12 ed-tech tools to try this term

The school year is in full swing, so it’s time to kick things into high gear and push learning to a whole new level. Online technology tools can be an incredible asset in the classroom, enhancing the learning experience for students and making the teaching experience more pleasant and less stressful. Check out these ed-tech tools that you should definitely consider bringing into the classroom this term.

Sight Words
Sight words are those words that a child should memorize in order to help them learn how to read and write. And, the most effective way to learn those words is through repetition using flashcards and word-focused games. Sight Words helps you to supplement phonics learning through a series of lessons, flashcards and games.

Quizalize
Just because you’re doing a quiz, doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun while you’re doing it. And, on Quizalize, every quiz you find has been created to be both educational and fun. Teams of students can join forces in competition, while a live dashboard allows teachers to see each student’s strengths and who needs the most help from you.…Read More

Marketplace trend update: 5 ed-tech developments

Remaining a tech-savvy educator means keeping on top of the myriad changes and trends in education, how technology can support those trends, and how teaching and learning can best benefit from near-constant change.

Below, we’ve gathered some of the latest and most relevant marketplace news to keep you up-to-date on product developments, teaching and learning initiatives, and new trends in education.

Libraries can now change the look and feel of their websites instantly with the release of Stacks, a hosted, turnkey web content management system designed specifically for libraries. Stacks is available through EBSCO Information Services, empowering libraries to engage their patrons anytime, anywhere. With Stacks customizable themes, configurable drag-and-drop layouts, social media integrations, granular user roles and multi-language support for more than 60 languages, libraries are now able to create online content with ease. Stacks allows libraries to market programs and services, manage event registrations and room bookings, conduct surveys and polls and create research guides. Read more.…Read More

How these 5 schools sustain innovation through technology

As the school year gets underway across the nation, many schools and districts are launching new technology initiatives and programs designed to improve teaching and learning.

Educators love to share their successes, learn from the success of other schools and districts, and they also love to share lessons they learned along their journey.

eSchool Media and Xirrus have teamed up on the Innovate to Educate Awards to give a national platform for educators to share what they’re most proud of in their schools or districts. Here, we’ve highlighted the successes of five awards program applicants. Want to apply for the awards? You can do that right here.…Read More

Marketplace trend update: 4 ed-tech developments

Remaining a tech-savvy educator means keeping on top of the myriad changes and trends in education, how technology can support those trends, and how teaching and learning can best benefit from near-constant change.

Below, we’ve gathered some of the latest and most relevant marketplace news to keep you up-to-date on product developments, teaching and learning initiatives, and new trends in education.

PC Connection, Inc., a national technology solutions provider, has changed its brand name to Connection. Reflecting the increasing relevance of transformational technologies, this new brand aligns with the company’s mission to connect people with technology that enhances growth, elevates productivity, and empowers innovation. Connection unites PC Connection, GovConnection, MoreDirect, and Softmart into one brand name. Read more.…Read More

Survey: Teaching demands taking toll on educators

U.S. teachers say they are frustrated with testing, changing agendas, lack of influence

A new survey reveals teachers are concerned and frustrated with shifting policies, an outsized focus on testing and a lack of voice in decision-making.

Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices, from the Center on Education Policy (CEP), found a majority of teachers expressing satisfaction with their own school, but about half or more agreed with statements indicating diminished enthusiasm, high stress and a desire to leave the profession if they could get a higher-paying job.

Teachers also expressed their views regarding their limited impact on certain decisions affecting their professional lives. Forty-six of teachers surveyed cited state or district policies that get in the way of teaching as a major challenge. Roughly 94 percent of surveyed educators said their opinions are not often factored into state or national decisions, and 77 percent said their voices are not often considered in district-level decisions. At the school level, however, 53 percent of educators agreed that their opinions are considered most of the time.…Read More

eSchool Media, Casey Green to host interactive interviews from ASU GSV Innovation Summit

Shindig, a platform for large-scale video chat, to power the three-day event

eSchool Media and Campus Computing announced plans for interactive Thought Leader Interviews at the 2016 ASU GSV Innovation Summit on April 18, 19 and 20 in San Diego.

The interactive interviews are intended to connect educators in schools and on college campuses with the Summit presenters and participants. Shindig, a turnkey solution for video chat teaching and events, will power the three day event, allowing moderator Casey Green, founding director of Campus Computing, and the interview participants to engage directly with the online audience.

The annual ASU GSV Innovation Summit brings together educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, policymakers, philanthropists, and university and school district leaders to create partnerships, explore solutions, and to shape the future of learning.…Read More

What does research really say about iPads in the classroom?

Two educators put the research to the test. When (and how) are iPads most effective?

Popular mobile devices may come and go, but the iPad has remained a hit in the K-12 classroom. But even though they’re in schools, our work with teachers has led us to understand that while many of them would like to use iPads meaningfully in their classrooms, they can’t because of time, access, and training.

So for the past year and a half, we’ve both been working with teachers and university students integrating iPad technology into the classroom in a controlled way. While doing this, we came across several outcomes that made us question and dig deeper into what the research actually says about using them in the classroom. Do students and younger teachers use them more effectively? Do they work better for some student populations? It’s probably not giving much away to say that the most important learning outcome we found was that experience is the greatest teacher.

