Modern-Day Storytellers http://susanhanson.com Public Relations & Branding with Panache! Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:10:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 EdTech Women: Women Supporting Women During TCEA http://susanhanson.com/2015/01/edtech-women-women-supporting-women-during-tcea/ Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:00:32 +0000 http://susanhanson.com/?p=4351

Continue reading »]]> Source: EdTech Women

By Sue Hanson, PR with Panache!

edtechwomenThis year PR with Panache! is shining the spotlight on two outstanding women during this year’s annual TCEA Conference in Austin, Texas:  Dr. Karen Billings, Vice President, ETIN and Jean Seok, CEO, Learningpod.

Being humble, Karen would never tout all of her successes, so we want to recognize her for her more than 40 years of experience and hard work in the industry.

As vice president and managing director of the Education Technology Industry Network (ETIN)— a division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)—Karen drives strategic direction, programs and initiatives for the division and its 185 company members focused on the K-12 and higher education markets. While in this position, she has developed and implemented the Innovation Incubator Program, the Vision K-20 Initiative, the One-to-One Business Connections, and produced numerous webinars, conferences, and market reports to support the education members she serves.

PR with Panache! is gathering other industry thought leaders and colleagues to honor Dr. Billings on Wed., Feb 4 at the TCEA Annual Conference in Austin, Texas.

PR with Panache! is also thrilled to have Jean Seok, CEO of Learningpod, join us in our by annual PR with Panache! “Meeting of the Minds” media suite at TCEA. Jean is also a strong ed-tech leader who would never draw attention to all of her outstanding accomplishments, so we’ll do that for her!

Jean leads the charge at Learningpod, an online platform that offers more than 50,000 free, high-quality practice questions for K-12 and higher education. Most people don’t know that Jean successfully spun Learningpod Inc. off from Kaplan Test Prep.

At Kaplan, she was the executive director of UX and the product owner for LSAT-On-Demand. Prior to this, she directed user experience/design at a number of technology startups, including Six Apart and Fotolog. She also was the frontend developer for the Media That Matters Film Festival, winner of best nonprofit website at SxSW.

Come meet Jean at the PR with Panache! “Meeting of the Minds” Media Suite on Wednesday, Feb 4 and/or Thursday, Feb 5 at the Austin Hilton meeting room 602.

Ron Reed, Executive Producer, SXSWedu, and Kathy Hurley, Former EVP Pearson Foundation and Industry Consultant, were also honored at previous PR with Panache! Thought leadership Soirée’s held at TCEA.


A savvy and well-respected PR professional, Sue Hanson approaches every campaign with fresh insight, up-to-the-minute trend awareness and the latest influencer outreach strategies. With 20+ years of industry experience, Sue connects clients to national trends and creates compelling media stories, which lead to resounding success. From her beginnings as a classroom teacher to launching PR with Panache!, Sue’s determination to exceed expectations has led the company to a leadership position in the public relations arena. Her strengths in every facet of PR and her raw, honest approach create a rewarding, refreshing approach to client-media relations. PR with Panache! (PRP) is a bold, fast-moving public relations and media-marketing agency for the education marketplace, launched the “PR with Panache! Thought Leadership Soirée 3 years ago to showcase the contributions of extraordinary individuals in the field of education.

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Different faces of blended learning http://susanhanson.com/2013/12/different-faces-of-blended-learning/ Fri, 27 Dec 2013 19:27:36 +0000 http://susanhanson.com/?p=4339

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Four models for personalization pay off in K12 districts

UntitledSchool administrators overwhelmed by the idea of blended learning need not fear: many districts have successfully implemented one of four models now widely accepted in K12 education. Even more encouraging, some of these schools are seeing increased achievement, lower dropout rates, and other positive results.

Blended learning involves a student learning partly through online instruction and partly with a teacher in a school building. Students may complete online instruction in a classroom, a computer lab, or at home, with varying degrees of control over time, place, path, and pace.

The time with a teacher is often less structured than in traditional classes, with teachers providing small group or one-on-one support rather than lecturing to the entire class.

The goal is to provide a personalized education for every student and increase academic success with self-pacing and extra support, according to Thomas Arnett, an education research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.

