Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ed-tech grant program is part of proposed NCLB changes

Ed-tech grant program is part of proposed NCLB changes
The proposed revisions for the No Child Left Behind Act includes the I-TECH -- Innovative Technology Expands Children's Horizons -- amendment. The measure would create a competitive grant program used to fund education-technology initiatives. Education Week (tiered subscription model)/Marketplace K-12 blog (4/20)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Role of the Ed Tech Coach...

Nice article from SmartBlog on Education...

"Reflections of an edtech coach

By Isaac Pineda on September 19th, 2013
Stock Photo
I’ve just started my first year as an edtech coach at Colegio Inglés. For two years, I worked as a language arts and history teacher in 8th grade. I’ve always been passionate about technology and education, so, to me, when opportunity came, it was only logical to take this new step and venture into the exciting world of technology integration from a coach’s perspective. In this short walk, I have gained a new perspective and made a few observations, which I’m excited to share with you in this post. They are not organized in any particular way.
As an edtech coach:
1. You get to reach out far more students … indirectly, that is.
When I was teaching ELA and history, I had a direct impact and influence over 46 students divided in two groups of 23 each. That was my magic number. However, as an edtech coach I get to reach out to about 390 students. The possibilities are more: possibilities for more projects, larger projects and ambitious goals. More can be achieved: You become like an orchestra director with the possibility of putting together a stunning performance. You may achieve amazing things on your own by directly influencing your students, but you will get farther if other edtech leaders accompany you on the journey.
2. Your efforts must be more focused.
Because you don’t have direct access to your students anymore, it becomes crucial that you find a way to have access to them. The way to do it is through the teachers you coach. Because you’re not exactly their teacher and you can’t just tell them what to do or what to teach, you have to earn the way into their brains and hearts so you can inspire them to get on board with the vision your school is undertaking. I’ve seen and noticed that the best way to achieve this is by inspiring them and showing them the results that they can harvest once they apply your suggestions. Providing concrete examples of projects, initiatives that they can adapt and implement in their teaching practice will help them envision what that could look like in their classrooms.
3. Your growth determines their growth. 
According to John Maxwell, this is the leadership law of the lid: If you place a lid on your own professional growth you will be affecting not only yourself, but also your entire faculty. It is very rare that people will do more than you ask them to do and teachers will usually not go beyond the point their Edtech leaders are willing to go themselves. It is imperative that Edtech coaches therefore embrace a culture of expanding their PLNs — personal learning networks — and learning and undertaking risks for the sake of learning. Participating or organizing educational Twitter chats, becoming an active part of EdCamps, blogging and consulting cutting-edge edtech blogs are just a few examples of how you can ensure that you are on the right track for growth. ISTE has also published the NETS for coaches, a fantastic collection of standards specifically dedicated to edtech coaches.
Are you an edtech coach? What other aspects of our job would you add to this? Are you are a teacher reading this article? I just want to say you have a golden opportunity to make amazing things happen in your classroom. Never before had I realized the magnitude of the blessing it is to have a number of kids every day before you.
Isaac Pineda is the technology integration specialist at Colegio Inglés, a private 1:1 school in Monterrey, Mexico. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator and an advocate for technology in education. He also works as a speaker and consultant providing professional development for teachers and administrators at schools in Mexico and overseas. Visit his website. Read his blog. Follow him on Twitter @Kairosedtech..."

Ed Tech Advocacy? From my In Box...

Congratulations! Your voice was heard!

Congratulations! Your voice was heard!

Yesterday, the senate committee that has jurisdiction over federal education programs listened to your voice and voted to include a dedicated digital learning program to its version of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Your letters were a critical element in passing the Innovative Technology Expands Children’s Horizons (I-TECH) program.

ISTE worked with Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to craft the I-TECH program, which would replace the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program. The I-TECH program would fund digital learning integration with a significant emphasis on professional development. In fact, 50 percent of funds allocated under I-TECH to school districts would be dedicated to professional development for digital learning.

