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Hundreds of Cities Are Wired With Fiber—But Telecom Lobbying Keeps It Unused

Hundreds of Cities Are Wired With Fiber—But Telecom Lobbying Keeps It Unused | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

In light of the ongoing net neutrality battle, many people have begun looking toGoogle and its promise of high-speed fiber as a potential saving grace from companies that want to create an "internet fast lane." Well, the fact is, even without Google, many communities and cities throughout the country are already wired with fiber—they just don't let their residents use it.

The reasons vary by city, but in many cases, the reason you can't get gigabit internet speeds—without the threat of that service being provided by a company that wants to discriminate against certain types of traffic—is because of the giant telecom businesses that want to kill net neutrality in the first place. 

RELATED:Why It's So Hard to Bring Gigabit Internet to the US

Throughout the country, companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, and Verizon have signed agreements with cities that prohibit local governments from becoming internet service providers and prohibit municipalities from selling or leasing their fiber to local startups who would compete with these huge corporations. 

Because ISPs often double as cable and telephone companies, during contract negotiations with governments, they'll often offer incentives to the government—such as better or faster service, earlier access to (their company's) cable internet for residents, and the like—in exchange for a non-compete clause.

To be clear, these are often strictly local agreements between cities and cable giants. 

In Washington DC, for instance, the country's first 100 Gbps fiber network has been available to nonprofit organizations since 2006—but not to any of the city's residents. During a re-negotiation with Comcast in 1999 in which the company threatened to cut off cable service to the city, Comcast agreed to provide some of its fiber access to the city for the government's "exclusive use." 

WATCH:Motherboard's documentary about the hackers trying to build a distributed network

"The 1999 agreement was conditioned in important ways," former Obama administration assistant and Harvard University researcher Susan Crawford wrote in a recent paper examining the city's fiber network. "First, the city agreed not to lease or sell the fiber. Second, the contract required that the city not 'engage in any activities or outcomes that would result in business competition between the District and Comcast or that may result in loss of business opportunity for Comcast.'"

Comcast never even made its fiber available to the city, but that agreement, and a future one with Verizon, has, in part, kept the city's DC-NET fiber network out of residents' homes.

“The intent was never to take the business away from Verizon or Comcast,” Anil Sharma, director of operations for DC-NET, told Washington City Paper last year. “Our target audience always was community anchor institutions.”

What happened in DC is not uncommon. According to MuniNetworks, a group that tracks community access to fiber nationwide, at least 20 states have laws or other regulatory barriers that make it illegal or difficult for communities to offer fiber access to their residents. Even in states where there are no official rules, non-compete agreements between government and big business are common. 

These are the cities and towns where residents can access community fiber. Image: MuniNetworks





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Telling example:  "In Washington DC, for instance, the country's first 100 Gbps fiber network has been available to nonprofit organizations since 2006—but not to any of the city's residents. During a re-negotiation with Comcast in 1999 in which the company threatened to cut off cable service to the city, Comcast agreed to provide some of its fiber access to the city for the government's "exclusive use." 

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Guide to Implementing Digital Learning

Guide to Implementing Digital Learning | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
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.

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FCC Continues E-rate Reboot to Meet Nation's Digital Learning Needs

FCC Continues E-rate Reboot to Meet Nation's Digital Learning Needs | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Federal Communications Commission
445 12
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
TTY: 1-888-835-5322
December 11, 2014 Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253
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
Broadband is transforming 21
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
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
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
? 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.
More information about E-rate is available at

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Full Text of news release 12/11/2014 FCC

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Digital Equity | CoSN

Digital Equity | CoSN | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
Rethinking Equity in a Digital Era


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:

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Funding Digital Learning | Office of Educational Technology

Funding Digital Learning | Office of Educational Technology | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
Funding Digital LearningFundamental Questions

As states and districts update technology resources, it may seem that the needs overwhelm resources. Before major technology purchases, leaders will want to consider an approach and define a goal that makes sense for the particular region. Some questions to consider include:

