As budgets in schools ebb and flow, administrators are faced with the challenge of evaluating budgets for their departments. It is no secret that schools spend a great deal of money on education technology and that technology directors are often impacted by large budget cuts. We have spoken with technology directors around the country about how to effectively evaluate their education technology budget, and these are some of their recommended strategies. Continue reading
“I’d love to purchase new technology for the classroom, but I don’t have the money for it right now.” This is an all-too common phrase said by educators and administrators. Many educators want to implement new and innovative technology to heighten student learning, but lack the funds to do so. It is an unfortunate reality that many schools are restricted from purchasing technology due to funding. Grants can be an important resource for solving the funding problem. Continue reading
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While many teachers are comfortable with technology and can quickly grasp how to use it, other teachers often find technology complicated, overwhelming, and frustrating. There are some educators who feel that teachers with an aversion to technology need to shape up or ship out. Lia De Cicco Remu, director of Partners in Learning at Microsoft Canada, said that paper and pen don’t have a place in the modern classroom, and that teachers who use them are not being fair to their students. For teachers who struggle with technology, the introduction of so many new devices can cause a great deal of frustration. Continue reading
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Educators work tirelessly to ensure that all children learn, grow, and succeed. They devote themselves to their students, and will go to great lengths to help a child in need. Many students struggle academically, or have trouble connecting to their peers. For thousands of other students, however, they struggle with another issue – poverty. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), roughly 16 million children and teenagers in the United States—1 in every 5—live below the federal poverty line. Nineteen percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 live below the poverty line. Teenagers from lower socioeconomic backgrounds demonstrate lower academic achievement, are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, and are more likely to drop out of school. What measures can be taken to ensure academic success for students living in poverty? Continue reading
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With all of the different education technology products on the market today, it is critical that technology directors take the time to evaluate the edtech products they may potentially purchase. Fortunately, many edtech companies allow schools to try their products for a certain period of time. Evaluating education technology is critical for both tech directors and edtech companies; it allows staff members to further examine what they are looking for in an edtech product, and it allows edtech companies to discover how they can improve. What are the important questions technology directors need to ask in order to evaluate an edtech product? Continue reading
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With a new school year rapidly approaching, many educators are likely wondering how they can continue to engage their students and incorporate different methods of learning into schools.
In Lois Holzman’s “What Makes For a ‘Happy School’?” article, she discusses her experience watching Sugata Mitra’s “Build a School in the Cloud” and “The Child-Driven Education” TED talks. Holzman explains that Mitra began his Hole in the Wall Project in 1999. During this project, Mitra placed a computer in a hole in a wall of an underdeveloped area in New Delhi; watching from a camera, Mitra witnessed children teaching themselves how to use the computer; they were also able to learn from watching one another use the device. Based on his findings, Mitra developed what is referred to as Self-Organizing Learning Environments, or SOLE. How does SOLE work, and what technology is required to set up a SOLE classroom? Continue reading
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In the mid 1970’s, Lyall Watson and Lawrence Blair popularized the idea of the “Hundredth Monkey Effect”. Watson and Blair shared the findings of Japanese scientists who studied the behavior of monkeys on a beach. These scientists observed some of the monkeys learning to wash sweet potatoes, and, after a period of repetition and observation, this behavior spread to other monkeys. Once a critical number of monkeys incorporated this behavior into their routine, monkeys on nearby islands spontaneously replicated the same behavior as well. The accuracy of these findings has been debated, but there is still an important takeaway from the study: the actions of one individual can implement widespread change.
So what does this have to do with edtech? Continue reading
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Last week, I attended TCEA’s Tots and Technology Conference alongside JourneyEd, a BoardShare reseller. Tots and Technology is an annual conference geared towards PreK-5th grade classroom teachers, instructional leaders, and administrators. During this conference, educators have the chance to interact with vendors, attend sessions that address a variety of topics in education, and connect with other educators. I gave a presentation entitled “Creating Classroom Smart Walls” along with Tom Dent, an educational account manager at JourneyEd. We also raffled off a BoardShare unit to a third grade teacher from South Carolina. Overall, the conference was an incredibly energetic and fun experience.
The BoardShare team loves attending technology conferences because we are able to meet so many passionate and innovative educators. These conferences also provide us with the opportunity to learn even more about what teachers are looking for in an edtech product. I learned a great deal at Tots and Technology, and Tom and I selected our biggest takeaways from the conference. Continue reading
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After finding and purchasing the right education technology product for your school, the next step is implementation. Some form of technology is present in most classrooms across the US, but many teachers use this technology in a rigid fashion; other teachers don’t end up using it at all. Why? Most are simply not comfortable enough with these devices to use them in their classroom. Having a well-thought out implementation plan is arguably the most crucial step for ensuring that the technology is being used correctly and frequently. After all the work that is put into actually purchasing the technology, it would be incredibly disappointing (and, frankly, a waste of money) for the teachers to not end up using it. What does a proper implementation plan look like? Dan Blevins gave us some important insights. Continue reading
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In our last blog, we discussed the important questions that need to be asked before purchasing an edtech product. Those who are responsible for purchasing education technology need to ask if the product is cost effective, if it will enhance learning, and if it has a short learning curve. Technology staff members at the district and individual school levels have the difficult task of finding affordable technology that will aid in the learning process, and is easy to implement. Finding a product that checks all of these boxes is not always an easy task; The Hechinger Report wrote an article on this very issue in March of last year. BoardShare has compiled a list of resources for finding education technology products. Continue reading