Closing the Connectivity Gap

Categories: Blog  K-12 Education  ISTE 
As I look back on our time at ISTE, I’m reminded of an issue brought to my attention from teachers, administrators and IT personnel that had not crossed my mind in the past.  The descriptions were a bit different, but the overall message remained the same: “It’s great to see edtech moving towards the cloud, but our school/district is just not there yet with the infrastructure to support such advantages.”  The statement utters in my mind even weeks after the show.  

A quick Google search revealed startling information.  According to 2012 statistics, 63% of schools in the U.S. do not have enough bandwidth to meet the current needs for digital learning.  That translates to more than 40 million students lacking sufficient internet access, especially in rural and urban schools.  Last December, the Federal Communications Commission overwhelmingly approved a $1.5 billion funding increase for its E-Rate program, created to help schools gain access to technologies and high-speed internet.  Overall spending by the FCC now totals nearly $4 billion annually in an effort to make sure the nation’s classrooms are not left behind as other countries invest heavily in broadband connections.  As you can see by the chart, the U.S. is making great strides to closing the connectivity gap and making the Internet accessible for future generations.

Keep Kids Learning During the Summer

Categories: Blog  K-12 Education  Resources 
When I was in elementary school, I remember always having trouble learning at the start of the school year. It was hard to get in the swing of things after playing with my friends all summer. During the summer, I was always outside, but being outside and playing with friends doesn’t have to keep kids from learning.

Students can still learn in the summer without losing any play time. There are tons of activities that can keep kids thinking and can incorporate fun summer activities.

Here is list of activities that can educate kids and still be fun:
Physical Education Lessons using Pool Noodles
10 Sidewalk Chalk Ideas
Numbers Water Balloon Target Practice
Sand Volcano

One Goal. Unlimited Opportunities.

Categories: Blog 
What stands out in your mind from ISTE?  That’s the question I’ve been asking myself as I sit in front on the computer collecting my thoughts for today’s blog.  Just one week ago, the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the heart of Philadelphia pulsed with excitement from exhibitors showcasing the latest and greatest in edtech and attendees from around the globe hoping to come away with new learning concepts to incorporate into their own daily practice.  The City of Brotherly Love lived up to the name playing host to K-12’s largest conference and expo.
This being my second ISTE experience, I was once again amazed by spectacular booths bursting with flair displaying technology tailored to enhance the learning experience.  I must say though my favorite moments from the show included discussions with educators, administrators and IT from all walks of life and hearing their stories of transforming education, some successful with incorporating new ideas and others still determined to find a path to achievement.  Even though each story was unique of itself, the goal remained the same; help improve learning for children.  

What were your impressions of ISTE?  Comment below and share your thoughts with us!  We also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who stopped by and visited our booth.  Already looking forward to ISTE 2016 set for next June in Denver, Colorado.

Pinterest for Educators Tips

Categories: Blog  K-12 Education 
Pinterest is full of great resources and ideas for educators. You can get inspired to decorate your classroom, change up your lesson plans or add interactive activities to your material while browsing through Pinterest. Here are some ways you can use Pinterest as an educator.

1.    Invite fellow teachers to collaborate on a board for teaching resources, lesson ideas or even decorations.
2.    Your students can share a board for resources on a team project.
3.    Follow education boards and pinners for ideas and tips.
4.    Share what you do in your classroom to help inspire other teachers.
5.    Stay organized by removing pins that you tried that didn’t work and making sure to keep pins that you tried and liked.

Take a look at even more ideas on how to incorporate Pinterest into your daily educator life.
Pinterest and Education
Pinterest for Educators?

Oh How Things Have Changed in the Classroom

Categories: Blog  K-12 Education 

My morning routine involves brewing a cup of coffee, breakfast, a check of the news and, of course, Facebook.  Aside from the usual suspects of Candy Crush/Farmville requests, my eyes shifted on this particular morning to a notification from a fellow high school classmate.  It turned out she created a Facebook group for our ten year class reunion scheduled for next year and wanted to assess everyone’s feedback on how they would like to mark the occasion.  My first thought was “wow, I can’t believe it’s been ten years already”, but then as I’m reading through the invite, I started to think about how much education has changed in the past decade.

Working for an edtech company, you become very knowledgeable with the state of education.  Today’s classrooms seemed to be equipped with enough technology to launch a rocket into space.  I remember sitting in class my senior year of high school watching the teacher write notes on the board with chalk.  It seems chalkboards have become a thing of the past and replaced with high-tech interactive whiteboards. Cellphones in school were an absolute “no-no” in 2006. One day that stands out involved a classmate in my math class.  We were taking a test and all of a sudden you could hear her purse vibrate on the floor. Obviously, her phone was going off.  She tried her best to silence it, but by the time she got to the phone; it was too late.  The teacher approached her with a look of rage on his face and demanded she hand over the phone.  That phone ended up in the principal’s office for the rest of the year.  Fast forward to present, educators embrace phones in the classroom with “BYOD” or bring your own devices.  It’s unbelievable to think how much classrooms have changed in such a short amount time.  What will the vision of classrooms be in the next decade?

The State of Education in 2015