Is your library going Future Ready too?
Along with other school leaders, modern librarians can take charge in making their schools Future Ready and leading the digital change.
Alabama district eyes digital conversion by eliminating textbooks
Decatur City Schools in Alabama is considering a digital conversion that would significantly change how the district delivers education and communicates with parents.
The plan would eliminate textbooks, provide each student a personalized approach to learning, give them 24-hour access to the classroom and eliminate the assignment gap by assigning tasks appropriate for each student’s learning level.
DCS would not be the first school district in the nation to take a total digital approach to learning, but school leaders said they want to be a model for the state in the way Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina became one for the nation.
“We can do this, and if we don’t, we’re cheating our students by not preparing them to be competitive in a global society,” Walter Jackson Elementary Principal Rhonda Reece said.
Reece serves on an 11-member committee that started meeting in August at the request of Superintendent Ed Nichols. The group, which includes administrators, parents and Central Office employees, rolled out its proposal last week.
If successful, DCS, by 2018, will eliminate teachers leading lessons from textbooks for a model that will include student-directed learning, which relies heavily on digital material.
The plan is ambitious, but it is one committee members and parents Mary Ila Ward and Lorrianne Curtis Sparkman said is achievable before 2018.
“This is where our students are, and the good thing about this proposal is it allows them to customize their learning plan,” Ward said.
The first key step, DCS director of technology Kathy Rains said, is school board buy-in, something the committee didn’t overwhelmingly get last week.
Board President Karen Duke questioned Rains about how the district would serve parents without internet access, and board member Joe Propst quizzed her about making sure every home has a computer.
Experts pick the 21 best apps for autism
These top apps for autism focus on communication, routines, and social skills. Recently, we asked the experts at Common Sense Graphite, a national nonprofit, to curate their best apps for working with students on the autism spectrum. These top apps for autism focus on communication, routines, and social skills.
According to Graphite, more app creators are turning their attention to the particular learning needs of kids on the autism spectrum. The apps on this list can help kids learn to better identify and regulate emotions, communicate and express themselves, manage time and routines, and interact with others.
App of the Week: Interactive video tours come to life
Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated with help from Common Sense Graphite. To read the full app review, click here. Zaption What’s It Like? Zaption is an online tool that allows teachers to create video “tours” for their students. These tours can be created using Zaption’s extensive gallery of videos from [ Read More ]
K-8 classroom technology use increasing
Technology use is increasing, with 4 out of 5 teachers saying they will use classroom technology more frequently during the 2015-2016 school year, according to a survey from Front Row Education, Inc., a company that provides adaptive, gamified and data driven education programs.
The largest driver of this increase appears to be access to devices, with more than three-fourths of 1,000 surveyed teachers noting that the availability of classroom technology resources at their school is either good (40 percent) or great (37 percent).
Second to access to devices, teachers are embracing classroom technology further as a result of the positive impact they have seen to-date.The survey results indicate that for teachers, a key driving force in this increased use is superior learner outcomes.
When choosing which software to use, the most important factor surveyed teachers cited was the advancement of student learning, followed by the availability of valuable information on a student’s progress. Aligning to the Common Core and ease of use came in third and fourth, respectively.
When surveyed teachers were asked how classroom technology has changed the way they teach, determining the skill level of their students more efficiently topped the list--followed by determining a student’s skill level more deeply.
These two benefits support the third-most-cited impact that surveyed teachers are seeing: freeing up time to focus on giving students individual attention.
Additional findings include:
High Administrative Support: 75 percent of surveyed teachers noted an increase in administration support for classroom technology; fewer than 1.5 percent said that it has declined.