EdTech - Technology Solutions That Drive Education https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/rss.xml en 5 Tips That Foster Collaborative Professional Learning https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/5-tips-foster-collaborative-professional-learning <span>5 Tips That Foster Collaborative Professional Learning </span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Fri, 05/25/2018 - 14:29</span> <div><p>Leveraging new technology for professional learning <strong>requires some creative thinking</strong> — and it also takes money.</p> <p>A few years ago, a group at the <a href="https://www.uncc.edu/" target="_blank">University of North Carolina at Charlotte</a> received a grant from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction that paid for notebooks and software for creating a professional development program for elementary school teachers. The program’s goal was to <strong>improve student achievement and higher-order thinking skills</strong> through more effective use of educational technology.</p> <p>The group started by creating a curriculum map that outlined the courses they wanted to teach. Then they created a <strong>repository for instructional resources</strong> that were aligned to state standards. Finally, they began engaging in digital conversations with the teachers to help them become more familiar with the goals of the program.</p> <p>Topics included project-based learning; integrating digital images into the classroom through screencasting with ShowMe and Educreations; telecollaboration with the Google Suite; and telecommunication with <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/microsoft/skype-for-business.html?cm_mmc=Vanity-_-skype-_-NA-_-NA" target="_blank">Skype</a> and <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/google.html" target="_blank">Google</a> Hangouts — all aimed at <strong>addressing higher-order learning skills</strong>.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>1. Set Clear and Consistent Goals</h2> <p>Teachers struggle at times to stay focused on planning and creating <strong>technology-rich instruction and resources</strong> for themselves and their students. Make sure one person remains ready to redirect the group if they get off-track. Remember that there must be accountability; teachers must be given the opportunity to revisit and reflect on their goals and check their progress toward the desired outcome.</p> <h2>2. Ensure that the Technology Enhances Learning</h2> <p>Educators often criticize technology because it doesn’t always enhance traditional approaches. For example, if it’s just a cute little game for elementary school students, it’s not meeting the goal of enhancing learning. Whatever technology is used during professional development or by teachers in classrooms, it should <strong>address needs related to teaching and learning</strong>. In Polly’s project, for instance, IT professionals spent time with teachers exploring virtual mathematics manipulatives online that students could work with to deepen their understanding of math concepts.</p> <h2>3. Be Supportive of Teachers’ Learning Preferences</h2> <p>While some teachers may be enthusiastic about using an app for, say, digital conversations about book studies, others may not. Some teachers can <strong>learn by viewing a video, while others prefer attending a class session</strong>, and still others won’t fully embrace a new digital method until they try it out in the classroom with their students.</p> <h2>4. Connect Teacher Learning to Classroom Activities</h2> <p>Educators are more likely to embrace learning opportunities if they <strong>see an explicit connection to their daily work in their classroom</strong>. Although most of the professional development sessions Polly and colleagues conducted were over the summer, they kept the sessions focused on how teachers would use the technology in the classroom, so most were motivated to participate.</p> <h2>5. Focus on Higher-Order Thinking Skills</h2> <p>Tools such as the <a href="https://www.google.com/" target="_blank">Google</a> Suite and other online discussion forums offer opportunities to support teachers’ professional growth. But whatever the topic, <strong>teachers should be encouraged to focus on higher-order thinking skills</strong>. For example, educators who are taught to use video creation in the classroom will, by definition, focus their instruction on higher-level thinking skills because students will be asked to create, analyze and evaluate content as opposed to simply memorizing information.</p> <p style="line-height: 20.8px;"><em>This article is part of the "Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology" series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the <a href="https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&amp;vertical=default&amp;q=%23ConnectIT&amp;src=typd" target="_blank">#ConnectIT</a> hashtag.</em></p> <p></p><center style="line-height: 20.8px;"><a href="http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/node/11661" style="color: rgb(21, 131, 179); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; box-sizing: border-box; white-space: pre-line; word-wrap: break-word; transition: all, 0.15s; text-decoration: none; outline: 0px; font-family: Prelo-Light; font-size: 16px; letter-spacing: 0.48px; line-height: 25.6px;" target="_blank" title="Connect IT"><img alt="[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology" class="null" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="87" src="http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/sites/default/files/articles/2014/05/connectit.jpg" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; box-sizing: border-box; border: 0px; max-width: 100%; height: auto !important;" title="[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology" width="400" /></a></center> <p> </p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/david-andrade"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/david_andrade.jpg?itok=fToEBaac" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/david-andrade"> <div>David Andrade</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=daveandcori&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>David Andrade is a K–12 Strategy Specialist and Google Apps/Chromebooks specialist on the education strategy team for CDW·G, a leading provider of technology solutions and services to education, government and healthcare. A former engineer, educator, ed-tech specialist and school district CIO, Andrade works with school districts to assist them with selecting and implementing technology solutions to help them improve teaching and learning.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 25 May 2018 18:29:04 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40846 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 Acer Unveils Ultrafast Convertible Chromebook https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/acer-unveils-ultrafast-convertible-chromebook <span>Acer Unveils Ultrafast Convertible Chromebook</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/24/2018 - 08:31</span> <div><p><a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/acer.html?cm_mmc=Vanity-_-Acer-_-NA-_-NA" target="_blank">Acer</a> is once again <strong>aggressively targeting the education market </strong>with the first two-in-one 15-inch Chromebook, unveiled Wednesday during the company’s <a href="mailto:Next@Acer">Next@Acer</a> keynote event in New York City.