DEN Trend Report: 5/18/16

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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Girls outscore boys on inaugural national test of technology, engineering skills (Washington Post)
By Emma Brown
Girls outperformed boys on a national test of technology and engineering literacy that the federal government administered for the first time in 2014, according to results made public Tuesday.

Among eighth-grade students in public and private schools, 45 percent of girls and 42 percent of boys scored proficient on the exam, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. Overall, 43 percent of all students were proficient.

Five Key PD Concepts to Aid Your Digital Transition (Scholastic Administrator)
By Karen Beerer
In my previous position as assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, and assessment in Pennsylvania’s Boyertown Area School District, I had the unique opportunity to witness the important role professional development plays in supporting systemic change. From balanced literacy instruction to standards-based reforms, I saw how sustained, job-embedded professional development for educators at all levels could drive systemic transformation and ultimately improve student achievement.

As school districts nationwide transition from using static textbooks as a core instructional resource to using dynamic digital content to create authentic, student-centered learning environments, the importance of strong, research-based professional development systems continues to grow. In fact, as I travel the country in my current role as vice president of learning and development for Discovery Education, I am often asked by school administrators some version of the following question:

“How do we design professional development systems that support the transition to dynamic digital content as a core instructional resource while simultaneously ensuring digital instruction is relevant, engaging, collaborative, and resulting in deep student learning?”

Digital Promise Puts Education Research All In One Place (Mind/Shift)
By Katrina Schwartz
As technology becomes an accepted tool in many classrooms, teachers and administrators are looking for the best ed-tech tools to advance their goals around student learning. Unfortunately, there are so many tools on the market claiming to be the best option, it can be hard to sort through the noise and make an informed decision.

Digital Promise, the congressionally authorized nonprofit charged with “accelerating innovation in education to improve opportunities to learn,” has developed a tool to help educators and ed-tech developers sort through relevant research.
Ed Tech Implementation Leaves Room for Improvement (T.H.E. Journal)
By Leila Meyer
Although schools have spent billions on computer hardware and software for the classroom, only 16 percent of teachers think their schools are using it effectively, according to a new report sponsored by online and blended learning service provider Edgenuity.

The report, Teachers’ Dream Classroom Survey, is based on an online survey of 400 middle and high school teachers across the United States. It found that 91 percent of teachers agree that “technology provides a greater ability for teachers to tailor lessons and homework assignments to the individual needs of each student.” However, 48 percent say the technology in their classroom is outdated.

Engage Parents as Partners to Close the Digital Divide (Edutopia)
By Suzie Boss
When Superintendent Darryl Adams arrived in the Coachella Valley Unified School District in California in 2010, he found himself in a community on the wrong side of the digital divide. Poverty is pervasive in this region southeast of Palm Springs, with nearly all students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. Some 68% of students are English language learners. Parents include migrant workers who come and go with the growing seasons.

“None of these kids were truly connected,” says Adams. In the information age, he saw that disconnect from technology as “a form of educational malpractice.” That’s why he led his district on a successful campaign to put iPads into the hands of every student, preK-12, and support teachers in making the shift to digital learning.
COLUMN: Stop Trying to Define Personalized Learning (EdSurge)
By Alex Hernandez
WE NEED TO DEFINE PERSONALIZED LEARNING!
No. No we don’t.
While personalized learning (PL) may be a “thing,” it is not a thing.
As of today, PL is a set of loosely-related (sometimes completely unrelated) hypotheses. Educators, families and funders are testing to see if we can do better than the traditional classroom model of putting 20-30 similarly-aged students in a room with one adult for about an hour.
Defining personalized learning gives the illusion that we know what works. But we don’t. There are no classic recipes to use yet—just breadcrumbs to follow, and we are not even sure where they all lead.

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