Articles in the Educational Technology category

2012 Magna Awards honors Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania school districts

Missouri’s Maplewood Richmond Heights School District, New York’s Monroe-Woodbury Central School District, and Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh Public Schools have been named the grand prize winners in the American School Board Journal’s (ASBJ) 18th annual Magna Awards program.

The Magna Awards are supported by Sodexo School Services. Each of the grand prize-winning school districts will receive $4,000 in scholarship money during a special presentation at the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Annual Conference, to be held April 21-23 in Boston.

The Magna Awards recognize districts across the country for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools. This year’s three grand prize, 15 first place, and 15 honorable mention winners were selected from three enrollment categories: less than 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000 students, and over 20,000 students.

“The Magna Awards exemplifies strong school board leadership, creativity, and commitment to student achievement in public education,” said Anne L. Bryant, ASBJ’s publisher and executive director of NSBA. “This year’s Magna Awards recipients truly showcase the best practices and innovative school programs that are advancing student success.”

“Sodexo is proud to create learning-friendly environments that allow our partner districts to focus on doing what they do best—educating our children,” said Steve Dunmore, president of Sodexo Education-Schools. “We are honored to sponsor the Magna Awards and want to celebrate all school boards and communities that share in the commitment to further student well-being and achievement.”

Here is information on the grand prize entries:

• The Maplewood Richmond Heights School District in Maplewood, Mo., earned the grand prize in the under 5,000 enrollment category for its outreach program for homeless high school students. School district officials worked with local churches and community volunteers to create Joe’s Place—a shelter for homeless male high school students. The shelter provides students with counseling and a caring home environment. Of the 14 students served by Joe’s Place, 13 have graduated from high school or on track to graduate. Six former Joe’s Place residents are attending college, one has joined the Navy, and two more are employed full-time.

• The Monroe-Woodbury Central School District in Central Valley, N.Y., is being honored as the grand prize winner in the 5,000 to 20,000 enrollment category for an outreach program at an elementary school that serves a community with a large immigrant population. School district officials, with support from the school board, developed “English as a Second Language Family Night,” a program that provides literacy training for students and their parents twice a week. While the literacy skills of both parents and students improved, more parents volunteered for class activities. Parents also were more comfortable expressing themselves to school staff members.

• The Pittsburgh (Pa.) Public Schools are being honored as the grand prize winner in the over 20,000 enrollment category for its outreach program aimed at increasing the participation of fathers and other male role models in the district’s schools. “Take a Father to School Day” is an annual event which invites fathers, grandfathers, and other male role models to spend a day at their child’s school. Since 2007, the number of fathers attending the event has climbed from 3,669 to 5,964 in 2011. The event was founded by Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Board Member Mark Brentley as a “call to action” for men to become more involved in their children’s lives.

ASBJ initiated the Magna Awards in 1995 to recognize school boards for taking bold and innovative steps to improve their educational programs. An independent panel of school board members, administrators, and other educators selected the winners from 300 submissions. This year’s nominations came from 44 states.

In additional to the grand prize winners, these school districts are also being honored:

Winners – Category 1 – under 5,000 enrollment
Balsz Elementary School District #31, Phoenix, Ariz.
Blue Ridge School District, New Milford, Pa.
North Salem Central School District, North Salem, N.Y.
Sanborn Regional School District, Kingston, N.H.
White Pine County School District, Ely, Nev.

Winners – Category 2 – 5,000-20,000 enrollment
Alexandria City Public Schools, Alexandria, Va.
Blue Springs School District, Blue Springs, Mo.
Boone County Schools, Florence, Ky.
Southfield Public Schools, Southfield, Mich.
Southwest Independent School District, San Antonio, Texas

Winners – Category 3 – over 20,000 enrollment
Johnston County Schools, Smithfield, N.C.
Newport News Public Schools, Newport News, Va. – 2 programs
Polk County Public Schools, Bartow, Fla.
School District of Osceola County, Kissimmee, Fla.

