digital literacySmartBlog on Education will shine a light on education technology innovations during the month of May, exploring the latest products and tools and the hottest trends in ed-tech. ASCD Emerging Leader Natalie McCutchen kicks off our coverage this month with a look at mobile tech in the middle-school math classroom.

Teaching provides the opportunity to take students on a daily adventure, exposing them to new learning in a variety of ways. Teaching with technology kicks this learning into overdrive where students can take more ownership of their learning and where they can discover new and different ways of learning.

Technology adds a great value to the educational experience, putting the world at the fingertips of students allowing to explore content in a whole new way. Some of the benefits of technology include students are more focused, students have more fun learning, students are more connected with learning, students are more engaged, students can learn at their own pace, and students learn essential 21st century skills. (read more…)

badgeSmartBlog on Education’s monthly content award recognizes content written by educators, for educators that inspires readers to engage, innovate and discuss.

SmartBrief Education editors and writers sift through thousands of sources each day, reading a variety of content, including blogs and commentaries written by you and your peers.

In an effort to recognize some of the innovative voices in the field, we’ve asked our team to nominate their favorite content each month from which we’ll choose two winners for the Editor’s Choice Content Award. These award winners are then in the running for our annual Educators’ Choice Award.

Meet this month’s winners:

March winners:

leadershipCherry blossoms. Baseball season. High-stakes assessments. As schools complete our nation’s annual rite of testing craziness this month, most will spend the remainder of the year engaged in “instructional” activities geared more to entertaining and occupying students’ time than teaching and educating them “bell to bell.” Simultaneously, many school staff members will begin the slow disengagement process that culminates in summer break.

And yet, the last months of each school year are the most important months of the new school year. Indeed, in our 30 years of school improvement work, we emphasize this essential truth: The beginning of the new school year starts in April.

That is, schools need to complete important organizational, curricular, instructional and student activities in April (and May) so everyone can “hit the road running” on the first day of the new school year in August.

To this end, in April (and May), schools should analyze their current status and next year’s needs in these areas:

  1. Committee structure: (Re)organizing the organizational chart and structure to reflect a shared leadership orientation, (re)assigning staff to their next year’s committees, and holding committee meetings with the out-going and in-coming members to transition and plan for next year’s committee goals and objectives.
  2. (read more…)

textbooks

Welcome to SmartBrief Education’s original content series about the unique stories of teacherpreneurs. These are the innovative individuals confronting challenges, creating solutions and bringing them to market.

The saying goes: “It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s how you say it.” But words are meaningful — and the way we use them can reveal assumptions and biases that are potentially hurtful. Case in point: a recent tweet from a reporter quoting Hillsborough County Public School Board member Doretha Edgecomb.

julie tweetIf there’s one thing that good teachers are tired of hearing about, it’s bad teachers. There are thousands of good teachers making a positive impact on students and their schools. These teachers are going above and beyond their classroom duties, engaging in ongoing professional development, and actively participating in personal learning communities.

You may never read their names in the paper or see them on television, but they are doing the work. (read more…)

There’s a growing amount of discussion today about developing the whole child. These programs, which focus on students’ physical, academic and emotional needs, aim to prepare them for college, career and life. We asked SmartBrief on EdTech readers for feedback on their schools and districts’ efforts with implementing this model.

The majority of readers stated their schools are doing a good job at fostering the whole child. When asked how well their school or district address the needs of the whole child, 21% said “well” and 44% said “somewhat well.”

Yet, academics continues to be the primary focus for most schools. Seventy percent of respondents reported that while developing the whole child is important, academic needs take precedence at their school or district. Less than a third of readers — 30% — report that their districts give equal weight to academic and non-academic programs.

Technology has been a big help for these programs. (read more…)