DEN Trend Report: 1/6/16

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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Why More Students Are On Board For Coding Instruction – In Kindergarten (The Hechinger Report)
By Wes Dicken
Teaching children how to harness technology to create, solve problems and collaborate is essential in early elementary education to introduce today’s youth to the goal-oriented skills they need to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Students in kindergarten are at an ideal age to begin learning coding concepts because they are not afraid to try new things. They have grown up with technology from the earliest age, so they are comfortable with it. Students at this age are willing to tinker and explore because they aren’t typically afraid of failure.

As Graduation Rates Rise, Experts Fear Diplomas Come Up Short (New York Times)
By Motoko Rich
GREENVILLE, S.C. — A sign in a classroom here at Berea High School, northwest of downtown in the largest urban district in the state, sends this powerful message: “Failure Is Not an Option. You Will Pass. You Will Learn. You Will Succeed.”

By one measure, Berea, with more than 1,000 pupils, is helping more students succeed than ever: The graduation rate, below 65 percent just four years ago, has jumped to more than 80 percent.

But that does not necessarily mean that all of Berea’s graduates, many of whom come from poor families, are ready for college — or even for the working world. According to college entrance exams administered to every 11th grader in the state last spring, only one in 10 Berea students were ready for college-level work in reading, and about one in 14 were ready for entry-level college math. And on a separate test of skills needed to succeed in most jobs, little more than half of the students demonstrated that they could handle the math they would need.

12 Critical Issues Facing Education in 2016 (Edweek)
By Peter DeWitt
Perhaps we have always lived in complicated times, but these days seem to be more complicated than ever. We all have to brace ourselves when we turn on the news because we know there will be multiple stories about violence and hardships taking place around the world.

Maybe I am just an optimist, but I am hoping that 2016 is the year where we actually address the issues instead of argue about them.

Schools have seen major issues over the last few years, and 2016 promises to be a year that will bring those issues to the forefront. There are amazing organizations, and people within them, that are trying their best to address the issues in order to provide a high quality education for all students.

The Promise of Digital Equity (Ed Week)
By Beth Holland
EdTech Researcher Co-Author, Justin Reich, first wrote What Achieving Digital Equity Using Online Courses Could Look Like on MindShift with John Hansen. They published their original research in Science.

This fall, in conducting sociology research, I revisited Justin’s 2012 article on The State of Wiki Usage in U.S. K-12 Schools that he co-wrote with Richard Murnane and John Willet. They uncover the challenge of supporting teachers to use new tools for innovation rather than efficiency, and the trend of innovation in affluent versus low-income schools. Wikis in more affluent schools lasted longer and provided more opportunities for students to engage in problem-solving and critical thinking. While Web 2.0 tools should increase access and equity for all students, Justin and his colleagues found the opposite to be true.

Keys To Leading A Successful Digital Transition (District Administration)
How can administrators ensure a smooth and successful digital transition?
Leading the digital transition is a process that should start with emphasizing good instruction. It is crucial to select the right technology pieces and to prepare networks for increased use, but those decisions alone do not make for increased learning potential. The districts that are getting the best results are the ones in which leaders are focused on improving instruction as the means to high achievement, and are using technology as a tool to help reach that vision.

All district leaders should have a vision for the type of instruction that will be most impactful in their schools. This vision must be clearly defined before selecting the technology to support it.

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