EdNET Insight - From the Editor http://www.ednetinsight.com en-us http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Central by Imulus (http://imulus.com) info@ednetinsight.com Balance in 2015 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/balance-in-2015.html My best wishes and those of everyone at MDR to all our readers for a wonderful Holiday Season and a prosperous and peace-filled New Year. It hardly seems possible that another year has passed. The new year will pose many challenges and in almost every instance education can contribute to the solution. I have always felt blest to be part of the education industry, to do something that I love and at the same to be able to contribute even just a bit to the growth of students and the support of educators. <p> We will be taking a publishing break over the holidays, returning with the first issue of 2015 on January 9. Things should be relatively quiet over the break. ]]> Friday, December 19, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/balance-in-2015.html Balance in 2015 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/balance-in-2015-12-19-2014.html My best wishes and those of everyone at MDR to all our readers for a wonderful Holiday Season and a prosperous and peace-filled New Year. It hardly seems possible that another year has passed. The new year will pose many challenges and in almost every instance education can contribute to the solution. I have always felt blest to be part of the education industry, to do something that I love and at the same to be able to contribute even just a bit to the growth of students and the support of educators. <p> We will be taking a publishing break over the holidays, returning with the first issue of 2015 on January 9. Things should be relatively quiet over the break. ]]> Friday, December 19, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/balance-in-2015-12-19-2014.html ERate Update, Early Childhood, Coding http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/erate-update--early-childhood--coding.html Another busy week. <p> It appears we will have a FY 2015 budget soon. The House passed The "Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015," late Thursday, so it's up to the Senate now. The bill, which totals $1.014 trillion, funds most government spending through September 30, 2015. The Department of Homeland Security is funded under a Continuing Resolution that expires on February 27, 2015. <p> The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to increase E-Rate funding by $1.5 billion annually in order to help U.S. schools and libraries improve internet access. The decision will allow the United States to expand high-speed Wi-Fi to more than 101,000 schools, and nearly 16,000 additional libraries. <p> Working to deliver on his promise to provide high-quality early childhood education" to every child in the country, President Obama hosted a White House Event to kick off the "Invest in US" program, designed to support the expansion of ECE through a combination of federal, corporate and foundation support. <p> This was Computer Science Education Week, marked by a myriad of activities, much of it centered on Code.org's Hour of Code. Last year's Code.org got 20 million students to try one Hour of Code, put online courses into 10,000 classrooms, and partnered with 100+ high schools to support full computer science curriculum. In 2014 the organization hopes to reach 100 million students for an Hour of Code, 100,000 teachers to host an online course, and 100 districts to bring permanent computer science courses to 1,000 high schools. ]]> Friday, December 12, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/erate-update--early-childhood--coding.html Award Programs, Common Core Asessments http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/award-programs--common-core-asessments.html <i>District Administration</i> magazine has announced its <i><a href="http://www.districtadministration.com/article/k12-leaders-pick-favorite-products">2014 Readers' Choice Top 100 Products</a href></i>. DA received more than 2,400 unique nominations from its readers this year, up from 1,800 last year. Nominations were narrowed by the magazine's editorial board based on the quality and quantity of theses testimonies. One of the things I really like about these honors is that each nomination required a testimonial from a school administrator describing how the product made a positive difference for students and staff. Since the nominations are made by administrators, you get a list of products that are used fairly widely, at least in a given school or school district. Many products have won in years past, but there are also several new winners. <p> In late October, <i>Tech & Learning</i> magazine named 102 education technology products as winners in its <a href="http://www.techlearning.com/portals/0/AOE_2014_Press_Release_v5.pdf "><i>Awards of Excellence</i></a href> program. Companies submit their products for consideration for the awards .What I like about this program is that submitted products are run through their paces by a panel of experienced ed tech-using educators in several rounds of judging. This allows T&L to consider each product's quality and effectiveness, ease of use, creative use of technology, and suitability for use in an educational environment. ]]> Friday, December 05, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/award-programs--common-core-asessments.html An Eventful Week http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/an-eventful-week.html Before turning to the news, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday weekend. We all have so much for which to give thanks! <P> It's been a busy news week. <p> FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a $1.5 billion increase in the E-Rate spending cap, the first increase in E-Rate funding since the program's inception in 1997. The FCC is expected to vote on the proposal on December 11. <p> Congress passed and the President signed into law the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 2014. The legislation had broad bi-partisan support. <p> President Obama and Sec. Duncan hosted a gathering of superintendents - recognized for their leadership in helping transition their districts to digital learning - at the White House this week. A centerpiece of the event was the signing - both actual and virtual of the Future Ready Digital Pledge. <p> The K-12 OER Collaborative, an initiative led by a group of 11 states with the goal of creating comprehensive, high-quality, open educational resources, released a Request for Proposals to create open educational resources (OER) supporting K-12 mathematics and English language arts. ]]> Friday, November 21, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/an-eventful-week.html CEM Wrap Up, ESEA Flexibility Renewals http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/cem-wrap-up--esea-flexibility-renewals.html October was Connected Educator Month (CEM). The organizers report that more than 800 organizations participated, including almost everyone who had participated in 2013 and many new companies, organizations, states and districts. In early November, organizers reported that 940 events and activities had been listed on the CEM calendar. There were also a number of events and activities that took place "off-calendar. More educators and others were reached around the world every day (15-16M) via Twitter alone than all of CEM 2013 (14M+). Though the level of activity will slow, organizers will continue to promote new events and other key activities on the calendar. <p> <i>Tech & Learning</i> magazine announced the winners of the 2014 Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence. The magazine has been recognizing outstanding ed tech products for over 30 years, both new offerings and significantly updated products that help educators in the business of teaching, training and managing with technology. All entries are given a rigorous test-driving by qualified educators in several rounds of judging. See the complete list of winners in the Announcements section of today's newsletter. <p> The Department of Education doesn't seem to be intimidated by the new Republican majorities in the House and Senate. This week, it published its <a href="http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/flex-renewal/index.html"> new guidelines</a href> for renewal requests of ESEA Flexibility. The waiver program is not looked on with much favor among most Republicans (and a share of Democrats). Congress could short circuit the waiver process by finally acting to reauthorize ESEA. But passing a truly bipartisan bill, one that the President will sign, will not be easy. ]]> Friday, November 14, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/cem-wrap-up--esea-flexibility-renewals.html Election Results http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/election-results.html EdSurge and Digital Promise announced the inaugural winners of the “Digital Innovation in Learning Awards.” There are a lot of awards and recognition programs in our industry, but I must say the names of these awards stand out from the pack – like the Walk the Walk Award which was won by S. Dallas Dance, Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. Dr. Dance was one of the speakers at this year’s EdNET Conference and his passion for teaching and learning was evident. You can view the panel discussion Dr. Dance participated in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV6fBfdYfFk&feature=youtu.be">here</a>. <P> On Monday, Nov 17, SIIA is hosting a webinar on the <a href=http://studentprivacypledge.org/#about>Student Privacy Pledge</a href>. More than three dozen leading K-12 school service providers have signed the Pledge since the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) launched it in early October. If you’re wondering if this is something your company should consider, this is your chance to learn more about the Pledge. The webinar will provide background and context, explain the dozen specific pledge commitments, share the perspectives of signatory companies and education leaders, and address questions about the Pledge and the signature process. As I said several weeks ago, the Pledge is a proactive effort to focus attention on school service providers "good behavior," detailing industry practices that not only meet but go beyond existing federal requirements. You can find more information and register <a href="http://siia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1885:responding-to-privacy-concerns&catid=27:education-overview&Itemid=1930at"> here</a href>. <p> And then there are the election results… ]]> Friday, November 07, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/election-results.html CCSS Materials, Apple's ConnectED Initiative http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/ccss-materials--apple-s-connected-initiative.html Capstone chose the perfect venue - the School Library Journal Leadership Summit - to debut "School Libraries Matter: The Changing Role of the School Librarian," a short film it produced with the help of educators across the nation. Watch the film at <a href="http://bit.ly/1nzvID3">http://bit.ly/1nzvID3</a href>. <p> Educators are getting access to more Common Core materials. Achieve released <a href="http://www.achieve.org/equip">50 lessons</a href> rated Exemplar (well-aligned with the Common Core and ready for immediate use in classrooms) or Exemplar if Improved (aligned, but require some improvement in one or more dimensions of the rubric). The materials were submitted by states, districts, partners and educators and were reviewed and rated by the EQuIP Peer Review Panel, a group of expert reviewers who have been trained to apply the EQuIP Rubrics and quality review process. Publishers and developers might want to check out some of these reviewed lessons to get an idea of what characterizes highly-rated materials. <p> ASCD announced the <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/course/id932201902">Common Core Resources Project on iTunes U</a href>. The Project is a curation of instructional resources and assessment sample items that will help educators successfully implement the CCSS and teach effectively using iPads. The project features 23 iTunes U courses designed by teacher teams comprised of Apple Distinguished Educators, members of PARCC Educator Leader Cadres, and ASCD teachers. <p> Apple announced that 114 schools will receive ConnectED grants, fulfilling its $100 million commitment to ConnectED. Every student at the schools will receive an iPad, teachers and administrators will get an iPad and MacBooks, and every classroom will be equipped with Apple TV. ]]> Friday, October 31, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/ccss-materials--apple-s-connected-initiative.html Bridging the Word Gap http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/bridging-the-word-gap.html Last week the White House, along with Too Small to Fail and the Urban Institute, hosted an event focused on bridging the word gap. We've known for 20 years that during the first three years of life poor children hear roughly 30 million fewer total words than their more affluent peers, putting them at a distinct disadvantage not only for school success but also for long-term health outcomes, earnings, and family stability. During the event the Administration announced a coordinated effort by the Department of Education (ED), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help parents address this critical issue. ]]> Friday, October 24, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/bridging-the-word-gap.html Privacy Pledge http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/privacy-pledge.html Last week, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) announced a K-12 school service providers Pledge to safeguard student privacy. A small leadership group supported the launch by signing the Pledge. Over the next several months, SIIA and FPF will solicit additional support from school service providers and work to make educators and parents aware of the Pledge and the industry's commitment to protect student privacy. <BR> <P>SIIA and FPF built the Pledge around a dozen commitments regarding the collection, maintenance, and use of student personal information, including not selling student information, not targeting advertising based on student behavior or profiles and using data only for authorized education purposes. These are all things most school service providers are already doing. The Pledge is a proactive effort to focus attention on "good behavior," detailing industry practices that not only meet but go beyond existing federal requirements. It is also meant to encourage service providers to more clearly articulate their practices. Transparency and clarity can go a long way in building trust among educators and parents. Learn more at http://studentprivacypledge.org/?page_id=45 ]]> Friday, October 17, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/privacy-pledge.html Educator Support for the Common Core http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/educator-support-for-the-common-core.html There are several surveys and polls making the news this week, focused on the implementation of the Common Core. Surveys are always subject to interpretation, but I think the message is pretty clear at this point. It's interesting to note that during EdNET the Common Core was hardly ever the focus of the discussion. It was, however, the assumed given, a defining element of classroom instruction and pedagogy. While the politics of the Common Core will continue to be divisive, classroom and district realities are more positive, focused on moving forward and getting the job done. <p>The teacher's voice is captured in <a href="http://www.scholastic.com/primarysources/PrimarySources-2014update.pdf">"Teachers' Views on Common Core State Standards."