The K-12 Daily Dose Blog

Creating "Flow in Tenagers" with Classroom and Mobile Computing

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Fri, Dec 5,2014 @ 3:29 PM

technology in the k-12 classroom

photo by Rachel Pangi

By Dan Beerens, Educator, Author, Speaker, Blogger | Reposted with permission from the CSI Blog

While most of us are keeping up with technology changes on a personal level, I sense a level of skepticism by some about the value of using more classroom and mobile computing in our instructional delivery at the school level. It is true- we tend to get the value of technology for our personal use, but why don’t we allow students the same level of use as they try to do their work? The fact is we find it difficult to break out of our “teaching box” and teach differently than we were taught. We want to make sure that we are not leaving out essential skills and that is a good thing. However, given how much things are changing, I believe we are remiss if we don’t make time for both the conversation about what is truly essential and how we will deliver instruction in relevant and engaging ways. We are moving from a culture of teacher delivery to a culture of guided exploration/collaboration and we must engage students in the learning process.

Are we getting better at engaging students with classroom and mobile computing? Yes and no. A study released by the Speak Up National Research Project indicated that “students are generally asked to ‘power down’ at school and abandon the electronic resources they rely on for learning outside of class.” (Education Week, 4/1/09) Furthermore, the study shows students aren’t being adequately prepared for the technology demands of the marketplace. We can downplay the importance of engagement, but must acknowledge that how learners learn continues to tip in the direction of visual-spatial intelligence, and to not deliver instruction in those ways is simply sticking our heads in the sand. Richard Selznick, author of The Shut-Down Learner: Helping Your Academically Disadvantaged Child, believes that 4 out of 10 elementary school students may give up on learning before graduation time and become “school casualties.” In his counseling work he has noticed that almost all of his clients are strong in “hands-on” and weak in language skills. The problem of course is that most classroom instruction is highly verbal and subsequently “deadening” to them. Their disinterest, distraction, and failure to follow through on work is sometimes viewed as laziness and low motivation. These students are sometimes diagnosed with ADHD or dyslexia and prescribed medications. We can and should do better for kids who are square pegs and don’t fit our standard round holes, rather than knocking off all their God-given edges. We all know stories of people who barely survived school and once freed from formal education went on to make significant and meaningful contributions to life.

Research around the concept of “flow” in teenagers again points to the need for engagement and motivation. (“Flow” is the state in which we are so engrossed in doing something that we forget everything else. For more info, see the research of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi done in the 1990’s and reported in his books.) When do teenagers experience “flow” and when don’t they? Not surprisingly, classroom time rated among the worst experiences in terms of “flow”, while extracurricular activities were among the highest. For suggestions on how to change this phenomenon, click here:

So what does this have to do with nurturing faith? I suggest that a deadening education is an education that tends to discourage faith. When we don’t acknowledge that students are uniquely created and learn in different ways, then we disrespect them as persons and cause them to feel somehow inferior.  Without opportunities to learn using their individual strengths, we are disregarding how they have been created. Given that many of our students are visual-spatial, by not allowing them to tap into these strengths as learners, we are providing a deadening education. If as a learner I feel no sense of acceptance or place, it will impact my faith in a just and loving God. If I can’t feel a sense of being valued from my teacher for how God has made me, it will affect my desire to embrace the teacher’s worldview. If I am discouraged in my learning, how can I possibly desire to learn more? I pray that we are not fulfilling Neil Postman’s analysis that many children begin formal education as question marks and leave as periods, with the feeling, “if this is learning, I want nothing more to do with it.” How can this be honoring to a God who has provided us with a fantastic creation that is full of learning possibilities? God has made us to be learners, and when we shut that down in students, we bear an awful responsibility for the impact on their learning and faith development.

Classroom and mobile computing is a gift that we have been given to nurture faith and make learning more accessible, engaging, and collaborative. What is holding us back? Some of you may not have the classroom and mobile computing you need, but others of you have more technology than you are even using. As one administrator commented, “It’s like we have a Learjet that we only drive to church and back.”


