THE IT Trends
Strategies & Insights for Technology Leaders in K-12 3/22/2018

IT Spotlight

  • IoT Has Arrived (Just Not in the Way You Expected)

    Forget about sensors everywhere. The Internet of Things is really about networked devices making our lives easier.

  • When Can You Search a Student's Phone?

    What happens after an educator confiscates a device? In general, teachers and administrators can seize a disruptive device (though for many this is not the first choice), and district policies can provide explicitly for that. But whether educators can search a device is far less clear, dependent on the situation and in some cases the state.

  • 3 Ways to Help Students Build Empathy Using Technology

    Can your students build empathy skills even while using technology? Yes! In fact, exercises that help students build empathy in digital spaces are a crucial part of positive social and emotional learning.

  • What Is COPPA?

    Learn what teachers need to know about this important law.


Ed Tech Research & Trends

  • Parents Prefer E-Mail for School Messages — Far and Above Auto-Phone, Texts, Facebook

    The only people who seem to want face-to-face meetings and personal phone calls anymore are school principals. Four in five parents consider e-mail the most effective way for schools and districts to communicate with them.

  • School Funding 'Stubbornly Unfair' Across States

    In spite of research showing that school funding leads to better outcomes for students during their school years and afterward, a new report from the Education Law Center and Rutgers University's Graduate School of Education finds dramatic unevenness among education funding across states. New York and Alaska, for example, spend more than 2.5 times what Arizona and Idaho spend. There's been no improvement since the end of the "great recession" in those states that don't provide additional funding to districts with high student poverty.

  • Report Explores Potential of Wearables, AR and VR in Education

    A new whitepaper from personalized learning nonprofit KnowledgeWorks explores how wearables, augmented reality and virtual reality could play out in education. Vignettes drill into how educators could use these technologies in and out of the classroom to add "digital depth" to physical reality to increase student engagement, enhance the personalization of learning, help people understand others' experiences and perspectives, generate greater levels of self-awareness and foster critical thinking.

  • IoT Security Spending to Hit $1.5 Billion This Year

    Spending on security for the internet of things will reach $1.5 billion, up 28 percent over 2017's $1.2 billion, according to a new forecast from market research firm Gartner. Professional services will account for the bulk of the spending throughout the forecast, at $946 million this year and growing to $2.07 billion by the end of the forecast in 2021.

  • Wearables to Ship 133 Million Units This Year

    Wearable devices will see 15.9 percent growth this year on their way to selling 132.9 million units, according to a new forecast from International Data Corp. Throughout the forecast, the market will see a compound annual growth rate of 13.4 percent, reaching 219.4 million shipments in 2022.

  • Wearable Tech Helps Early Learners Improve Language Contact

    Whether they're filling in the "30-million-word gap" or increasing the number of "conversational turns" they have with adults, a group of kids at a Virginia childcare center were exposed to an average of 1,100 more words and 59 conversational turns by the time they'd participated in a four-month pilot study. The pilot used a "talking pedometer" that records the conversation a child has.

  • Apps and Online Programs Main Means for Teens to Cope with Stress

    Turning to apps and online tools is the most popular way for teenagers to deal with stress. And they report feeling a lot of it.

  • Large District Websites Have 'Extensive Accessibility Issues'

    The Bureau of Internet Accessibility (BoIA) recently shared the results of automated tests it ran to check the accessibility of a handful of school websites and found that those tested had "extensive" issues related to accessibility.

  • Forecast: AR and VR Headset Sales to Return to Strong Growth Following Lackluster 2017

    Augmented and virtual reality headsets will see a compound annual growth rate of 52.5 percent through 2022 despite a lackluster year in 2017, according to a new forecast from International Data Corp. In 2017 the market saw a decline, largely because of reduced shipments of screenless V.R. viewers, which in turn was a result of vendors ceasing to bundle the viewers with smartphones. Following last year's poor showing, however, I.D.C. predicts strong growth this year, with shipments surging to 12.4 million units on a 48.5 percent C.A.G.R.


K-12 Technology News

  • E-rate Delays and Denials 'Unjust,' According to EducationSuperHighway

    The organization blames the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees E-rate program administrator Universal Service Administration Company (USAC). The FCC could accelerate approval of fiber broadband projects, the new site asserted, by directing USAC "to eliminate the red tape in the E-rate application process."

