Conquering the digital divide at school–and at home

The digital divide is proving one of the most pervasive and stubborn challenges in U.S. education, and its effects can follow students from kindergarten through college.

A new study confirms that, despite efforts to close the space, the gap between students who have access to devices and the internet and those who lack it compounds equity problems within U.S. schools.

Related content: Family tech nights can narrow the digital divide

New research from ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning shows that underserved students with access to only one electronic device in their home may find it difficult to complete schoolwork. The homework gap, as it is frequently called, is particularly tough on low-income and rural students. Even when families have one device at home, that device is often a smartphone, which isn’t conducive to completing homework or doing research.

Related Content:

eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide

The eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide is here! It features strategies to help you effectively use digital and mobile learning resources, along with tips to support digital and mobile learning initiatives. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!


What if every child could start school ready?

Children begin learning the moment they’re born. That means it’s never too early to begin setting children up for future academic success. When we talk to them and read to them, we expose them to a more literature-rich environment that helps them grow.

Unfortunately, not all children receive that exposure, widening the achievement gap. Evidence of that gap begins to show up as early as kindergarten — and it affects students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds far more than their more privileged peers.

Related content: Student achievement begins with the family

But what if every student started school ready?

A recent meta-analysis found that children who participate in early education are more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to be placed in special education or retained to repeat grades. With more early education options, I believe millions of students would benefit academically, professionally, and personally for years to come.


12 awesome digital and mobile learning resources

Digital and mobile learning can invigorate a dull classroom, boosting student engagement and motivating students to immerse themselves in learning.

As with any tech-based instruction, the technology is just a tool for a highly-qualified teacher to use to augment a lesson and link learning to real life.

Related content: Mobile apps for students with special needs

We’ve gathered a handful of popular digital and mobile learning apps, websites, and resources for you or your team of educators to try in the classroom. Some are for student use, others are management tools, but they’re all worth a look.

1. Doceri: Doceri is the professional iPad interactive whiteboard and screencast recorder with sophisticated tools for hand-drawn graphics and built-in remote desktop control. Originally designed for teachers, Doceri is used by creative individuals in myriad roles and professions from education to entertainment. CREATE hand-drawn lessons, presentations and graphics and SHARE them as still images, PDFs or audio/video screencasts – or mirror anything you’ve created to Apple TV via AirPlay.

2. Pocket: Educators can save articles, videos, and stories from any publication, page, or app for use in the classroom. Curate your own space filled with everything you can’t wait to learn. Immerse yourself in great content anywhere – even offline. Read or listen without distraction, on any device.

Related Content:

eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide

The eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide is here! It features strategies to help you effectively use digital and mobile learning resources, along with tips to support digital and mobile learning initiatives. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!


4 things you need to know about edtech this week

As we all know, technology is constantly evolving, leading to advancements in edtech.

These advancements have a big impact on teaching and learning, on district and school efficiency, and on educators’ ability to personalize instruction for students.

Related content: How edtech expands access to learning

Here are some of the most interesting edtech news reports from the past couple weeks.

1. From The Washington Post:

When Christian Chase wants to take a bathroom break at his high school, he can’t just raise his hand. Instead, the 17-year-old senior makes a special request on his school-issued Chromebook computer. A teacher approves it pending any red flags in the system, such as another student he should avoid out in the hall at the same time, then logs him back in on his return. If he were out of class for more than a set amount of time, the application would summon an administrator to check on him.


How our district cultivates a healthy student mindset

Challenged by high youth suicide rates and an ongoing need to support youth behavioral health, Nampa School District has taken these five steps to identifying and addressing the problem on a daily basis

Here in Idaho, you might say that the odds are against us on the behavioral health front. After all, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Idahoans aged 15- to 34-years-old. According to the Department of Health and Welfare, there were a total of 393 suicides in Idaho in 2017 for all ages.

Related content: Safe and healthy students are a top priority

These tragic events touch many educational institutions–and their students and families–every year in a state where the suicide rate is 58 percent higher than the national average.

Not willing to stand by and let our students become statistics, our district has taken some very deliberate measures to help support youth behavioral health and support positive outcomes. We’ve been working on these initiatives for years in a region of the world where certain school districts have experienced multiple suicides within a year’s time. We’ve experienced such losses ourselves, most recently when a school resource officer and a teacher both died by suicide about two years ago.


Strategies for culturally responsive teaching

A critical topic for schools and communities–and most importantly, our students–is how teachers nurture ALL students, create a sense of belonging, and keep educational standards high.

Only then can students, especially immigrant students and students of color, meet their potential and succeed in school and beyond.

During a recent edWebinar, the presenters underscored that when schools make generalizations about particular student populations and their behavior, they strip them of their individuality, and these students become “invisible.”

Related content: 3 lessons from students about improving school culture

You can’t look away

Racial discrimination can lead to trauma responses such as feelings of intense fear, anxiety, and helplessness in students. Studies show that when black adolescents feel their teachers lack respect for their background, it can harm their academic outcomes.


A perfect pairing: UDL and PLCs

Professional learning communities (PLCs) offer a collaborative approach to professional development in which small groups of educators meet regularly to reflect on instructional planning and practice, share expertise and insights from their teaching experiences, and engage in collective problem-solving.