Topics: technology consulting, blended learning, k-12 education, ipad integration, flipped classroom, principals, curriculum, integration, computing, swimgrid, school, edtech

3 Key Attributes of A Well Connected Teacher

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Wed, Oct 29,2014 @ 12:42 AM


What does it take to be great?  A device in the hands of every student is not the ultimate answer.  To make technology come together in the classroom takes a teacher with a unique set of skills.  Skills probably not covered in their teacher preparation programs.  So what is the recipe for success?  The answer can be complex and long.  To be brief, I will break it down into 3 areas.  We call it "The 3 C's" for teacher technology productivity.  What are "The 3 C's" for teacher technology productivity?  Let's take a deeper look.

The key to teacher success with technology can be complex but it really come down to 3 areas.

  • Confidence (professional development)
  • Competence (modeling, best practices)
  • Content (lesson development)



Although there are several components of a well developed technology plan, teachers and "The 3 C's" should be the focal point.  When considering all of the complexities and variables involved with technology integration, the greatest variance usually involves the teaching staff.  

Over the last 23 years, we have surveyed and conducted skills assessments with thousands of teachers.  Our data shows a very consistent distribution.  

10% - Well Above Average 
15% - Above Average
50% - Average
15% - Below Average
10% - Well Below Average


This variance is greater than students skill level variance or infrastucture readiness variance.  Although most technology plans focus on infrastructure improvements and device acquisition, it is the teachers that required the most attention.  Even plans that focus on students and digital curriculum strategies still lack enough focus on teachers and their need to acquire technology skills.

It's easy to look back and see where this shift began.  Their seems to be two distinct camps in the edtech universe.  One camp believes in automation, apps, educational games and software and the emergence of adaptive software solutions.  Although a lot of venture funding and think-tank energy is being funneled into this area, it is not certain that this direction will ultimately make for better prepared life-long learners.  Global citizenship and workplace readiness needs students that do more than master standardized tests.  The workplace will require thinkers, problem solvers and creative types that have a mastery over technology and have the ability to innovate with technology in an analogue world.  So how can "The 3 C's" impact the future?


Those "in-the-know" have found that a project-based learning environment can accomplish so much more than simply playing games or appifying the curriculum process.  Although schools and districts need to address and prepare a digital curriculum strategy, hands-on usage and project-based learning approaches will give students the experience of using technology to solve educational problems.  By looking at emerging trends such as DIY, STEM, Coding and the Maker Community, it is clear that these approaches can prepare students in a more complete way.  However, it is also clear that this approach required a more savvy teacher.  This is where "The 3 C's" strategy comes into play by preparing teachers to thrive in this environment.  Yes, more time up front for professional development, modeling and lesson development needs to be done.  An investment in "staff" instead of "stuff" is required for this method to work.

There is no denying that apps and game environments can benefit students.  Creation and hands-on application of learning can benefit students long term.  Does it require more teacher involvement?  Absolutely!  But the payoff is a more well rounded student that is better prepared to venture in to the world and be productive.  Competition will be fierce for these students and it is our obligation to send them into the world prepared to do battle.  Other countries are doing this already.  It's time to get back to work and make sure we leave behind a strong legacy.


Topics: technology consulting, lesson plans, curriculum, integration, edtech, beyond technology education

Top Federal Grants to Help K-12 Schools Fund Technology Costs

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Tue, Apr 15,2014 @ 5:00 AM

technology fundingToday, lots of schools are looking for ways to develop new technology-based programs or incorporate tehcnology in new and different ways in curricula, teacher training progams and other areas. And that's great news. As the world becomes more and more tech-dependent, having students who understand how to navigate that environment is critical to their future success as adults. But, just because you have a plan in place doesn't mean you have the funding to implement it. As many schools find out, implementation costs of even modest tech programs can be quite high, often far exceeding a district's tech budget.Fortuntately, there are solutions.