Passage of this program demonstrates strong support from both Republicans and Democrats for digital learning, a rarity in an era when it is difficult to find common ground on anything. This digital learning victory is just one step in a very long process, which includes full Senate approval, passage of a House version of ESEA, and a final version approved by both chambers and the president.

Please continue to join ISTE in making your voice heard. Together we will continue to lead the effort to include digital learning as a component in the reauthorization of ESEA.

Learn more about ESEA.

3 Tips for Picking Personalized Learning Frameworks

From EdSurge....
"Three Tips for Picking Personalized Learning Frameworks

You are a teacher, school leader, charter network or district administrator looking for guidance on how to design classrooms and schools for personalized learning. You’re not alone.
Teams of educators all over the country are launching new schools and redesigning existing ones, and they are eager to build on the early lessons of the pioneers who have been at it for a few years. This is great – if everyone treats designing and implementing personalized learning as an invention challenge, the state of knowledge and practice will move very slowly. In other words, not everyone has to start with a blank slate and create new designs from scratch. Learning from the failures and early wins of other teams and building on their lessons will help us move faster and with higher quality toward schools designed to meet the needs of every student, every day.
The good news: a number of frameworks that incorporate the wisdom of practice are available.
The complicating factors: you’ll probably need more than one, none are perfect and all were created by a person, team or organization with a specific point of view about what’s important and how to implement it.
Here are three tips for selecting frameworks to help your team get started:

1. What you do is more important than what you call it. 

Don’t get hung up on the debates that think-tankers and funders like to engage in about what to call what you are doing. Is it personalized? Blended? Competency-based? Your team could burn a lot of productive time on abstract questions that won’t matter much in practice. Instead, develop some clarity about what you are trying to accomplish for students and the instructional approach you aim to implement. Then take a look at the content of the frameworks and determine which are relevant. Use the language and framing that make most sense for your context and your community.

2. Understand how the framework was developed (and by whom). 

The most powerful frameworks are usually based on deep field observations and “sense-making” of what real people are doing across many situations and contexts. Did the developers work to understand the design and implementation choices of multiple teams and then identify general principles that help describe what’s going on across them? Did they work out their categories, guiding questions, and recommended steps in collaboration with professionals actually doing the work? The more the answer to these questions is “yes”, the more likely the framework will be of practical use to your team.
A few companies have frameworks you can review at a high level for free, and if you want more help you can contract for support services and products. For instance, Pearson’s 1:1 Learning Framework has some general categories and advice, but also recommends a variety of the company’s products and services to make it all come together. More entrepreneurial companies like Education Elements and 2Revolutions also have helpful frameworks. You can contract with them for help with design and implementation.
A number of nonprofit organizations have helpful tools that have grown out of their work with early implementers. They make them widely available in an effort to further their knowledge sharing missions. Organizations with such frameworks include Future Ready, the Christensen Institute, Competency Works, andThe Learning Accelerator. None of these tools are connected to product or service offerings, which means they don’t rely on buying anything to be useful, but it also means there’s usually little direct support standing ready to help you put them into practice.
At NewSchools, we use a personalized learning framework that grew out of the work of 16 school networks and a number of support organizations and funders (including some folks now at NewSchools). It was developed through multiple working sessions over the course of about a year and has since been vetted by many more schools. Our friends at the Next Generation Learning Challenges use it too. We like it because it was developed with practitioners and includes questions to help guide choices rather than prescriptive answers.

3. Mix, Match, and Adapt. 

You might need one tool for the planning phase, another for framing up design choices, and perhaps another when you’re ready to implement. Just make sure to resolve any potential conflicts between them during your planning phase. And remember, the important thing is good guidance, coupled with the messy process of discussing and deciding, not following someone else’s recipe to the letter.
It’s been said that designing schools for personalized learning is like making beef stew – there are some basic ingredients and general steps, but plenty of room for experimentation and seasoning to taste..."

