EdTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Education https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/rss.xml en School’s Out: A COVID-19 Lesson https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/07/schools-out-covid-19-lesson%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Before the pandemic, we knew there was a digital divide in America. But for many, the issue was abstract, unimaginable or simply not their problem.</p> <p>Enter COVID-19. The need to close the divide can no longer be ignored because students of all ages are locked out from school – not just because of the virus itself, but from lack of an internet connection at home.</p> <p>Back in 2017, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.jec.senate.gov_public_-5Fcache_files_ff7b3d0b-2Dbc00-2D4498-2D9f9d-2D3e56ef95088f_the-2Ddigital-2Ddivide-2D.pdf&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=PzM68gSF_5r1R7BCE75oeA&amp;r=oB3CnutErJl2o0Axo4hzpw&amp;m=GTq9Aaa1VCCTFFJjS6K4ik4mHRsl9mrvs3wRX2uskHY&amp;s=9FIroaiyPchZV1-DD8FtFbldpazQO1A5DhrBR4c2mN0&amp;e=" target="_blank">reported that</a> nearly 12 million children lived in homes without a broadband connection, but the problem made few headlines. For the kids on the wrong side of the digital divide, either their families have chosen not to pay for an internet subscription — usually because it costs too much or they don’t see it as worthwhile — or neither fiber nor a cell signal reaches their homes.</p> <p>The following year, the Pew Research Center <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/26/nearly-one-in-five-teens-cant-always-finish-their-homework-because-of-the-digital-divide/" target="_blank">found that 15% of U.S. households</a> with school-age children did not have a high-speed connection at home. The study found that 1 in 4 low-income teens lacked access to a home computer. Still, the alarm bells didn’t sound.</p> <p>Now that students must participate in online learning, it is like a tale of two cities — one where students are engaged and keeping up their grades online, and another where students have no or limited access to the internet. We are progressing from a homework gap to a full-on education gap for children in every community in the nation.</p> Kim Keenan https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/07/schools-out-covid-19-lesson%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E 4 Tips for Effective Virtual Professional Development https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/07/4-tips-effective-virtual-professional-development%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>The unexpected shift to remote learning last spring revealed that many educators still struggle to teach with technology. A recent University of Phoenix <a href="http://images.email.blackboard.com/Web/BlackboardInc/%7B85443a5a-ea28-4a12-a0a4-70fa934669b5%7D_UOPX_K-12_Teacher_Survey_Results.pdf" target="_blank">survey</a> of more than 1,000 K–12 teachers found that nearly 50 percent were unprepared for online instruction.</p> <p>Of those surveyed, 41 percent also reported feeling overwhelmed from receiving too much information, resources and tools to assist them with virtual learning. The survey also found that most teachers (81 percent) plan to seek additional training this summer to prepare for the upcoming school year, which may involve remote or blended learning for most districts.</p> <p>But with the coronavirus pandemic, virtual professional development sessions became the norm too. Social distancing guidelines pushed many districts to deliver PD online to support educators and help them manage their online classrooms.</p> <p>Districts are also noticing the long-term benefits of offering PD virtually. Online sessions are more accessible, flexible and budget-friendly. Also, there are numerous ways to deliver them — from hosting videoconferencing meetings to signing up educators for online courses.</p> <p>Nevertheless, delivering PD virtually requires strategic planning from instructional coaches or IT teams. Here are four tips to ensure they are successful.</p> Micah Castelo https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/07/4-tips-effective-virtual-professional-development%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E How Microsoft Teams Supports Inclusive Remote Learning https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/07/how-microsoft-teams-supports-inclusive-remote-learning%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>When Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced <a href="https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-chicago-illinois-school-closings-20200313-day6c3ez3vb7thpqhptuayuwh4-story.html" target="_blank">mandated school closures</a> in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, school districts such as Peoria Public Schools knew they’d have to lean on technology to teach remotely for an indefinite period of time.</p> <p>But they were also concerned about how they would continue providing services from a distance to students with disabilities and unique learning needs.</p> <p>Lora Haas, director of the Special Education Association of Peoria County, said that it was difficult for their therapists to give students who require an individualized education program IEP) plan the same services they get in a school setting, reports the <a href="https://www.pjstar.com/news/20200402/remote-learning-extra-challenging-for-students-with-special-needs" target="_blank"><em>Journal Star</em></a>.</p> <p>To connect with students and their families, the therapists had to stay in touch via video chats and phone calls. The special education department also held virtual IEP meetings. Meanwhile, special education teachers went over remote learning and access resources with parents on <a href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/brand/microsoft/microsoft-teams.html" target="_blank">Microsoft Teams</a>, a digital hub for collaboration and communication integrated with Office 365. They also used the platform to co-teach and develop lessons together, the newspaper notes.</p> <p>Lorena Mora, an education technical specialist for <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/content/cdwg/en/brand/microsoft.html" target="_blank">Microsoft</a>, says Microsoft Teams is all about ensuring accessibility and inclusivity. “It’s near and dear to Microsoft’s heart, and we’re working toward making sure that all of our products are able to fulfill that need to support and empower all of our students and teachers to achieve more,” she says.