The Global Age – Are Your Students Prepared?

SS_GlobalInf200Ours is an increasingly global word fueled by rapidly expanding transnational markets and economic interdependence. As a result, young Americans face a more complex job marketplace than past generations. We need to ensure that they are prepared.

Download and share this infographic. Together, we can make sure all of our students are ready.

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See how language learning can work for your students

SS_Video200Are you curious about how blended learning fits into the language programs your students need to compete in the 21st century economy? This video gives educators a true sense of how Rosetta Stone can revolutionize your language-learning programs.

Get a birds-eye view of what it’s like to implement online language learning with Rosetta Stone for K-12

  • ability to fit into any classroom environment, including independent study, language labs, and small groups
  • capacity to work from anywhere, from any device
  • engaging individualized instruction that develops the creativity and critical thinking skills needed in the Common Core era
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The critical ABCs of 802.11ac

Network speed will experience a huge expansion under the 802.11ac standard

802.11ac-networkA relatively new technology standard has huge potential for school connectivity as it aims to relieve congested networks and drastically increase network speed.

The 802.11ac standard operates in the 5-gigahertz spectrum–a move away from the clogged 2.4-gigahertz frequency in which 802.11n operates.

The rollout will occur in three waves, and the first wave is already active. The three waves will eventually increase data rates up to 6.93 Gbps and will open MHz channels and available data streams.

And while talking about 802.11n and 802.11ac may seem overwhelming or hard to grasp, it is extremely important for school technology leaders to understand the potential this new standard holds.

(Next page: Details about the new standard, and an infographic to illustrate key points)

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5 great storytelling tech tools

Steven Webb, superintendent of Vancouver Public Schools and a 2014 eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent, shares five ed-tech devices to improve storytelling

storytelling-ed-techIn 2008, more than 400 students, recent graduates, district employees, parents, and community, agency, and business leaders came together to help Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) craft a new strategic plan. Thousands of stakeholders had a chance to weigh in along the way.

That plan, called Design II, has provided a road map to improve learning and teaching throughout the district. During the 2013-14 school year, stakeholders met again to refresh the plan and extend the vision for our schools to the year 2020.

Flexible learning environments are one of six Design II goal areas that guide our comprehensive effort to remove barriers and raise achievement for every student. Our work in this area has been focused on integrating digital technology tools to increase student engagement.

Thanks to a voter-supported initiative passed in 2013, every third- through 12th-grade student will have his or her own digital learning device by 2019. But weLearn 1:1, our digital transformation, isn’t about the technology. It’s about equipping each of our graduates with the adaptive skills they need to thrive in an increasingly interdependent global economy.

Technology empowers and engages learners. Storytelling can inform and inspire. Together, they can invite discovery and growth. In VPS, we want to leverage technology’s storytelling power to accelerate student, staff, and school success. 

(Next page: Storytelling tech tools)

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App of the Week: Fractions, anyone?

A new app helps students with often-dreaded fractions

app-fractionsName: Quick Fractions

What is it? Hate fractions? That’s ok! Quick Fractions is here to help you master one of the most troublesome areas of mathematics! Perfect for those just starting out with fractions, more advanced students, or even adults looking for a challenge.

Best for: Students ages 9-11

Price: $2.99

Requirements: iOS 7.0 or later

Features:

  • Operations games scaffold the process for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions, and the new help section gives some handy reminders if you get stuck!
  • Practice creating equivalence with and comparing fractions, decimals and percentages, enhancing understanding of how the three relate.
  • Handwriting answers means students work out the answer instead of guessing from a range of presented options.
  • Track progress in each mode and difficulty level. Keep practicing to improve your score and unlock new avatars.

Four game modes include:

  • Equivalence: create equivalence with fractions, decimal and percentages.
  • Compare: use estimation and fraction knowledge to compare fractions, decimals and percentages.
  • Addition and subtraction: use mental arithmetic to add and subtract using proper and improper fractions and mixed numerals.
  • Multiplication and division: use mental arithmetic to multiply and divide using proper and improper fractions and mixed numerals.

Link: iTunes 

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Ten new AV products worth noting

These 10 AV products stood out at the 2014 InfoComm conference in Las Vegas last week

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Built for live broadcasting, the Blackmagic Studio Camera features a compact size—with a large viewing area.

We’ve already described some of the key AV trends to emerge from InfoComm 2014, North America’s largest AV trade show. Now, here are 10 AV products on display at InfoComm that caught our eye.

