Time to get real with equity

For Todd Dugan, superintendent of Bunker Hill CUSD #8, a small, remote district in southern Illinois, issues surrounding back-to-school COVID-19 style are not abstract but all too real.

Some of the district’s biggest priorities include:

  • Rural struggles–and successes–as COVID hit
  • Address learning loss that comes with inequity
  • As school resumes, freedom of choice

In this conversation with eSchool News, Todd tries to keep the glass half full as he looks to take advantage of these incredible disruptions to education.…Read More

Monitor student devices and active applications in real-time

ScreenBeam Inc. announced today that its popular Classroom Commander orchestration platform is now available for both Chromebook and Windows 1:1 classroom environments.

The ScreenBeam Classroom Commander is designed for today’s modern one-to-one or one-to-many modern classrooms by combining wireless display with student device orchestration to improve lesson flow and collaboration. Supporting up to 50 student Windows or Chromebook devices and a teacher Windows, macOS, iOS or Chromebook device, the platform untethers teachers from the classroom display. Educators can create an agile learning environment by moving freely and interacting with students without interrupting instruction.

Teachers can monitor student devices and active applications in real-time to keep the classroom focused and identify disengaged students quickly. During guided lessons, teachers can message a student or group, blank and lock the keyboard/mouse on a single student screen, multiple student screens or the entire class to command attention. With teacher permission, students can display their work right from their desks for the entire classroom to view. Thanks to the platform’s wireless inking and touch display support, teachers using Windows 10 devices can also annotate directly onto a student screen from the classroom display, even when student devices are not touch-enabled.…Read More

Free One-to-one Coaching for Kids Struggling to Learn

With schools around the country closed due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, teachers are scrambling to teach online classes, students are muddling through a new way to learn, and parents are worried their children will fall behind. For students who struggle in school during the best of times, one can only imagine the frustration they’re facing as they quickly try to familiarize themselves with new connectivity technologies and a novel way of learning from home.

Edge Foundation today is announcing free or reduced-price sliding scale fees for individual coaching aimed at students who are at home.

“This is a time of stress for many of us – students and adults alike,” said Edge Foundation Founder Neil Peterson. “Having an Edge coach can only help. Our coaches are not coaching English or math. Instead, they work on whatever issues a student or parent is concerned about. Edge coaches are specially trained to provide for youth what adults would receive from life or executive coaches.”…Read More

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

5 secrets for rolling out a successful 1:1 initiative

Classrooms have become increasingly tech-focused, though technology alone isn’t enough to change a classroom. Instead, it’s a mix of the right training, tools, and support. Powerful digital resources become transformative only when the teachers and students using them are engaged and understand how to use tech to its fullest potential.

Chula Vista School District is the largest elementary school district in California. Of our 30,000 students, 34 percent are English learners (EL), and 52 percent are students living in poverty. We’re located approximately five miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, making EL instruction a top priority in our schools.

Five years ago, we began the journey to implement a 1:1 initiative across our 41 schools, for third through sixth grade. During this experience, we’ve learned a lot. These are our five key pieces of advice for rolling out a one-to-one initiative in an elementary district.…Read More

10 findings about K-12 digital learning

Digital learning itself is expanding in schools, but access to classroom and home technology still remains a major obstacle, according to a new study from Schoology.

The State of Digital Learning report is based on responses from more than 9,200 education professionals and covers challenges, priorities, and student achievement as they relate to digital learning and edtech tools.

The study yields significant findings regarding challenges and priorities, the role and impact of technology, digital citizenship and emerging edtech trends, and professional development and learning communities.…Read More

5 steps to successfully run a student-led tech team

One-to-one device initiatives have exploded in popularity and have dramatically changed the classroom environment. Dedicated device access doesn’t just benefit students through improved educational outcomes, but also benefits districts by enabling innovation and providing a clear return on educational investment. IT teams, however, can struggle with the greatly increased burdens of managing fragmented device platforms, and the increased staffing that 1:1 initiatives often demand can limit funding for other important initiatives.

In 2016, Lafayette (IN) Catholic School System was preparing to make our entire system 1:1 by adding grades pre-K through six to the middle and high school program already in place. We’re a relatively small system, with 1,100 students across four school buildings. Our technology department manages those buildings, as well as two parish offices and one central office, containing a mix of MacBooks, iPads, and other desktop devices.

Streamlining device management
With a rollout set to double the number of devices we managed to 1,300 across five campuses, we knew we had to find a way to control costs. To optimize our endpoint management with remote capabilities, we turned to FileWave. It was when we began to dive deeper into its user-based permissions and other key functionalities that an innovative solution began to take shape.…Read More

One-to-one: Overcoming financial and other obstacles

Today the Lake Park Audubon School District in Minnesota is known for its technology, but it didn’t earn this reputation overnight. Six years ago, the 700-student district carefully planned an ambitious one-to-one initiative and worked through significant challenges along the way.

Lake Park Audubon launched a one-to-one program in 2012 to provide equity for students. A significant number of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch programs and many don’t have computers at home. The district believed that providing devices for every student—and allowing the high school students to take the devices home—would level the playing field by giving all students equal access to technology.

I served as Lake Park Audubon’s technology director from 2008 to 2017 and shepherded it through the one-to-one planning, development, and implementation. Along the way, we encountered several roadblocks: How do we pay for the devices? How do we get buy-in from the school board? Those issues have to be addressed before you can even begin to address a third question: We’ve got these devices; now what?…Read More

Getting started with blended learning

“I don’t think I’ll teach any differently this year. We just won’t use the Chromebooks in math class.”
—Me (at the beginning of the school year)

Last school year, our school started a one-to-one Chromebook initiative for the sixth grade. That meant our incoming seventh-graders would not only have Chromebooks, they would know how to use them!

What I thought would happen (aka delusions of grandeur):…Read More

Teacher: These are “My Tech Essentials” for a 1:1 Classroom

Technology is an incredible resource for learning. It connects us to people all over the world, it enables us to find answers to our questions with the click of a button, and it is versatile enough to be used by students of varying skill levels.

I have been teaching in a 1:1 classroom for four years at Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School. We started in 5th grade when my colleague got a Khan Academy grant to purchase 12 Chromebooks to supplement the Chromebooks our school provided. We then did a Donor’s Choose project to purchase the remaining computers. We have 1:1 Chromebooks for each student in 4th and 5th grade, and we’re introducing 1:1 for 3rd grade this year.

Within our 1:1 framework, we start by planning our units and lessons with the International Baccalaureate (IB) framework in mind, thinking about how our students will learn best. If it makes the most sense to use the Chromebooks to research or take notes, then that’s what we’ll do, but we also make sure that we have a variety of learning experiences each day. We are a highly collaborative school and 1:1 has helped us tremendously. Our PARCC scores have risen each year since we introduced 1:1 in 5th grade.…Read More