The Clayton Christensen Institute, formerly the Innosight Institute, is a nonprofit dedicated in part to researching and promoting blended learning. The organization has established itself as a thought leader in the field. With feedback from about 100 education experts and 80 organizations, the institute developed four models of blended learning in 2012 that are now used in schools nationwide.

Two-thirds of the nation’s 14,000 districts offered some kind of blended learning option in 2012, according to the 2013 version of the Evergreen Education Group’s annual “Keeping Pace with K-12 Online & Blended Learning” report.

Blended learning is spreading quickly. The “Keeping Pace” report found that fully blended schools are operating in at least 24 states and Washington, D.C. Online and blended programs are now growing more rapidly in public schools than they are in charters, the report found. By 2019, about 50 percent of all high school courses will be online, the Clayton Christensen Institute estimates.

There is no comprehensive research on blended learning outcomes yet, but some early results are promising. A 2010 Department of Education analysis found that students in blended courses outperformed those in both fully online courses and face-to-face courses.

The following are success stories of the four models of blended learning. Administrators navigated the challenges and can now offer advice for others looking to enhance instruction.

Rotation model

The most common form of blended learning is the rotation model, in which students within one course rotate between online and face-to-face instruction. The face-to-face component may involve full-class or small-group instruction, group projects, or individual tutoring.

A common form of the rotation model is flipped classrooms. Another is lab rotation, in which students go back and forth between traditional classrooms and computer labs during a course.

The District of Columbia Public Schools created a rotation model in 2012, after hiring John Rice to manage blended learning and unify the district’s online efforts—which varied from classroom to classroom, with limited professional development or program evaluation. After piloting several programs in the 2012-13 school year, two elementary schools are now fully blended for math and literature.

The two schools have blocks of about 120 minutes each for math and literacy. After 10 minutes of whole group instruction, students rotate through three stations for 35 minutes each.

For literacy, the stations include small-group, guided reading with an aide; vocabulary with a teacher; and myON reader_FullColor_wtagindependent online coursework. Students use Lexia for foundational reading skills, and access digital books through myON Reader. They also use the software programs ST Math and First in Math, which feature game-based instruction.

Schools are seeing positive results. From 2012 to 2013, the average percentage of students considered proficient or advanced was over 17 percent for students using ST Math from the MIND Research Institute, compared to just 4.5 percent for those in traditional classes.

Another 33 Washington, D.C., elementary schools are piloting the ST Math program this year, and 40 are testing literacy programs. Implementing the software districtwide gives technology leaders larger sample sizes to see what is increasing achievement, Rice says. “You need a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish, and strong metrics to judge the effectiveness,” Rice says. “Be willing to shutter things that aren’t working, and pick up new ones.”

It’s been a challenge to get teachers to use the plethora of student data recorded by the online programs, as the teachers don’t always have the skills or time to analyze it, Rice says. Teachers can see which content students spend the most time on, and the questions and concepts that lead them to struggle. This can translate into more customized support and one-on-one classroom time with students.

The two D.C. blended elementary schools now share a technology instructional coach who models lessons in blended learning as professional development for teachers. The coach also creates weekly data reports, and meets with teachers to show them what the data means and how to use it to improve instruction.

Flex model

In the flex model, students still attend a brick-and-mortar school every day. But every class is divided into online instruction and face-to-face time with teachers rather than just one or two courses, as in the rotation model. These schools are often set up like offices, with students in their own workspaces and a number of teachers circulating to provide support while students complete online coursework.

Lewis and Clark High School, part of Vancouver Public Schools in Washington, is a former alternative school that reopened as a flex academy in September. The school of about 150 students has two large “flex” areas where students do online instruction at permanently assigned work stations that are similar to office cubicles. There are five classrooms of different sizes that teachers can use when needed for group lessons, and smaller spaces for projects or tutoring.

Students are in the building from 9:30 a.m. to 4:10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and on Friday mornings. The typical day varies from student to student and week to week, but often about half the time is spent on the computer with Edgenuity courses in every subject. The other half is spent working with teachers in individual tutoring or small group instruction, or with other students on group projects.

One consistent element of each student’s day is meeting in a small advisory class. The advisory teacher acts as a mentor, and closely monitors student progress while teaching skills important to online learning, such as creating a schedule for class work.

