Technology Overuse May Be the New Digital Divide

For years policymakers have fretted about the “digital divide,” that poor students are less likely to have computers and high-speed internet at home than rich students. The fear was, and is, that technology might cause achievement gaps between rich and poor students to grow if it’s easier for rich kids to use educational software, practice computer coding or learn about the world online.

A new 2017 survey of technology use at home shows the gap in computer access is rapidly closing. When it comes to mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, the gap has virtually vanished. Even high-speed internet access is becoming more commonplace. Nearly 75 percent of families making less than $30,000 a year said they had high-speed internet access in 2017, up from 46 percent in 2013. More than 70 percent of low-income families said they had a computer at home.

Full story at US News

California programs to entice would-be teachers to the classroom

If you have any desire to be a math or science teacher in California, there is no shortage of programs to help you achieve that goal.

In an effort to lure more people to the profession, the California Department of Education, California State University, the University of California and nonprofits such as 100Kin10 have all created programs to entice college students and mid-career professionals – especially those in the math and science fields – to become teachers.

100kin10 has a web site, “Blow Minds: Teach STEM,” that connects undergraduates with teacher preparation programs in the so-called STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and math. And college campuses are plastered with “Teach Math!” and “Teach Science!” posters aimed not just at those majoring in math and science, but students interested in social justice as well.

Full story of attracting teachers to the classroom at edsource.org

Departments of Education and Health and Human Services Release First Joint Policy Brief on Use of Technology with Young Children

The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services today released a policy brief on the use of technology with early learners to help families and early educators implement active, meaningful and socially interactive learning. The brief includes a call to action for researchers and technology developers, highlighting topics for further research and encouraging the development of research-based products.

“The early learning community has been wisely cautious about using technology with our youngest children,” said Libby Doggett, deputy assistant secretary for Policy and Early Learning. “But technology, when used appropriately with caring adults, can help children learn in new ways – and lessen the growing inequity in our country. This brief helps early educators think about developmentally appropriate ways to use technology in their classrooms.”

Full story of joint policy brief on technology use with children at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance for Schools on Leveraging Federal Funding to Support STEM Education

The U.S. Department of Education today issued a Dear Colleague Letter to states, school districts, schools and education partners on how to maximize federal funds to support and enhance innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for all students.

The letter serves as a resource for decreasing the equity and opportunity gaps for historically underserved students in STEM and gives examples of how federal funds—through formula grant programs in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act—can support efforts to improve instruction and student outcomes in STEM fields.

“Too often many of our students, especially those who are most vulnerable, do not have equitable access to high-quality STEM and computer science opportunities, which are part of a well-rounded education and can change the course of a child’s life,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “We are committed to ensuring that all students have the same opportunities to access a rigorous and challenging education. This letter will help states and their school districts use their federal funds to close opportunity gaps and improve educational outcomes for all students.”

Full story of leveraging federal funding to support STEM education at ed.gov

Secretary Duncan Announces Education Department’s First-Ever Guide for Ed Tech Developers

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the first-ever guide for developers, startups and entrepreneurs from the department’s Office of Educational Technology (OET).

The Ed Tech Developer’s Guide: A Primer for Developers, Startups and Entrepreneurs is a free guide that addresses key questions about the education ecosystem and highlights critical needs and opportunities to develop digital tools and apps for learning.  Written with input from knowledgeable educators, developers, and researchers who were willing to share what they have learned, the guide is designed to help entrepreneurs apply technology in smart ways to solve persistent problems in education.

“Technology makes it possible for us to create a different dynamic between a teacher and a classroom full of students. It can open up limitless new ways to engage kids, support teachers and bring parents into the learning process,” Duncan said, addressing the ASU+GSV Summit 2015 in Scottsdale. “We need tools designed to help students discover who they are and what they care about, and tools that create portals to a larger world that, in the past, would have remained out of reach for far too many students.”

