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Articles: Technology

Schools provide blended learning opportunities in different ways. State-run virtual schools generally offer only online instruction.

Online learning activity in public districts has overtaken state-level virtual schools and charters, according to the 12th annual “Keeping Pace with K12 Digital Learning” report, released in December.

Superintendent Klint W. Willert, of Brookings School District in South Dakota, says schools will move away from high-stakes tests in 2016.

Klint W. Willert

Superintendent, Brookings School District, South Dakota

Topic: Testing & assessment

Trend: Student achievement is measured by more than a single assessment score. The trend of moving toward multiple measures, not just a test score, to determine the quality of a teacher, a school, and district will continue to resound with the voting public. People are joining a new TEA Party - Tested Enough Already.

Mobile devices and Wi-Fi will get the most spending attention in schools in 2016, according to a DA survey.

Students three years from now will use two or three mobile devices in the classroom compared to the current ratio of one device to every two student. A steady decline in cost and expanding capabilities make the technology even more viable for K12 education.

Cyber insurance policies protect digital and print data, such as student and staff social security numbers, addresses and payroll.

Cyberattacks on high-profile companies such as Target and The Home Depot have driven a growing number of school CIOs and administrators to purchase cyber insurance policies in attempts to avoid costly litigation from a data breach.

Such policies protect digital and print data, such as student and staff social security numbers, addresses and payroll. The insurance often covers notification and investigation costs, legal assistance, and sometimes media relations after a breach.

Adopting new standards and testing strategies will be a priority in many classrooms in 2016.

As we head into 2016, teachers need to captivate and inspire collaboration with tools that excite students and let them express themselves. Students expect innovations that ignite learning passions that will steer them toward their future career.

While administrators have access to more performance data than ever before, too often they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and are unable to use it strategically, and student performance data is stored in ways that prevent it from being used to inform important decisions. But creating data dashboards can give district leadership the ability to analyze enormous amounts of disparate data in a simple, visual way, resulting in more effective and informed decision making throughout the school system.

Education leaders and experts look ahead to 2016 and beyond in DA's special outlook edition.

District Administration presents its Year Ahead edition to help K12 educators navigate the new year. This special edition offers in-depth stories focused on the future of leadership, smart classrooms, assessments and standards, and technology. You’ll also results from reader surveys on curriculum, outsourcing, technology trends and facilities.

How to be a good digital citizen (Click to enlarge)

The rapid spread of 1-to-1, BYOD and online lessons in K12 districts has brought the concept of digital citizenship—the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use—to the forefront for school administrators.

School superintendents and principals should promote, model and establish policies for safe, legal and ethical use of digital technology, as well as responsible social interactions, according to the ISTE Standards for Administrators, released last May.

With so much emphasis being placed on testing and accountability, many educators may be missing the single greatest opportunity to drive student outcomes—teacher-created formative assessment with timely, targeted interventions. But can truly personalized learning become a reality when faced with limited classroom time? In this web seminar originally broadcast on October 21, 2015, an administrator from Minnesota’s Edina Public Schools outlined how the district is leveraging powerful assessment solutions to help educators focus their time on what matters most—fueling student growth.

Online and blended learning continue to grow in use as instructional models while redefining the education landscape, creating better academic outcomes by providing students with the personalized attention, support and resources they need, while enabling teachers to spend more time differentiating instruction. This web seminar, originally broadcast on November 4, 2015, explored some of the keys to using blended and online learning effectively to drive academic growth in any school system.

Computers and mobile devices aren’t just changing the way that content is delivered, they have changed the way that students engage with their learning and the role of the teacher. But, the expansion of 1-to-1 and BYOD initiatives, flipped classrooms, and anytime-anywhere learning has created a variety of management challenges. Administrators are faced with managing a proliferation of laptops, smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks and other devices with small staffs and limited budgets.

Marty Creel, chief academic officer and vice president, curriculum & instruction, Discovery Education

How can administrators ensure a smooth and successful digital transition?
Leading the digital transition is a process that should start with emphasizing good instruction. It is crucial to select the right technology pieces and to prepare networks for increased use, but those decisions alone do not make for increased learning potential. The districts that are getting the best results are the ones in which leaders are focused on improving instruction as the means to high achievement, and are using technology as a tool to help reach that vision.

Selected from more than 2,100 nominations, the editors of District Administration magazine proudly present the 2015 Readers’ Choice Top Products. This annual award program alerts superintendents and other senior school leaders to the best products their colleagues around the country use to achieve district excellence.

You—the nation’s top K12 leaders—submitted testimonials about your favorite products throughout 2015. Our editorial board carefully narrowed down the list based on the quality and quantity of theses testimonies.

Penn Manor School District IT staff and student technology apprentices discuss FLDT, their DIY software imaging program for in-house student laptop management.

Developers created some of the world’s most recognized software in garages and college dorms. The same do-it-yourself spirit thrives today across public education. School innovators customize software that ranges from small applications used within a single classroom to programs that support a district’s full administrative functions.

K12 schools and universities are increasingly purchasing 3D printers such as the MakerBot and integrating them into the curriculum to prepare students for STEM careers.

Analysts expect 3D printer shipments to double worldwide to nearly 496,500 units in 2016—in large part due to demand from K12 schools and universities, according to a new report.

3D printers—devices that create physical objects from digital plans—are more common in STEM classes than in people’s homes, despite manufacturers’ initial expectations for the machines.

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