Why overwhelmed educators should stick to these simple tech tools

Tech is shifting faster than teacher training can keep up. The solution is to keep it simple

simple-overhelmed-teacherI recently had the pleasure of spending a few hours in a friend’s classroom where I introduced her students to technology applications that would engage them in “showing what they know” at different points in their learning. Having worked with this teacher for many years, I had always considered her a technology pioneer.

So it came as something of a surprise when, planning for our time together, she confided in me that she no longer felt empowered by technology so much as overwhelmed by it. Looking back, it’s easy to see how this could have happened.

When our new wireless network went live early last year, the choice of which applications and technologies to use was no longer limited by bandwidth issues. Our Board of Education then announced we were now a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) district, but did not provide the professional development time to support this initiative. My friend was overwhelmed by the plethora of tools available. She needed guidance on selection and advice in where the potholes were in introducing these tools to her students. She knew enough to know there are always “snags” when technology gets introduced, but no longer felt confident in navigating those snags.…Read More

8 innovative ideas for the tech-strapped teacher

Slow internet? No devices? Here’s how to make the most of limited classroom tech for next to nothing

tech-strapped-teacherSchool districts in the United States spend billions of dollars each year to purchase technology for the classroom, yet the lack of technology and internet access in the nation’s public schools continues to be an issue. Often, a teacher who is faced with little technology in the classroom will feel overwhelmed and will resort to more traditional teaching methods.

This article outlines strategies for teachers to increase the impact of the technology to which they are limited. I have purposely left coordinated and intentional BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs out of this list. Even with the best-planned BYOD program, there will be students who do not have devices to bring.

These are strategies I have used in my experience in education, which began in a room with one computer and no projector, as well as strategies I have helped teachers to implement in my role as a professional development consultant and instructional coach. It’s important for teachers to focus not on what isn’t in their classroom but rather how they can use what they have.…Read More

Four steps to securing mobile content delivery

Students and staff expect 24-7 access to content and information from any device; here’s how to provide safe, secure access via mobile devices—whether they’re school-issued or part of a BYOD program

securing-mobile-content
Understanding the differences between managing school-owned or “bring you own” devices is key.

Students, teachers, and administrators expect access to educational content and information from any device, at all hours of the day—and these demands place a huge burden on school IT staff. How can school leaders provide secure mobile access to content and information?

Answering this question was the focus of a recent eSchool News webinar sponsored by Symantec Corp.

Called “Enabling the Classrooms of Tomorrow,” the webinar featured advice on providing 24-7 access to content and information in a safe, secure way from Ben Orencia, education practice manager from Symantec; Matthew Peeples, president of Advanced MarketPlace Inc.; and Advanced MarketPlace’s Mark Robinson.…Read More

The 6 hidden tricks for Bring-Your-Own-Device success

What every school district needs to know–outside of devices–that will make BYOD implementation a success

device-BYOD-districtBy now, most districts considering the implementation of BYOD know there’s a lot more to success than apps and devices. But how can districts accurately measure how much bandwidth is needed? How do you ensure the quality of student work outside of simply using an app? And can you truly ensure equity? According to one school district, there are hidden gems of BYOD implementation wisdom…and they’re ready to share what they’ve uncovered.

For Dr. Tim Clark, author of the BYOD Network Blog and coordinator of instructional technology at Forsyth County Schools, Ga., Forsyth always knew that implementing BYOD was “more than just devices—it’s about a shift in instruction. It is our biggest transformational shift in teaching and learning in the district.”

The district, which has a Learner Profile to guide district policy and practice, places BYOD implementation in the ‘instructional initiative’ category, since it’s not just a ‘device initiative,’ noted Clark.…Read More

Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2013, No. 6: BYOD and social media

eSchool News counts down the ten most significant developments in educational technology during the past year. No. 6 highlights the importance of BYOD and social media.

BYOD-top10In school systems from coast to coast, tech-savvy educators experimented with augmented reality, educational gaming, and other techniques designed to enhance teaching and learning.

These are only some of the key ed-tech developments affecting K-12 schools in the past year—and we’ve got a full recap for you.

Here, the editors of eSchool News highlight what we think are the 10 most significant ed-tech stories of 2013.…Read More

Why BYOD makes sense: Thinking beyond a standardized 1:1

I was recently asked, “Why are you giving the teachers choice of a laptop? Why not just go all in with one device?” My answer, simply stated, is that homogenization of any tool is never a good idea in a context that is intended to foster creativity, Edutopia reports. The same argument is underway with the Common Core. Many fear that we are homogenizing educational standards and limiting opportunity for creativity, hacking and boundless exploration. That explains the viral popularity of Ethan Young, a Tennessee student who, at a school board meeting, provided an eloquent breakdown of what the Common Core really is and how it is affecting teachers. His points are valid, but the same points have been raised for years in education only to fall upon the deaf ears of bureaucrats…

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30 apps perfect for BYOD classrooms

BYOD classrooms can address a number of issues, Edudemic reports. It can solve the problem of not having enough (or any) devices for your classroom. It can enable students to do web-based work when they might not have otherwise been able to. It can allow them to do work on the same device at home and at school. But it doesn’t come without issue. One of the issues that we’ve heard about from many teachers is that since students come in with different devices that run on different platforms, finding apps and tools that work across a wide array of devices is a necessary evil…

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BYOD to school? 5 tips for keeping student devices secure

Whether in junior high or in college, many students have one thing in common: a smartphone or tablet is in their pocket or backpack, the Huffington Post reports. According to eMarketer, by the end of 2013, smartphone users will represent over half of all mobile phone users. And by 2016, nearly three in five Americans will have a smartphone, including students. This movement has many school officials and parents biting their nails in anticipation all of these new devices connecting to their network and in the hands of kids. How can a university, school or parent possibly control what is added to a mobile device and what is taken away? Certainly mobile devices make life easier. For many Millennials, computing is an extension of who they are, and it just makes sense that these tools go with them into the classroom…

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The future of education: BYOD in the classroom

As children across the nation return to school, many are going armed with their own computational tools, Wired.com reports. From laptops to tablets and smartphones, schools and universities across the globe are testing out a more dynamic learning environment, where students bring and use their choice of technologically assistive devices in the classroom. Despite the obvious benefits, the influx of mobile technology in educational systems has also provoked backlash from parents and teachers alike, similar to the BYOD backlash witnessed within enterprise IT departments in the past few years. Educational institutions are ultimately presented two options: adopt a BYOD program, embracing the technology trend, encouraging student participation, and expanding curriculum to include BYOD-driven topics, or to impose of a BYOD policy, setting rules to govern the presence and practice of these potentially disruptive devices…

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