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Articles: Technology

Source: The Tech Edvocate

From taking inventory of edtech and software licenses to weighing long-term and upfront product costs, here are five tips to consider when managing edtech.


LINK TO MAIN ARTICLE: Out-of-this-world STEM for middle schoolers


Smart TVs and whiteboards allow even more students to collaborate. Depending on the model, students can interact with a touch screen in 10 to 32 different places simultaneously. Many of these displays come with screen mirroring capabilities and apps that are loaded with learning activities.

Randy Ziegenfuss, Superintendent, Salisbury Township School District

Randy Ziegenfuss, a Pennsylvania-based superintendent, shares three tips on how leaders can shift from a school-centered mindset to a learner-centered one.

Innovation expert Ted Dintersmith is the author of What School Could Be (Princeton University Press, 2018).

In his new book What School Could Be, innovation expert Ted Dintersmith profiles schools that focus on innovation and “real” learning, rather than endlessly drilling on formulas and definitions that don’t matter in today’s world.

1. Server room to classroom—Expand your focus from maintaining networks and hardware to helping choose instructional software.

2. Gearhead to gear guide—Fix devices and show teachers and students how to use them.

3. Tech provider to tech trimmer—Assess what programs and applications drive student achievement.

4. Data generator to data analyzer—Provide easy-to-read reports from various platforms so administrators and teachers can quickly assess student progress.

Districts moving aggressively into personalized learning covet IT leaders who not only understand instruction, but who also have the technology chops to make decisions about devices and networks.

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.

During Noel Petrosky’s 12 years at different Saint Marys Area School District elementary schools, she saw assessment data accurately predict student performance on state tests and inform instruction that led to student growth. That wasn’t the case at Saint Marys Area Middle School when she became principal two years ago.

“I thought, ‘I can’t go into a system not knowing what my students are capable of,’ ” recalls Petrosky, who wanted to establish a multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) framework at her middle school in rural northwestern Pennsylvania.

Why is personalized learning so important?

Marcy: It leverages a student’s interests, their strengths, then tailors instruction to their specific needs and goals.

Rich: It gets into predictive analytics. Traditionally the analytics type of reporting is a look at what has been happening. Personalized learning is looking at what is going to happen.

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

Robert Sexton has worked with school-based tech for more than 15 years, so there’s not much he hasn’t seen. “Kids are pretty ingenious; keeping up with them is a challenge,” says Sexton, currently the director of technology for Olentangy Local School District, just north of Columbus, Ohio.

That challenge is mitigated by the district’s secret weapon—AristotleInsight::K12by Sergeant Laboratories, which tracks every digital move students make and alerts the district of potential problems.

What are the top transportation challenges at school startup?

The biggest challenges are routes, drivers and buses. School bus routing is more complex than other routing. District routes can be affected by ongoing school enrollment and by families moving. During the summer, districts experience higher turnover in bus drivers, which can impact startup. Lastly, readying vehicles for service after sitting through the summer and preparing new incoming vehicles for service presents additional challenges.

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/  

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