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Articles: Technology

In 2007, as part of their goal to meet technology literacy standards passed by the state of New York, administrators at the Longwood Central School District on Long Island were looking for a tool that would help them both integrate digital skills into core curriculum, and assess whether those skills were being taught effectively.

Top 100 Logo 2012In yet another record-breaking year, District Administration magazine has selected the winners of its annual Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products for 2012. For the first time ever, we received more than 1,000 unique nominations from our readers who shared how these innovative products have made a positive difference in the operation of their schools and classrooms.

It’s about democracy and freedom. Freedom for EVERY individual to have a chance to realize his or her dreams and aspirations, is what America was built on. And school is one place—home is another—where we learn how to practice freedom and democracy. Yes, we learn stuff there too; the War of 1812 occurred in 1812. However, that sort of stuff is static. And, democracy and freedom are anything but. Just as doctors practice medicine, individuals in a democratic country need to practice democracy and freedom 24/7; they need to practice realizing their dreams and aspirations 24/7.

Let me start with a couple of interesting “visions” of learning that I’ve read recently.

PROBLEM

Richland (Wash.) School District No. 400, which has 15 schools, more than 11,000 students, and 1,400 employees, was challenged with an aging desktop infrastructure and limited financial resources from which to replace or replenish it. “Many of our machines were eight to 10 years old and running Windows 2000, which had reached its end of life,” says the district’s Executive Director of Information Technology Michael Leseberg.

STEM education is moving out of classrooms and onto smartphones, with a new mobile platform called Active Explorer that aims to inspire student interest in the sciences. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) partnered with Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative and mobile virtual network operator Kajeet to create the program.

As of 2017, textbooks should be a thing of the past, according to a report, “Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age,” released by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) in September. The report recommends that states and districts begin making the shift from print to digital instructional materials with the next major textbook adoption cycle, completing the transition within the next five years.

A holistic view of a student’s progress is now available, with help from the U.S. Department of Education. eScholar myTrack is the first commercially available collaborative platform in which administrators, teachers, support staff, students, and parents can see an individualized, holistic view of a student’s progress across their entire education career. myTrack uses data from the MyData Button, a U.S. DOE-facilitated industry movement encouraging schools and software vendors to allow students to download their own data to create a personal learning profile.

Keene, N.H., is a small New England town best known as home to Keene State College, Antioch College of New England, and a Guinness world record-setting fall pumpkin festival for the most-lit jack-o-lanterns in one place.

But Keene School District SAU 29 wants to be known for its own accolades—top-tier technology—and it’s trying to achieve that by replacing teachers’ desktop computers with iPads and piloting them as replacement textbooks in some classes as Keene explores digital instruction, and moves toward the “electronic book bag” experts say is on the horizon.

For the first time, administrators nationwide can access and compare state education and technology policies in one place. The State Education Policy Center (SEPC) is a unique database that provides up-to-date information on state education and technology policies and practices to inform school reform and improvement efforts. The database launched in October, and was curated by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), a national member association of educational technology leaders.

Odvard Egil DyrliSince participants in the District Administration community are the most informed consumers in K12 education, it is with great pleasure that we announce their selections for the 2012 Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products in this issue. DA reaches school superintendents and other key executives in virtually every district in the United States, and no one is better qualified to comment on district spending options.

James Dent knew ST Math would help the students at the charter school he co-founded two years ago because he’d seen its power at other schools. But he had no idea how effective it would be with teachers.

Almost everyone I meet who deals with education technology has the same misconception about learning. We all think that the promise of technology is that students will be able to whiz through more content in a shorter period of time. With adaptive software-based instruction, there’s nothing stopping ‘em, right?

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