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Articles: Technology

DA is proud to present the 2014 Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products.

Continuing to recognize the best of the best, the editors of District Administration magazine are proud to present this year’s 2014 Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products, which were selected from more than 2,400 unique nominations. Up from 1,800 nominations in 2013, this is yet another record-breaking year.

A media specialist in the Cherry Hills Christian Schools in Colorado helps a student with a lesson. The district combined an MDM solution with district-owned iPads for student learning.

Whether devices are tablets or laptops, or owned by the school or the student, they all require IT support. Recent support developments include bundling digital learning applications and the physical device with the cost of mobile device management (MDM) software.

Scott McLeod is the author of the popular “Dangerously Irrelevant” blog.

A photo on Scott McLeod’s popular “Dangerously Irrelevant” blog carries the caption, “We’re so busy doing 20th century teaching, we don’t have time to initiate 21st century learning.” McLeod, an associate professor of educational leadership, is concerned that an education system that doesn’t embrace technology won't prepare students to compete in the knowledge-based economy.

Timothy Purnell is superintendent and Timothy Teehan is academic achievement officer for Somerville Public Schools.

Massachusetts has led the nation with the top National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores for the fifth consecutive time on fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics assessments.

While we realize that unknown variables are part of the equation, it was this statistical preeminence that led us to send a team from Somerville Public Schools in New Jersey to the Northbridge School District in Massachusetts to investigate instructional practices.

When students use technology in the classroom, every keystroke creates a trail of digital information.

States are ramping up student data privacy laws, with lawmakers in the 2014 legislative cycle passing 30 of 120 proposed bills aimed at protecting personal information.

The most comprehensive law was passed in California in September. It prohibits educational sites, apps and cloud services from selling or disclosing students’ personal information. The data also cannot be used to target advertising to students.

Twitter has become the new education conference—and it’s in session all day, every day of the year, some educators now say.

Principals, teachers, tech experts and other educators have created dozens of robust, professional learning networks—also called Twitter chats—to connect with each other and share solutions to common challenges.

No more snow days? Online instruction is replacing snow days in a growing number of school districts.

Sledding hills across the country may be a bit quieter this winter as snowstorms no longer mean a break from schoolwork for some students. An increasing number of districts are using e-learning to keep class in session during bad weather and to meet the required number of instruction days without having to add makeups to the calendar.

Students in all grade levels have been using robotics in the classroom at Fayette County Schools in Kentucky.

Many districts are charging up their K12 STEM courses with the use of robotics. The clear benefits of robotics are increased student engagement and collaboration—but there’s more.

The move toward personalized learning and the ability to deliver resources via the cloud are transforming the way districts purchase digital content for math, reading and other parts of the curriculum. As this landscape changes, district also are spending more on digital resources.

Mike Ribble is technology director of Manhattan-Ogden School District in Kansas. He is also an international author and speaker on digital citizenship.

Technology has provided administrators with some great opportunities for communication and data analysis, but for our students it means so much more.

To help our students, we need to show that with all these opportunities come responsibilities. All administrators have read, or lived through, instances of cyberbullying, sexting and even suicide that have come from the misuse of technology.

The FCC recommends schools have internet access of  at least 100 Mbps per 1,000 users in the short term. The FCC will provide $1 billion per year for  Wi-Fi connections in 2015 and 2016.

High-speed broadband is in and phones are out, according to the recent FCC order to update the federal E-rate program. Administrators will have new funds to expand district Wi-Fi capacity, but will need to make up for lost phone and email subsidies.

In The Power of Teacher Leaders, top educational researchers describe the many ways teachers are leading.

The Power of Teacher Leaders: Their Roles, Influence, and Impact

Routledge Education

In The Power of Teacher Leaders, top educational researchers describe the many ways teachers are leading.

In each chapter, the contributing experts present original research, case studies and programs in practice.

The topics covered include how teachers become leaders, and the effects their leadership has on school communities and student success.

Amanda Jelen is a fourth-grade teacher at Holy Redeemer School in Marshall, Minn.

Holy Redeemer School, a Catholic K8 school in Minnesota, is focused on delivering an educational environment that differentiates the learning experience for each child’s specific needs.

Part of that initiative involves giving every student, including those in kindergarten, a tablet to engage them in their education. We had heard stories of failed tablet implementations in other schools, and were determined to avoid similar mistakes in our own rollout.

After two decades implementing technology in schools, one thing that’s become crystal clear is that there’s no single correct model for one-to-one initiatives. And the reality is, the initiatives that fail to meet their desired outcomes weren’t clearly defined from the start. Unless, of course, the objective is merely to put technology in the hands of students and hope that they will figure it out from there – which is a typical case of a solution looking for a problem.

At Raymond LaPerche Elementary School in Smithfield, R.I., Amy O’Hara, school data leadershp team member, far left, works with first-grade teachers Lena Martel and Laura Zucker to analyze reading test results and to determine specific skills to target.

A new bounty of academic data is guiding teachers as they adjust instruction in the hopes of boosting student achievement. Some districts are connecting “data coaches” with the teachers’ own professional learning communities to ensure this bounty of information fulfills its pedagogical promise.

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