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In middle school, students are being readied for higher level math concepts. Educators must engage learners to achieve deeper understanding, as well as prepare students for high stakes assessments. This web seminar, originally presented on April 16, 2014, featured an education expert and sixth grade teacher who discussed using technology in practical ways to achieve ideal middle school math instruction.

Nigel Nisbet 
Director of Content Creation
MIND Research Institute

Three years ago, more than 60 percent of incoming middle school students in the Roseville Community Schools (Mich.) lagged in fluency, meaning they were not reading as quickly and as accurately as their national peers. District students were leaving kindergarten without reading independently. This year, middle school students are getting back on track, and kindergarteners were reading independently by December, due in large part to Direct Instruction solutions from McGraw-Hill, says Mark Blaszkowski, curriculum director for the district.

St. John’s Prep is a rigorous, Catholic independent day school for boys in grades 9 through 12. When the school adds a middle school with grades 6, 7, and 8 in September 2015, its 175-acre campus in Danvers, Mass. will serve 1,450 students. Focused on creating an atmosphere that fosters intellectual growth, St. John’s Prep is dedicated to preparing all students to take full advantage of today’s technology resources.

Instructional technology can enhance the classroom experience by delivering personalized learning to students on a greater level. Forsyth County Schools in Georgia successfully implemented digital learning content and tools that drive higher order thinking and increase student engagement.

Last year, while administrators at Branford Public Schools in Connecticut were thinking of ways to encourage their students to read more, Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez came across the perfect solution. While attending a District Administration Leadership Institute Superintendents Summit, Hernandez watched a presentation about a reading platform called myON and its success in another district. myON is a literacy solution that provides anytime, anywhere access to thousands of award-winning digital books.

In 2011, Council Bluffs Community Schools in Iowa was one of the first districts to implement 1-to-1 with Google Chromebooks for its students in grades 6-12. Results have included improved student achievement, rising graduation rates and decreasing dropout rates. This web seminar, originally presented on April 29, 2014, featured an administrator from Council Bluffs, who shared why the district went with Google tools, the impact of 1-to-1 on educators and students, and the major decisions that need to be made before any 1-to-1 initiative.

Blended learning is constantly growing and evolving, and transforming education to be more of a student-centered environment. This web seminar, originally broadcast on May 13, 2014, featured blended learning expert Michael Horn, who outlined disruptive innovations and the subsequent impact on education. Also, an administrator discussed how her district made the transition to a blended environment, keys for a successful implementation and results so far.

Google Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education provide districts with cloud-based tools that are easy to implement and manage, that are affordable and reliable, and that enable student collaboration, communication and content creation from anywhere, on any device, at any time. In the fall of 2014, Google will introduce Classroom, a new free tool in Google Apps for Education. Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease.

One of the key struggles in implementing most 1-to-1 programs is figuring out how to manage device deployments with limited staffing. However, a comprehensive enterprise-grade support system like Sprint’s Wireless Campus Manager can help districts with device management support efforts such as asset staging, asset tagging and tracking, and remote control of the device.

Students will need creativity, critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills to succeed in college and future careers. To facilitate those skills, teachers need effective professional development to best use and integrate technology in the classroom. This web seminar, originally broadcast on June 5, 2014, featured an administrator from Richland School District Two, who shared expertise on how she helped launch a 27,000-student 1-to-1 program with Google Chromebooks and Apps for Education with the goal of improving student learning.

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