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Articles: Technology

At one large suburban school system in Westchester County, New York, an online assessment tool first used to comply with state law is now the foundation for a district-wide technology program that’s preparing students for life beyond their school days. Christine Coleman, director of technology for the City School District of New Rochelle, introduced TechLiteracy Assessments from Learning.com several years ago to determine how well eighth grade students had grasped lessons on cyberbullying and internet safety.

When Michael Lubelfeld came to Deerfield Public Schools District 109 (Ill.) last summer, the superintendent known as a super-communicator knew that engaging students was crucial to their education. So the new superintendent leveraged the district’s technology, including school administration software, to keep students in regular contact with teachers, administrators and each other. “My administration is centered on clear communication and a healthy organizational culture and climate,” says Lubelfeld, whose K8 district is about 25 miles north of Chicago and six miles west of Lake Michigan.

Middle school is a time of development, discovery and transition for students, as well as an exciting and powerful time for math education. Math starts to get more complex, and students must build connections between content. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 22, 2014, featured blended learning expert Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart, who shared research and findings from successful implementations of blended learning in middle schools across the nation, as well as lessons learned and best practices for blending middle school math.

At the Momentous School in Dallas, a program powered by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, all students are instructed through a variety of brain-compatible approaches and given learning opportunities that are built upon caring, respectful relationships. The school serves 248 students from age 3 through fifth grade, 87 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch. Students are tracked for success all the way through college graduation.

With FCC changes to the E-rate program, districts can increase spending on Wi-Fi connectivity. The ability to purchase managed Wi-Fi is another recent change. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 17, 2014, featured an industry expert, as well as two district technology directors, who discussed key considerations for technology planning around the new Wi-Fi E-rate regulations. They also went over deployment options for managed Wi-Fi and how it can support BYOD, 1-to-1 and improved learning environments.

Today’s students must be able to use digital tools as they develop critical thinking, problem solving and other 21st century skills. Administrators are tasked with the challenge of selecting the right technology resources that incorporate the development of these skills into the classroom. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 23, 2014, featured an expert on 21st century learning, who discussed the importance of equipping students with 21st century skills and practical ways for integrating those skills into teaching.

The innovative new facilities, unique classroom design and 1-to-1 technology program at Bridgeport Public Schools integrate to transform learning at the system level.

As increasing STEM teaching and learning continue to be goals of many districts, administrators are looking for tools that help encourage more students to pursue future careers in these fields.

Having committed to introducing greater digital resources to its curriculum, as well as strategies such as blended learning and flipped classrooms, West Bloomfield Schools in Michigan needed a cost-effective solution to get computers in the hands of its 6,600 students

The New Lenox School District 122 serves 5,400 pre-K through grade 8 students in 12 schools, and is located about 30 miles outside Chicago. The district has been noted for its high levels of achievement, with an average of 85 percent of students meeting or exceeding the Illinois Learning Standards in each of the last nine years. New Lenox administrators attribute this success to a rigorous curriculum that includes reading, writing and math, as well as instruction in art, music and technology skills.

For the 21,000 students of Federal Way Public Schools near Seattle, the goal of the district’s administrators is to involve as much interactive technology in learning as possible. 

School districts will make their biggest tech investments in tablets and WiFi in 2015. (Click to enlarge chart)

Computing devices embedded in jewelry and glasses. Microchips tattooed into skin and sewn into clothing. In one form or another, devices that gather data without any help from the user will slowly infiltrate districts in 2015. In fact, the number of people with a wearable computing device will more than triple this year.

Authors Michael Horn and Heather Staker say culture is crucial to innovation in schools.

Blended learning is poised to transform education as we know it. We know the what and the why, but it’s not often we learn how. In their book, Blended, Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, Michael Horn and Heather Staker lay out the components of successful blended learning programs, and challenge readers to create a culture that can make these innovations succeed.

When it comes to instruction, new learning standards like the Common Core and technology will get the most attention in 2015. (Click to enlarge chart)

Exciting advancements are on the horizon for classrooms in 2015. While they sound technical, the biggest changes aren’t going to be driven by an app, a computer program or a new kind of tablet—they will come from new theories about how to engage both students and teachers in the classroom.

As opposed to the concept of “big data,” the compilation of system-wide information that provides a rear-view mirror’s perspective of behaviors and trends, “little” data for educators refers to the real-time, in-the-moment insights that can improve lesson delivery and learning outcomes. Significant investments have been made in classroom technologies, but few have provided teachers with the data and insight they need to assess each student’s comprehension in the moment of learning.

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