Dante Via makes it easy to create an audio network

Audinate’s Dante is an industry-leading digital audio networking technology. It’s a combination of software, hardware, and networking protocols that have been built into the AV products of more than 150 manufacturers to deliver uncompressed, multi-channel audio over an Ethernet network, Audinate says.

At InfoComm 2014, the company announced new software called Dante Via, which turns any Windows or Mac computer into a networked audio input/output device. With Dante Via, you can now build a complete, stand-alone audio system of networked PCs or Macs for less than $850 per device—without the need for any dedicated, Dante-enabled hardware to be present on the network.

Dante Via greatly expands AV capabilities, Audinate says—freeing users from the constraints of short-reach, point-to-point analog and USB cables. The software will be available in December.

“Dante Via opens up endless imaginative use cases,” said Gary Southwell, Audinate’s vice president of product management. “Audio from USB microphones, or any audio interface, can be routed to other rooms in the building. Dante Via extends networked audio from facilities like classrooms … to [other] rooms. You can even monitor individual streams from the network for music instruction.”

A live broadcast HD camera for under $2,000

Blackmagic Design showcased its Blackmagic Studio Camera, a new camera designed specifically for live video production and available in 1080 HD and Ultra HD models starting at just $1,995.

Students often have to use cameras designed for general video production when doing live work, Blackmagic says—and that means they don’t get features that live production demands, such as a large viewfinder, talkback, optical fiber, and a super strong metal design.

Inside a compact, tough, and lightweight magnesium alloy body, the Blackmagic Studio Camera features a large, 10-inch viewfinder; a four-hour battery; talkback, tally indicators, phantom powered microphone connections, and built-in optical fiber and SDI connections that let users connect to a live production switcher with a single cable.

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4 apps for astronomy, grading, videos, and more

This round-up ensures you won’t miss any of our weekly highlighted apps

app-juneEach week, we feature a new App of the Week on our website and in our newsletters. These apps are for students or educators and offer a range of uses.

But one thing is certain: educators and students are using apps now more than ever.

Here’s a round-up of the apps we’ve featured over the past month. Check back each Monday for a new App of the Week. And don’t worry–if you miss one, you can find a summary of recent apps at the end of each month.

1. Don’t let grading control your life

Name: Gradeable
What is it? What would you inspire, if you weren’t bogged down in grading and paperwork? Gradeable lets teachers grade better and faster, pinpoint gaps in student learning, and improve achievement.
Best for: Educators
Price: Free app; see gradeable.com for web-based service pricing

(Next page: 3 more apps)

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Little-known ways Skype is great for teaching ELA

Implementing Skype in the classroom is both fun and rewarding for the educator and student

skype-classroomThe current task for my doctoral course Curriculum Technology and Teaching is to explore a variety of compressed video alternatives in the classroom setting.

The compressed video applications I tested were Skype, OoVoo, Facetime, and Zoom.

Research has already identified the benefits of using video technology in an education setting. The International Journal of Information Science and Management, expounded on the significance of how integration of video and audio technology will expand in k-12 curriculums in the future.

I used each technology to analyze which one would be best for teaching my lesson. The lesson I chose is based on the novel To Kill a Mockingbird and it entails comparing injustice in the novel to modern day global injustice. After each video application is tested and the lesson taught. My focus will shift to finding another teacher using Skype in the classroom to give my students more practice.

(Next page: Watch the benefits of Skype in the classroom)

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6 tools that could boost student performance

You shouldn’t avoid using the right tools and websites that will make your goals easier to reach

ed-tech-tools-gradesSo you went ambiguous with the elective classes and now your goals seem impossible to realize? Every student has faced the same situation.

The worst thing you could do in such situation is give up and make your peace with “OK” grades in the end. You should explore the educational technology tools that will help you get better grades without getting nervous about the workload. We know that you don’t have time to waste on online research at this point, so we made an effort to collect all useful tools in one place.

1. WordCounter

Speaking of essay writing, there is a common problem that students encounter when completing their own papers: sticking within the word count limits. The word counters on your usual word processors are not always precise. This word count tool by NinjaEssays will help you determine the accurate number of words and symbols in your document, but will also help you find out how many times you have used your “habit words.” The best part is that it’s completely free.

2. My Study Life        

Managing your schedule is more complicated than it sounds. When you are a student, you have many classes, exams, homework, friends, social events… in fewer words: you have too many activities to fit into 24 hours. My Study Life is an online planner for students that makes their lives more manageable.

(Next page: Ed-tech tools 3-6)

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