Can educational innovations go to national scale?

In conversations about evidence-based reform, I often hear the objection that “we don’t really know how to take proven innovations to scale” or that “in order for schools or districts to adopt innovations, they must have a central role in creating and disseminating them locally,” the Huffington Post reports. These assumptions turn out to be false. There are in fact many instances in which programs not developed by the educators using them have been widely and enthusiastically adopted by schools all over the U.S….

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Google launches Glass Dev Kit preview, shows off augmented reality apps

Google launched the Glass Development Kit (GDK) “Sneak Preview,” which will finally allow developers to make real, native apps for Google Glass, ArsTechnica reports. While there have previously been extremely limited Glass apps that used the Mirror API, developers now have full access to the hardware. Google Glass runs a heavily skinned version of Android 4.0.4, so Glass development is very similar to Android development. The GDK is downloaded through the Android SDK Manager, and Glass is just another target device in the Eclipse plugin…

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Our educational leaders must get aggressive with technology

Technology and social media continue to dramatically change the way we live and work, the Huffington Post reports. Social media in particular can be a great equalizer by enabling job seekers to connect with influencers outside of traditional offline social networks. Given its importance, why isn’t this technology playing a stronger role in the curricula of our schools? For an insider’s view, I spoke with PJ Caposey, principal and assistant superintendent at Stillman Valley schools in rural Illinois. PJ is the author of Teach Smart and winner of the 2013 Outstanding Young Educator Award…

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Putting augmented reality into practice

A classroom is transformed, and student engagement receives a boost, with new augmented reality technology

augmented-realityThis year, when I introduced creative writing to my students, I wanted to do it a little differently than I had in years past. This year I wanted to use the awesome power of augmented reality to engage my students and inspire them to be creative and have fun. Augmented reality takes something in the static world and brings it to life. It gives the end user an additional and engaging experience.

I started by giving my students a choice of three different coloring pages from the colAR Mix app. They had a choice of a dragon, a girl in her room, and a hot air balloon. Their directions were to take their time coloring the picture and have fun.

After students had plenty of time to color their pictures, I told them to come have a seat on the carpet and to bring their pictures with them. I asked them: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could bring these pictures to life?” At that point, I took one of each of the three coloring pages and, using an iPad, I brought them to life using colAR.…Read More

IBM to announce more powerful Watson via the internet

The New York Times reports: Welcome to the age of supercomputing for everyone. On Thursday IBM will announce that Watson, the computing system that beat all the humans on “Jeopardy!” two years ago, will be available in a form more than twice as powerful via the internet. Companies, academics and individual software developers will be able to use it at a small fraction of the previous cost, drawing on IBM’s specialists in fields like computational linguistics to build machines that can interpret complex data and better interact with humans…

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Bob Wise: Digital learning can boost R.I. schools

If the United States is to prepare its students for success in the modern technology-driven world, more classrooms — in both Rhode Island and the whole nation — need to embrace higher learning outcomes for students made possible by integrating modern technology and quality teaching to create robust digital learning, the Providence Journal reports. Participating at the Rhode Island Department of Education’s “Innovation Powered by Technology” conference last month, I saw firsthand how Rhode Island is making that vision a reality…

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Student data privacy: The role of policymakers and schools

Federal laws provide important safeguards for protecting data and preserving student privacy

data-privacyAs states move to collect, store, and interpret student data, education leaders should be familiar with important federal laws that safeguard student data and protect student privacy.

Efforts by the U.S. Department of Education officials and the Data Quality Campaign to create clear-cut explanations for how student data will be protected, and how privacy plays an important role, are regular parts of data discussions. A number of federal laws and resources are designed to help protect data privacy, while at the same time ensuring data is used to inform teaching and learning.

On Nov. 19, DQC will release Data for Action 2013, the ninth in a report series detailing state efforts to use and safeguard student data. A primer on student data and privacy may be useful for educators and policymakers in the interim.…Read More

Cloud classrooms: The next big thing in education

Following the trend of mass cloud adoption in other industries, educational institutions have started rapidly shifting to mobile learning and more interactive communication through cloud computing, TechBytesEdu reports. Even though there are still many educators who don’t feel very comfortable about adopting new technologies, it is obvious that the cloud is conquering educational institutions all over the world. Certainly, cloud computing has a lot to offer to schools and colleges – from simplifying administration and admission processes to enabling faster information access and easier communication. Here are some of the most important ways in which cloud technology positively affected current education transformation…

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Schools signing up for the Hour of Code

Schools pledge to learn how to code and support computer science education

hour-codeHave you signed up for the Hour of Code? If you haven’t, chances are you know someone who has–more than 11,000 coding and computer science events are planned, involving nearly 1.8 million students in 144 countries.

The Hour of Code is an initiative that asks students, teachers, parents, and schools to introduce students to computer programming during Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), Dec. 9-15, for just one hour. Activities include introductions that teach students coding basics, an intro to JavaScript, “Robot Vocabulary” and unplugged computer science, how to create your own app, and more.

Students are encouraged to sign up for the Hour of Code, and teachers are encouraged to highlight Hour of Code activities in their classrooms.…Read More

Sometimes, paid technology may be better than free

Sometimes, paying for technology might be better than using a free product

technology-paid-freeI am fortunate to speak to educators across the U.S. about student-centered learning and technology integration. It’s thrilling to see a teacher’s eyes light up when I share a powerful, free web tool. After all, what could be better than amazing technology that students love and that costs nothing to use?

The answer to this question, sometimes, is a web tool that comes with a fee. This may seem like a contradiction, but as much as I love free technology, what I hate is using an amazing free website or application, only to see it completely change later and move to an expensive fee-based model.

Educators can connect and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #eSNBestPractices.…Read More