How to measure edtech impact in the ESSA era

The Education Technology Industry Network (ETIN) and Empirical Education Inc. recently released the Guidelines for Conducting and Reporting EdTech Impact research in U.S. K-12 Schools. These guidelines help clarify how research is conducted and how information is presented to users of edtech products based on the changes brought by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In “Measuring Edtech Impact in the ESSA Era,” experts delved into the details of the guidelines.

The updated guidelines take into account nearly all edtech products today in the cloud, providing more access to teacher and student usage data. They also account for the timeline for compressed development of edtech products, and standards of evidence having changed to a more developmental scale with ESSA replacing No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Districts are more frequently asking for their own student and teacher product usage data to perform their own studies. The structure and definitions provided by these new guidelines are useful in helping them obtain what they need and figure out how to do their evaluations.…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

Principals list 6 school technology priorities moving into 2018

Although 90 percent of principals said they believe technology is critical for student learning, only two-thirds would rate their school technology as strong, according to a new report from MDR EdNET Insight.

The report, “School Trends: Principals’ Perspectives on Instructional Initiatives and Purchasing Decisions,” includes data broken down by school level, size, location, and Title I status.

In combination with the research from the entire four-part series, the report offers a 360-degree view of decision-making authority at all levels, from an administrator, to a principal to a classroom teacher.…Read More

Superintendents grapple with finding stellar teachers

Concerns around finding highly-qualified teachers and principals plague today’s district superintendents, according to a new Gallup poll.

Two-thirds of district superintendents in a new survey said the quantity of new teacher candidates is decreasing, and 43 percent said new principal candidates are decreasing.

Participating district superintendents tended to rate their districts as less effective at recruiting talented teachers and principals than they are at selecting, developing and retaining them, according to the poll.…Read More

Hey educators: Are you trustworthy? Here are 4 vital signs for identifying and assessing trust in schools

[Editor’s note: This post is the second in a new column for eSchool News. In her column on ‘Personal Development’, eSchool News Columnist Jennifer Abrams focuses on tangible takeaways, tools and teachings that all those working in schools can use to develop their leadership. Read more about the column and browse future content here.]

Trust is a big word. It may be just one syllable and it’s certainly not a word the Spelling Bee organizers would consider a great challenge (or have on their radar at all), but in more important ways it is huge.

Its dictionary definition is well-known, easily understood, and…meaningless, most of the time. Because in schools, it’s the connotation we attach to the word and the deep reservoirs of associated emotion that determine how we truly define it. Trust is unwieldy, vague, and fuzzy. It’s complex, huge, and complicated. And, by the way, it is essential: research says trust is critical to our schools moving forward.…Read More

4 ways to ensure a successful school culture initiative

A growing body of research confirms that school culture significantly influences student learning. Indeed, it’s in the culture that classrooms build their success. Yet, too many schools accept pockets of excellence. Why is it acceptable for some classrooms to implement best practices for students while others are allowed to opt out?

Culture is the collective beliefs and commitments that enable individuals, who might otherwise only be loosely connected, to rally around an effort. The importance of this cultural “glue” becomes clear when examining student behavior. The more consistent schools are with expectations, discipline, and celebratory rituals, the better students understand what’s expected and the better they become at meeting those expectations.

Conversely, individual, classroom-based approaches to behavior interventions are more likely to result in inconsistent student expectations and a lack of teacher-to-teacher conversations, leading to silos rather than overall excellence.…Read More

Do you know about the 3 circles that can Change School?

Will Richardson is very well known in the education world, partly because he has been active for a very long time, partly because of his well-known Tedx Talks and presentations, and partly because he’s still knocking it out of the park with his Change School, a robust 8-week online experience for educational leaders who are serious about changing school.

Richardson is one of those education thought leaders that doesn’t pull any punches. When you talk to him, he exhibits the kind of frankness that gives people permission to be frank as well, to voice the truths that may only be whispered in back hallways.

For example, when I discussed parental engagement with Will, he had the courage to say that many school leaders don’t want a high level of parent engagement in school, that they are more concerned with teaching than learning, and, to some degree, more parent engagement would just get in the way.…Read More

Learn how these model districts implemented personalized learning

Personalized learning, competency-based learning and dynamic organizational design have shown promising results in school districts across the nation, according to a new report from Education Elements.

The third annual Impact Report, Building Capacity for Personalized Learning and More,” shares data from specific school districts and highlights the progress each district has made in several areas, with a special emphasis on those districts that have been implementing personalized learning for several years.

“As personalized learning grows in popularity, additional voices have emerged that point to the risks associated with it,” said Anthony Kim, Founder and CEO of Education Elements. “We are pleased to report that districts who are thoughtful about their implementations and focus on the needs of their communities see a positive impact year-after-year on not only student test scores, but also student engagement, teacher satisfaction, and overall district effectiveness.”…Read More

5 signs of a tech-friendly district

The efficiencies afforded us by technology can play a central role in a district’s mission. That’s not to say we need to overwhelm our parents, students, and employees with apps and devices, but there are plenty of things district leaders can do behind the scenes to improve the experience of those stakeholders.

How can you tell whether your district is ahead of the curve in technology adoption? Take a look at these five evolving processes:

1. Student Registration…Read More

9 things superintendents can do to empower leadership

School leadership is never an easy task, and throwing in changing technology and the move to digital teaching and learning can prove challenging for even the best superintendents.

Experienced superintendents have said transforming a school district and heading into the digital age is less a sprint and much more a marathon of small, incremental steps leading to their ultimate goal.

Many agree that school improvement models should be shared across the globe to help other educators learn valuable lessons about how shared passions for education can lead to long-lasting, positive changes in schools.…Read More