Read the full article at its source:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

EdTech is BIG Business

From NY Times: Post&contentCollection=Technology

Education Technology

The Must-Attend Event for Education Technology Investors

Aaron Skonnard, chief executive of Pluralsight.Credit Pluralsight
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — To observe the major forces at play in the education technology sector, one needed only to stand near the marble fountain in the Phoenician Resort lobby this week.
That’s where hundreds of venture capitalists and executives attending an annual ed tech industry conference arranged — in full view of their rivals — to meet one another privately.
From coveted perches at cafe tables and couches in the plush hotel lobby, for instance, investors watched as Aaron Skonnard, chief executive of Pluralsight, an online skills training company for technology professionals, sat down with David Blake, chief executive of Degreed, a start-up that helps companies track, analyze and manage the skills development courses taken by their employees.
“Degreed has the best content-scoring algorithm for online courses,” said Michael Staton, a partner at Learn Capital, a venture capital firm that finances education start-ups, as he observed the tête-à-tête from across the room. Then Mr. Staton sighed. “I was hoping we’d invest in them,” he said, “before Pluralsight acquired them for $100 million.”
The annual ASU+GSV Summit conference here, an effort put on by Arizona State University and GSV Capital, an investment firm, started six years ago as a modest event in the desert where investors came to hear company presentations from about 50 education start-ups.
The conference has since become the central event for investors and companies scouting for the next big thing in education technology — a melting pot for executives from McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson, Google and Microsoft, Kapor Capital and the NewSchools Venture Fund, and start-up entrepreneurs.
This year about 270 companies are presenting, all represented by either their chief executives or founders. Among them are companies like Degreed, which developed in an ed tech accelerator financed by Kaplan, the test-preparation company. Degreed has attracted angel investors including Mark Cuban, the investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Deborah Quazzo, a managing partner at GSV Advisors.
“It’s a place where it’s all senior people,” said Ms. Quazzo, one of the conference organizers. “So conversations can occur at a high level.”
With more than 2,000 attendees this year, the conference is an indication of the high political stakes involved in education and of the big money businesses hope to reap in the sector. The event also now serves as an important stop for policy makers seeking to broadcast their commitment to industry growth.
On Tuesday, for instance, Arne Duncan, the United States secretary of education, made an appearance here. He heartily endorsed data-driven technologies known as “personalized learning,”  websites and apps that display different math problems or reading assignments to individual students, based on an analysis of their particular abilities.
The hope is that such individually tailored products will improve students’ learning, grades, test scores, graduation rates and, ultimately, employment prospects.
“We must make learning more personalized,” Mr. Duncan said.
As was typical in other years, dozens of companies at this year’s  conference presented personalized or adaptive learning systems for students.
Despite the promise of such tailored lessons — and the fact that millions of students already use such products — few ed tech start-ups have conducted and published rigorous studies to demonstrate that their novel technologies aided learning more than established methods. One controlled study conducted by Kaplan found that showing videos to students — which the company had expected to be more engaging for learners than traditional methods — was less effective than providing students with traditional text-based problems to solve.
In an effort intended to address the paucity of ed tech outcomes data, two groups here, including Kaplan, discussed their coming efforts to study education technologies. They each said they wanted to help school administrators choose learning products with proven effectiveness.
Kaplan announced plans for a new ed tech accelerator intended to identify pressing educational problems and the products that might solve them.
“Every C.E.O. will tell you their product is great and it works,” said Maia Sharpley, Kaplan’s vice president for strategy and innovation. “Well, let’s test it and pilot it and have the data to show that it works or it doesn’t.”
Another new accelerator project, financed by USA Funds and the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, has just introduced a similar effort to identify and rigorously test promising ed tech products aimed at filling concrete needs for schools.
“Are there really companies willing to hold themselves up to that level of scrutiny and accountability?” said Bart Epstein, chief executive of the new company, called the Jefferson Education Accelerator. “They are out there. They are a minority. And we want to hold them up as examples of companies doing it right.”
In its short history, the ASU+GSV conference has also acquired a reputation as the meet-cute spot for ed tech investors and executives seeking to develop relationships with start-ups that could lead to acquisitions.
Last year, for instance, Mr. Skonnard, the chief executive of Pluralsight, the professional technology course provider, had a 15-minute meeting in the Phoenician lobby with the founder of Smarterer, a skills assessment and scoring start-up.
“As we were leaving, I said to my C.F.O., ‘This is a company we need to talk more to,’ ” Mr. Skonnard recalled during a chat with a reporter in the industry-thronged lobby. “Ten months later,” he said, “we completed the acquisition” of Smarterer for $75 million.
When asked whether Pluralsight now planned to acquire Degreed, the company whose founder he was seen meeting with earlier this week, Mr. Skonnard was enigmatic.
“Not right now,” he said.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Personalized Learning

