District CIO

Pa. tech school gives freshmen a vo-tech head start

Norwin High School students who are interested in learning a skilled trade or getting technical training now can do so during their freshman year. The school district is now allowing ninth graders to attend the Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center in New Stanton, giving enthusiastic students a head start.

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New York's push for more tech in classrooms fuels further debate

In its third public symposium since Gov. Andrew Cuomo assembled a commission to advise how to best invest a proposed $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act, Smart Schools Commission members called for faster and more widespread broadband services for all state schools.

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South Dakota public technical school could split from district

Sioux Falls’ public technical school is exploring a new law that might eventually allow it to operate independent of its local 23,000-student Sioux Falls School District. Southeast Technical Institute officials say self-governance makes sense, giving the school more decision-making clout that could lead to more funding, more students and better programing.

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Net Texts launches apps for iPhone, Android phones and Chrome

Net Texts’ educational materials and apps are now available to students and educators on iPhone, Android phones and Chrome. Teachers can find, build and customize multimedia courses from a library of more than 1,000 free Net Texts-curated courses and 21,000 free course materials from other providers.

Swivl robotic accessory available on School Improvement Network

School Improvement Network and Swivl have partnered on a robotic accessory that lets educators capture and share lessons. The device uses an app- and cloud-connected hosting appliance to turn a mobile device into a lecture and presentation capture tool.

Texas district partners with CK-12 Foundation to adopt digital flexbooks

El Paso ISD and CK-12 Foundation are collaborating on replacing paper textbooks with digital textbooks called FlexBooks. These are standards-aligned, fully-customized digital flexbooks built using the CK-12 platform. The change will start with select high school science classes, with more school subjects to follow.

Project-based science trumps traditional curriculum

Students following a project-based, inquiry curriculum aligned with Next Generation Science Standards outperformed their peers who received traditional instruction, according to a National Science Foundation study. The new curriculum also can help close the learning gaps among minority students in STEM courses and level the field between girls and boys.

What E-rate changes mean for your district

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 when E-rate updates go into effect in 2015-2016.

KCWiT launches program to help middle school girls explore tech

Nonprofit Kansas City Women in Technology created Tech sHeroes, a program focused on encouraging middle school girls to explore careers in technology. The 12-week initiative, which kicked off this September for seventh- and eighth-grade girls in the Shawnee Mission School District, will explore programming robot balls to prototyping mobile applications to learning Javascript.

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High school football tech purchasing is growing

For high school teams from Louisiana to New York, the football hit has become a tech crunch, and a sport for teen boys has ballooned, by one estimate, into a $3 billion investment nationally — spending partly fueled by the leap in game-deployed technology.

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