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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
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Navigating education technology and the many facets that go into it can be incredibly challenging. From delegating a budget for education technology, to finding a product and implementing it in schools, it can be an extremely taxing process. In this three-part blog series, we will be going over the stages of purchasing, finding, and implementing education technology.
Through speaking with teachers, principals, and chief technology officers, we have learned that, when it comes to purchasing new technology for schools, there are important questions that need to be asked. We also learned more about must-ask questions from ISTE attendees. Continue reading
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In the first BoardShare blog, I discussed an encounter I had with the principal of a rural school. She mentioned to me that, for many of her students, Spring Break means they do not eat for a week. I came to recognize that rural schools face a number of challenges, including a lack of technology. So what does it take to bring technology to a rural school? We spoke with educational consultant and rural educator Daisy Dyer Duerr to find out.
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Although the BoardShare team was exhausted as we left our first ISTE conference, the overall week was incredibly invigorating. The conference served as a great reminder of the importance of providing education technology to schools. The BoardShare journey began in 2013 due to our immense passion for education and technology, and it was amazing to meet the countless attendees and exhibitors who share this passion. There were so many wonderful exhibits that showcased astounding products and services. We selected some of our favorite exhibitors from this year’s conference.