Gartner Predicts 2013: Digitalization Powers Education

vmware-gartner The how, when, where and what of learning will be dramatically disrupted as bits and bytes supplant time and place as the value propositions in the education ecosystem. This research highlights some predicted disrupters to the ecosystem over the next five years.

Read this whitepaper to learn the key findings, recommendations and analysis.

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Online Testing: How Prepared are you? [INFOGRAPHIC]

vmware-cntrforedThere are pending state mandates to move to online assessments in K-12 schools, especially in the 45 states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). While the CCSSI mandates that all districts deliver online testing by the 2014-2015 school year, some states have already begun. Many school district IT personnel report that meeting the online testing mandate is one of their top priorities. In fact, a recent survey of 300 K-12 IT professionals conducted by CDW-G found that 83 percent of respondents noted that meeting the Common Core technology requirements for the online student assessment mandate and improved instruction was among their top three IT priorities — and 29 percent said it was the top IT priority. The impetus behind this transition is that online assessment is easier to deliver and is more secure than previous methods such as those using paper and pencil, making test delivery less time consuming and the results more accurate. The importance of online assessment results cannot be overemphasized as they will not only be used to measure student achievement and teacher effectiveness, but ongoing state funding depends on secure and stable test delivery.

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Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2013, No. 7: Gaming

eSchool News counts down the ten most significant developments in educational technology during the past year. No. 7 touches on gaming’s place in the classroom.

gaming-Top10In school systems from coast to coast, tech-savvy educators experimented with augmented reality, educational gaming, and other techniques designed to enhance teaching and learning.

These are only some of the key ed-tech developments affecting K-12 schools in the past year—and we’ve got a full recap for you.

Here, the editors of eSchool News highlight what we think are the 10 most significant ed-tech stories of 2013.

To learn how these stories have made an impact on K-12 schools this year—and how they will continue to shape education in 2014 and beyond—read on.

(Next page: How gaming is making gains)

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App of the week: Ordered Fractions

fractionsappName: Ordered Fractions

What is it? Ordered Fractions provides a tool that offers an innovative method of learning about comparing and ordering fractions. The game begins by rolling the dice, and students then insert these numbers into the boxes on the board, which creates the fractions. Students then position the fractions in ascending (or descending) order by comparing fractions. Students also have the option of exchanging the current set of numbers and re-rolling the dice. Along the way, the game offers helps and tips that enhance learning and make concepts easier to comprehend.

Best for: Middle school students.

Price: $1.99

Rated: 4+

Requirements: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Features:

  • Two Player Bluetooth Math Game. You can now use two devices and play competitively or cooperatively with your classmates or parents.
  • Higher order thinking game (not a drill and kill game).
  • Progress reports can be sent to the teacher (making formative assessment easy).
  • A whiteboard build into the game to make a way for students to work out problems.
  • Easy to extend beyond the one player game to a classroom setting.
  • Comes with printable game sheets, making preparation for lessons simple.

Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ordered-fractions-compare/id592036890?ls=1&mt=8

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Should schools monitor social media sites used by students?

Is it our responsibility to monitor social media sites to help protect students from the dangers of bullying, drug use, violence, and suicide?

monitor-schools-social-mediaAs principal of Decatur Middle School, it is my goal to make sure that all of our students’ academic needs are met throughout the school year. However, as instances of bullying continue to plague students throughout the country, questions of whether we as principals and administrators should do more to monitor students’ online interactions come to the forefront. Is it our responsibility to monitor social media sites to help protect students from the dangers of bullying, drug use, violence, and suicide?

My colleagues and I continue to strive to strike the proper balance between ensuring students’ safety while maintaining their desired privacy. But with mobile phones more prevalent and social media use on Twitterand Facebook at an all-time high, it’s become increasingly more difficult to monitor effectively.

It’s equally as worrisome when you look at the statistics. Findings from The Cyber Bullying Research Center tell us that “70 percent of students hide their online behavior from parents and/or school administrators.” The research also brings to light the fact that “over 50 percent of students are bullied up to 20 percent of their time on social media and more than 50 percent do not tell anyone of the bullying they experience.”

So it’s no wonder that state laws are becoming more stringent on schools, placing an increased responsibility on us to monitor students’ social media accounts, and take preventative measures against threats of school violence or cyberbullying. Three states currently have laws about bullying and subsequent school responsibilities/liabilities, with New York’s law being the most stringent. It is written such that schools are held accountable for incidents stemming from bullying that could have been prevented with prior knowledge. Other state laws, such as ours in Indiana, require that school districts submit “contingency plans” that illustrate each schools effort to combat the issue of bullying.