</a> This survey was fielded by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in July 2014, a follow-up to the third edition of the <i>Primary Sources</i> survey of America's teachers that was conducted in 2013. <p> Superintendents' views are represented in <a href="http://www.gallup.com/file/strategicconsulting/172025/K-12%20Superintendents%20Panel%20Report%20July%202014.pdf">"Understanding Perspectives on American Public Education"</a> based on a Gallup/Education Week survey, the second of three surveys Gallup has planned to track and understand superintendents' opinions on important topics and issues facing education. <p> <a href="http://www.cep-dc.org/displayDocument.cfm?DocumentID=440">"Common Core State Standards in 2014: Districts' Perceptions, Progress, and Challenges,"</a> from the Center on Education Policy, is based on a nationally representative sample of school districts in Common Core-adopting states. CEP has been conducting research on the Common Core with district leaders since 2009. ]]> Friday, October 10, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/educator-support-for-the-common-core.html In the News http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/in-the-news.html MDR's <a href="http://ednetconference.com/">EdNET Conference </a href>kicks off this Sunday in Baltimore. The registration list shows healthy representation from both long-established education market companies and start-ups and entrepreneurs. I'm looking forward to seeing long-time friends and meeting the many new players. For those of you unable to attend, we'll be sharing information on trends and insights shared at EdNET in future issues of the News Alert. <BR> <P>Just a few things to be aware of this week.</P> <p>Congress has passed a Continuing Resolution that will fund FY 2015 government operations through Dec 11, 2014. Funding levels essentially flat with those of FY 2014.</P> <P>For anyone here in Chicago,<a href="http://www.up.co/communities/usa/chicago/startup-weekend/4009"> Startup Weeekend Education</a href> kicks off tonight, Sept 26, at 6PM at National Louis University, the site of last year's successful inaugural event.</P <P>October is <a href="http://connectededucators.org/">Connected Educator Month</a href>, the third annual celebration of professional collaboration, designed to help more educators get proficient with social media. It's not too late to get your message in front of participating educators.</P> <p>The Foundation for Excellence in Education and Getting Smart have launched the <a href="http://myschoolinfochallenge.com/">My School Information Design Challenge</a href>, a national competition to rethink and redesign the way in which key data is presented on school report cards.</P> ]]> Friday, September 26, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/in-the-news.html Learning Games, PDK/Gallup http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/learning-games--pdk-gallup.html Today marks the last day of Operation Play, the weeklong game-based learning initiative. Organized by our friends at Filament Games, the event was designed to celebrate those innovative educators who are implementing game-based learning in their classrooms. It featured social media giveaways, a video case study series, educator podcasts, a game-based learning community and of course, learning games. Operation Play partners included BrainPOP, GlassLab Games, MIT's Education Arcade, Institute of Play, iCivics, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, GamesandLearning.org, WorkingExamples.org, the Gaming in Ed Conference of Learning Revolution.com and edWeb.net There's still time to get a glimpse of the goings on a the Operation Play Resource Center at https://www.filamentgames.com/operation-play . ]]> Friday, September 19, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/learning-games--pdk-gallup.html Another CR; Cyber Security Awareness Month http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/another-cr--cyber-security-awareness-month.html The new federal fiscal year starts on Oct 1. That means Congress has to do something about the FY 2015 budget. No one wants to see a government shutdown in an election year. On Tuesday, Hal Rogers, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced a short-term Continuing Resolution that would fund federal programs and services at the FY 2104 spending rate of $1.02 trillion until December 11, 2014. The bill was crafted to win support - there are no controversial riders or significant changes to existing federal policy - and was expected to pass in both the House and Senate. There are no changed to anything affected the Department of Education and its budget, so it will be business as usual for the next several months. <br> A vote was expected on Thursday, but the process is paused right now while Congress decides how to deal with the President's request for funding to support the effort to defeat the Islamic State militants. Congress will get this CR passed. The lessons of the last government shut down are still raw. It's likely that another CR would be passed before the December expiration date, leaving any final appropriations legislation for the new Congress to deal with in 2015. ]]> Friday, September 12, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/another-cr--cyber-security-awareness-month.html ESEA Flexibilty Gets More Complex http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/esea-flexibilty-gets-more-complex.html ESEA