“It’s one of the benefits we see of having a brick-and-mortar setting—if they need that assistance, they can get it right away,” says Kathy Everidge, executive director of Lewis and Clark High School.

Students have had to learn to prioritize their work, says Principal Rob Duncan. “Most students are used to having a very scheduled school day, but they are moving to a school where they have the freedom to make some decisions about what they are doing each day. It’s very much like what we do in our adult lives.”

Teachers work daily with students on time management, and the school recently incorporated mail accounts where students can set reminders for appointments and assignments. “We’re finding that throughout our 1-to-1 implementation, we give a lot of credit to young people for being digital natives, but that does not necessarily translate to their understanding of how to work and be productive in a digital environment,” says Mark Ray, director of instructional technology and library services at Vancouver Public Schools. “They may know how to use the devices, but need to develop work habits and organizational skills.”

A la carte model

In schools using an a la carte model, students take one or more courses entirely online, while continuing to take traditional classes at a school. Students may take the online courses on or off campus.

The a la carte model has grown in popularity as Alabama, Florida, Michigan and Virginia now require students to take at least one online course before high school graduation, These states want to get students acquainted with virtual learning, which they will likely see in college and the workplace. Similar legislation is pending in other states.

In 2009, the rural Quakertown Community School District in Pennsylvania had a budget deficit that was worsening as more students choose to go to online charter schools. The district rolled out blended courses that September, in hopes of drawing them back. Today, more than half of the district’s high school students are taking at least one online course, which is strongly recommended in the school’s graduation policy.

About 90 percent of Quakertown’s blended courses are developed by district teachers with their own curriculum. It took about 40 hours of professional development for teachers to learn to create their courses, including how to embed videos, link to outside sites, and set up exams, says Superintendent Lisa Andrejko. It took hundreds of hours more to actually develop the courses.

More than 80 courses taught by district teachers are available online or face-to-face. The district contracts with Apex Learning, K12, Inc., and other providers to offer Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and some AP courses to fill teaching gaps in those areas.

A student may have traditional face-to-face classes for the first two periods of the day, then take a Chinese course in the school’s cyber-lounge, and then go back to regular classes for the rest of the day. “The No. 1 advantage to blended learning is the flexibility, and all of the choices we can offer for a school in a small town,” Andrejko says.

The results have been highly positive, according to Andrejko. From 2011 to 2012, the graduation rate increased from 88 percent to 95 percent. More students are taking AP courses, and the SAT and ACT scores are at the highest they have ever been in the district. Mean critical reading and mathematics SAT scores rose by 20 points from 2008 to 2012, and the average ACT scores exceeded the standard readiness scores in English, algebra, and social sciences.

Working online also has helped teachers create better tests for digital and face-to-face courses. Because the assessments are given online, teachers have to think of more in-depth questions that can’t be answered quickly with a Google search, Andrejko says.

After the first year, 73 percent of teachers feel the initiative has increased student engagement, and 60 percent said they believe it has increased academic success, according to a district survey. “It’s not cheaper to educate kids online,” Andrejko says, “but you’re going to keep them in your schools, and offer them flexibility in a competitive market with cyberschools and other opportunities.”

Enriched virtual model

In the enriched virtual model, all students in the school divide time for every course between school and home. It differs from the flex model because students do not attend the physical school every day.

Rio Rancho Cyber Academy, part of Rio Rancho Public Schools in New Mexico, opened in 2005 and enrolls about 180 students in grades six through 12. Students in grades six through eight come to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, while grades nine through 11 come in Tuesday and Thursday. Seniors come in only on Tuesdays. Students spend the other days at home working on online courses developed by Edgenuity.

The school is essentially a large, one-room computer lab, with some offices and conference spaces. When students are in the school, instruction is focused on the concepts with which they are struggling. The school’s eight teachers can work with students individually or in small groups. Teachers also focus on skills, like writing and note-taking, that are necessary across all subjects with online curriculum.

The academy’s ACT scores exceed state and national averages, says Heidi Parnell, Rio Rancho Cyber Academy program manager and the district’s virtual enriched learning coordinator. The average composite score for the class of 2013 was 22 out of 36, compared to about 20 statewide. The students also outperform state averages on the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment. Most notably, in 2012, 95 percent of seventh grade Cyber Academy students passed the state’s standardized math test, compared to 42 percent statewide.

