Access 23 free Common Core iTunes U courses

common-coreASCD has debuted the Common Core Resources Project on iTunes U. The Common Core Resources Project is a curation of instructional resources and assessment sample items that will help educators successfully implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and teach effectively using iPads. The project features 23 iTunes U courses that are free to all educators through ASCD on iTunes U and the ASCD EduCore® site. The courses, designed by teacher teams comprised of Apple Distinguished Educators, members of PARCC Educator Leader Cadres, and ASCD teachers, are focused on CCSS for math and English language arts at each grade level from K–12.

“ASCD is proud to offer these courses, created by teachers and for teachers, to support effective practices in Common Core implementation,” said Judy Seltz, ASCD executive director. “The addition of these new courses to the ASCD EduCore platform will add even more high-quality, free resources for educators nationwide and serves as yet another step toward improved student outcomes.”

Each new course presents suggestions to help educators meet the goals and expectations of the standards. Educator teams organized the resources by subject, grade level, and CCSS to provide teachers nationwide with targeted and appropriate resources through the free iTunes U app. These resources include
• Lesson and activity ideas; useful apps; books; videos; and web content.
• CCSS instructional content and assessment information.
• PARCC and Smarter Balanced sample assessment items.

The courses are designed to get teachers started in their CCSS preparations and begin forming lesson plans and activities to help students meet specific standards. Here are a few examples of courses and the helpful resources they provide:
• In the Kindergarten English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core Resources course, teachers are encouraged to read e-books in class and have students record their own telling of the story with the Toontastic app. This fun activity addresses the reading literature standard, which asks students to retell familiar stories (CCSS: ELA-Literacy.RL.K.2).
• In the Algebra II Common Core Resources course, teachers can find resources, such as Mathematics Constant Function, a free Multi-Touch book, and an app called Factor Polynomials, to help students understand the relationship between zeroes and factors of polynomials (CCSS: A-APR.B.2-3).

“The participation of our PARCC Educator Leader Cadre members in this project exemplifies the best of what Common Core has to offer: the opportunity to bring together and engage motivated teachers from across states so they can share their expertise and collaborate to create high quality tools that improve instructional practice,” said Callie Riley, Senior Policy Associate for State Engagement and Outreach at PARCC, Inc.

Educators can supplement the Common Core Resources Project with the many digital, CCSS-aligned professional development opportunities offered by the free ASCD EduCore tool. EduCore’s resources include videos, articles, and example lessons to help educators and instructional leaders keep up with the most recent trends and instructional shifts in CCSS implementation. Sample resources include:
• An article from researcher James Popham on defining and enhancing formative assessment.
• A high school science lesson, Wolves in the Wild, developed by NSTA.
• A 3rd grade literacy lesson to go along with Beverly Cleary’s book, Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

The ASCD Virtual Learning Network (VLN) is a free webinar series featured along with ASCD EduCore. The VLN covers Common Core implementation in four content areas: mathematics, English language arts, science, and social studies. The webinars are led by ASCD Faculty members Nanci Smith, Andrew Miller, Jason Flom, and Krista Rundell. Participants from each VLN cohort can also engage with and learn from fellow educators and the presenters through moderated virtual professional learning communities (PLCs) on the ASCD EDge® social network.

Visit the Virtual Learning Network site at www.ascd.org/vln or the EduCore tool at http://educore.ascd.org. More information on ASCD’s suite of CCSS implementation resources is available at www.ascd.org/commoncore. You can also learn about ASCD’s other programs, products, services, and memberships at www.ascd.org.

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GuideK12™ Launches SchoolSearch, Taking Communication to a New Level

GuideK12 SchoolSearch™ improves how districts communicate boundaries and school options to families

MINNEAPOLIS, MN November 4, 2014 – Today GuideK12 announces the launch of SchoolSearch, designed to provide a better way for districts to communicate boundaries, program or school options and more to parents in their community. SchoolSearch is the most comprehensive online communication tool that districts can provide to parents for more informed decisions on school location and program selection.

In an interactive world of GPS and online maps, school location “look-up” tools in many districts across the country have not kept up with students’ and parents’ expectations, as many districts still communicate boundary information via PDF or static map. Guided by customer input, GuideK12 set out to change how school districts communicate important school information with families. In growing communities, realtors, prospective families and community members can generate thousands of calls to a front office, by having an easy to use online tool with school assignment information those calls are eliminated and parents get access 24/7 to the information they need.

