4 strategies this administrator uses to evaluate free resources

When school districts made the rapid shift to online learning due to the pandemic, many educators scrambled to find the right mix of learning tools, apps, and platforms to support instruction.

As a result, more and more companies began offering online learning apps and products for free–often for a limited trial period. While free online resources can be useful, if left unvetted they can pose data security and privacy risks.

Evaluating the products, tools, and resources being used by staff and students is important, however time is not always on our side (as was the case at the beginning of the pandemic). My district, Mashpee Public Schools, leverages data to assess the safety and efficacy of free resources and identify what’s worth investing in. Here’s how we navigate the decision-making process.…Read More

ManagedMethods Launches Google Classroom Monitoring & Reporting

ManagedMethods, a leading Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity, student safety and compliance platform for K-12 school districts, today announced the launch of its new Google Classroom monitoring and reporting features. District IT teams now have the ability to track Google Classroom from the same cybersecurity and student safety platform that monitors their other G Suite for Education applications.

“K-12 education is undergoing a major shift as students and teachers begin the school year in remote or hybrid learning environments. For IT admins, this is creating new technology, access, and security challenges,” said Charlie Sander, Chief Executive Officer at ManagedMethods. “Our new Google Classroom features will give IT teams the visibility and control needed to support teachers during these challenging times, while protecting students when learning remotely.”

District IT administrators now have access to the following Google Classroom monitoring and reporting features—from one easy-to-use platform:…Read More

IT leaders, admins still fear network attacks

Balancing access to educational resources with security needs remains a top challenge for school district IT leaders, according to new findings from the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning.

Seventy-one percent of district administrators and IT leaders are concerned about the security of their network against malicious attacks or misbehavior, as outlined in the data, which comes from a collaboration between the nonprofit Project Tomorrow and cloud security provider iboss.

The top concern with cloud applications among technology leaders is ensuring data privacy (58 percent).…Read More

Fixing the grade passback pain point

Grade passback is a pain point for educators and school systems. Just go online and look up the help desk for popular grading platforms and you’ll notice the cries for help from users:

“Anybody have a solution for passing a midterm and final letter grade to their SIS?”

“Who is having problems with grade passback?”…Read More

The 7 questions every new teacher should be able to answer

Teaching for the 21st century looks a lot different. Here’s what admins — and teachers — need to know for job interviews and beyond

Not long ago, the leadership team of a school district I was working with asked me: “If you were going to hire a new teacher, what would you ask in the interview?” They were concerned that hiring teachers with the right skills now can save a district a lot of money in staff development later. Moreover, they wanted to hire teachers who would be open minded about changes to come. The problem is to balance the reality of today’s pressure for test scores and required teacher evaluation with the changes that can be anticipated during the next two decades.

As I wrote in my last column, the traditional skill we valued in teachers when paper was the dominant media—the ability to transfer knowledge of a subject—is becoming less important. Increasingly, a teacher’s knowledge can be found online and in various learning styles. As the internet drives down the value of a teacher’s knowledge, their ability to personalize learning with resources from around the world will increase. We will have more data generated about our students as we build out our online communities. We will need teachers who understand how to make meaning of this data to personalize learning for every student from a vast digital library of learning resources. Also of increasing value is their ability to teach students to be self-disciplined about how “to learn to learn.” Rather than losing overall value, teachers will be more important than ever.

The big change is not adding technology to the current design of the classroom, but changing the culture of teaching and learning and fundamentally changing the job descriptions of teachers and learners.…Read More

How to manage your one-to-one program after you hand out devices

After the Chromebooks and iPads are distributed, admins and IT teams must keep asking the tough questions

If there’s one thing schools have learned from the multiple one-to-one mobile device implementations that have rolled out during the last few years, it’s that they’re hardly “set it and forget it” projects.

Purchasing and handing out the iPads, Chromebooks, or laptops are just the first steps on a long path that must also incorporate ongoing professional development for teachers and training for students; the establishment of acceptable usage policies and procedures; management of device support, insurance, and repair…and the list goes on.

“As a one-to-one implementation matures, different things happen that you may not have considered at the outset,” said Scott S. Smith, Ed.D., who serves as chief technology officer at Mooresville Graded School District in Mooresville, N.C — a district with one of the most celebrated one-to-one programs in the country. “For this reason, it’s important to maintain a clear vision and purpose from day one.” For most districts, that vision should center on why the one-to-one initiative is a good idea and how it will change instruction, teaching, and the learning environment for the better.…Read More

7 tips for teachers building collaborative, fearless PLNs

 Don’t be daunted! Try these best practices for finding and collaborating with fellow educators

PLCs-communitiesEd. note: Innovation In Action is a new monthly column from the International Society of Technology in Education focused on exemplary practices in education.

PLNS-fearlessResearch indicates that nearly 50 percent of educators will leave the field within the first five years of entering a classroom. This is an astounding number that costs the U.S. more than $2 billion annually. Why the high burnout rate? Many cite isolation and lack of support as reasons for exiting the field. Sometimes new teachers are nervous to admit they may be struggling. By helping educators build strong connections to others, both within their buildings and around the world, we can begin to create more stability in the profession and refresh our passion for education.

Teachers are natural collaborators. From the school hallways to what could be called today’s water cooler—social media—teachers love to share and discuss what’s working, what isn’t, and the finer points of why or why not.…Read More