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ED TECH HEADLINES

How big is digital education in the United States? An end of year review
Brookings
Buzz about the potential of digital learning abounds. Despite the excitement, relatively little is known about how many students are actually taking advantage of digital learning opportunities. This is partly due to online learning tools having numerous forms, rendering them difficult to track. In addition, policies also vary greatly across states. A new report, Keeping Pace with K-12 Digital Learning, helps to shed light on the state of online learning in the United States.
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What the new E-Rate funding can do for your district
THE Journal
The $1.5 billion increase in E-Rate's annual funding approved by the Federal Communications Commission is expected to allow 101,000 schools and 16,000 libraries to expand their high-speed broadband and WiFi access. That extra funding has been guaranteed for the next five years, and much of it is expected to allow Priority 2 funds to go further, according to Ronald Sheps, director of public sector programs at Westcon. Sheps spoke during a webinar hosted by Carousel Industries. Both companies provide networking and communications services and equipment in the education market.
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Let's give our students a chance to compete in the digital age
Roll Call
Across the nation, the powerful combination of broadband, affordable devices and increasing opportunity for cloud-based content is transforming education. Traditional teaching tools like blackboards and books are giving way to interactive digital content delivered directly to students' devices. We have moved from a world where a connected computer lab down the hall was a luxury, to one where high-speed broadband delivered directly to the classroom is a necessity. Indeed, we have graduated into the digital age.
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Common Core assessment products now make up largest sector of K-12 tech market
EdTech Magazine
The shift to Common Core State Standards in K–12 schools across the country has raised the software assessment industry to new heights. Common Core has been adopted by 43 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, according to the program's website. These voluntary K–12 benchmarks are designed to keep U.S. schools globally competitive; a key tenet is mandatory online assessments.
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Outlook on instruction: Class around the clock
District Administration Magazine
Better ways to use data. High-tech professional development. Differentiated instruction. Some exciting advancements are on the horizon for classrooms in 2015. While they sound technical, the biggest changes aren't going to be driven by an app, a computer program or a new kind of tablet — they will come from new theories about how to engage both students and teachers in the classroom. Technology will continue to transform classroom instruction in the coming years. But education leaders, such as Vanderbilt University professor Barbara Stengel and Partnership for 21st Century Skills Executive Director Helen Soule, say they hope to see an ongoing shift in what administrators, teachers, students and parents think a classroom should look like and how it should function.
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3 different ways to go 1:1
Scholastic Administrator
As most districts know, simply outfitting kids with the latest devices as part of a 1:1 push won't boost achievement. Unless you find the right tool to help students excel at learning, you could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on high-tech pencils. Three district administrators told us how they made their decisions — and what you need to know to make yours.
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  Consortium for School Networking
From Vision to Action: The 21st Century Teaching and Learning Plan. Designed to help educators understand and implement 21st century teaching and learning, the course includes readings, videos, presentations, questions designed to provide immediate feedback, application exercises and customizable tools that can be downloaded.
 


Digital ways to celebrate December holidays
Tech&Learning
Students are excited about the holidays and celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or their school break. Get them learning and celebrating with digital devices, web tools and apps. Students can write digital stories with the resources listed below or create very meaningful gifts for friends and family members. They can also discover how others around the world celebrate.
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5 top tech tools of 2014
eSchool News
Some of the year's top ed-tech tools include a free slideshow creator, a reading tool with embedded assessments, and an adaptive math practice game. How many of 2014's top tools have you used? During an edWeb webinar, Ruth Okoye, a Common Sense Graphite Certified Educator, offered insight on five of the top ed-tech tools from Graphite, a free service from Common Sense Education that helps educators choose tools and resources for students.
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Smartphones: From toy to tool
Edutopia
In classrooms, smartphones are slowly shifting out of the toy-and-liability-to-attention category, and into the tool-and-engaging-students category. It's part of the movement to "meet students where they are" that's being embraced by teachers who believe in a nonstandardized approach to education. Jeremy Mettler, social studies teacher at Batavia (New York) High School, puts it this way: "Students all have them and they love using them, but they don't realize they're walking around with a computer in their pocket."
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Study: Education technology vendors often in dark on district needs (Education Week)
New laws strengthen protection of student data (District Administration Magazine)
Going #BYOD? Educators share ideas on using devices for learning (Tech&Learning)
7 reasons digital equity is a social justice issue (eSchool News)
Technology revitalizes hands-on education in classrooms (Scientific American)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


Why kids won't quit technology
The Atlantic
Smartphones, iPads, TVs, computers, videogames. Technology is omnipresent, especially for young students. They just can't get enough; one 2013 study found that college students check their digital devices for non-class purposes 11 times per day on average, and 80 percent of them admitted that the technology was distracting them from class. This has some educators and scientists concerned: Are students distracted because their brains are hard-wired for it after a lifetime of screens? Is there a cultural or behavioral element to the fixation that has infiltrated the classroom?
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K-12 students on technology in schools: More, please
THE Journal
Half of middle and high school students judge the amount of technology use in their schools as "moderate." A third of them consider that just fine; but 55 percent would rather see more technology in use (boys more so than girls). Six out of 10 teachers expect technology to become "very important" two years from now, whereas 41 percent consider it very important today. Another 47 percent consider it simply "important."
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