leadershipI recently delivered a talk at an advancement conference on the topic of identifying and communicating a school’s unique qualities and mission. During the presentation, an issue emerged that sits at the forefront of the minds of many of the professionals who were in attendance.

I spoke of the need for advancement personnel — development, admissions, recruitment/retention, communications, marketing, etc. — to connect deeply and continually with academic leadership. Too often, the two offices operate as independent silos, with each group focused almost exclusively on their respective domains without much awareness or interest in what is occurring across the hallway or elsewhere on campus.

Part of this dynamic may come from each group’s familiarity and comfort level. Academic leaders are usually promoted from the classroom. They excel as instructors and instructional leaders and prefer to talk about pedagogy, to engage with teachers and students, and to deal with the kinds of tasks that are typically associated with school function — scheduling, supervision, curriculum, etc. (read more…)

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…)