eSchool News

eSchool News
eSchool News covers the intersection of technology and innovation in education.
  • Improving online accessibility for students a major issue for schools
    As schools make recorded lessons available to students online, they may not be making them accessible for students with disabilities. For some, that decision is causing serious consequences.
  • Free VirtCon PD event focuses on digital media and the classroom
    Discovery Education invites teachers and administrators worldwide to participate in the upcoming Spring VirtCon on Saturday, April 25. This no-cost, day-long professional development event offers both virtual and face-to-face opportunities for educators to learn actionable tactics and strategies for deepening the integration of digital media into classroom instruction. “Previous VirtCons empowered me with a wealth of strategies, tactics and resources that I have used to create even more dynamic lessons for my students. This annual event has helped me stay on the cutting edge of effective technology use in the classroom,” said Sandi Dennis, Library/Media Specialist at Westchester Elementary in Georgia’s City Schools of Decatur. Among the scheduled keynote presenters are: • Dacia Jones, District Science Specialist at North Carolina’s Durham Public Schools. During her remarks, Jones will share her insights on how to engage students with inspiring activities that raise expectations in the classroom, include students in the planning process, and tie authentic learning to standards. • Don Levy, Former Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sony Pictures, Faculty at Boston University. Levy’s presentation will discuss how the increasing availability of digital production tools and a growing market of trained and experienced talent creates new and important opportunities to apply visual techniques to communicate, educate and develop understanding. • Dr. Todd Wirt, Assistant Superintendent for Academics at North Carolina’s Wake County Public School System. Dr. Wirt’s presentation will explore how the digital transformation of classrooms worldwide has given students many opportunities to experience an environment of choice. With increased freedom and creativity, failure is naturally going to become a part of the process. Dr. Wirt will share with participants his recommendations for designing classrooms that foster creativity and embrace failure. Additional presentations during the Spring Virtcon will explore a variety of timely education topics. Among the scheduled presentations are: • 6 Ways to Show What You Know, presented by Dennis Grice, K-8 Technology Teacher at St. John’s Lutheran School in California. During his session, Grice will demonstrate practical ways to give students ownership of their own learning that empower them to use their creativity to ‘show what they know.’ • It’s About Learning, Not the Device, presented by Rachel Yurk, ‎Instructional Technology Specialist at Cedarburg School District in Wisconsin. This session will explore instructional models that support the effective integration of technology into instruction. Educators will learn more about valuable digital resources and how to implement them to make the classroom environment stronger, while increasing learning and motivation.
  • Report: Idaho wasted $61M on failed school management system
    Idaho wasted $61 million on a failed statewide instructional management system for schools, according to a new state performance evaluation, as former state schools Superintendent Tom Luna pushed it forward despite warnings it wouldn’t work. Tim Corder, special assistant to new state schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra, told lawmakers this morning the report is accurate. “We really are a changed administration,” Corder told the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee. “It was not us. It was the previous administration. … Superintendent Ybarra did not create that problem, but Superintendent Ybarra is going to be about fixing that problem.” The report from the Legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations showed that Idaho has spent $61 million on trying to implement Schoolnet statewide, including a $21 million grant from the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation. The state committed a total of $77 million toward the project, including the grant, as part of Luna’s “Students Come First” school reform initiative. Idaho voters rejected the Students Come First laws in a 2012 referendum. In addition to the statewide instructional management system, the push called for a laptop computer for every Idaho high school student, a new focus on online learning, and shifting resources to cover the new expenditures without increasing school funding. “Poor management, poor decisions, and poor system functionality compounded themselves and prevented the goals for a statewide instructional management system from being realized,” Rakesh Mohan, director of the Legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations, told lawmakers. Rep. Gayle Batt, R-Wilder, called it “sickening results, if you ask me.” She said, “I think we’ve been waiting to hear this report. … You see that there’s $61 million, you think, wow, that would have gone a long way for roads.” House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, agreed. “This is just , it’s more than disheartening,” he said, “and I think even though the department may have changed leadership, that we need to make sure that things are investigated a little further and people tell us how this has been made so that it doesn’t happen again. It seems to be every year we find somebody has a great idea, and doesn’t check it out, doesn’t build a good RFP, dsn’t build a good plan, doesn’t manage the plan, and we end up spending tens of millions of dollars of citizens’ money, and then of course we claim poverty on why we can’t support the teachers or the other services.”
  • How 3 districts empower teachers as tech leaders
    Plans to transition to a digital environment are forming in districts across the country, but the success of those plans largely hinges on one thing: teacher buy-in. Three school district leaders share how they are empowering their teachers to be leaders when it comes to technology use. Panelists included Terry Grier, superintendent of the Houston Independent School District; Dwight Jones, Superintendent in Residence with Discovery Education; and Todd Wirt, the assistant superintendent of academics with the Wake County Public School System. Next page: Supporting teachers as digital transition leaders "Creating a digital learning environment is critical to our children's success," Grier said. "I believe that tehcnology, when done right, gives kids more time." The challenge, he said, lies in moving from having simply good teachers who produce average gains to having great teachers who can use technology as a tool to empower their instruction and support student achievement. "The importance of digital learning environments--it's critical," he said. "You can create the environment but you have to have a high-quality teacher who is trained and who knows how to make the most out of that environment." "The classroom environment has changed dramatically," Jones said. "How do we support teachers as they go to scale? Help them get the necessary professional development and help them 'see' a new classroom where they work with students who want to have a voice in their learning." "We're asking teachers to be more vulnerable and trust their students more than they have," said Wirt, addressing the need to create a shift where students and teachers use digital tools and resources and collaborate more. "How do you create the culture and conditions where teachers feel confident to take risks and experiment in that environment?"
  • Free summer school access to lessons for schools, districts
    Educators and administrators across the country are looking for innovative, effective ways to ensure their students do not become victims of the ‘summer slide’ as well as attain mastery of state and national standard benchmarks. Learning Upgrade, leading provider of engaging song and game based curriculum for math and reading, is offering complimentary summer school access to its web-based, standards aligned curriculum to all qualifying U.S. schools and districts. The company looks to support districts in their quest to halt the dreaded summer slide, without putting a burden on their budget. In addition to the lessons, Learning Upgrade will provide additional support to summer school teachers and administrators while enrolling students, integrating the curriculum and tracking progress to mastery. “This is the fourth year Learning Upgrade will offer full and complimentary access to any qualifying school in the US. Results over the past 3 summers have been extremely positive. In just four weeks, students can complete a full year of curriculum with detailed, web-based reports for parents, teachers and students,” said Learning Upgrade CEO Vinod Lobo. Research from the National Summer Learning Association shows that, without refreshing their memories, students may lose up to two months of grade-level equivalency over the summer. “Summer is a fantastic time to engage all learners, and prevent the dreaded summer slide, especially those that may need extra help catching up or keeping up with their classmates,” states Lobo.
A triumphant 6th re-union PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 10:00

