and principals have the skills and supports to leverage them. The ConnectEDucators plan will help educators grow those skills.

The need

According to a 2013 survey, about three-quarters of teachers are seeing benefits from educational technology for students, which range from motivating students to responding to a variety of student learning styles. [expand/collapse]

The goal

President Obama wants to want to make sure our young people have the same competitive advantages as students in other countries. He wants to ensure that teachers and leaders in all of America’s schools receive the support and professional development they need to select and use technology to improve student outcomes.

The plan

The ConnectEDucators program would help educators leverage technology and data to personalize learning and improve college- and career-ready instruction, ensuring that as schools increase access to broadband Internet through the ConnectED Initiative, teachers and leaders are prepared to use these resources in a way that increases student learning and achievement. [expand/collapse]

The President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal

The Obama administration’s budget requests $200 million for ConnectEDucators. [expand/collapse]

The program would provide:

Formula-based State Leadership Grants to help enhance state and local capacity to support the transition to digital learning.Competitive, 3-year grants to school districts to support the implementation of comprehensive plans to ensure that educators have the skills and supports needed to dramatically improve student access to high-quality instruction aligned with college- and career-ready standards. 

The U.S. Department of Education will prioritize applicants that partner with other districts or with local or national organizations, and will fund activities that result in making digital materials open-source and publicly available.

The Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative includes an additional $300 million for ConnectEDucators, providing a total of 100,000 teachers in 500 districts with access to professional development to take greater advantage of the high-speed broadband and wireless provided through the ConnectED initiative.

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Comcast turning Chicago homes into public Wi-Fi hot spots

Comcast turning Chicago homes into public Wi-Fi hot spots | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Comcast customers looking for a Wi-Fi hot spot might want to try their neighbor's yard.

The cable and Internet provider has begun to turn hundreds of thousands of Chicago-area homes into virtual coffee shops, using existing Comcast equipment to build out its publicly accessible wireless network.

The neighborhood hot spots initiative, rolling out during the next several months, will send a separate Wi-Fi signal from Comcast-issued home equipment, enabling anyone within range to get online. Soon, entire residential blocks will begin to show as hot spots on Xfinity's Wi-Fi mobile app, the company said Tuesday.

Because the Comcast subscriber's signal will be kept separate from the second, publicly available signal, the subscriber's speed and privacy shouldn't be affected, Comcast officials said, acknowledging that such concerns have been raised in test markets.



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Springfield Public Schools Take 1:1 Tech Initiative to Gigabit Speeds

Springfield Public Schools has selected Comcast Business Ethernet services to support a 1:1 technology learning environment for more than 2,400 students across the district’s five schools. Comcast Business will also provide a  connection between Springfield Public Schools and its primary data center for the secure transfer of all critical administrative and educational data. Located in Union County, N.J., Springfield Public Schools is a five-school district that includes one early childhood learning center, two elementary schools, a middle school and one high school. A distinguished program, Project RED Signature District, and Center for Digital Education Digital Content and Curriculum Award winner, the district offers a 1:1 learning environment where it provides laptops for students in grades 6-12 as well as for all faculty and administrators. The Pre K-5 classrooms have a minimum of four laptops and tablets per classroom. All of the school-issued technology is provided to the students without any additional cost to them or their family, and all assignments and lesson plans are available online and accessible whether at school or at home.

 “Between our 1:1 program and more than 400 tablets being used within our early childhood center and two elementary schools, we knew we needed a reliable communications partner that could provide us with the infrastructure needed to support our ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning philosophy,” said Michael A. Davino, Superintendent at Springfield Public Schools. 

 Comcast Business upgraded Springfield Public Schools’ network from 100 Megabits-per-second (Mbps) to a 1 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) Ethernet Dedicated Internet connection, which will support numerous devices simultaneously accessing the Internet without overtaxing the system. In addition to allowing students access to Internet resources, this network also allows students, teacher and parents to use a virtual learning platform and obtain real-time access to grades, attendance, lunch balances, and general announcements. School board members can also access meeting minutes on their tablets and other mobile devices, eliminating the need for printed copies.

 The Ethernet Dedicated Internet connection from Comcast also is supporting the district’s offsite backup system, which holds administrative information, including personnel records, budgetary information and its Student Information System (SIS). This connection is responsible for archiving and backing up all school email to its offsite data center. Plans to upgrade its network to 10 Gbps are currently underway as student enrollment continues to climb and the possibility of replacing textbooks with additional tablets is explored.