“GuideK12 is thrilled to provide a more comprehensive and robust experience for parents making decisions about the schools their children attend. When parents have the ability to find this information online it reduces calls, confusion and ultimately costs for a district,” said Chuck Amos, CEO of GuideK12.

What makes GuideK12’s offering so unique in the market is the advanced search functionality. Parents can filter by school type or program offerings quickly and easily to identify various school locations on a map in relation to where they live. With more districts offering magnet programs or themes such as STEM, this makes it easy for families to make informed decisions.

The district’s ability to customize the display information allows for easy access to registration links or other pertinent content a family exploring various optional choices might need. School districts are under growing pressure from non-district programs seeking to attract new students, and with better communication tools for the families, districts can retain and attract students successfully.

“We utilized nationwide user-base of our flagship solution, GuideK12, to provide feedback that shaped SchoolSearch. The market has already been responding extremely positive to our newest solution, we look forward to further supporting our current and future district partners and their surrounding communities,” said Amos.

To learn more about GuideK12’s new SchoolSearch product, please visit http://guidek12.com/schoolsearch.

About GuideK12™:
Based in Eagan, MN, GuideK12LLC is a geovisual analytics software company, which enables education decision makers to instantly explore and analyze school district data by adding a geographic and visual dimension to their student and community information. By visualizing information spatially, decisions on everything from boundary analysis, to policy changes to resource planning and forecasting enrollments can be more insightful and faster. Named a finalist for a 2013 SIIA CODiE award for best enterprise solution and selected by the NSBA as a technology showcase company, GuideK12 serves large metro, suburban and rural school districts throughout the United Sates. It is owned by private investors and a private investment group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more about GuideK12™, please visit: www.guidek12.com

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Learning.com Brings Digital Literacy to High School Students with Project NextTech

Using proven curriculum that addresses the ISTE Standards, high school course helps students develop the skills and experience they need for our increasingly digital world

Portland, Ore. (Nov. 4, 2014) – Learning.com announces Project NextTech, a high school digital literacy course that helps prepare students for success in high school, college and their future career opportunities. The content is based on curriculum developed by the nonprofit Generation YES through years of research and student and teacher feedback. Project NextTech addresses the 24 performance indicators in the ISTE Standards for Students and provides authentic learning experiences along with opportunities for students to demonstrate their skills through projects and a final portfolio.

“To compete in our global economy, students need digital aptitude and a solid foundation of technology skills,” said Keith Oelrich, Learning.com CEO. “Project NextTech can help high school educators ensure that their graduates are prepared for the digital demands of college and the 21st century workforce.”

Project NextTech’s curriculum is organized around three core topics:
• Technology Literacy: Students gain technology skills and the ability to select the correct tools for the context and audience.
• Information Literacy: Students locate and access information, evaluate information critically and competently, and use information effectively and ethically.
• Media Literacy: Students access, analyze, evaluate and create media in all forms.

Spanning two semesters, Project NextTech is divided into four nine-week curriculum blocks consisting of eight weeks of instruction and a one-week project. Each unit includes a teacher preparation section, student overview and performance-based activities to help educators evaluate student understanding. As a course capstone, students create a digital portfolio to showcase their projects and other examples of their best work.
Students can use their portfolios to demonstrate capabilities when applying to colleges or employment opportunities that require digital skills. The course also helps students identify strengths and interests while researching potential career choices.
“This solution not only helps students develop a strong understanding of 21st century tools and applications to help them succeed academically,” Oelrich said. “But also helps them become resourceful learners and critical consumers who are able to evaluate digital information for credibility, context and bias.”
Project NextTech will be available for schools to implement starting January 2015.
To learn more about Project NextTech, visit www.learning.com/project-nexttech or stop by the Learning.com booth (#414) at the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium.

About Learning.com
Learning.com helps districts implement digital learning initiatives with award-winning content, tools and services. By incorporating Learning.com’s curriculum and assessments into core instruction, educators help their students develop 21st century skills. With Learning.com’s digital content management solution, districts can seamlessly access, organize and share digital content to meet their instructional goals. Learning.com also offers industry-leading professional development services to support educators as they integrate technology into the classroom. Founded in 1999, Learning.com currently partners with more than 2,500 districts to help prepare their students for success in college and future career opportunities. For more information, visit www.learning.com and connect with us at www.twitter.com/learningdotcom.