(Next page: Software which identifies potential threats)

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A student account of school shooting

“Today, I was sitting in my fifth hour psychology class when it happened. At first, it sounded like someone had dropped a heavy book. Then the sound came again,” writes Brett Stewart for Strike Magazine. “It took my class a moment to realize that gunshots had been fired less than a hundred feet from where we were. Our teacher immediately locked the door, turned down the lights, and had everyone get on one wall. Pepper Spray in hand, she crouched at the door lying in wait for any possible threat. God bless her…”

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Top 5 reasons why we need tablets in every classroom

Dominick Mauro, Inside Sales and Marketing Coordinator for Turn-key Technologies, Inc, shares five reasons why schools need tablets in every classroom.

mauro-tablets-classroomSeason’s Greetings folks! It is once again that time of the year. A time for joy, good eats, and last minute shopping. I for one am guilty as charged for putting on my best Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) impersonation in search of this year’s Turbo Man.

After the emotional roller coaster of traffic, lines, and rude retail sales representatives, I enjoy sitting down with my family to watch our favorite Holiday movies. One of our personal favorites is the 1965 Charles M. Schulz classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Thinking back to previous Peanut episodes I recall the distinct muffled voice of their teacher Mrs. Donovan and can’t help but ask myself, is this how today’s teachers are coming across to our younger generation of students? If you don’t remember the teacher’s voice, here is a quick refresher.

Now that we got that out of the way, lets get down to business. Lets face it, today’s children are growing up with a baby bottle in one hand and a tablet in the other. I am mesmerized as I watch my two year old Godson navigate through his mothers iPad like a pro.

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Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2013, No. 8: ‘Forgotten’ STEM elements

eSchool News counts down the ten most significant developments in educational technology during the past year. No. 8 highlights STEM efforts.

STEM-Top10In school systems from coast to coast, tech-savvy educators experimented with augmented reality, educational gaming, and other techniques designed to enhance teaching and learning.

These are only some of the key ed-tech developments affecting K-12 schools in the past year—and we’ve got a full recap for you.

Here, the editors of eSchool News highlight what we think are the 10 most significant ed-tech stories of 2013.

To learn how these stories have made an impact on K-12 schools this year—and how they will continue to shape education in 2014 and beyond—read on.

(Next page: What’s often overlooked in STEM education?)

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Top 5 ed-tech Twitter accounts we follow

Here are 5 people eSchool News follows on Twitter–you should follow them, too!

resources-twitterWe often spend a lot of time focusing on the numbers and the people who are following us on Twitter. Many companies and community managers have certain criteria they use when it comes to who they follow. What are your criteria?

We try to find influential people in the field who share great content. These 5 education Twitter accounts are worth a  follow.

Know of any education Twitter accounts you’d like to see on the list? Be sure to leave your suggestion in the comment section below.

Eric Sheninger, @NMHS_Principal

Eric Sheninger is a distinguished educator. He is a an author, speaker, and the principal of New Milford High School. Eric has an impressive number of tweets and twitter followers.

 Sheninger Twitter

Erin Klein, @KleinErin

eSchool News covers the intersection of technology and innovation in education. I was initially inclined to follow Erin because she had “#edTech Blogger” in her bio. Erin also has an impressive number of followers and her blog is very informative.

 

Klein Twitter

 

 

Shawn McCusker, @ShawnMcCusker

We love Twitter chats and Shawn is the creator and co-leader of #1to1techat. Shawn is involved with a lot of other education related groups and he shares a ton of relevant information. He is definitely a person worth following.

 

McCusker Twitter

 

Shannon Miller, @shannonmmiller

A prolific Twitter user, Shannon offers unique insights on a range of education innovation issues. She is a distinguished speaker and writes regularly on her blog, Van Meter Library Voice. Shannon did an excellent job as featured guest speaker in our October webinar “How to be a Connected School Leader.”

 

Miller Twitter

 

Beth Holland, @brholland

We choose to follow Beth because the first two words in her bio are part of our mission statement. We love the fact that Beth states that she is an innovator and an educator.

 

Holland Twitter

 

Who do you follow on Twitter? Share your thoughts with us by commenting on this article and connecting with us on Twitter @eschoolnews.

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The value of what students don’t know

For me, my biggest takeaway from college was learning what I didn’t know, TeachThought reports. So many passionate, crazy-smart people–teachers and students–that modeled for me learning as I hadn’t seen it before. Entire courses on single ideas I wouldn’t have given a second thought without someone pointing it out for me. It was mind-boggling.  In high school, my academic interactions were based almost entirely in trying to figure out what the teacher wanted, and then doing my best to give it. There was creativity and curiosity and rigor, but it was almost always obscured by my desire to “do well in school,” and the teachers desire to “get results.” As teachers, we implore students to forget what we want, and focus instead following their curiosity, showing their creativity, and reaching for deep understanding…

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