What resources are presently available in schools, and how are they distributed? (For example, are there two computers in every classroom or a dedicated physical computer lab? Or are there mobile laptop/tablet stations?)What are the 1-, 3-, and 5-year goals in terms of digital learning?What devices do students already bring to school? How do they use those devices?How fast are the internal and external connections in schools? How fast must they be to meet students’ and educators’ needs?What are the major strengths and challenges this area has in terms of technology?Innovative Planning

To provide the best access to students and educators, leading states and districts think comprehensively about all funding and support. Individual situations vary, so the right mix of the approaches below will differ from place to place.

Leveraging economies of scale: At both the multi-district and multi-state levels, school systems can negotiate more favorable rates with vendors by collaborating with others seeking similar devices/services. Louisiana, Maine, Illinois, North Carolina, among other states have done this successfully.Public-private partnerships: Cross-sector collaboration can prove mutually beneficial. What major businesses/industries are in this region? They have a stake in ensuring students graduate digitally literate and may be willing to partner in funding, device donation, connectivity-sharing, or training to advance that purpose.Cross-agency coordination: Some states and districts leverage higher education or medical facility resources to boost education access.Device refurbishment: Repairing, upgrading, and reusing devices business/community members no longer need can create both an educational opportunity and a source of low-cost devices. In making its transition to online assessment, Delaware used this strategy.BYOD and student wireless access: Some states and districts leverage the devices students already own, carefully considering privacy, security, and logistical issues. In other locales, it may be possible to negotiate very low rates for student wireless devices and services, which they could use both in and out of school.Strategic decommissioning: What activities or resources are no longer needed? Areas to consider include paper textbooks, copy machines and supplies, fax machines and supplies, copper-line phone service, paper supplies, consumable workbooks, in-person trainings where virtual or peer-to-peer options exist, printing (schedules, grades, announcements etc.), and others, depending on context.Leveraging student experience: Where can students themselves serve as technologists, professional developers, and technicians? How can students support educators in advancing their technology-based professional capacity?Aligning Strategy and Policy

In the context of a vision and out-of-the-box considerations, policymakers should investigate existing and proposed state and local laws and regulations to determine:

Do any existing laws or regulations need to change in order to reach the goals? For example, are specific kinds of instructional resources mandated in statute that may not align with a digitally-focused strategy? Are students prohibited from using their own devices? Do policies need to change to ensure that virtual courses are accepted for student credit?Are there policies that would support advancing digital access? For example, where can blended and personalized learning be incentivized, if that aligns with the local goal?How can transparency help? Louisiana used public reports about individual district readiness to highlight areas that are and are not ready for online instruction and assessment.Within an SEA or an LEA, do leaders in all major offices understand and support the goals and strategies? Curriculum and instruction, assessment, operations, finance, and other organizational units will need to focus together.Budgeting and Managing Funds

Education primarily gets funded at the state, local, and federal levels. Fiscal managers should thoroughly consider all funding sources for which technology upgrades are allowable uses of funds.

Federal funds


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Collective Knowledge Construction | ideasLAB

Collective Knowledge Construction | ideasLAB | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
Collective Knowledge Construction















How might we best describe what contemporary teaching and learning looks like? There is a need for us to have a theoretical model that allows us to better understand our student’s use of technology and be much more discriminatory in our use of technology for learning… Now that our students are living and learning in a technology-rich world, it is important that we are able to more critically discuss and evaluate our practice to ensure our students are getting the most from their online experiences, that they are exploring a whole new array of opportunities for higher-order thinking and learning, and that we fully understand the real value and impact of what is being learnt.

In June 2011, ideasLAB published a white paper titled “Understanding Virtual Pedagodies” which outlines a model for Collective Knowledge Construction.