In addition to raising funds through grassroots efforts like parent-teacher groups and local foundations, there are a couple of federal programs available that can make tech funding a reality for many districts looking to implement new strategies or expand on existing programs:


Also known as the Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries, the E-Rate program is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), an independent nonprofit group designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The program provides funding to schools and libraries to help offset the cost of obtaining Internet access, telecommunications and internal network communications connections. There are five categories under which funding may be obtained:

  • Telecommunications

  • Telecommunications services

  • Internet access

  • Internal connections

  • Basic maintenance of internal connectionsschool technology funding

Discounts on these services range from 20 percent to 90 percent, and the level of support a school or district may receive depends on economic data as well as whether the school is located in an urban or rural area. The funding program has an annual cap of about $2.3 billion.Although this is essentially an FCC-related grant, the USAC oversees application processing, eligibility confirmation and funds disbursement. 

Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT)

The goal of this federal program is to enhance and improve student learning and achievement by incorporating technology in elementary and secondary school environments. In addition, the program aims to ensure students become technologically literate by the end of eighth grade by providing teacher training and curriculum development for programs that can be broadly implemented. Grants are provided to state educational agencies based on the state’s proportionate share of funding under Part A of Title I. According to the EETT website, types of projects include: 

  • the use of new or existing technologies to improve academic achievement

  • the development of technology-based curricula that designed to meet state academic standards

  • the use of technology to increase parent involvement

  • the use of technology to collect and analyze data to enhance professional performance

Finding funding for tech programs for your school may seem like a hassle, but the time you invest in learning about different funding options can yield great results. As with any fundraising project, the key is to diversify and consider many different sources, from local and state programs to parent-teacher groups and educaitonal foundations to federal grants like the two described here. Take time to review any grant's requirements to make sure your application is custom-tailored both to your needs and to the funding organization's goals and objectives, and before you know it, you could have the funds you need to make your program a reality. 




Topics: technology funding

4 Ways To Find The Technology Funding Your K-12 School Needs

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Tue, Apr 8,2014 @ 4:00 AM

technology fundingAcross the country, schools are adopting new plans and programs to help address the need for greater access to technology throughout their districts. Since so many districts are grappling with state and federal funding shortfalls, schools have begun looking elsewhere to get the funding they need to put their technology initiatives in place.

If you’re one of those districts, read on to find out about four potential sources of funding that could help make your district’s technology dreams come true:

Federal grants

One of the goals of the current administration is to help improve the availability of technology in K-12 schools, and as a result, federal grant programs have become available to help schools get the funding they need. Although many districts and school groups make the mistake of believing federal grant money is only available through the U.S. Department of Education, in fact, many different government agencies offer grants. The key is to search broadly and read the grant terms carefully to learn which ones may apply to your school’s needs. To make it easier to learn about which grants are available, the government has developed a website - - that serves as a federal grants clearinghouse. The list is comprehensive, so be prepared to spend some time to learn which grants might apply to your needs.

Title II funding

Title II funding is federal funding that’s provided to state and local educational agencies for their disbursement. That means that the type and number of grants available will depend on your state or local Title II agencies. One of the best places to start looking is at your state department of education’s website. You can also do an Internet search using the term “Title II” coupled with your state name or the name of your county or other locality to turn up potential sources of Title II funding in your area. Pay close attention to funding requirements when deciding whether or not to apply; Title II cuts have resulted in many funding opportunities adopting more stringent qualification guidelines.

Parent groups

If your school has a PTA, PTF or other parent organization, tapping them for assistance can be an effective way of helping your school get the funding it needs. Most parent organizations are experienced in raising funds through a wide variety of activities and special events, and most members are extremely eager to help their child’s school succeed. Even the community at large is usually well engaged in any effort that can help improve their school’s overall performance – and hence, their property values. technology consulting

Getting publicity can be key here; ideally, you want to garner media attention that will enable your fund raising efforts to move beyond the school grounds and well into the community, including the involvement of local businesses. Having a person or team handle publicity – that is, writing press releases, reaching out to the local media, writing letters to the editor and even writing brief articles for the local paper – can be a critical part of your campaign’s success.

