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Articles: Technology

Youths take advantage of anonymous apps like Yik Yak may not always be aware of the potential consequences.

Parents have taken over Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Twitter. This has sent device-laden students flocking to social media apps such as Instagram, SnapChat and Yik Yak, and the shift has created new challenges for administrators trying to root out cyberbullying and threats of violence.

Personalized blended and online learning programs have helped many districts provide access to more courses and to improve student outcomes. But how do you start a program and then scale it across your school and district? In this web seminar, originally broadcast on March 18, 2015, representatives from Getting Smart and educators from an innovative district in Kentucky discussed the key lessons learned in implementing online and blended learning, and how these programs can benefit teachers and students.

NICOLE BONO
Director, marketing
Fuel Education

While blended learning has become a common topic of discussion and an increasingly common district-level strategy for driving student achievement, strategies for successfully making the transition to this new model of learning are often ignored. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on March 17, 2015, presenters explored best practices and lessons learned from blended learning initiatives.

It’s crucial for today’s students to develop foundational technology skills that can be applied to their core subject learning. To accomplish this goal, districts need to coordinate the efforts of technology and academic staff to embed digital learning into the curriculum.

Using technology effectively at the early elementary level has the potential to improve achievement across grade levels in a district, by preparing elementary students to use the digital tools they will need later on in school, and in college and career.

Today’s interactive parents are mobile and always connected, and they expect the same of their school districts. They want access to real-time, personalized information about their student, and they want to know that you can reach them when it counts. More and more, school communication plans must incorporate mobile to more effectively and efficiently connect with digitally fluent parents and students. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on March 3, 2015, presenters discussed some key strategies for successfully developing and implementing a mobile app for any district.

Using effective strategies to personalize the math learning experience is key to reaching all levels of learners, especially Spanish-speaking English Language Learners who vary in their English language abilities, math proficiency and personal circumstances. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on February 17, 2015, educators from an innovative school with an 85 percent Latino population in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, discussed the success they’ve had combining face-to-face instruction with online learning to drive math achievement for their ELL students.

Landlines are out and internet-based phones are in for many schools this year, as the modernized E-rate program begins scaling back funds for traditional phone service.

Discount rates for long-distance calling, cell phones and other services will drop by 20 percent every year starting this year, as determined in the July 2014 E-rate Modernization Order adopted by the FCC. E-rate funds for email, web hosting, paging and phone directory assistance were completely eliminated this year.

Privacy is key. At Carl Sandburg High School in the Consolidated High School District in Illinois, above, Chief Technology Officer John Connolly, on right, discusses with a teacher some of the data and privacy features to be aware of when working with different apps.

Attacks by external hackers on Sony and Target make big headlines, but in K12 the threats more often come from the inside. Plaguing districts with increasing frequency are distributed denial of service attacks that, for pure mischief’s sake, saturate servers with so many external communications requests that they cannot respond to legitimate school traffic.

Nine out of 10 students recognize the importance of developing technology skills early to ensure they are prepared to enter the workforce, according to new research published by CompTIA, an information technology industry association.

The September 2014 survey of 1,000 middle school students further found that most rate their tech skills as average or above. In the study—“The Changing Classroom: Perspectives from Students and Educators on the Role of Technology”—students also said they wanted more instruction in the following:

Tim Markley is superintendent at New Hanover County Schools in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Our growing district faced numerous facility challenges in the fall of 2013. The only way to address these needs was with a $160 million school bond—the largest in our district’s history. What made this campaign different for us was the extensive use of social media and a very coordinated information campaign.

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines says district can't afford iPads for every student.

Los Angeles USD students will not receive iPads, after all.

In February, LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines told reporters that he does not believe the district has the funds to pay for technology for every student.

A common challenge with district technology initiatives, particularly BYOD or 1-to-1 programs, is equity of access—ensuring that all students can utilize the same technology, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Audio Enhancement

At the 19,700-student Newton County Public Schools in Georgia, administrators established a goal of improving the quality of teaching in the spring of 2012. According to Gary Shattuck, director of technology and media services, the best way to do that was to take inspiration from the sports world, where athletes watch video recordings of themselves to improve their form.

“Teachers really cannot know how they look and present themselves until they see themselves on video,” says Shattuck.

In the Bonneville Joint School District in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a Summit Hills Elementary School student, right, takes a speech/language therapy class with therapist Claire Plowgian, above.

More districts now deliver speech and occupational therapy online. It’s a solution for staffing shortages, especially in less populated areas, when therapists can provide therapy, participate in IEP meetings and handle other tasks remotely.

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