The Unique Challenges Facing the IT Professional in K12 Education Survey Report

Click to read about the 2010-2011 Survey Results: The Unique Challenges Facing the IT Professional in K‐12 Education

Here’s another tool to help you conquer the IT challenges you face each day. See how your organization compares to the rest of the US and use the quantitative data in this report to justify your needs. The survey, conducted by and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), asked hundreds of IT professionals to give honest answers about their technology departments, including staffing, asset management and funding. Get your copy of the report.


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FETC 2012: The power of educators

A teacher's power as a classroom leader and technology innovator will be a major focus at FETC 2012.

Thousands of educators nationwide will have an opportunity to explore new technologies and an ed-tech marketplace when FETC 2012, one of the largest conferences in the nation devoted entirely to education technology, opens with keynote speaker Tierney Cahill, a Nevada teacher, author, Congressional candidate and subject of the upcoming film, “Class Act.”

As FETC’s opening-session speaker on Jan. 24, Cahill is expected to discuss her experience running for Congress while working as a sixth grade teacher and having her class act as her campaign management. Cahill’s dedicated herself to running for Nevada’s District 2 Congressional seat to show her students that anyone can run for office. Although she lost the election, her experience winning the primaries inspired her to write a book that is being developed into a feature film starring HalleBerry.

Cahill leads an array of distinguished featured speakers, including Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist, researcher in digital ethnography, and associate professor at Kansas State University. He will discuss new types of conversation, exchange, and collaboration created by new media. He will explore what is at stake, what is possible, and how to create new learning environments for students and teachers to move beyond simply being knowledgeable to being knowledgeable (able to find, sort, analyze, criticize, create, and collaborate) in new media environments. Other internationally-recognized featured speakers include Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Marc Prensky, Julie Evans, Elliot Soloway, Rushton Hurley, and Meg Ormiston.

FETC’s 32nd annual conference takes place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 23 through Jan. 26, and features dynamic speakers, exhibitors, and events designed to provide K-12 educators and administrators with an unparalleled opportunity to explore different technologies across the curriculum while increasing their familiarity with the latest hardware, software, and successful strategies on student technology use.

FETC 2012 will present more than 210 concurrent and “BYOD” (bring your own device) sessions in addition to 132 ticketed professional development workshops focusing on hot-topic areas, such as digital content, future and emerging technologies, teaching and learning, administration, and accountability.

The FETC Exhibit Hall, a dedicated educators’ marketplace, will enable attendees to see and purchase the latest innovations in classroom technology from more than 300 companies, including education and technology powerhouses like Epson, Edmodo, Insight Systems Exchange, and AVAI. This hands-on, interactive environment is a key component of the FETC experience, allowing conference attendees to access the cutting-edge software and hardware transforming today’s education landscape.


2011: Best and worst in education

Looking back on 2011, we saw in K-12 education some continuation of the misguided obsession with teachers unions, as Republican governors sought to cripple public employee unions in Wisconsin and Ohio, says Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a nonprofit public policy research organization, for the Washington Post. To add to the drumbeat, authors Terry Moe and Steven Brill published high-profile anti-teacher union books. But if some politicians and pundits got it wrong, there was good news from voters, as Ohio residents in November repealed the wrongheaded attack on teachers and other public employees, and North Carolina voters backed a return to school integration in Wake County public schools, the state’s largest district… 

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Some worry vouchers could cause reverse migration

Private schools that saw enrollment swell this year because of Indiana’s sweeping school voucher program fear they could see some of those gains erased next year as parents paying their own way instead enroll their children in public school so they can qualify for a voucher the following year, the Associated Press reports. The vouchers allow even middle-class families to use taxpayer money to send children to private schools and are worth on average more than $4,000 a year. The law was passed so late in the last legislative session that most parents didn’t know about the provision. Private school officials say parents are aware now.

