While the Wild West era of edtech may be over, there’s still some mystery over how schools decide what digital materials to buy. Similarly, researchers and developers have their own approaches to the sales process. In the edWebinar, “Building Authentic Need and Research into Edtech Development,” representatives from a large school district, a small district, a developer, and the research community answered burning questions about edtech procurement.
When we “flip” the learning, and have students present to educators in our edWebinars, it’s a great example of how much we can learn from our students. In a recent edWebinar, Turn Struggling Readers Into Leaders Using Assistive Technology, Gavin and Marley, two middle school students, along with dyslexia specialist Dana Blackaby, presented on their use of assistive technology that helps struggling readers. We wanted to know how they felt about playing the role of teacher to a crowd of over 800 attendees.
“The opportunity of bilingualism is an important gift to give to our students.” The cognitive, cultural, and professional benefits of bilingualism have the potential to broaden learners’ experiences in their careers and academics. In a recent edWebinar, Maya Goodall, Senior Director of EL Curriculum at Lexia Learning, highlighted that 10% of all students in U.S. public schools are emerging bilinguals and emerging multilinguals. Formerly called English Language Learners, students who speak more than one language have demonstrated advantages and awareness of languages, communication skills, memory, decision making, and analytical skills.
Whether it’s summer or not, digital citizenship skills are something that adults and children alike should be practicing every day as citizens of the world. Common Sense Media identifies six areas of digital citizenship, including digital footprint, media balance, cyberbullying, online privacy, communications, and news and media literacy. In a recent edWebinar, Heather Barnard, a Digital Learning Leader at Stamford American International School in Singapore, explains that teachers need to help parents and students prepare for the use of devices and the internet during the summer months. Parents need to know what tools are out there to help with screen time, setting limits, forms of cyberbullying, multi-user games, and YouTube.
The industrial education model was massively successful, with high school graduation rates and student achievement increasing decade after decade. However, by the end of the 20th century, it was evident that the industrial education model had hit its limit with graduation rates plateauing at 80% and student achievement and engagement plummeted the longer students were in school. According to Dr. Devin Vodicka, Chief Impact Officer at AltSchool, in a recent edWebinar, reform after reform and many well-intended efforts have tried to reach the aspiration of all students being successful. Vodicka along with Erik Burmeister, Superintendent, and Theresa Fox, Coordinator of Technology and Innovation, both from Menlo Park City School District, CA, agreed that if 80% of students are graduating, then 20% of students are not graduating and that educational professionals can’t be satisfied with these statistics.
At first, educators could count the number of edtech programs in their school on one hand—and the number of users wasn’t too much more. Later, schools used spreadsheets and written reports to determine usage, and developers had to wait months, possibly years to get and analyze efficacy data. Now, when usage data is available on a daily basis, developers and educators have a shared interest in that information. During their edWebinar, “Edtech Usage Data: Key to Planning Efficacy Research,” Dr. Denis Newman, Co-founder of Evidentally, Inc., and Kylene Shen, VP of Marketing at Evidentally, Inc., explained why usage data studies are beneficial to edtech companies and schools as well as what types of additional studies can provide relevant insights.
edWeb.net is delighted to announce a partnership with CoSN (Consortium for School Networking) to help leaders in rural school districts who are dedicated to taking the Digital Leap. edWeb and CoSN will be launching an online community and series of edWebinars titled “Tech for Rural Districts.” The program will leverage CoSN’s expertise and network of district leaders to help rural districts with the unique challenges and opportunities that they face with acquiring and implementing technology.
Creating makerspaces and incorporating them into schools involves more than coming up with project ideas. Typically, when schools add makerspaces, they’re also looking to shift their education goals and focus on skills beyond traditional curriculum. As Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair at New Canaan High School, CT, and Bill Derry, Consultant at School and Public Libraries, CT, explained in their edWebinar, “Design Models that Guide Innovative Thinking,” for educators looking to make this transition, there are several different methodologies that complement the goals of makerspaces and help students become creative problem solvers.
According to Davis, Fuller, Jackson, Pittman, and Sweet (2007), the definition of digital equity is “equal access and opportunity to digital tools, resources, and services to support an increase in digital knowledge, awareness, and skills.” In a recent edWebinar, Sarah Thomas, Educator, and Founder of the EduMatch movement, Nicol Howard, Assistant Professor, School of Education at University of Redlands, CA, and Regina Schaffer, Technology Specialist at Middletown Township School District, NJ, embrace this definition and explain that school districts need to consider four critical components in their drive to close the digital equity gap happening in K-12 districts and classrooms.
Research continues to show the benefits of social-emotional learning (SEL), especially with elementary-age students. But as SEL gains ground, educators need to think about best practices for adding it to their classroom. In “SEL and Academic Learning Catalyst: Growth Mindset,” presenters Dr. Desiree Margo, Principal at Redmond Early Learning Center, and Dr. Kendra Coates, Growing Early Mindsets (GEM) Author, and Professional Learning Specialist at Mindset Works, explain why a growth mindset is the strongest foundation for both SEL and academic learning. They caution, however, that both principles need to be integrated into the regular classroom and throughout school activities to achieve the best results.