Sora reading app extends no cost ebooks and audiobooks to remote learners

Sora is a K-12 student reading app through which students and educators can access ebooks and audiobooks from OverDrive Education’s extensive catalog of digital titles for schools.

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Educators can complete an online form for no cost access to the Sora Remote Reading Book Bundle, a collection of 200+ premium, simultaneous use digital titles from publishers like Abrams, Britannica, Bellwether Media, Live Oak, and Orca, in addition to classic required reading titles like Emma and Call of the Wild. Titles will be available through 6/30/20, with specific title availability varying by region.…Read More

Full computer science curriculum and coding platform at no cost

During this time, Vidcode would like to support schools in any way they can. As such, they are offering their full coding platform and research-backed computer science curriculum for free to help schools and districts as they plan for potential school closures and student absences.

If your school or district is planning a closure for health-related reasons, you can apply to get access to Vidcode’s full computer science curriculum and coding platform at no cost.

Vidcode will provide you and your students with access to our courses, lesson plans, and virtual PD resources until May 2020 (Vidcode states they will happily extend this offer until your school reopens). Students will be able to access courses from home as a supplement to your other e-learning measures and teachers will have full access to our LMS to monitor student progress.…Read More

No-Cost Access to ST Math

With the spread of Coronavirus, COVID-19, schools across the country are temporarily closing.

At MIND Research Institute, our mission is to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems.

That’s why we stand ready to provide resources and no-cost access so the learning can keep on happening, even if school is temporarily closed.…Read More

Teacher absent? How tech can bridge the gap

The teacher-absence policy at my school was clear: The teacher isn’t coming to school? No technology for the class. The rationale is that it’s just not worth it. Devices are too valuable to be trusted with kids when they don’t have experienced supervision. Only the classroom teacher can manage classroom tech.

It’s true that subs don’t always find quick success with classroom management. Some can maintain a positive environment by establishing relationships with students right away. But devices cost a lot of money, and schools typically will do everything they can to protect that investment.

But how does this policy affect students?…Read More

Here’s how 4 schools are supporting wireless internet needs

As wireless internet needs become more important for students and instructors, many schools are bolstering their connectivity to ensure smooth learning experiences.

Schools and campuses must support 1:1 online learning initiatives, artificial intelligence/virtual reality (AI/VR) use, BYOD, shared resources, and on-campus surveillance–these efforts require reliable and cost-effective wireless connections that support collaborative digital-learning environments.

And at a time when internet access is of the utmost importance for effective teaching and learning, IT leaders must ensure consistent access and reliable connectivity.…Read More

4 questions to ask about E-rate funding

Today’s K-12 schools are facing a complex web of needs, technologies, and regulations. Digital transformation has led to an expectation by students and faculty of constant connectivity to their school’s web assets. In response, schools have been incorporating programs that allow for more devices and a more web-focused curriculum. These services are critical, but they come at a great cost. Paying for internet access and securing the network do not come cheap.

The E-rate program was developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its subsidiary, the Universal Services Administrative Committee (USAC), to provide federal funding to K-12 schools and public libraries across the country. E-rate gives schools access to necessary technology they otherwise may not be able to afford. In fact, 87 percent of E-rate applicants report that this funding is vital to meeting their connectivity goals.

There are two categories of funding in the E-rate program. Category one funding provides data transmission and internet access. Category two funding supports the critical infrastructure required for security, speed, and compliance, offering schools $150 per student.…Read More

Cost is still keeping districts from boosting broadband speeds

Cost remains the biggest hurdle for schools trying to increase broadband connectivity speeds for students, according to CoSN’s 2017 Annual Infrastructure Survey.

The majority of school districts–85 percent, to be exact–meet the Federal Communications Commission’s short-term goal for broadband connectivity of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students, according to the survey.

The survey collected feedback from 445 large, small, urban, and rural school district leaders nationwide and examines the current state of technology infrastructure in U.S. K-12 districts.…Read More

Why, and how, warranties should guide edtech purchasing

School technology leaders are faced with the buying decisions of products for an entire school or district. These types of edtech purchases are a sizeable investment and, unfortunately, funding can be wasted on products that are overpriced and underperform–diverting school budgets that could be better used to benefit students in other ways.

The first and most obvious factor in the search for the right technology is to decide which product will be most cost-effective. Durability of the technology is the next major influencer.

When evaluating a district’s edtech needs there are several factors to consider, including product warranties and life cycle of the product. Consumer brands typically do not offer warranties for school use, and this is where differentiation between consumer and commercial devices comes into play.…Read More

3 ways a new E-rate funded technology is helping schools save

As schools near completion of their E-Rate filing for this year, one game-changing E-rate technology has the potential to save schools precious time and money. The technology–a new network design concept called Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)–allows schools and other organizations to replace their current network hardware such as routers and firewalls with a single, multipurpose device—while moving the “brains” of the network to a central software console.

This emerging network model offers a number of potential benefits to users, including less hardware and cost, simplified management and greater flexibility to deploy new services. When bundling Ethernet service with virtual routers, schools may be able to use Category 1 E-rate benefits to achieve significant savings.*

How does NFV Save Schools Time and Money?…Read More