- See more at:

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Interesting - How some of the World's most creative people scheduled their day

Interesting - How some of the World's most creative people scheduled their day | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
Alas, there are but 24 hours in a day.

And when you have a seemingly insurmountable load of work, it can be a quite a challenge to even know where to start. But remember that history's most legendary figures -- from Beethoven to Beyonce -- had ju...

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
Bmw's curator insight, April 1, 9:16 PM

flip board is a great way to create a class magazine when students link their content with Twitter they can also do collaborative research.

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Lenz: The 21st Century Skills-Deeper Learning Connection in Assessment - The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Lenz: The 21st Century Skills-Deeper Learning Connection in Assessment - The Partnership for 21st Century Skills | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Driving Question: How Does Know, Do, Reflect Assessment Build 21st Century Skills and Lead to Deeper Learning?

Everyone’s talking about 21st Century Skills: today’s students need a mix of skills, knowledge, and dispositions to prepare them to be successful and engaged citizens.  

And everyone’s talking about assessment: how do we know if students are learning both what we are teaching and what they need to succeed

At Envision Education, one key to addressing both of those issues is the understanding that they are inextricably linked.  While in some circles, assessment is a top-down process done by teachers who decide where students are on the continuum of learning, at Envision, we engage students directly in assessing their own progress.  This is part of our Know, Do, Reflect approach to learning.

The reflection step in this on-going learning cycle is where assessment happens.  Reflection invites students and teachers to recognize growth and accomplishments as well as identify opportunities for improvement and development.  It is not separate from the learning process: it is an integral step on the path to deeper learning.  Having students play an active role in this step is distinctive for two reasons:

1. The assessment process itself helps students develop critical thinking and analysis skills.

Students who assess themselves are learning and improving their cognitive skills while assessment is happening.  For example, in our classrooms, students are often asked to reflect on what they know before, during, and after a particular lesson, inviting them not only to chart a course for the progress they want to make but also to understand what they already bring to the classroom. 

Before the lesson even begins, they are exercising muscles that develop an academic mindset, which prepares them to understand not only what they are learning but how they are learning it.  Those skills will enhance their ability to learn, adapt, and grow in future classrooms as well as in career and life settings.



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Digital Directions in Learning Archives via Smithsonian SCLDA

Digital Directions in Learning Archives via Smithsonian SCLDA | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) invites you to join us for “Digital Directions in Learning”, an online discussion series with leaders and researchers in public education, after school programming, museum education, and educational technology on the last Wednesday of each month, starting in February 2014. All sessions will be archived.

ARCHIVE: Bridging Informal and Formal Education 

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014–1-2pm EST
Archive available below:

Stephanie Norby, Director, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, Smithsonian Institution

Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Smithsonian Institution

Kevin Crowley, Professor of Learning Sciences and Policy, School of Education and Learning Research & Development Center and Director, University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-Of-School Environments (UPCLOSE), University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Crowley has been co-lead on a National Science Foundation-funded center that works to strengthen and connect the informal science education community by catalyzing conversation and collaboration across the entire field with a focus on improving practice, documenting evidence of impact, and communicating the contributions of informal science education.

Richard Culatta, (Ex-officio) Director, Office of Educational Technology,
U.S. Department of Education
Richard Culatta has experience in K-12, higher education, and workplace learning environments. His current work focuses on leveraging technology to create personalized learning experiences for all students and promoting increased connectivity to improve access to education and make college more affordable. Previously, his work centered around leveraging social media to create effective large-scale distributed learning environments.

Kylie A. Peppler
Assistant Professor, Learning Sciences Program
Indiana University, Bloomington
An artist by training, Kylie Peppler engages in research that focuses on the intersection of arts, media, new technologies, and informal learning. Currently, Peppler’s work examines the media arts practices of urban, rural, and (dis)abled youth in order to support literacy, learning, and the arts in the 21st Century.