Some excel, some return to class

Blended learning also requires the willingness of teachers to be flexible and patient as students are learning to develop time management skills and how to use online curriculum, Parnell says. Rio Rancho Cyber Academy interviews students and parents before they enroll, to ensure they realize the responsibility of managing their time.

“There are students who excel, and there are students who thought learning with and off of computers would be fun and easy, but who end up failing and beg to return to the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom,” Parnell says.

Each online lesson generally includes a warm-up, video instruction from a virtual teacher, an assignment, more instruction, and a quiz. At Rio Rancho, students must earn a 70 or above on the quiz to continue on to the next lesson. Those who score below 70 work with a teacher in-person to go over the concepts again.

Courses range from about 30 to 50 lessons each, and students must complete them by the end of the semester. It’s rare that a student does not complete a course in the proper time, Parnell says.

“Students learn to advocate for themselves, and can’t blame a teacher for not learning,” Parnell concludes. “So many students blossom when they realize they’re in charge.”

Source: District Administration

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Are you or your colleagues attending FETC or TCEA in 2014? http://susanhanson.com/2013/12/are-you-or-your-colleagues-attending-fetc-or-tcea-in-2014/ Thu, 26 Dec 2013 19:50:05 +0000 http://susanhanson.com/?p=4323

Continue reading »]]> PR with Panache! will be there as well and we fetc2014would love to connect with you!

We’ll be hosting events for several of our clients at both conferences. At TCEA, we’ll also welcome education writers, editors and industry thought leaders to our storied, two-day “Meeting of the Minds” media suite.

At TCEA, we will also be hosting our 2nd annual Thought Leader of the Year event. In 2014, we will be honoring the infamous innovator and thought leader, Kathy Hurley, Executive Vice President of Strategic Alliances at the Pearson Foundation.  We look forward to toasting Kathy along with 2013 Thought Leader of the Year recipient, Executive Director of SXSWedu, Ron Reed.

tcea-2014

Stay tuned to our website for more details about both events!

Please feel free to contact Sue or Jacob with questions, to set up some time to chat, or to just say see you all there!

 

 

For more information about either conference, visit their websites:

FETC: Jan. 28-31 in Orlando, Fla.

TCEA: Feb. 3-7 in Austin, Texas

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EdTech Digest Interview: Comal ISD & Mac to School on Refurbished Tech http://susanhanson.com/2013/12/edtech-digest-features-prp-client-mac-to-school/ Sun, 22 Dec 2013 15:44:03 +0000 http://susanhanson.com/?p=4317

Continue reading »]]> Mac to School
Issues and challenges in using refurbished computers for a school district.

INTERVIEW | by Victor Rivero

MSTlogoBigHelping to get the best technology into the hands of as many students as possible, Robert Baker is the president and founder of Mac to School. The company buys, refurbishes and sells Apple computers and equipment and serves the public and private education markets working with schools and districts throughout all 50 states. Naturally, they strive to deliver the best value to their customers while providing the highest level of customer service. Travis Hinman is a Systems Administrator at Comal Independent School District in Texas, a 19,000-student school district that is expected to nearly double in the coming decade. Travis joins Robert in answering questions about all that technology in schools and just exactly how refurbished computers provide a workable solution to district needs.

Technology is a tool that helps educators enable learning. Getting the best technology into the hands of students is a key component to their academic success.

Victor: What is your take on the role of technology in education today? And the next 5 years?

Robert: It’s a pretty exciting time for technology in education. There are a lot of new devices and services available for educators. Technology is a tool that helps educators enable learning. Getting the best technology into the hands of students is a key component to their academic success.

I believe that in the next five years we’ll continue to see more variety in edtech devices. The past couple of years the big trend of course has been in tablets. While tablets are here to stay and a great learning tool, we believe that desktops and laptops will continue to be a vital part of the edtech ecosystem. It’s all about having access to use the best tech tool for the job, i.e. reading chapters on your iPad, writing a paper on your laptop and editing video in the iMac lab.

Victor: Your parent company, MacService has been providing refurbished Macs for over a decade, what led to your decision of creating Mac to School to specifically support technology in education?

