From the Editor RSS Feed

Teachers on the Common Core, State Broadband Activity

Education Week has released a new report, "From Adoption to Practice: Teacher Perspectives on the Common Core." The report is based on a survey of educators conducted during the 2013-14 school year. There are no surprises here; the survey confirms what Education Week reported last year and what has been found in several other survey of educators around Common Core-related issues. Essentially teachers are positively disposed to the standards, dubious about the new assessments and somewhat anxious about their own preparation, the resources they have available and the extent to which students are prepared to master the new standards or the assessments linked to them. The best news, and highly consistent with other such surveys, is that most educators believe that the Common Core Standards will improve their own instruction and classroom practice (46% agree, 23% strongly agree) and student learning (38% agree, 27% strongly agree). Read More »

Back-to-School News

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.

This week Chicago's Mayor Rohm Emanuel took advantage of a feel-good story to identify with teachers (our Mayor needs all the help he can get when it comes to Chicago's teachers). The Mayor announced that Google and Staples had fully funded every Chicago-based project posted in As a result, 363 teachers will receive $383,868 worth of classroom supplies ranging from paper, pencils and books to laptops, musical instruments and microscopes. You might be surprised to see how many teachers are asking for basic school and art and craft supplies on DonorsChoose. Read More »

Software Platforms and School Software Use

CDW-G issued a new infographic based on surveys of 175 IT professionals working In K-12 schools. The survey focused on gathering information about the platforms schools are using for both instructional and administrative purposes. Perhaps impacted by surging demand for support of mobile devices, the average school now supports three platforms for instruction and two for administration. Only 17% of districts use only one platform for instruction (Windows is most common), with 28% supporting two platforms (Windows, iOS), 27% supporting three (Windows, iOS and Android) and 28% supporting four platforms (Windows, iOS, Android and Chrome). On the administrative side, 34% of districts support one platform (Windows is most common), 27% support two (Windows, iOS), 17% support three (Windows, iOS and Android) and 22% support four platforms (Windows, iOS, Android and Chrome). Read More »

LRMI Survey Data

The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI), a joint project of the Association of Educational Publishers - the 501(c)(3) arm of the Association of American Publishers-and Creative Commons - released results from survey of educational publishers and educators designed to gather information about preferences, frustrations, and experiences with searching for and improving the discoverability of educational resources and content online. The Initiative appears to be doing a good job of raising awareness among educational publishers. More than four out of five publishers surveyed (83%) were aware of metadata tagging initiatives, and 72% were specifically aware of the LRMI. Read More »

Teacher PD, Principal Recruitment

Two interesting reports appeared recently. "Beyond Teacher Evaluation: Prioritizing Teacher Instructional Effectiveness with Meaningful Professional Development" was sponsored by School Improvement network and conducted by EdNexus Advisors, LLC. Based on surveys of states' departments of education about the professional learning component of their teacher evaluation policies, the study was designed to gain a better understanding of state policy on providing and funding meaningful teacher professional development tied to teacher evaluations. It highlights activates in Connecticut, Kentucky, New Jersey and South Dakota, states that are making a significant effort to implement teacher support related to evaluations. The Fordham Institute released "Lacking Leaders: The Challenges of Principal Recruitment, Selection, and Placement" examining how districts go about identifying talent, enlisting the best candidates for the job, and matching their distinctive skills and capabilities to the needs of specific schools, with an in-depth look at five urban school districts that have sought to improve their principal-hiring processes in recent years. Read More »

ISTE, Excellent Educators for All

From all reports ISTE was a huge success this year, with over 16,000 educators in attendance. That's likely a record and hopefully a sign that things are really back on track. Atlanta was a good location, within a day's drive of a considerable stretch of the eastern seaboard and the Gulf Coast. And there's no question that ed tech has moved to a new level. Teachers are experimenting with flipping their classrooms and blended learning and looking for ways to maximize instructional uses of student owned devices. IT people continue to look for devices and infrastructure in preparation for the spring administration of the new Common Core assessments. This post-ISTE issue is full of announcements made in Atlanta last week. I tried to include as much as I could, though a number of other headlines (multiple announcement from one company, awards and contests) got posted only on the News Alert web site. Click through on any category if you want to see all the ISTE news that came in these past two weeks. Read More »

Mid-Year Roundup

Happy summer holiday week, friends! In a season of vacations and celebrations, we hope you’re enjoying some time with family and friends.

This week, we’re highlighting the most read articles for the first half of 2014 to give you another chance at catching up on them. We’re grateful to have had so many valuable contributions to the News Alert from our friends and industry colleagues this year! The highlighted collection below presents the four articles published since January that received the most pageviews.


Infographic: K 12 Technology Trends
From MDR's State of the K12 Market report

We Don’t Need No … Wait. Maybe We Do.
Frank Catalano, Intrinsic Strategy

Capturing Top Sales Talent Quickly Is Essential to Your Revenue Growth
Lisa Sacchetti, CPC, President, The Renaissance Network, Inc.

Three Key Issues in the Education Marketplace
As shared by members of the EdNET 2014 Advisory Board Read More »

E-rate Modernization Order

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has launched a campaign aimed at encouraging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase funding for the E-rate. ISTE is urging all "ISTE members, educators, parents, and students across the country to tweet directly to @FCC using this new hashtag: #RaiseTheErateCap." Advocates are encouraged to tell FCC Commissioners "how important broadband and digital learning is for your students." At the ISTE Conference, which opens this weekend, members will be able to sign a petition urging the FCC to increase funding for the E-Rate program. The petition will be at the ISTE Advocacy Network Booth. This activity is in response to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's release of the details of his plan to modernize the E-rate, which predictably did not include any funding increase. The FCC will meet on July 11 to vote on a Report and Order to modernize the E-rate. Read More »

NCM Horizon Report 2014

The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 K-12 Edition has been released. The report is produced by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), with the support of HP. This sixth edition in the annual K-12 series examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. The Horizon report often gets the most attention for its identification of which top six emerging technologies will be adopted in the classroom over the next five years These technologies have already been widely discussed since the April release of the Horizon Project Preview. For me the most interesting part of this project is its identification of the key trends very likely to drive technology planning and decision-making over the next five years and the detailing of significant challenges schools face when adopting new technology. This year the report provides its readers more in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership, and practice. Read More »

Field Testing Ends, Teacher Ownership of Teacher-Created Materials

Both the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium wrapped up their field tests of the new Common Core assessments last week. In the 22 SBAC states and territories, 4.2 million students completed English and math assessments in grades 3 - 8 and 11th grade. PARCC tested more than one million students in 14 states and the District of Columbia. The field tests gave both consortia a chance to try out their test items, checking for validity and reliability. Teachers and students also got a preview of what to expect when the tests go live (and count) in the spring of 2015. PARCC reports that student surveys showed that students liked the online format. Test administrators were also quite positive, but noted that instruction for test administrators were too long and sometimes confusing. PARCC plans to release a list of lessons learned from the field test this summer. Read More »