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Articles: Technology

In the move to 1:1 computing, school district leaders are increasingly looking for alternatives to traditional PCs and laptops, and for many districts, the go-to device is the iPad. But now, for a growing roster of Apple competitors, the time has come to give the iPad a run for its money.

As Common Core implementation begins, education publishers are creating products that align with the standards and take advantage of technology that elicits student engagement.

“Technology, used effectively, can help all students meet and exceed the rigorous learning goals embedded in the Common Core by providing access to tools and resources that personalize instruction and creating rich, engaging and relevant learning environments,” according to a statement from the International Society for Technology in Education.

In the 21st-century classroom, K12 students are no longer practicing math equations at the chalkboard. Instead, math instruction has evolved into online and software-based programs that make learning interactive, challenging, and fun. The following math software programs do just that, as well as adapt to a student’s individual needs and skill level and provide much-needed information to teachers and parents. 

Democratic Education in Practice

Teachers College Press

Lauren Innovations
NaviGate Prepared

As districts transition into the digital age, technology certification programs are growing in number to meet the needs of tech-savvy students.

As tablet integration becomes increasingly prominent in U.S. classrooms, administrators face challenges preparing district infrastructures, teachers, students and parents for a shift to digital learning.

Here are some tips from two district leaders who have successfully undergone the change to those considering a move to tablets.

Education content publishers say they are far from discontinuing traditional printed resources.

A 2010 Scholastic-Gates Foundation study of 40,000 pre-K12 teachers, “Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on America’s Schools,” found that 80 percent of high school students continue to get reading material primarily from school libraries. And a 2012 Pew Internet and American Life survey, “Reading Habits in Different Communities,” found that 90-93 percent of readers still preferred print books over e-books.

A major obstacle for libraries in transitioning to digital content includes lacking a standard publishing model, primarily for popular fiction, says Ann Fondren, coordinator of library services for Spotsylvania County (Va.) Public Schools.

cyber cafe

If your school librarians are feeling beleaguered these days, well, they have good reason. Consider:

• The ranks of certified school librarians have been decimated in recent years by districts struggling to balance budgets.

• The explosive growth of anywhere-anytime digital content in K12 districts threatens to make the concept of library-as-media-center an anachronism.

Glastonbury (Conn.) Public Schools is the latest district to roll out a plan to provide iPads to its 2,200 high school students—and it is only the first step to significantly reduce textbook costs and focus on providing a 21st-century learning environment for its students.

Five years ago, the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina went digital, with laptops and MacBook Air computers districtwide.

The district has not purchased a textbook in over five years, with the exception of those required for high school Advanced Placement classes.

A Griegos Elementary School student in Albuquerque uses an iPad in the library, which has a portable cart of about 30 iPads—known as Computers on Wheels.

For years, there’s been an ongoing discussion about the digital divide between the “haves” and the “have nots.” As technology has advanced, so has that gap, which is driving fundamental changes in how we work, learn, and live.

Administrators, educators, and nonprofit entities nationwide have been trying to lessen that gap over the past decade. With newer, lighter technologies like tablets and ultra-light laptops like the MacBook Air, some schools are considering getting rid of textbooks altogether and going digital.

Helen Gooch, middle,  the instructional technology coordinator for Clarksville-Montgomery (Tenn.) School District, is with two technology integration coaches at the Kilobyte training lab at Greenwood Technology Center, getting quick tips for using Windows 8.

The Windows 8 operating system, which splashed on the market in October 2012, is changing the landscape of Microsoft-based computers. The once traditional PC operating system is making the move toward a more mobile, tablet-based environment in schools. With it comes a drastic change that will affect how educators interact with computers in a Windows-based system. The last major change in Windows OS was in 1995, says Cameron Evans, Microsoft’s chief technology officer for U.S. education. “The world has changed,” Evans says.