Technology

Advocacy Update

Apply for the CTE Makeover Challenge

Your high school could be eligible for $20,000 in cash and additional in-kind prizes to start a makerspace in your building! The U.S. Department of Education invites schools to enter the CTE Makeover Challenge by submitting a design for a CTE makerspace. All schools will gain access to a six-week CTE Makeover Bootcamp that will provide resources and training in makerspace design and planning. Up to 10 schools will receive the $20,000 cash prize. You can view the notice in the Federal Register here. (more…)

Progress Made on Closing the Digital Divide

As all principals know, changes in how the world connects has made a significant impact on the way we organize school records, communicate with parents, and collaborate with other educators. But it has perhaps most greatly affected how students conduct research and complete group projects and other school assignments, which puts students who don’t have broadband internet at home at a great disadvantage. Many are calling this new digital divide the “homework gap,” and ultimately it can impact their academic success.

As a member of the Education and Library Networks Coalition (EdLiNC), NASSP previously submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (more…)

10 Ways Principals Can Use Twitter to Engage Stakeholders

Guest post by Dwight Carter

Before I joined the Twitterverse, I was critical of its use, and quite frankly, was turned off by the concept all together. I often read and watched what seemed like ridiculous stories of what celebrities shared about their lives—from the foods they ate, whom they had lunch with, or whom they were dating. I saw no purpose for it all. However, all that changed about five years ago when my former district embarked on a digital journey.

I had the opportunity to participate in an intense, three-day social media boot camp facilitated by Debra Jasper and Betsy Hubbard, founders of Mindset Digital. (more…)

What Is the Promise of Educational Technology?

Guest post by Chris Lehmann

Since the early 1980s, K-12 schools have been enamored with the promise of educational technology. Computers were going to revolutionize education, and yet, I’d argue that the changes we’ve seen in school due to technological innovation lag far behind what we have seen in the rest of society. In many ways, education has proven to be powerfully resistant to the changes we have seen in every other sector of our world.

I’d argue it’s because, too often, we’ve tried to make technology use in school allow us to do what we’ve always done, only slightly more efficiently.

And that’s a shame. If the best we can imagine technological innovation in our schools to be is the next generation VCR and Scantron, then the failure of our vision is both great and terrible. (more…)

Congress Considers Bill to Tackle the Homework Gap

Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and David McKinley (R-WV) recently introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act (H.R. 3582) to ensure students and their families have broadband Internet access in their homes. A companion bill, The Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 (S. 1606), was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). This bill will help provide students and their families with equitable access to the Internet at home to support family engagement in their child’s education and will allow students to accomplish essential tasks such as completing their homework, applying for colleges, and seeking post-graduation employment.

According to a letter of support sent to House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership by education groups (including NASSP and NAESP), the bill: (more…)

3 Tips to Increase Your Productivity

Guest post by Daisy Dyer Duerr

Principals and assistant principals can struggle with a variety of distractions that curb their productivity each and every day. As the new school year gets underway, do you find yourself asking whether you are being as productive as you want to be?

As a school leader, I found I was able to amp up my productivity and I’d like to share with you a few tips and tricks:

  • Email. I spent 30 minutes on email before students arrived at school, then one hour after my children were in bed at night. NO MORE. You can’t build relationships over email, but you can sure ruin them if you aren’t setting aside the appropriate time to focus on your email communication.

(more…)

Senate Passes ESEA Reauthorization Bill, Sets Stage for Conference Committee

Less than two weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives moved to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by passing the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), the Senate followed suit by passing the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) by a vote of 81 to 17.

This historic achievement comes seven years after No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was due for reauthorization. The bill was opposed by 14 Republicans who felt the bill did not go far enough to restore local control in education and three Democrats because of concerns over missing civil rights provisions.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued the following statement after the bill passed the Senate:

“Last week, Newsweek Magazine called this the ‘law that everyone wants to fix’—and today the Senate’s shown that not only is there broad consensus on the need to fix this law—remarkably, there’s also broad consensus on how to fix it.”

(more…)

Principals and Online Testing – Part II

Note: This is the second of a two-part post on the challenges faced by principals implementing online testing tied to the Common Core and new college- and career-ready standards. So much has happened in recent weeks that I divided the entry into two parts because one post would not do justice to the topic.

GetItRight.jpg

In part 1, I described that with the spring testing season now winding down, principals in a number of states feel as though they are under siege. For some schools, whatever could go wrong has gone wrong.

From my contact with principals in a number of states and my ongoing work with principals in schools in five states, I have learned that online assessments present principals with a number of new and old challenges.

I divided this post into two parts. Part 1 addressed no-technical challenges principals face in implementing the new assessments. This entry will address the technical issues.

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Principals and Online Testing – Part I

Note: I intended that this blog entry would focus only on the technical side of online testing, but so much has happened in recent weeks that I would not do justice to the topic if I ignored the context in which the new, online testing occurs.

WiGetItRight.jpgth the spring testing season now winding down, principals in a number of states feel as though they are under siege. For some schools, whatever could go wrong has gone wrong.

From my contact with principals in a number of states and my ongoing work with principals in schools in five states, I have learned that online assessments present principals with a number of new and old challenges.

I have divided this post into two parts. Part 1 will address no-technical challenges principals face in implementing the new assessments. Part 2 will address the technical issues.

(more…)

New Data Privacy Bills Could Threaten Innovation in Schools

As we reported in a blog post earlier this month, student data privacy continues to be a hot topic on Capitol Hill with a whopping five legislative proposals in circulation. While earlier bills focused on education technology companies and their use of student data, the new proposals would reauthorize the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and have a great impact on principals and how they run their schools.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) released a discussion draft to totally rewrite FERPA in early April. The draft would grant parents the right to inspect and review their children’s education records and require educators to grant requests within 30 days. Educational agencies would be prohibited from releasing education records or personally identifiable information (PII) of students without written consent of their parents with few exceptions. Unidentifiable student data could be released for the purpose of education research, but the draft proposes a requirement that parents be notified of the studies and be given a reasonable amount of time to opt out. (more…)