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/series/acerchromebookspin15cp315" target="_blank">Spin 15</a> and its less expensive cousin, the <a href="https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/series/acerchromebook15" target="_blank">Chromebook Spin</a>, will join Acer’s educational portfolio just in time for the return to school. Prices were not announced at the event.</p> <h2>Newest Chromebook Powered by Latest Intel Processor</h2> <p>The Spin 15 is a <strong>convertible Chromebook with a 15.6-inch touch-screen display</strong> that uses a Corning Gorilla Glass touchpad. The superlight notebook — just 4.63 pounds — swivels 360 degrees and boasts a 13-hour battery life. Both the Spin 15 and Chromebook Spin have HD audio and come with the Google Play Store, which means they<strong> can run Android apps</strong>.</p> <p>“Design is an important part of our technology; in fact, it’s in our DNA,” Acer CEO Jason Chen said at the keynote. He added that <strong>10 million Acer Chromebooks have been delivered to schools</strong> since 2012.</p> <p>The Spin 15 is powered by the quad-core <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/intel-interstitial.html?cm_mmc=Vanity-_-intel-_-NA-_-NA" target="_blank">Intel</a> Pentium N4200 processor, the quad-core Intel Celeron N3450 or the dual-core Intel Celeron N3350. The Spin uses the Pentium N4200, the Celeron N3350 or Celeron N3450.</p> <h2>Tablet Has a Touch of Google AR</h2> <p>Chen also showed off the <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/Acer-Chromebook-Tab-10-9.7-Chrome-OS-Tablet/5029412?pfm=srh" target="_blank">Chromebook Tab 10</a>, which launched worldwide in May. The tablet pairs with the Google OS to offer a <a href="https://edu.google.com/expeditions/#about" target="_blank">Google Expeditions</a> augmented reality feature, along with a built-in Wacom electro-magnetic resonance stylus and Chrome management console.</p> <p>“In a school environment, <strong>it really brings a session alive</strong>,” said Eric Ackerson, senior product marketing manager for Acer America, who joined Chen onstage to reveal some of the new Acer devices for schools, businesses and gaming.</p> <p>Gary Brantley, CIO for the <a href="http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/" target="_blank">DeKalb County (Ga.) School District</a>, near Atlanta, also joined Chen to chat about the district’s partnership with Acer, which has delivered <strong>85,000 devices to teachers and students</strong>.</p> <p>“We really love empowering our students through technology,” Brantley said. “These devices provide opportunities for students they would not have otherwise. They can <strong>learn anytime, anywhere</strong>.”</p> <p>Chen said the latest educational Chromebooks will <strong>elevate learning and collaboration</strong>. “What we have done is to make sure that we have integrated the platform and the community and put all our resources together to create an ecosystem based on Chrome where students will be able to <strong>learn easier, faster and more </strong><strong>enjoyably</strong>,” he said.</p> <h2>Acer Is Having the ‘Best Year’ with Microsoft</h2> <p>Another top partner was also on hand Wednesday to talk <strong>modernization and growth in education sales </strong>with Acer.</p> <p>Paul Donovan, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/microsoft-interstitial.html?cm_mmc=Vanity-_-Microsoft-_-NA-_-NA" target="_blank">Microsoft</a>’s vice president of partner devices and solutions, said, “This is our<strong> biggest year with Acer.</strong> We have awesome stuff across the EDU portfolio.”</p> <p>Donovan said Acer is Microsoft’s most “innovative and aggressive” partner, and the company is seeing substantial growth in education.</p> <p>“We’re having one of our <strong>best years in recent memory</strong>,” Donovan said, turning to Chen. “There’s one reason, and it’s our partnership with Acer. We want to modernize the whole portfolio. With your pen and Windows ink, we can really drive learning up about 10 to 30 percent.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/jena-passut"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/jena2.jpg?itok=LsL3Hltk" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/jena-passut"> <div>Jena Passut</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Jena Passut is the managing editor of <em>EdTech: Focus on K–12</em>.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 24 May 2018 12:31:50 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40841 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 5 Pinterest Best Practices for K–12 Educators https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/5-pinterest-best-practices-k-12-educators <span>5 Pinterest Best Practices for K–12 Educators</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Tue, 05/22/2018 - 15:48</span> <div><p>People use Pinterest for <strong>visual inspiration for virtually every aspect of their lives</strong>: event planning, recipes, garden ideas, beauty tips, clothing and jewelry trends — the list goes on.</p> <p>It’s a <strong>valuable tool for K–12 educators</strong>, too, with pins about lesson plans, crafts and projects, classroom décor and organization, and education technology.</p> <p>Ready to get going? Here are <strong>five tips for using Pinterest </strong>to its fullest capacity:</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>1. Be as Specific as You Can with Searches</h2> <p>You might not know what you’re looking for, so it’s OK to start with general words — but to make best use of your time, you want to <strong>get specific, relatively quickly</strong>. Pinterest’s “guided search” can help you <strong>narrow your focus</strong>.</p> <p>Start typing “teaching american history” and you’ll see autocomplete recommendations based on top searches, like “teaching american history lesson plans” and “teaching american history middle school,” as well as a few related board names.</p> <p>Also, across the top of your search results are search suggestions. In our “teaching american history” example, you might see “high school,” “lesson plans,” “5th grade,” “graphic organizers,” “activities” and “classroom.” Clicking any of these boxes will take you further down the path of pertinent search results.</p> <h2>2. Keep Your Pins in Organized Boards</h2> <p>When you find a pin you like, you need a place to put it. By creating a board on your page, you can <strong>begin your inspiration collection</strong>, organized in a way that makes sense to you.</p> <p>Clear board titles help you as you’re looking through your page for what could be hundreds of pins among dozens of boards. <strong>Clear board titles </strong>also help others find your pins as they’re searching.</p> <p><a href="https://www.pinterest.com/jrfindl/" target="_blank">Jennifer Findley</a> of Teaching to Inspire, who’s gained 37,000 followers, has clearly labeled boards such as “3rd Grade Common Core Math” and “Parent Communication in the Classroom.”</p> <h2>3. Look for Credible Pinterest Pins </h2> <p>It’s possible for a pin to seem applicable from its image or description but the link goes somewhere that you’re not expecting or that’s not actually relevant. This <strong>contributes to clutter</strong>.