Top 4 ways district leaders deal with funding obstacles

Annual survey reveals top 3 challenges facing district IT leadership

district-ITSchool budgets show a marked increase from a year ago, with one in three districts reporting budget increases this year, according to the second annual K-12 IT Leadership Survey from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).

Released on the first day of CoSN’s annual conference, the survey reveals that although more districts are seeing their financial restrictions ease a bit, nearly half of participants said they still lack the funding to support enhanced ed-tech and implement new classroom technologies.

“While the feedback from district leaders offers optimism, it’s overwhelmingly apparent: Districts still lack the necessary resources to provide transformative learning environments,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “Moving forward, the survey should inform the decisions school system leaders, as well as policy makers, make in establishing learning environments powered through technology.”

(Next page: Top survey results from districts)


Global science inquiry’s benefits for students

When students interact using the 4 Cs, their global awareness increases

global-scienceCommunication, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity (the 4 Cs), the cornerstones of 21st century learning, are and have been the buzzwords circling the educational community. These skills and how they transfer to the classroom are at the heart of Paradise Valley Unified District’s (PVUSD) COMPASS goals.

Put this together with the banner emblazoned in the lobby of the district’s central office–“Cultivating World-Class Thinkers”–and the digital age in which we live, and there is a powerful case for promoting global science inquiry.

Global science inquiry embeds the 4 Cs into both the process and product. Along the way, students and teachers engage in authentic inquiry while leveraging technology to communicate and collaborate not only within the classroom with their own peers, on a global level with international partners.

(Next page: Where to start?)


Can an app help foster good reading habits?

‘Subtext’ app can help personalize reading lessons for K-12 students

reading-skillsWhen I taught literature, I often found myself trying to break free from the “teacher triangle” class discussion, where a question is initiated by the teacher, answered by a student, and then bounced to another student for more detail or a different opinion. In this model, I became the reluctant valve through which every part of the conversation had to flow.

I wanted my class discussions to be more organic and authentic, with students debating genuine differences of opinion with one another. Yes, their limited background knowledge or vocabulary frustrated their understanding of the text. However, I didn’t always do a good enough job scaffolding their experience so they could build these understandings and connections. Furthermore, my lessons weren’t always designed to encourage the types of conversations I wanted to see.

Because I understand these challenges, I was thrilled last year when our sixth grade English teacher began to experiment with Subtext, an eReader app for the iPad. Unlike other eReaders, Subtext was designed specifically for the K-12 classroom.

(Next page: Personalizing student learning)


6 hallmarks of the ‘connected classroom’

How does the idea of the connected classroom impact teaching and learning?

connected-classroomEvery educator wants to teach in a connected classroom, and every student wants to learn in one. But what is the “connected classroom,” and what are some of its most important features?

Ideally, the connected classroom expands on the ever-popular concept of 21st century skills and puts many “must-have” ideas into practice.

Connected classrooms have many moving parts, and each must work in sync to give students the best and most effective learning experiences possible.

(Next page: Six characteristics of a connected classroom)


OpenEd sponsors free Common Core virtual conference

Educators can log on to learn valuable Common Core lessons and tips

common-coreFrom March 26-March 28, OpenEd is offering its free Common Core Tech Conference virtually. The conference focuses on how ed-tech can help address the challenges that come with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Sessions focus on personalizing learning tools for the Common Core, how to convert curriculum to the Common Core, an inside look at new assessments and how formative assessments can gauge CCSS readiness, and how Google Apps align with the standards.

Attendees can follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #cctech.

OpenEd is committed to demonstrating that technology can help with states’ transition to the Common Core. It is a K-12 educational resource catalog, with over 1 million language arts and math games, video lessons, and assessments. While it integrates with all popular learning management systems, it offers its own simple “flipped classroom” LMS oriented to using resources.

The site is completely focused on offering CCSS resources. It features a wealth of math games, language arts and math quizzes and tests, and math lessons and language arts lessons from dozens of educational content providers.


Big Data’s revolutionary potential

Big data is mentioned in everything from business to privacy. But what is big data and how could it create radical change in education?

big-data-revolutionary-potentialA recent eSchool News story about five revolutionary new ed-tech trends suggests that big data is one of the technological developments that “will have a near-immediate impact on teaching and learning.”

The term “big data” is often mentioned in relation to everything from business to privacy. But just what is big data, and how, exactly, could it create radical change in education?

According to the company SAS, “Big Data is a popular term used to describe the exponential growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured.” In the modern age, it comes as no surprise that data has – and continues to – become more widely available, and for a variety of purposes. SAS also explains that big data could become as important to our society as the internet, simply because having more data may lead to more accurate analysis – of everything.

In the original education trend article, Jason Ohler explained that Big Data assumes that the supply of data will never stop, and that the greater the abundance of data, the better. So, then, what happens to this data?

(Next page: How big data is processed)


Here’s how to use game-changing apps

Two ed-tech experts offer tips on how to incorporate apps in more effective ways

game-appsEducational apps have skyrocketed in popularity, leading more and more educators to realize that the way they use these apps is key to changing classroom culture and student engagement.

These classroom tools and apps help educators advance teaching and learning, said Brad Waid and Drew Minock, educators who head up 2 Guys and Some iPads.

“Learning is different, and teaching is different now,” Waid said. “The days of standing up and orating are over. Students can find information on devices—that’s not our job anymore, to give them information. Our job is to help them love learning, collaborate, and be deep thinkers.”

(Next page: Game-changing apps)