Articles: Technology

When Kim Mathey, manager of instructional technology at Edmonds Public Schools (Lynnwood, Wash.), was approached by the district audiologist about the need for classroom sound systems for their 20,000 students, she was initially skeptical. “In 2004, we passed our first technology levy in a while,” she says. “I was focused on using that money for projectors, laptops and document cameras to enhance visual learning. I did not think audio systems were as necessary.”

Students need differentiated learning experiences to meet key goals and standards. Truly adaptive technology can give students an optimally personalized experience.

Individualized learning and flexible schedules are part of the philosophy at Falcon School District 49 (Colorado Springs, Colo.). After beginning as a fully virtual model and transitioning to a blended model, student outcomes have vastly improved at the district’s Falcon Virtual Academy. Its brick-and-mortar building facilitates collaboration and communication through open learning spaces, helping students to become more engaged and excited about learning.

It took less than three years for Tipton School District’s server-based technology program, once considered state-of-the-art, to become obsolete in 2007. At about the same time, the state legislature added a 21st-century skills requirement, including technology literacy, to the Iowa Core curriculum. And so, the search began for a new provider of technology literacy curriculum for the district.

The web enables unlimited teaching and learning experiences. By implementing Google Chromebooks and Apps for Education, district leaders can engage stakeholders, provide students with dynamic learning opportunities, and prepare students for future careers by utilizing the power of the web. This web seminar, originally broadcast on October 9, 2013, featured an administrator and a student representative from Leyden High School District 212 in Franklin Park, Ill.

To achieve measured success through blended learning, it is essential for educators to create learning experiences that enhance student understanding through technology. The team at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools assists teachers at low-performing schools by providing resources such as engaging instructional software that create these experiences.

Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) in Mooresville, N.C. is known nationally for its Digital Conversion, where every 4th through 12th grade student is issued a MacBook® to take home, every third grader has a laptop to use at school, and every kindergarten through 3rd grade classroom uses a SMART Board™ and interactive clickers.

Collaborative learning and small group activities can facilitate higher-level thinking in students. However, it can be difficult for teachers to effectively evaluate that all groups and students are on-task and learning, and it can be challenging for students to communicate with their teachers in a small group setting.

For a 1:1 initiative to be successful, it is important to consider the student learning objectives, not just the technology for its own sake. Utilizing technology effectively in the classroom can facilitate and enhance collaborative, problem-based learning experiences. This web seminar, originally presented on September 26, 2013, featured administrators from Baldwin County (Ala.) Public Schools and their implementation of a 1:1 program in a district with 30,000 students.

Blended learning holds significant promise as a cost-effective and egalitarian means to help higher numbers of students accelerate their learning, graduate, and meet challenges in a competitive world. In this web seminar, orginially broadcast on September 18, 2013, education technology expert Tom Vander Ark shared the keys to making personalized learning work for the greatest number of students through adaptive digital instruction, particularly Intelligent Adaptive Learning.

To meet the Common Core State Standards, students must develop the 21st-century skills needed for college and career success. Districts must adapt their curriculum to ensure students are being taught these digital skills.

A blended learning approach to English Language Learner instruction has been demonstrated to produce better results, and more quickly than classroom instruction only. Thesys International has developed an Acquired English Proficiency program that utilizes blended learning to improve reading, speaking, and writing skills for ESL students. The program emphasizes academic English and better prepares them for mainstream courses in much shorter time than the national average.

With both Common Core testing and a 2013-2014 districtwide BYOD initiative looming, Rockwood School District in St. Louis County, Mo., required a strong Ethernet connection between buildings. As the district spans 150 square miles, the large area needed high-level coverage. According to Will Blaylock, the district’s CIO, the provider the district had been using prior to July 2013 had been meeting the district’s needs, but they were looking for more.

Whether using the internet safely or preparing for a nationwide assessment that will be completed on a computer, students at a Long Island, N.Y., district are conquering the digital world. The district’s 5,800 students in grades K-8 are using EasyTech, a web-delivered curriculum from Learning.com that allows teachers to seamlessly integrate digital literacy skills into math, science, language arts and social studies instruction.

To maximize the power of technology and the web, district leaders must define a clear purpose around using these tools as a method of deploying curriculum. At Del Mar Union Schools in San Diego, California, administrators used Google Chromebooks and Apps for Education to aid in preparing students for academic achievement and college and career readiness.

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