Upcoming Webinars Wednesday, Sep. 17 at 4 p.m. Eastern TimeBuild Your Grant Writing Toolkit Part IPresented by Dr. Rita Oates, president of Oates Associates Thursday, Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. Eastern TimeBuild Your Grant Writing Toolkit Part IIPresented by Dr. Rita Oates, president of Oates Associates
Mobile devices in the classroom? The Verizon Mobile Learning Academy will give you the insight you need to transform mobile technology into a powerful educational platform. The Verizon Foundation, ISTE and the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Technology in Education are teaming up to offer a free, moderated five-module Academy designed to bring teams of administrators, technology coaches and teachers up to speed on best practices and principles guiding today’s most effective mobile learning classrooms/environments. The Academy, which is based on the professional development program that delivered promising results in the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program, offers Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Johns Hopkins University.
If your school district is engaged in an innovative project that is improving student outcomes, streamlining operations or meeting the needs of your community, it could be a District of Distinction.
Just launched by District Administration magazine, Districts of Distinction is a national recognition program to honor school districts that are leading the way with new ideas that work. The program will provide national recognition to districts with established initiatives that are yielding quantifiable benefits, and that could be replicated by other districts.
“The Districts of Distinction recognition program will not only highlight innovative and outstanding district programs, but it will also help school district administrators learn from each other and build success in their own districts,” says JD Solomon, editorial director of District Administration magazine.
Honorees for the inaugural round of the Districts of Distinction program will be announced in the November 2014 edition of District Administration. The program will expand in 2015 with multiple opportunities for participation.
Districts of Distinction honorees will:
Be identified in District Administration magazine and on the magazine’s websiteBe included in a nationally distributed press release and in The District, a newsletter distributed to superintendent-members of the District Administration Leadership InstituteReceive a District of Distinction certificate along with a letter of commendation from Dan Kinnaman, the publisher of District AdministrationReceive a press release template to promote their recognition to local media
The deadline for applications is Friday, Aug. 1. Districts can submit an application at districtadministration.com/dod.
Google is adding new features that allow multiple students to share a single Android-based education tablet.
Tablets that support Google Play for Education will now be able to support up to five user accounts, according to Emily Bernier, a software engineer for Google Play for Education. Setup will remain essentially the same, with the added option of setting up one to five individual user accounts. Students are then given a PIN code to access their own accounts and their individual content.
Individual student accounts can also later be transferred to new devices. For example, if students have previously had to share a device are given their own devices on a 1-to-1 basis, their individual accounts — including apps and documents — can be transferred from the shared device to the new device.
Google Play for Education is a suite of software tools that include apps, reading materials, educational videos, digital content management, classroom content distribution and app management.
Devices that support Google Play for Education are manufactured by ASUS, HP, Samsung and Google itself.
Additional details about shared accounts can be found on Google's support pages.
There is a lot of buzz around technology's role in education. Unfortunately, most of these conversations are missing the mark – honing in on ed-tech financing or the “technology gap.”
What follows are three common myths surrounding technology’s purpose in the education system and ways to address these myths to help improve innovation, adoption and student outcomes.
Myth #1: It’s all about disruption.
One of the biggest problems surrounding technology in education is that new developments and products are often over-hyped, due to the thought that technology should immediately “disrupt” current operations. This sensationalism frames new technology as a cure all to improve processes and outcomes, but then fails to offer actionable steps for schools to implement and integrate that technology into existing practices.
Instead, technology should be approached as part of the solution. One should consider how digital tools can make a realistic, sustainable impact on the education system. School districts should focus on tools that improve the current experience and process, that are easily used and integrated seamlessly. One great example of this is Unity High School in Oakland, CA. They have integrated Khan Academy’s online videos into their Algebra 1 curriculum to create a blended learning program.
The over-promise, under-deliver model often ends up making schools, administrators and teachers skeptical about embracing new technologies, even the ones that add definitive value. By shifting our mindset, we can bridge the gap between hype and reality.
Myth #2: It’s all about the classroom.
Another common misconception is that “technology in education” only refers to digital classroom tools, or software that helps improve educators’ teaching abilities, enhances the actual learning process or helps students become more tech-savvy. While such tools are important to our education system, technology can make an impact long before and after a lesson.