</p> <p>By spending a few extra minutes as you search, you can<strong> make your pins more useful</strong>. If you like a pin on the surface, click it and check it out. Does it go to where you think it should, and is it what you were after? If so, pin away. If not, skip the pin and move on.</p> <h2>4. Follow Relevant Boards and Users </h2> <p>When you find a board you like, you can <strong>follow that individual board</strong> — this way, you see the user’s pins only on ninth-grade civics resources and not on, say, personal political views.</p> <p>Of course, in addition to boards, <strong>you’re able to follow users</strong> — both people and organizations — so you see all of their boards in your feed. There are countless people to follow for education inspiration. To get you started, <a href="https://educationtothecore.com/2015/06/20-teachers-to-follow-on-pinterest/" target="_blank">Education to the Core</a>, <a href="https://www.weareteachers.com/best-teacher-pinterest-pages/" target="_blank">We Are Teachers</a> and <a href="https://www.teachthought.com/technology/25-of-the-best-pinterest-boards-in-education/" target="_blank">TeachThought </a>have posts with dozens of must-follow Pinterest users. A list by <a href="https://shakeuplearning.com/blog/50-educators-you-should-follow-pinterest/" target="_blank">Shake Up Learning</a>, in particular, includes lots of users focused on education technology.</p> <p>Follow <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/edtech_k12/overview/" target="_blank">EdTech_K12 Pinterest page</a> for inspiration on all things K–12 tech: trends, product reviews, and news about next-generation classrooms.</p> <h2>5. Join (or Create!) a Group Board </h2> <p>A group board is one that many Pinterest users can pin to, which creates an opportunity for collaboration. In the K–12 setting, this could be useful for educators at a school or across a school district to <strong>share teaching resources</strong>, or for a single teacher to use with students as part of a lesson in class.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/zina/lifetime-love-of-learning/" target="_blank">Lifetime Love of Learning</a> group board, for example, features 23 contributors posting up to five times a week and has<strong> gained more than 371,000 followers</strong>.</p> <p>More than 100 experienced educators collaborate on the group board <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/erin_wing/new-teachers/" target="_blank">New Teachers</a>, a resource for those new to the profession, including pins on <strong>establishing routines, organizing and managing the classroom, and learning activities</strong>.</p> <div class="sidebar_wide"> <h3>Follow EdTech on Pinterest</h3> <p>Don’t forget to follow the <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/edtech_k12/overview/" target="_blank">EdTech_K12 Pinterest page</a> for nextgen trends, tech all teachers should know and an edtech wish list. The page is updated weekly.</p> </div> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/matt-morgan"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/matt_morgan_0.jpg?itok=hOngmz9B" width="58" height="58" alt="Matt Morgan" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/matt-morgan"> <div>Matt Morgan</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Matt Morgan is a contributing writer for <em>EdTech: Focus on K–12</em>.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 22 May 2018 19:48:35 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40836 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 Digital Signage Growth Helps K–12 Schools Get Their Messages Out https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/digital-signage-growth-helps-k-12-schools-get-their-messages-out <span>Digital Signage Growth Helps K–12 Schools Get Their Messages Out</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Mon, 05/21/2018 - 09:49</span> <div><p>Cluttered bulletin boards, garbled loudspeaker announcements and missed memos are becoming a thing of the past as a growing number of schools turn to digital signage. The tools make communicating with students, staff and parents easier, more effective and even less expensive.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.technavio.com/report/global-education-technology-global-digital-signage-market-education-sector-2017-2021" target="_blank">recent report from Technavio</a> found that revenue from digital signage in the education market is <strong>expected to grow 10 percent</strong> <strong>by 2021</strong>.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>How Schools Use Digital Signage</h2> <p>Technavio analyst Jhansi Mary J says schools are finding <strong>plenty of uses for digital signage at an affordable price tag</strong>, including:</p> <ul><li>welcome messages and videos during events</li> <li>notifications about curriculum, assessments and emergency situations during regular school hours</li> <li>time-bound dayparting information</li> <li>different messages for specific audiences on a school campus (e.g., lunch menus near the cafeteria, building directories in the main entrance and announcements in hallways)</li> </ul><p>Apart from these factors, Jhansi also says, “Digital signage displays <strong>add to the aesthetic appeal of the campus</strong> as they declutter hallways and corridors from bulletin boards and posters.”</p> <h2>Tackling District Communication Challenges</h2> <p><a href="https://www.kleinisd.net/" target="_blank">Klein ISD</a>, one of the fastest-growing districts in Houston, recently adopted 50 large-format TVs for digital signage as part of a three-year technology growth plan.</p> <p>Chris Cummings, director of IT for Klein ISD, says with the scale and pace of a growing district, finding effective ways to communicate can be difficult, but <strong>digital signage is helping the district </strong>tackle that challenge.</p> <p>“Whether it is helping students stay informed of upcoming events and deadlines or creating student ownership and loyalty to the campus, schools use the signage to share important information, schedule updates or even promote student successes,” says Cummings.</p> <p>He also says the <strong>flexibility of digital signage creates time and cost savings</strong> for the district: “Campuses enjoy being able to brand and share their content for the entire school to see without having to print paper. This saves considerable time and money. They can promote activities to students while using the same technology to guide parents to the corresponding events.”</p> <p>Looking forward, Cummings says, the district hopes to<strong> leverage digital signage for safety purposes </strong>as well. “As we integrate solutions and centralize management, getting critical information to a large student body in a timely manner will become possible. This guarantees the necessity and importance of digital signage in our campuses,” says Cummings.</p> <h2>Mobile Integration Engages Digital Natives</h2> <p>Digital signage also offers <strong>mobile integration</strong>, so schools can push information to devices like smartphones. (This also lets staff use mobile devices to update, operate and monitor digital signage systems.)</p> <p>That’s a <strong>major boost in a school’s ability to communicate effectively with both parents and digital natives </strong>when you consider the large-scale adoption of mobile devices both inside and outside the classroom.