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Greater Vendor Collaboration—Not Technical Integration

Up until now, integrations among LMS vendors, content providers, and student information systems have typically been technical in nature and often taken place in response to tender opportunities or individual client requests. What if these integrations weren’t reactive and limited to technical capability but were instead more proactive and creative? Can we collaborate as an industry to combine our individual solutions, allowing an outcome greater than the sum of its parts?

Reasons why now might be a good time to explore this idea:

  • Time to move beyond the innovators and engage the masses.
  • Technology ecosystem is more accessible.
  • Leveraging combined knowledge and understanding will benefit all.

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Time to Rethink “Generations”

With changes in hardware and performance drastically changing at a rate of months, not years, why do we still refer to groupings of birth years, or generations, as roughly 18 years? These generational time frames need to be revisited, particularly by K-12 education companies, in light of the speed of current technological and societal changes. With demographic planning, K-12 companies can look to the future with reliable accuracy for product development, marketing, and delivery. Read More »

Personalized Learning: Why Formative Assessment Just Makes Sense

The notion of personalizing education would have been laughable to those who started our American schools and most unwanted by immigrant parents a hundred years ago. Through research, we have learned a great deal about what makes teachers and schools excellent. Perhaps the confluence of education technology and increasing expectations for student learning to support a shifting economy have created the drive for personalized learning.

  • Personalized learning creates an opportunity to break away from traditional assessments.
  • Formative assessment provides a constant and consistent flow of information about individual student progress toward standards-based, personal learning targets.
  • Providing teachers with highly specific learning data for each child through formative assessment teacher tools is what accelerates learning.
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    Addressing the Revolving Door: Teacher Burnout and Attrition in K-12 Education

    My experience as an urban school educator has shown me that the story remains the same. School teams start the year at 100% with big promises and a deep understanding of the impact that stability of staff and leadership have on a school. Then it happens. Month by month and year over year the door begins to turn, and one by one, teachers begin to slowly drift away from the passion they once held for their profession. One of the most prevalent reasons given for the constant revolving door of educators—both new and veteran—leaving the profession is teacher burnout.

    • Teacher burnout is real.
    • It impacts schools every day.
    • It is imperative to remember: this is a solvable challenge.
    Here is what I did to increase staff retention from a 72% average to 88% in one year.
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    Designing the Ideal Personalized Curriculum

    As the Title I teacher for at-risk students in my district, I’ve seen firsthand how once low-achieving students can come alive with a teaching style and instructional tools that click with them. The ed tech industry has done a great job thus far in helping teachers move beyond that “Sage on Stage” to more interaction with students. But there’s so much more support we need from ed tech companies to support teachers in truly engaging students and having them increase their learning and their confidence.

    Here are just a few:

    1. Assessment drives instruction.
    2. Don't stick to just one type of content.
    3. Offer some freebies.
    4. Just get started.
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    Getting Students Ready for the Real World

    It’s a daunting time to be entering the workforce, and as a credit recovery teacher and online learning coordinator, I have seen countless students worry about their future career paths. It’s my job as an educator to equip students with lifelong skills to serve them well for college and/or careers after they finish high school. I want to encourage edtech companies to help make the transition from school to career much easier for students (and their teachers!).

    1. Get personal.
    2. Help students see the big picture.
    3. Offer a variety of CTE courses and materials and opportunities.
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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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