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How Technology is Revolutionizing Education

The days when a class of students marched into the school’s computer room to spend an hour on a desktop machine learning how to use a spreadsheet are just about over. Today you are more likely to walk into a classroom and see students, each with a tablet, scattered about, working independently or in small groups, on assignments designed to meet their individual needs.

Technology is enabling the growth of personalized learning and thus the transformation of education as we have known it for generations. This is how:

  • How schools are organized
  • The school calendar and seat time requirements
  • What a textbook is
  • How students can learn at their own pace
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Bridging the Student Data Privacy Gap

The responsibility that schools and districts take on when bringing technology into their buildings is enormous. They need to ensure that every product or service meets their instructional or administrative needs, is safe for users, complies with federal and state privacy laws, aligns with their district data privacy and security responsibilities, and is cost-effective. They do it all with fewer resources and support than industry has on hand to accomplish similar tasks and do it at scale, sometimes across several hundred products each year. It can make the purchasing process seem like a long climb, but on the privacy and security front, there are some things every education technology company can do to make it easier.

I’m talking about putting in the time, energy, and effort to build trusting partnerships with school and district clients. It is not easy. However, understanding what’s happening on the other side of the table can provide a roadmap to getting it right. To keep it simple, start with 3 key ingredients to build trust:

  1. Clarity
  2. Competence
  3. Cooperation
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Life Lessons in Leadership

We may traditionally think of school administrators and teachers as the drivers of change in a school or school system. However, the reality is that when it comes to leading change to maximize technology tools for learning, educational technology vendors who effectively partner with their school clients often take on a leadership role in assisting their school leader clients.

It is incumbent upon educational technology vendors to be cognizant of—and incorporate into their professional practice—some of the same essential leadership skills that successful school leaders practice. The following three skill sets are taken from a book I recently co-authored with Michael Barrett titled, Life Lessons in Leadership: The Way of the Wallaby.

  1. Listen
  2. Learn
  3. Leverage the talents of others
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Making a Makerspace Happen: Start With the Cart

Building a makerspace environment across a school or district can seem daunting. One of the business maxims we adopted at St. Raymond School is “do it right the second time.” Focus on getting a project started and then worry about the details. Read More »

Spring Branch ISD Partners with BloomBoard

BloomBoard and Spring Branch Independent School District have partnered to launch multiple new competency-based professional learning programs to over 2,400 educators across the district. The new programs are designed to provide a path for educators to demonstrate measurable competency in the skills they've acquired and earn recognition for their professional growth through micro-credentials. Read More »

The State of Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is the ed tech phrase of the year and a key concept for how digitally delivered teaching and learning will make the most significant impact on teaching and learning, but what is it? The variety of products and practices that claim to personalize learning differ vastly, making the term hard to understand.

We concluded that rapid new developments in the areas of adaptive assessment, data analytics, customized content, and adaptive instruction in recent years are the reason why “personalized learning” is not a well understood concept. There are currently at least three generations of personalized learning on the market:

  • Longitudinal data
  • Adaptive assessment
  • Adaptive instruction

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Data-The Key to Customized Instruction

In the 1950s public education was a monopoly. Students had to attend their neighborhood schools. Education has evolved into a market with options. Many states and districts now allow students to attend a variety of publicly funded and regulated options, and market forces are growing.

Data is the cornerstone for the development of educational improvement at the student, teacher, school, and district level. Data is key for school districts to effectively compete in the education market. Until the school and district effectively use data, there will be no gains in the greatest benefits in the use of digital curriculum and assessment. Read More »

It's All About Knowing Who to Talk To and When

In K-12 today, districts are more likely to participate in a shared decision making model when it comes to technology procurement. IT, purchasing, and curriculum folks are more collaboratively involved in making decisions to purchase technology than ever before as recognized by organizations like CoSN and the Council for Great City Schools.

There is one disconnect, however, in this collaborative process, and that is the often overlooked textbook purchasing department. Read More »

Integration of Multiple Technology Initiatives Is the Key to Effective Education Under ESSA.

The track record of effectively implementing technology into K-12 education is poor. This article looks at the three phases of effective technology integration—Initiation, Implementation, and Institutionalization—and addresses two key questions:

  • Why has implementation of education technology initiatives to improve educational effectiveness failed?
  • What do school and industry leaders need to know about implementation to make education initiatives stick?
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    Student Achievement: The Deep Dive With District Leaders

    EdMarketer 2016 explores district leaders’ perspectives on student achievement. See some of the highlights from the study Student Achievement: The Deep Dive:

    • You are just one player in “The Achievement Market.”
    • School district leaders have a clear definition for student achievement.
    • Teacher motivation, student engagement, and principal leadership are the top drivers of student achievement.
    • You overrate your role as an achievement partner to districts.
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