Hot Technologies for K-12 Schools
An interactive discussion at COSN on emerging technologies let by Keith Krueger, CEO of COSN at the COSN CTO Clinic today in Plano, Texas

COSN recognizes that about 3/4 of those in district administration roles were educators in the past

COSN released a report last year, “Hot Trends in Technology Digital Learning Spaces”
– discussed what these technologies will look like in 5 years, with things more immersed
– report is not very technical, but is more about pulling it all together in a vision
– a new report “Collaborative Technologies” is coming out at NECC this year (wikis, blogs, shared collaborative spaces)

Hot Trends in Technology report
– can get a copy at the COSN website
– provides a strategic context to technologies that in the next 3-5 years that could transform schools
– also gives a framework for thinking about new and emerging technologies

Technologies that session participants are using in their classrooms:
– interactive technologies for student and teacher interaction
– online learning with technology
– re-writing curriculum with technology embedded
– handhelds in classroom
– mobile tablets
– NOVA 5000 handheld device
– .NetNew (?) is open source CMS being used, templates for teachers, to make interactive webpages
– Going to emergency test moving school services to a site in Minnesota, other disaster preparedness
– VOIP phones
– Wireless overlay for campuses
– PDA applications in the district
– Video vignettes for teaching modules
– Vocera communicators that are like star trek, testing to see how they work to get rid of 2 way communicators
– VOIP phones, wireless network expansion
– Active boards, tablet PCs
– eBook projects: electronic textbooks
– mobile devices and convergence of thin client architectures
– making desktops more personal for teachers and students
– interactive cell phone applications
– Internet2 curriculum to the classroom
– Pedagogy for online classes
– Data driven decisions: bringing data to CIOs of smaller school districts
– Podcasting for English-language learners
– Handheld pilot for 4th graders
– Projectors and document cameras in all classrooms
– Handhelds to principals for PDAS
– Portal technologies for web clients, single-sign on
– Working with Florida Virtual Schools
– Survivability planning for urban growth, 2 or 3 or 4 : 1 ratios
– Fiber connections between campuses

My latest work with emerging technologies
– lots with blogging and podcasting
– Constructive use of distruptive technologies to engage kids and help them develop literacy skills
– Use of safe / controlled / moderated DSN services: Proactive strategies for schools helping students learn to safely use digital social networking like Imbee.com and Think.com
– Playing secondlife!

COSN report
– criteria: things that addressed major challenges in education
– transformative changes in the ways schools operate today
– wanted things to be feasible
– many of these are not yet in the education space because they are not yet cost effective
– Want technologies that are convenient, capable, customized and feature rich, convergent, collaborative, creative, and compliant

5 key educational issues:
1- galvanize instruction and promote authentic learning (active highly portable storage devices, and datacasting)
2- improve assessment and evaluation
3- address diverse learning styles and needs
4- build community

Kids are arriving at school with 2 devices increasingly: a cell phone and an iPod
– in enabling kids to move documents and things between home and school, those technologies may be helpful
– transformative value: incorporating compelling, up to date audio, video, and data into everyday instruction, empowering students to play an active role in their own learning

Uses for podcasts: store and transfer LARGE amounts of data, listen to audio books and music, learn foreign languages, create, store, and transmit digital portfolios, and record classroom lectures and discussions

Consortium including Saguine and New Braunfels, working to develop consortium to develop more focused podcast content

Biggest area that podcasts are being used is for professional development
– also used as resources for students, for student projects, and ____

Data-casting
– most school networks are defined as broadband but have BIG problems with video streaming
– goal is downloading large instructional multimedia files (with accompanying software, lesson plans, interactive student activities, games, etc) and storing on in-house servers, which teachers can then access over the LAN
– trends:

When this report was done 1 ½ years ago, municipal wi-fis were not in progress as they are today

Ways to improve assessment and evaluation
– digital assessments, intelligent essay graders, intelligent pattern analysis

NCLB is moving school districts to be much more data driven, showing how you are moving kids along
– managing that data is challenging, esp because data is often siloed

Uses: of wired or wireless handheld devices in classrooms for instantaneous feedback from students, info can be automatically entered into systems….