One of the most important impacts resulting from
Education's adoption of technology: Personalized Learning

From ASCD's Smart Brief / Student-centered Learning 

  • Report highlights ways to create student-centered schools
    Blended learning and competency-based education can support personalized learning, but such a shift will require changes in systems, according to a recent report. Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning and co-author of the report, offers insight into the findings and a road map for personalization. blog (3/25)

  • Middle school pilots personalized learning
    A Wisconsin middle school is transitioning to a personalized-learning model, starting with its fifth-grade class. Teachers provide students with a daily list of learning tasks, and students choose when and how to do them. Teachers also give more direct instruction to those who need it and allow those who have mastered topics to move ahead. Daily Citizen (Beaver Dam, Wis.) (2/28)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Again: Gifted Students, a Diversity Issue...

"Gifted students — especially those who are low-income — aren’t getting the focus they need

States aren’t doing enough to support gifted students, especially those from low-income families — that’s the message that the Virginia-based Jack Kent Cooke Foundation sent Tuesday with the release of report cards on state policies for academically talented children.
No state received an A. There were plenty of D’s and a few F’s.

No state received an A. There were plenty of D’s and a few F’s.
But more important than the letter grades are some of the underlying data. (State policy report cards are a favorite tool among education-related organizations, and the mission and agenda of whatever group is doing the grading invariably affects the letter grades that are given.)
For example, nearly half of states do not audit, monitor or report on gifted and talented programs, according to foundation’s report..."

It's Not Whether or Not You Text Your Students; It's WHAT You Text Them that Can Improve Academic Perfromance!!!

Research: How texting can improve academic performance
Texting between teachers and students may help improve communication and increase engagement in learning, writes Scott Hamm, director of online education at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. In this commentary, Hamm highlights research on the effectiveness of texting in boosting academic performance. EdTech magazine online (3/30)

Keep Hearing About "DATA" as a Way to Make Instruction More Effective?

Personally, I think that the Data Driven Instruction movement is largely misguided. Often, what I see is data being used to 'power up' instruction that is failing, not so much because the 'right' challenge isn't presented to the student at the 'right' time (an approach based on Mastery Learning, a well known approach to instruction that's been around for a good,, long time), but because that instruction is part of an outmoded paradigm of learning that the institution of School is holding onto and attempting a variety of reform approaches to make work, even though it ought to be phased out. The story of the conflict of 2 paradigms, the old, traditional one, and of a new, emerging one is a very extensive discussion for another time (and one for which I am well into writing yet another book to explain). For now, unless you've been out-of-touch with trends in School Reform, you've heard of Data Driven Instruction and, as an Instructional Technologist in the role of School Leader, you really need to be familiar with. See the article below as a good example of how this movement shows up currently 'in the conversation'...

From T.H.E. Journal:

