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Articles: Technology

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/  

A flexible plastic box printed from a school’s 3D printer could hold the answer to keeping first responders safe from exposed needles in the midst of an opioid epidemic that has affected communities nationwide.

Over the course of four months, a group of design/modeling students at Ashland Middle School in Kentucky created the needle retriever prototype, incorporating feedback from local police chiefs, health departments and other emergency personnel. Technology educators at Shawnee State University taught students about how the box could be mass produced.

Source: “Making Culture,” The ExCITe Center, Drexel University

To start creating K12 makerspaces, educators can follow the seven recommendations in the accompanying infographic.


Link to main story: High schoolers design games, learn programming skills


Drexel Universitys ExCITe Center garnered the information from its recent nationwide study.

Managing school energy use can save money and accelerate conservation. The latest in energy management technology can prevent waste automatically while allowing administrators to control ventilation and other systems from a computer or mobile app. Some platforms also track billing information and send alerts during emergencies, such as power outages.

One energy management solution even recycles outdated light bulbs.

Find out more about certifications programs for campus tech leaders, their team and district educators:

Canyons School District: https://etc.canyonsdistrict.org/etc/index.cfm

CoSN Certified Educational Technology Leader (CETL): https://cosn.org/certification

Though not yet used widely in special education, virtual and augmented reality have the potential to be game-changers.

Dan Phillips, director of the Technology Resource Center at the Marin County Office of Education in California, has given VR headsets to children in wheelchairs, allowing them to walk and move virtually as they work on a 3D digital science curriculum.

Digital games excel at building a range of skills without students realizing they are “learning,” says Marissa Miller, a special education teacher at Warwick Neck Elementary, which is part of Warwick Public Schools in Rhode Island.

Some of these games come with puzzle pieces, styluses and other physical components.


Link to main story: Edtech equalizers in special education 

Students who have significant physical disabilities can benefit greatly from advances in “eye-gaze technology.”

With various platforms, students move their eyes to type letters or select pre-programed phrases. They can also navigate the internet and use computer programs with eye movements.


Link to main story: Edtech equalizers in special education 

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