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Epson Introduces Five New Short-Throw Projectors for K-12 Classrooms

Epson Introduces Five New Short-Throw Projectors for K-12 Classrooms

Four PowerLite Projectors and One BrightLink Interactive Projector Bring Reliable Performance and Convenient Collaboration to BYOD Classrooms

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Nov. 4, 2014 – Epson, the number-one selling projector brand worldwide1, today introduced five short-throw projectors designed to bring engaging and inspiring lessons into the classroom. The PowerLite® 520, 525W, 530, and 535W short-throw projectors and the BrightLink® 536Wi interactive short-throw projector deliver large, bright and colorful images projected from a short distance with minimal shadows or glare. Offering Moderator device management software2, the new projectors allow teachers to wirelessly connect up to 50 devices and share3 students’ work from up to four device screens simultaneously, including computers and iOS® and Android™ tablets and phones.

“Students are bringing more and more devices into the classroom, and our projectors provide the connectivity to promote and facilitate collaborative learning opportunities through the sharing of student work,” said Jason Meyer, senior product manager, Projectors, Epson America, Inc. “Our new short-throw models deliver best-in-class projection technology, offering high brightness for clear, sharp images even in ambient light, combined with easy-to-use connectivity solutions to meet the BYOD needs of teachers and students.”

The new PowerLite and BrightLink short-throw projectors allow teachers to project images up to 116-inches from four feet away with minimal shadows or glare, and enable flexible installation with an optional wall mount. The new models deliver increased color brightness and white brightness over predecessors and a range of resolutions to fit educator’s needs, trends and budgets:

Product/ Color Brightness4/ White Brightness4/ Resolution/ Estimated Street Pricing
PowerLite 520/2700/ 2700/ XGA/ $849
PowerLite 525W/ 2800/ 2800/ WXGA/ $949
PowerLite 530/ 3200/ 3200/ XGA/ $949
PowerLite 535W/ 3400/ 3400/ WXGA/ $1,049
BrightLink 536Wi/ 3400/ 3400/ WXGA/ $1,490

The BrightLink 536Wi is an interactive short-throw projector offering collaborative learning and dual pen-based interactivity5 that transforms any wall or existing whiteboard into an interactive display. PC-free annotation tools allow teachers to write on images projected directly from an iPad®, iPhone®, iPod®, Android device, document camera or Blu-ray Disc® player. In addition, all BrightLink interactive projectors are compatible with SMART Notebook™, Promethean® ActivInspire®, and MimioStudio™ educational software programs.

More about Epson’s New Short-Throw Projectors
Epson 3LCD projectors deliver three times brighter colors than leading competitive projectors6. Additional convenient and advanced features for educators include:

– BYOD Collaboration: Moderator device management software allows teachers to wirelessly share and compare students’ work from multiple devices, simultaneously

– Epson iProjection™: Leveraging the Epson iProjection app, teachers can present from most iOS Apple devices running iOS 4.2 or later, including the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and most Android devices running Android 2.3 or later; wireless module sold separately

– Extended Lamp Life: The lamp can last up to 10,000 hours7 in economy mode, helping to maximize presentation time; replacement lamps cost $79 through the Brighter Futures program, providing a lower overall total cost of ownership

– Optional Wall Mount: Offers easy-to-install, affordable mounting solution for convenient and flexible installation

– Powerful Sound: Built-in 16-watt speaker and microphone input fills a classroom with sound and saves on equipment costs

– 3LCD Technology: Features the latest 3-chip 3LCD technology to deliver amazing, true-to-life color and detail for powerful presentations; 3LCD technology also provides an energy-efficient light engine using available lamp light to create stunning images, and in contrast to 1-chip DLP technology, 3LCD requires, on average, 25 percent less electricity per lumen of brightness8.

As a leader in innovation and partnership, Epson also offers the Brighter Futures® program, a unique sales and support initiative available specifically for schools. Designed to help educators select and implement the best products for their classrooms while making the most of their budgets, Brighter Futures offers special pricing, extended Epson limited warranty coverage for three years, dedicated education account managers, and toll-free technical support for all Epson projectors and associated accessories.

Color Brightness Specification and Projector Performance
The color brightness specification (measuring red, green and blue) published by the Society of Information Display (SID) allows consumers to compare projector color performance without conducting a side-by-side shootout. With today’s high definition content, teachers and students can display content with higher quality in brighter environments. For a truly impressive image, projectors need to offer both high color brightness and high white brightness. High color brightness is important for larger screen sizes and provides flexibility for a variety of screen materials. Without sufficient color brightness, images may be muddy, soft and lose detail, even in a dark room. For more information, visit http://www.colorlightoutput.com.

