Articles: Technology

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.

The influx of devices and applications that result from a BYOD project typically strain a district’s wireless network. Keeping your network secure is also a concern. However, with the proper device and network management tools, these issues can be mitigated and innovative ways of delivering education through technology can be achieved.

The Common Core State Standards assessments will be implemented in the 2014-2015 school year. To prepare, district technology leaders need to look at their networks and systems. Changes may need to be made to handle the challenges of online assessments.

As we start the 2013 school year, 6,000 students in four districts in New York, Illinois, Texas and Florida will be learning problem-solving skills using ST Math, thanks to a partnership between Hyundai Motor America and education nonprofit MIND Research Institute. Each district will receive ST Math instructional software, along with teacher training and ongoing educational support from MIND Research.

Adam Ebbole, a physical education teacher at the Ravenswood Ridge Elementary Network in Chicago, Illinois, has discovered an innovative way to solve the often awkward problem of picking teams during daily gym class, avoiding the sometimes painful popularity contest that is team selection. Ebbole received a new Epson VS210 Projector from DonorsChoose.org and he’s putting it to great use.

Project Tomorrow’s 2012 Speak Up National Research Project provides insight into what parents, principals, and other stakeholders would like to see in terms of technology, in and out of the classroom. These results can inform administrators’ plans and decisions.

Online learning is an exciting and limitless prospect, but the applications and devices required to support it demand a robust district network infrastructure. Though establishing the necessary broadband foundation can seem daunting, the resulting benefits are worthwhile pursuits.

The rigor of the Common Core requires a depth of thinking that is unfamiliar to many students. To begin teaching to these new standards, teachers must invoke different tools and methods. In this web seminar originally broadcast on June 6, 2013, administrators from Howard County (Md.) Public School System shared their phased Common Core transition plan, as well as their collection of online resources for students, teachers, and administrators.

With some 44,000 students, Cleveland (Ohio) Metropolitan School District was struggling without a centralized place to track college preparedness information prior to 2011. Students were being served by CollegeNow, an organization that assists with the advice and funds necessary to prepare for and graduate from college, as well as their own guidance counselors. All parties were using individual databases.

At Fremont County School District 6 in Pavillion, Wyo., the diverse population, including a large number of Native American students, poses occasional communication challenges. “Some of these students have cultural and language barriers,” says Diana Clapp, superintendent. “Instructionally, that presents issues in delivering the best education possible to each student.”

When used effectively, the appropriate technology and content can combine to transform learning through creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. While achieving this balance can be challenging, administrators at the Richland School District Two (Columbia, S.C.) have found a way to implement innovative technology and engaging content for its 26,000 students.

Pages