The purpose of this white paper is to use the Collective Knowledge Construction Model to identify strategies by which knowledge construction is facilitated when learning online. And, secondly to encourage teachers, school leaders and other stakeholders to reimagine the pedagogical, technical and contextual consequences that arise from teaching and learning in technology rich environments.There are four strategies that influence how we learn and the way we behave online, that this white paper explores:Connecting, Communicating, Collaborating and Learning Collectively.

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Leading the Digital Leap: Creating a Digitally-Enabled Ecosystem | CoSN

Leading the Digital Leap: Creating a Digitally-Enabled Ecosystem | CoSN | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
Taking a “digital leap” means providing technology-based learning environments for ALL children, regardless of the schools they attend. We've already answered the why (the importance of technology in expanding learning horizons has been proven), so planning a digital leap is increasingly about the how.
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Leading the Digital Leap: Creating a Digitally-Enabled EcosystemThursday, October 30, 2014 - 3:00pm

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A Professional Learning Teacher Toolkit

A Professional Learning Teacher Toolkit | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Via Beth Dichter
María Dolores Díaz Noguera's curator insight, December 3, 4:49 AM

Cultura y Líder y otros temas de interés relacionados con Programas de Aprendizaje Profesional y Evaluación...A Professional Learning Teacher Toolkit | @scoopit via @BethDichter

Laura Rosillo's curator insight, December 3, 12:57 PM

añada su visión ...

Betty Skeet's curator insight, December 6, 6:17 AM

Adults toolkit for learning

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New School Leaders' Standards Released for Public Comment->ISLLC

New School Leaders' Standards Released for Public Comment->ISLLC | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
By Denisa R. Superville on September 15, 2014

A heavy emphasis on instructional leadership, along with a focus on the social aspects of learning—such as a recognition of factors outside of the classroom that impact students' education—are among the major changes included in the revised school leaders' standards released on Monday.

The standards, known as the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards—or ISLLC—describe what school leaders (principals, assistant principals, superintendents, and other district heads) should know and demonstrate in order to prepare students for college and the workforce.

Spearheaded by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Policy Board for Educational Administration, the ISLLC "refresh" is meant to ensure that "the current roles of leaders as well as the current research are reflected in the standards," said Michelle D. Young, the executive director of the University Council for Educational Administration and a professor of educational leadership and policy at the University of Virginia, who serves on the National Leadership Preparation Standards Committee.

The benchmarks are used  nationally to guide state and district policies, forming the basis of principal preparation programs, professional development, and evaluations, among others.

The standards, first released in 1996, were last updated in 2008. In the intervening years, the job of the school leaders, primarily that of principals, has become increasingly more complex, largely due to changes in state and federal policies, through the waivers to the No Child Left Behind Act, the Race to the Top competitive grant program, and initiatives aimed at increasing principal and teacher effectiveness, assessment, and graduation standards.

"The primary goal of these standards is to articulate what effective leadership looks like in a transformed public education system," according to the draft released for public comment on Monday. "The standards envision public schools that empower every learner to take ownership of his or her learning, that emphasize the learning of content and application of knowledge and skill to real-world problems, that value the differences each learner brings to the learning experience, and that leverage rapidly changing learning environments to maximize learning."

The revised set of standards has increased to 11 from six. They include all of the broad categories contained in the 2008 version—vision, mission and goals; teaching and learning; managing organizational systems and safety; collaborating with families and stakeholders; ethics and integrity; and the educational system.

But the new version responds to the increasing volume of research and emphasis that have been placed on the social aspects of education, with the addition of categories like community of care for students, communities of engagement for families, and equity and cultural responsiveness.  There is also a renewed focus on ethical leadership.

The revised standards are "very, very explicit about the complexity of the job and all the things that school leaders are dealing with, today in 2014, and moving forward," said Jacquelyn Wilson, the director of the Delaware Academy for School Leadership at the University of Delaware, and a co-chair of the committee that oversaw the "refresh" of the ISLLC standards.