Educational foundations

In addition to parent groups, educational foundations can be very helpful in acquiring funding. Again, looking beyond your local community and focusing on foundations with state or national presence is an important part of making sure the foundations you approach have the funds available to meet your needs. Private foundations and charities can have very specific guidelines and requirements that determine qualification, and even a minor misstep in the application process can mean disqualification of your school. Careful, diligent review of the application and eligibility requirements are crucial to ensuring your grant is properly developed to have the best chance of receiving funding.

Ready to get started? Getting organized is the key. Make sure to assign specific roles to anyone involved in the grant-writing or fund-seeking process, and develop a system to keep track of your progress to make sure you don’t miss important deadlines that might kick your school out of the running.

Topics: technology funding

How To Prepare Your Staff For A New Technology Curriculum In K-12 Schools

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Tue, Apr 1,2014 @ 4:00 AM

classroom technologyThe 21st century is synonymous with the age of technology, and therefore has transformed education in ways that affect both teaching and learning. Implementing technology integration and new technology curriculum in K-12 schools is a major emphasis for principals and superintendents who also need to know how to prepare their staff for the necessary changes.

Principals and superintendents will first need to assess what kind of technology savvy their teachers already possess--or not--and create professional development plans accordingly. Then, in order for K-12 teachers to embrace and use new instructional methods that incorporate educational technology and maximize the effectiveness of new technology curriculum, the teachers need to develop and possess the 3 C's: confidence, competence, and content.

How to Prepare Teachers and Staff for New Technology Integration

Principals and superintendents should start with an assessment of their teaching staff, which will reveal what their teachers know and don’t know about technology. These assessments should be written to follow the International Society for Technology in Education, or ISTE standards, formerly known as the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers, or NETS-T; these are the technology skills that teachers should be regularly using in the classroom. They include the following, from the ISTE-NETS standards:

  • Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity.

  • Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments.

  • Model digital age work and learning.

  • Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility.

  • Engage in professional growth and leadership.

Based on the assessment results, teachers should be grouped by ability level and an individual professional development plan should be created for each teacher. This will ensure that each teacher gains the confidence and competence he or she needs to be effective in teaching and implementing high quality technology and content in the technology curriculum.

Develop the 3 C'stechnology consulting

The next step in preparation should focus on the 3 C’s for teachers as they strive to adopt and use technology and the technology curriculum in the classroom.

In order for technology to really make a difference at each school, teachers must develop and possess the 3 C's, as they participate in technology training with Integration Specialists:

Confidence – Teaching staff develop confidence as they learn from training and understanding vocabulary and the basics. This training process includes demonstration, practice, trial and error, and more practice to reinforce new skills.

Competence – Teaching staff gain competence from modeling and learning best practices, and seeing technology impact their students' learning. This training process includes staff observing skilled computer teachers using age and grade appropriate technology skills, while weaving them into relevant educational themes. This helps teachers learn acquire “on the job” and "hands-on" training, while assisting the computer teachers and learning and implementing best practices.

Content – Teaching staff learn how to develop great content as they evaluate current classroom lessons and create project-based technology units. This training process includes creating and implementing standards-based lesson plans that both teach and inspire students. By taking an inventory of all available classroom technology, as well as reviewing and aligning with the state or core standards, highly skilled Integration Specialists weave engaging technology projects into existing classroom lesson plans. This allows classroom teachers to see their lesson plans transformed into relevant and effective projects enriched by 21st century technology.

Why Is Professional Development So Important?

Assessing teaching staff and preparing them to implement technology and technology curriculum are not isolated incidents in just a few schools or school districts. Around the nation, numerous educational groups are determining the best ways to prepare teaching staff to effectively manage technology integration, including:

  • Professional development coordinators and directors.

  • Grant Committees and other funding groups.

  • Teacher unions and associations.