Robert: When we started MacService in a small shop down the street from Apple headquarters in Cupertino, we focused on providing our individual consumer customers the highest level of service. As we grew into a company mactoschool log PR webwith national reach, we started working with schools, businesses and other organizations throughout the U.S.

We found that the same things that were making us successful in the consumer space, pairing quality and personalized service, were also resonating in the education vertical.
We created Mac to School to really cater to the education market. By focusing on working directly with schools and districts we can better understand and serve their needs. We want to help put the best technology into as many students’ hands as possible.

Victor: Can you please expand on your commitment to technology in education and education in general?

Robert: I was lucky enough have some pretty tech-forward teachers when I was in school. Growing up in Silicon Valley, we had quite a few early adopters and tech hobbyists in our school system. Having access to those early Mac labs was pretty fundamental for me personally.

It seems that in everyday life, there are those of us who are either uncomfortable with technology, just keeping up, or ahead of the curve. Having access to technology is the first step in better understanding and using it to enhance learning. That’s where we hope to make a difference, by helping make technology more affordable in order to make it more accessible.

Having access to technology is the first step in better understanding and using it to enhance learning.

Victor: Any words of guidance for school administrators looking in to partnering with an organization – what to look for, what to watch out for?

Robert: We believe that the relationship we have with our customers is our number one asset. When partnering with a new organization, I would look for how well they communicate and deliver on their commitments. Ask to speak with some of their customers, if they’re like us, they’ll be happy to connect current and new customers.

Value and price are often confused. Be on the lookout for new operations that are only interested in undercutting others on price. What will the actual product look like? What happens when there is a warranty issue? Will the company be around in a year or two? It’s the after sales support like warranty repairs where we really work extra hard to shine. Where most companies point you to a policy that says they won’t fix something, we just say “yes” and make the process easy. Time is an educators most valuable resource, we take every step possible to ensure that time is being spent on increasing student achievement.

Victor: Anything else you care to say or emphasize?

Robert: We often get asked why schools should choose our refurbished Macs over buying new Macs from Apple. Our answer is that both refurbished and new can be a part of a school’s technology makeup. New Macs deliver the latest Apple technology while refurbished Macs are a great way to augment existing Mac deployments and increase the number of overall devices available for students.

The device itself is only one component of the technology budget, by saving money with refurbished Macs, more budget is left over for personnel, software, professional development and other IT services. Mac to School is dedicated to helping schools get more out of their technology budget.

Victor: Alright, thank you Robert! Now let’s hear from Travis in a bit of a rapid-fire approach. Hi Travis! First, could you paint a picture of what the technology ‘landscape’ looks like in Comal ISD from a district view as well as a classroom view?

Travis: Technology needs are growing as fast as the population, and as a school district, one has to be sure that our technology in use in the classroom is in accordance to the requirements by the state. As the population goes, so does our demand for more technology and budget expenses. In the classroom, teachers utilize every piece of technology that is available to help enrich the learning environment.

Victor: Budgets are a concern everywhere; outside of budget, what led you to arrive at your decision to implement refurbished Mac’s into your schools?

Travis: Every year, our school district allocates funds for departmental use. With school board approval, we make sure we can purchase as much equipment as possible within our budget. With new equipment, we were limited as to how much we could purchase. After some research, we discovered that we could buy refurbished equipment that meets our needs and still have a warranty that is the same as buying a new piece of equipment.

After some research, we discovered that we could buy refurbished equipment that meets our needs and still have a warranty that is the same as buying a new piece of equipment.

Victor: Were you able to apply the budget dollars you saved by implementing refurbished computers anywhere else?

Travis: Yes, with the money that we saved, we were able to buy more refurbished equipment for other schools in our district

Victor: In the day-to-day use of your refurbished MacBooks, have you experienced any major challenges outside what you typically see with new devices?

Travis: No, the refurbished equipment is comparable to our new computers and has the same warranty options as new.

Victor: Do you feel that this is an option other technology departments should consider? If so, why?

Travis: As school districts grow, so does the need for technology. Given budgets don’t tend to grow as rapidly as the need for technology, why would you not look for options to get you more machines for less money.

Victor: Any words of guidance for school administrators looking into partnering with an organization – what to look for, what to watch out for?

Travis: When looking into refurbished equipment, make sure you find a company that stands behind their products. Even though the machine might be used, it is still new to a school district. Make sure your computer company offers a warranty for the computers so that you have piece of mind knowing you are getting a quality product.