First, a note about who we are. Jeanne is a teacher (elementary and part-time professor) and Tanya is a university professor (former special education teacher) who loved using technology as a teaching tool. Jeanne wrote several grants to bring technology into her school and her classroom but she kept noticing that she was flying solo—very few of her school’s teachers were using iPads in the classroom beyond the usual Friday afternoon fun time and as a reward for being “good.” We wanted to know more about this resistance and hesitation when it came to the use of iPads in the classrooms.…Read More

Education Playbook spotlights teaching and learning

Resource from KnowledgeWorks aims to highlight the importance of teaching and learning as presidential debates continue

Amid a heated presidential contest, KnowledgeWorks has released an Education Playbook to put the spotlight on teaching and learning in the U.S.

In the first eight presidential debates, more than 175,000 words were spoken, but “education” was only mentioned 64 times. With the primary election looming and more debates on the calendar, there couldn’t be a better opportunity to discuss the U.S. education system.

“It’s time to raise the level of education debate in the country,” KnowledgeWorks Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Matt Williams said. “As the presidential candidates hit the campaign trail before the primaries, we must talk about and imagine a new vision for teaching and learning in the U.S.”…Read More

Good online teaching is often just plain good teaching

One teacher learns that the secret to good online teaching is all in the approach

I have heard a lot of people say that they don’t think that online schooling works well because there isn’t in-person interaction between a student and their teacher. This belief is a myth. When both teachers and students participate the same way they would in a face-to-face setting, amazing things happen in the online world—just as often as they do in the traditional classroom.

A couple of years ago, I taught a student in an online creative writing class. At 19, John was behind in school and still trying to graduate. Classes were arduous for him, and he often didn’t pass them. These failures discouraged him, so he stopped trying completely—which caused his already low skill set to deteriorate even further.

Since traditional brick-and-mortar classes clearly weren’t working for him, John attempted online courses through his local high school. Online classes offered John a new method of learning that was previously unavailable to him and a more flexible way to get back on the path to graduation.…Read More

Teach students to communicate effectively in the Innovation Age

Communication looks different in the Innovation Age compared to the Information Age of yesteryear. Here’s how to help students succeed

PLCs-communitiesEd. note: Innovation In Action is a monthly column from the International Society of Technology in Education focused on exemplary practices in education.

Ready or not, education has entered the “Innovation Age,” where it’s not about what students know but what they can do with what they know. Teachers can prepare students to thrive in the Innovation Age by teaching them to think at three levels: “what,” “so what,” and “now what.” Students might think of it in terms of three overarching questions: What is the basic concept? What is its relevance and what is it related to? And now, what can I do with what I have learned to find solutions to unmet needs?

In the Information Age, the era we are just now emerging from, knowledge was power so educators taught students to access, gather, analyze, and report information. In the Innovation Age there is a glut of information and data are readily generated or at fingertip accessibility. Successful educators in the Innovation Age must empower students by leading them discover their agency, define their purpose, and be open to fresh perspectives.…Read More

Inside the school that immerses students in Spanish — and technology

A Spanish immersion program makes full use of technology in the classroom

The thought of preparing our students for their 21st century futures conjures up a number of different ideas. There’s imparting the necessary technology skills students will need to thrive in their careers, as well as interpersonal skills such as collaboration and communication and making sure students can function in an increasingly globalized world. On that last point, my school, Shiloh Elementary School in Monroe, N.C., wondered if we were doing enough. Wouldn’t teaching fluency a foreign language be the ultimate means to prepare students for a diverse and multicultural world?

Since 2012, Shiloh has been very proud to have hosted what we call the SPLASH Spanish immersion program. Currently, we have one immersion class—taught full-time in Spanish, with the goal of “immersing” or teaching Spanish to speakers of other languages, like English—in each of our Kindergarten through third grade classrooms. Our school has embraced this wonderful program, and our dedicated teachers have come to us from various Spanish-speaking countries, including Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Chile, and Spain through VIF International Education, a company located nearby in Chapel Hill, N.C. that has provided us the means for our immersion program. These classes are effectively preparing our students to become successful, responsible, and confident bilingual students, and the use of technology in each of these immersion classrooms has truly enhanced the curriculum.

Each immersion classroom has some student computers and either a Dell short-throw projector or a Promethean Board. Our students are able to embrace and interact with the technology on a daily basis. Our immersion teachers state that these interactive tools empower them to have successful teaching environments where the bilingual capabilities of their students are fully realized. For example, SPLASH teachers use educational programs and lessons that allow their students to embrace new topics and exciting facts in a 21st Century manner. Teachers view their students as “digital citizens” who are being given the tools each day to interact in the modern world.…Read More

How paper-free days can spark a tech transformation

Cutting out paper and pencils one day a week gets everyone thinking more creatively

Sometimes one simple question is all it takes to trigger revolution in a school. In the case of Kelly Mill Elementary outside of Atlanta, the question was: How can we more effectively engage our learners? It’s loaded, I know. The idea migrated from my head into staff meetings, and a variation on that question eventually ended up posted next to every copy machine in our school to prompt teachers to find new ways of teaching—without paper and pencils.

The term “paper-free days” may sound like a tactic to cut spending, but that wasn’t the main goal. I wanted to challenge my teachers to think differently about educating and engaging students. Are doing worksheets and reading textbooks really teaching our students what they need to know? Probably not.

What if we were to get young learners moving, get their hands dirty through project-based learning, incorporate more technology, and actually engage them in material? Would it make a difference? From there, paper-free days  were born, and traditional teachers quickly embraced the true meaning of being paper-free.…Read More