From the Editor RSS Feed

EQUIP Launches

I couldn't resist picking up the story from the Paper and Packaging Board that you'll find in the Featured News section. I for one am a big fan of paper. I'm old enough that I find it easier to jot down an address than reach for my phone and hunt and peck away at immediately entering it in my contact list. I also believe there are a few tasks that, for me at least, demand a handwritten note - an expression of sympathy or a heartfelt thank you. I love the heft of an engraved invitation and look forward to opening Christmas cards. Of course, I'm not exactly the embodiment of the 21st century digital citizen. Nevertheless, I'm betting paper will be around for a long time to come.

The Department of Education announced that it had invited eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships) experiment. Read More »

Back to School

Back to school season is in full swing. (It seems to come earlier every year.) The back-to-school stories have been popping up for several weeks now. Companies offering free access to their products, community drives to collect school supplies for children in need, volunteers helping to spruce up classroom or playgrounds. MDR's data show that by mid-August nearly 25% of U.S. schools will already be open with another 50% opening before the end of the month. Summer is quickly drawing to an end. Read More »

Memories of Seymour Papert

The worlds of learning and technology lost a giant this week. Seymour Papert, Professor Emeritus at MIT, creator of the Logo programming language, pioneer of the Constructionist theory of learning and a founding faculty member of the MIT Media Lab passed away on Sunday at his home in Maine. While attending a conference on mathematics education in Hanoi in 2006, Dr. Papert suffered a serious brain injury when struck by a motor scooter. That accident removed him from active participation in the educational technology arena, but his influence continued to loom large. American education is rediscovering an understanding that children learn best when they are actively engaged in constructing their own knowledge, an idea Papert was championing in the 1960s. Read More »

Are Students Using Technology for Learning?

AdvanceED has published a short paper documenting its findings about technology use in the classroom. The bottom line: students do not routinely use technology for learning. Based on direct classroom observations of 140,000 classrooms in K-12 schools across 39 states and 11 countries, AdvancED found there are still relatively few classrooms in which the use of digital tools and technology is a regular part of a student's school experience. Read More »

Broadband Expansion

Underserved schools are getting some extra support in their quest to access high-speed broadband services. The Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition - an internet access advocacy group - released its new "Broadband Action Plan" last week. The plan is made up of 10 research papers that detail strategies for ensuring that anchor institutions - schools, libraries, healthcare providers, community colleges, public media, public housing, and other community organizations - have access to gigabit internet speeds. These anchor institutions are central to ensuring that broadband Internet is available to those most in need. While a lot of attention is paid to residential or commercial access to high-speed broadband, connecting anchor institution is a cost-effective way to ensure that every community and every individual has high-speed access to the Internet The action plan is part of the coalition's broader "Grow2Gig+" initiative, a push to connect all anchor institutions to gigabit speeds by 2020. Read More »

FY 2017 Deadline Looms

As this legislative session draws to an end, Congress has been very busy, especially on the House side. On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee passed the 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill. Funding for the Department of Education was set at $67 billion, down $1.3 billion from FY2016. The Senate set Department of Education FY17 funding at $67.8 billion. In something of a surprise, the House bill appropriated $1 billion for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant (SSAEG) program. That's a lot more than the Senate's $300 million appropriation, though still under the $1.6 billion level authorized in ESSA. Read More »

EdNET 2016 Program, Platform Integration

The program for EdNET 2016 is now available and as always Vicki Bigham, our conference manager, has done a terrific job. Maybe because I've been knee deep in ISTE coverage, reviewing the program I see a number of parallels to ISTE. Of course, EdNET takes a business perspective, examining market trends with an eye to devising business strategies based on those trends. The perspective may differ, but the core trends and issues are common to both educators and providers. EdNET sessions will focus on the implications of ESSA, bridging the educator-provider trust gap, new marketplaces and their role in procurement reform, challenges from non-traditional players and market drivers and moving from storytelling to storymaking, among others. Attendees will also hear from our traditional panel of district superintendents as well as a panel of classroom teachers.It's a meeting you can't afford to miss.

This issue wraps up the last of the ISTE announcements that crossed my desk. Read More »

Google Expeditions, Amazon Inspire

I don't remember the last time I saw so many announcements come out of the annual ISTE conference. There were a lot of new companies and organizations represented and I've tried to cast as broad a net as possible, but know I've missed things. I've posted some things only to the web site - mostly things not related to new/updated products and services, so this would be a good week to just click through to the web site, where you will be able to see everything, along with a brief summary that should help you decide if you want to dive deeper.
Both Google and Amazon got a lot of attention at ISTE this year. Google has been courting the school market for some time now, both with Google Apps for Education and Google Classroom. Amazon Inspire is Amazon's first formal focus on the school market. Read More »

Making in the Spotlight

President Obama made use of his bully pulpit that past week to focus the nation's attention on the Maker Movement. The president has been promoting making since 2014, when he launched the Nation of Makers initiative to ensure more Americans of all ages and backgrounds have greater opportunities to design, build, and manufacture. The 2016 National Week of Making (June 17- 23) was marked by hundreds of events nationwide to celebrate making and innovation. And hundreds of organizations renewed or made new commitments to support making. Read More »

FY 2017 Appropriations Move Forward

Congress has been quietly working on FY 2017 appropriations bills. The budget process is likely to be much less dramatic this year, though it's not clear that all 12 bills will be passed by both houses of Congress before the new federal fiscal year starts on October 1, 2016. On June 9, the Senate Appropriations Committee, with bipartisan support, passed the bill that funds the Department of Education. Given the tight budget cap, FY 2017 appropriations levels are fairly close to those approved in FY 2016. One major disappointment for many observers was the $300 million funding level approved for ESSA's new Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants. Read More »