There are a variety of resources that help schools save time and money in their day-to-day operations. For example, successful districts are considering buying hiring software to help them ensure they are hiring the best teachers to impact student achievement efficiently and cost-effectively. Digital tools can also help improve and customize professional development for teachers. And behind the scenes, new cloud computing and analytic systems are improving district’s data storage for materials including student attendance records, grades and individual student information.
Myth #3: It’s all about … well … technology.
Any conversation about technology must acknowledge the reality that technology itself is not a cure all. Even the greatest ed-tech tools are ineffective if we don’t have great teachers to utilize them. Research has shown time and time again that teacher quality remains the most important school-based factor for student achievement. While considering all education technology solutions, we must remember that it is our educators who matter most and make the biggest difference. Every software or hardware purchase should be made with one end goal, to positively impact student achievement.
First published June 4th 2014, 11:48 amJOEL SACKETT
As Product Manager for Hanover Research, Joel Sackett expands Hanover's product offering to the digital space, offering creative and technical solutions to the eager and under-served education market. With nearly 10 years experience, Joel has worked on a number of high profile projects in past roles, including work with PBS' Student Reporting Labs initiative, Whitehouse.gov, and the 2012 Olympic coverage for the Associated Press.
Are companies reluctant to invest in long-term innovations? The Harvard Business Review says they are—and guesses at why—in what its editors say is the journal’s “first formally crowdsourced” article, “The Capitalist’s Dilemma.”
No doubt you’ve heard of one of the two lead authors—Clayton M. Christensen, a professor of business administration at Harvard known for his work on disruptive innovation. His co-author was Derek van Bever, a senior lecturer in entrepreneurial management, but the list of contributors has well over 200 names and includes “community thought leaders” as well as members of a “working team.”
According to a Harvard news release, a total of about 500 Harvard Business School alumni took part in the project, initially helping as Mr. Christensen and Mr. van Bever attempted to define the questions they were asking, and later offering ideas and then reviewing drafts of the article before it was submitted.
The project relied on OpenIDEO, a collaboration platform created by an alumnus of the business school. Colin Maclay, director of the school’s Digital Initiative, said the general approach was to put ideas ”out in the open, so that, one, everyone can see them, and two, people can comment on them, elaborate on them further, and help to develop them, to take what might be a kernel of an idea into something that’s much more powerful.”
“Part of our intention in piloting this was to demonstrate the power of this approach for other faculty at HBS and beyond,” said Mr. van Bever. “And we really believe that, going forward, taking advantage of this capability is not only possible, it’s really revolutionary in terms of the speed with which we’re able to work.
“But also with an alumni base as rich in experience and diversity of perspectives as ours is, you’d be crazy not to tap that if you could,” he added.
As we move farther into 2014, are you wondering what will be the big ed tech trends for the year? The authors of the 2014 Horizon Report provide some answers.
Although the the K-12 version of the New Media Consortium’s annual report is not due out till June, a look at the newly released (January 28, 2014) higher education edition gives us a strong sneak peek. The Horizon report, Higher Education Edition, is a collaborative effort by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and Educause, designed to highlight emerging technologies that impact teaching, learning and creative inquiry in higher education.
International leaders across many sectors come together with technologists, business leaders and others in the creation of the annual report. With its compelling timeline, delineation of trends and challenges and related examples, it is a valuable resource for educational leaders. Here’s a summary of the higher education findings:
One to Two Years
Integration of Online, Hybrid and Collaborative Learning - Internet access to a wide range of materials makes new types of collaborative and online learning possible. This learning is available at any hour and is benefitted by an ever growing set of digital skills students are acquiring.
Growing Ubiquity of Social Media - Social media has become an established means of communication across many sectors. Education is seeing this trend, also, with the ever-growing capability for sharing information, discussing ideas and collaboration.
Three to Five Years:
Shift of Students as Consumers to Students as Creators - As people's technology habits become more mobile and technology easier to access, people are creating more and more content as time goes by. Self published books, videos and more are evidence of this creator society. This creativity is expected to continue and it’s impact on student creativity and learning is expected.