How is YOUR school handling assessment and preparation of your teaching staff? Technology integration and proper implementation of technology curriculum is vital to prepare students for life in the 21st century as technologically literate adults. 


Topics: technology consulting, lesson plan integration, k-12 education

The 5 Components Of Implementing A New Technology Curriculum in K-12 Schools

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Thu, Mar 27,2014 @ 5:00 AM

Technology literacy is a relatively new initiative in 21st century schools. Ironically, many mobile technologystudents tend to have more knowledge about various forms of technology than do their teachers. This is because so many students typically enjoy their digital gadgets and use them frequently for socializing, so they are well-versed in how to use technology. Teachers need to harness these existing interests and skills, and redirect them for use within a technology curriculum.

5 Components Required to Implement New K-12 Technology Curriculum

Principles, superintendents, IT directors, curriculum directors, and technology committees, along with teachers, need to consider the foundational components that go into rolling out a new technology curriculum into schools, from K-12 grade levels.

Here are five key components or areas to consider when implementing any new K-12 technology curriculum.

Professional Development

Many teachers don't possess the technological skills that some of their students do, and therefore often lack the confidence necessary to implement a new technology curriculum. It is essential to assess, train, and support teachers and staff members through meaningful training and modeling of the technology curriculum and its implementation. This ensures that teachers observe and practice current best practices on technology use for their respective grade levels and subjects.

Student Technology Curriculum

Students in grades K-12 are typically divided between those who have and eagerly use digital gadgets of all kinds, and those who do not have or use them, either due to lack of interest or skills, or no access to them. It is vital to evaluate and equip both types of students with the technology skills they need to be better students today and technologically literate or savvy global citizens for tomorrow. This means redirecting the existing skills some students have, and providing instruction for those students who lack technological skills.

Lesson Plan Development

The implementation of a new technology curriculum must start at the basic level of developing strategic classroom lesson plans and integrating relevant technology projects that incorporate the most current presentation tools and web 2.0 methods. These steps will serve to improve classroom instruction, engage students, and improve learning outcomes.

Technology Equipment and IT Support

Before any implementation of a technology curriculum can take place, it is crucial to evaluate a school technology infrastructure to ensure it is set up and prepared for maximum effectiveness of the roll out of the curriculum. This may require making the necessary additions for the school to transition through stages from an existing simple computer lab environment, to a mobile lab environment, to an efficient one-to-one device environment for all or select grade levels.

Assessment and Project Management

No technology curriculum implementation is complete without evaluating its effectiveness and facilitation of the achievement of designated goals for students. This falls under the category of project management, and typically requires the development of a strategic assessment plan. That plan includes periodic assessment of goals to ensure the entire project stays on task and accomplishes what it was originally designed to do.

Benefits of Technology in the Classroomtechnology consulting

Why should schools consider implementing a technology curriculum? Consider these benefits described in a report by the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Changes the dynamics of student-teacher roles. Students become more active learners, rather than passive recipients, while teachers become more facilitators than lecturers of instruction.

  • Increases motivation and self-esteem. Students exhibit more initiative and take more pride in their accomplishments.

  • Improves technical skills. Even at elementary school levels, students acquire a broad range of skills with computer software and digital gadgets.

  • Facilitates accomplishment of more complex tasks. Students tend to develop higher-order thinking skills and processes.

  • Increases peer collaboration. Students enjoy working in pairs and teams, and even provide peer tutoring for those students who lack in technological skills.

  • Increases use of outside resources. Students have wider access to a wealth of resources outside the classroom.

  • Improves design skills with more focus on meeting needs of the intended audience. Students use multimedia enhancements targeted for the needs and preferences of the intended audience.

Topics: technology consulting, mobile technology, curriculum

How A Hasty Technology Purchase Won't Benefit Your K-12 School

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Tue, Mar 25,2014 @ 4:00 AM

Technology in education is very important and changing faster than many districts can keep up k 12 educationwith it. Because of that, it is very tempting to dive in and purchase those laptops, tablets or other devices. However, this is really one area where taking time to learn about the market and studying what the future may offer will pay off. Learn more about why a hasty technology purchase could be one of the biggest mistakes you could make!