Flexibility seems to get more complicated by the day. Of the 34 states that applied for a waiver extension, 22 states have been granted extensions for the 2014-15 school year. It seems likely that the remaining 11 extension applicants will get their extension letters soon, though Arizona and Oregon are ranked as "high risk," mostly because of problems with their teacher evaluation systems. Oklahoma became the only state to have its waiver extension request denied. Washington state had its waiver revoked back in April. Washington needed existing state law to be amended to require teacher and principal evaluations to include student growth on state tests. That legislation failed early in 2014. But now that the Department of Education has pushed back by one year the timeline for incorporating student growth on state assessments into the new teacher evaluation systems, Washington state education officials feel that the extra year may have allowed them to work out the legislative roadblock. Meanwhile, some news outlets are reporting that Oklahoma's governor is considering suing the Department of Education over its waiver denial. That has the potential to become a big problem. ]]> Friday, September 05, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/esea-flexibilty-gets-more-complex.html Waivers for the ESEA Waivers http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/waivers-for-the-esea-waivers.html Somehow this piece of news slipped by me. In mid-August, Rep. John Kline, Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Senator Lamar Alexander, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions have asked the Government Accounting Office to initiate an investigation of the ESEA Flexibility (waivers) initiative. In their <a href="http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/kline_alexander_gao_esea_waivers_8_12_14.pdf">letter to the GAO </a href>, the two Republican leaders asked the agency to study the criteria used for waiver determination, the changes states have made to comply with waiver requirements, the average time, resources and legislative action required to seek and maintain waiver approval, and some of the requirements surrounding implementation of the teacher and principal evaluation systems. Republican have long complained that the Department of Education has used the ESEA Flexibility initiative to establish new requirements that are not authorized by Congress and step well beyond the bounds of the current legislation. Kline and Alexander pointed out what they see as uneven application of the requirements as the Department goes about approving waiver extensions, especially around the new educator evaluation systems. ]]> Friday, August 29, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/waivers-for-the-esea-waivers.html PDK/Gallup and EdNext Polls http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/pdk-gallup-and-ednext-polls.html Two polls were released this week examining the publics' attitudes about American education. Though a lot of attention has been paid to the half dozen or so question devoted to the Common Core Standards, both PDK/Gallup and Education Next (EdNext) cover a broader range of topics. PDK will be publishing the results of its 46th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools in two sections this year. The first, published this week covers American's opinions on the Common Core State Standards, student standardized testing, international comparisons, school governance, and school choice. A report scheduled for October will focus on teacher preparation and evaluation, support for reforming America's schools, student well-being, and preparing students for college and careers. In its eight version of its national poll, EdNext asked respondents about their knowledge of and evaluation of American schools, school spending, school choice policies, personnel policies, Common Core Standards and college readiness. The PDK/Gallup poll provides a lot of historical context, allowing readers to see how opinion has changed over time. EdNext probes more deeply on some questions, developing a context within which to understand the original "Agree" or "Disagree" response. ]]> Friday, August 22, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/pdk-gallup-and-ednext-polls.html Teachers on the Common Core, State Broadband Activity http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/teachers-on-the-common-core--state-broadband-activity.html 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). ]]> Friday, August 15, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/teachers-on-the-common-core--state-broadband-activity.html Back-to-School News http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/back-to-school-news.html 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. <BR> <P>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 DonorsChoose.org. 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. ]]> Friday, August 08, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/back-to-school-news.html Software Platforms and School Software Use http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/software-platforms-and-school-software-use.html 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). ]]> Friday, August 01, 2014 http://www.ednetinsight.com/news-alerts/from-the-editor/software-platforms-and-school-software-use.html