Rise of Data-Driven Learning and Assessment - More emphasis will be placed on the use of data to enhance individual learning. The capabilities and uses for data is expected to grow in both capability and application thereby benefitting student outcome.
Five Years and Beyond
Agile Approaches to Change - Organizational structures such as schools may benefit from the startup models currently in evidence in business. As leaders have the option to view and incorporate models based on this, schools may find additional avenues for new learning and evaluation.
Evolution of Online Learning - Voice and video tools are now asynchronous and many teachers are expected to expand their use of these models and take the opportunity to interact with students in this way. Growing uses of audio and visual tools will help the learning experience be more akin to face to face interaction.
Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:
What are the implications for jr/sr highs around globe?
While not exactly akin to the sleek, aerodynamic flying motorcycles seen knifing through the forest in “Star Wars,” the Aero-X still looks impressively futuristic as it glides effortlessly over rugged terrain. And now, for $85,000, which includes a $5,000 refundable deposit, just about anyone can pre-order what may soon be the world’s first commercial hoverbike.
A glimpse of Los Angeles-based start-up Aerofex’s evolving concept was last shown back in 2012, when the company released a video that showed a 785-pound prototype, with dual-ducted rotors, rising to an altitude of about three feet as it built up speed. Filmed in the Mojave Desert, the clip was intended to demonstrate the aircraft’s steady flight dynamics and pinpoint maneuverability while being capable of traveling at a top speed of 45 mph. Safety features include a roll bar to protect riders in case of a crash and possibly air bags to cushion the entire vehicle.
Generally, hovercraft aren’t designed to be toys. They’re usually boat-sized, air-cushioned vehicles deployed by coast guards during search and rescue operations along coastal regions. With their ability to quickly transition from land to water, naval units around the world also keep a fleet on-hand for strategic reasons. But for Aerofex founder Mark De Roche, figuring out how to adapt the technology into a smaller, nimbler variation that “rides like a motorcycle” meant opening the door to an even wider range of practical applications.
“Contrary to what people may be saying, Aero-X wasn’t inspired by Star Wars,” De Roche points out. “There are actually many areas of need that it would be a perfect for. For instance, ranchers who herd horses have no choice but to use helicopters, and piloting them that close to the ground is dangerous. Also, it’ll allow farmers that aren’t in close proximity to an airport to do crop dusting.”
The Aero-X is estimated to cost $85,000. (Aerofex)
Though designs for a working hoverbike have been around since the 60s, the biggest hurdle has long been coming up with a steering system that compensates for what aerospace engineers refer to as the “coupling effect,” where the dynamics of propelling an object forward is affected by the motion of the spinning fans, causing it to veer or turn to the left. Conventional hovercrafts are able to mitigate the problem through the use of a bottom platform designed to blow out air through small strategically-placed vents. The drawback is that this tends to limit lift to no more than a few inches off the ground, particularly with smaller models.
De Roche wouldn’t go into detail with how he resolved the issue, due to patent reasons, but explained that the latest version features a number of field-tested modifications, such as a shroud around the bottom of both front and back rotors, to ensure greater stability. It’s also designed to respond intuitively to shifts in the rider’s body positioning to precisely execute turns and changes in direction — all without the assistance of computer software, he says.
Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:
Could students build and 3D print it for much less?
These Learning how to use image editing software can be difficult and time consuming. And, teaching students how to use it can be even more challenging. Luckily, there are several free, online alternativ...
BYOD and 1:1 are two popular trends in today's educational system. The common thing between these two trends is that they are both technology-induced, that is based on, applied to, and came about as a direct result of the wider uptake of digital technologies. Also both of these trends aim at a better integration and a wider access to technology within formal educational settings.
In fact, there are several pros and cons to each option and the visual below outlines some of the major differences between these two approaches in terms of costs, equality, compatibility, and maintenance. This comparison, however, should not be viewed as favouring one option on the other the decision of which one to use is contingent on different factors including the context, infrastructure, purposes, and teaching/learning needs of each school.
What is BYOD ? Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is often used interchangeably with other acronyms such as BYOT (Bring Your own Technology), BYOPC ( Bring your Own PC), BYOP ( Bring Your Own Phone). The essence of BYOD revolves around encouraging and permitting students to bring their own personally-owned electronic gadgets to class.