Victor: Alright, thank you gentlemen!

Travis: Thank you!

Robert: Thank you, Victor!

Victor Rivero is the Editor in Chief of EdTech Digest. Write to: victor@edtechdigest.com

 

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Education Week: Resources for Writing IEPs Aligned to Common-Core Standards http://susanhanson.com/2013/12/education-week-resources-for-writing-ieps-aligned-to-common-core-standards/ Thu, 19 Dec 2013 19:07:38 +0000 http://susanhanson.com/?p=4314

Continue reading »]]> goalbook_logo_plainA few weeks ago, I hosted a chat on writing standards-based individualized education program goals aligned to common core reading and math standards. The guests, Barbara Van Haren and Carol Kosnitsky, did a great job answering questions from our audience, but one inquiry that came up over and over was from educators looking for clear examples of just what a standards-based IEP goal would look like.

In the context of an hour-long webchat, we weren’t able to link to all the information out there on this topic. I’ve gathered some resources from educators and my own research for this blog post, with an eye out to resources that offer as many examples as possible.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive; it’s just a place for educators to start their own research.

  • In the chat, both Carol and Barbara endorsed Goalbook, an online toolkit that guides special education teachers through the IEP-writing process. Carol is a member of the team of academic advisors working with the company. Goalbook also has an online slide show that walks teachers through examples of how to get to the essence of an academic standard, which is one of the first steps in writing a meaningful IEP.
  • This Powerpoint presentation from Barbara and one of her colleagues, Nissan Bar-Lev, offers an overview of the philosophy of standards-based IEPs and an example of a standard written for an IEP reading goal connected to a common-core standard.
  • For a 2012 meeting of the Alabama Council of Administrators in Special Education, Carol wrote a 30-page document on IEP-writing strategies.
  • The Connecticut State Education Resource Center created a multimedia presentation on common core-aligned IEPs. The presentation features a lecture as well as slides.
  • Illinois teachers can take advantage of the resources at the IEP Quality Tutorial, a project of the University of Illinois and Urbana-Champaign.

Readers, please offer your own suggestions on writing IEP goals in the comments. (To keep it relevant, let’s stick to the topic of IEP goals and common core, not the common core in general or common core-aligned lesson plans.) Let’s keep this conversation going!

Source: Education Week

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THE Journal: Promethean debuts cloud-based classroom tool http://susanhanson.com/2013/12/the-journal-promethean-debuts-cloud-based-classroom-tool/ Thu, 19 Dec 2013 15:19:01 +0000 http://susanhanson.com/?p=4308

Continue reading »]]> Promethean-Logo-headerA new cloud-based classroom tool aims to help teachers build lessons, deliver materials and monitor student comprehension from their mobile device.

ClassFlow, from Promethean, enables teachers to create, deliver and share lesson plans online, from any web browser. Teachers can use the tool to connect classroom displays, whiteboards, and projectors to students’ mobile devices. ClassFlow also allows teachers to drive the lesson, from any location in the classroom, using their handheld device. The tool comes with a student response and polling capability.

ClassFlow will be available, in English, at no charge for US teachers beginning January 2014. Additional information about the tool is available online.

Source: THE Journal

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Celebrate Reading This Holiday with TCEA Partner myON http://susanhanson.com/2013/12/celebrate-reading-this-holiday-with-tcea-partner-myon/ Thu, 19 Dec 2013 15:10:36 +0000 http://susanhanson.com/?p=4305

Continue reading »]]> UntitledTCEA and myON are partnering to bring an exciting opportunity that will allow your students and even your own children to access over 4,000 engaging digital books on computers, tablets, and other devices, wherever they are over the holiday break – free of charge.

Through this special holiday offer, students will be able to choose from a collection of thousands of high-interest digital books from myON, a business unit of Capstone – the leading publisher of school library texts —  in a variety of genres and formats. Readers of all levels will be able to enjoy these digital books independently or they may activate naturally-recorded audio and text highlighting to support their reading. An embedded dictionary provides help with pronunciation and definitions for words they may not know. Free mobile apps enable your students to download books on their mobile devices for offline reading, as well.