Technology Has a Learning Curve

Just because you purchase tablets, laptops or other devices for use in the classroom, if the administration and teachers don’t understand the best ways to utilize them, they won’t be used. Any technology purchase should have training and staff development in mind as a major consideration. After all, if the devices will not be used because the teachers do not understand the benefits, what is the point in purchasing them?

Technology is Always Changing

Obviously what is cutting edge today will be outdated even a year down the road. However, that cannot be a reason to put off a purchase--since it will always be the case to a degree. However, it does make an argument for putting more care into technology decisions. Think about what products are likely to retain long-term support and updates. These are the products that make sense to purchase. Additionally, technology items that can be upgraded may be a cost-efficient solution for this problem. Adding additional storage, memory or peripherals is often significantly cheaper than purchasing new core systems.

Don’t Let Trends Guide Decisionsmobile technology

Along the same lines, it is important to look beyond what is popular right now and look at what will be functional and useful in the future. While tablets are extremely useful and popular right now, completely overlooking keyboard products could be a big mistake. Not only is it important that students become comfortable using a keyboard, touchscreen products are notoriously easy to break and malfunction. Sometimes developing a plan that embraces both current trends and long-lasting standbys may be the right solution.

Learn From Other’s Mistakes

Over the past decade or two, school systems of all sizes have adopted new technology plans. Which ones have failed and which ones have succeeded. One notable example is Los Angeles’ iPad program. Only a small percentage of teachers favor continuing with the program. After all, these devices are essentially useless when rolled out in schools that are barely meeting the basic needs of the students. While no program will have a 100% success rate, discovering which have been the most successful can help you make an educated decision as to your technology purchase.

As you can see, it only makes sense to spend time researching devices, planning for implementation and educating yourself and others within your school or district about technology before you make a decision. If you are careful with your purchase, you will be able to get the most from your devices both now and in the future--instead of regretting your decision a few short months down the road.

Topics: lesson plans, k-12 education, mobile technology

8 Reasons K-12 Schools Should Use Mobile Technology in Their Curriculum

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Thu, Mar 20,2014 @ 4:00 AM

The face of education has changed drastically in the 21st century, particularly as education mobile technologyembraces the age of technology and incorporates elements of technology within K-12 schools. This is necessary to equip and prepare students with the technological literacy they will need in college and beyond, throughout life, as global citizens. Among the newest form of technology to implement within the curriculum is mobile technology, which includes such devices as digital tablets, smartphones, iPads, iPods, e-readers and other types of electronic gadgets.

8 Reasons for K-12 Schools To Use Mobile Technology in Their Curriculum

Principles, IT directors, superintendents, and stakeholders should purchase mobile technology devices for their students and teachers. The pros or benefits of purchasing mobile technology include these eight considerations.

1. Mobile technology provides students with complex problem solving skills. As technology continues to evolve, students trained in schools on proper use of mobile technology will be better prepared for the future. They will acquire the complex problem-solving ability to walk up to any technological environment and device, and be able to figure out how to use it.

2. Mobile technology helps students acquire skill sets that will be critical for their future success. Since the job market is quickly evolving, students are no longer competing on a limited local basis; they are competing globally, due to the Internet making global access and interaction available. The ability of students to acquire and demonstrate their competencies with mobile technologies will become increasingly critical in the upcoming years and decades.

3. Mobile technology provides teachers with unlimited access to multimedia rich resources. Current teaching strategies--such as Common Core, flipped classrooms, and blended learning--all benefit from the increasing use of mobile technology. It also provides teachers with unlimited multimedia-enriched curriculum resources that greatly benefit students.