"Data & Analytics

The Power of Small Data

In order to deliver personalized education, districts have to gather and share students' statistics. Here's how the strategic use of data can boost teaching and learning..."
"...When it seems like every week brings news of a massive theft of consumers' private information, "data" is in danger of becoming a four-letter word. But if districts want to provide truly personalized education, gathering and sharing certain types of student data is absolutely necessary. According to Patricia Cotter, a veteran entrepreneur who recently completed her doctorate in work-based learning at the University of Pennsylvania, "Recent technologies like big data, the Internet of Things, mobile apps and improved storage have made it possible to acquire, combine, store, analyze, interpret and report findings during any phase of data management."
Taking a break from the business world, Cotter has recently trained her keen eye on education, where she said she sees a renaissance in data collection "The data repositories residing in disconnected, fragmented departments with little sharing have now been transformed into centralized, interrelated data systems to enable fast and efficient retrieval of interrelated data for quick and informed decision-making," she said. Here are some examples of how getting the right information to the right people at the right time can inspire teachers and students to do their best work.
Instant Feedback for Students and Parents
Classrooms usually have a wide range of academic levels, and nowhere is that more true than combination classes such as the one headed by Lisa Wilson, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Arroyo Seco Elementary School in Livermore, CA. With two grade levels in the same room, Wilson individualizes the mathematics curriculum using TenMarks Math, which allows her to customize assignments for each student.
Students use the TenMarks online tool, which is essentially an interactive workbook. Wilson, a 24-year teaching veteran and technology lead teacher at her school, explained, "I get percentages and scores on the different standards they work on." She can see which students are not passing a given standard, "then I pull those students for intervention that same day."
The crucial element of timeliness makes it easier for Wilson to avoid the slow "fall through the cracks" that affects so many students. "They work in the morning, and I check scores at recess," she said. "After lunch I know who I need to work with in a small group. It used to be you would only know after you gave the test and you were onto something else, and you would never catch those kids. Since I've been using TenMarks — only since January 2015 — the number of my kids failing the math test has gone way down."
For intense practice in math facts, Wilson points her students toward XTraMath, a Web program that tracks proficiency in basic facts. For example, if students keep missing "9 times 7" or "6 times 8," they get those every other problem, and if they don't get the answer correct within a few seconds, the program will put the answer in grey scale so students have to type it in and learn it. The program provides instant feedback, and Wilson keeps a close eye on the data, making a point to know where her students are with math facts.
Spelling City and Moby Max help Wilson to track spelling and vocabulary, and to collect the most familiar bits of data: grades. "My students take online spelling tests now on Spelling City, and they wear headphones," said Wilson. "I can give students different spelling lists, and they do it on Chromebooks. Spelling City corrects the tests and sends me the scores."
School Loop helps tie it all together by allowing Wilson to tell parents how their kids are doing in real time. Wilson explained, "It's an electronic grade book, and parents can see the grades. They can get a daily e-mail of how their child is doing. That cuts down a lot on questions, because it's all listed." And, she added, "It tells parents all the things their child did not do."

Also, from ASCD's Smart Brief 4/7/2015
Special Report: Building a Data-driven Culture
How can schools use data to drive conversations about student outcomes? How can school leaders build trust for new initiatives with educators, parents, students and the community?

In this ASCD SmartBrief special report, we focus on news about these issues, including using data to improve instruction and lead discussions around performance and goal-setting. We feature a Q&A with principal Robert Rayburn. And we've included a section highlighting tips for change leaders.

If you don't receive ASCD SmartBrief daily, we urge you to sign up for our free, timely e-newsletter. ASCD SmartBrief delivers the stories making news in your profession directly to your inbox -- for free.

Expert Insight 

  • Collaboration, communication help drive data-driven culture
    In this interview, Robert Rayburn, principal of Chavez Elementary School in Norwalk, Calif., discusses ways school leaders can help create a data-driven culture. He highlights the importance of making time for teacher collaboration and the need to bring parents into the data conversation. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (4/3)   
  • Developing a Data-driven Culture 
    • How districts are making student data work
      School districts profiled in this article are using student data to enhance teaching and learning. Strategies include using data to provide instant feedback to students and parents as well as using data from formative assessments to help students make academic progress. T.H.E. Journal (4/1)
    • School district uses goals, data to drive differentiation
      Goals and data can help drive differentiated learning for students and teachers, asserts Mark Garrison, a technology director. In this blog post, he highlights how his district uses this principle. "Measures of teachers and student technology use, access and skills help us benchmark our effectiveness and make adjustments throughout the year," he writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (3/17)

Not just using iPads, but managing them so that using them is effective and practical

Supporting rank and file teacher colleagues in adopting and deepening an instructional practice that takes advantage of today's technology includes helping them acquire management approaches that make doing so practical and enjoyable... Here's one illustration and opportunity to do so.;F:QS!10100&ShowKey=23704&partnerref=EBLAST& 

Help Teachers Unleash the Power of iPads and Win Back Instructional Time
This event took place on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, 3 to 4 p.m. ET.
Content provided by:
iPads and other Apple devices provide unique access to a vibrant educational ecosystem; one that enables teachers to enhance instruction and enrich the learning environment for their students. Yet as the use of digital learning tools grows, districts and schools face an increasingly complex set of challenges – such as cost, device management, and implementation – that often inhibit efforts aimed at using technology to improve learning.