“Principals are telling me that now that the parents know that others are coming in on these scholarships and that they might qualify as well, they are talking about leaving for the next school year,” said Babrara O’Block, superintendent of schools in the Catholic Diocese of Gary…

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Opinion: Are educators who support creationism holding American innovation back?

A recent article in The Los Angeles Times tells of a superintendent in a Kentucky school who is rather miffed that the state of Kentucky does not afford the theory of creationism the same high esteem on the state biology test as they afford the theory of evolution, says Christine Jenkins for Yahoo! News. Why is he so upset? Because he seems to think that the colloquial use of the word “theory” is the same as the scientific use of the word “theory.” Their ignorance normally wouldn’t bother me, except for the fact that this man took a position educating children, whom he apparently feels he has a duty to make just as ignorant as he is. Ignorance on this particular topic is not one which we should sit idly by and let settle within any child’s mind. Creationism is a dogmatic theory because there is absolutely no way to find any scientific or historical evidence, much less prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a being or beings that have created the universe. Impossible barring said being showing his or herself to the entire populace at once. The theory of evolution, however, has been given the scientific thumbs up through the use of scientific method; research, evidence, testing, re-testing…

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Protecting United States from hackers means redoubling education efforts

If there was ever a time for the U.S. to get back on track with math and science, it’s with the latest ABC News report on China: ” For more than a year, hackers with ties to the Chinese military have been eaves dropping on U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials involves in Asian affairs, authorities say,” Yahoo! News reports. This is alarming and completely unacceptable. The Chinese hackers should have been found immediately not left unchecked for more than a year, but how can we find hackers when we’re below the world mean in math and science? We can’t protect ourselves if we don’t have citizens with the skills to protect us, and protection starts with education and training. Right now, the United States is average when compared to other developed nations, as reported by the Huffington Post. The problem with being average is that the U.S. only scores “around 500 in math and science.” Those scores are based on a 1000 point scale. The U.S. should be closer to 550 if we want to be competitive in the global market…

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The ten most popular eSN stories of the year

Here are the most popular eSchool News stories of 2011.

Recently, we published our editors’ picks for the 10 most significant ed-tech stories of 2011. Now, see what our readers think.

These 10 stories were the most popular among our readers in 2011, as judged by the number of page views they received at If you missed any of them before, don’t worry: You can go back and read them now, simply by clicking on each headline.

Ten great sites with free teacher resources

With cuts to school budgets, teachers are often left searching for ways to innovate without breaking the bank. There are numerous sites that can help, but we’ve picked 10 that our among our favorites…

10 of the best apps for education

As iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches become more integrated in classrooms, educators and students are looking for new ways to apply them to the learning process. In this special feature, we’ve assembled a list of education “apps” for Apple devices that we think are noteworthy…

Ten skills every student should learn

Ed-tech stakeholders for years have been touting the need for students to learn so-called “21st century skills” such as problem solving, critical thinking, and media literacy to prepare for the new global, digital economy, while others are calling for students to have strong math and science skills. All of these skills are important—but what do educators and other school stakeholders think are the most important skills for students to learn?

Five characteristics of an effective 21st-century educator

We recently asked readers: “What are the qualities of an effective 21st-century educator?” Here are our readers’ top responses…

Ten common myths about teaching

It seems everyone has an opinion about teachers and their profession these days—and most of them aren’t teachers…

‘Bring your own device’ catching on in schools

Many children and teens now own their own mobile devices, and school leaders are using that to their advantage by incorporating devices that students already own into classroom lessons and projects…

How to use YouTube at school—safely

As most teachers know, there’s a lot of great educational content on YouTube—and there’s a lot of inappropriate material, too. That’s why many schools block access to YouTube on their networks, which can be frustrating for teachers who want to use YouTube at school. Now, a new service from internet security company M86 Security aims to solve this problem…

Five things students say they want from education

With so many education stakeholders debating the needs of today’s schools, student voices aren’t always heard when it comes to what they want from their education…

Math research reveals early-learning needs

Numbers, counting, and low-level arithmetic are three basic competencies that are vital to later success in math, and students should have these key math skills in first grade in order to be successful in math in fifth grade, according to a long-term study released by psychologists at the University of Missouri…

Ten ideas for interactive teaching

Interactive teaching methods are an effective way to connect with a generation of students used to consistent stimulation—and education professor Kevin Yee has some advice for how teachers can make their lessons more interactive…


How to tap corporate philanthropy in support of ed tech

You might find that the more recognition a company receives, the more successful you’ll be in securing corporate ed-tech support.