Honorable Mentions
Amelia County Public Schools, Amelia Courthouse, Va.
Bridgehampton Union Free School District, Bridgehampton, N.Y.
Lumberton Township Schools, Lumberton, N.J.
Oak Park Unified School District, Oak Park, Calif.
Petersburg City Public Schools, Petersburg, Va.
Clover Park School District, Lakewood, Wash.
Henderson County Schools, Henderson, Ky.
Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation, Mishawaka, Ind.
Topeka Public Schools, Topeka, Kan.
Williamsburg/James City County Public Schools, Williamsburg, Va.
Fairfax County Public Schools, Falls Church, Va.
Lafayette Parish School System, Lafayette, La.
Peoria Unified School District, Glendale, Ariz.
St. Tammany Parish Public School District, Covington, La.
Sweetwater Union High School District, Chula Vista, Calif.

The 2012 winners will be highlighted in a special supplement to the May issue of ASBJ, and will be formally recognized on Saturday, April 21, at the Best Practices for School Leaders Luncheon, which is part of NSBA’s 72nd Annual Conference.

In addition to the ASBJ supplement, all honrees will be posted on the Magna Awards website and added to the program’s searchable best practices database.

Alexis Rice|April 12th, 2012|Categories: American School Board Journal, Board governance, Educational Technology, NSBA Annual Conference 2012, NSBA Publications, NSBA Recognition Programs, School Boards, Urban Schools|Tags: , , |

NSBA discusses transforming education through technology on Education Talk Radio

The National School Boards Association‘s (NSBA) Director of the Education Technology, Ann Flynn, and Project Facilitator for Nevada’s  Clark County School District, Margie Zamora, appeared on Education Talk Radio discussing how technology is transforming education.

NSBA’ Technology Leadership Network (TLN) host several site visits  throughout the school year showcasing outstanding use of educational technology.

Since 1987, TLN has served local district leadership teams that establish policy and implement technology decisions to enhance teaching and learning, administrative operations, and community outreach.

Through NSBA’s technology site visits, school leaders are able to see education technology innovation in action and develop their own successful initiatives. This is a great opportunity for school leaders to witness classrooms where curriculum goals drive technology decisions.

From April 25-27, 2012 NSBA will host a site visit in Clark County, the nation’s fifth largest with nearly 310,000 students, encompasses both Las Vegas and its outlying communities.

Ranked first in last year’s Digital School District Survey by the Center for Digital Education and NSBA , Clark County uses technology to provide enterprise systems that support the business of learning and provide engaging 21st century experiences for all students. From cyberbullying prevention initiatives and “bring your own device” pilot programs, to online professional development and extensive use of social networking systems, this visit offers examples of innovation that can be applied in districts of any size.

Listen to the show on Education Talk Radio:

Listen to internet radio with EduTalk on Blog Talk Radio
Alexis Rice|March 28th, 2012|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Computer Uses in Education, Educational Technology, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Student Achievement, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , , , , , |

NSBA urges caution on virtual learning expansion

The National School Boards Association’s Executive Director Anne L. Bryant cautions lawmakers and school leaders to be wary of proposals to expand online learning and virtual schools in a commentary for the Huffington Post.

Bryant notes that while online learning can be beneficial for many types of schools and students, particularly those in small or rural schools, virtual schools are a “messy emerging field” with little data to evaluate their effectiveness.

“Until we have the data to show that virtual schools are meeting the challenge of educating our diverse populations of students, lawmakers must take a hard look at these schools and their sponsors, hold all parties to the same high standards as traditional public schools, and shut down any operations that are wasting students’ opportunities and taxpayer funds,” she writes.

In the midst of these fast-growing fields, conflicts of interest are not hard to find. Bryant notes a recent article by John Chubb, a visiting fellow at Hoover Institute and founder and chief executive officer of Leeds Global Partners, a firm with major financial investments in for-profit online learning institutions, calls for unlimited access to virtual schools and for state and local governments to pay those schools the same per-pupil amount as traditional public schools.

Read more in the Huffington Post.


Erin Walsh|March 26th, 2012|Categories: Board governance, Educational Technology, Online learning|

Preparing students for a ‘future we can’t describe’

David Warlick was riding a train from North Carolina to Washington, D.C., when a rustic stone pyramid in the landscape caught his eye. He snapped a picture with his phone’s camera, then posted it on Twitter and asked if anyone knew what it was.

Within five minutes, a woman responded that it was a memorial to a Civil War general.

What makes this story so remarkable was that the woman who sent the information was in New Zealand, Warlick added.

