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Creating tech-savvier teachers

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.

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Grades are in: Digital learning gets more state attention

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.

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Safety planning: How to prepare for the worst

With violent events seemingly on the rise in schools across the country, district leaders must develop fluid and thorough safety plans. To address the variety of individual circumstances that may accompany these events, fluidity must be coupled with practice and engagement.

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Moving beyond “one size fits all” professional development

Differentiating instruction to meet individual students’ needs is one of the biggest challenges for any teacher. In the same way, differentiating professional development to meet the needs of individual teachers is one of the biggest challenges for any school district.

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More states allowing armed school staff

In 2013, 21 states strengthened gun laws to require trigger-locking devices and background checks for private sales. At the same time, the National Rifle Association made a public push to allow more security guards or staff members to carry guns in schools, after 40 to 60 hours of firearms training.

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New twists on making up snow days

School systems in at least 10 states used up the year’s snow days by mid-February. Districts in several states are turning to online learning to make up for missed class time.

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Defying national trend, Minnesota increases gifted programs

The number of full-time academic programs for gifted students has grown substantially in Minnesota over the past 10 years—a rare case amid a lack of federal funding and recent cuts to similar programs nationwide.

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21st-century sight to see

Students at Central Union Elementary School District, located on a California military base, are using 21st-century technology in an unexpected place: gym class. Two schools built “fitness zones,” complete with games such as Dance Dance Revolution and SMART Trainers, in which students hit a wall of illuminated moving targets with hands, feet, beanbags or sports balls.

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"Defensible Teacher Evaluation" and other reading picks for district leaders

Recommended reading this month includes books on how teachers can use data, the implementation of mobile learning, and techniques for teaching students critical communications skills.

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On Topic: Testing the limits of testing

Journalist Anya Kamenetz says the fallout from test scores goes deeper than most realize. “It really only takes one school to be threatened with closing to destabilize an entire urban district,” she says. Her upcoming book, "The Test," is an analysis of educational assessment.

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