Grants & Funding column, January 2012 edition of eSchool News—Is corporate philanthropy a part of your grant-seeking efforts? If not, here’s some basic information to get you started in examining this potential source of support for your school or district.

According to the book Everybody’s Business: Managing Risks and Opportunities in Today’s Global Society, by David Grayson and Adrian Hodges, corporations provide support with a variety of words beginning with “p”—profits, people, product, power, purchasing, and promotion. Corporations have a variety of different models they use to provide this support.

A corporate foundation follows regulations that govern other private foundations. These foundations are separate from the parent company; however, their giving usually reflects the corporation’s values and interests.

A corporate giving program is not separate from the company and does not follow the regulations that exist for private foundations. Often, corporate giving programs are a source of funds for causes that would not meet a corporate foundation’s guidelines, such as giving funds for a golf tournament or a gala. Corporate giving programs allow a corporation to receive the direct benefits from this type of activity, such as tickets to the gala for their employees.

Corporations can offer either type of support or both. Grant seekers need to research what giving options a corporation has and ask for the right type of support from the right type of vehicle. Two examples of companies that have both corporate foundations and corporate giving programs are Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

For more grant-seeking advice from Deb Ward, see also:

Tips for effective grant evaluation

Six questions to ask before applying for a grant

Seven strategies for successful grants management

Ten grant-writing resolutions for the new year

Corporations offer grants to support projects (sometimes including capital, matching, and challenge grants), matching gifts that match the contributions their employees make to organizations, and service grants in which their employees volunteer their time. Corporations also can provide in-kind contributions to organizations, such as product or service donations or loaned equipment and facilities. And finally, corporate employees can donate their paid release time to organizations, and corporate employees can serve on boards providing technical assistance and/or expertise.

To begin researching the potential for corporate philanthropy to support your needs, I recommend that you contact your local Chamber of Commerce and request a list of the top 20, 50, or 100 employers in your community, depending on its size. It’s important to keep in mind that most corporations restrict their giving to the locations where they do business and/or where their employees live and work.


New online learning platform Gooru aims to make learning ‘social’

Gooru is a free platform for students and teachers to access standards-based online resources in organized “playlists” for learning. Created by a Google employee, it’s run by a nonprofit group called Ednovo. Students can access “ClassBooks”—collections of textbooks, videos, and assessments—on any topic, and they can interact with their peers and teachers while studying. Teachers can search for standards-aligned web resources organized into “ClassPlans,” which they can customize and share with the larger community. In short, educators can use the site to search and teach, while students can use it to search and study; the website’s tagline is “learning is social.”


Student mentor partners offers local youth guidance

People often use the word “miraculous” when it isn’t really necessary, but for Bernard Draper, a youth participant in a program called Student Mentor Partners, the word is fitting, the Huffington Post reports. Draper sees his volunteer mentor’s work as more than a simple coincidence.

“My relationship with Greg is very important to me. Since I lost my father, it seems that God sent Greg to take his place in so many ways,” Draper said. “Greg has not only been like a father to me, he has been a supporter, a motivator and he has introduced me to so many things. Greg has just been a joy to know.”

Greg Leslie is one of many mentors at work with Student Mentor Partners, an organization that makes private school affordable and accessible for lower-income, at-risk youth in the Detroit area. Since 1998, the program has grown from a small effort involving three local young people into a mature organization that works with more than 35 boys and girls at 11 area schools…

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