July 29, 2009

The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it. Author:Francis Bacon Source: Essay—OnGoodness

When our members, friends, and supporters flew from all over North America during this critical economic downturn it shows the love, the passion, and dedication that they have to support our association and what it stands for. We all have good time with friends and family. More so we all were happy when it was announced that the big project was finished and is giving full services. What is so enjoyable other than see the seed we saw six years a go bearing fruit and reach for harvest in our six reunions. We have seen via video the beautiful library filled and equipped with hard cover books. We have seen the children who six years a go were fighting for a sitting space now relaxed and have books as they want in the spacious and elegant library. What else is satisfying other than hearing our little brothers and sisters, our parents, friends, and alike appreciating the marvelous work of each and every one of us put into this. Guys don’t take it easy and do not assume you haven’t done your share. we are changing a generation that is lagging behind. We are bringing the young generation who is still using 19th century technology and outdated books in this 21st century. We are creating a new generation with new ideas, talents, creativity, and what have you. Therefore, you have every reason to be proud.

In general, our members in most cases were and are very optimistic. This year even though the board was not expecting to see many members attending the re-union due to the sluggish economy, many managed to make it. We all were amazed by the number of attendees from different States. It appears to us and to all members that people can do anything and everything if there is a will. We know now more than anytime else that our members are determined to do anything for the quality of education, for bright future of the new generation, and to eradicated backwardness ones and for all.

Those of us who flew have a good time and enjoyed ourselves with friends and alike and contributed some to our beloved association. Those who choose to be with us in spirit also were with us in spirit and have sent their fair share of contribution. Is not this something! We don’t know what it is but there is something unique about this association. We all stand as one, support each other, listen to each other, work together as hand in gloves, bring information, share information, no pointing fingers, always think positive and do what is best to change the life of others. Amazing!

