How to Transform an Ultrabook into a Powerful Workstation

TransformUltrabook200x300Ultrabooks and super-thin laptops have their advantages—but connecting peripherals isn’t one of them. StarTech.com has solutions for sharing content on HDMI or VGA projectors and monitors from an ultrabook, connecting all your peripherals through one USB 3.0 cable, and otherwise upgrading your connectivity.

Sponsored by: GovConnection

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How to Have Complete Data Protection Without Complexity

DataProtection200x300Protecting your data and networks can be difficult—but it doesn’t have to be. The Sophos Enduser Data Suite combines data, endpoint, mobile, and email protection, all under one license—including mobile device management for all your iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. What’s more, because the software is easy to use, you’ll actually use it.

Sponsored by: GovConnection

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Studies show the value of learning a second language early on

Research shows that learning a second language at a young age has measurable cognitive benefits that correlate with higher achievement in other subjects as well. Here’s a look at some of this research.

There is evidence that early language learning improves cognitive abilities.

Foster, K. M., & Reeves, C. K. (1989). “Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) improves cognitive skills.” FLES News, 2(3), 4. This study looked at the relationship between elementary foreign language instruction and scores on tests designed to measure cognitive and metacognitive processes. The study included 67 sixth-grade students who were divided into four groups that differed by lengths of time in the foreign language program, including a control group who had no French instruction. The analysis found that students who had received foreign language instruction scored higher on tasks involving evaluation, which is the highest cognitive skill according to Bloom’s taxonomy—and the students who had studied French the longest performed the best.

Language learning correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized tests.

Armstrong, P. W., & Rogers, J. D. (1997). “Basic skills revisited: The effects of foreign language instruction on reading, math, and language arts.” Learning Languages, 2(3), 20-31. Third-grade students from were randomly assigned to receive 30-minute Spanish lessons three times a week for one semester. Students in the Spanish classes scored significantly higher than the group that did not receive Spanish instruction in math and language on the Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT); there was no significant difference in reading scores.

Rafferty, E. A. (1986). Second language study and basic skills in Louisiana. U.S.; Louisiana, from ERIC database. A statewide study in Louisiana revealed that third, fourth, and fifth graders who participated in 30-minute elementary school foreign language programs in the public schools showed significantly higher scores on the 1985 Basic Skills Language Arts Test than did a similar group that did not study a foreign language. Further, by fifth grade, the math scores of language students were also higher than those of students not studying a foreign language. Both groups were matched for race, sex, and grade level, and the academic levels of students in both groups were estimated by their previous Basic Skills Test results and statistically equated.

(Source: www.actfl.org)

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Use these 4 apps for phonics, art exploration, and more

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

app-augustEach 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. Create art like never before

Name: Drawing Desk
What is it? With more than 1,000,000 users worldwide, Drawing Desk is bundled with 4 different drawing modes named as Kids Desk, Doodle Desk, Sketch Desk and Photo Desk, each dedicated to give unique experiences.
Best for: Students and teachers
Price: Free; in-app purchases available

(Next page: 3 more apps)

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Five ed-tech trends to watch for the new school year

These trends have important implications for K-12 education this year—and beyond

five-trendsThe “maker movement” makes waves in K-12 schools, and school leaders try to navigate a data privacy minefield while also bracing for online testing: These are among the top ed-tech trends to watch for the new school year.

Last week, we counted down the top five ed-tech stories to watch for 2014-15. Here, for your convenience, we’ve assembled these stories in one place. (Click on each of the headlines below to read the full story.)

How are you approaching these trends in your own schools? What other ed-tech stories will you be watching closely this school year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below—we’d love to hear from you.

maker-movement5. The ‘maker movement’ makes waves in schools.

As the new school year begins, “maker spaces” are cropping up in countless schools and libraries nationwide. Here’s why the maker movement has quickly grown in popularity—and how it helps meet a critical need in schools.

 

data-privacy4. Schools grapple with data privacy.

After the high-profile demise this past spring of inBloom, a controversial nonprofit organization that aimed to build a national, cloud-based student data system to improve education, school leaders face a puzzle: How can they balance the privacy concerns of stakeholders with the need to collect and analyze information about their students?

 

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3. From 1-to-1 to ‘one to many’

No. 3 on our list of top ed-tech stories for the new school year is the trend toward students using many different devices while at school, which has important implications for how K-12 leaders design their networks.

 

broadband2. The eRate gets a facelift.

No. 2 on our list of key ed-tech trends for the new school year is the dramatic overhaul of the eRate, the nation’s school wiring program. While there will be more money available for Wi-Fi networks and other internal connections, support for voice-related services will be phased out over five years—and here’s what these changes will mean for schools.

 

online-testing1. Schools brace for online testing.

Next spring, new state exams tied to the Common Core standards in reading and math will be given for the first time in more than 40 states—and there are big questions about whether schools and their students will be ready.

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How Springfield School District Has Saved Thousands of Dollars in Printing Costs

Lexmark200x300In the late 1990s, Pennsylvania’s Springfield School District was maintaining dozens of inkjet printers, but the devices weren’t built to withstand continuous use—and the cost of ink was getting out of control. Since upgrading to Lexmark laser printers with high-yield toner cartridges that can print up to 36,000 pages, the district had saved thousands of dollars and improved the efficiency of staff and students; download this case study to learn how.

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How important is informal learning?

As learning becomes more self-directed, informal learning is gaining popularity

informal-learningLearning is changing. It is moving from a primarily school-based, formal process to include more informal opportunities. Learning is just as likely to occur among a group of students at a coffee shop or at a museum as it is within a virtual group on a social network.

Informal learning, then, is often characterized by its impromptu and unofficial nature, as a new infographic demonstrates.

Today’s students must be independent workers, able to collaborate and solve problems, and informal learning supports these skills because it requires autonomy, flexibility, accessibility, and relevance.

The 2013 New Media Consortium K-12 Horizon Report identified informal learning as a challenge, noting that K-12 education systems “must address the increased blending of formal and informal learning.”

(Next page: Experts discuss informal learning)

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5 important K-12 conversations on Twitter

See what K-12 professionals are saying on Twitter about some of the most pressing education and ed-tech issues

twitter-k12-conversationsIf you were to search on Twitter to see what are some of the most urgent issues affecting educators, administrators, and IT specialists in K-12 education, what do you think you would find?

The same trends that dominate conversation in the physical world are also being discussed and debated online. Whether discussing the latest trends in STEM education, curriculum and assessments, best practices, or mobile technology, there are plenty of ed-tech conversations to follow on Twitter—and lots of good insight for K-12 leaders.

So once you’ve followed @eschoolnews, check out some of these other essential ed-tech influencers to stay up-to-date with the latest ed-tech news.

1. STEM

A key topic of discussion today is why the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) are important for students’ future economic competitiveness—and how to draw students into these fields.

Many teachers are on the lookout for more resources not only to help educate children in math and science, but to instill a sense of passion and joy in learning these often difficult subjects.

Malia Hollowell, a National Board Certified elementary teacher, offers 40 STEM activities for kids in the education website Playdough to Plato.

Taking to Twitter, Nicol Howard, a teacher at Monte Vista Elementary School, had this to say:

See what other educators and leaders think about this topic on Twitter here.

(Next page: More K-12 conversations to follow on Twitter)

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