What is 1:1 ? One to one computing (1:1) is a strategy pursued by several educational institutions which aims at equipping each student with an electronic device( laptops, tablets, smart phones…etc) that will allow them to access digital course materials (textbooks and online learning content). The benefits of 1:1 computing include : " equal access, standardization, easy upgrade, simple networking, the ability to monitor student progress and online behaviour. "
Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:
Might contest choral style of apps in 1:1 vs whole globe of apps with from multi-platform BYOT.
Additionally, few 1:1 are not also BYOT for those focused on student options and creativity.
Much of the recent growth in the online course market has been driven by experiences similar to that of Lisa Andrejko, the superintendent of the Quakertown Community School District in Pennsylvania.
Five years ago, Ms. Andrejko discovered a drain of over 100 district students leaving for a Pennsylvania-based cyber charter school.
It was costly: for each departing student the 5,500-student, suburban Quakertown district had to pay the cyber charter $12,000, or $24,000 for special education students, eventually amounting to $1.2 million lost annually.
"For years, public schools didn't see the need for virtual schooling, but as kids started to leave because we weren't meeting their needs, it was hurting us financially," said Thomas C. Murray, the director of the district's technology and cyber education program.
Motivated by financial concerns, in 2009 Quakertown administrators created Infinity Cyber Academy, a district-run virtual school. Over time the cyber academy went from district-only students taking courses taught and provided by outside vendors, to welcoming students from 12 Pennsylvania school districts with access to a mixture of district-created and taught courses, as well as those provided by outside companies.
The same factors that pushed Quakertown to develop a virtual learning program are also fueling a vibrant marketplace for K-12 online learning. Extrapolated revenue growth for that sector increased from $73 million to $178 million between the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years, according to a survey conducted by the Washington-based Software & Information Industry Association, or SIIA.
The biggest player in the virtual education market is Herndon, Va.-based K12 Inc., one of the few publicly traded precollegiate education companies, which focuses on selling directly to districts to build blended-learning programs. The list also includes Apex Learning, Connections Academy, and others.
Blended-learning is on the rise. By 2019, half of all high school courses will be in some online form, predicts The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a San Mateo, Calif.-based think tank that studies blended learning.
But these numbers are hard to pin down, particularly when the definition of blended learning can be fluid.
Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:
Does your district discourage student enrollments or encourage enrollments in online courses? Are decisions student driven vs finance driven decision making?
Who are the final decision makers?
Are independent student online courses entered into transcripts and do they count toward graduation credits?
When school re-opens in the fall, Virginia's Chesterfield County School District will be providing Dell Chromebooks to its older students.
Some 32,000 Chromebooks are being purchased by the Chesterfield County Public Schools in Chesterfield, Va., so that all middle and high school students in the district have one to use for their studies starting this fall.
The district's new Chromebook initiative was announced by Jason Katcher, Google's head of North America large customer education sales, in a June 6 post on the Google Enterprise Blog. Before choosing Chromebooks for its students, the district conducted pilot tests with six different kinds of devices to find the best choice for its students, wrote Katcher.
Adam Seldow, the district's executive director of technology, told eWEEK that while the students have had access to Windows laptops and desktop computers in the schools in the past, each student has never had one-on-one access to a machine full-time. Instead, the limited number of Windows laptops were on computer carts, which meant that they could only be used for short periods of time, said Seldow.
"The students shared them and weren't using them that often" via the carts, he said. "There was a lot of demand and relative low supply, with about five students to each laptop."
Tumblr is a hugely popular, highly social blogging platform with an emphasis on images. Tumblr is a great tool because it’s free, easy to use and a lot of fun. Many Tumblr sites are dedicated to gathering and sharing images on a particular theme. Lots of individual users use them for social networking, and it is also common for groups and businesses to use them as part of their online identity and for social marketing outreach.
The National Broadband Map (NBM) is a searchable and interactive website that allows users to view broadband availability across every neighborhood in the United States. The NBM was created by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and in partnership with 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. The NBM is a project of NTIA's State Broadband Initiative.