</p> <p>In a n<a href="https://www.pearsoned.com/wp-content/uploads/2015-Pearson-Student-Mobile-Device-Survey-Grades-4-12.pdf" target="_blank">ationally representative survey </a>released in 2015, the last time this data was made available, education publisher Pearson found that 53 percent of 4th and 5th graders, 66 percent of middle schoolers, and 82 percent of high school students regularly used a smartphone.</p> <p>Add to that findings from a <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/12/evolution-of-technology/" target="_blank">Pew Research Center report </a>that show 77 percent of US adults own a smartphone, and it’s clear that connecting digital signage with mobile devices is an <strong>effective way for schools to get their messages out</strong>.</p> <p>As Technavio’s Jhansi puts it, “Delivering the same content to the users' devices can <strong>further accelerate connectedness</strong>.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/wendy-mcmahon"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/Wendy%20McMahon.jpg?itok=Xyyy8FhB" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/wendy-mcmahon"> <div>Wendy McMahon</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=wendymcmahon&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Wendy McMahon is a freelance writer and general tech geek who has been writing about technology for over 10 years. Follower her on Twitter at @wendymcmahon.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 21 May 2018 13:49:29 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40831 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 3 Tips for Switching to Cloud for VoIP https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/3-tips-switching-cloud-voip <span>3 Tips for Switching to Cloud for VoIP</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Fri, 05/18/2018 - 16:18</span> <div><p>School districts moving their phone systems from old-style analog or digital private branch exchange to cloud-based Voice over IP expect to benefit from <strong>lower overall costs, higher quality and modern features</strong>. But it’s important to lay the foundation in order to reap the rewards. Making the switch means <strong>revisiting security mandates and ensuring the network is sound and prepared</strong> for VoIP. Here are three tips for making the switch:</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>1. Get Started with the Right Bandwidth</h2> <p>Cloud-based VoIP doesn’t take a lot of bandwidth, but it’s not tolerant of poor-quality bandwidth either. Therefore, <strong>don’t share your normal internet circuit with VoIP traffic</strong>. Take advantage of low internet service prices and <strong>add a second internet circuit dedicated to your cloud-based VoIP</strong>. The cost should easily be covered by the money you don’t spend on analog or digital services from the phone company. Plus, a second circuit comes with a nice bonus: You can fail over from one to the other for improved reliability.</p> <p>Of course, there’s a catch: Internet traffic is asymmetric — much more download than upload. VoIP traffic is the exception to that, very symmetric, with equal volumes of inbound and outbound traffic. This means that <strong>your standard low-cost asymmetric DSL circuit won’t do</strong>; you’ll need fairly hefty upstream bandwidth for cloud-based VoIP. It doesn’t have to be symmetric, but for a typical VoIP codec, you’ll need at least 50 kilobits per second per expected simultaneous call; 100Kbps is even better. If you’re using a 64Kbps codec, bump that to 100 to 180Kbps — and for voice and video at the same time, multiply those numbers by 10.</p> <h2>2. Don’t Let Your Firewall Slow You Down</h2> <p>Most unified threat management firewalls — the most popular for schools — will cause brief slowdowns as they scan for viruses or perform other threat mitigation. UTM slowdowns are imperceptible to web browsers but conspicuous with VoIP traffic. So while you’re installing a second circuit, <strong>consider getting a second firewall </strong>at the same time.</p> <p>The good news is that you don’t need to pay for a UTM subscription. Dedicating a second firewall to a single application — cloud-based VoIP — means that you can use a simpler configuration and don’t need to apply all of the subscription-based UTM features, such as URL filtering, anti-malware and intrusion prevention. You’ll need to <strong>choose a firewall that has a good VoIP application layer gateway and customer support</strong>, but that’s about it. As always: Test before you commit. Not every firewall is compatible with every phone system.</p> <h2>3. Don’t Worry About LAN Segmentation</h2> <p>In large VoIP networks, people often go to great lengths to segment their LAN data and VoIP traffic with special VLANs, 802.1p quality of service and other complicated features. That’s fine — it won’t hurt anything. But a typical school’s gigabit LAN with 100 or 200 stations per subnet is not going to have a problem mixing VoIP and other data traffic.</p> <p>Of course, every network is different, and if you do have very high loads (for example, if you’re running disk-to-disk backups over the same LAN), <strong>segmentation might help</strong>.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/joel-snyder"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/author/Joel_Studio_Headshot_180.jpg?itok=TYcy4rmk" width="58" height="58" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/joel-snyder"> <div>Joel Snyder</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Joel Snyder, Ph.D., is a senior IT consultant with 30 years of practice. An internationally recognized expert in the areas of security, messaging and networks, Dr. Snyder is a popular speaker and author and is known for his unbiased and comprehensive tests of security and networking products. His clients include major organizations on six continents.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 18 May 2018 20:18:05 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40826 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 New Wi-Fi Standard Will Boost Campus Connection Speeds https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/new-wi-fi-standard-will-boost-campus-connection-speeds <span>New Wi-Fi Standard Will Boost Campus Connection Speeds</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/17/2018 - 16:23</span> <div><p>There’s a new Wi-Fi standard in town, and it could be a <strong>game changer for K–12 school</strong> <strong>districts</strong>. <a href="https://www.networkworld.com/article/3215907/mobile-wireless/why-80211ax-is-the-next-big-thing-in-wi-fi.html" target="_blank">Network World</a> calls 802.11ax “the next big thing” that actually lives up to its hype. </p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">What Is the 802.11ax Wireless Standard?</h2> <p>Everyone knows <strong>what happens when a Wi-Fi network is at capacity</strong>. Too much streaming, tweeting and videoconferencing on a local network can grind activities to a halt.