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Special Reports

Why learning foreign languages is a ‘crucial’ skill

Educational technology consultant Alan November is fond of telling a story about a conversation he once had with a senior executive at a global investment bank.

During the course of their discussion, November asked the executive: What’s the most important skill for today’s students to learn, so they are prepared to succeed in the new global economy?

“Empathy,” the executive replied—the ability to understand and respect different cultural points of view.

Most of today’s companies do business with customers all over the world, and several also have branches in multiple countries. Chances are good that when students...

eSN Special Report: Closing Gaps Early

Located in Marion County, a rural area of north central Florida, the town of Weirsdale doesn’t offer many opportunities for preschool education. The median family income in the county is around $37,000, or $12,000 less than the state average, and about one in 10 families lives below the poverty line.

As a result, many children are starting their formal education already well behind where they should be, according to the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener. In fact, some students enter kindergarten not knowing any letters or sounds, said Chris Sandy, principal of Stanton-Weirsdale Elementary School.

“It’s amazing to me...

Special Report: Fostering Continuous Improvement

Over the last several years, the Aldine Independent School District in Texas has raised students’ average reading scores by 18 percent, brought up math scores by 29 percent, increased its four-year graduation rate by 11 percentage points, and saved more than $100,000 per year in transportation costs alone.

Each of these successes was achieved by adhering to a simple concept, district leaders say: focusing on continuous improvement.

“Our district has been extremely successful in implementing and sustaining a continuous improvement model,” said Janet Ray, director of strategic planning and school improvement for the 66,000-student district.

The concept...

eSN Special Report: Learning a language online

In tiny Weybridge, Vermont (population 833), the most common industry is farming. Yet the fifty or so students in the town’s K-6 elementary school are preparing for a much larger world of opportunities by learning a second language.

With just four full-time teachers at Weybridge Elementary, that poses a challenge. The school does have a part-time Spanish teacher who comes in three days a week, says Principal Christina Johnston—but it’s an online curriculum developed by nearby Middlebury College that is helping to fill the gap.

“Students can access the curriculum at home, which is a huge advantage in...

Special Report: Powering the Digital Classroom

How students want to learn, and how they’re actually learning and using digital tools, doesn’t match up in many schools. How can education leaders balance this equation?...

eSN Special Report: 2014 eRate Survival Guide

Uncertainty. That’s the key theme as school officials prepare to apply for the next cycle of eRate funding.

In one of the most comprehensive evaluations of the eRate since its inception in 1997, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year issued a rulemaking process to overhaul the $2.3 billion-a-year federal school wiring program from top to bottom.

The move came in response to President Obama’s ConnectED initiative, a call to bring broadband internet access to 99 percent of classrooms within the next five years. Even the eRate’s strongest supporters agree that the program—designed in an era when...

More Special Reports
School libraries changing with move to digital resources

School libraries changing with move to digital resources

As schools across the nation move from printed textbooks to digital materials and digital learning environments, school libraries are adapting to keep pace—and new advancements are changing the…

eSN Publisher’s Report: Visibility within the cloud

eSN Publisher’s Report: Visibility within the cloud

With earlier technologies, the term “cloud computing” was an apt description: As users connected to the cloud, the system couldn’t “see” the type of device they were using—so…

eSN Publisher’s Report: How to thwart bullies through better incident management

eSN Publisher’s Report: How to thwart bullies through better incident management

School bullying is now at crisis levels in the U.S., and it’s one of the primary challenges that school leaders face in managing the learning environment. As school…

Performance assessment making a comeback in schools

Performance assessment making a comeback in schools

Spurred by a federal directive to use “multiple measures” of student success, performance assessment is reemerging as a strategy to delve more deeply into students’ skills.…

Hosted VoIP: A better call?

Hosted VoIP: A better call?

As school districts replace their antiquated phone systems, a growing number of districts are choosing hosted, or “managed,” voice-over-IP service. Besides being easier to manage, hosted VoIP service…

eSN Special Report: Smarter Education

eSN Special Report: Smarter Education

For years, marketers have used sophisticated software to track consumers’ buying habits and web browsing activity, then crunch this information and make intelligent predictions to target their sales…

eSN Publisher’s Report: Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth

eSN Publisher’s Report: Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth

Is cloud computing secure? That’s a question many ed-tech leaders have been asking as they’ve considered moving applications to the cloud. And the answer many are finding is:…

Reinventing Education: A progress report

Reinventing Education: A progress report

The slumping economy hasn’t been kind to schools, especially in California—but that hasn’t deterred the San Diego Unified School District from its ambitious plan to give all students…

Learning management systems take on K-12 role

Online and blended learning have taken off in the last few years—and that has spurred more interest in learning management system (LMS) software among K-12 schools.…

Educator Resource Centers

Using Data to Improve Student Achievement

While schools now measure their students’ progress more frequently throughout the year, using this information to target instruction more effectively still poses a challenge. Turning data into higher…

Transforming Language Instruction

A growing number of K-12 leaders believe that exposure to world languages and culture—even at a very early age—is critical to students’ competitiveness in the 21st century. But…

Reinventing the Classroom

Technology holds great promise to transform teaching and learning: It allows for more personalized instruction, higher levels of student engagement, and instant assessment of students’ skills—giving educators real-time…

Empowering Literacy Through Technology

Empowering Literacy Through Technology

The definition of “literacy” is evolving in the 21st century. Not only does it involve fluency in reading and writing, but it also implies an ability to think…

How to Make Flipped Learning Work

Flipped learning, in which students watch instructional videos for homework and use class time to apply what they’ve learned, is catching on in many schools. But there are…

Choosing the Right Devices for Your Schools

iPads, Chromebooks, laptops, Android devices, or Windows 8 tablets: School leaders today have a wide variety of mobile learning options to choose from. When rolling out a digital learning…