While the first day of any conference is always the heaviest with announcements, the second day of ISTE still had plenty of sessions to attend and news to take in. As you'll see below, we found educators engaging in panel discussions on the administrator of the future and 1:1 deployments, and a number of vendors had new research and product developments to tout — including more VR. (Are you seeing the trend yet?)
What does a 21st Century administrator look like?
In a packed session that literally had a line out the door to get in, administrators from Coachella Valley Unified School District shared tips and best practices for 21st Century leadership at the school and district level. Superintendent Dr. Darryl Adams, who has been named one of Tech and Learning’s "Most Influential People in Ed Tech," kept the mood festive, leading those in attendance through sing-alongs of two self-written songs about leadership.
The district, which is 67% ELL and 98% Hispanic, is classified among the poorest, but has a 1:1 iPad program, WiFi-on-wheels using district buses, and an ed tech department dubbed the "iCenter" that focuses on acting as "gate-openers" rather than "gatekeepers." Combined with a "Never take 'no' for an answer" attitude, it's no surprise Coachella Valley USD has been able to achieve an 84% graduation rate and lowered its dropouts by 50%.
Keep an eye out for more on the district and its approach in the coming weeks.
CDW-G explores K-12 cloud possibilities
- An infographic released during the show by CDW-G highlights the company’s cloud adoption research, in which it surveyed 400 K-12 IT professionals.
- Notably, 67% reported that IT solutions in their district are delivered fully of partially via the cloud, up from 42% in 2014 — and that number is expected to jump to 74% in the next three years.
- Additionally, the top two motivators for moving to the cloud are a desire to improve student performance and instructional time quality, and the top services that have made the transition among respondents are e-mail (88%), storage (83%) and web hosting (82%).
SIIA's 2016 'Vision' K-20 report offers professional development insight
- Released Tuesday, the Education Technology Industry Network of SIIA's 2016 "Vision K-20 Professional Learning Survey Report" shows that educators in K-12 and higher ed tend to favor professional learning courses on online software and digital resources, as well as classroom management and behavior training.
- The ninth annual survey, and the first from the organization to focus on online professional learning, also shows that educators with fewer than 20 years of experience were more likely to utilize online professional learning courses.
- The survey's sample included over 700 K-12 and higher ed educators, with the majority of those in both sectors most likely to enroll in courses that were of personal interest to them.
District tech chiefs talk 1:1 missteps, pitfalls and successes
This year's conference once again saw California tech chiefs Robert Craven (Tustin Unified School District), Andrew Schwab (Union School District), Jim Klein (Las Virgenes Unified School District), and David Malone (San Francisco Unified School District) discuss the ups and downs of 1:1 device programs. This year, however, they were also joined by Hillbrook School's Bill Selak, who made one of the panel's most memorable contributions, sharing how he discovered firsthand during a demonstration that his school's firewall wasn't blocking porn searches.
Check out our recap here.
How do you sustain a 1:1 program post-deployment?
Speaking of 1:1 deployments, educators from Mesa, AZ, discussed the Eisenhower Elementary School's transformation into the Eisenhower Center For Innovation. The 97% free/reduced lunch school, which also has a high ELL population, had been repurposed by the state as a focus site because it wasn't producing high-performing students. It has become, however, a 1:1 deployment success story thanks to a focus on areas like digital equity, collaboration and infrastructure improvements.
zSpace collaborates with Google Expeditions, unveils Visible Body content
- The VR learning experience provided by zSpace is set to become even more dynamic as the company is now working with Google via its Expeditions Pioneer Program.
- According to a release, the partnership will see Google and zSpace work together on a robust virtual reality STEM learning experience, in which students might be introduced to a topic via Expeditions and then use zSpace's interactive VR screens to further explore.
- Also unveiled at ISTE was new Human Anatomy Atlas content, a product of zSpace's partnership with Visible Body to bring the latter company's highly-detailed 3D models of the male and female human body to the platform.
Alma's Google Classroom partnership expands
- An expansion of all-in-one SIS platform Alma's partnership with Google for Classroom integration will now include the Coursework API.
- The Coursework API will allow Alma to have assignments and grades from Google Classroom shared in Alma with one click, in addition to easing gradebook management, report card creation, and the sending of notes to parents for teachers while helping administrators create real-time data reports more quickly.
- In a release, CEO and Co-Founder Andrew Herman said the end-to-end Classroom integration "empowers teachers and administrators alike to stay focused on individual student achievement with the confidence that the gradebook and report cards are up-to-date."
Ideaphora receives private funding round from BrainPOP
- Knowledge-mapping tool Ideaphora announced a round of private funding from BrainPOP, the terms of which were undisclosed.
- The funding will support product development and sales as Ideaphora moves to launch a subscription-based knowledge-mapping service this summer.
- This isn't the first time BrainPOP has funded the platform: The company was Ideaphora's initial partner and has featured its tech via the "Make-a-Map" tool, with nearly 600,000 concept maps created by K-12 students in the 2015-16 school year.
Edsby boosts learning analytics capabilities
- All-in-one learning and data management platform Edsby is beefing up its learning analytics offerings, making it easier for educators to identify achievement trends in real-time across populations ranging from a single class to the whole district, and also more easily see which students are at risk of failing.
- According to a release, the new analytics engine can offer data insights from Edsby's own LMS or others, can identify where students are struggling most and suggest instruction corrections or additional PD for educators, and can be scaled for even the largest districts, like the 206,000-student Hillsborough County Public Schools.
- The new analytics capabilities are expected to be available to Edsby customers in the coming school year.