Mark Warschauer, Professor of Education and Informatics and Associate Dean- School of Education, University of California, Irvine
Dr. Warschauer is director of the Digital Learning Lab at UC Irvine, where, together with colleagues and students, he works on a range of research projects related to digital media in education.  In K-12 education, his team is developing and studying cloud-based tools for writing, exploring digital scaffolding for reading, investigating one-to-one programs with iPads and Chromebooks, examining use of interactive mobile robots for virtual inclusion, and developing mobile apps for language learning. The DLL team is also exploring new approaches to data mining, machine learning, and learning analytics to analyze the learning and educational data that result from use of new digital tools.

*Recommended from our Panelists: Bridging Informal and Formal Education-Recommended Readings and Media

ARCHIVE: Motivating Youth Participation

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014–1-2pm EDT
Archive available below:

Stephanie Norby, Director, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, Smithsonian Institution

Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Smithsonian Institution

Mimi Ito, Professor, University of California- Irvine
Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist of technology use, focusing on children and youth’s changing relationships to media and communications. She recently completed a research project supported by the MacArthur Foundation a three year ethnographic study of kid-initiated and peer-based forms of engagement with new media.

Dr. Jim Mathews, Clark Street Community School and Placework Studios
Jim Mathews is a teacher, researcher, and designer whose work explores the intersection of place-based, design-based, and democratic education. Through his work with the Games+Learning+Society research group and the Local Games Lab, Mathews designs and researches mobile-based games and curriculum aimed at connecting students and teachers with their local communities. He has over fifteen years’ experience as a teacher.

Dr. Gil Noam, Founder and Director, Program in Education, Afterschool & Resiliency (PEAR), Harvard University
Gil Noam has a strong interest in translating research and innovation to support resilience in youth in educational settings. He served as the Director of the Risk and Prevention program at Harvard, and is the founder of the RALLY Prevention Program, an intervention that combines early detection of health, mental health and learning problems in middle school youth, and pioneers a new professional role – “prevention practitioner.”

Kristen Purcell, Associate Director for Research, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project
Kristen Purcell leads the design, implementation, and analysis of nationally representative surveys, special population surveys, focus groups and interviews exploring the impact of the internet on Americans’ social and civic lives. She has authored reports on online news and information consumption, online video, and the burgeoning apps culture.

*Recommended from our Panelists: Motivating Youth Participation- Recommended Readings & Media

Designing Instructional Technology 

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014–1-2pm EDT
This session will be broadcast live via Google Hangout. Click the link above to access.

Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Smithsonian Institution

Samuel Abramovich, Assistant Professor of Education Informatics, State University of New York at Buffalo
Samuel Abramovich’s research centers on finding and understanding the learning opportunities presented by the intersection of education informatics and the learning sciences to help guide education improvement and reform. He also looks at educator interactions in large-scale online resource exchanges and how educational badges can increase motivation to learn.

Chris Dede, Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Chris Dede’s fields of scholarship include emerging technologies, policy, and leadership. His funded research includes five grants from NSF and the Gates Foundation to design and study immersive simulations, transformed social interactions, and online professional development. In 2007, he was honored by Harvard University as an outstanding teacher, and in 2011 he was named a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. His latest co-edited book, Digital Teaching Platforms, was published by Teachers College Press in 2012.

Barry Fishman, Associate Professor, University of Michigan
Barry Fishman’s research focuses on the use of technology to support teacher learning, video games as models for learning environments, and the role of educational leaders in fostering classroom-level reform involving technology.  Fishman’s research is concerned with the design and implementation of reform supported by technology. To this end, he is a co-developer of the Design-Based Implementation Research framework.

Kyle Peck, Co-Director of Online Center for Innovation in Learning, Professor of Education and Research Fellow, Learning Design and Technology Program, Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Kyle L. Peck studies and applies innovations in education, his current interests include Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and digital badges in education.  Peck is Director for the DIY STEM program, an emerging national opportunity to enhance learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through hands on projects, online learning opportunities and digital badges.

Recommended from our Panelists: Designing Instructional Technology-Recommended Readings & Media

Taking it to Scale

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014–1-2pm EDT
This session will be broadcast live via Google Hangout. Click the link above to access.

Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Smithsonian Institution

Dr. Beth Harris, Dean of Art and History, Khan Academy
Before joining the Khan Academy, Dr. Harris was the first person to hold the position of Director of Digital Learning at The Museum of Modern Art, where she started MoMA Courses Online. She also co-produced educational videos, websites and apps.