</p> <p>But data is about to fly much faster. The current standard for wireless LAN is 802.11ac. Created and maintained by the <a href="https://www.wi-fi.org/" target="_blank">Wi-Fi Alliance</a> and the <a href="http://standards.ieee.org/findstds/standard/802.11-2012.html" target="_blank">Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)</a>, the <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2014/09/sifting-through-80211-alphabet-soup">802.11 family of specifications</a> guides everyone from chip makers to networking professionals to build and connect devices that work together. However, <a href="https://gigaom.com/2014/06/12/next-phase-of-wifi-80211ax/" target="_blank">as early as 2014</a>, the IEEE was already looking toward <strong>new technology to skyrocket wireless data speeds</strong>, resulting in the newest member of the family — 802.11ax.</p> <p>802.11ax will be standard within the next few years. <a href="https://itpeernetwork.intel.com/intel-announces-802-11ax-chipsets/" target="_blank">Intel and other manufacturers</a> have announced that they’ll have <strong>802.11ax chipsets ready in 2018</strong>, and several sources, including <a href="https://www.pcworld.com/article/3269364/network-router/wi-fi-gets-quicker-with-80211ax-but-buying-early-might-offer-few-advantages.html" target="_blank">PCWorld</a>, say we should start seeing 802.11ax in new devices by 2019, with full implementation a few years after that.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">How 802.11ax Will Improve the Modern Classroom</h2> <p>The new standard was <strong>designed for a world where people upload and download millions of gigabytes</strong> of data. In the arena of K–12 education, this means more possibilities for conducting data-heavy activities using Wi-Fi, for anything from computer-aided design to machine learning. </p> <p>The technology behind 802.11ax is <strong>estimated to boost data speeds four to 10 times faster</strong> over existing Wi-Fi because of a much more efficient allocation of data. Using a number of strategies, 802.11ax will use the same Wi-Fi channels that are currently used, but maximize the capacity of those channels. </p> <p>The <a href="https://www.networkworld.com/article/3215907/mobile-wireless/why-80211ax-is-the-next-big-thing-in-wi-fi.html" target="_blank">advantages</a> will be:</p> <ul><li>Much faster data speeds, at least <a href="http://www.ni.com/white-paper/53150/en/" target="_blank">four times as fast</a>;</li> <li>Less congestion, as more data flows through channels more efficiently; and,</li> <li>Better battery life, for several reasons. For one, the client, like a computer or a phone, doesn’t have to work as hard if the data is traveling much faster. Another new feature of the new standard is called “<a href="https://blog.aerohive.com/how-will-target-wake-time-help-mobile-devices-and-iot-in-802-11ax/" target="_blank">target wake time</a>,” or TWT, which increases the amount of time devices sleep, conserving batteries.</li> </ul><h2 id="toc_2">How K–12 School Districts Should Prepare for 802.11ax</h2> <p>The advantages of 802.11ax are in hardware, not software. According to PCWorld, new hardware will be backward-compatible, meaning that new routers, access points and other equipment will support 802.11ax standards, as well as previous standards. So the good news is that <strong>campuses can upgrade in stages</strong> and won’t need to overhaul hardware all at once.</p> <p>Additionally, according to an article from <a href="https://thehivecommunity.aerohive.com/s/article/802-11ax-Explained" target="_blank">The Hive Community</a>, as more clients adapt to 802.11ax, they will use bandwidth more efficiently, freeing up airtime for older devices and <strong>improving the overall effectiveness of the system</strong>.</p> <p>Overall, education technology professionals should keep a watch on 802.11ax to stay on top of what products are available and how they can fit into and enhance current campus networks.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/erika-gimbel"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/erika-gimbel.jpg?itok=COBsR_2x" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/erika-gimbel"> <div>Erika Gimbel</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Erika Gimbel is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in B2B technology innovation and educational technology.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 17 May 2018 20:23:47 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40816 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 Higher Education and K–12 Form Partnerships to Help Educators and Learners https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/higher-education-and-k-12-form-partnerships-help-educators-and-learners <span>Higher Education and K–12 Form Partnerships to Help Educators and Learners</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/16/2018 - 10:46</span> <div><p>When K–12 schools need help, they often find it with higher education experts. And just as often, colleges benefit as much as the schools.</p> <p>That’s what Megan Tolin found when several schools approached her department for help with <strong>successful practices for blended learning</strong>. She’s the director of technology, innovation and pedagogy at the <a href="https://education.iupui.edu/" target="_blank">Indiana University School of Education, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis</a>.</p> <p>“It’s a way to help grow professionals in our area,” Tolin said in an <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/k12/k12/media/video/cosn-2018-k-12-and-higher-education-partnerships-boost-professional-development">interview with EdTech at CoSN2018</a>. “It also helps us as a school of education. It allows us to put pre-service teachers in classrooms where teachers are doing good work.”</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>K–12 and College Educators Use Data in Evolving Partnerships</h2> <p>In the past, partnerships between colleges and K–12 schools often centered around high-school-to-college transitions or programs that enable students to earn advanced college credit. Today’s collaborations focus more on social responsibility. That can take the form of <strong>formal research studies, professional development, or joint technology and curriculum initiatives</strong>.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://www.educationdive.com/news/u-of-chicago-cps-partnership-pays-off-in-big-ways-for-district/521395/" target="_blank">Education Dive</a> reports that researchers at the <a href="https://uei.uchicago.edu/" target="_blank">University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute</a> partnered with <a href="http://cps.edu/Pages/home.aspx" target="_blank">Chicago Public Schools</a> on a data-driven initiative to <strong>keep students on track to graduate</strong>. Every six weeks, the Institute gives school principals a “freshmen-on-track” metric for each student, and individual schools and teachers then use that information to determine the best academic intervention. So far, this successful program has been <strong>reproduced in 20 university-district partnerships</strong>.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.houstonisd.org/" target="_blank">Houston Independent School District </a>(HISD) and <a href="http://www.rice.edu/" target="_blank">Rice University</a> formed another successful partnership. HERC, or the <a href="https://kinder.rice.edu/houston-education-research-consortium" target="_blank">Houston Education Research Consortium</a>, aims to create evidence-based programs to close socioeconomic gaps.