The datacenter plays an increasingly important role in the success of K-12 digital initiatives. Building or improving a datacenter to support a digital initiative can be a daunting task for even the best trained and staffed IT teams. Prior to deciding on a course of action, an IT team needs to take a look at a more philosophical question: Convergence or disaggregation?

Convergence, or Converged Infrastructure (CI), merges multiple IT components into a single, uniform package. Prior to CI products, IT teams were responsible for acting as their own integrators and piecing together multiple products from multiple vendors in an attempt to meet their compute, storage, and networking needs. The upside to CI products is that they can allow a less technically skilled team to successfully implement a robust, high availability datacenter that is modular and scalable. The downside is that CI tends to lock a datacenter into a given vendor and that vendor’s roadmap of the future. (read more…)

It’s budget and buying season for many schools and districts. April reflected this with several new product releases for the classroom. Here’s what SmartBrief on EdTech readers liked this month in Product Showcase:

Math@Work: Math Meets Homebuilding. Scholastic and TV host Ty Pennington are working together to help students connect math with real-world careers through their new webisode series, Math@Work: Math Meets Homebuilding. The 15-minute videos, available at no charge on Scholastic’s site, feature Pennington showing student builders how to apply math to projects such as installing solar panels and building a walkway for a home.

Studystorm. High-school students can use a new, free Android application to prepare for tests and college admissions exams. Studystorm, by Brightstorm, offers study guides and videos for 21 subjects, including ACT, SAT and AP tests. The mobile app is available now at no charge from the Google Play store.

Adobe Slate. (read more…)

Kids laughingDuring April, SmartBlog on Education will shine a light on educating the whole child. This blog post highlights the role of movement in teaching and learning.

“Children enter kindergarten as kinesthetic and tactual learners, moving and touching everything as they learn. By second or third grade, some students have become visual learners. During the late elementary years some students, primarily females, become auditory learners. Yet, many adults, especially males, maintain kinesthetic and tactual strengths throughout their lives.”Teaching Secondary Students Through Their Individual Learning Styles

Of the three primary learning modalities — visual, auditory, and kinesthetic — kinesthetic learning is the least frequently utilized in most elementary and secondary classrooms, by a wide margin. Students tend to get most of their information by listening to a teacher speak to them or by seeing and reading it in print or digital form. Learning that involves some form of meaningful movement comes in a distant third. (read more…)

Kids laughingDuring April, SmartBlog on Education will shine a light on educating the whole child. In this blog post, we explore how messages affect students’ social and emotional health.

One day I was running in my neighborhood and I saw the following sign on a front lawn: “Drive like your children live here.” I stopped and thought about the hidden message sent to the driver who sees it: “You are a responsible person who cares about kids but perhaps you need a little nudge or gentle reminder to drive the way that you know in your heart is right.” Compare that to this type of sign: “Fines Doubled in the Work Zone.” That message is not so hidden: “You are an irresponsible person who will only change when you are threatened with a significant loss of money.” Signs send messages. Messages shape identity.

Educators, who want to change student behavior, often forget the hidden messages embedded in even their well-intentioned efforts to help them. (read more…)

Every day we read about students, staff and administrators that post, Tweet or share something that, in retrospect, they wished they had not. We’ve fallen into the practice of sending whatever we want out to the world and hoping for the best. When asked, “Why would you post something like that?” the answer is often “I thought it would be funny,” “I was just kidding,” or “Who would ever see my post/Tweet/image?”

Here’s the reality: We are now connected digitally to one another and we need to understand that if we post something there might be consequences.

How do we address these issues? I have found that there are three areas we need to be aware before sharing: respect, educate and protect or REP.

  1. If we have respect for ourselves and others then why would we say things about them or post images we might regret? Have empathy for others; think about how a post or Tweet might affect them.
  2. (read more…)