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Laptops expected to be biggest K-12 tech expense in 2015
THE Journal
IT spending by K-12 in the United States is expected to hit about $4.7 billion for 2015. The biggest single area for technology spending will be laptop computers at $1.4 billion. Those estimates come out of a new IT spending pivot table from IDC Government Insights, which provides estimates and forecasts for the entire U.S. education sector, encompassing K-12, higher ed and "other" education. According to the analyst firm, the guidance will be published bi-annually. The report will include details on education level, individual states, education functional areas, enrollment levels and technology segments.
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In 10 years, America's classrooms are going to be much more diverse than they are now
The Huffington Post
The 2014-2015 school year represents a milestone for America's public schools. For the first time, a majority of students around the country are not white. They identify with minority groups. In future years, experts only expect this trend to accelerate. In honor of The Huffington Post's 10-year anniversary this May, we're looking at the future of American classrooms and what students in these classrooms might look like 10 years from now. In 2025, America's schools will likely be substantially more diverse than they are currently, serving more kids who come from Hispanic, Asian or mixed-race backgrounds. These shifting demographics raise a number of questions about the best ways for schools to serve students who are more diverse than ever before.
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It's time for every student to learn to code
eSchool News
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion around the importance of coding in the K-12 classroom. Should it be compulsory for all students? An elective? Reserved for those students considering a computer science major in college? The answer may come down to supply and demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computing jobs and only 400,000 computer science students to fill those roles. This represents a gap of one million jobs that will go unfilled, and amounts to a $500 billion opportunity lost.
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Gifted education is about the whole child
Education Week (commentary)
Celi Trépanier, a contributor for Education Week, writes: "Face it, the vast majority of people think that gifted children are the smart, high-achieving students in a special, sometimes elitist program at school. It's a universal misperception. When I was an education student in college, the elementary school where I was student-teaching had a full-time gifted program. The classroom had no desks — the gifted students got to sit in bean bags for their instructional time instead. In the regular classrooms, where students sat in desks, the field trips were visits to local museums and other cultural events. In comparison, the gifted students were allowed to go on overnight field trips."
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Should 3rd grade be the pivot point for early reading?
Education Week
It's become a truism in education policy that reading is the gatekeeper to later academic success. In hopes of ensuring that success, a rising number of states bar promotion for students who do not read proficiently by 3rd grade. In 2004, only Florida and Ohio used third grade reading as a gatekeeper to promotion. Today, 16 states and the District of Columbia require — and three others allow — schools to retain 3rd graders based on reading performance. Yet even as retention gains traction among state policymakers, new research questions both the effectiveness of holding back students and the timing of reading development itself.
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Physical education takes a hit: Schools' emphasis on testing is making kids sick
Truthout
A 2013 study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health laid the problem out in stark terms: Fewer than 50 percent of U.S. youth currently get the recommended amount of moderate to vigorous exercise they need to become healthy adults. Not surprisingly, the amount of movement deemed necessary varies by age; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests 150 minutes per week for elementary school children and 225 minutes a week for junior and senior high school students.
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For the love of reading: Using technology to draw students to literacy
By: Pamela Hill (commentary)
My love for reading goes back further than I can actually recall. As an educator, I want my students to love to read, not just learn to read. Parents of students with diagnosed reading disabilities want their children to read and enjoy reading as well. Students with diagnosed reading disabilities spend more of their educational hours in intensive reading instruction than the average reader. For this student, reading as a leisure activity often seems just out of reach.
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Field trips: What students gain from having input into school budgets
MindShift
Taking 175 sixth-graders on two forms of transportation, then leading them on a one mile walk through San Francisco to a downtown science museum is no small task. But it’s one teacher Linda Holt may be doing far more regularly in the coming years. That's because her school district, in Vallejo, Calif., made the decision last summer to allocate more money to field trips over the next several school years. The decision comes as a result of California’s new school funding rules, which eliminated many of the traditional earmarks on state funding and handed the privilege, and the challenge, of allocating funds to the districts.
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Do kids today have too much homework?
The Christian Science Monitor
To Samson Boyd, a father in Nashville, Tenn., simple addition used to be a straightforward proposition: Four plus four equals eight. But in today's era of newfangled math, kids are taught various ways to arrive at the right answer. So when Boyd was helping his 10-year-old son with arithmetic one night recently, he needed help and called the Homework Hotline, a Nashville program that provides free tutoring for students and parents. His was one of about 12,000 such calls the hotline has fielded this school year alone. It's a reminder of how demanding the workload can become for kids and raises an enduring question: Is too much late-night calculus and chemistry overloading young people today?
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Brain breaks: basic and supercharged
By Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer
Every teacher has experience the glazed look from students who basically need a break. When kids get tired or bored, they tend to check out. Once kids begin to check out– they are no longer learning! Well designed Brain Breaks accomplish three purposes: 1) they refresh students, 2) they refocus students for learning and 3) they re-energize students. A basic “brain-break” is a 2 or 3 minute break away from the topic currently being taught combined with a movement activity.
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How many degrees do you need to teach middle school?
Bloomberg
To understand why the U.S. education system is mired in mediocrity, start by listening to Scott McKim's story. McKim can claim a master's degree in watershed science, an undergraduate degree in meteorology, with minors in math and physics, and statewide teacher of the year honors for his work as a math and science teacher at a middle school in Alaska. In his free time, he led a student club that installed a wind turbine, started a cafeteria composting program, and built a greenhouse. He also helped develop a charter school devoted to outdoor education and STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and math — and managed to get a second master's in teaching, with a focus on science and math instruction.