</p> <p>Although <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3102/0162373715576074" target="_blank">it took nearly a year</a> for the university and HISD to create a longitudinal database, the results have been well worth the effort. To date, HERC has analyzed the quality of K–12 initiatives and policy changes to build better programs for both students and teachers. HERC now serves seven districts in addition to HISD.</p> <h2>Researchers Gain Access to Granular Student Data</h2> <p>Creating partnerships between researchers and practitioners has become more urgent than ever. In a <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3102/0162373715576074" target="_blank">journal article</a> for <em>Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis</em>, authors Ruth N. Lopez Turley and Carla Stevens note that districts facing budget cuts benefit greatly, as <strong>research institutions can provide valuable support in gathering and analyzing data </strong>and in serving as an external decision-making resource.</p> <p>But <strong>universities also have much to gain from these initiatives</strong>. Without schools to supply data, many higher education researchers rely on national data sets, which rarely provide the specific information they need. Even if researchers can gain access to data, it’s difficult to use that research to directly affect specific K–12 institutions.</p> <p>Because such partnerships may involve sensitive student data, it is <strong>critical for participants to build trusting relationships</strong>. In the ideal scenario, <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3102/0162373715576074" target="_blank">according to Turley and Stevens</a>, “Leaders from both institutions mutually agree with and are invested in the larger mission of the partnership, can communicate effectively across institutions, and are open and willing to learn from each other.”</p> <p>In a conversation with <a href="https://www.educationdive.com/news/u-of-chicago-cps-partnership-pays-off-in-big-ways-for-district/521395/" target="_blank"><em>Education Dive</em></a>, Dr. Janice Jackson, the CEO of <a href="http://cps.edu/Pages/home.aspx" target="_blank">Chicago Public Schools</a>, agreed. “There’s…this trusting relationship that allows us to give them access [to student-level data before the district even looks at it] and for them to be completely honest with us,” she said.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/erika-gimbel"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/people/erika-gimbel.jpg?itok=COBsR_2x" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/erika-gimbel"> <div>Erika Gimbel</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Erika Gimbel is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in B2B technology innovation and educational technology.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 16 May 2018 14:46:49 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40811 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 Review: Yamaha YVC-1000 Speakerphone Gives K–12 Collaboration an Audio Boost https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/review-yamaha-yvc-1000-speakerphone-gives-k-12-collaboration-audio-boost <span>Review: Yamaha YVC-1000 Speakerphone Gives K–12 Collaboration an Audio Boost</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Tue, 05/15/2018 - 08:32</span> <div><p>The <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/Yamaha-YVC-1000-speaker-phone/3590322?pfm=srh" target="_blank">Yamaha YVC-1000 speakerphone</a> is designed to integrate easily into any environment, either to enhance existing communication devices or stand alone as the centerpiece of an independent system. Its ease of use, and the multiple roles it can play, make it <strong>perfect for a K–12 educational environment</strong> because connectivity and distance learning can be achieved with little or no IT support.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Unit Supports Several Microphones and Connections</h2> <p>Featuring a base unit and an external, unidirectional microphone, the YVC-1000 also supports up to four more microphones to <strong>cover exceptionally large spaces</strong>. With USB ports for connecting to a computer and RCA jacks for adding sound through a television or monitor, it’s <strong>ready to fill almost any audio need within education</strong>.</p> <p>Bluetooth capability <strong>supports wireless connectivity to a smartphone or tablet</strong>. When I waved an Android smartphone near the base station, it synced up in a few seconds via near-field communication. Thereafter, I could route audio from the smartphone through the YVC-1000, which provided deep and rich sounds. And, once synced, other people could join the call using the YVC’s external microphone.</p> <h2>Speaker Phone Optimized for Voices, Sounds</h2> <p>When connected to a computer, the YVC-1000 is designed to work with <a href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/brand/microsoft/skype-for-business.html" target="_blank">Skype for Business</a>, which can detect the system and immediately integrate it as an audio option. It also works well with a variety of other videoconferencing tools.</p> <p>The base unit has good sound quality, with a nice balance of base and treble that seems optimized for voices, but <strong>also works with other types of sound and music</strong>.</p> <p><img alt="Q0318-HET-PR_Breeden_Yamaha-product.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/Q0318-HET-PR_Breeden_Yamaha-product.jpg" /></p> <p>To test for audio quality, I placed the speakerphone in a variety of environments: a small office, a large conference room and a large open area. The device is smart, automatically optimizing its audio settings over time as it operates. Users can press a tuning fork button on the main unit to <strong>prompt the device to immediately test its own settings</strong>. This takes a few seconds but does not interrupt device operations.</p> <p>The YVC-1000 speakerphone offers advanced audioconferencing and connectivity options in a simple package. Teachers and school administrators can <strong>tap into professional audioconferencing capabilities with almost no training</strong>, making this device an extremely apt addition to the classroom.</p> <h2>Voices Rise Above the Noise in Conference Room Test</h2> <p>The YVC-1000 speakerphone’s microphone includes an innovative technology called Human Voice Activity Detection, which enables it to pick out voices from noise. I put that special feature to the test.</p> <p>Despite its simple interface, the Yamaha YVC-1000 speakerphone is packed with advanced features often found only in high-end or dedicated room-sized conferencing systems. But the device goes beyond that.</p> <p>Yamaha has loaded an innovative technology called Human Voice Activity Detection into the YVC-1000. The technology is designed to <strong>distinguish human voices from other background noise</strong>, enabling people in meetings to speak normally, even if they are sitting far away from a microphone or are in a noisy environment. That extra noise could be anything from people working in an office to cars driving past on the street outside, or even the cooling fans on the computers in the same room.</p> <p>The overall audio quality of the YVC-1000 was good in near-optimal lab environments. For a challenge, I created a terrible conference room environment that included two large cooling fans and a portable AC unit blasting away, a radio just outside the door playing techno music (without voices) and another speaker at the back of the room with traffic sounds on a loop.