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Students in the Allegheny Valley (Pa.) School District use robotics kits to build moving dioramas that integrate poetry and engineering. Robotics and poetry aren’t an ordinary combination.

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.

School administrators need to adapt to rising numbers of autism cases, despite reports from the U.S. Autism and Asperger Association that show educators have been overwhelmed and unable to provide for all the affected students for years.

Architect of Change

Jesús Chávez, superintendent of Round Rock (Texas) ISD, received the Architect of Change Award at the Blueprint for Educational Change Leaders Summit. In the past few years, Chávez increased graduation rates for low-income students by more than 18 percent.

A principal’s job is only getting harder, according to the latest MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. A whopping 75 percent of principals feel the job has become too complex, and job satisfaction rates decreased nine percentage points in less than five years, to just 59 percent. And seven in 10 principals say their job responsibilities are very different from what they were five years ago.

In the months following the Sandy Hook massacre, schools nationwide stepped up efforts to provide safe environments for teachers and students, and many turned to high-tech solutions.

With larger class sizes and increasing student diversity, elementary school teachers are increasingly turning to grouping students by ability level to meet their individual needs, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on American Education.

The coming Common Core computer-based assessments will mark a major change in testing for districts, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is preparing with a nationwide pilot test to learn how real students react to the new format.

In February, U.S. Rep. George Miller of California introduced the Transforming Education Through Technology Act, a bill designed to help schools, districts and states improve teaching and learning through technology.

David EvansPROMOTING STEM

Oceanographer David L. Evans was appointed executive director of the National Science Teachers Association in February, and will work to promote STEM education and professional development for the Next Generation Science Standards.

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