</p> <p>It’s important for educators to ensure online instruction meets their students’ unique learning needs, especially as schools plan for the possibility of continued remote or blended learning in the fall. Here are three ways Teams supports personalized classroom learning for students of all abilities and backgrounds — even during remote learning.</p> Micah Castelo https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/07/how-microsoft-teams-supports-inclusive-remote-learning%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Summer 2020 https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/magazine/issue/2020/7/summer-2020%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/magazine/issue/2020/7/summer-2020%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E The IT Investment Priorities Shaping Today’s School Districts https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/07/it-investment-priorities-shaping-todays-school-districts%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>The coronavirus pandemic has forced school leaders to navigate a new normal in education defined by remote learning, hybrid classes and physically distanced classrooms.</p> <p>For many, the changes have either introduced new technology challenges or shined a spotlight on existing ones, from the digital divide to weak cybersecurity training. But as schools have re-evaluated their technology environments and planned investments, they have faced another hurdle: massive cuts in public education funding triggered by statewide economic decline.</p> <p>To find the path forward, education stakeholders will have to work together to identify solutions that meet their school districts’ specific needs. Because increasing transparency around technology spending enables smarter decisions, it’s important for school leadership to also understand current investment priorities and where they are heading.</p> <p>Earlier this year, CDW partnered with IDG to conduct a survey on just that — how IT and business leaders in K–12 and higher education are balancing investments in four essential areas: security, workplace productivity, infrastructure modernization and transformative technologies for students.</p> <p>Here are key findings IT and education leaders should take note of, especially as they face an uncertain future.</p> Micah Castelo https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/07/it-investment-priorities-shaping-todays-school-districts%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Make the Case for Security Spending https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/07/make-case-security-spending%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>With the nationwide shift to full-scale remote learning, cybersecurity is critical to keeping virtual classrooms up and running. But in the face of ever-present budget constraints, many schools and districts struggle to allocate adequate funding to security initiatives.</p> <p>Recent research from CDW and IDG indicates that education leaders expect to devote just 20 percent of their IT budgets to risk mitigation over the next two years. Other priorities — such as modernizing IT, improving collaboration and transforming user experiences — are expected to get bigger slices of the pie.</p> <p>Lower security spending could be a sign that IT leaders and administrators aren’t aligned on their school or district’s risk posture, particularly when it comes to the effectiveness of current security solutions. A lack of breaches is often taken as a sign that defenses are up to snuff. In reality, K–12 systems must tackle a never-ending barrage of both known and unknown phishing, distributed denial of service and ransomware attacks that require IT teams to continuously refine their security approaches and capabilities.</p> <p>Uniting all stakeholders around a common understanding of the K–12 threat landscape — as well as the school or district’s specific needs, goals and challenges — is critical to mitigating risk. But even that discussion won’t have much of an impact if school leadership doesn’t also take the time to break through outmoded silos that place cybersecurity in one bucket and learning goals in another.</p> EdTech Staff https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/07/make-case-security-spending%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Comprehensive Security: IT and School Leaders Get on the Same Page https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/resources/white-paper/comprehensive-security-it-and-school-leaders-get-same-page%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Whether classes commence in person or online, security remains critical to ensuring a safe and productive learning environment for students. But often, protecting K–12 data and systems is easier said than done.</p> <p>While there’s no one reason schools or districts might struggle to manage their risk, a lack of alignment between IT leaders and administrators will make any security obstacle — whether it’s tied to resources, regulations or information silos — that much more difficult to overcome.</p> <p>Open communication is key to bridging that gap and paving the way for a proactive, comprehensive security approach that empowers student learning. That means technical and nontechnical stakeholders must come together to explore their school or district’s needs, goals and challenges from all sides.</p> <p>This infographic outlines key ideas that can help guide those conversations between IT leaders and administrators. It covers:</p> <ul><li>Data and talking points about the likelihood and impact of a breach</li> <li>Explanations of how top-priority security solutions support student learning</li> <li>Additional considerations, such as common security obstacles</li> <li>High-priority action steps for IT teams and administrators</li> </ul><p>Print it out, share it with your colleagues and reshape the security discussion at your school or in your district.