Tips to help IT teams manage digital transformation

From educators, IT teams, and school administrators to parents and students, nearly everyone with a stake in the education industry is aware of the promise new digital technologies hold to improve learning outcomes, increase student engagement, and add variety and depth to instruction and assessment.

Whether they’re talking about one-to-one computing initiatives, digital textbooks, using “smart” interactive whiteboards and 3D printers in classrooms, or moving to full-scale “flipped” instructional models, educators are excited about technology’s potential.

Related content: 5 key network steps to support edtech…Read More

How every school can promote safety in a digital world

Keeping students safe in the digital era — with its myriad dangers — means a proactive IT strategy

Technology has become a mainstay within the walls of today’s schools. One-to-one computing is enhancing and enriching the student experience, transforming the way we teach and the way we learn.

K-12 schools were expected to spend approximately $4.7 billion on technology this past year, according to IDC, with no sign of a plateau. But as rapid technology adoption continues unabated, the safety of the students who are meant to benefit from these advances is frequently overlooked.

The evolution of learning with computers

When desktop computers first appeared in schools, the curriculum focused on typing, word processing, and basic coding skills. Then search engines arrived, completely revolutionizing the way students accessed and consumed information over the web.…Read More

Microsoft, HP make laptop pitch to Maine educators

HP’s ProBook 440 beat out Apple’s iPad and Macbook Air, as well as an HP tablet and the CTL 2go Classmate PC, as the preferred device for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative.

Hewlett-Packard and Windows 8 might not take Maine’s Apple-loving schools by storm, but HP and Microsoft making a strong pitch to educators who must decide this week which laptops or tablets they’re going to provide to more than 70,000 middle and high school students this fall.

Apple was the sole provider of laptops under the Maine Learning Technology Initiative for a decade before HP won a competition in late April to become the state’s preferred one-to-one computing vendor.

Cameron Evans, the chief technology officer for Microsoft Education, acknowledged that Maine educators are accustomed to Apple products but said the HP proposal provides the same tools—and even more—while utilizing a Windows operating system preferred by entrepreneurs.…Read More

Beyond ‘one-to-one computing’: Time for a new approach

Adding a digital device to the classroom without a fundamental change in the culture of teaching and learning will not lead to significant improvement.

Perhaps it was the driving rain and the dark grey clouds of an approaching storm that contributed to the superintendent’s choice of words. He had spent the past month reviewing one-to-one computing programs in various school districts as he tried to decide whether his own district should commit to the enormous expense of a one-to-one program at a time of declining resources. His conclusion from his visits did not leave much room for interpretation.

“Horrible, horrible, horrible implementation from every program I visited,” he said. “All of them were about the stuff, with a total lack of vision.” His research convinced him not to move forward with one-to-one computing.

With this absolute conclusion that one-to-one computing can lead to a waste of precious resources—including dollars and time—hanging in the air, he then asked me my thoughts on the issue. My response, based on observing the implementation of one-to-one computing programs all over the world, was just as unequivocal: “Yes. Unfortunately, too often I concur.”…Read More

New site offers help with shift to digital education

Epic-ed will help guide school leaders through digital transitions.

A new online community that launched Aug. 22 aims to help schools and districts as they move toward digital education and implement corresponding policy changes.

The U.S. Department of Education, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University, and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) partnered to create the online community of practice.

Epic-ed aims to empower digital transitions at all stages of development, including school leaders who are thinking about moving to ubiquitous computing environments, those who wish to implement ed-tech pilot projects, and those who are ready for full-scale implementation.…Read More

Ed-tech best practices: April 2012

Having students act as detectives is one strategy for teaching about internet safety shared by a reader.

Ten creative ways that schools are teaching students about internet safety … tips for making one-to-one computing a success … a national project that aims to inspire the “model classroom”: These are some of the ed-tech best practices featured in the April 2012 edition of eSchool News.

“I teach about internet safety by having fifth grade students act as detectives,” says Joan Curtis, a teacher librarian at Schwenksville Elementary School in Pennsylvania.

Curtis gives her students three websites to look at, and they have to determine which of the three is a hoax. “While many of our students … are tech savvy, thinking critically about what they see on the internet is still something they need to be taught to do, and how,” she said.…Read More

How to make one-to-one computing a success

“It’s important that you define the goals” of a one-to-one computing program early in the process, said Lenovo’s Sam Morris. 

What are the keys to success in rolling out a one-to-one computing program in schools? “Before you look for keys, you need to have a car,” tweeted Sam Morris, education solutions manager for Lenovo. In this case, the car is a sound plan for what you’re trying to accomplish by giving every student a computing device.

“I think it’s important that you define the goals for 1:1 early in the process of establishing the initiative,” Morris explained.

Morris was leading a Feb. 21 Twitter chat hour on one-to-one computing along with eSchool News Editor-in-Chief Dennis Pierce. The conversation, which took place entirely on the micro-blogging service Twitter, explored strategies for making one-to-one computing work effectively in schools.…Read More

Tips and success stories for effective mobile learning

Good mobile learning programs focus on learning, and not just devices, the report notes.

More and more schools are using mobile learning devices to help boost student engagement and achievement, and a new monograph from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) examines some of the best practices in mobile devices from schools across the nation.

“Small Size, Big Potential: Mobile Learning Devices in School,” the third and final component from CoSN’s 2011 Compendium, profiles Oregon’s Canby School District, Chicago Public Schools, Katy Independent School District in Texas, Minnesota’s Osseo School District, and Ohio’s St. Mary’s City Schools.

The school districts share their experiences with one-to-one computing implementations, launching “bring your own device” programs, and overcoming obstacles such as budget constraints.…Read More