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Make Mindful Use of All Components of the Blended Learning Definition

Few people, even experts, use the whole definition of Blended Learning as published by the Clayton Christensen Institute and reposted throughout the online/digital learning world. Developing a true blended learning experience that works for all students takes intentional, mindful use of all three parts of the definition:

  • Delivery
  • Location
  • Connected Instruction
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Three Lessons From China: How International Collaboration Sparks a Culture of Learning

For the past year, we’ve been rolling out curricula and projects that help students in China and in the U.S. learn about each other’s cultures and build skills in critical thinking, communication, and language through safe digital collaboration. In working to spark a new world of learning through the program, we’ve discovered much about the ups and downs of using technology on a global scale in a way that makes a real difference, which brings me to the deeper three lessons we learned in China as we paired classes on our platform for collaborative learning:

  1. Connection is one thing; collaboration is another.
  2. Peer social interaction—when done safely—is magical.
  3. Learning is an overarching culture that unites and inspires.
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10 Biggest Barriers to Mobile Technology Adoption

For the past five years I have watched schools move toward mobile technology and have seen a consistent top 10 barriers to mobile technology adoption:

  1. Lack of vision and leadership
  2. “We don’t have money”
  3. Curriculum hasn’t changed
  4. Technology is only supplementing what was already there
  5. Technology infrastructure
  6. Culture of the teachers, the administrators, and the students
  7. Parent and community culture
  8. Takes too long for change
  9. Assessment
  10. Buying tablets and not a learning solution
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Five Critical Ingredients for Supporting Technology-Enhanced Learning Initiatives

Progressive education leaders are now creating comprehensive learning initiatives in which technology is a component of a larger systemic shift directed toward improving student outcomes. In each successful instance of this new approach, I’ve seen school administrators blend the following ingredients to create successful, technology-enhanced learning initiatives:

  • Clearly articulated educational goals
  • A clear plan aligning professional development to goals
  • A comprehensive content strategy with teachers’ ease of access to these documents from all platforms
  • An access strategy
  • An evaluation/continuous improvement plan
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The Library Media Specialist: A Changing Role in Turbulent Times

The stereotypical, shushing school librarian is a thing of the past, and it’s clear the role continues to change with the times; the technology; and our 24/7, information-rich, non-stop world.

Library media specialists are more essential than ever:

  • At the forefront of technology integration
  • Engaged in curriculum development to support the CCSS and 21st century skills
  • Seeking resources to support their role as strong education leaders
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Should HR Directors Care About Student Achievement?

An HR Director for a large school district recently told me, “I am not concerned with student achievement. My job is to make sure that we stay in compliance with employment laws. I leave those issues to the curriculum people.” 

While I had never had it put to me quite that frankly, I was not shocked, based on my discussions with others as a former teacher, principal, district administrator, and now leader of a company that focuses on helping schools and districts with teacher hiring. The debate is alive and well. Should HR directors care about student achievement?

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Equitability ≠ Increase Learner Outcomes

Is playing the equitable card in technology and professional development initiatives really the right approach for positively impacting practitioner and learner outcomes? School culture plays a critical role in the success of technology initiatives, yet is rarely considered as a factor for planning and executing central-based technology implementations. Using a blind process, such as a school lottery system or equitably deploying technology across a grade level, does not necessarily secure positive outputs.

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The State of Common Core: 10 District Survey

The BLEgroup conducted a survey of 10 districts and larger organizations to get data from the frontlines on the feasibility of an effective implementation of Common Core in 2015. The 10 districts surveyed are leading-edge districts that are members of the BLEgroup. They represent a wide range of sizes and types, varying from small rural, large urban, state departments, and service centers. Read on for the survey results. Read More »

Aligning Teacher Evaluation and the Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards and teacher evaluation initiatives have great potential to prepare students for success in college and career and to improve teaching.

But the challenge is that in most states and districts these initiatives are not aligned. What would it look like if they were aligned, and how would teachers and students benefit? Read More »

Data Data Everywhere, But Not a Budge in Student Achievement

Everything we read says that harnessing data is the key to education improvement: we should be able to break down data, understand and look for trends, and drive more effective student instruction. How can we get there?

Leslie Kerner, Senior VP and General Manager, Professional Services for Amplify Insight, offers the following advice for publishers:

  1. Every program needs to produce data, and that data should be real-time formative data.
  2. Ensure educators have adequate support in learning about how to connect the data to instruction and the time to plan, reflect, and share.
  3. Decisions about professional development, coaching, training, use of team meeting time, and the ways teachers will use the data have to be made collaboratively with the publisher and administration.

Read on to see how this plays out in schools and districts.

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