4. Mobile technology gives teachers the ability to use tools students are already comfortable with using. Since so many students already use mobile devices in their everyday lives, it is easy to redirect this use and transition into using mobile technology for school activities. In fact, Darrell West--founding Director of the Center for Technology Innovation, published a paper stating that 52 percent of students in grades 6-12 regularly use digital tablets for everyday schoolwork.

5. Mobile technology provides teachers and students with a superior way to collect and organize educational content. Digital portfolios and other collaborative mobile technology tools, such as cloud drives, increasingly provide secure and accessible ways to conveniently store and share data.ipad integration

6. Mobile technology provides students a easier way to collaborate on projects. Students can now use their mobile devices such as smart phones, iPads, Chromebooks, or laptops to store and share data that is easily accessible both in and outside the classroom. This makes it possible to collaborate with other students in the classroom or long distance with other classrooms around the world.

7. Mobile technology creates learning opportunities before, during, and after class – 24/7 learning. Teachers can now be confident that students will continue their learning outside of class. Students can learn beyond their schools' curriculum by tapping into experts on topics that interest them or support their classroom learning.

8. Mobile technology allows unlimited ways to differentiate learning. Each student learns differently and mobile technology allows students to tap into the best media type to accommodate their learning styles. There resources align with all of Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains, which include the following: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.


A common acronym well-known in schools now is BYOD -- this stands for Bring Your Own Device, and is often the concept or initiative that provides relief to strained school budgets. As students are encouraged and allowed to bring their own electronic and digital devices to school, under strict policy guidelines for their use as mobile technology in the classroom, they acquire even greater skills for appropriate use in school and beyond.

Topics: technology consulting, lesson plan integration, ipad integration, chromebook, mobile technology

5 Signs Your K-12 Students Are Ready For A High-Tech Classroom

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Tue, Mar 18,2014 @ 4:00 AM

Most students are more prepared for technology in the classroom than parents and teachers may realize. In fact, even students from kindergarten to grade 5 or 6 are often ready for high-tech classrooms before their teachers are prepared to integrate that technology.

Principals, teachers, and parents need to evaluate and understand if and when students are technology consultingprepared for new technology in the classroom. At least five signs indicate students are ready for high-tech classrooms.

5 Signs of Technologically Prepared K-12 Students

Following are five signs that K-12 students are prepared for high-tech classrooms:

  1. Students bring mobile devices from home – During summer and Christmas vacations, students often receive or buy digital devices such as tablets, laptops, and other technologies. Students then bring these mobile devices with them to their classrooms, typically intending to use them for purposes other than schoolwork. This indicates a prime opportunity for teachers to integrate these types of technology into the classroom and redirect their use for academics rather than allow them to become distractions.

  2. Students communicate with teachers and each other using Twitter, email, or other social media tools – Many times, students or parents ask for Twitter handles, email addresses, or Facebook pages to allow for communication and socialization outside of school hours. While some teachers don’t like or use any of these forms of technology, others welcome and use it, and see the potential for its use in education. In the 21st century, these common and recognized forms of communication technology indicate it's time for administrators in schools to make decisions and establish policies governing acceptable uses for these types of communication, both inside and outside the classroom environment.

  3. Students find ways to supplement classroom learning at home using digital media – Teachers may begin to notice students turning in homework that looks different than it used to: word processed, color laser printed, digitally laid out, or enhanced with multimedia or other artistic effects. This is a good indication that it’s time to evaluate the best way to leverage these tools for improved classroom learning and at-home studying. Teachers might consider conducting a survey to determine which students have access to various types of technology, and develop a technology strategy based on survey results.blended learning

  4. Students become bored in the classroom, but whenever technology is introduced in the classroom, they exhibit excitement – It's always a challenge to keep students engaged and interested in listening and participating in the classroom. Today's technology, however, integrated in the classroom can turn bored, tuned out students, into excited, dynamic learners. Digital light boards, document cameras, and mobile carts of computers are often the first step towards a 1 to 1 device environment (meaning each student possesses and uses at least one form of technology). Teachers may be amazed at how quickly learning behaviors change and students focus more on actively participating, simply by having access to these tools. This helps teachers to know they are on the right track.