Availability and Support
The Epson PowerLite 520, 525W, 530, and 535W will be available in December 2014 and the BrightLink 536Wi will be available in January 2015 through national resellers, pro audio/visual dealers, mail order, distribution, and Epson.com. Epson’s PowerLite and BrightLink projectors come with a two-year limited warranty (three years for Brighter Futures customers) that includes two elite technical support services – Epson PrivateLine® phone support with direct access to an expedited support telephone line, and a Road Service projector replacement program that includes projector exchange in one business day with paid shipping. For additional information, visit www.epson.com/projectors.

About Epson
Epson is a global innovation leader dedicated to exceeding expectations with solutions for markets as diverse as the office, home, commerce, and industry. Epson’s lineup ranges from inkjet printers, printing systems and 3LCD projectors to industrial robots, smart glasses and sensing systems and is based on original compact, energy-saving, and high-precision technologies.

Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 72,000 employees in 94 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and the communities in which it operates. Epson America, Inc. based in Long Beach, Calif. is Epson’s regional headquarters for the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. To learn more about Epson, please visit: www.epson.com.

You may also connect with Epson America on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/Epson), Twitter (http://twitter.com/EpsonAmerica) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/EpsonAmerica).

# # #

1 Based upon Q2 2014 worldwide front projection market share estimates from PMA Research.
2 Moderator feature is part of EasyMP Multi-PC Projection software.
3 Check your owner’s manual to determine if a wireless LAN module must be purchased separately to enable wireless connection on your Epson projector. Epson projectors can be networked either through the Ethernet port on the projector (check model specifications for availability) or via a wireless connection. Not all Epson projectors are able to be networked. Availability varies depending on model.
4 Color brightness (color light output) and white brightness (white light output) will vary depending on usage conditions. Color light output measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4; white light output measured in accordance with ISO 21118.
5 Includes one pen. Additional pens optional.
6 Compared to leading 1-chip DLP business and education projectors based on NPD data, July 2011 through June 2012. Color brightness (color light output) measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4. Color brightness will vary depending on usage conditions.
7 ECO Mode is up to 10,000 hours. Normal Mode is up to 5000 hours. Lamp life will vary depending upon mode selected, environmental conditions and usage. Lamp brightness decreases over time.
8 Data source: ProjectorCentral.com, Jan. 2014. Average of 1,243 shipping models for which the manufacturers provided lumens and total power data, all resolutions and brightness levels. Energy efficiency was measured as wattage per lumen. It was measured for both 3LCD and 1-chip projectors in each of six brightness segments. 3LCD projectors averaged less required electricity per lumen in each of the six segments.

Note: EPSON, PowerLite and BrightLink are registered trademarks, EPSON Exceed Your Vision is a registered logomark, Epson iProjection is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation. Brighter Futures and PrivateLine are registered trademarks of Epson America, Inc. All other product brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Epson disclaims any and all rights in these marks.

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New Learning Support App LoiLoNote School Extends Free Downloads Until November 15th Due to Popular Demand!

New Learning Support App LoiLoNote School Extends Free Downloads Until November 15th Due to Popular Demand!
Huge Popular Demand Drives Extension of Launch Campaign for New Common Core-aligned Comprehensive Digital Classroom App

YOKOHAMA, Japan – October 24, 2014. LoiLo Inc. is pleased to announce that free downloads of LoiLoNote School, its new Cloud-based, CLM-enhanced collaborative multimedia app for tablet designed especially for schools, have been extended until November 15th, 2014.

The English-language version of LoiLoNote School was officially launched in the US on September 13th, 2014, and originally slated to offer free downloads to celebrate the official release for one month until October 13th, 2014.

Since its release there have already been over 30,000 free downloads of the app, and so due to this phenomenal popular demand, LoiLo Inc. has decided to extend the period for free downloads for another month until November 15th, 2014!
To get a free account, users simply have to download the app for free from the iTunes (iPad) or Windows stores (Windows tablet) and register for their free Basic account from within the app. Users must download the app and finish creating their account by the deadline in order to benefit from the full functionality of the app for free, forever!
LoiLo Inc. is hopeful that extending the deadline for free downloads for a further month will enable even more people to experience and benefit from the unique range of tools and functionality offered by LoiLoNote School.
What is special about LoiLoNote School?
・All-in-one: all the tools you need to run a Common Core aligned lesson in one app.
No other similar comprehensive app on the market.
・CLM tools: a variety of functions designed to make teachers’ lives easier and ensure order and control in the classroom.
・Collaboration: No other app effectively facilitates teamwork and information sharing in real-time.
・Ease of use: the user interface is so intuitive, even elementary school kids can master it in no time. No complex on-site training is required.
・Cloud-based: ease and peace of mind when transferring, accessing and storing data even between different platforms.
What can you do with LoiLoNote School?
Teachers can…
Create, upload and distribute lesson materials; collate, organize and share information; collect, compare, and evaluate student work, and much more.

