Rural school districts face many unique trials, and access to educational technology is no different. But the obstacles aren’t just about location. In many cases, school leaders need to justify why the district should invest in the first place. During the edWebinar “Technology in Rural Schools: Leading with Why,” the presenters discussed how they overcame challenges and helped the community understand the value of tech in schools.
At Common Sense Education, the edtech reviewers have seen it all. And to help teachers navigate the plethora of materials for the digital classroom, Tanner Higgin, Director of Education Editorial Strategy at Common Sense Education, presented “50 Top Edtech Tools for the Classroom.” Below are some of Higgin’s favorites.
A variety of online tools embedded in popular Microsoft programs and apps are now helping English Learners with reading, writing, and classroom conversations. And, these same tools are also enabling parent-teacher conferences to become bilingual or even multilingual.
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.
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.
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.
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.
According to Learning in the 21st Century: the 2019 Digital Promise LVP Survey, 83% of teachers think students are capable of high achievement, but just 26% think students are reaching those levels today. As part of the Learner Variability Project, which “seek[s] to uncover strategies to meet learners where they are across varied contexts and needs,” Digital Promise’s team is examining the key factors for different grades and subject levels that impact student learning. During the edWebinar, “Learning in the 21st Century: What Teachers Think Matters,” the presenters talked about the science of individuality, how they’re using the research to help developers create products to meet these individual needs, and examples that show how the Learner Variability Project can work in the classroom.
In this edWebinar, presenters will describe a partnership among Digital Promise’s Learner Variability Project, the edtech product team at ReadWorks, and Talladega County Public Schools in Alabama.
This edWebinar outlines real-life stories from teachers who have conquered complex equity challenges in their classrooms and from edtech coaches who have implemented equity-centered innovative professional development