  5. Students ask if homework can be done and delivered using home computers or other digital devices – Frequently, students will drive the need for change in the classroom. Students familiar with using technology at home can assist in bringing classrooms to the next level. When the majority of students are using technology to do their homework and conduct research, as well as learn about and use different digital tools to collaborate with one another, access data, and turn in assignments, it's time for administrators and teachers to evaluate and integrate new technologies.

How do YOUR students measure up based on this list of five signs? How prepared are your teachers to recognize, accept, and implement technology to create high-tech classrooms?

Topics: technology consulting, blended learning, lesson plan integration, lesson plans

3 Things to Consider Before Upgrading Your K-12 School's Technology

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Thu, Mar 13,2014 @ 4:00 AM

As the age of technology marches on through the 21st century, it has changed the face of Technology integrationeducation and created new ways to both teach and learn. Technology integration in the classroom is a major initiative to develop technological literacy in K-12 students in order to prepare them for life beyond school.

Most K-12 teachers have had to embrace new instructional methodologies that incorporate technology, even as their students--already immersed in various forms of digital technology--are eager to engage in this relatively new way of learning.

Yet, Dr. Jamie McKenzie, long-time educator and editor of From Now On - The Educational Technology Journal, warns his fellow educators to consider carefully the purpose of upgrading and integrating technology. He uses the term "toolishness" to describe the foolishness of "planning and installing networks and computers before clarifying educational purpose and how these tools might be used." In other words, teachers and students don't need to have access to and use every available technological tool on the market unless it serves a real purpose towards meeting learning objectives and improving outcomes.

3 Considerations Before Upgrading and Integrating Technology

Teachers should keep several things in mind before upgrading and integrating technology in their K-12 classroom, Here are three primary considerations:

  1. Develop and implement a plan. As Dr. McKenzie emphasized, it does no good for a school district to simply purchase large quantities of equipment to upgrade technology in the district's schools if there is no plan in place defining the purpose for the integration of those tools. The administrator and faculty members within each individual school must first develop a plan for technology integration that clearly defines how each tool, whether laptops or handheld devices or any other form of technology, will help students meet designated learning objectives and improve expected outcomes. Only then should they implement the established plan to upgrade and integrate approved forms of technology in the classroom.

  2. Work with, not against, the school's budget. Jim Johnson, former K-12 educator and k-12-education-1current Director of Instructional and Information Technology Service at Indiana State University, is all for upgrading and integrating technology at the K-12 long as school budgets can sustain the financial burden. An alternative, he suggested, is to encourage the implementation of Bring Your Own Device, commonly known as BYOD. Johnson stated, "Instead of using the school budget to buy technology, they should say, ‘You have a laptop, you have an iPad, we'll integrate you in.'" Doing so, Johnson suggested, engages students in using technological skills they already have, but channels them more directly toward meeting learning objectives. Johnson emphasized, "You've got to have good teaching and use instructional time effectively. You need creative, engaging lessons that use technology so that the students are active participants in learning."

  3. Align with common core standards. One change in common core standards in the 21st century, due to such federal initiatives as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, is an increased demand for students to achieve technological literacy. To accomplish this, schools and teachers must upgrade and integrate technology in the classroom. Rebecca Rinehart, director of technology for Indiana's Greenwood Community Schools, stated that their schools needed "more technology and digital content in the curriculum" and federal stimulus resources funded a much needed upgrade that "led to enhanced technology offerings." For example, according to the district's Director of Schools, Dr. Dale Lynch, some of the enhanced technology allowed them to more fully align with their state's common core standards that "call for students to use digital tools and the Internet to produce and publish writing and to interact with peers."

So should you and your school upgrade and integrate technology? Absolutely! Just make sure that you avoid "toolishness" by developing and implementing a plan, working with and not against your school's budget, and aligning with common core standards. 

Topics: technology consulting, lesson plan integration, k-12 education

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