</p> <p>In addition, participants were asked to sit all along the microphone’s maximum 32-foot range. The test involved people reading from a script (actually, a Tennessee Williams play) while the whole proceeding was remotely recorded over Skype.</p> <p><strong>The results were impressive.</strong> At no point was any speaker’s voice lost on the recording. Those sitting farther away sounded almost as clear as those sitting right near the microphone. And while the various background sounds were present, they did not interfere with the quality of people’s voices when talking, which the Yamaha YVC-1000 focused on and enhanced as they spoke.</p> <p>For comparison, a manual tape recorder was left in the same room, placed near the YVC-1000 microphone. On that device, those sitting farther away were very difficult to understand, and the background noise at times completely drowned out the voices of those who were speaking, which is what people in the room said the environment really sounded like.</p> <p>So, actually, the Yamaha YVC-1000 was able to record <strong>clearer voices and better sound quality</strong> than what existed in real life. That’s quite a feat for an inexpensive audioconferencing system.</p> <h3 id="toc_0">Yamaha YVC-1000</h3> <p><strong>Microphone: </strong>100 to 20,000 Hertz Unidirectional<br /><strong>Sound Pickup Range:</strong> 32 feet<br /><strong>Power Consumption:</strong> 20 watts<br /><strong>Audio Inputs:</strong> 2 RCA Jacks, USB 2.0 Port, Microphone<br /><strong>Dimensions: </strong>13.1x3.74x6.38 inches<br /><strong>Weight:</strong> 4 pounds</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/john-breeden-ii"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/john-breeden-ii.jpg?itok=qht_53sT" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/john-breeden-ii"> <div>John Breeden II</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=LabGuys&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>John Breeden II is an award-winning reviewer and public speaker with 20 years of experience covering technology.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 15 May 2018 12:32:11 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40806 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 4 Tips to Plan a K-12 Network Switch Upgrade https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/4-tips-plan-k-12-network-switch-upgrade <span>4 Tips to Plan a K-12 Network Switch Upgrade</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/10/2018 - 14:41</span> <div><p>As K–12 school districts work to expand and modernize their networks, administrators must address evolving requirements in connectivity, gigabit-class Wi-Fi and ever-growing traffic flows. Driven by these increasing traffic demands and advances in technologies,<strong> new network switches offer benefits in both capacity and utility</strong>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/cisco.html?cm_mmc=vanity-_-cisco-_-NA-_-NA" target="_blank">Cisco Systems</a>, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/extreme-networks.html?cm_mmc=vanity-_-extremenetworks-_-NA-_-012018" target="_blank">Extreme Networks</a>, <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/hpenterprise.html?cm_mmc=Vanity-_-HPE-_-NA-_-NA" target="_blank">Hewlett Packard Enterprise</a> and many others offer a broad range of enterprise-class switch products to meet demands stretching from the edge of the network to the data center and into the cloud. But the large number of products available presents a daunting challenge for district network planners and operators, often making it difficult to <strong>choose the right switch for a given application</strong>.</p> <p>While switches are often viewed as static elements that change very little over time, that isn’t truly the case. It’s important to consider the core requirements for your switch hierarchy, not just for today but also for the future. Here are a few <strong>strategies for planning a switch upgrade</strong>:</p> <h2>1. Start with Network Management Systems and Solutions</h2> <p>Network management systems are the critical element in the optimization of network and application performance, reliability and operations staff productivity. Because the capabilities of management solutions vary widely, it’s important to <strong>consider the features, functions </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> benefits essential to your organization</strong> — and to ensure that the selected products are fully compatible with and supported by your IT management system hierarchy.</p> <p>Carefully review organizationwide requirements for security, traffic policies, virtual LANs, logging, analytics, integrity and redundancy to ensure that the selected switches meet these requirements. Also <strong>examine compatibility with other management and operational tools and solutions</strong> — especially Wi-Fi management, where the potential for conflict with wired network management policies and settings is very real.</p> <h2>2. Perform a Network Requirements Audit</h2> <p><strong>Review your networks regularly</strong> — at least twice a year. It’s especially important to consider growth in the number of wireless access points and evolving throughput requirements as speeds increase, along with power requirements for APs, where 802.3at is replacing .3af. <strong>Examine operation logs and feedback identifying common and recurring pain points</strong>, noting issues such as insufficient capacity during periods of peak demand.</p> <p><strong>Consider fiber for long runs</strong>, along with upgrades to CAT 6 cabling where fiber isn’t required. While switches limited to 2.5 and 5 gigabits per second, per port, can mitigate the need for immediate cable upgrades, school districts today should at the very least be planning for 10Gbps.</p> <h2>3. Carefully Examine Capacity Planning Assumptions</h2> <p>Throughput has historically been the key performance metric for switches, but today the issue is overall solution capacity. Client devices have changed this dynamic by boosting mobile and wireless demands. <strong>Sufficient capacity is necessary for end-user productivit</strong>y, given that demand in any location can vary over time.</p> <p>With the addition of APs, the number of switch ports per physical switch is a vital concern. <strong>Stackable switches are a great way to address demands that grow over time</strong> while also simplifying management. It’s also important to <strong>consider trends in time-bounded traffic</strong>, like voice over IP, streaming video and multicast, along with support for class of service/quality of service, 802.1q and related capabilities.</p> <h2>4. Don’t Forget Physical Planning</h2> <p>While many elements of networking, such as management consoles, are moving into the cloud, <strong>K–12 schools will require that switches physically reside in their facilities for the foreseeable future</strong>.</p> <p>So, <strong>consider the physical space</strong> (usually in an equipment rack), power, cooling and wire runs required in each case when planning for installations and upgrades. Careful analysis of the number and types of ports required on each switch (or stack) is also essential. Finally, <strong>consider the operating environment</strong>: A wide variety of industrial, ruggedized and otherwise specialized switch products are available to meet requirements.