eSchool News names winners of 2010 Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards

Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award winners bring technology know-how to their districts.
Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award winners bring technology know-how to their districts.

One-to-one computing programs that are turning classrooms into student-centered learning labs and raising achievement; a technology incentive program that is reducing the dropout rate and closing the digital divide; live streaming of school board meetings online, and other efforts to engage stakeholders in school district activities; and the creation of an online-learning program that has solved the challenge of declining student enrollment: These are some of the many education technology accomplishments of the winners of our 10th annual Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards.

Sponsored by JDL Horizon’s Eduvision, K12 Inc., the Pearson Foundation, and Promethean, the awards program recognizes senior school district executives from around the nation who best exemplify outstanding leadership in the use of technology to further their district’s educational goals.

This year’s winners are:…Read More

Commentary: A new era in school district leadership

 

This year's Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards were the toughest yet to judge.

Default Lines column in eSchool News, February 2010—Former Notre Dame University President Theodore Hesburgh was quoted as saying, “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.” Skillful leaders are able to articulate that vision clearly and inspire their communities to action—and the winners of our annual Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards epitomize this idea.…Read More

Visual learning a key strategy for helping students succeed

Inspiration Software unveiled version 9 of its popular software at FETC.
Inspiration Software unveiled version 9 of its popular software at FETC.

Software that takes a visual approach to teaching math has led to double-digit gains in the test scores of Orange County, Calif., students—and the software’s maker was one of several ed-tech companies demonstrating new visual learning products at the 2010 Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando.

At FETC, the nonprofit MIND Research Institute discussed findings of a 2009 study suggesting that students using the group’s ST Math software experienced dramatic learning gains.

ST Math is a supplemental program for students in grades K-5 that is based on decades of neuroscience research at the University of California, Irvine. The software taps into the brain’s innate “spatial temporal” reasoning ability to visualize and solve math concepts and problems, its makers say.…Read More

Software shows students’ full test history

Pearson Inform is one of many powerful new tools for analyzing school data.
Pearson Inform is one of many powerful new tools for analyzing school data.

School data systems are getting more and more sophisticated, a perusal of exhibitors at the 2010 Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) suggested—and at least two companies now offer systems that show teachers the entire history of their students’ test results, including the results from previous school years.

Pearson Inform is what Pearson School Systems is calling the latest version of its “performance analytics” software, which helps educators manage students’ achievement data. The software allows teachers to view a list of all assessments a given student has taken, even from prior academic years; by clicking on an assessment, teachers can see how the student did, what test items he or she got wrong, and what standards those test items correlate with.

A similar program from dataMetrics Software of Harvard, Mass., called TestWiz, also enables teachers to view historical information about their students’ test results.…Read More

November to educators: Let students use online social tools

Ed-tech consultant Alan November believes in the power of student-centered learning.
Ed-tech consultant Alan November believes in the power of student-centered learning.

The most important change that technology brings to education is that it enables students to take charge of their own learning, said education technology consultant Alan November. Yet, this is happening in too few classrooms, he said—and a key reason is that schools are blocking access to the very tools that allow such activity.

November was speaking at a Jan. 14 session during the Florida Education Technology Conference in Orlando. Sponsored by Lightspeed Systems, the session focused on how to balance safety and learning in the digital age.

If you were to ask teachers or administrators what one indicator they would look for to show that real learning was occurring in a classroom, most people would say they’d like to see that students were engaged in the lesson, November said.…Read More

Educators intrigued by Apple’s iPad

The web-enabled Apple iPad starts at $499.
The web-enabled Apple iPad starts at $499.

Apple’s new tablet computer, the iPad, could push other companies to bring more color-capable eReaders to the market in a move that could make digital books more commonplace on school campuses, educators said after the long-awaited release of the technology giant’s latest product.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad Jan. 27, calling it a new third category of mobile device that is neither smart phone nor laptop, but something in between.

The iPad, which is Wi-Fi enabled, has 10 hours of battery life, features a 9.7-inch screen, weighs 1.5 lbs, and will use the iPhone operating system, meaning education companies that have made iPhone apps can make their technology available for iPad users.…Read More

New program combines technology, community service

Participants in the START initiative, the Service & Technology Academic Resource Team, share how their school's service-learning projects pair technology and community service.
Participants in the START program describe how their service-learning projects pair technology and community service.

Students at six schools from across the country are taking part in a pilot program that uses “service learning” as a way to revitalize their schools and communities while gaining valuable 21st-century skills.

The Service & Technology Academic Resource Team (START) program, launched by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and Microsoft Corp., aims to create a new kind of collaboration between students and teachers through technology-focused service learning.

CNCS and Microsoft chose six schools to participate in the program initially. The schools—Winston Churchill Middle School in California, Tupelo Middle School in Mississippi, Lower East Side Preparatory High School in New York, East Garner Magnet Middle School in North Carolina, Parkway West High School in Pennsylvania, and Forest Park High School in Virginia—will receive grants and serve as national test sites for how schools can integrate service learning and technology into the classroom.…Read More

Microsoft calls for cloud-computing regulations

One-third of Americans surveyed say they store their photos on remote servers.
One-third of Americans surveyed say they store their photos on remote servers.

A Microsoft official argued Jan. 20 that the U.S. Congress should create rules and regulations for cloud computing, a burgeoning technology that has gained traction among schools and colleges.

As a growing number of businesses, governments, schools, and universities store sensitive data on off-site servers managed by third parties, lawmakers should draft legislation that would protect the integrity of this information, said Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft Corp. and keynote speaker in a meeting of technology experts at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

More than three-quarters of Americans are unfamiliar with cloud computing, according to a Microsoft survey completed this month, but Smith said using the internet to store reams of data cheaply soon will spread through every sector of society.…Read More

Report details coming trends in campus technology

Typing on a laptop could be outdated in four or five years, according to ed-tech projections.
Typing on a laptop could be outdated in four or five years, according to ed-tech projections.

Open scholarly content will become more commonplace in higher education in the next year as online universities and textbook companies organize and harness the internet’s mass of educational material, according to a report that predicts campus technology advances within the next five years.

The 2010 Horizon Report, released this week by education technology advocacy group EDUCAUSE and the New Media Consortium, describes technological changes that will have the greatest impact on college students and faculty.

The seventh annual report’s short-term prediction focuses on open content—a trend buoyed by MIT’s Open Courseware Initiative and the Open Knowledge Foundation, among others.…Read More

Volunteers honor MLK Day by helping schools with technology

Educators and web professionals participated in the MLK Day Technology Challenge, volunteering with schools and nonprofits.
Educators and IT professionals volunteered their ed-tech expertise during the MLK Day Technology Challenge on Jan. 18.

To help meet schools’ technology needs, several educators and web professionals volunteered their expertise during the Martin Luther King Day Technology Challenge on Jan. 18.

Part of the MLK Day of Service, the event—organized by the Obama administration—connected schools and nonprofits that have technology needs, such as skills training and mentorship, with web professionals, developers, graphic designers, and new media professionals who were willing to volunteer their skills for the common good.

Some projects were completed on the Martin Luther King Day holiday, Jan. 18, while others will last longer. Examples of needs submitted by schools and other nonprofit organizations included requests for volunteer teachers and tutors for English-language learners and a volunteer instructor to help seniors learn how to use computers.…Read More