  • Student Privacy in Surveillance Videos: Standards for Disclosure in Flux

    Does giving a parent a copy of a surveillance video showing a school hazing incident involving multiple students violate FERPA? Guidance on the issue has changed.

  • Non-Profit to Crowdsource On-the-Ground Ed Tech Effectiveness

    When Consumer Reports wants to know how well a new car is holding up, it heads into the crowds to ask drivers' opinions about their vehicles. That form of crowdsourcing is now infiltrating education with the launch of a new non-profit organization that will call on teachers and school leaders to document how well their education technology works for them in their schools and classrooms. In exchange, the contributors will receive money and tech support.

  • Common Sense Introduces Simpler Privacy Ratings

    Currently, Curriki is "not recommended," while Edmodo gets a "use with caution," and EduTone receives a "use responsibly." These are the simpler privacy ratings that Common Sense Media has begun using for the education technology apps it covers on its education websites.

  • Qualtrics Expands Experience Management Platform with New and Enhanced AI and Analytics Tools

    At its annual user conference this month, Qualtrics revealed a slew of new features for its flagship Experience Management (XM) Platform, a data collection and analysis tool used in some 2,000 colleges and universities and 6,800 schools. All told, Qualtrics has about 1.2 million education users in 90 countries.

  • MERLOT Updated for Better Searchability

    MERLOT, the granddaddy of open educational resources developed by the California State University system, has entered its third decade of operation with a new facelift. The project, as always, provides a gateway to OER. But with its newest release, search functionality has been expanded and coding has been done using responsive web design to make it mobile device-friendly.

  • New Framework Offers Way to Validate OER Commitment

    A new report proposes a framework by which open educational resource initiatives — and particularly those promulgated by for-profit organizations — might be measured. The CARE framework has three purposes, according to its authors: to help make sure "the O.E.R. community's values can be maintained as the movement scales"; to gauge the practices of "new entrants" to the O.E.R. field (especially those out to make money from it); and to build educator confidence in participating in O.E.R., including those who contribute their own materials and may be uncertain regarding its use by for-profit publishers.

  • New Jersey REN Adds Amazon Web Services

    A research and education network in New Jersey has signed a deal with Amazon to offer that company's web services to its members at reduced prices. Institutions, schools and districts that are members of N.J. Edge will be able to connect directly through the state's fiber connections run by N.J. Edge or create new ones through AWS Direct Connect, putting them, "one hop away" from Amazon's web services, according to N.J. Edge C.E.O. and President Samuel Conn.

  • Character Lab Expands School Research Capacity with Qualtrics Partnership

    The Character Lab Research Network, a nonprofit aimed at advancing the science behind social and emotional learning and character development, has partnered with Qualtrics to expand research efforts and make it easier for scientists to work with middle schools and high schools. The partnership was announced at the Qualtrics X4 Summit in Salt Lake City, UT.

  • Project Pals Rolls out PBL Project Management System

    The system, called Project Pals, aims to provide a space in which students can collaborate and upload content; but it also includes tools for teachers to manage group projects and analyze aspects of the students' work, such as who contributed what to the project. And it can serve as a showcase for the students' work to their classmates and parents.

  • New Open Source Database to Track School Shootings

    A new open source database at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, developed in partnership with the University of Texas at Dallas and Michigan State University, will track shootings at K–12 schools and analyze the factors involved in such attacks. The project is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Justice's Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, a research effort focused on identifying the root causes of school violence as well as developing and evaluating strategies for boosting school safety.



    Upcoming K–12 Grants

    • Innovative Practices in K–12 Education

      Sponsor: Braitmayer Foundation
      Award: Up to $35,000
      Number of Awards: Not specified
      Application Deadline: March 15
    • Classroom Improvement Technology Grant

      Sponsor: Turning Technologies
      Award: $3,000 per grant
      Number of Awards: 10
      Application Deadline: March 23
    • InvenTeams

      Sponsor: Lemelson Foundation and the School of Engineering at MIT
      Award: $10,000 per grant
      Number of Awards: Up to 15
      Application Deadline: Initial applications due April 9
    • Environmental Literacy Program