Adoption of the standards is voluntary. Some states adopt them as written; others tinker with them to fit their states' vision. In the last go-around, 45 states and the District of Columbia adopted or adapted the ISLLC standards. The others—Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas—adopted their own set of leaders' standards.

That, according to Jody Spiro, the director of educational leadership at the New York City-based Wallace Foundation, which donated $1 million toward the revision efforts and the development of the first ever standards for principal supervisors, is still an improvement.  Before the initial release of the ISLLC standards in 1996, there were no uniform standards.

In the previous version, instructional leadership was addressed mainly in Section 2. Now, it  is incorporated into three categories: instructional capacity,instruction, and curriculum and assessment.

Each  category then delineates the functions that a principal or school leader should engage in. For example, under instructional capacity, school leaders are expected to recruit and hire effective teachers, develop the capacity of the staff, both individually and collectively, and provide human, financial, and technological resources to help the staff develop.

"What we have tried to do in this version of the ISLLC standards is to really begin to unpack what the expectations [are] for practice in a way that principals can have a much better sense of what they should be [doing] with their time," Young said.

Three other categories address the care of teachers and students.  Under "communities of engagement for families," school leaders are expected to promote an understanding and appreciation of the school's cultural, social, and intellectual diversity and build positive relationships with families and students' guardians.  Under "equity and cultural responsiveness," school leaders are expected to address issues of "student marginalization; deficit-based schooling;" limit "assumptions about gender, race, class, and special status," and promote cultural understanding.

"We have been talking a lot more about personalizing learning in order to help all students learn and to address the achievement gaps that we have in different groups of students," said Janice Poda, the strategic initiative director at the CCSSO, "and so the beginning of that is to think about understanding what those needs are, understanding the different cultures that students come from, and the next step would be to provide the kind of instruction they need in order to learn at higher rates. It's our attempt to make people more aware of those needs, to understand those needs, and to then be able to address them."

For the first time, the public will be able to comment on the standards before they are adopted. The public comment period begins today and continues through Oct. 10.

Spiro, from the Wallace Foundation, said that the foundation was pleased with the comprehensive nature of the process, which involved every stakeholder—from researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and, now, the public.

"It's such a nice mix of making sure that the standards are grounded in the research, that [they] are also grounded in the realities of the lives of the practitioners and those who use these standards, and then the third part of  it is, of course, what's happening now—opening this up for public dialogue and discussion and vetting and then taking the reactions that come from this vetting period to improve the standards and make them even better."

The standards are expected to be released early next year.  Here is a copy of the refreshed standards: Draft 2014 ISLLC Standards 09102014.pdf. The survey can be found here.

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ConnectED Splash Page

ConnectED Splash Page | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

In February 2014, Sprint joined the White House and other leaders in the technology and telecommunications community to announce its participation in the ConnectED initiative – a collaborative effort designed to reduce the digital divide. Sprint has committed to provide high-speed wireless broadband service for up to 50,000 students at schools across the country starting in August 2014 and over the next four years. These students will have access to Sprint's high-speed wireless broadband Sprint Spark service outside the classroom – allowing them to take advantage of the mobile learning curriculum and resources of their educational institutions.

Schools and school districts interested in applying for a Sprint ConnectED Grant that will provide their students with 4 years of free Sprint Spark service to use outside the classroom click HERE to apply.

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Adobe Education Exchange

Adobe Education Exchange | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Adobe has committed over $300 million in software and professional development services to theWhite House's ConnectED initiative. As part of this $2 billion+ effort from the private sector, Adobe will deliver creative tools and teacher professional development to schools across the United States—all with the goal of helping youth express their creativity and build their skills for future success.

