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We wish you a safe, happy holiday season!

As the year comes to a close, we invite you to take a look at the most popular stories of the year from Education Technology Today. Our regular publication will resume Wednesday, Jan. 7.


Smart Schools Commission issues final report and findings
NYSCATE
From Nov. 5: The final report has been issued on the state and future of classroom technology and broadband connectivity in New York's public schools and communities, along with a series of Smart Schools Keys to Success for school districts to consider. This report outlines opportunities inherent in incorporating technology into the classroom. It also provides school districts with a roadmap to plan for and implement a technology-driven overhaul of their schools that enhances student achievement and prepares students to participate in tomorrow's economy.
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iPad 'Acceptable Policy' poster now available for your classroom
Edudemic
From Sept. 24: A new "acceptable use" policy poster can serve as a handy reminder for students who might need help remembering how to handle expensive classroom technology.
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Can mobile devices make the grade in the classroom?
FierceMobileIT
From Aug. 13: A nationwide survey indicates that 71 percent of U.S. school districts are putting mobile devices in the hands of their students, and many more would follow suit if their budgets allowed. Buy-in from school administration hasn't been easy, but now districts are facing a new problem: parental acceptance.
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Microsoft takes on Google Classroom app with the new offering
Microsoft News
From Oct. 8: Microsoft has announced a direct competitor to Google Classroom, called OneNote Class Notebook Creator. Developed in partnership with Microsoft Research and Microsoft China, it helps teachers quickly set up a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities — all within one powerful notebook.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  Jupiter iO All-in-One
Jupiter iO All-in-One gradebook, LMS, analytics and SIS solution, empowers online instruction and learning. The rich features provide the ability to create online tests, lessons, homework calendars, digital file lockers, discussion forums, surveys, essay annotation, peer reviews, critiques, portfolios and more, all with the convenience of automatic grading and analytic reporting.
 


TED-Ed Clubs: Are they right for your school?
Tech & Learning
From Sept. 17: It's not a secret that TED talks are inspirational and thought-provoking. Now TED-Ed is bringing TED into your classrooms with TED-Ed Clubs. If you want your students to improve their critical thinking and collaboration skills, stimulate creative and innovative ideas, connect groups of students and educators of all different backgrounds around the world, you can start a TED-Ed Club in your school.
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3 strategies for improving STEM education
EdSurge
From Aug. 13: "Science is an engine of prosperity. You want to invite people in at all stages of life." Such were the words of Marietta DiChristina, editor in chief of Scientific American and co-organizer of the second annual Executive STEM Summit in New York City. On Aug. 5, leaders in academia, educational technology and policy gathered at the event focused on "the Science of Learning." And although they came from different fields, the attendees were united by a sense of urgency in improving STEM education.
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Google's giant leap into transforming education
TechAeris
From Aug. 20: Since its rollout in 2006, Google Apps for Education has ammosed more than 20 million users worldwide. Now Google has officially released the second wave: Google Classroom. Google managers say it will "give teachers more time to teach and students more time to learn."
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Introducing the 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools
U.S. Department of Education
From Oct. 1: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Sept. 30 recognized 337 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2014, based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. These schools demonstrate that all students can achieve to high levels. Click here for an interactive map of the 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools.
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50 top ed-tech products, straight from educators
eSchool News
From Aug. 6: Here is a list of ed-tech products and services that have proven to be effective, as noted by your colleagues in K-12 schools and districts nationwide.
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6 things to consider before starting your makerspace
EdSurge
From Oct. 15: It is certainly tempting to start thinking about all the amazing tools you could put into a new makerspace. But buying a bunch of tools without first stopping to think about how they will be integrated into the culture and curriculum of your school is a recipe for a dusty and underused workshop.
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