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Articles: Technology

High school mentors help teach middle school students about online safety and responsible use of social media at Columbia Public Schools in Missouri.

Only a handful of school districts attempt rigorous, round-the-clock monitoring of social media traffic to spot threats against their schools or students. Leaders in these districts say the extra level of security acts as an early-warning system that can prevent young people from hurting themselves or others.

Students at Columbia Public Schools in Missouri have had their social media traffic monitored for the last few years.

Laws in different states provide varied leeway when it comes to monitoring students’ public and private social media activity.

Under an Illinois law that was passed last year, district administrators (after parental notification) can demand a student’s social media passwords if they have “reasonable cause” to believe they will find evidence the student has violated school rules.

Youths take advantage of anonymous apps like Yik Yak may not always be aware of the potential consequences.

Parents have taken over Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Twitter. This has sent device-laden students flocking to social media apps such as Instagram, SnapChat and Yik Yak, and the shift has created new challenges for administrators trying to root out cyberbullying and threats of violence.

Landlines are out and internet-based phones are in for many schools this year, as the modernized E-rate program begins scaling back funds for traditional phone service.

Discount rates for long-distance calling, cell phones and other services will drop by 20 percent every year starting this year, as determined in the July 2014 E-rate Modernization Order adopted by the FCC. E-rate funds for email, web hosting, paging and phone directory assistance were completely eliminated this year.

Privacy is key. At Carl Sandburg High School in the Consolidated High School District in Illinois, above, Chief Technology Officer John Connolly, on right, discusses with a teacher some of the data and privacy features to be aware of when working with different apps.

Attacks by external hackers on Sony and Target make big headlines, but in K12 the threats more often come from the inside. Plaguing districts with increasing frequency are distributed denial of service attacks that, for pure mischief’s sake, saturate servers with so many external communications requests that they cannot respond to legitimate school traffic.

Nine out of 10 students recognize the importance of developing technology skills early to ensure they are prepared to enter the workforce, according to new research published by CompTIA, an information technology industry association.

The September 2014 survey of 1,000 middle school students further found that most rate their tech skills as average or above. In the study—“The Changing Classroom: Perspectives from Students and Educators on the Role of Technology”—students also said they wanted more instruction in the following:

Tim Markley is superintendent at New Hanover County Schools in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Our growing district faced numerous facility challenges in the fall of 2013. The only way to address these needs was with a $160 million school bond—the largest in our district’s history. What made this campaign different for us was the extensive use of social media and a very coordinated information campaign.

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines says district can't afford iPads for every student.

Los Angeles USD students will not receive iPads, after all.

In February, LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines told reporters that he does not believe the district has the funds to pay for technology for every student.

In the Bonneville Joint School District in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a Summit Hills Elementary School student, right, takes a speech/language therapy class with therapist Claire Plowgian, above.

More districts now deliver speech and occupational therapy online. It’s a solution for staffing shortages, especially in less populated areas, when therapists can provide therapy, participate in IEP meetings and handle other tasks remotely.

Allan F. Daily High School students in Glendale USD take part in a total computer rebuild, used as a student-led training session. A student demonstrates with his classmates how to replace the CPU chip.

Students trained in IT support are providing teachers with Johnny-on-the-spot resources and bolstering the responsiveness of districts’ lean tech staffs. The eager students provide districts with an inexpensive and much-needed tech resource; and the students gain experience, new skills, and confidence.

Big Ideas Math, by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ST Math, by MIND Research Institute
Math Techbook,by Discovery Education
ALEKS Math, by McGraw-Hill Education
Stepping Stones, by ORIGO Education
Think Through Math, by Think Through Math
Ascend Math, by Ascend Education
WIN Math, by WIN Learning

No matter the grade or skill level, the newest mathematics tools and programs aim to make learning various math concepts an adventure.

Being adaptive, engaging and fun, products try to meet the needs of individual students while aligning with the Common Core and other state standards. Here are some of the latest math tools in light of NCTM's conference in April. Big Ideas Math

Donald Leu (center) leads the team of the New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut.

Today’s students may be skilled at texting and social media, but many are unable to perform online research and distinguish accurate information on the web, according to a new study.

Authors Darryl Vidal and Michael Casey provide administrators with a structured methodology for developing an educational technology vision that benefits all stakeholders.

Vision: The First Critical Step in Developing a Strategy for Educational Technology

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Authors Darryl Vidal and Michael Casey provide administrators with a structured methodology for developing an educational technology vision that benefits all stakeholders and supports school and district strategic plans.

Companies that collect student data would be barred from using or selling it for anything other than educational purposes, under a law proposed in January by President Barack Obama. Called the Student Digital Privacy Act, it would also prevent companies from using data to target advertising to students.

R.J. Gravel (@rjgravel) is the director of instructional technology for Johnsburg School District 12, in Johnsburg, IL.

As more school leaders adopt cloud-based technology to support educator and student achievement, the need for efficient processes to run student and teacher accounts increases.

In the past, printed instructional materials would be received, sorted, labeled and distributed to classrooms. Materials traveled from the office to the teacher, then from the educator to the student. But for cloud-based materials, the distribution process looks quite different.