Window Open to Apply to be 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

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Reposted from PBS Learning Media:

The 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program is a yearlong, free professional development program designed to foster and grow a community of highly engaged, tech-savvy K-12 educators who are effectively using digital media and technology in classrooms to further student engagement and achievement. Applications accepted December 3, 2014 trough February 11, 2015.

PBS will select 100 applicants for the program: 70 Local PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators and 30 Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators. Each group has its own set of benefits and responsibilities.  All 100 Local and Lead 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators will receive one year of free professional development and benefits including virtual trainings, access to premium and exclusive resources, a free PBS TeacherLine course, invitations to special events, membership into a robust professional learning community, and networking and engagement opportunities with peers and thought leaders.

The 30 Lead PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators will also receive a three day, all-expense paid trip to Philadelphia, PA to participate in the 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Summit on June 26 and 27, 2015 and to attend the ISTE Conference on June 28, 2015. Attendees will hear from renowned speakers and pedagogical experts, learn strategies for delivering classroom-ready best practices in digital learning, and network with like-minded peers. Check out the tentative schedule for an in-depth look at the Summit.

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What it Really Takes for Schools to Go Digital

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Reposted from Time:

North Iredell Middle School, about 60 miles north of Charlotte, leaped into the digital learning age in March when it gave each of its more than 650 students MacBook Air computers. The gear is part of a $20-million federally funded plan by the Iredell-Statesville Schools District to issue MacBooks to some 11,300 students across nine middle schools and seven high schools. The grant, part of the federal Race to the Top program, is intended to convert the district to a hybrid approach fusing traditional teaching with digital instruction, a concept known as blended learning that has captured national attention.

“This is about changing the way we instruct students,” says Patrick Abele, executive director of the federal Race to the Top District grant. “It’s not just about technology…This is about having teachers be highly effective and highly engaged with students to close academic gaps.”

Iredell-Statesville didn’t have to look far to see the potential. The neighboring Mooresville Graded School District has been hailed as a national model for the future of technology-aided public education since it made the digital jump in 2009. Last year, President Obama chose the district as the site of his announcement of a new federal program to connect nearly all American schools to high-speed Internet during which he praised Mooresville’s digital classrooms. Yet while the district’s academic improvement since the digital switch has been substantial, it is not a particularly representative model for the rest of the nation. Mooresville is a relatively small district of eight schools and 6,000 students. Just next door, Iredell-Statesville – with 36 schools and nearly 21,000 students – offers a more realistic portrait of the potential and challenges for larger school districts attempting to navigate the digital conversion.

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2014 Survey Results: Using Digital Gaming in Instruction

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Reposted from Games & Learning:

The state of technology and the way games are used by teachers appears to be evolving quickly. Use of tablets, while still not the primary tool for playing games in the classroom, continues to grow. The GLPC survey found that a majority of teachers still use desktop computers to play games (72%) and a sizable group (41%) is using interactive whiteboards. But still, tablets have quickly grown to equal the whiteboard usage.

This growth of mobile technology was also highlighted in a new survey from the technology and education firm Amplify. That survey found that of those not using tablets 67 percent plan to invest in them in the next 1-2 years. “Mobile technology now has a substantial presence in most school districts,” the Amplify research report found. “2014 continued the trend of steady growth in mobile technology adoption, with additional growth very likely in the next two years.”

It is also worth noting that there is no single way in which teachers have students play games in the classroom. As many have students play games individually (30%) as have them play with another classmate or in small groups up to five (34%). Notably fewer teachers (only 17%) have lessons where students play as a class.

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Learning Revolves Around Learners, Not Institutions

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Reposted from the Center for Digital Education:

“A 20-member task force, including three former Federal Communications Commission leaders, made six recommendations comprised of 26 action steps for education leaders with the theme that learning must revolve around learners, not learning institutions.

The shift to competency-based education is included as a change in thinking, policy and practice. Also, the recommendations call for open standards that allow different technology programs to work together, much like the open standards that made the Internet successful. And making sure student data is secure and private is “a major challenge and tension point that a lot of schools are struggling with,” said John Bailey, co-chair of the task force and executive director of Digital Learning Now.
These challenging action steps are nested under six specific recommendations…”

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McKinsey: Why Organizations Still Struggle To Go Digital

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Reposted from McKinsey Insights & Publications:

“It’s evident that digitization has become a critical asset in many companies’ quest for growth. More than three-quarters of executives say the strategic intent behind their digital programs is either to build competitive advantage in an existing business or to create new business and tap new profit pools.

Many companies (and leaders) have recognized the importance of digital and focused their digital strategy and spending. Yet many still have a long way to go in creating an organization that is well positioned to see digital efforts scaled across the company and achieve the large financial impact that respondents expect. One such challenge is the struggle to recognize value from existing digital efforts. When asked about the funding of and impact generated from digital projects, just 7 percent say their organizations understand the exact value at stake from digital, and only 4 percent of respondents report high returns on their companies’ current investments.

Many executives also agree that digital talent remains a trouble area for their organizations. Only one-third of respondents say at least one in ten of their employees spends any time working on digital projects. Of the challenges companies face in meeting their digital priorities, difficulty finding talent often tops the list. Roughly nine out of ten executives say their companies have some pressing need for digital talent in the next year—especially in analytics, which CIOs and chief technology officers cite even more frequently than average.”

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