At the heart of effective PLCs are inquiry and reflection focused on standards-based instruction, engaging discussions on lessons that support students as they access grade-level curriculum, and exploring ways to provide students with means for expression.

Related content: 5 ways our centralized LMS supports UDL

PLCs are often beneficial for educators working towards similar goals, such as improving student outcomes through the implementation of a new curriculum, program, or framework. One such framework is Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

UDL is a standards-based framework for inclusive education that aims to eliminate barriers to learning and optimize each individual’s opportunity to learn. The framework provides guidelines for educators to offer multiple means of engagement, multiple means of representation, and multiple means of action and expression to equalize the playing field for all learners and to eliminate inequities in the classroom. UDL recognizes that a one-size-fits-all curriculum doesn’t meet the needs of all students.

Related Content:

eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide

The eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide is here! It features strategies to help you effectively use digital and mobile learning resources, along with tips to support digital and mobile learning initiatives. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!


5 ways to celebrate National STEAM Day

Most children entering kindergarten will have jobs that don’t currently exist, and studies also show that most of these jobs will require STEAM skills.

This evolving landscape means STEAM learning is important every day of the year, but on November 8, we get to celebrate National STEAM Day and the critical role it plays in preparing children for the future workforce with the 21st century skills they need.

Related content: How our school transitioned from STEM to STEAM

LEGO Education put together a few ideas to help you plan your celebration. Here are some ways you can help get your kids excited about STEAM:

1. Get hands-on: A recent survey shows that parents and teachers agree hands-on learning is the No. 1 way to build confidence in STEAM subjects. Trade in the worksheets for hands-on activities. There are hundreds of free lesson plans to choose from – or create your own.

Related Content:

eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide

The eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide is here! It features strategies to help you effectively use digital and mobile learning resources, along with tips to support digital and mobile learning initiatives. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!


Richardson Independent School District – Texas, USA


  • wePresent


  • Improves student learning & drives engagement
  • Ease of use for teachers & stimulates interactive teaching
  • Supports different BYOD operating systems & perfectly integrates in the network

The Richardson Independent School District in Texas, USA, was not looking for just any wireless solution. They wanted one that would accommodate all users. This is a must in an age when Bring Your Own Device practices reign supreme and every classroom is inhabited by a mix of Google, Apple, Android and Microsoft devices. For Technology Project Manager, Terry Balch, finding such a solution was far more difficult than it should have been:

“We looked at five presentation solutions. Some were specific to one operating system. Or they didn’t work with our enterprise environment. They either couldn’t set up proxies or they wouldn’t work with our other layered security.”

It gives teachers more flexibility and students more opportunity for engagement.Terry Balch, Technology Project
Manager at the Richardson
Independent School District – Texas, USA

Balch found the solution he was looking for in Barco wePresent. It is designed to allow up to four people to simultaneously share content, no matter what devices they are using and no matter whether they are broadcasting to a projector or a television screen. There is no longer a question of which system is the right system; wePresent allows teachers to put the focus on helping their students to learn.

“Students are more engaged during presentations, which, of course, increases classroom conversation and ultimately improves learning,” says Balch. “It gives teachers more flexibility and students more opportunity for engagement.”

This flexibility is evident in the array of classroom subjects that wePresent has been used for. As well as career and technical education classes, the Richardson ISD has used it to help teach about everything from billing to basic medical procedures like taking blood pressure.

The success is all too clear. While Barco representatives initially installed wePresent in administrative offices and one classroom, but Balch is looking to introduce it to classrooms in all 54 campuses of the school district.

“Not only is wePresent a cost savings over the traditional route of using a matrix AV router with wiring,” Balch explains, “it offers a great deal of flexibility and ease of use for the teacher.”

Barco Education offers solutions designed specifically for the educational market to enhance teaching and learning experiences within and beyond the classroom

Ready to discover how technology can enable you to flip the classroom and help you achieve better learning outcomes?

Join our webinar

What you will learn:

The flipped classroom is an active learning approach in which the learning is student-centred rather than teacher-centred. During this webinar, a Barco Representative will share with you his in-field expertise they have built up during his extensive discussions with deans and head of new learning on how to start with technology enhanced learning: what are their challenges, how they overcome them and how technology is enabling them to flip the classroom.

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Decoding supercalifragilisticexpialidocious with dyslexia

It was my first day with my group of Tier III 2nd-graders, and they were ready to go around the room and introduce themselves. It was going fine until one student said something surprising.

“I’m Jacob, and I can’t read.”

It was odd. I learned later that Jacob was a competitive gymnast and a smart kid, but he chose to identify himself as someone who couldn’t read well. I told him that I specialize in reading and that I’d help him fix that.

Related content: How to help identify dyslexia in students

Pinpointing the problem

It wasn’t long before I recognized that Jacob had the telltale characteristics of someone who has dyslexia. This 2nd-grader had an impressive vocabulary, but he was having trouble decoding the simplest words. It didn’t make sense. I talked to his mom about it, and she told me that Jacob’s uncle has dyslexia. Because dyslexia is hereditary, Jacob’s parents decided to go to the doctor for a formal assessment. The dyslexia diagnosis came back positive.