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Articles: Technology

Chromebooks and Google for Education enable schools to use the power and simplicity of the web for unlimited teaching and learning opportunities, engaging stakeholders and creating dynamic learning environments that align with district curriculum and student achievement goals. This web seminar, originally broadcast on March 19, 2014, focused on the unique benefits and features of Google for Education, and how Chromebooks can be used to improve student learning, collaboration and innovation.

Many districts are beginning to implement some form of personalized learning in blended and online programs, but it is often a time-consuming and manual process that is difficult to duplicate across classrooms. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on March 13, 2014, education experts discussed the benefits of personalized learning, common challenges when it comes to implementation, and the keys to creating an effective district strategy.

When best practices are engaged in blended learning, authentic personalized learning can happen for all students. Understanding ten key trends happening in the blended learning space can help educators achieve optimal results for students and schools. This web seminar, originally broadcast on March 20, 2014, featured education experts who discussed these trends and how blended learning can be successfully implemented. In addition, a principal shared his school’s interpretation of blended learning and how it has resulted in improved student achievement.

Administrators at Greenwich Public Schools, in southwestern Connecticut, had been looking for a content management system that would bring all their existing online tools together for their instructional staff and 8,500 students. They also wanted to provide new online tools to their youngest students to help them develop digital literacy skills. “About two or three years ago, we realized we had many overlapping functions in learning systems, which was creating a lot of redundancies,” says Phillip Dunn, director of digital learning and technology.

Developing 21st-century skills are essential for today’s students to meet state standards, perform on assessments, and be college and career ready. When a project-based approach is used, educators can incorporate 21st-century skills into everyday teaching and learning. These digital skills also help to improve the critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity of students. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on March 5, 2014, experts from Learning.com discussed best practices for developing these skills in the classroom.

The latest notification systems enable district administrators to communicate instantly and across a variety of platforms to parents, teachers, staff and communities, from any location and in multiple languages. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on February 11, 2014, a director of educational technology and a 15-year educational leadership veteran shared their experiences using this technology in their districts, how such systems keep the community informed and engaged and the keys to using automated communications effectively and efficiently in any district.

The upcoming PARCC and Smarter Balanced online assessments require students to use secure, locked-down machines. When district leaders invest in this equipment, they should also consider selecting devices that will support increased student achievement and college and career success, such as Google Chromebooks. This web seminar, originally broadcast on February 26, 2014, featured a Google for Education team member, who discussed the unique benefits of Chromebooks and how these machines can be used for online assessments.

Since Lancaster School District (Calif.) is a K8 school system, Rebecca Cooksey, director of IT, knows that none of her students have optimal listening skills yet. “Students’ audio processing tracks are not fully developed until they are 15,” Cooksey says. And the 25 percent of Lancaster’s 14,000 students who are ELL face additional challenges in listening to and processing information presented orally by teachers. “It is important for ELL students to hear the way teachers pronounce words, and the nuances in their voice,” Cooksey says.

Giving every student a more personalized learning experience is made possible through blended learning. The use of rigorous, engaging learning technology can help increase student achievement in mathematics. This web seminar, originally broadcast on February 27, 2014, featured an administrator who discussed how she achieved teacher and parent buy-in for a blended learning model, how data extracted from learning technology drives instruction, and the measurable increase in student achievement after she implemented blended learning.

Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre

Fort Bend ISD is the seventh-largest district in Texas, serving over 71,000 students and employing over 9,000 staff members. Fort Bend is also one of the most diverse districts in the country, with a student population that is 29 percent African-American, 19 percent white, 26 percent Hispanic and 22 percent Asian, comprising a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds.

Teaching and learning have been transformed by a Digital Conversion at Mooresville (N.C.) Graded School District. Creating a blended learning environment has resulted in personalized, standards-based instruction and an increase in student engagement. This web seminar, originally broadcast on January 29, 2014, featured leaders from Mooresville, who shared strategies for beginning a 1:1 blended program, how to shift instructional practices to be more student-centered, and the role effective digital resources have played.

Jim Handschuch has been the principal of Lacey Township High School, which is part of the Lacey Township School District in Ocean County, New Jersey, since 2012. During his first year as principal, Handschuch found a steady stream of seniors wanting to drop out. With little to offer struggling students who simply did not have enough time to retake full courses required for graduation, Handschuch could not convince many of them to stay in school.

At the Henry County (Ga.) Schools, the only constant over the past decade has been change. A booming economy in the Atlanta area has resulted in the district more than doubling in size. “We went from 19,000 students in the year 2000 to 41,000 today,” says Aaryn Schmuhl, assistant superintendent for learning and leadership services since 2011. “We’ve built 25 new schools during that time.”

MITCH KRUEGER
Director of Technology
Goddard USD 265
Goddard, Kansas
(5,400 students)

JANICE ARTHUR-TOWNS
IT Director
Carson City School District
Carson City, Nevada
(7,900 students)

DOUG PEARCE, Director, Technical Services
ANGELA COLUZZI, Director, Network Integration
Broward County Public Schools
Broward County, Florida (235,000 students)

The new breed of robots rolling, dancing and flying into classrooms is giving educators at all grade levels an engaging new tool to fire students’ enthusiasm for math, computer programming and other STEM-related subjects.

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