Adobe's donation includes:

Creative tools: Adobe Photoshop Elementsand Adobe Premiere Elements (30 licenses for each product per school)eLearning tools: Adobe Presenter 30 licenses per school) and Adobe Captivate (10 teacher licenses per school)Electronic signature tool: Adobe EchoSign(20 seats for teachers and administrators


In addition, Adobe is providing a range ofteacher training resources from the Adobe Education Exchange and Adobe Youth Voices

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ASCD EDge - Against Technology (the word)

ASCD EDge - Against Technology (the word) | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |


Ubiquitous in every sphere of education; the word “technology” is splattered loosely.    No subliminal messaging here, the term is to mean that schools with wifi, tablets, one to one laptop programs, and  smart boards are preparing students for the future.   Simply having a computer doesn’t mean that the curriculum and instruction are contemporary and relevant.    Students can be using the internet to research irrelevant and dated content. A word processor does not ensure quality writing competence.    When a group of middle school students runs around campus with flip cameras, it is unlikely they will produce a first rate documentary.    Perhaps there is some kind of magical thinking, that digital tools will prompt innovative outcomes.   I share this concern as a firmly committed advocate for the modernization of learning opportunities.    

 Most telling is our current obsession with dated assessment forms.  Teachers are not encouraged to innovate when their institutions are pushing time traveling to the past.  Although mission statements are packed with phrases like “tomorrow’s school” and “careers of the future” and “global preparedness”, the truth is that all fifty states in my country value assessments that are basically identical in format to those used thirty years ago.   Multiple choice, short answer essay prompts to de-contextualized paragraphs are the raison de vivre.   Some national publishers are creating on-line testing, but the items are still the same type as those used when standardized testing first was developed.    Certainly our learners need ACCESS to the global portals and dynamic applications available through digital media in order to become literate and connected, but access is insufficient. 

We should pay attention to school faculties, leaders, and individual teachers who are actively and boldly upgrading curriculum content to reflect timely issues and problems and crafting modern assessments such as digital-media-global project based learning opportunities.   Website curation, app design, global network research, and video/audio production are indicative of modern learning environments not only for students but for their teachers as well.    What might happen if in our discourse we replace the loose use of the word technology with the phrase contemporary learning environments?

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Organizing Algorithms, Calculated Publics in Digitally-Mediated Education | DMLcentral

Organizing Algorithms, Calculated Publics in Digitally-Mediated Education | DMLcentral | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Recent news reports have begun to reveal how various analytics companies are now data mining millions of children. The learning analytics company Knewton, for example, claims that 4.1 million students are now using its proficiency-based adaptive learning platform, which has served 3.5 billion total recommendations between May 2013 and May 2014 alone. The role of these predictive analytics platforms and recommender systems in education is increasingly causing political and parental concerns, largely related to privacy. Less acknowledged, however, is the increasingly autonomous and automated capacity of the software algorithms working in the background of these platforms.

Algorithms have become powerful devices in digitally-mediated education. They are present not only in the predictive analytics and recommender systems of adaptive learning platforms, but in the social networking sites where ‘networked publics’ hang out, in the information practices deployed in inquiry learning, in techniques of digital making, and in the ed-tech software promoted in classrooms. To put it bluntly, algorithms are now deeply embedded in the governance of education and learning—where governance means the techniques by which people’s actions, thoughts and ways of conducting themselves are evaluated, shaped and sculpted.

So what do algorithms do, how much power do they have in the social ordering and governance of education, and how might they be influencing the lives of learners? Some recent publications can help us to begin addressing these questions.

What Algorithms Do

In the recent book "9 Algorithms that Changed the Future,” the computer scientist John MacCormick defines an algorithm simply as “a precise recipe that specifies the exact sequence of steps required to solve a problem.” In computer science specifically, he explains, algorithms are the fundamental entities that computer scientists grapple with to accomplish a task, and without them, there would be no computing.




