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 has established a community entitled “Principal Leadership”, which will provide guidance for principals through a series of edWebinars on a variety of topics. In order to address the needs of principals, a survey was sent out to administrators across the United States to assess their biggest areas of need.
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.
In a 2018 survey, the majority of school districts either have 1:1 as a current goal or have already achieved it. Along with a 1:1 goal, comes the deluge of edtech tools, software, and applications into classrooms. School districts are struggling with the fact that 70% of purchased licenses for edtech programs don’t get used at all within the school year and only 10% of teachers know how often students should use edtech programs to drive learning outcomes. In a recent edWeb.net edWebinar, Jena Draper, Founder and General Manager of CatchOn; Mike Schwab, Education Team at Google; and Suzy Brooks, Instructional Technology Director for Mashpee Public Schools, MA, point out that in order to combat this deluge of technology, it is imperative that school districts address the tech usage data that impacts and drive success in classrooms. While it is believed that the barrier to district leaders and classroom teachers using more data is that they don’t have time to look at it, 33% of districts and teachers say the real challenge is that information is in too many places for them to access.
The drawbacks of social media are well-documented—like anonymous trolls posting negative comments just to spark controversy. However, said Jamie Knowles, Senior Manager of Educator Professional Learning Programs at Common Sense Media, social media also has the ability to help users share their stories and shed a positive light on their activities. In his presentation, “Educators and Social Media: Avoiding the Pitfalls,” Knowles discussed some challenges of using social media but also the positive ways schools are using it to educate and communicate with their families.
Whether you are a first-year teacher or a veteran teacher, classroom and system-wide assessments can be a time of high anxiety and stress for everyone involved. In this recent edWebinar, Vernice Y. Jones, a candidate in the M.Ed. in School Counseling Program, Freed-Hardeman University, TN, lays out strategies and ground rules for what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to assessments.
Strategic planning for edtech is an endless journey—and not just because of constantly evolving hardware and software. Upgrading infrastructure, device maintenance, and ongoing professional development, in addition to program and device costs, mean tech initiatives need permanent budget lines that take into account the total cost. In the edWebinar, “Strategic Technology Planning and Investment,” which is part of CoSN’s Empowered Superintendent series for edWeb, three superintendents who’ve been in the trenches for all aspects of district edtech plans discussed effective financial planning for technology.
There’s no secret formula for parent engagement. And when English isn’t their first language, the obstacles seem more daunting. According to Rick Castaneda, a training specialist at Rosetta Stone, the key is to develop a multi-step approach that gives parents several different opportunities to connect with the school and their children’s teachers while also making sure that the parent, no matter their language, feels like a key part of the decision-making process. In his edWebinar, “Involve Parents for Greater English Learner Success,” Castaneda discussed six key areas of parental involvement, based on the work of Johns Hopkins professor Joyce L. Epstein, PhD, and how each one helps build a stronger relationship.