Intelligent essay graders (MY ACCESS WRITING)
– software that does “first pass” basic assessment of student writing
– intelligent pattern analysis is being used here, SASS and other companies are taking business intelligence tools and migrating those to education
– data works in 3 ways: analyzing data to find patterns, projecting future performance based on past performance, providing visual displays of results

Decision support systems need to have intelligent pattern analysis tools embedded in them, to support data driven decisionmaking

Most CIOs would say “yes” to the question “are you using data-driven decisionmaking,” but their use of those technologies are still at a very basic level

TEA bought a solution from Pearson for everyone in grades 3-5, used by teachers to focus instruction

Trends: closer ties between teaching, learning and assessment, more writing assignments, more frequent and better use of data driven decision making, better dissemination of best practices

www.3d2know.org

COSN website about data driven decisionmaking, includes case studies of districts who have won the Baldrich award, etc

Addressing diverse learning styles
– sound-amplification
– multisensory customized learning tools

Transformative value
– all students can benefit from these technologies
– additional help for struggling readers
– personalized learning

Legal/Policy context
– every district must be sensitive to this: ADA/IDEA and the principles of universal design, design of products and solutions must be accessible

– so this is often a collaboration with public TV stations, like in Clark Co. Georgia

Tools that address all learning styles
– universal design, “crossover” products, increasing attention to alternate delivery methods that take account of the needs of all students
www.accessibletech4all.org

Ways to use emerging technologies to build communities
– how do we engage parents?
– Programmable phone systems, student info systems, learning management systems, blogs

Are their ways to reach increasingly diverse populations, substitute electronic communication for printed reports

Some schools using text messaging as well as pre-recorded phone messages
– something like 65% of households now have computers

MY THOUGHT: IF YOU WANT TO DRIVE PARENTS TO THE SCHOOL WEBSITE, THEN YOU WANT TO HAVE STUDENTS CREATE CONTENT THAT IS ACCESSIBLE THERE!!!

Learning management systems: helping parents be more active participants in their kids’ learning experiences

RFID may have a lot to offer in the way of inventory tracking
– users can know the location of any smart tag within range of the transceivers, simplifying tracking of people and items
– trends: tracking buses, taking attendance, equipment inventory, textbook inventory, checking out library books, securing equipment, charging student accounts
COSN policy position paper: “Think Before Banning: A Response to Concerns About RFID”
– http://www.cosn.org/about/press/042706.cfm

Need to think about who has access to the info, and communicate those

Stories about rural schools implementing RFID, if the child did not show up at school within a range of time the parents receive a text message saying that their kid didn’t come to school

Smart Classrooms
– smart rooms

Laundry List of Obstacles to Adoption of Hot Technologies
– schools are behind business
– kids generally far ahead of teachers: PEW teens report
– Funding shortages
– Creating good policies with regards to privacy and security
– Potential to further increase the digital divide
– More…

Major 3 barriers:
1- Learning cycle for individual adoption
2- Organizational change of processes and procedures
3- Leadership and vision for decisionmaking and persuasion

MY THOUGHT: COSN SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN STATEWIDE TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP INITIATIVES

ANOTHER THOUGHT: IN THIS WORLD OF HUNDREDS OF TV CHANNELS, EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT SHOULD BE USING A LOCAL TV CHANNEL TO BROADCAST EXAMPLES OF STUDENT WORK 24/7 (STUDENT CREATED MEDIA PRODUCTS)
– BASICALLY EVERY HOME HAS A TV
– IF SCHOOL DISTRICTS WANT TO DRIVE PEOPLE TO THEIR WEBSITES,

Quotation from Peter Grunwald of Grunwald Associates: “Contrary to conventional wisdom, we found that school budgets may not be the biggest barrier to deploying and utilizing technology effectively in the classroom…..”

Recommendations of the report:
– overall: technologies can engage, empower and motivate students and teachers and address core educational problems
– 1. think before banning (we don’t want reflexive policies)
– 2. consider educational goals first
– 3. consider all the factors: instructional, legal, security, privacy, technical and financial
– 4. involve all the stakeholders

This report starts with the question: What are we trying to solve? What is the educational purpose?

Can run many thin client applications on a smaller screen, but it is a compromise
– to go to the cell phone, you must design for the smaller screen
– adults have more problems with smaller screens than the kids do
– hearing a lot more about cell phone uses in schools in Japan and elsewhere
– Japan: using cell phones for test prep

MY QUESTION: WHAT ARE SCHOOL DISTRICTS DOING IN THE AREA OF TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP TO HELP PRINCIPALS AND SUPERINTENDENTS DEFINE AND REFINE THEIR OWN VISION FOR DISTRIBUTED LEARNING, AND AWARENESS OF THE SORTS OF TECHNOLOGIES AND OPPORTUNITIES THAT WE ARE DISCUSSING HERE
– answer: not much!

