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Articles: Technology

Linda L. Briggs has been writing about the intersection of technology and education for over 25 years, with a focus on government and education.

The most effective PD programs are scalable, encourage networking and use technology to serve learning when and where teachers can use it.

Twenty-six states have digital learning repositories where vetted, curated instructional content and material is available to all educators in the state.

Externship programs offer hands-on experience and the opportunity for creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication that better inform instruction and boost teacher confidence.

The reach of K12 bulk purchasing and co-op agreements has expanded substantially as more districts join to save substantial amounts on everything from software to playground equipment, according to a recent AASA report.

Augmented reality

Brain Power is a digital coach that empowers children and adults with autism to teach themselves social and cognitive skills. http://www.brain-power.com/  

NuEyes is a lightweight, wireless, head-worn, voice activated device for the visually impaired https://nueyes.com/  

A flexible plastic box printed from a school’s 3D printer could hold the answer to keeping first responders safe from exposed needles in the midst of an opioid epidemic that has affected communities nationwide.

Over the course of four months, a group of design/modeling students at Ashland Middle School in Kentucky created the needle retriever prototype, incorporating feedback from local police chiefs, health departments and other emergency personnel. Technology educators at Shawnee State University taught students about how the box could be mass produced.

Source: “Making Culture,” The ExCITe Center, Drexel University

To start creating K12 makerspaces, educators can follow the seven recommendations in the accompanying infographic.


Link to main story: High schoolers design games, learn programming skills


Drexel Universitys ExCITe Center garnered the information from its recent nationwide study.

Managing school energy use can save money and accelerate conservation. The latest in energy management technology can prevent waste automatically while allowing administrators to control ventilation and other systems from a computer or mobile app. Some platforms also track billing information and send alerts during emergencies, such as power outages.

One energy management solution even recycles outdated light bulbs.

Find out more about certifications programs for campus tech leaders, their team and district educators:

Canyons School District: https://etc.canyonsdistrict.org/etc/index.cfm

CoSN Certified Educational Technology Leader (CETL): https://cosn.org/certification

Though not yet used widely in special education, virtual and augmented reality have the potential to be game-changers.

Dan Phillips, director of the Technology Resource Center at the Marin County Office of Education in California, has given VR headsets to children in wheelchairs, allowing them to walk and move virtually as they work on a 3D digital science curriculum.

Digital games excel at building a range of skills without students realizing they are “learning,” says Marissa Miller, a special education teacher at Warwick Neck Elementary, which is part of Warwick Public Schools in Rhode Island.

Some of these games come with puzzle pieces, styluses and other physical components.


Link to main story: Edtech equalizers in special education 

Students who have significant physical disabilities can benefit greatly from advances in “eye-gaze technology.”

With various platforms, students move their eyes to type letters or select pre-programed phrases. They can also navigate the internet and use computer programs with eye movements.


Link to main story: Edtech equalizers in special education 

TOUCH POINTS—Apps have provided new, more nimble learning alternatives at Kent Intermediate School District in Michigan.

More elaborate technology has opened up more possibilities for students with a range of needs. In some schools, robots now help children develop social-emotional skills.

Derrick Brown, CIO,  Evergreen Public Schools

Since joining Evergreen Public Schools four years ago, Derrick Brown has overseen implementation of a districtwide 1-to-1 program.

These district solutions serve as models for other districts, and cover the K12 spectrum, from English language learners to dropout prevention to data-driven decision-making to water conservation.

The 45 schools and systems recognized by this year’s District of Distinction program have created homegrown initiatives to support students’ social-emotional development, to provide powerful new opportunities for career-focused STEM learning and to improve the skills of educators.

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