Students can…
Use a range of sophisticated multimedia production tools to complete assignments; communicate and collaborate with classmates in real time; benefit from an intuitive, fun and kid-friendly interface, and more.

For more info about the campaign and free downloads, visit our blog: http://loilonote.tumblr.com/
For more info about LoiLoNote School, visit our webpage: http://n.loilo.tv/en

About LoiLo inc.
LoiLo Inc. (http://n.loilo.tv/en/info) is a Japanese start-up developing mobile applications and video editing software. It aims to create a worldwide market for simple, fun interfaces that stimulate users’ creativity. LoiLo Inc.’s business activities have been mainly focused on the education market in Japan, and our products have achieved widespread recognized in Japan. Now our goal is to gain the loyalty of teachers and students in the U.S. and Europe. Our portfolio includes LoiLoNote, our award-winning tablet-based classroom learning support tools, LoiLoNote School, and video editing software LoiLoScope and LoiLo Education.

For more details about the press release contact Patrycja Dyszy of Loilo inc. at patrycja@loilo.tv
tel. (+81) 45-228-9446

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Promethean Pledges to Safeguard Student Privacy

Promethean Pledges to Safeguard Student Privacy
-Company joins coalition of leading K-12 school service providers dedicated to protecting student data-

(ATLANTA – Nov. 4, 2014) – Global education technology leader Promethean today announced its signature of the Student Privacy Pledge, demonstrating its commitment to responsibly handling students’ personal information and data.

“We are privileged to impact the lives of students and teachers in the classroom through technology,” said Jim Marshall, CEO of Promethean. “Software platforms and applications, along with the data they gather, provide tremendous benefits to schools, but the data must be treated with the utmost care. With thoughtful use and strong protection measures in place, we can strike the right balance between empowering teachers, parents and students with data that helps learners achieve and succeed while ensuring students’ privacy is protected. Promethean is honored to be among the first companies to join this important initiative.”

Developed by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a Washington D.C.-based think tank, and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) with guidance from educator organizations, school service providers and other stakeholders, the Pledge builds on legal provisions around data to enhance the confidence parents, teachers, students and schools have in how K-12 school service providers handle students’ data and personal information, particularly as it relates to security, retention, profiling and more.

The commitments of the Pledge outline the ongoing commitments the signatories have to industry practices around student data that meet and exceed all federal requirements. They also encourage service providers to ensure that they clearly articulate their practices around student data to build further confidence.

The Pledge states that Promethean and the other organizations that signed are accountable to:
· Not sell student information
· Not behaviorally target advertising
· Use data for authorized education purposes only
· Not change privacy policies without notice and choice
· Enforce strict limits on data retention
· Support parental access to, and correction of errors in, their children’s information
· Be transparent about collection and use of data

“SIIA introduced the Pledge in conjunction with the Future of Privacy Forum as a way for K-12 education technology companies to show their commitment to the privacy and security of all student personal information,” said Mark Schneiderman, SIIA’s senior director of education policy. “The Pledge gives service providers a platform to inspire even greater confidence in the appropriate use of student data, and we are very pleased to welcome additional participants.”

To learn more about the Pledge, visit http://studentprivacypledge.org. For more information on Promethean, visit www.PrometheanWorld.com.

About Promethean
Promethean (LSE: PRW) is a global education company that improves learning productivity by developing, integrating and implementing innovative 21st century learning environments that help make everyone more engaged, empowered and successful. Headquartered in the UK, with a US office in Atlanta, Georgia, Promethean World Plc is listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. More information about Promethean is available at www.PrometheanWorld.com.

About FPF
The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a Washington, DC based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. The forum is led by Internet privacy experts Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf and includes an advisory board comprised of leading figures from industry, academia, law and advocacy groups. For more information, visit www.futureofprivacy.org.

About SIIA
SIIA is the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. SIIA represents approximately 800 member companies worldwide that develop software and digital information content. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to the leading companies that are setting the pace for the digital age. For more information, visit www.siia.net.

