DEN Trend Report: 4/6/16

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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Looking for Better Edtech Products? Why Developing Teacher-Company Relationships is Essential (EdSurge)
By Jason Appel
I am a technology nerd. At age ten, I saved allowance for a year to buy my first computer, an Apple IIe. I’ve owned a smartphone since 2002, way before it was cool. I’m also a teaching nerd. Throughout my twenty years as a teacher, I’ve looked for opportunities to merge these two worlds together—tech and teaching.

Today’s technology allows me to redefine my classroom in new and exciting ways. However, I am purposefully cautious about what tools I bring into my classroom. I don’t mind spending hours at night vetting edtech tools (actually I love it!), but classroom time is precious. I don’t believe in using technology for the sake of technology, and if it doesn’t make teaching and/or learning better, I’m not interested.

CAOs and CTOs Ramp Up on Collaboration (Education Week)
By Sean Cavanagh
If there was ever a time when school districts’ chief academic officers and chief technology officers could work in their own silos, isolated from each other, those days appear to be over.

In many K-12 systems, the jobs of these two administrators have become increasingly intertwined, as technology has evolved from an add-on or complement to instruction to a core piece of how teachers, students, and administrators go about their work.

In this special report, Education Week takes an in-depth look at how CTOs and CAOs in individual school districts around the country and a charter network are working together to cope with difficult academic and technological challenges facing their systems. The articles focus on how these jobs get done in a small school system in Iowa, a small city in upstate New York, a California-based charter network, and large suburban systems in Oregon and Georgia.

New Survey Finds That More Parents Are Talking To Their Kids About Money, But Lack Knowledge on Important Topics (PR Newswire)
WASHINGTON, April 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — According to a new survey published in conjunction with National Financial Literacy Month this April, nearly 9 out of 10 parents report that they talk to their kids about money and personal finance. The research was released today by EverFi, the education technology company that teaches, assesses, and certifies learners in critical skills including financial literacy. These findings indicate an 18% increase in parental conversations from 2003 based on a survey conducted by Capital One and Consumer Action.

Survey Shows Schools Hitting Digital Hard (T.H.E. Journal)
By Dian Schaffhauser
A recent survey found that half of school districts believe they’ve completed their 1-to-1 initiatives and the infrastructure required; and almost 4 in 10 (38 percent) are planning to or will definitely “modernize” in the next 12 to 24 months. More districts also have digital content and curriculum strategies in place this year compared to last year — up from 49 percent to 62 percent. Another 33 percent of districts have one under development. More than half of those existing strategies incorporate the use of open educational resources.
School leaders say they need more practical training in education technology. Here’s one way that can work (Hechinger Report)
By Nichole Dobo
Barbara Treacy, a lecturer at Harvard University with expertise in blended learning, has devoted quite a bit of time to talking to school leaders about education technology.
A theme developed from these conversations. Over and over she heard from administrators with this a lonely refrain: “We just really never have a place where leaders can talk to each other.”
‘It’s Personalized, Online, and Blended’: How to Make Edtech Buzzwords Substantive (EdSurge)
By Jin-Soo Huh
Education has a long tradition of being rife with buzzwords, and these are just some of the latest ones thrown about today. Buzzwords are not inherently bad. They usually have their roots in a strong idea that can push education in a positive way. But, like in a game of telephone, the idea gets distorted as it starts to spread virally. I am especially conscious of this since my title, Personalized Learning Manager at Alpha Public Schools, contains one of the current hottest buzzwords on the edtech market.

Consider this situation: An administrator hears a buzzword multiple times at a conference and excitedly comes back to implement it at their school. Before you know it, the buzzword starts trending on Twitter and vendors stamp it on their marketing. Schools with just a trace of the original idea claim to be leading innovators in the field.

It’s time to be better—by making buzzwords actually mean something.

5 principles for rigorous technology evaluation (eSchool News)
By Laura Devaney
A new policy proposal notes that while education technology holds great promise to improve K-12 educational outcomes when correctly implemented, methods to rigorously evaluate education technology tools have not kept pace with the tools themselves.

This cycle makes it difficult for educators to find and select the best ed-tech tools, and it creates barriers to instruction, according to “Learning What Works in Educational Technology with a Case Study of EDUSTAR,” a policy proposal from The Hamilton Project that seeks to accelerate understand of what works in educational technology.


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