Opinion

Schools designing tech instruction first get it right

Stories of mismanaged 1-to-1 computing initiatives in schools are filling the news — and unsurprisingly so in many cases. But there are plenty of good “edtech” stories worth highlighting. In almost every case, the schools that are getting it right are focused on the problem they are trying to solve and designing an instructional model first.

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When students get creative with tech tools, teachers focus on skills

Tech projects are a great opportunity to encourage students to learn real-world skills of working with others. At the end of the day, incorporating a digital curriculum is not about teaching students to use a particular device or piece of software. It’s about developing the skills necessary for them to be successful.

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Relying on data won't determine a college's worth

For many years, rankings have been a go-to source for families immersed in the college-selection process. Underneath it all, rankings have hotly debated methodologies, are harmfully laser-focused on limited, time-lagged quantitative criteria, and fail to provide a true picture of a college or university experience. Rankings form only a small percentage of data sources in a complex conversation.

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A surprising benefit of the Common Core: really cool video games

The implementation of Common Core has generated an unprecedented explosion in new education technologies. While new guidelines typically result in a windfall for the education industry — as textbooks are updated, test items redesigned, and new workbooks printed — it’s rare that these reorderings make much difference in the lives of students. The Common Core, however, has triggered a flurry of innovations.

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With tech taking over in schools, worries rise

Technology companies are collecting a vast amount of data about students, touching every corner of their educational lives — with few controls on how those details are used. Privacy advocates say many of the details now collected by education sites and apps are not covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act because they do not form part of the institutional student education records maintained by schools.

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Focus on inventions, not test scores

If the choice is between (a) having innovation clusters like Silicon Valley and middle-of-the-pack test scores or (b) having top-of-the-pack test scores and a second-rate innovation economy, the choice is clear. Let's focus on all the intangibles of innovation companies started, apps created, and most importantly, dreams fulfilled for judging the future success of our nation's STEM programs for kids.

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Questions persist over troubled iPad deployment in Los Angeles

With Los Angeles USD’s huge iPad purchase suspended, Superintendent John Deasy has alternated between describing the slowdown as a chance to regroup and denouncing those he accuses of politicizing the process.

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Technology, pressure drive rise in cheating on tests

Students and educators say technology is driving cheating to a new level. There are consequences to the easy access to information: It's eroded students' understanding of how to use technology responsibly. But as rule-breaking becomes more prevalent, teachers also are developing their own arsenal of tools to combat would-be cheaters.

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Who should pay for classroom technology?

As more school systems embrace online education, questions of who pays for the technology keep cropping up. For some systems, obtaining the technology to advance their students' skills means adjusting their school budget priorities. The ultimate solution, however, may be for foundations, donors, or tech companies to step in and cover the cost of tablets for every student.

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What are schools doing with students’ data?

The student privacy debate is highly political. Big data collections can be very useful for determining patterns and changing programs. But schools also need to be extremely careful in what they collect, the companies they share it with, and what happens to the data later. And they need to do a better job of informing parents.

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