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Can K-12 districts really bring broadband to the community?
eSchool News
When it comes to providing free broadband access, most communities are far more likely to consider their local coffee shop over their school district, but in reality such institutions can serve as the vital link between high-speed Internet capabilities and those families and students who may not have such access at home. And while many Americans do have high-speed broadband at home, such capabilities are not ubiquitous. In fact, according to the FCC's 2015 Broadband Progress Report, approximately 55 million Americans (17 percent) live in areas unserved by fixed 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband or higher service.
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Friends or frenemies? Understanding bullying in schools
Psychology Today
In our culture of 24/7 news cycles and social media connectedness, we have a better opportunity than ever before to bring attention to important issues. In the last few years, Americans have collectively paid attention to the issue of bullying like never before; millions of school children have been given a voice, all 50 states in the U.S. have passed anti-bullying legislation, and thousands of adults have been trained in important strategies to keep kids both physically and emotionally safe in their classrooms and schools. These are significant achievements.
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Tech update: Common Core
Scholastic Administrator Magazine
When Susan Gendron was commissioner of education for Maine, the state's SAT scores dropped from within the top 10 in the country to dead last overnight. But there wasn't any backlash. People were expecting it. That's because, for the first time, Maine was requiring all of its students (not just those going to college) to take the test, and Gendron had spent months telling the state’s education reporters and politicians to expect the 50th-place finish. "It was the best thing we did," Gendron, now president of the International Center for Leadership in Education, says of the public relations move.
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How to keep classroom sleepers awake
Edutopia (commentary)
Todd Finley, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "I was a teenage insomniac. Except for a handful of times when I sleepwalked to the kitchen and made myself a peanut butter sandwich, bedtime meant boredom, then exasperation as my brain replayed scenes from the day: failed jump shots, unrequited crushes, perceived slights, and unsatisfactory hair. At school, I zombied in and out of consciousness. One time I dozed in the middle of second period until the high school science instructor shouted, 'Finley! Wake up! My monotone getting to you?' Mr. Smith shouldn't have taken my sleepiness personally, but I wish that one of my teachers had inquired about my sleep habits. It might have saved me from two decades of undiagnosed sleep apnea."
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Online Common Core testing lays bare tech divide in schools
The Associated Press via Federal News Radio
Nestled between mountains 60 miles from the nearest city, students at Cuyama Valley High School in California use Internet connections about one-tenth the minimum speed recommended for the modern U.S. classroom. So when it came time to administer the new Common Core-aligned tests online, the district of 240 students in a valley of California oil fields and sugar beet farms faced a challenge.
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FCC: E-rate funding requests for schools, libraries to be paid in full
Education Week
Schools and libraries will receive full funding of their E-rate program requests this year, as a result of a modernization of the policy and budget changes enacted last year, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Authorized as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the E-rate program was implemented to help schools and libraries underwrite the cost of telecommunications services like phones and pagers, and to have Internet access.
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The only metric that matters in education technology: Student outcomes
Forbes
Education technology is getting a lot of attention these days. The Obama administration proposed nearly $4 billion to help wire our schools. Meanwhile, more than $600 million in venture capital poured into ed tech last year — a 32 percent increase over the prior year. Teachers have also embraced the use of technology — almost unanimously. In a recent survey, 96 percent of teachers reported that technology is making a significant impact in their classroom. But despite broad adoption and educator enthusiasm, two opposing narratives have emerged regarding the use of technology in our schools. As is often the case in policy and politics, neither side fully reflects the reality on the ground.
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Some schools embrace demands for education data
The New York Times
In this small suburb outside Milwaukee, no one in the Menomonee Falls School District escapes the rigorous demands of data. Custodians monitor dirt under bathroom sinks, while the high school cafeteria supervisor tracks parent and student surveys of lunchroom food preferences. Administrators record monthly tallies of student disciplinary actions, and teachers post scatter plot diagrams of quiz scores on classroom walls. Even kindergartners use brightly colored dots on charts to show how many letters or short words they can recognize.
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Should substitute teachers hold bachelor degrees? State drops proposed standard
The Star-Ledger
New Jersey has abandoned its proposal to require future substitute teachers to hold a bachelor's degree and revised other parts of its plan to revamp standards for aspiring teachers. The state Department of Education tweaked its plans because of concern expressed by the education community during more than 50 stakeholder meetings, according to documents posted on the department's website. Some stakeholders feared that requiring substitute teachers to hold a bachelor's degree could create a shortage of substitutes, the documents say. Currently, substitute teachers are required to have an associate's degree or 60 college credits.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Beating the Common Core (Scholastic Administration Magazine)
School leaders: Tips for coaching your super teachers (Edutopia)
Educational vacations versus standardized testing (The Atlantic)
3 critical education topics affecting US students (eSchool News)
Most Americans think public school teachers are underappreciated and underpaid (The Huffington Post)

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




Register for May 19 webinar on school leadership and social media
NAESP
"Innovating School Leadership Through Social Media Tools" is a webinar designed to identify collaborative social media spaces that are inspiring, resourceful, research-based, NAESP-NASSP supported, and in line with the many responsibilities of a school principal. Come learn how to develop your own personal learning networks. Joe Mazza, Leadership Innovation Manager at the University of Pennsylvania, and Don Jacobs, Principal of Scott Elementary in Royse City, Texas, will be presenting Tuesday, May 19, from 4 – 5 p.m. ET.
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Ease tough conversations
NAESP
Whether it's a parent-teacher conference or resolving a disagreement with a staff member, principals are all too familiar with difficult conversations. NAESP recently spoke with Jennifer Abrams, author of Having Hard Conversations and a pre-conference speaker at NAESP's 2015 Best Practices for Better Schools Annual Conference, about strategies to ensure that tough discussions are ultimately useful.
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