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FCC Boosts Rural Broadband Speed Requirements to 10 Mbps

FCC Boosts Rural Broadband Speed Requirements to 10 Mbps | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
Broadband providers that want to get funding through the Connect America program to help bring services to more rural users must now agree to provide download speeds of at least 10 Mbps.
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Mobile Technology’s Impact on Emerging Economies and Global Opportunity

Mobile Technology’s Impact on Emerging Economies and Global Opportunity | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
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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Audio recording

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ED TECH: COSN'S 2nd ANNUAL E-RATE & INFRASTRUCTURE SURVEY | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

COSN'S 2nd ANNUAL E-RATE & INFRASTRUCTURE SURVEY If you're not getting every E Rate dollar you should, I am going to fly to wherever you are and bop you on the head! To prevent that from happening, take these 3 simple steps 1. Listen to this show with Reg Lieghty, COSN consultant and Noelle Ellerson, Associate Executive Director for Policy and Advocacy at AASA 

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David Rand: "How Do You Change People's Minds About What Is Right And Wrong?" |

David Rand: "How Do You Change People's Minds About What Is Right And Wrong?" | | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

DAVID RAND is Assistant Professor of Psychology, Economics, and Management at Yale University, and Director of Yale University’s Human Cooperation Laboratory. David Rand's Edge Bio page


I'm a professor of psychology, economics and management at Yale. The thing that I'm interested in, and that I spend pretty much all of my time thinking about, is cooperation—situations where people have the chance to help others at a cost to themselves. The questions that I'm interested in are how do we explain the fact that, by and large, people are quite cooperative, and even more importantly, what can we do to get people to be more cooperative, to be more willing to make sacrifices for the collective good?

There's been a lot of work on cooperation in different fields, and certain basic themes have emerged, what you might call mechanisms for promoting cooperation: ways that you can structure interactions so that people learn to cooperate. In general, if you imagine that most people in a group are doing the cooperative thing, paying costs to help the group as a whole, but there's some subset that's decided "Oh, we don't feel like it; we're just going to look out for ourselves," the selfish people will be better off. Then, either through an evolutionary process or an imitation process, that selfish behavior will spread. 

The question that has preoccupied people for a long time is "How do you stop that from happening?" There are a lot of good answers. For example, if you interact repeatedly with the same person, then that changes things. If the other person has a strategy where they'll only cooperate with you tomorrow if you cooperate with them today, it becomes in your self-interest to cooperate. Or, if people can observe what you're doing, you'll get a reputation for being a cooperator or a non-cooperator. And if people are more inclined to cooperate with people that have cooperated in the past, then that also creates an incentive to cooperate. Or there is partner choice—if people are choosing who they want to work with, who they want to interact with, then if they're more likely to choose cooperative partners, that creates an incentive to cooperate. 

What all these different mechanisms boil down to is the idea that there are often future consequences for your current behavior. You can't just do whatever you want because if you are selfish now, it'll come back to bite you. I should say that there are mathematical and computational models, lab experiments, and also real-world field experiments that show the power of these forms of accountability for getting people to cooperate.

For example, we did an experiment with a utility company in California. We were trying to get people to sign up for a blackout prevention program, where they let the utility company turn down their air conditioners a couple of degrees on really hot days so there's not a big spike in energy use which can cause blackouts. It's a great program, but nobody signs up because it's a pain: You have to be there when the guy comes to install the device and so on. We found that if we made the sheet where you signed up to be part of the program public, so that you had to write down your name and your unit number on the signup sheet instead of just a random code number, it tripled signups. This was a field study with over a thousand Californians. These effects matter in the real world. They're powerful. There's no question that these reputational effects can be powerful motivators of cooperation.

In order for any of that to work, it relies on people caring about you being cooperative; people have to care that you do the right thing. There has to be a norm of cooperation where people think it is acceptable to do what's socially beneficial, and that it's not acceptable to do things that are not socially beneficial. These observability mechanisms don't work in situations where that's not true.

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Rethinking Teacher Time (Infographic)

Rethinking Teacher Time (Infographic) | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Via Beth Dichter
Ines Bieler's curator insight, November 8, 4:01 AM

This is a a great reminder to put our focus on collaboration again. And both sides - teachers and students are beneficiaries.

