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Education and EdTech News for the Week (Ending May 5th, 2017)

Education and EdTech News for the Week

Teachers Don’t Need to Go It Alone on Personalized Learning

While this is only one part of a greater project studying schools taking the personalized learning approach, the entire series by the Center on Reinventing Public Education is worth examining for the close look the author takes at successful models. Focusing on districts in Colorado and New Orleans in particular that are making significant progress, the author explores the idea of “common units” and a teaching environment which stresses professional collaboration and feedback.  The results are positive for students and teachers alike, and might be worth implementing in your own classroom.

For more information about Personalized Learning (what it is, who is trying to implement it and where) read the current issue of Education Week. It is more than differentiating instruction, even if you are using more technological tools to differentiate.

How Riding a School Bus Affects Student Absenteeism

Questioning the high rate of absentee students, a new study scrutinizes whether transportation to school via bus might have some influence. Kindergarteners are the primary group on the elementary school level facing this issue; these findings center on data collected from public school kindergarteners in the 2010-11 school year to try to determine why this is. Although the study doesn’t necessarily solve any big mysteries regarding chronic absenteeism, the effects of riding the school bus on student attendance are intriguing.

ED/IES SBIR Awards: Funding the Next Generation of Education Technology

The Department of Education, in conjunction with the Small Business Innovative Research Program and the Institute of Education Sciences, has consistently funded startups concentrated on education technology research and application. They have recently announced the programs receiving awards and grants for 2017, and these programs are worth keeping an eye on for the future. With numerous learning games for students and new, more efficient dashboards for teachers in development, great things are sure to come.

When It Comes to School-Wide Changes, Teachers Need Scaffolds Too

Keeping in line with the current focus on personalized learning across the K-12 field, this article examines charter network Alpha Public Schools’ approach to streamlining the process of breaking away from traditional instruction. Emphasis is placed on the idea that teachers need to be met halfway by their administrators. Personalized learning cannot succeed in the classroom without time for educators to adjust to a new model of learning, such as the station rotation model used in this example.

Why Smartphone Access Isn’t Enough for Students

Kajeet, a company providing Wi-Fi hotspots to schools, surveys the results of a recent investigation on how connectivity issues affect young learners. While a large number of households report having access to the Internet, the connection is not always reliable or even affordable. Some families may only be using a cellphone, and a significant percentage of mobile users are cut off from connecting to Wi-Fi after going over a data limit. When connectivity is limited, so is a child’s access to numerous educational games, assignments, and resources. All of these factors underline the need for educators to work together toward providing dependable Internet access at school, and safe, secure devices for home.

-Kelsey Erwin