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/craig-j-mathias"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/craig-mathias-400.jpg?itok=4crET8lz" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/craig-j-mathias"> <div>Craig J. Mathias</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Craig J. Mathias, a principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm <a href="http://www.farpointgroup.com/" target="_blank" title="Farpoint Group">Farpoint Group</a>, has more than 25 years of experience in wireless and mobility.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 10 May 2018 18:41:38 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40796 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12 How to Implement Library Makerspaces in STEM Programs https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2018/05/how-implement-library-makerspaces-stem-programs-perfcon <span>How to Implement Library Makerspaces in STEM Programs</span> <span><span lang="" about="/k12/user/7651" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jena.passut_7651</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/09/2018 - 11:57</span> <div><p>What’s the best way to define a makerspace? For Laura Fleming, library media specialist at <a href="https://www.newmilfordschools.org/NewMilfordHighSchool" target="_blank">New Milford High School </a>in New Jersey, a library makerspace is a unique learning environment that <strong>encourages tinkering, play and open-ended exploration</strong> for all.</p> <p>Fleming, who also runs and manages her own business, <a href="https://www.worldsofmaking.com/" target="_blank">Worlds of Making</a>, says too often schools build library makerspaces just for the top engineering students or the gifted and talented students.</p> <p>“When makerspaces really work, they are open to the entire student body,” she says. “It’s really a <strong>mindset and a philosophy of education</strong>.”</p> <p>Fleming says whether the district sets up a makerspace in an elementary school library, in a middle school classroom or in a high school cafeteria, each makerspace has a unique quality.</p> <p>“Here in New Milford, we set aside a part of the library for our makerspace,” Fleming explains. “But much of this depends on a district’s budget and the resources they can bring to the project. A makerspace should be <strong>offered as a voluntary educational activity that the students want to participate in</strong>. We’ve found that when it’s required, the students will just do ‘what the teacher is looking for’ and much of the innovation and creativity gets lost.”</p> <p>Here are five ideas to follow from Fleming on how to set up a library makerspace that will <strong>foster creativity and expand on your STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum</strong>:</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/register?newsletter"><strong>SIGN UP</strong>: Get more news from the <em>EdTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>1. Understand the Needs of Students in a Library Makerspace Project</h2> <p>So much of the success of a library makerspace depends on <strong>identifying the needs of students</strong>. Start by seeking student input. Some schools send out formal paper surveys, while others hold informal discussions in the classroom. Find out what activities they have done before, what they would like to learn or if they have attended any special science and math camps.</p> <h2>2. Assess the School’s Existing STEM Programs</h2> <p>When Fleming did an assessment at New Milford High School she found that robotics was only offered to the top 25 or 30 engineering students, the majority of whom were boys. Why not <strong>offer robotics in the </strong><strong>makerspace</strong><strong> to the entire student population</strong>? A school she worked with a handful of years ago didn’t offer any computer science programs. The school then started offering computer science and coding skills in the makerspace, and over the last several years integrated computer science into the curriculum. School officials can also take a close look at how the students score on state assessment tests and decide which areas for the makerspace to focus on.</p> <h2>3. Incorporate STEM Trends into Your Library Makerspace</h2> <p>There’s so much innovation in education today that teachers and administrators have to <strong>look beyond the walls of the school</strong>. One good example: The more Fleming read about technology, the more stories she saw about drones. In the past year or two, educators have had students do research and build small drones in the makerspace.</p> <h2>4. Constantly Learn from and Evolve Your Library Makerspace</h2> <p>Based on Fleming’s research, certain patterns and themes began to emerge. At New Milford High School, she opted to develop makerspace themes on <strong>engineering and design, computer coding, robotics and molecular gastronomy</strong>, a science-based approach to diet. One elementary school she worked with took all the offbeat and childish ideas from its students and designed a “whimsey” theme. It was based on the students saying they wanted to do more projects with slime or they like to make things out of mud. It sounds childish, but it’s what the students wanted to do, and Fleming says the school developed learning activities around those themes.</p> <h2>5. Leverage STEM Program Supplies in Your Library Makerspace</h2> <p>Once the team finishes all of its research and planning, it’s time to buy the supplies. One of her more successful ventures at New Milford High School was with the <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/littleBits-Arduino-Coding-Kit/4567229" target="_blank">littleBits Arduino Coding Kit</a>. Fleming’s high school students beta tested the product and wound up writing code for learning environments for elementary school students. The high school students <strong>coded games and developed environments that let the elementary school students compose music and create digital art </strong>using the littleBits coding techniques.</p> <p>Above all, Fleming stresses that it <strong>requires proper planning for a </strong><strong>makerspace</strong><strong> to succeed</strong>. Do the planning, and school officials will find that when it comes time to make purchases, they will have planned programs and bought equipment that students can put to the best use possible.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/k12/author/steve-zurier"><img src="/k12/sites/edtechmagazine.com.k12/files/styles/face_small/public/steve-zurier-180.jpg?itok=TLLkquyK" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/k12/author/steve-zurier"> <div>Steve Zurier</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="google-plus" href="https://plus.google.com/104137780822707730723?rel=author"><span>Google+</span></a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href="https://twitter.com/intent/follow?region=follow_link&amp;screen_name=@szurier&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Steve Zurier is a freelance technology writer based in Columbia, Md.  </p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 09 May 2018 15:57:26 +0000 jena.passut_7651 40791 at https://edtechmagazine.com/k12