DEN Trend Report: 1/20/16

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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What’s Hot, What’s Not in 2016 (THE Journal)
By Greg Thompson
The four panelists in THE Journal’s annual end-of-year survey hit full consensus on just two of 11 topics — giving the “hot” label unanimously to “blended learning” and “student data privacy concerns.” Meanwhile, e-portfolios garnered the least amount of enthusiasm, with two panelists opting for “losing steam” and two for “lukewarm.” Other topics formed a mixed bag, with the “lukewarm” rating suggesting that many technologies/techniques are holding steady, if not exactly lighting the education world on fire.

Report: Education Tech Spending On The Rise (THE Journal)
Dian Schaffhauser
Spending for education technology is up this school year, continuing a rise that started last year following three years of recession thrift. More districts expect to increase their hardware and software spending from 2014-2015. However, overall teacher training and tech support budgets have dropped slightly. The expansion of instructional technology is being driven by an increase in online testing, “marketplace demand,” and sheer innovation.

6 Fun Tools To Teach Creativity Through Music (eSchool News)
Cathy Houchin
Use these music apps and tools to make your own keyboards or work on a song with others around the world
Technology is not just for the traditional academic classes, but is also a great addition to the “special” classes, particularly the arts, and music is no exception. When it comes to getting students to experience music through, most of us are at least aware of the basics — Garageband, iTunes, and Youtube. But I like to focus on some new lesser-known tools that can be of great help.

A Teacher, A Committee Member And A Parent Walk Into A Blog … (WBUR Learning Lab. Mass.)
Peter Balonon-Rosen
When Burlington High School history teacher Michael Milton began blogging about his classroom, 10 posts flew from his fingers in three days.
Their topics ranged from his lesson plans, like “The (Industrial) Revolution will be Twitterized*,” to reflections on modeling a classroom after the TV show “The West Wing.”
“It was just like I had all these things stored up that I wanted to say,” Milton says. “I hope that putting myself out there, that’s kind of like showing ‘Here’s the mind of a teacher, here’s what teachers do.’”
Education Technology Graduates From The Classroom To The Boardroom (New York Times)
Natasha Singer
Judging by the number of learning apps available to classrooms around the country, the education technology market aimed at elementary through high schools is booming.
There are more than 3,900 math and reading apps, classroom management systems and other software services for schools in the United States, according to LearnTrials, a start-up that helps school districts assess and manage these tools.

What High Performing Countries Have To Teach Us About Teacher Training (Hechinger Report)
Emmanuel Felton
America’s traditional teacher preparation programs are under siege; enrollment is dwindling, as prospective teachers turn to increasingly popular alternative programs. There are calls for regulators to step in to shut down the worst institutions and help many others improve. But where should experts look to for best practices?

Competitive Ed-Tech Grants Fuel Teacher Innovation (Edweek)
By Leo Doran
Should school leaders make teachers compete for first dibs on access to new learning technologies? Some school leaders are saying absolutely yes—give the tools to the educators who will set the best examples and let the others follow.
That shifting attitude explains the emergence of district-sponsored competitive-grant programs for educational technology, for which teachers create detailed applications and plans of action in exchange for first access to ed-tech dollars or professional-development resources.
Digital Tools Aim to Personalize Literacy Instruction (Edweek)
By Benjamin Herold
From online news articles written at five different reading levels to algorithms that create personalized vocabulary lists, ed-tech tools are rapidly expanding the ways in which teachers can differentiate their literacy and reading instruction.
Experts say the new technologies have the potential to transform learning, one child at a time.

Outlook: Leaders Focus On Each Student (District Administration)
By Alison DeNisco
Superintendents promote equity and public education
The new year may send familiar education challenges in new directions as administrators grapple with an uncertain testing landscape, staff shortages, the increased push for equity and constantly increasing charter competition.
Experts expect education budgets in most states to remain flat in 2016. The pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act should uphold the current Title I formula (aiding two-thirds of U.S. states) but reduce competitive grants.

Why Kindergarten Is The New First Grade (NPR)
By Elissa Nadworny
“What are some of the things that the monsters like to eat in this story?” teacher Marisa McGee asks a trio of girls sitting at her table.
McGee teaches kindergarten at Walker Jones Elementary in Washington, D.C. Today’s lesson: a close reading of the book What Do Monsters Eat?
“They like to eat cake,” says one girl.
“I noticed you answered in a complete sentence,” McGee says. “Can you tell me something else?”
“Stinky socks!”
McGee follows with a line you might not expect in a kindergarten class: “Can you show me the page where you found that?”
Textual evidence. Complete sentences. Welcome to kindergarten in 2016. It’s not quite what McGee, 29, says she was expecting when she started.
“When I came into kindergarten, down from first grade, I was like: Yes! What can I order for dramatic play?” McGee says. “And I was told: Kindergartners don’t do dramatic play anymore.”

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