The founder of the Landmark Project used this anecdote to show that technologies such as Twitter have completely — and rather suddenly — changed the way the world communicates and obtains information. Those ways are particularly compelling to students, and school board members must find ways to harness – not ban — these technologies to understand the youngest generation and teach them more effectively.

Educators repeatedly have been given the message to embrace technology in education. But figuring out what that means—and what to do about it—remains an elusive goal for school board members.

Warlick shared his thoughts in an interactive session at the final session of NSBA’s Leadership Conference Sunday. Attendees shared their reactions online during the presentation in a Twitter-like chat room called Knitterchat.com, which Warlick created. He uses the Knitterchat platform not only as a way to further discussions and answer questions from participants but also as an example of how students use technology to access information.

Today’s students “have almost no formative recollection of 20th century. They are 21st century learners,” he said. “Yet they are still learning in 19th century classrooms.”

Warlick showed examples of his college-age son’s videography and texting as ways the younger generations use technologies to gain information and communicate. Rather than fear cell phones, social media, and video games, educators should use them as classroom tools, Warlick said.

“Things have to change — we are for the first time in history preparing children for a future we can’t describe,” he said. “So what do our children need to be learning for an uncertain future?”

For one, education policy experts have repeatedly emphasized the need for more classes tied to STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—subjects because so many future jobs will be in those fields. But Warlick argued for a similar emphasis on creative arts, including music, drama, and culture.

Not only will those classes stimulate learning in STEM topics and other areas, but these students will be prepared for careers that require creative arts skills to support STEM fields, such as designers for the casings of new technology products.

He suggested questions that school board members should ask, including, “What are the children learning that I didn’t learn?” and, “How the schools are using this new information environment to touch their communities?”

For more information on Warlick’s work, visit http://landmark-project.com.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 5th, 2012|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Arts Education, Educational Technology, Leadership Conference 2012|Tags: , , |

Education technology: Game changer

Only four out of 10 ninth-graders today graduate from high school ready for college or the workplace—and it’s going to take a more thoughtful, strategic use of technology to change that equation.

That was the message of Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, who spoke Sunday at NSBA’s Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

More attention must be paid to technology because limited financial resources and demographic trends are likely to force schools to hire fewer, younger, and less-experienced teachers in the years ahead, he said. Technology will prove a useful tool to help these teachers maximize their time and instructional effort.

But the promise of technology will only be kept if school leaders are smart about its use, Wise warned. Technology is not simply about adding laptops or Internet connections to classrooms.

“If you do that, you accomplish nothing but the spending of a lot of money,” he said. “What is required is a conscious strategy. When talking about districts where the technology is not working and large amounts of money were spent, you’re looking at a district that did not develop a conscious strategy beforehand.”

To emphasize his point, Wise showed his audience two slides: one of a classroom of a hundred students sitting in an amphitheater-style classroom with laptops in front of them; the other of a classroom where students were organized in small groups, with the teacher standing amidst half a dozen students, each working on their own laptop project.

The more intimate setting was the more reassuring, he noted. The scene suggested students were receiving personalized instruction. They were more engaged in individual instruction and advancing at their own pace, with an instructor available to answer questions, track individual student progress, and ready to step in when students faltered.

Any discussion of successful technology in schools won’t focus gadgets and software, he added. “It’s about the teaching, the pedagogy. We want technology to enhance teachers … We want technology matched with what teachers teach to allow them to do what couldn’t be done before.”

That’s going to take a lot of thoughtful planning—and school boards are just the entity to see that happen, Wise told conference attendees. One of the strengths of technology is that it can be adapted to variety of settings, and school boards are best positioned to determine what adaptations are needed for their school settings and student populations.

“During the next several years, the local school board will be the main agent for change,” Wise told School Board News after his presentation. “They will provide the innovation … school boards are where the rubber meets the road, and they’ll create the future education laboratories to help us find what works.”

Del Stover|February 5th, 2012|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Dropout Prevention, Educational Technology, Leadership Conference 2012|Tags: , , , , |

Celebrate Digital Learning Day today

Today, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is proud to be a core partner in the first-ever national Digital Learning Day. This event celebrates innovative teaching practices that make learning more personalized and engaging and encourage exploration of how digital learning can provide more students with more opportunities to get the skills they need to succeed.