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More districts turn to technology buy-back programs

Buy-back options give districts financial flexibility to fund newer technology

technology-buybackRather than letting old machines sit in the janitor’s closet gathering dust, schools nationwide are choosing to sell those machines back to companies that recertify the technology.

One such provider is Mac to School, which, over the past year, has bought back millions of dollars’ worth of Apple products from schools, helping districts get some much-needed cash back in their pockets. In August alone, more than $1 million was paid out to schools.

The buy-back process is relatively simple: once a quote is accepted, funds are immediately released to the institution selling the devices.

“Our mission is to provide a high-quality, low-cost recertified Apple device option for districts across the country. In order to do that, we partner with schools and districts to purchase their older devices, providing them with additional funds to use as they see fit,” said Robert Baker, the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Mac to School. “It is a priority to keep these devices in education, once purchased, they are recertified and offered to those looking for more Apple devices at a lower cost.”

Mac to School frequently works with districts that are looking to make room in their budgets to purchase newer technology–for example, selling iPad 2s to finance the purchase of iPad Airs. By selling the older assets back to Mac to School, districts can lessen the financial impact of a big ed-tech purchase.

In 2015, Mac to School is looking to buy back $10 million in inventory from schools. Devices that are bought back that Mac to School deems too old to sell back to schools are donated to local schools through their Give Mac Program.

“We hope to continue partnering with districts to find creative solutions to their budget dilemmas, whether that’s through buying back their old machines or helping them purchase recertified devices,” said Baker.

To learn more about Mac to School and the Apple products currently in stock, visit www.mactoschool.com.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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3 predictors of strong digital learning

Annual report focuses on nationwide digital learning trends, opportunities

digital-paceStudent choice at the state level, student choice at the course level, and the existence and strength of charter school laws are three predictors of how strong a state’s digital learning opportunities are likely to be, according to a new report released on Nov. 3.

Overall, more students than ever before have access to digital learning opportunities, including online and blended learning, but state policies and other factors often limit digital learning’s availability.

The 2014 edition of Keeping Pace with K-12 Digital Learning, researched and written by the Evergreen Education Group, examines the state of digital learning today and highlights the need for high-quality, actionable data on the digital learning tools and methods students use.

“Digital learning is not really new anymore, [although] it continues to be innovative in all sorts of ways,” said John Watson, founder of the Evergreen Education Group and the report’s main author.

Eleven years ago, most digital learning activity happened at the state level–for instance, through state online learning schools, he said.

“Those types of programs and schools continue to be critical,” Watson said. “But we’re also seeing an increasing amount of activity happening at the local level, with digital learning being used by school districts in traditional physical schools at the local level. Much of that activity is blending online and onsite components–that’s the overall trend we’re seeing.”

(Next page: Policies that indicate the strength of digital learning)

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Do states really need an education technology plan?

To harness the power of digital learning, we should focus more on the planning how technology will improve how students learn and teachers deliver instruction

education-technology

Last week, the New America Foundation’s Chelsea Wilhelm wrote about a startling trend in state education technology planning: by and large, it’s not happening.

As Wilhelm summarized, after combing through public records she found that:

[J]ust 19 states have planned past the year 2012. Of those, five states have plans that do not include student learning objectives or professional development objectives, which in our estimation here at New America makes them fairly bare-bones, limited updates. … The remaining 30 (including the District of Columbia) have no current state education technology plans publicly available at all—most have confirmed they are not continuing with state-wide education technology planning.

As disconcerting as these findings may be, they got me wondering if a technology plan is really the right level of planning to focus on in the first place. Historically, technology planning had to do with wiring schools and making basic hardware and budget decisions. Today, with the rise of K–12 blended learning, technology planning looks more and more like instructional and curriculum planning with technology playing a supporting role in new school and classroom design. States continuing to focus on technology planning—as it’s been done historically—would seem to risk perpetuating the myth that we can cram technology into the existing instructional paradigm and expect new outcomes.

To think through what exactly we mean—or should mean—by a “technology plan,” I reached out to Warren Danforth, a consultant to the education sector in the planning, deployment, and adoption of technology to improve student learning. Danforth has 15 years of experience as a leader in the wireless industry and five years in education implementing longitudinal data systems and instructional improvement systems. He recently developed a guidebook for the United States Department of Education Reform Support Network to assist in the planning and deployment of Instructional Improvement Systems.

(Next page: Why system planning is so crucial)

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