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Articles: Classroom Integration

Teacher Lora Sprigings’ (center) AP geography classes are part of the gradual adoption of e-textbooks by Community Unit School District 300 in the Chicago suburbs.
Collier County Schools in Florida saw science scores increase after adopting Discovery Education’s K8 Science Techbook.
Interactivity is a key feature of the latest digital platforms, including Collections,” an ELA textbook by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Discovery Education, with products like its digital Math techbook, is a newcomer to the textbook market.

A new wave of e-textbooks is giving students more than just words and a few hotlinks on a digital page. Publishers over the last few years have been adding video, interactive maps and gamified quizzes designed to engage students more deeply in their learning.

Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann, former educators, are considered pioneers in the flipped-class movement. They are co-authors of Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day.

We believe that, at most schools, there is time built into the schedule that can be used to help teachers flip their classes. Many schools have professional learning communities and time is set aside for groups of teachers to collaborate, to work on district initiatives and be agents of change in the schools.

Students at Mount Hebron Middle School in Montclair, N.J., learned basic programming to make their Finch robots dance, draw, wrestle, race and play soccer. The Finch is the white device with the glowing nose.
Clay County schools students participate in a Lego robotics competition. A series of U.S. Department of Defense grants allowed the northern Florida district to establish an extensive robotics program that runs from elementary through high school.
RobotsLab's quadcopter can give students a real-life demonstration of a quadratic equation.
VEX Robotics is another kit students use for robotics competitions.
Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center's use robotic arms from Yaskawa Motoman to learn about advanced assembly lines.
Students use Pitsco’s Tetrix system to build and program robots for competition.

The new breed of robots rolling, dancing and flying into classrooms is giving educators at all grade levels an engaging new tool to fire students’ enthusiasm for math, computer programming and other STEM-related subjects.

Students use their own mobile devices to work out math problems in an economics and personal finance class at Marshall High School in Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.  (Photo: Donnie Biggs)

Districts that have implemented BYOD successfully have found building a powerful Wi-Fi network, developing explicit acceptable use policies, and communicating those policies clearly to students, parents and teachers are critical steps in the technology transition.

Mary Reiman is director of library media services for Lincoln Public Schools

Public education is embarking on a digital transformation. We are shifting from consumption-based learning to creation-based learning. These are moves in the right direction, but they require us to provide our students with access to the tools and devices needed to connect them to all the available resources.

States signed 132 digital learning bills into law last year, according to the Digital Learning Report Card 2013. (Click image to enlarge)

States are passing legislation to improve technology use in K12 classrooms, having debated more than 450 digital learning bills and having signed 132 into law last year, according to the Digital Learning Report Card 2013.

Some 93 percent of teachers believe that technology has a positive effect on student engagement.

Decades into the computer revolution, many teachers still lack the training needed to use technology effectively in the classroom, according to a new survey. It’s a major problem as schools are investing more in devices and blended learning to improve student achievement, experts say.

R.J. Neutra Elementary School students play Dance Dance Revolution on individual mats during physical education classes.
Students hit lights on the SMART Trainer wall using their entire body.
 In the Makoto Arena, students can use their hands, beanbags, medicine balls and more to hit light patterns that appear on the three towers.
R.J. Neutra Elementary students play an interactive, virtual skiing game through an Xbox during a physical education class.
Admiral Akers Elementary School students play Dance Dance Revolution.
A physical education teacher at Admiral Akers Elementary shows students how to navigate a virtual river on a raft, using just their body and a controller.

Students at Central Union Elementary School District, located on a military base in Lemoore, Calif., are using 21st-century technology in an unexpected place: gym class. Last fall, the district was awarded a three-year Department of Defense Education Activity grant for more than $680,000 to improve physical education and enhance parent, family and community engagement at two schools located on Naval Air Station Lemoore in California’s Central Valley.

Author Rick Stiggins believes that classroom assessment is more effective than standardized tests in providing the student growth data.

Defensible Teacher Evaluation: Student Growth Through Classroom Assessment


Author Rick Stiggins believes that classroom assessment is more effective than standardized tests in providing the student growth data needed to evaluate teachers. This book shows district leaders how to create an assessment program that evaluates teachers fairly and will help schools improve.

Robert Nelson, superintendent of Chawanakee Unified SD, oversees students working on refurbished Apple MacBooks, saving the district thousands of dollars. (Photo: Will Drosche)

Just five years ago, Chawanakee USD, a small rural district nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains in northern California, and the North Kansas City School District, a suburban district located just north of Kansas City, Mo., were at the starting lines of the digital revolution.

Snow days are melting away as schools increasingly take advantage of online curriculum to keep students learning virtually during weather closures.

Daisy Dyer Duerr, principal of St. Paul High School in Arkansas, created the educational twitter chat, #ArkEdChat.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) named three winners of its annual Digital Principals Award: Daisy Dyer Duerr, principal of St. Paul High School in Arkansas; Jason Markey, principal of East Leyden High School in Illinois; and Derek McCoy, principal of Spring Lake Middle School in North Carolina.

Though just 19 percent of California’s elementary schools are using blended learning, another 20 percent are planning implementation.

Blended learning is becoming entrenched in California schools, but elementary schools and high schools are taking different approaches when integrating this learning technology.

Elementary schools are using the “station rotation” model, in which students in small groups may spend 20 minutes in a reading center, followed by 20 minutes at a computer using an online learning program, and an additional 20 minutes of small group instruction with the teacher.

Ingenium Charter School students, like this one shown, set goals for their own personalized learning.

Personalized learning is beginning to produce positive results in student achievement as it becomes more established in districts nationwide. These success stories are encouraging more districts to adopt the tech-heavy learning model that’s designed to customize education for each student.

Districts interested in implementing blended learning sometimes turn to teachers rather than outside providers to create online curriculum to integrate with in-class instruction. This method may save costs, but requires continuous professional development and access to devices for all students. Here are two districts just beginning to create blended learning solutions with teachers at the helm.

Students take control of learning