ManufacturingStories's curator insight, November 8, 3:18 PM

For more resources on STEM Education visit

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Creating a Conversation About Anywhere, Anytime Learning Harvard Family Research Project

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American children spend an average of 6.6 hours in school each day.1 How do they spend their hours outside of school?  We explore this question  in our web confer...

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The Connected Community: Exploratory Research on Designing Online Communities of Practice for Educators to Create Value | Office of Educational Technology

The Connected Community: Exploratory Research on Designing Online Communities of Practice for Educators to Create Value | Office of Educational Technology | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

This report details the results of exploratory research on how to design and manage online communities of practice for educators. The report provides preliminary empirical evidence that participation in online communities creates value for educators, their students, and their schools and districts, defines a set of common questions and challenges that new communities must negotiate, and presents a set of design features that are most strongly associated with creating value for new communities. Results also suggest that learning analytics techniques, including social network analysis and natural language processing applied to analysis of usage data and community content, are promising for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of educational online community management.

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The Empowered Superintendent | CoSN

The Empowered Superintendent | CoSN | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

Education technology is a growing part of any superintendent's role. In focus groups and interviews with superintendents nationwide, we heard that ed tech projects inspire a lot of excitement, but also a lot of trepidation. To help empower superintendents in this area, we created an Empowered Superintendent Toolkit. Download the brand-new Version 3.0, released October 2014 in partnership with AASA, the School Superintendents Association, by clicking on the components below!
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Future Ready District Pledge | Office of Educational Technology

Future Ready District Pledge | Office of Educational Technology | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

United States Department of Education
Office of the Secretary


Dear Superintendent,

As one of more than 14,000 superintendents leading school districts across the nation, you are on the forefront of the transformation of public education. Technology now allows for personalized digital learning for every student in the nation so long as leaders have the technological infrastructure and human capacity in place to ensure success.

The Future Ready District Pledge is designed to set out a roadmap to achieve that success and to commit districts to move as quickly as possible towards our shared vision of preparing students for success in college, careers and citizenship. The U.S. Department of Education seeks to encourage and support superintendents who commit to taking a leadership role in this transition with recognition and resources to help facilitate this transition to digital learning.

In June of 2013, the President launched the ConnectED Initiative to provide 99% of students in the nation with access to high-speed Internet connectivity at the classroom level. Coupled with two billion dollars from the federal E-Rate program, increased flexibility in the use of federal funds, and billions of dollars in additional commitments from the private sector, progress towards improving the nation’s physical infrastructure has already been dramatically accelerated.

However, in order for these resources to leverage their maximum impact on student learning, schools and districts must develop the human capacity, digital materials, and device access to use the new bandwidth wisely and effectively. The Future Ready District Pledge establishes a framework for achieving those goals and will be followed by providing district leaders with additional implementation guidance, online resources, and other support they need to transition to effective digital learning and achieve tangible outcomes for the students they serve.

The U.S. Department of Education is calling on superintendents like you who lead district, charter, and private schools to join us in taking the Future Ready District Pledge and working to develop, implement, and share your technology plan with other districts so they can learn from your successes and challenges along the way.

Thank you for all you are already doing to improve the education for our nation’s students. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for support. We stand ready to help you become a Future Ready district.

Richard Culatta
Director, Office of Educational Technology
Office of the Secretary

Seth Andrew
Senior Advisor & Superintendent in Residence
Office of the Secretary

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Free Software for STEAM Projects | Design the Future - Autodesk

Free Software for STEAM Projects | Design the Future - Autodesk | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |

US secondary schools now have a wealth of resources to inspire students in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) subjects with Autodesk’s Design the Future program, which includes:

Free* Autodesk design software (Autodesk Education Master Suite and Autodesk Entertainment Suite Ultimate)Free project-based curricula (aligned to Common Core, ISTE and many state standards)Free etraining for educatorsFree certification for educators

Autodesk’s Design the Future program empowers educators to help students develop a lifelong love for STEAM subjects with resources developed by educators, for educators. Get started today to introduce your students to the world of design and help students prepare for successful careers! 