Dr. Barbara Schneider, John A. Hannah Chair and Distinguished Professor, College of Education and Department of Sociology, Michigan State University
Dr. Schneider is the principal investigator of the College Ambition Program (CAP), a study that tests a model for promoting a STEM college-going culture in two high schools that encourages adolescents to pursue STEM majors in college and occupations in these fields.

Dr. Steven Zucker, Dean of Art and History, Khan Academy
Dr. Zucker was chair of History of Art and Design at Pratt Institute where he strengthened enrollment and lead the renewal of curriculum across the Institute. Together with Beth Harris, Zucker wrote “The Image Library as Learning Environment” for CAA News and “The Slide Library: A Posthumous Assessment in the Service of Our Digital Future,” Teaching Art History with Technology: Case Studies (2008).

Recommended from our Panelists: Taking it to Scale-Recommended Readings & Media

Benchmarking Success 

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014–1-2pm EDT
This session will be broadcast live via Google Hangout. Click the link above to access.

Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Smithsonian Institution

Robert Stein, Deputy Director, Dallas Museum of Art
Robert Stein founded the Laboratory for Innovation in Museum Technology at the DMA applying the principles of startup venture capital to solving classic problems in museums. Stein also established funding for Visitor Research and Evaluation investigating visitor experience between art and science museums.

Kate Haley Goldman, Senior Education Associate, National Center for Interactive Learning
Kate Haley Goldman spent 10 years as a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Learning Innovation. Her work concentrates on furthering theory and practice of the use of technology in museums and related informal learning environments. She has directed projects both in the U.S. and abroad, involving exhibits and program evaluation, mobile phones and smartphone apps, websites, gaming, augmented and mixed reality, novel data visualization systems, and online learning.

Recommended from our Panelists: Benchmarking Success-Recommended Readings & Media

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Revealing Broadband Adoption Maps We've Ever Seen

Revealing Broadband Adoption Maps We've Ever Seen | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
In the era of Google Fiber, there's more reason than ever to confront America's digital divide.
Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:

Need more data on more places.


More data:  True workable definition of broadband and benchmark connections by meeting a high standard.  Also overlay mean household incomes. AND number of broadband options per household.  Could overlay wired, wifi vs cellular again against rate fo up/down and household income.


That would be interesting.

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Tactical Serendipity

Tactical Serendipity | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Have you ever met a person, come across an idea, or found a resource that was precisely what you needed at exactly that moment in time?

These "happy accidents" bring us surprise and joy. But more than that, they are essential to moving us forward as leaders and learners.

Serendipity powers the social web. Tools and technologies are being created every day to increase our chances of "bumping into" something or someone we aren't expecting, but greatly need.



Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:

Excellent observation

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Cloud Pricing Is Racing To Zero, As Amazon Just Underscored

Cloud Pricing Is Racing To Zero, As Amazon Just Underscored | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Amazon has cut the price of its online storage and compute services again, the 42nd time that the company has slashed prices on Amazon Web Services.

The price cut, announced at the AWS Summit in San Francisco, comes as little surprise. Just the day before, Google slashed its prices for Google Cloud Platform. The Amazon price cuts to AWS include:

A 51% average reduction for Amazon S3 with tier prices decreasing from 36% to 65%For Amazon E2, the M3 instance type will see a 38% reduction while the C3 instance will have a 30% price decrease. Other EC2 instances (M1, M2, C1 and CC2) will be reduced between 10% and 40%.Amazon RDS (Relational Database) will be reduced 28% on average. The ElasticCache will have a 34% average reduction in price.Amazon EMR (Elastic MapReduce) will have between a 27% and 61% reduction.

With the price cuts from Amazon and Google, Microsoft is all be certain to reduce its Azure cloud prices in the near future, perhaps next week at the Microsoft Build developer conference in San Francisco. The three companies are locked into a war for developer attention, cutting prices in what has become a cutthroat market for cloud and computing services.

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Education Network Guidelines to Help Schools Make Their Vision a Reality

Education Network Guidelines to Help Schools Make Their Vision a Reality | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

As more computing devices land on campus, chief technology officers are trying to keep their education networks up to speed so they can handle the increased load. 

Until recently, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has focused on providing them with a high-level vision of how to lead their schools through digital changes. But the nonprofit organization decided to create more concrete guidelines that are designed to help chief technology officers through the technical components that make their vision a reality.