Full story of ed tech developers at ed.gov

One District’s Quest to Transform Learning through Technology

What does it mean to be a “Future Ready” school district?

More than 160 teachers, parents, students, and business and district leaders from across Tennessee recently gathered at the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools’ Martin Center to discuss the answer to this question and talk about the upcoming Future Ready District Pledge.

The Pledge establishes a framework for districts to achieve the goals laid out by the White House ConnectED Initiative. Some of these goals include: upgrading high-speed Internet connectivity, providing access to educational devices and digital content, and preparing teachers to use technology effectively to improve student learning and their own professional development.

Full story of learning through technology at ed.gov

Engaging Young Women in an Authentic Mentoring Experience

It is a well-known fact: The percentage of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines and careers is disproportionate to the amount of men in those same fields. As jobs in the 21st century become more technologically based, it is imperative that capable creative minds from diverse backgrounds integrate themselves into these STEM arenas. From leaders in government and industry who understand the critical shortage of STEM workers (especially females) on the far end of the pipeline to educators of all levels on the near end of the pipeline, there needs to be a concerted effort to bridge the gap between these two seminal points. Enter the STEM Mentoring Café, a unique pilot program in Washington, DC, the brainchild of AnneMarie Horowitz of the Department of Energy and Camsie McAdams of the Department of Education.

The mentoring event, hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, took place on May 19, 2014 from 4:30pm-6:00pm. Thirty female STEM professionals from 16 different government agencies arrived with their “tools of their trade”, ready to interact with eighteen (18) teachers and thirty-eight (38) 5th-8th grade students to share their passion for their STEM careers. The participants assimilated quickly to the “speed-dating” format, with STEM professionals moving from table to table during the five rounds of 10-minute intervals, enabling students and teachers to ask questions and learn about STEM professions during each roundtable discussion.

Full story of engaging women in science and technology at ed.gov

The State of Education

This year’s State of the Union Address was unlike any I had ever experienced before.  I had just sat down in a room full of educators when I heard the word “teacher” come out of the President’s mouth, and to be precise, it was the fifth word. We were astounded. Then when he talked about other education issues–high school redesign, high quality preschool, connecting students to the best technology, making college more affordable and accessible, and high school graduation rates—we cheered, gave each other high-fives and knew that the President was with us.

While each topic resonated on a personal level with at least one educator or another in the room, for me, something bigger stood out…a call for equity.

Full story on the state of education at ed.gov

Making Progress on ConnectED

Today, President Obama visited Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland to announce major progress on the ConnectED initiative, designed to enrich K-12 education for every student in America. ConnectED empowers teachers with the best technology and the training to make the most of it, and empowers students through individualized learning and rich, digital content.

Preparing America’s students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with countries around the world relies increasingly on interactive, personalized learning experiences driven by new technology. Yet fewer than 30% of America’s schools have the broadband they need to connect to today’s technology. Under ConnectED, however, 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017. That connectivity will help transform the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income.

Full story on ConnectED at ed.gov

Get Ready to Talk About Early Childhood Education

Thursday night, in a speech to the annual conference of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia, Jim Heckman mentioned, in an aside, that an early childhood education initiative may show up in this year’s State of the Union address.

Heckman won a Nobel Prize in 2000. I followed up with his office and was cautioned that the aside was a conjecture, and not to treat Heckman as an administration source. But the idea of real money for pre-kindergarten does fit with what the president’s been saying. And it fits with what the profession of economics knows about how to spend the least money for the most return on economic development.

In December, President Obama gave a speech on economic mobility, pointing out that Americans are more willing to accept economic inequality because they believe in the American Dream. An economist would describe that dream as having “low intergenerational income elasticity,” a low likelihood that what your parents earn will determine what you earn. Problem is, the U.S. has a relatively high elasticity. We are more likely than citizens in most other developed countries to earn exactly what our parents do.

Full story of childhood education at Business Week

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