Hays CISD: Using Display Technology to Engage Students and Promote a School’s Mission

Hays Consolidated Independent School District, located south of Austin, Texas, comprises 25 K-12 schools and is one of the fast-growing districts in the state. Like many K-12 districts around the country, Hays CISD schools are avid users of projection technology to present information in classrooms. The district also has adopted a software application, Mirroring360, that allows students and teachers to share content from mobile devices via computers in the classrooms.

Hays CISD has also started introducing new digital technology, such as flat-screen displays for digital signage. “We’ve begun deploying digital signage systems throughout the school,” says Dianne Borreson, Chief Technology Officer for Hays CISD. “For example, cafeterias have digital displays for menus.”

At Hays CISD’s Johnson High School, the district went big into video, with a wall of 86-inch LG stretch monitors in the front of the school to highlight the school’s mission and provide a visual canvas for communicating with students, staff and visitors.…Read More

A tech leader’s tips for making remote learning safe

When COVID forced school districts nationwide to quickly pivot to remote learning, we not only had to configure mobile devices for students to take home, but also implement safeguards to shield them from inappropriate content while outside school walls. We took both responsibilities very seriously, knowing that families were relying on us to maintain both a continuity of learning and safety for their children.

With 45 school sites and about 22,000 students to manage, we knew this would be a major undertaking. To tackle the challenges, we first upgraded our system to accommodate the 20,000-plus Chromebooks that our students would need to learn from home. Then, we acquired additional licenses for ContentKeeper, a school web filter we’d been using since 2017. Using this combined approach, we’ve been able to maintain control of content within social media websites; allow students access to educational content; and block or unblock sites as needed.

Getting everyone online and on board…Read More

The Social Institute Unveils Curriculum for 4th Graders on SEL

 The Social Institute today announced that it has expanded its pioneering social-emotional learning curriculum to meet the needs of fourth grade students, available beginning in January of 2021. The developmentally appropriate lessons come after requests from schools, and will focus on The Social Institute’s Seven Social Standards, which serve as a set of guiding principles for social media and tech use. Examples of standards include: Protect Your Privacy Like You’re Famous, Strike A Balance, and Find Your Influencers.

Surveys reveal the average age kids get cell phones is ten years old, and exposure to mobile devices begins at a much younger age. Further, most parents report technology use has become more prevalent in the last year as schools and families turned to technology to assist with remote learning activities during COVID-19.

“Ten-year-old students today have more information in the palm of their hands than any previous generation,” said Micah Adams, Head of Content at The Social Institute. “Combine that with the fact that they now use technology as a primary means to connect with one another, and it’s clear that we need to be empowering and equipping this age group with the skills they need to succeed in today’s digital world. Nobody gets behind the wheel of a car without first learning the rules of the road and then discussing and practicing potential scenarios with adults. Why should this be any different?”…Read More

Solving at-the-Desk Classroom Charging Problems with a New, Multi-Use Solution

JAR Systems launches a new Active Charge upgrade for their Adapt4 USB-C Charging Station. Designed as a cost-effective solution for charging classroom devices while they are in use, it is a first-of-its-kind bundle. Active Charge saves districts time by including all essential items such as four power banks to actively charge devices while in use, adapters to connect older devices, and a USB-C charging station for both the power banks and mobile devices.

“We saw so many districts struggling with the same dilemma, but the solutions were all temporary and costly. We knew we had to offer something that would not only solve their need for active charging now but also provide long-term value,” said Axel Zimmermann, the company’s CEO regarding the development of the product.

Active Charge helps districts to overcome the monetary and physical barriers that they have faced in combatting low battery life, allowing the focus to stay on learning. It costs less than other battery-powered options and is more practical than running cables and power strips to desks. It enables districts to get more mileage from their current devices and they can also continue to use the Adapt4 USB-C Charging Station even after they refresh their devices.…Read More

Trox Launches New SHIELD Protection Program for Chromebooks and Other Mobile Devices

Trox, a leading North American provider of education technology and collaboration solutions, today announced the launch of its new proprietary Trox SHIELDSM Protection Program for Chromebooks and other mobile devices.

Trox SHIELD helps educators protect their technology investment by ensuring that mobile devices and remain in circulation. Offering a zero cost of ownership guarantee for devices, Trox SHIELD extends the original manufacturer’s warranty and covers accidental damage. Trox certified technicians repair damaged devices, which allows IT teams to focus on supporting students and teachers.

“Demand for Chromebooks and laptops is at an all-time high for schools. Devices that are damaged in transit puts significant strain on limited budgets and IT resources,” said Sarah Kydd, Chief Operating Officer, Trox. “With many schools offering remote or blended learning, ensuring that students have working devices is more important than ever. That’s why we added Trox SHIELD to our robust lifecycle management services.”…Read More

How to make remote learning easily accessible

When school starts again in the fall, it’s likely that a significant number of students will still be learning remotely. To make classrooms less crowded and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many states and districts are considering a hybrid approach in which some students attend school and some learn from home, such as by having students alternate between in-person and remote learning.

One of the key lessons learned in the shift to remote learning this spring was the need to make online instruction easily accessible to everyone. K-12 school systems have taken many actions to ensure that students have the technology they need to learn from home, such as distributing mobile devices and wireless hotspots to students who need them and even negotiating deals with internet service providers to extend free or discounted broadband service to low-income families.

Related content: 5 ways to build a community of learners online…Read More

10+ new products from TCEA 2020

During TCEA 2020, educators, decision-makers, and stakeholders came together to articulate their visions for the future of education.

In addition to sessions and presentations, edtech companies made major announcements and launched new products aimed at everything from network security and communication to digital portfolios and mobile devices.

Related content: Can’t-miss sessions at TCEA 2020…Read More

Digital teaching and learning in the smartphone era

For much of the past two decades, educators have commonly referred to millennials as “digital natives.” Given that they are the first generation to grow up with access to personal computers, the descriptor seemed apt at the time. But today’s students–the emerging Generation Z–are demonstrating what it really means to be a true digital native.

Not only are these students growing up with widespread access to computers and the internet, they are surrounded by smartphones and other mobile devices with impressive computing power.

Related content: 10 findings about K-12 digital learning…Read More

Teachers may not be so hot on students’ use of digital devices for learning

Close to half of teachers (42 percent) in a Gallup poll say they think digital devices have a “mostly helpful” impact on students’ education, but they have less positive views of devices’ impact on physical and mental health.

Thirty percent of teachers in the March 5-12 poll say digital devices are neither helpful nor harmful to students’ education, and 28 percent say devices are mostly harmful.

Fifty-five percent of surveyed teachers say digital devices have a “mostly harmful” effect on students’ physical health, and a resounding 69 percent of teachers say students’ digital device use has a mostly harmful impact on their mental health.…Read More

These 10 TED-Ed videos will hold your students’ attention

Given students’ easy access to videos and digital resources via mobile devices and computers, it makes sense that educators would incorporate such tools into their instruction.

With a wealth of resources online, educators can find content that meets students where they’re comfortable learning, with interactive and engaging presentation.

TED-Ed lessons are among these resources that help students learn while engaging them in the subject matter.…Read More