Our DC folks are truly great in their hospitality. If it was not for their money and time scarifies we may not enjoyed our time since driving from one area to the other is so nightmarish. However, by the effort of the father of our association- HBT and others, we have a pleasant week. The Haileselassie Belay household took a week of vacation from their job to facilitate our Stay. The young Robel Haileselassie and his beloved mother Tsige did not have a break until we all depart. Every year, every month, every day, every minute and second we all fall in love with this very kind and big heart family. May God give them longevity so that our ADI will be served better and we all have a good vacation with them year after year? CUDOS HAILE BELAY TEKLU and Family! If we start naming people we may forgot some hard working individuals and committee members so we will stop here but would like to thank all the women who feed us for five days with the best food ever TIHLO.

Financial report: - Members discussed the financial situation of the association. A report was presented by the secretary and each and every one was given the opportunity to look into the financial statement of the association and the books for that matter. In addition, the amount of money collected in the past six years, the amount of funds wired for library construction, student teacher award, books and computer purchases, and power installation were explained.

What was new this year? The establishment of the youth network (AYN) is new. Our association had established Awlaelo Youth Network. Some may ask why another association or network? Well, you know our youngsters who are born or grow up in the states and those of us oldies do not speak the same language nor do we see things in the same fashion. The youth have their way of doing things, their way of supporting others, their methods of fund raising and communication, hence, the need to organize them. They are organized now and eventually they can replace us, they can contribute on their best skills, and they can reach out to youth in Ethiopia using the current technology and medium of communication-the internet supported by their facebook social network. Thanks to Asefa Abay, Selm G and others for taking this project. Our brothers and sisters need your support. Your skills, your intellect is highly need back in ADI and it is hour sincere believe that you will do a good service. Make a call to all university students in Ethiopia and else where to join you. God willing the library will have a broadband and you will have many participants from there too.

So now we can say that we Deqi Awlaelo all have faith. We are very faithful to our God, faithful to our ADI and our people. Our actions, our deeds, our practice tells that all. With love and passion we supported all six high schools. We are opening the eyes of many for better life, better education which will lead to a better society. We are happy to be part of such dedicated group. We are individuals working and striving not to be known by anyone except the beneficiaries. We believe there is no excess charity. We want to share what we have with our people back home.

Board Election: - It was the board’s desire this year to retire from their leading positions. But it did not happen. The current board members had served six years and are still at service. Our members spoken! They don’t want to see the board leave or replaced by new faces. They say “don’t fix it if it is not broken”. However, some new faces were added so that they can be trained some leadership skills from the veterans so that coming year they can assume full responsibility. Since the members say no to the request of electing new board, the board members had no choice except accepting decision and will of the members.

Investment group: - Another new happening this year is the establishment of a committee to study about investment opportunities and some other things that will benefit members. This 7 member committee will study some investment opportunities in Tigray and here in the Diaspora to benefit its members. It will also look into some sort of group insurance for members, scholarship availability for our children, retirement conditions and many more. Over all, this is an interesting idea.

Member driven workshops: -Last year ASAA had drafted a five year plan to support the quality of education in all the high schools in KILTE AWLAELO. Based on that plan the first workshop was given by Engda Hagos (PhD) from Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Engada had given a workshop for 8 teachers and 25 top students in the field of science. He had motivated the students and teachers to do their best and to aim high. The school as well as Dr. Engda was happy with the outcome. Our association is also grateful to have such dedicated professionals who on their spare time teach and guide our brothers and sisters who are very thirsty for education. Thanks Doc for all the help. It is decided that workshops will continue and all professional who flew to ADI for personal case will give seminars, conferences, and workshops to students, teachers, and the other interested groups.

Finally we were happy by the support from our Ethiopian brothers in the Metropolis of the three States (DC, MD, VA). We could not do it without your support. Again thanks. With your support we managed to collect close to $29,000 before expenses. This is not bad. The country is in deep recession and yet we managed to collect such amount. This tells us how people are dedicated to support the needy children of Tigray to excel in education.

Where will ASAA gather next year? It was decided by our Seattle branch that they will host the 7th re-union. We are all happy by the decision of the branch to host it. We know they are not alone. The Seattle Tigrean community is one of the strongest and the best one in North America. We firmly believe Seattle community will support us in full gear. Hope to see you all in Seattle Washington in July 2010.

Abraha W Kahssay for ASAA

Last Updated on Friday, 09 July 2010 03:21