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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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    Six Things Small District Superintendents Need to Know and Do to Integrate Technology for Effective Education

    Attention to six practices and products enables small districts to personalize learning, achieve quality instructional outcomes, and create more efficient management processes:

    1. Knowledge of the availability and quality of digital educational materials
    2. Instituting integrated management systems
    3. Having IT organizations that address instruction and technology
    4. Providing strong professional development that coaches teachers
    5. Linking effective procurement processes for digital materials to a cost-effective cloud repository system for materials
    6. Constructing a solid infrastructure that can grow as digital needs grow
    7. Read More »

      In Successful Edtech, Pedagogy Comes First--Devices Second

      In terms of student proficiency, today's classrooms are more diverse than ever. We're "detracking" students previously sorted by ability. We're mainstreaming those with special needs. And we're serving more and more students who are just learning English. In these classrooms, teachers face a seemingly impossible task--providing effective instruction to all the unique students under their care. Educational technology (edtech for short) can play a significant role in mitigating and solving this growing dilemma. Read More »