Every education conference features sessions about schools using technology to support teaching and learning in creative, interesting ways. But are schools and districts really nurturing innovative thought and practices? We polled SmartBrief on EdTech readers this month to take a pulse on whether or not innovation is a primary concern for their schools and districts.

As it turns out, schools are split down the middle on this issue. When asked if their schools encourage them to think of out-the-box ways they can use technology, 50% of readers responded “yes” and 50% responded “no.” Different barriers stand in the way of ed-tech innovation. Topping the list are tight budgets at 47%. Other obstacles include lack of time, tedious approval processes, limited tech-savvy educators and poor leadership support.

But educators do want to know how their peers are pulling off these projects. When asked what kinds of information they’re interested in, 56% of readers said they want details on the how – the nuts and bolts of the plans – from idea to deployment. (read more…)

This post is sponsored by Infocomm.

InfoComm 2015 has it all: the lights, the sounds and certainly the action. Most of that flashy stuff happens in prime time — exhibition days on the show floor. So you may be asking yourself, “What is there to do before then?”

Decent question. The answer is pretty straightforward – plenty!

From education sessions to networking events, there are many things you can do prior to the opening of the exhibit hall. A great way to spend pre-exhibition time in Orlando (other than enjoying the warm Florida sun) is to learn, learn and learn, and with InfoComm University, you can take the next step in becoming a better AV pro. Learn things that you will find useful in your everyday job or fortify your foundation. According to industry professionals, nearly every student who has taken a class with us found that the training was useful and was handy in real world application. (read more…)

A national conversation has been brewing on the topic of alternative digital credentials. The media and members of the education community often use the shorthand “badges” in reference to graphic representations awarded digitally for skills earned through a learning experience. But the term can be a hindrance — especially if you have some personal experience with, for instance, Brownies or Boy Scouts — if your goal is to understand the more serious potential of new credentials, beyond cute graphics.

Badges can have all kinds of uses and instantiations on the web. A year after we started issuing our first badges at MOUSE, I came home to my then 3-year-old son angry over a software glitch on the iPad that was keeping him from seeing a badge on his profile in Chuggington, a popular Disney app. In that instance, badges appeared like gold stars, a mere indicator that a task (or level of the app, in this case) had been completed. (read more…)

digital literacy

SmartBlog on Education is shining a light on education technology innovations during May, exploring the latest products and tools and the hottest trends in ed-tech. 

I want to think smarter.

I don’t want to know more facts or spout more trivia. I don’t want to just work smarter, either. I want to actually think smarter. It’s a much harder goal to accomplish because I’m constantly evaluating not only what I’m doing, but how I’m doing it.

I used to use an app called Any.do to manage a to-do list. Like most productivity apps, it synced across all platforms, and I really thought my productivity was going to jump because I would always have access to that list. I would end up ignoring notifications because I had either completed the task or I was being notified during I time when I couldn’t recommit my energy. I was using technology to try and work smarter, but I was actually working harder. (read more…)

digital literacy SmartBlog on Education is shining a light on education technology innovations during May, exploring the latest products and tools and the hottest trends in ed-tech. 

“My precious. My precious.” You may recognize this phrase from “The Lord Of The Rings.” It’s spoken by Gollum, the crazy creature who hides deep in the caves, and craves the one ring. It’s all he can think of. What if I were to tell you that this creature is real? What if I were to tell you that this creature exists in every school in the country? And what if I were to tell you that this creature, is you?

Now, you probably aren’t some creature living in a magical land. However, while it’s not a pretty comparison, some of your students may view you much like we view Gollum. They sometimes view teachers as people who want nothing more than to hoard the student work and keep it for themselves. (read more…)