President Obama recognizes Autodesk for ConnectED

President Obama discusses the #ConnectED initiative, and how Autodesk and other tech and telecom leaders are helping bring classrooms into the 21st century. Learn more.



Supports creativity and the teaching of critical thinking and problem-solving skills through the use of 2D and 3D software tools.

Helps students see a dynamic connection between science, technology, engineering, arts, and math topics to prepare them for higher education and careers in design-related fields such as architecture, engineering, and digital arts.

Supported by the Autodesk® Digital STEAM Workshop, which aligns to Common Core and ISTE standards, curricula offers educators a new way of teaching project-based learning through technology that supports the design thinking process to introduce students to projects through real-time 3D, storytelling, and short, easy-to-follow videos.

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LinkedIn's SlideShare Goes Completely Free

LinkedIn's SlideShare Goes Completely Free | Educational Technology: Leaders and Leadership |
SlideShare, a platform owned by LinkedIn for sharing presentations, documents, infographics and other files, is now completely free to use. As TechCrunch notes, the optional Pro tiers that existed before... Keep reading →

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
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Leadership through conversations

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of facilitating a discussion for a webinar for alumni of Georgetown University titled, “Conversations are the Work of a Leader.”

In spite of my limitations as a presenter, there was a lot of appreciative feedback about the messages conveyed: that as senior managers and leaders we need to be connected with our people, and not just through e-mail, newsletters and town hall meetings. We need to get out of our offices, off our executive floors and speak with the people who are doing the work of our companies.

There were poignant comments and questions during and after the webinar, such as, “I wish my boss was listening. He doesn’t get it,” and, “How do we get this message to our senior managers? They spend most of their time talking to each other, not to us.”

There were many similar comments and questions. Clearly this subject sparked interest; people feel strongly that conversations are vitally important. We need to understand that conversations truly are the work of a leader.

There is the adage, “Managers focus are results; leaders focus on people.” That really should be “leaders focus on results and people,” as in today’s hyper-competitive business environment, we must hit our financial goals or we may not keep our jobs. But how are we going to keep our good people energized and engaged if we don’t invest the time to know them as our team members and what is important to them?

Every business is a people business. Our relationships with our clients are essential to our success — with external clients and, equally important, with our internal clients, our people. Yes, we must think of our people as our internal clients. They are the ones doing the work of our companies and they deserve our attention and respect. And the better the quality of our relationships, the better we’ll do as leaders and in our businesses.

Here’s compelling background: Morale in business today is low, witness that 40% of the workforce does not feel appreciated and 70% of the workforce does not feel fully engaged!

In my leadership consulting and coaching work, I repeatedly hear comments like, “I see our top people occasionally — in the lobby of our building. They seldom come out of the executive wing.”

Senior managers spend up to 50% of their time in meetings, and much of their remaining time speaking with each other, on calls, and in front of their computers. Most of their communication is through e-mails and or is delegated to those who report to them.

We have to free ourselves up. We have to make our meetings shorter, more efficient and more productive, and then take the time for conversations with our people.

Read the book “The 100/0 Principle: The Secret of Great Relationships” by Al Ritter. Al tells his story about how he lost his team members. They didn’t want to work for him any longer because he was driving them hard without relating to them as people.

Our people need to feel they are:

Appreciated and valuedHeard, and their ideas matterAn important member of a teamLearning, growing and advancing

Everyone wants to be successful, and their professional development is our responsibility as well as theirs.

Servant leadership is worth studying, as it is a philosophy that can help us be most effective with our leadership responsibilities. It is about serving first, serving those with whom we work, and that is more important than the power and perhaps material possessions that result from our position.

A test of our being a servant leader is whether or not our people feel they are learning, growing and succeeding.

The way we help our people learn, grow and succeed is by being there with them — mentoring, teaching, encouraging, coaching them, helping them feel appreciated, inspired and empowered.

There is a wonderful quotation, “To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.”


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