5 strategies to tackle the homework gap

Despite a brighter spotlight on digital equity, gaps still remain, including the troubling and persistent homework gap–but a newly-relaunched digital equity toolkit aims to highlight the important work districts across the nation are taking to address equity differences.

The 2014 Erate modernization helped a majority of schools meet the FCC’s short-term connectivity goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students, according to CoSN’s relaunched Digital Equity Initiative toolkit. But because classroom use of technology and digital resources is growing, a gap has continued to grow between students who have internet access at home and those who do not.

Related content: Tips for closing the homework gap

Because it tends to impact low-income and rural students harder than others, the homework gap can intensify other income or access issues these students and their families face. And even if a family has internet access, students don’t necessarily have access to a device–or the right device–with a large enough screen or enough data to complete homework.

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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!

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The digital learning challenge that still vexes schools

The latest Speak Up survey findings from Project Tomorrow reveal how far schools have come in making digital learning available to every student — and how far they still have to go to realize the full value of their edtech investment.

Although the survey indicates that students in a majority of schools are now given a mobile device to use in class, there are mixed signals about the value this adds to their learning. For instance, when asked to identify the benefits of digital learning for students, 86 percent of teachers and 93 percent of principals cited greater engagement as the most significant outcome, instead of stronger indicators of success such as deeper learning or more sophisticated student work.

Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, believes schools aren’t seeing enough value from digital learning because there are too few transformational uses of technology happening in schools today.

“Too often, classroom technology implementations aim to mirror or replicate traditional learning modalities, such as using a mobile device to take notes or take a class poll,” Evans writes in a briefing paper about the survey results. “It’s difficult to demonstrate value or justify a return on investment with these substitution-type activities.”

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!

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4 tips for effective teacher PD

If professional development (PD) is a critical element to every edtech implementation, why is it so often poorly attended? Our experience is that a teacher-centric approach to developing a PD plan for tech integration is most effective.

Here are four strategies that all districts and schools can use to build out their own PD offerings in way that keeps teachers across all grades engaged and learning:

Related content: How this principal uses personalized PD for teachers

1. Focus on your curriculum and instructional goals. Technology should play a supporting role in the implementation of new and innovative instructional strategies that make lessons more effective and engaging for students. The best technology training is not about technology, but about learning goals and purposeful use of technology to enhance and extend these goals. Of course, some foundational tech skills are necessary, but the main focus of edtech PD should be on instruction, not technology.

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How the E-rate and grants can help fund your edtech plans

As schools and districts strive to meet their existing technology needs and prepare for the future, access to federal and state funding, along with other grants, is making a major difference in whether students engage in 21st century learning or are left behind.

And with online assessments now being required in many states, reliable broadband access is also essential so that students’ knowledge and skills are accurately represented, and technology is not a barrier to achievement and its documentation.

Related content: 4 things to ask about E-rate funding

During a recent webinar, edtech experts provided an overview of the E-rate program, state matching funds, and ways to obtain grants for technological development. Tapping these funding sources can be a challenge, especially for smaller districts, but there are resources and other types of support available.

Accessing the E-Rate and matching state funds

Sheryl Abshire, Ph.D., an edtech specialist at Abshire Consulting, explained that the E-rate program is administered by the Federal Communications Commission specifically to help schools with connectivity and internet access, and the U.S. Department of Education does not provide funding for this purpose.

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eSchool News launches Digital & Mobile Learning Guide

We are excited to bring you the latest in the eSchool News Guides series. eSchool News Guides are full of resources, tips, trends, and insights from industry experts on a variety of topics that are essential to the classroom, school, and district.

The November Guide, the eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide, offers expert insight on the reasons digital and mobile learning support students’ academic achievement and build the skills they’ll carry with them into the global economy. In the guide, we take a look at the various factors present in successful digital and mobile learning initiatives. Plus, we’re giving you tips to incorporate more digital resources into your instruction.

Have you dreamed of using more digital tools and resources in your district’s classrooms, but don’t know where to look for those resources? In the eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular digital learning apps and websites. Do you want educators throughout your district to understand just how much digital equity impacts students? We explore this issue, which is vital to digital and mobile learning.

We highlight examples of how real educators built their mobile learning must-have lists, and we’ve included a story highlighting the various ways that the federal E-rate program is essential in helping school IT leaders create robust and capable school infrastructure to support the highest quality digital learning initiatives.

You also can find a complete list of digital and mobile learning partners and companies in the guide.

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!

We’ll release a new guide at the beginning of each month, and we’ll feature content focused around each guide’s topic throughout the month. Stay tuned for eSchool News Guides on STEM learning and makerspaces, physical and network safety, online/blended learning, and more. Each guide also offers a comprehensive index of all the companies involved in that month’s specific focus area.

We hope you’ll share this eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide with your colleagues and use it to learn a bit more about how every educator can fit robotics into their teaching.

P.S. – If you missed our inaugural guide, the eSchool News Robotics Guide, you can find it here.

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