In this environment, it’s crucial that any iPad, Mac, BYOD, or other technology program be structured to support the district’s core learning goals. With the right strategy and tools, schools can overcome these challenges through simple and sustainable implementation of technology, and focus more time on supporting teachers and improving instruction.

In this webinar, we’ll discuss how educators and administrators are using industry-leading tools and smart strategies to personalize learning, improve classroom management, and gain back valuable instructional time.

This webinar is a must-see for any school or district that is considering the use of, or currently using, iPads or other Apple products to support their teaching and learning goals. Register now to learn how to unleash the power of these tools and drive student achievement.

Dave Saltmarsh, education evangelist, JAMF Software


Nick Thompson, marketing campaign specialist, JAMF Software
Education Week is serving only as the host for this presentation. The content was created by the sponsor. The opinions expressed in this webinar are those of the sponsor and do not reflect the opinion of or constitute an endorsement by Editorial Projects in Education or any of its publications.
A transcript is available for this event. The transcript is available to download from the “handouts folder” in the console. You must log into the event again to access that event's transcript.
Registration is required to attend this event. Please register now.
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Personalized Content - Digital AND PRINT

From EdTechDIGEST:

Another emerging responsibility for School Technologists in the role of School Leader, supporting staff in customizing content, either for digital or print use, as part of the movement to Personalized Learning and the opportunities to make that happen that technology presents...

Cool Tool | Personalized Print Learning Solutions 

CREDIT HP and KnewtonHP and Knewton, a leader in adaptive learning, have partnered to develop Personalized Print Learning Solutions, a first-of-its-kind product that will make adaptive learning technology available for print-only K-12 and college classrooms through a smartphone app. Personalized Print Learning Solutions will allow publishers to create unique printed chapters of textbooks, worksheets, and assignments for each student so that educators can assign tailored content for everyone. Using HP Link technology, they’ll scan work and submit it to Knewton via smartphone app. Knewton’s predictive analytics engine will analyze the work and determine a strategy based on previous work and the anonymized data of similar students. Knewton will assemble an individualized content packet in real time for each student. “People have always assumed it was impossible to individually personalize printed education materials,” says Knewton founder and CEO Jose Ferreira. “With our new HP collaboration, we are delighted to show the world that print materials can have just as much adaptive power as digital content.” Currently under development for release during the 2015-2016 school year, learn more at

Thursday, April 2, 2015

How to Build a Meaningful Vision of Education for Your School


How To Build A Meaningful
Vision of Education For Your School
The Science Leadership Academy (SLA) in Phila­delphia has gained a national reputation for being a model of inquiry-driven, project-based learning. This whitepaper series presents the nuts and bolts of SLA’s vision, and describes why their commit­ment to their core values is so important to the success of their school. The goal of this whitepaper series is to provide the details needed to help other schools scale SLA’s success.




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Extreme Classroom Makeover: Technology Edition

Extreme Classroom Makeover: Technology Edition

Next week, my classroom will be transformed into a 21st-century, technologically rich teaching and learning environment. As part of our school pilot program, worn walls and generations-old graffitied desks will be painted over, students will have personal computing devices, and we will have a classroom smartboard, accompanied by a projector, document reader. and sound system.   I’m still figuring out exactly what a “tech” classroom is, but what I know for sure is that I want it to be an outside-inside transformation that extends beyond classroom tools and into the fabric of teaching and learning in our space.

Technology isn’t a computer; it’s a way of interacting with oneself and the world. It’s a space where complex and dynamic communication patterns emerge that challenge who we are, what we know and how we make sense of the world. As teachers, we are learners in this world in the same way that our students are. We are partners in a dialogue about how we create meaning in the world around us and where we fit into it. Within this space exists an exciting opportunity to be bold and take risks that have the potential to transform the function and scope of teaching and learning spaces.