Visitor tracking systems: can scan driver licenses (using OCR, not bar scanning them) and does an instant background check on them
– RAPTOR technologies does this
– This can do a lot more

MY THOUGHT: THERE ARE SUCH DIVERSE PERSPECTIVES REPRESENTED IN THIS DISCUSSION ABOUT WHAT SORT OF TECHNOLOGY AND LEARNING VISION SHOULD WE BE PROMOTING IN SCHOOLS, AND HOW SHOULD WE BE SPENDING OUR TECHNOLOGY DOLLARS

OVERALL, WHAT WE NEED HERE IS A SEA CHANGE. NONE OF THESE TECHNOLOGIES ARE GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY TEACHERS ATTEMPT TO ENGAGE STUDENTS IN THE PROCESS OF LEARNING, AT A FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL. THAT IS WHY WE NEED SECONDARY EDUCATION STANDARDS

Parent Access to Student Grades
– Product: Intouch Online, by Edulink Systems
– Parent survey comments: 94% of participating parents reported that info was helpful, and 85% indicated that info made a positive impact on their child’s performance
– Teachers were much less enthused about this: Previously with online grades, teachers just put in grades at end of term
– This created positive pressure to change teacher patterns of behavior, parents beat up on teachers too much saying we want this
– This really just changed the frequency with which grades have to be put in
– In some districts, it is the parents that have brought this up and put pressure on the school district to do this (they demand it in some areas)
– Only 36% of teachers believevd student performance increased
– 47% of teachers reported that they changed their behavior, the way they recorded grades
– MY IDEA: THIS IS THE REAL KEY: HOW DO YOU CHANGE TEACHER BEHAVIOR?!

MY QUESTION: IS THERE A WAY WITH THE SOLUTION YOU ARE USING TO LET PARENTS LINK OUT TO EXAMPLES OF STUDENT WORK, LIKE A BLOG OR VIDEO?
– answer: No, not currently

Lewisville (Greg Veal)
– intent is teachers can put lessons and powerpoints with mp3 players
– also have tried audio-only mp3 players
– also have to figure out how to keep students from putting their own music on these devices

Online course management software
– I couldn’t afford Blackboard
– San Antonio ISD using Moodle, so we call it SchoolWeb
– Training teachers to post websites too moodle, setting up forums, blogs, post videos, calendar, post documents, quizzes, wikis, assignments, track student access, journaling

Had an AP Gov’t teacher come in the other day, panicked, setting up school website and images were too big…
– he was setting up forums so his students could respond to them at night
– forums are great way to

2 schools have been doing audio podcasting
– what do we want to do in our classrooms?
– we should want to interact more with our students, get their students

We’re buying student credit courses from Plano, they did a great job
– they’re a school district, so they didn’t charge THAT much!

Interactive whiteboards
– teacher committee decided that was something they wanted to do in their classrooms
– interactive response pads (students respond A, B, C or D) – I use it on Monday nights for the community college biology class I teach (13th graders)

Beginning to use Interwrite School Pads
– wireless pads, teacher can write on it, students can write on them
– even math teachers are getting excited about this!!!!
– Ability to create a slideshow from it, make a movie, and make that available online

Handhelds
– science probes
– Discourse software (interactive and provides immediate assessment) but VERY expensive
– We need to look at more software tools like this, that help us see what our kids are thinking!

MY QUESTION: HAVE YOU USED THE OPEN SOURCE VERSION OF THIS? (I AM NOT SURE WHAT THAT IS CALLED BUT I HAVE SEEN IT AND WILL POST IT TO MY BLOG)

Document Cameras
Digital cameras: small video clips
Streaming videos
– teachers are about to make our multimedia retrieval systems obsolete

Open Source Tools
Starfall.com
– MovieMaker
– PhotoStory

Projectors: creating options for teachers
– one of biggest problems I had as a teacher was using that little bitty TV
– fortunately because of decreasing price points, we are being able to put more data projectors out into the classrooms
– we hope students will be sharing their own products on them

Parental and student access to gradebook and lesson plans (web portals)
Telephone announcement / alert system

You really need to do these things, because this provides the parents with tools and mechanisms to be involved

Vocera communication devices that are like Star Trek

One of our goal should be virtualizing conversations

Questions people did not know answer to:
– What is an RSS feed?
– What is a wiki?

MY THOUGHT: WE NEED TO BE EMBRACING TECHNOLOGIES THAT SUPPORT LEVEL 2 TECHNOLOGY USES, EXTENDING THE CONVERSATION BEYOND THE TRADITIONAL CLASS DAY

COSN is doing more work in the area of open technologies
– the way we best learn is by teaching it, by learning it
– at conference last year, we had the founder of WikiPedia come and talk about that technology

It is VERY important to extend the conversations happening in schools beyond the traditional class period

We need to make learning fun and engaging, and extend the conversation


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