      Sponsor: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce)
      Award: Grants tend to fall in the $450,000 range. See NOAA's awards page for details.
      Number of Awards: Varies (two in 2017, five in 2016, six in 2015)
      Application Deadline: April 9
    • America's Farmers Grow Rural Education

      Sponsor: Monsanto
      Award: Up to $25,000
      Number of Awards: Varies ($2.3 million available)
      Application Deadline: Nominations due April 2; grant proposals due April 15
    • ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Classroom Grant

      Sponsor: American Chemical Society
      Award: Up to $1,500
      Number of Awards: Not specified
      Application Deadline: April 14 (grant opens Feb. 1)
    • Academic Enrichment Grants

      Sponsor: McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation
      Award: $30,000 maximum ($10,000 over three years)
      Number of Awards: Not specified (five awarded last year)
      Application Deadline: April 15 (submissions open Jan. 15)
    • Teacher Development Grants

      Sponsor: McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation
      Award: $30,000 maximum ($10,000 over three years)
      Number of Awards: Not specified (two awarded last year)
      Application Deadline: April 15 (submissions open Jan. 15)
    • Young Scientist Challenge

      Sponsor: Discovery Education and 3M
      Award: $25,000 grand prize; other prizes vary
      Number of Awards: 71 (61 for students, 10 for educators)
      Application Deadline: April 19
    • Siemens STEM Day

      Sponsor: Discovery Education and Siemens
      Award: $10,000
      Number of Awards: 1
      Application Deadline: April 27
    • American Honda Foundation STEM Grants

      Sponsor: American Honda Foundation
      Award: $20,000 to $75,000
      Number of Awards: Not specified
      Application Deadline: Feb. 1 and Aug. 1 for new organizations; May 1 for returning organizations
    • ESA Foundation STEM Grant

      Sponsor: Entertainment Software Association Foundation
      Award: Not specified, but suggested upper limit for first-time applicants is $50,000
      Number of Awards: Not specified
      Application Deadline: Letters of inquiry due May 15 (submission period opens April 14)
    • Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)

      Sponsor: National Science Foundation
      Award: $10 million to $20 million
      Number of Awards: 9–18 total in three categories
      Application Deadline: Aug. 8
    • NEA Foundation Learning & Leadership Grants

      Sponsor: National Education Association Foundation
      Award: $2,000 or $5,000
      Number of Awards: Not specified
      Application Deadline: Feb. 1, June 1 and Oct. 15 of each year
    • NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grants

      Sponsor: National Education Association Foundation
      Award: $2,000 or $5,000
      Number of Awards: Not specified
      Application Deadline: Feb. 1, June 1 and Oct. 15 of each year
    • 2018 K-12 IT Makeover Contest

      Sponsor: APC by Schneider Electric
      Award: $10,000 in IT-related equipment upgrades
      Number of Awards: 1
      Application Deadline: June 30
    • SparkFun Community Partner Program

      Sponsor: SparkFun
      Award: STEM/STEAM-related prize packages, event and team sponsorships and other types of support
      Number of Awards: Varies
      Application Deadline: Ongoing: third Thursday of each month; awards announced on the last business day of each month
    • Adopt a Classroom

      Deadline: Ongoing
    • Brinker International Grants

      Deadline: Ongoing
    • Brown Rudnick Community Grants

      Deadline: Ongoing
    • Corning Foundation Grants

      Deadline: Ongoing

      Deadline: Ongoing
    • Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Grants

      Deadline: Ongoing
      Award: No more than 10 percent of an organization's annual operating expenses or 25 percent of the total budget for the project being funded; awards have ranged from the hundreds to the millions of dollars.
      Number of Awards: Varies
      Qualification: Project should "directly serve or impact children living in urban poverty, particularly in the areas of education, family economic stability (including microfinance) and childhood health."
    • Naiku Innovative Teacher Grant

      Deadline: Ongoing (approx. 10 awards per month)
    • Sony Grants for Education

      Deadline: Ongoing (grants awarded on a rolling basis)
    • TAF Project-Based Learning Grants for Grades 6–12

      Sponsor: Toshiba America Foundation
      Award: Two categories: Up to $5,000 and more than $5,000
      Number of Awards: Not specified
      Application Deadline: Up to $5,000 awarded on a rolling basis; Feb. 1 deadline for applications for more than $5,000

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