“The National School Boards Association has been an advocate for the use of technology to enhance teaching and student achievement for more than two decades,” said NSBA’s Executive Director Anne L. Bryant. “On Digital Learning Day, we must ensure that all students have access to these resources or we will see the digital divide widen.  Devices and content alone will not transform education.  Policies and targeted resources must also be aligned to ensure teachers have the essential professional development opportunities that are necessary to maximize learning in this exciting new age of content.”

Today, a majority of states, hundreds of school districts, thousands of teachers, and more than a million students will encourage the innovative use of technology by trying something new, showcasing success, kicking off project-based learning, or focusing on how digital tools can help improve student outcomes.

To see real examples of the positive impact digital resources are having on learning, visit here to participate in Digital Learning Day’s virtual town hall meeting today from 1-2:30 p.m. EST. NSBA will be hosting a Technology Leadership Network site visit February 19-21 in the Texas’ Klein Independent School District, one of the districts featured during the virtual town hall. To learn more about Klein Independent School District’s technology initiatives go to:  http://www.nsba.org/tlnsitevisits/klein.htm.

Naomi Dillon|February 1st, 2012|Categories: Educational Technology|Tags: , , |

The week in blogs: The sum total of value-added teacher evaluations

Many criticisms of value-added teacher evaluations are based on misconceptions of how the systems work and how they should be used in a comprehensive teacher evaluation program.

That’s what Jim Hull, a senior policy analyst at NSBA’s Center for Public Education, points out in a series of blogs appearing this week in response to comments by education historian Diana Ravitch and Washington Post education blogger Valerie Strauss. All totaled, the three blogs provide a good introduction to what value-added is — and, perhaps equally important, what it isn’t.

“As the Center for Public Education report Building a Better Evaluation System states, value-added scores can be an effective tool in accurately identifying effective and ineffective teachers,” Hull writes, “but they should be used within the context of a comprehensive evaluation system that includes observations and other qualitative measures of a teacher’s performance.

Is education technology the key to solving our K12 problems? That’s an exaggeration, of course, but Time columnist Andrew Rotherham says we’re often seduced by what technology can do and consider it a panacea. No Luddite he, Rotherham presents a compelling argument for being purposeful and realistic when you consider new technology for the classroom.

Lastly, read Brett Nelson on Forbes (who comes to us via Joanne Jacobs’ blog) on why students should delay college for two years and get what he calls “grownup training.”

“Specifically: six months spent working in a factory, six in a restaurant, six on a farm and six in the military or performing another public service such as building houses, teaching algebra or changing bedpans,” Nelson writes. “. . . I’d reckon that grownup training would put undergrads deeply in touch with 1) why they wanted to go college in the first place, 2) what a special opportunity college really  is, and 3) more than a vague notion of what — and better yet — who they wanted to be when they grew up.”

Lawrence Hardy|January 28th, 2012|Categories: Center for Public Education, Educational Technology, Teachers|Tags: , |

Interview with Khan Academy’s Sal Khan

It began innocently enough in 2004 as a way for Sal Khan to tutor his young cousin, who was struggling with math and lived miles away. Within two years, those virtual lessons blossomed into a full-time career and the KhanAcademy, an online library of 2,600 YouTube videos and counting that currently draw more than 3 million viewers a month and fans like Google and Bill Gates, who sends his own kids to the free site for help with school work.

Covering mostly math and science, Khan’s low-key, straightforward and concise approach to brain-jarring concepts like quadratic equations and the phases of mitosis have taken the education community and students by storm.  

Khan, who is a keynote speaker at NSBA’s 2012 Annual Conference in Boston in April, carved time out of his busy schedule to talk to ASBJ Senior Editor Naomi Dillon about his journey toward “helping people learn what they want, when they want, at their own pace.”

So you’re an educator to the masses. Would you say that’s an accurate description?

Different people have different views on what an education is, and we don’t pretend that just experiencing on-demand video by itself is the panacea to solving education’s problems. But what we think we’re giving, at minimum, is an alternate way to tackle the material. If students missed a day at school, if their mind wasn’t engaged when it was happening in class, if they need to remediate things from previous years they’re definitely getting that. And I actually don’t think that should be understated, because frankly I think a lot of the reason why some students have trouble progressing is because they have gaps in their basic knowledge.

