DEN Trend Report: 11/18/15

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 Ever-Growing Ed-Tech Market (The Atlantic)
By Angela Chen

Every few months, a new study claims that gadgets in the classroom don’t improve learning—but that hasn’t stopped the educational technology market’s steady upward climb.

The ed-tech market totaled $8.38 billion in the 2012-13 academic year, the most recent year the Education Technology Industry Network has such information available. That number is up from $7.9 billion the year before, and up 11.7 percent from 2009, when the network began compiling these annual reports.
The group, which serves as a support for ed-tech developers, places the technology into four categories: content (for example, interactive software that teaches language arts and math), instructional support (testing and productivity tools), management (learning management systems, class-scheduling software), and “special categories” (online courses, as well as tools for niche areas like Advanced Placement materials or special needs).

Putting The “A” In STEAM (District Administration)
By Matt Zalaznick

The rising popularity of blended STEAM programs reflects a nationwide K12 push to develop the next generation of innovators.

Injecting the arts into science, math, engineering and technology encourages students to think creatively and critically in traditional STEM subjects that, until the recent and widespread adoption of new standards, didn’t often encourage students to think outside the box.

Comcast Launches Internet Essentials Learning Zone In Baltimore (Baltimore Times)
By Andrea Blackstone

In today’s digital age, students often need the Internet to complete homework assignments. What if low-income families cannot afford in-home Internet service? On Wednesday, October 28, 2015, Maryland’s first Internet Essentials Learning Zone was launched in Baltimore at the Towanda Community Center to help close the digital divide.

Comcast, the city of Baltimore and a network of partners will work together to create a continuum of Internet connectivity that begins online in the classroom, community centers, computer labs and after-school programs and ends at homes. Comcast now provides free Wi-Fi to 16 community centers. Additionally, the company announced the award of $75,000 in digital literacy grants to Family League of Baltimore and 12 participating community organizations in 16 community center locations, such as Towanda Community Center.

Report: The Way We Buy Digital Instructional Materials May Need An Overhaul (ESchool News)
By Laura Devaney

A new report urges care when purchasing digital instructional materials, and notes that factors such as interoperability, accessibility, and device access should be considered during the process.

Navigating the Digital Shift: Mapping the Acquisition of Digital Instructional Materials, a SETDA report, provides information and guidance on the process of digital instructional materials acquisition.

How To Build A Better Teacher: Groups Push A 9-Point Plan Called TeachStrong (Washington Post)
By Lyndsey Layton

A coalition of 40 education groups — including some strange bedfellows — is starting a national campaign aimed at “modernizing and elevating” the teaching profession.

The groups, organized by the left-leaning Center for American Progress under the banner TeachStrong, want to make the status of teachers an issue in the 2016 presidential race and in policy discussions on the state and local levels.

“We feel like this is the perfect time to bring people together who are hungry to turn the page on some of the contentious fights around testing and accountability,” said Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress. “What we need now is to focus on high-quality instruction, and there’s a lot of agreement that the way to do that is to get strong teachers in every classroom. We think this should be the next big reform in education.”

Principals Go to School to Learn Management Savvy (Education Week)
By Denisa R. Superville

New wave of principal-prep programs emphasizes business practices

What exactly does understanding the ins and outs of financial accounting, data analytics, and organizational behavior have to do with being a good school leader?

Those who run the Rice University Education Entrepreneurship Program at the Jessie H. Jones Graduate School of Business here say that kind of know-how arms school leaders with the right mindset and skills to manage successful schools. Rice’s program is part of a new wave of school-leader training programs that are emphasizing the importance of management and other leadership principles culled from the business world.

“Our view is that our principals need to be more than instructional leaders on campus,” said Andrea Hodge, the executive director of the Rice University program. “The principal needs to be the chief executive. What we try to do is give principals exposure to more holistic organizational-management concepts that are not covered to the same degree in most schools of education.”

To Reform a Struggling High School, Try This Rhode Islander’s Approach (The Hechinger Report)
By Jennifer D. Jordan

No to tech geeks who teach; yes to teacher geeks who use tech, says national Principal of the Year Alan Tenreiro

CUMBERLAND, R.I. — On Oct. 5, the National Association of Secondary School Principals named Rhode Island’s Alan Tenreiro the 2016 National Principal of the Year, recognizing his success in dramatically improving school culture, student achievement and teacher professional development at Cumberland High School since he arrived in the fall of 2012.

Given Internet Access, Can Kids Really Learn Anything By Themselves? (PBS)

Click here for video
It started with a hole in the wall. Sugata Mitra, working for a software company in Delhi, cut a gap between his firm and the slum next door, putting out an Internet-connected computer for kids in the community to use. That simple experiment has turned into a radical idea that children can teach themselves in self-organized learning environments. Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports.

#8to18 Yr Olds Use Media Constantly: Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out Abt The @CommonSenseEdu @CommonSenseMedia Study (Tech & Learning)
By Lisa Nielsen

You’ve probably seen the headlines following the Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens. Adults seemed shocked that teens spend 9 hours and tweens 6 hours a day with media. Knee-jerk reactions include a call for a shutdown switch for devices after a set time. No media in bedrooms. No technology while doing homework.
Now take a breath.

How To Provide Kids With Screen Time That Supports Learning (District Administration)
By Deborah Farmer Kris

The digital landscape of American childhood is in flux, according to surveys: Most children under the age of 8 now have access to mobile devices in their homes. In the last five years, children have spent less time watching television, but more time tapping on tablets and smartphones. And recently the American Academy of Pediatrics has softened its zero-screentime recommendation for children under 2.

What Educators Want from Digital Tools 2.0 (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Since the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began its Teachers Know Best research project in 2013, the work has been guided by a simple premise: No one knows how technology can and should be used in classrooms better than the teachers who put it to use every day.

This study of more than 3,100 teachers revisits key questions explored in the original Teachers Know Best report: how teachers use digital instructional tools in the classroom, as well as their attitudes towards technology and whether they believe existing digital tools are effective. As with the original report, research centered on consumer analytics and insight provides an opportunity to shift from anecdotes to a richer understanding of whether product developers are creating the digital tools that teachers want and need, as well as the extent to which school leaders are providing and supporting these tools in classrooms.

The Digital Revolution Is Coming to the Classroom (U.S. News)
By Lauren Camera

Students can make big academic gains if enrolled in schools that offer personalized ways to learn, especially when teachers have access to effective technology and digital tools that make personalized learning possible. Too often, however, teachers can’t get their hands on the best tools, despite the overall increasing presence of technology in classrooms.

The Difference Between A Lead Learner And A Principal (eSchool News)
By Stephen Noonoo

It’s more than a rebrand of “principal.” It’s a philosophical overhaul

When Todd Nesloney was tapped to become lead learner at Webb Elementary, in Navasota, Texas, it could legitimately be called a true learning experience. Having never before served at the head of a school, he literally stepped right out of the classroom to take the job — at a time when the entire campus was going project-based.

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