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Articles: Technology

With so many cloud options, district CIOs should push vendors for details about their security and privacy services. “With the cloud, you have to ask big questions,” says Taiye Lambo, founder of CloudeAssurance. He suggests that CIOs assess three major security areas: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Cloud computing is taking K12 by storm with fully 90 percent of K12 institutions relying on or implementing cloud technology in 2012, according to the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). District CIOs are under increased pressure to cut costs and keep up with the latest technological trends, and implementing the cloud is an easy fix.

According to a recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 91 percent of adult internet users in the United States rely on search engines to find information, and 78 percent get news online. Similarly, among teenagers, where smartphone adoption increased substantially and mobile access to the internet is pervasive, one in four is a “cell-mostly” user who accesses the web through a cell phone. Online resources continue to shape every aspect of our lives, and are enriching, extending, and transforming schools.

More than 50% of parents of children age 3 to 18 believe that schools should make more use of mobile devices in education, and 32% say schools should require them in the classroom, according to a new nationally representative survey. The survey from the research and consulting firm Grunwald Associates and the Learning First Alliance also found that 45% of parents say they have already bought or plan to buy a mobile device to support their child’s learning, and 71% believe mobile devices open up learning opportunities.

Only 16% of students feel “very prepared” to conduct research, according to a survey of over 1,500 students by Credo, an information skills solutions provider.

To prevent high school students from dropping out, many districts nationwide are giving them the chance to recover credits via online classes, such as through Aventa Learning, Edgenuity, Pearson, and Plato, and seeing results.

“One of the biggest benefits is it provides schedule flexibility for the student,” says Gregg Levin, senior vice president of school solutions for K12, Inc., which offers online credit recovery courses through Aventa Learning. “This empowers them to learn with interactivity and multimedia, and more closely mirrors what they do outside the classroom.”

When principal Jenny Robles learned about MIND Research Institute’s ST Math® program, she was confident it would change the lives of her students. But she had no idea how happy it would make her teachers.

Educators too often treat instructional software for students like physical therapy for the injured: You get diagnosed for your specific injury, you undergo a physical therapy regimen, and one day you’re healthy again.

Imagine access to your district’s email system on mobile devices tripled over two weeks. This is exactly what Deb Karcher, CIO of Miami Dade Public Schools and her team faced after Christmas 2012. “Santa Syndrome,” a term coined by Karcher, resulted in the 50,000 users accessing the email system on personal devices before winter break jumping to 150,000 when the schools reopened after the holidays. Fortunately, the district has plenty of bandwidth to support such an influx to their enterprise applications, including email. 

The first thing Bartow County Virtual Academy students learn is that online classes aren’t as easy as A, B, C. They’re also not for everyone.

Those also were early lessons for district administrators who opened the academy in January 2012 to 50 students—10 times as many as anticipated—in a former high school located an hour northwest of Atlanta. “A lot of kids thought it would be a piece of cake, but Aventa is very rigorous; you have to work,” says Jim Gottwald, executive director of secondary curriculum and student services for the Bartow County School System.

As blended learning is implemented in more schools across the country, administrators need to consider which online programs will most effectively drive student success. DreamBox Learning utilizes Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ technology to provide differentiated instruction, maximizing the benefits of the blending learning experience. This web seminar, originally presented on February 14, 2013, addressed the future of education, the benefits of implementing blending learning, and how online programs can meet students’ unique needs.

Small and medium-sized districts have unique challenges in establishing ongoing technology sustainability. However, even with limited funds and staff, it is possible for schools to have maximum functionality and ease of management with the latest technology products available. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on February 26, 2013, an IT manager from the Hamilton Heights (Ind.) School District shared how his school system was able to implement the Wi-Fi capabilities of a much larger district with a much smaller budget.

After eight years of employing a 1:1 laptop initiative, the team at Kershaw County Schools in Camden, S.C., chose to investigate alternate options for the 2012-2013 school year. Eventually, the school board decided that a 1:1 iPad initiative was the next logical step in maintaining technological relevance.

Digital coursework, student/teacher collaboration, assessment, and customization are only some of the many popular features Learning Management Systems (LMS) have to offer a K12 classroom. Though on the surface many LMS products seem to have similar assets for students, teachers, and administrators, each of those featured below have something different to benefit an individual district or classroom’s needs, whether it’s adapting to special needs, communicating with parents, or online security. 

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