Encourage your students to read independently or enjoy the gift of reading together as a family during the wintermyON reader_FullColor_wtag break by reading on myON!

Here’s how to access myON books:

Go online to www.myon.com.

Click the Log In Now button and enter TCEA, TX District as the School Name. (Begin typing the first few letters and select from the drop-down menu.)

Enter the user name of “read” and the password of “read”.

Click on submit, select a book, and start reading!

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EdTech Digest features Goalbook’s Toolkit in “Cool Tools” http://susanhanson.com/2013/12/edtech-digest-features-goalbooks-toolkit-in-cool-tools/ Wed, 11 Dec 2013 15:58:34 +0000 http://susanhanson.com/?p=4295

Continue reading »]]> Solution integrates technology, professional development, and research to help teachers personalize instruction

goalbook_logo_plain

UPDATE: Goalbook’s Toolkit was also featured in Tech & Learning’s blog on Dec. 16!

Supported by ImagineK12 and the New Schools Venture Fund, Goalbook is thrilled to announce its Toolkit is now available to districts nationwide. Their mission is to empower teachers to ensure access and equity for all students – including students with special needs, English language learners, and students requiring academic and behavior interventions.

Personalized instruction is the key to a successful education system, but as classrooms grow increasingly diverse, it can be a challenge for teachers to reach every child. Goalbook’s solution combines leading pedagogical research with its innovative technology to help educators personalize instruction for students.

“Decades of research show that teachers are the most important school-based factor in a child’s education,” said Daniel Jhin Yoo, Goalbook’s co-founder, a former special education teacher and administrator, and previous Google software developer. “We believe the best way to overcome existing achievement gaps is to empower educators with the resources and tools to design instruction that accounts for each student as an individual and makes the success of every child attainable.”

Goalbook’s key to success is its unique approach to developing teacher resources and professional development,edtech digest based on leading research from Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Created by the nonprofit research center CAST, UDL is a design framework for applying evidence-based strategies to reduce learning barriers and improve the learning for all students.

“We partner with districts to implement technology and design professional development thoughtfully,” said co-founder, Justin Su, former director of operations and technology for Rocketship Education. “We help equip teachers with the tools to smash learning barriers and make a real impact in the classroom.”

Since launching in 2011, the company has rapidly expanded working with over 100 district customers in 30 states. Its content spans Pre-K to 12th grade in the core academic subject areas, in addition to behavior, social emotional and autism support.

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Goalbook Offers Holistic Approach to Empower Teachers http://susanhanson.com/2013/12/goalbook-offers-holistic-approach-to-empower-teachers/ Wed, 11 Dec 2013 15:57:18 +0000 http://susanhanson.com/?p=4288

Continue reading »]]> Solution integrates technology, professional development, and research to help teachers personalize instruction

goalbook_logo_plainSupported by ImagineK12 and the New Schools Venture Fund, Goalbook is thrilled to announce its Toolkit is now available to districts nationwide. Their mission is to empower teachers to ensure access and equity for all students – including students with special needs, English language learners, and students requiring academic and behavior interventions.

Personalized instruction is the key to a successful education system, but as classrooms grow increasingly diverse, it can be a challenge for teachers to reach every child. Goalbook’s solution combines leading pedagogical research with its innovative technology to help educators personalize instruction for students.

“Decades of research show that teachers are the most important school-based factor in a child’s education,” said Daniel Jhin Yoo, Goalbook’s co-founder, a former special education teacher and administrator, and previous Google software developer. “We believe the best way to overcome existing achievement gaps is to empower educators with the resources and tools to design instruction that accounts for each student as an individual and makes the success of every child attainable.”

Goalbook’s key to success is its unique approach to developing teacher resources and professional development, based on leading research from Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Created by the nonprofit research center CAST, UDL is a design framework for applying evidence-based strategies to reduce learning barriers and improve the learning for all students.

“We partner with districts to implement technology and design professional development thoughtfully,” said co-founder, Justin Su, former director of operations and technology for Rocketship Education. “We help equip teachers with the tools to smash learning barriers and make a real impact in the classroom.”

Since launching in 2011, the company has rapidly expanded working with over 100 district customers in 30 states. Its content spans Pre-K to 12th grade in the core academic subject areas, in addition to behavior, social emotional and autism support.

