Most school districts want to be seen as “innovative.” To some, that means deploying the latest and greatest technology tool or initiative, such as tablets, makerspaces or one-to-one computing programs. To others, it means implementing a new schedule – such as flexible periods, common times, or “20% time” – that supports a different way to provide instruction. And still others will embark down a road of instructional shifts, such as differentiation, project-based learning, inquiry learning, portfolio assessment, or a myriad of other activities designed to improve educational delivery. We refer affectionately to all of these as “shiny objects.”
GreyED Solutions is pleased to partner with SmartBrief to provide busy K-12 education technology innovators with “Tech Tips Tuesdays.” Published every Tuesday in the SmartBrief on EdTech newsletter, Tech Tips are written by educators for educators to boost their know-how and expand their skill set. Read Tech Tips here on our site or subscribe to SmartBrief on EdTech to get them delivered directly to your inbox.
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Every leadership expert supports the importance of having a mission and vision that everyone in the organization can rally around and use to support decision-making. But in today’s challenging world of education is that enough?
The datacenter plays an increasingly important role in the success of K-12 digital initiatives. Building or improving a datacenter to support a digital initiative can be a daunting task for even the best trained and staffed IT teams. Prior to deciding on a course of action, an IT team needs to take a look at a more philosophical question: Convergence or disaggregation?
Every day we read about students, staff and administrators that post, Tweet or share something that, in retrospect, they wished they had not. We’ve fallen into the practice of sending whatever we want out to the world and hoping for the best. When asked, “Why would you post something like that?” the answer is often “I thought it would be funny,” “I was just kidding,” or “Who would ever see my post/Tweet/image?”
Here’s the reality: We are now connected digitally to one another and we need to understand that if we post something there might be consequences.
As the technology leaders for our districts, many of us have become the key change catalysts as we move into transformative digital learning environments. Change management is one of the toughest challenges in any organization, but especially in education. The following three strategies will help make sure you are successful as you move your district or school into digital transformation:
Student data privacy is becoming a larger part of the education discussion. All stakeholders – educators, administrators and parents – are responsible for ensuring the security and proper use of student data. As districts conduct discussions around this topic, here are some key points they should consider:
Education technology today is froth with new trends. Blended learning. Self-pacing. Flipped classrooms. Project-based learning. There’s a lot to choose from on this menu and schools and teachers are looking for just the right option for their students.
But should you limit yourself – or your students – to just one innovative practice? Maybe not. Maybe it’s time to branch out and test the waters with a few ideas.
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) was certainly not a term or a concept that K-12 was willing to embrace. Think about it. BYOD suggests allowing students to use their devices in an environment where cell phones have been banned since their inception. However, as legislation has forced districts to use digital curriculum and computer-based testing, the ability for districts to provide sufficient devices to meet these unfunded requirements has become untenable. The idea of leveraging the devices students already own became very attractive.
We strive to increase communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity – our “four Cs” – among teachers and students as we deploy technology in the White Bear Lake Area Schools. Our differentiated professional development pathway, guided by district goals and data analytics, enables us to achieve this.
As education technology leaders, one of our goals is to position technology such that it supports both the “authorized” work of schools, as well as the emergent. Authorized is meant to include current communication systems, software and tools that are accepted and have widespread use in the organization. Emergent technologies are those that we are considering adopting or are intrigued by and want to pilot. They are the newer technologies, more innovative and might be untested locally but show promise elsewhere.