The K-12 Daily Dose Blog

What is Education Like in Cuba?

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Thu, Jan 15,2015 @ 2:11 PM

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So Cuba is now in play.  This is fascinating to me.  My entire life I have been told and indoctrinated into thinking that Cuba is bad.  It’s Communist and so it’s bad.  I’m wise enough to now know that it’s not the people that are bad but possibly the government.  I guess that’s open to discussion now too.  I know many Cuban Americans and they are not bad people at all.  In fact their togetherness, family values and knack for cooking amazing food is very similar to my experience as an "American of Mexican Decent".  They seem very much like me. 

Naturally, as an education entrepreneur, I am intrigued with the possibilities of making a difference in Cuba such as I make here in the USA.  So, with a quick thank you to Wikipedia (not always my favorite source) and others (see below) here is what I know so far about the Cuban Education System.

Education in Cuba

  • Irrespective of income or place of living, education at every level is free.
  • School meals and uniforms are free.
  • There is a strict maximum of 25 children per primary-school class, many of which have as few as 20. As of 2010, secondary schools are striving towards only 15 pupils per class.
  • Many schools open at 6.30 am and close 12 hours later, providing free morning and after-school care for working parents with no extended family.
  • "Mobile teachers" are deployed to homes if children are unable to come to school.
  • A majority of Cuba's 150,000 teachers have a minimum of 5 years of higher education; about half have a master's degree.
  • There are now 23 medical schools in Cuba, up from only 3 in 1959 before the Cuban Revolution.

Teacher education

A five-year course is provided for pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers at the Institutos Superiores Pedagógicos. They obtain the "Licenciado en Educación Primaria" (Certificate in Primary Education) or other types of degrees. Admission to these courses is based on the Bachillerato. Higher education students are offered specialized upgrading courses in the subjects they teach as well as teacher training courses. Many teachers are professionals from the production field. Where teachers are specially selected graduate students, as has mostly been the case in the last ten years, they receive initial teacher training simultaneously with their studies.

Highest literacy rate in the world

With all this focus on education it is no surprise that Cuba has the highest literacy rate in the world at 96%.  They are possibly second to Argentina depending which source you are using.  In addition to a very robust traditional K-12 system, they also have a thriving technical / vocation system and a successful university system.  The only downside I see to their education system is that males must enlist in the Cuban military to take advantage of the university system.  Keep in mind all of these educational opportunities are completely free to the student and paid for entirely by the government.  The lone exception that I could finds is the military requirement for males.

With recent economic difficulties in the country there have been some cutbacks in the university system related to social studies and humanities.  The government has placed a priority on students wanting to receive education in the medical and scientific areas of study.  It appears to me that the Cuban government is promoting STEM education from the top.  Maybe we can also learn from them.  I’m looking forward to filling in the gaps and getting to know our island neighbors to the South East even more!

 

Sources:

New York Times: http://goo.gl/KyBFRe

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Cuba

Classbase: http://www.classbase.com/countries/Cuba/Education-System

Know About Cuba: http://knowaboutcuba.com/2012/06/a-look-at-the-education-system-of-cuba/

 

  Case Study | Chromebooks in Schools

 

 

Topics: technology consulting, k-12 education, technology funding, STEM Education

10 Trends to Personalize Learning in 2015 | FREE Webinar Hosted by Sevenstar | 2/24/15

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Wed, Jan 14,2015 @ 3:33 PM

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10TrendsRedLogo

2015 is turning out to be the year that schools emphasize the learner in personalized learning.

Tuesday, February 24
10 AM PST / 1 PM EST

In this presentation, Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey will share four concepts and ten trends from their new book about making learning more personal for the learner.

Register Now to keep up with these new school trends:

  • Assessing student-competency so that failure is no longer an option
  • Building sustainable capacity at schools with teacher-coaching models
  • Creating classrooms that support collaborative and multi-age learning
  • Developing effective personal relationships between teachers and learners
  • Establishing advisory programs that reflect on the learner's work and goals
  • Motivating learners with accountability, project, and play-based learning

Who will Benefit: This webinar will benefit private school leaders seeking to strengthen their school for the future. 

Note: Everyone who registers will receive a link to the recording and a PDF copy of the slides.

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Topics: blended learning

How to Avoid the FBI Seizing Your School's Records

Posted by Ernie Delgado on Wed, Jan 14,2015 @ 12:13 AM

LAUSD-FBI--LA-Times3 

Los Angeles, CA, January 12, 2015

The Los Angeles Times reported Monday the key reasons why the FBI seized 20 boxes of records on December 1st, 2014 from LAUSD offices.  The Times reported that the records were related to the ill-fated iPad roll-out and that there is now a criminal investigation being conducted by the FBI and that the case is being examined by a Federal Grand Jury.

The Times story points out that there was a lack of a clear implementation plan for the iPad roll-out.  The story also went on to state that other key reasons for the poor performance of the program was the lack of professional development for teachers, lack of a leadership to manage the project and little support to gather valuable curriculum related projects from teachers in the District.  The story also alluded to the relationship between key district officials and key technology companies (Apple Education and Pearson Learning) involved in the roll-out.

Read December 2nd, 2014 story here

Read January 12th, 2015 story here

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Topics: ipad integration

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: http://www.nurtureshock.com/

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.”

DB

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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

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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)

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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

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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?

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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.



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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:

E-Rate

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. 

 

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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 - grants.gov - 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.

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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. 

 

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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.

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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.

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

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