"We've increasingly realized that an awful lot of people are struggling with matching that vision with what they actually do," said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN.

At the SXSW conference in March, CoSN released guidelines and a checklist as part of its Smart Education Networks by Design initiative, which receives financial support from Qualcomm Technologies Inc. The guidelines cover hot topics including 1-to-1 computing programs, classroom broadband connectivity and 24/7 connected learning environments.

For example, the guidelines recommend four major steps when planning a personalized learning environment, a 1-1 computing environment or a bring-your-own-device program:

1. Build a scalable network.

2. Work with the curriculum team to take advantage of curriculum that can be used on computing devices.

3. Train teachers and administrators at least six months before giving students devices.

4. Talk with parents, the school board, local government agencies, businesses and elected officials who could assist schools.

In order to provide the broadband students will need to use these devices in the classroom, schools will need 10 times the amount of connectivity they currently have when they hit 2017-2018, according to the State Educational Technology Directors Association. Instead of the 1 Gbps per 1,000 students and staff, they'll need 100 Mbps for the same number of people. Yet 43 percent of districts said they couldn't meet these recommendations when they responded to CoSN's E-Rate and Broadband Survey 2013.

Even if schools brought a bigger broadband pipe to their campuses, many of them don't have the internal connections and wireless access points to handle greater broadband use, Krueger said. And because learning today extends outside the campus, schools are going to have to devise different ways to reach students in their homes and elsewhere.


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Connected Communities in an Age of Digital Learning |

 Increasingly, we live in a world where the vision of “traditional” classroom education is changing. New technologies enable learning in a variety of locations and contexts throughout a community, not only during school hours but far beyond. The information revolution has created opportunities for learners of all ages to take advantage of new digital tools that offer individualized instruction, supplemental study materials, and continuing education resources. As a result, the need for truly connected communities is urgent. Yet many communities lack robust Internet connectivity, which is a key prerequisite to using these tools. Libraries and schools across the country report that they do not have the necessary speeds and equipment to support the digital learning environments of today, let alone tomorrow. Sustaining and upgrading the Internet infrastructure that supports these community anchor institutions is critical. And in addition to physical infrastructure, these communities need investments in social infrastructure: support systems in and around community institutions that help facilitate digital literacy, support broadband access, and encourage meaningful broadband adoption. The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering ways to modernize its E-rate program, which subsidizes telecommunications and Internet services for schools and libraries across the country. As many observers have noted, the challenge that institutions receiving E-rate funding today face is not simply connectivity—it’s sufficient capacity. Building this capacity is critical in creating connected communities, especially for students and families that may not have Internet access at home. The E-rate program should be updated in a way that ensures that all students and families have access to educational resources that enable them to develop 21st century skills. Strong, equitable Internet infrastructure in our schools and libraries should be an integral part of the continuing push for equity, excellence and innovation in our educational system. This event will include a panel discussion by experts across the fields of education, library sciences, and technology. Panelists will discuss the current school and library technology landscape, the capacity needs of schools and libraries now and in the future, and what policies we need to get there. AGENDAIntroduction: 
Kevin Carey
Director, New America Foundation, Education Policy Program
Opening Remarks: 
Reed Hundt 
CEO, Coalition for Green Capital
Former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
Featured Speakers: 
Richard Culatta 
Director, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education
Susan Hildreth
Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services
Melanie Huggins 
CEO, Richland Library, South Carolina

Pam Moran 
Superintendent, Albemarle County Public Schools, Virginia
Greta Byrum
Senior Field Analyst, New America's Open Technology Institute

Sarah Morris 
Senior Policy Counsel, New America's Open Technology Institute
Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:

video at:

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TSL Education Acquires Wikispaces (EdSurge News)

TSL Education Acquires Wikispaces (EdSurge News) | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
Wikispaces has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by TSL Education, a UK company (owned by U.S. private equity firm, TPG Capital) that claims the largest online network of teachers in the world with over 3.3 million registered. While its services and resources span the globe, the company's main of
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Obama will speed up plan to connect public schools to the Internet

Obama will speed up plan to connect public schools to the Internet | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
WASHINGTON – President Obama is speeding up his pet project to connect American public schools to the Internet through an unusual combination of government investment and contributions from the private sector.
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