DEN Trend Report: 2/25/16

DEN Trend Report FeaturedLooking to learn more about what’s trending in education?!? Here’s a recap of this week’s news. Let us know what you think about this week’s news in the comments below.

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The Math Revolution: The number of American teens who excel at advanced math has surged. Why? (The Atlantic)
In a sultry evening last July, a tall, soft-spoken 17-year-old named David Stoner and nearly 600 other math whizzes from all over the world sat huddled in small groups around wicker bistro tables, talking in low voices and obsessively refreshing the browsers on their laptops. The air in the cavernous lobby of the Lotus Hotel Pang Suan Kaew in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was humid, recalls Stoner, whose light South Carolina accent warms his carefully chosen words. The tension in the room made it seem especially heavy, like the atmosphere at a high-stakes poker tournament.

Report: Schools Need Better Training To Distribute Leadership (Education Dive)
Erin McIntyre
Dive Brief: As school principals become responsible for more tasks, other school leadership positions like assistant principals, teacher-leaders, and instructional coaches are in need of better training, according to a new report from Bain & Co. titled, “Transforming Schools: How Distributed Leadership Can Create More High-Performing Schools,” based on a survey of 4,200 school leaders.
The new report argues that districts would be better served by utilizing a more horizontal management structure that resulted in a greater sharing of responsibilities, lessening the likelihood of principal burnout.
Teacher-leaders also need to feel empowered to make changes and lead peers, something that many respondents noted they did not feel responsible for.

4 Ways Technology Can Simplify Learning (We Are Teachers)
Your grandma may have told you that she walked to school every day uphill, barefoot and in the snow. But with the way technology has changed education in the last few years, we have a feeling you’ll soon be regaling your students with tales about how tough you had it. It wasn’t that long ago, after all, that students had to lug heavy backpacks jammed with textbooks to school every day and teachers had to (gasp!) use overhead projectors and copiers to easily distribute and assess information.

The 4 Conditions That Support Deeper Learning (eSchool News)
Laura Devaney
Deeper learning competencies serve as “North Star” for a new vision of teaching, according to a new report
Teachers must exchange their traditional instructor role for that of a “learning strategist” in order to achieve deeper learning outcomes, according to a new white paper from the nonprofit National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) and ConsultEd Strategists.

What Does Research Really Say About iPads In The Classroom? (eSchool News)
Jeanne Carey Ingle and Tanya Moorehead
Two educators put the research to the test. When (and how) are iPads most effective?
Popular mobile devices may come and go, but the iPad has remained a hit in the K-12 classroom. But even though they’re in schools, our work with teachers has led us to understand that while many of them would like to use iPads meaningfully in their classrooms, they can’t because of time, access, and training.

Digital Promise Pushes Microcredentials For Teacher PD (Education Dive)
Erin McIntyre
Dive Brief: Writing for eSchool News, Digital Promise’s Jennifer Kabaker, says the organization’s microcredentials tool can help educators engage and share in personalized professional development.
Microcredentials, also known as digital badges, are made to highlight what specific competency based learning activities teachers or other professional learners have engaged in.
The concept behind microcredentials is fairly new in the K-12 space, and not many schools use them yet — though Digital Promise says it has partnered with 15 organizations that are helping to develop and publish 120 different microcredentials on a variety of topics that include “deeper learning, teacher leadership, and data literacy.”

5 Ways To Give Teachers And Principals More Say In Ed-Tech Buying (eSchool News)
Bart Epstein and Phyllis Lockett
Teachers and principals should play a greater role in selecting tech for their schools
Today, we’re seeing a growing number of new ed-tech solutions being adopted directly by teachers, prompting an opportunity to revisit who should be making decisions when it comes to which technologies are used in schools.

Districts Experiment With Virtual ‘Work From Home’ Days For Students (Education Week)
Benjamin Herold
A growing share of the U.S. labor force works from home, and some tech-savvy school districts are taking note.

The local high school in this upscale suburb, for example, recently held its first “virtual day,” allowing most of its 561 students to log in to school from the comfort of their bedrooms or kitchen tables.

“The main reason we’re doing this is to prepare students for life after high school,” said Principal Troy Lederman. “Almost every college has some type of online or virtual course, and a lot of companies now tell employees they can work remotely, so we are exposing students to that.”

How Finland Broke Every Rule — And Created A Top School System (Hechinger Report)
William Doyle
Spend five minutes in Jussi Hietava’s fourth-grade math class in remote, rural Finland, and you may learn all you need to know about education reform – if you want results, try doing the opposite of what American “education reformers” think we should do in classrooms.

Instead of control, competition, stress, standardized testing, screen-based schools and loosened teacher qualifications, try warmth, collaboration, and highly professionalized, teacher-led encouragement and assessment.

20 Ways To Use A Tablet In The Classroom (The Guardian)
David Nield
Whatever model of Android or iOS tablet you have available, it’s a hugely versatile tool when it comes to educating and entertaining children. Here are some of the best apps and features you can make use of in the classroom – some of which you have to pay for and others that are free.

Here’s One Way To Fight To End The Digital Divide: Strong Leadership In Schools (Hechinger Report)
Nichole Dobo
As teachers know, what happens in a child’s home often carries over into the classroom.

Lack of access to a speedy, reliable Internet connection at home can limit learning opportunities for poor students. This problem, dubbed the “homework gap,” has been the topic of national conversations, and is set to undergo a comprehensive study by the federal government.

School Leadership Toolkit Targets Digital Equity (eSchool News)
Laura Devaney
A new toolkit aims to improve digital equity in school systems across the nation by helping district leaders develop thoughtful and measured strategies to narrow the homework gap in their communities.

Launched by CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), the Digital Equity Action Toolkit for district leaders was introduced through CoSN’s new Digital Equity Action Agenda leadership initiative.

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