</p> https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/resources/white-paper/comprehensive-security-it-and-school-leaders-get-same-page%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Face the Unknowns of a New School Year with Planning and Prep https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/06/face-unknowns-new-school-year-planning-and-prep%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Late summer is usually an exciting time for K–12 schools.</p> <p>It’s when the new school year is on the horizon, bringing with it the thrill of a fresh start and reconnection. There’s the anticipation of the first day of classes, when the buildings come alive with students and employees returning after months away.</p> <p>It’s a bit of an understatement to say this year will be different. How different? School administrators have been contemplating that question as they regroup from implementing remote learning this past school year and plan out the safest, most efficient ways to continue operations.</p> Ryan Petersen https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/06/face-unknowns-new-school-year-planning-and-prep%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Schools Strive for Screen Time Balance in a Complex Equation https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/06/schools-strive-screen-time-balance-complex-equation%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>The dynamics of digital instruction, learning outcomes and equitable access can be complex, with no one-size-fits-all approach. As researchers learn more about best practices, educators are tasked with putting their findings into practice — a job harder than it sounds. Now, districts are confronting new challenges as they seek to deliver instruction remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>We asked four experts to share their views about screen time: <strong>Kathy Hirsh-Pasek</strong>, a senior fellow at the <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/" target="_blank">Brookings Institution</a> and a faculty fellow in psychology at Temple University; <strong>Peter Bezanson</strong>, CEO of <a href="https://www.basised.com/" target="_blank">BASIS Educational Ventures</a>; <strong>Nicol Turner Lee</strong>, a fellow at the <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/center/center-for-technology-innovation/" target="_blank">Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation</a>; and <strong>Bryan Phillips</strong>, CTO of <a href="https://www.hoovercityschools.net/" target="_blank">Hoover City Schools</a> in Alabama.</p> <script type="text/javascript" src="//sc.liveclicker.net/service/getEmbed?client_id=1526&amp;widget_id=1157911885&amp;width=640&amp;height=360"></script><p><small>Watch educators from CoSN2020 dispell some related myths about students and screen time. </small></p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">EDTECH: </span>Research about the effects of screen time varies widely. How would you characterize this issue and the effort to balance technology in schools?</h2> <p><strong>HIRSH-PASEK:</strong> We’ve gotten some handle on use patterns. We’re learning as fast as we can. The problem is that the moment you think you’ve learned something, the technology changes. That’s about to happen again with augmented and virtual reality. This is a matter of time and figuring it out.</p> <p><strong>BEZANSON:</strong> As a member of Generation X, I tend to look suspiciously at screen time, but I don’t think the research backs that up. We’ve embraced it when we can control the screen enough for it to be a piece of educational technology rather than a gaming device. We teach kids how to respect the tablet as something from which they can gain knowledge — and to know when to put it away.</p> <p><strong>TURNER LEE:</strong> I’ve had this debate with higher-income parents trying to take tablets away from their kids and make the case that screen time overall is not helpful. Often, the conversation around screen time is done from a middle-class perspective. As a result, we forget that not all children have access to internet-enabled hardware.</p> <p>What COVID-19 has revealed is that in our important conversations around this topic, we may be missing a few factors, including what access looks like for lower-income students and how many types of devices they have available at home. Research has found that these kids have less access to multiple devices within the home. Our ability to determine whether the kids in Silicon Valley have too much screen time versus the kids in certain parts of Anacostia in Washington, D.C., is really the question that this pandemic is surfacing for school districts struggling to engage in distance learning.</p> Amy Burroughs https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/06/schools-strive-screen-time-balance-complex-equation%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Review: Boost Student Creativity with the MakerBot Replicator+ https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/06/review-boost-student-creativity-makerbot-replicator%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Consumers increasingly use 3D printers at home for a wide range of applications. Hobbyists use their printers to make parts to fix old arcade machines or even create custom fixtures around the house. Companies are making prototypes with ease, allowing their engineering teams to see how everything fits together before they are sent to manufacturing.</p> <p>3D printers are useful creative tools for K–12 classrooms too. I’m fortunate to teach in a classroom that has 10 MakerBots, six of which are the <a href="https://www.cdwg.com/product/makerbot-replicator/4304681" target="_blank">MakerBot Replicator+</a>. My middle school students love dreaming up designs to print.</p> <p>The MakerBot Replicator+ makes it easy for students to take a concept from their mind’s eye to physical form. They’re developing valuable science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and having fun doing it.</p> <p>To control all the features of the printer, an easy-to-use, 3-inch LCD display resides on top of the Replicator+, along with a combination dial and button. Next to this is a USB port, which enables students to use USB flash drives to transfer their print projects from their computers to the printer.</p> Buzz Garwood https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/k12/article/2020/06/review-boost-student-creativity-makerbot-replicator%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E