Few people realize how difficult it is to transfer knowledge from one person to the next. Did that come naturally to you?

I wouldn’t want to pretend by me recording these videos that I’m doing everything that a teacher does. I once volunteered teaching seventh-graders when I was in Boston. It didn’t take long for the classroom management to go through the door. I did not know what I was doing in terms of being able to handle 30 kids. But the part about explaining concepts, that is something I am into, and that’s hopefully the value I’m bringing. There’s a methodology to learning and my videos are about sharing that methodology to other people: “Let’s think this through; let’s do what seems logical; let’s try to find the pattern between things; and let’s do it in a conversational way.” You should feel like it’s a story even if it’s a math problem.

Where did this drive and appreciation for learning and education come from?

I think it’s a human instinct to love to learn and understand the world. But I think, what’s happened for most people is they become frustrated with one topic or another, or have a bad experience along their education, and they kind of fall off and start to believe that they don’t like learning. When really, they just don’t like being frustrated, they just don’t like being talked down to, and they don’t like when the information is going past them.

Explain why we don’t see you in your videos – just a black screen and a drawing tool with a multiple array of colors, a whole setup you call “The Forum Factor.”

When I decided to make the first videos I didn’t have any production equipment or a background in video production. I just got a cheap $20 head-set to record my voice, used screen capture software and just started using Microsoft paint. My cousins liked it. Other people gave good feedback. And now, although we have the ability to do more, we realize that [this way] is not only easier to produce, but it focuses on the content. It’s more intimate. It feels like we’re sitting next to each other as opposed to me at a white board talking to you.

Your videos are known for being brief and concise, lasting no more than 10 minutes. How do you know how much material to cover and when to stop?

I have found with most concepts 10 minutes is actually about enough time. You can get about two or three pretty decent concepts across in that time. If it requires more complex development I will say, “Hey, let’s just take a break,” and I’ll just resume it in the next video.

Besides the actual lesson, what do you want the viewers to take away from the videos and the exercises on the Khan Academy?

What we’re hoping to do is give students a genuine love for learning and, frankly, I hope I can make students see what I see: a world that’s fascinating, a world that’s full of mysteries to be solved.

 

Naomi Dillon|January 26th, 2012|Categories: Educational Technology, NSBA Annual Conference 2012, Student Achievement, Student Engagement|Tags: , , |

What K-12 issues will Obama address in the State of the Union?

Education Week‘s Politics K-12 blog is speculating what education issues will be discussed in the president’s State of the Union address tonight.

Education Week‘s Alyson Klein noted, “In giving this election-year State of the Union speech, Obama may brag about some of the steps his administration has taken on education, including creating the Race to the Top education redesign competition, and offering states wiggle room under key parts of the No Child Left Behind Act if they agree to take-on the administration’s reform priorities.”

Klein went on to mention, “Last year, President Obama asked Congress to pass a bipartisan reauthorization of the law. But it never happened, and now the administration is moving ahead with a waiver package that Obama’s own secretary of education thinks is stronger than any of the legislation under consideration. So, if I were a betting woman, I’d guess there won’t be much talk about NCLB this time.”

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) will be hosting a Twitter chat during the State of the Union address tonight starting at 9 p.m. EST.

Join the Twitter chat by using hashtag #EdSOTU and share your thoughts about the president’s speech and his plans for K-12 education.

By using #EdSOTU in your tweets, you will become a part of this virtual conversation. To see the entire conversation stream just go to Twitter and search #EdSOTU.

Alexis Rice|January 24th, 2012|Categories: Educational Technology, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Race to the Top (RTTT)|Tags: , , , |

NSBA to host Twitter chat on education issues during State of the Union

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) will be hosting a Twitter chat during President Obama’s State of the Union address,  starting at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Join the Twitter chat by using hashtag #EdSOTU and share your thoughts about the president’s speech and his plans for K-12 education.

By using #EdSOTU in your tweets, you will become a part of this virtual conversation. To see the entire conversation stream just go to Twitter and search #EdSOTU.

 

Alexis Rice|January 23rd, 2012|Categories: Announcements, Educational Technology|Tags: , , , , , |
Page 5 of 41« First...34567...102030...Last »