More than anything, I’ve found this time to be an opportunity to revisit what I want learning to look like in my classroom and how best to leverage technology and communication spaces to achieve that ideal. As I contemplate my future classroom, these five key considerations keep coming up for me:
1. Technology is a vehicle to improve student learning, not an end in itself. I want to remember to focus on the process over the goal. Technology is only a tool to achieve deeper content knowledge and skill capacity—not the goal itself. Meaningful learning will happen as a result of what we do with the technology, not simply because of its presence in the classroom.
2. Technology is a means to engage students and bring greater relevance to what they are learning. It’s a way of hooking students into topics and themes, inviting them to use a communicative language and forum that excites them, and aligns with their generational world.
3. Technology supports diverse learners by allowing greater differentiation of tools to address language needs and learning styles. It provides a forum for communication through which all learners can dialogue, question, analyze, evaluate, and create (including the various other tasks on Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Wheel).
4. Technology extends learning outside the classroom through interaction with a rich plethora of resources, people and spaces. It serves to blur the lines between the classroom and the world by magnifying student voices and connecting them with others in new and different ways.
5. Technology engages students in the transformation process. Technology can make students feel more invested in their own learning, inviting them to metacognitively consider their own learning needs and styles.

Though the Common Core State Standards point to the importance of technology use, too many schools and districts have limited access to reliable technology. This has hindered technology transformations that should be commonplace if we are to prepare our youth for the careers and futures they are stepping into. The gap potentially creates a space for thoughtful partnerships with the business community, as well as an opportunity to extend a dialogue of how to realign existing family and community resources.

As I design my new classroom, I’ve come to realize that regardless of how much “technology” a classroom has, it isn’t the technology that is the most important component—but rather how we realign physical and virtual learning spaces to fit student needs. We also need to consider how we engage with our colleagues, students and families in discussions about what, how and why students are learning. And that doesn’t cost a dime.

As I gear up for this exciting new phase of my teaching practice, I’d love to hear from you. What have been your experiences with techology in the classroom? What tips and challenges can you share?

And here are a few technology resources I’ve found useful at this stage of the redesign process. What are your favorite resources and uses of technology in the classroom?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Instructional Technology grows and grows and grows. It is a growth field and as every corner of Schooling and Education turns to technology to expand, improve, or enrich itself, Instructional Technologists will be the school leaders colleagues turn to for guidance and support.

The evidence shows up in my "In Box" every day. Here's this evenings installment (part of it, at least)...
Presented by Education World™

Free Webinar: Ending the ELL Fire Drill-
How Technology and Proven Language Pedagogy Prepare Students for Success
2:00 - 3:00pm EST
Schools across the country are facing the growing challenges of an exploding ELL population and a scattered, ineffective system for helping non-native speakers gain English skills.

Many districts will start the next school year without an accurate count of the number of ELLs in their system and without the ability to adapt if the numbers come in above projections. Join ELL experts and linguists - along with administrators who are revolutionizing ELL instruction on the school level - and learn how to end the fire drill by creating a flexible ELL program that employs the latest technologies, enhanced teacher training and research-based language learning methods.
In this session, educators will learn:
  • Why the growing ELL population presents both challenges and opportunities for our schools
  • How digital learning instruction can help prepare for unexpected increases in ELLs
  • Why programs that value two-way cultural understanding is critical for ELLs to succeed
  • How research-based world language instruction principles (like task-based learning) can be applied to ELLs
  • The importance of instruction targeted specifically to the students’ grade levels
Aline Germain-Rutherford, Ph.D.
Chief Learning Officer, Middlebury Interactive Languages

Monica Quinones
Director of English Language Learner Services,
Office of Early Literacy and Parent Engagement,
Hartford Public Schools
Dana Laursen, Ph.D.
Vice President, Curriculum and Program Effectiveness
Middlebury Interactive Languages
Terry Goodlet
Professional Development Specialist
April 9
2:00 - 3:00pm EST
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