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SmartBlog on Education: The yays, nays and everything in between from a 1:1 veteran http://susanhanson.com/2013/12/smartblog-on-education-the-yays-nays-and-everything-in-between-from-a-11-veteran/ Wed, 11 Dec 2013 15:50:26 +0000 http://susanhanson.com/?p=4297

Continue reading »]]> logoSmartBlog on Education recently featured a guest blog from Christopher DeNoia, a Prey user. You can read the article below or see it published here 

Christopher DeNoia has been with the Pascack Valley Regional High School District in New Jersey since 2006. He is currently the district assistant network administrator and oversees the technical aspects of the district’s 2500+ MacBook Air 1:1 initiative, which has recently entered its 10th year.

Let’s rewind a little. In 2004, tablets were not yet on the drawing board, Facebook was available to a handful of college students and most folks’ definition of a digital textbook was a book that came on a compact disc. Fast forward to 2013, where you can hardly have a conversation about education that does not include mention of mobile devices, online learning and social-media platforms. You get the idea.

In the Pascack Valley Regional High School District in New Jersey, 2004 was the beginning of an educational SmartBlogOnEducationLogotransformation that brought technology, education and the community together. In 2004, the district implemented one of the nation’s first 1:1 initiatives and has been meeting achievement and budget goals ever since.

Don’t get me wrong, we have had our fair share of scrapes and bruises along the way, so for those of you looking to implement 1:1, or in the midst of one, here are some of the most important things the last 10 years have taught us:

Leadership and community buy in

It is up to leadership at the district level to ensure that all stakeholders are engaged from the beginning, including staff and the community at large. That means establishing value for all stakeholders. From the inception of the 1:1 program in our district, leadership engaged parents, teachers, building administrators and members of the school board. Their planning and transparency led to each party joining the 1:1 push. Because of our leadership’s efforts to help the community understand the goals, the district was able to implement and support our 1:1 initiative with little resistance then or down the road.

Can you afford it?

Where is the money coming from? Need I say more? Our district was able to implement and maintain its 1:1 initiative without significantly increasing budget, during the planning phase, leadership was able to identify where funds could be reallocated. An audit was incredibly helpful here.

The right tools for the job

I bet you are thinking, I am going to talk about which device would best suit your district, budget etc. However, when I say the right tools for the job, I am talking about the right staff, with the right expertise in the right place. Typical 1:1 involves many moving parts: IT, tech departments, curriculum folks etc., each with their own areas of expertise and requirements for success, making strong communication essential.  In our district, leadership evaluated what it would take to support a districtwide initiative and added both network and tech staff to each site, ensuring educators had the support they needed. We have two district-level network administrators, two IT support specialists at each of our buildings, a district data services manager, a department secretary, and even more importantly, an extremely engaged and involved director of technology.

Asset management

Throughout the last 10 years, the tools available to us have evolved. At a district level, it was necessary to provide a number of universal services to our schools. One requirement was a network that can support nearly 3,000 logodevices connected at the same time every day. About four years ago we transitioned to a Cisco network infrastructure, increasing network capacity and available wireless bandwidth. We chose Prey as an asset management and device recovery tool, which has been invaluable. Prey allows us to keep track of each device, locate a single device should it go missing or become a victim of theft, as well as giving us more control of the recovery process with a more granular approach to asset management.

Flexibility

Because we chose to use the MacBook Air, we had the added challenge of implementing a device with a smaller hard drive. Rather than nixing valuable tools, we were able to provide students and faculty with the flexibility of deciding what they need on their desktop with Self Service from JAMF, which allows a user to choose applications and software from an approved district list.

A few extra tidbits of advice for your 1:1 adventure

  • Engage your entire staff. Many of our “reluctant” teachers at the onset have become our most valuable sources of support and innovation. With the right professional development and support, any teacher can serve in this role.
  • Make this initiative valuable to your students. The more students need their device to get through the day, the more success you will realize. Keep it simple. Give kids the tools they need to make a 1:1 environment the most comfortable learning environment they have ever known.
  • And lastly, kids will be kids. They will always try to preoccupy themselves. To tackle this hurdle, we have given our students a lot of freedom, and responsibility, which has made incidents of misuse almost obsolete.
  • Engage. Plan. Budget. Plan. Engage. Support. Implement and repeat.

 

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