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BROADENING HORIZONS—Tech staff at Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District near Minneapolis coach teachers to help students use technology to bridge cultural barriers.

Instructional technology directors serve as classroom coaches and content experts in districts determined to use devices, digital learning and other technology to their full instructional potential.

The spread of learning on mobile devices has driven providers to push science platforms into the cloud.

Steven Langford,  CIO, Beaverton School District (Ore.)

Here are five crucial decisions to make in developing best practices for the wide variety of internet filters—and your options for using them—in K12 schools.

Blane McCann is the superintendent of Westside Community Schools in Omaha, Nebraska.

Giftedness is not just a test score. How many students have we seen who did not have a test score to qualify for a gifted program but became an expert in an area of passion and interest?

In the Ventura USD in California, one low-achieving middle school at risk of closure was instead transformed into the De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts (DATA), a high-achieving magnet school. A significant component in DATA’s dramatic turnaround has been its innovative project-based and collaborative learning environments and makerspaces, which employ technology as a central component. 

Educators can find cost-effective solutions in new technologies such as open-educational resources and by partnering with the business community.

Peter LaMoreaux is a digital learning strategist who guides teachers in optimizing student learning. He is the instructional technology specialist at Brewster Central School District.

The implementation of digital learning tools is an effective means of maximizing student learning. Operations in this environment also better prepare students for their future endeavors in academia, employment and life. 

Andrew Smith, chief strategy officer in North Carolina’s Rowan-Salisbury School System, is leading a digital-first initiative that three years ago aimed to give an iPad or a MacBook Air to all students—and their teachers—from grades 3 through 12. Rowan-Salisbury became 1-to-1 by the 2014-15 school year.

The Lafayette Parish School System was granted E-Rate funds to fully upgrade the district and to provide 1-to-1 devices to students by 2020.

E-Rate funds kept at least one district connected to the internet through testing—and opened the door for a 1-to-1 initiative rolling out this fall.

The Lafayette Parish School System in Louisiana used to restrict internet access, only granting certain streaming websites to teachers by request. For example, music teachers would be the only ones with access to streaming music—locking out others in the district. And during state testing, schools would disable streaming to ensure exams were not affected.

Half of school districts nationwide believe they’ve completed their 1-to-1 initiatives and the infrastructure required. (Click to enlarge)

The digital classroom is no longer a new concept—half of school districts nationwide believe they’ve completed their 1-to-1 initiatives and the infrastructure required, according to the annual Digital School Districts Survey from the Center for Digital Education, published in March.

High-tech California school plugs into StudySync® for content and student engagement

Robert C. Fisler School serves 960 K8 students in the suburban Fullerton School District in Orange County, California. Second- through eighth-grade students participate in the school’s 1-to-1 laptop program, which has been in place since the school opened in August 2004.

The way schools across the country use space has changed. The growing number of administrators now building and renovating education spaces have made student experience a top priority. Educators seek new designs that accommodate collaboration along with 1-to-1 programs and other technology initiatives

Mobile devices and Wi-Fi will get the most spending attention in schools in 2016, according to a DA survey.

Students three years from now will use two or three mobile devices in the classroom compared to the current ratio of one device to every two student. A steady decline in cost and expanding capabilities make the technology even more viable for K12 education.

How to be a good digital citizen (Click to enlarge)

The rapid spread of 1-to-1, BYOD and online lessons in K12 districts has brought the concept of digital citizenship—the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use—to the forefront for school administrators.

School superintendents and principals should promote, model and establish policies for safe, legal and ethical use of digital technology, as well as responsible social interactions, according to the ISTE Standards for Administrators, released last May.

Click to enlarge: Countries such as Turkey and Tunisia have 45 and 53 students for every school computer, respectively

Regular access to a computer varies for students around the world.

Some countries, such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, boast less than two students for every computer at school.

Others, such as Turkey and Tunisia, have 45 and 53 students for every school computer, respectively.

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