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Curriculum and Assessment

At the core of any student-centered technology initiative is the question of how it impacts teaching and learning. Teacher involvement, clear program goals, assessment measures, and a sharp vision for how curriculum, content, and instruction need to evolve in order to prepare students for the challenges of the future are all essential. Success is about giving each person the tools they need to succeed -- leveraging transformational change ito improve the academic outcomes of children. To do so, requires a fundamental rethinking of how we structure and deliver education in this country.

Are you struggling to find good apps for the classroom? With so many new options available, it's more important than ever to be thoughtful about your selection. Here are a few tips to assist your school or district team in selecting apps:

1. Does the App Address a Need? The most important question to ask first: Does the app address a specific curriculum need? Equally important: does it address it well? If you already have products in place in your school or district that address that same need, does this app improve upon them? Free or inexpensive does not equal good. A small set of great tools is far better than a hundred tools that aren't effective.             

2. Be Sure the App is Well Supported: If it’s free, is the free version robust enough to support the needs of the teachers and students? Can you find the name of a company representative to call or e-mail? If you can't, don't investigate that app any further. The products that we use the most in our district all have representatives who call me regularly to ask how we're doing. They look at our usage statistics and provide suggestions and ideas to improve our use of the product. 

Embracing technology will change everything about your school library media program.  When this happens to you, think outside your traditional role and services.

1. Focus on Instruction and Resources, Not Things. The media specialist should be the go-to person for technology in your school, but make sure you’re not only about the “stuff.”  Encourage teachers to think: “What would be the best resource/tool to teach this concept in my classroom?” NOT “I want to use Twitter (or clickers) with my students.  What could I teach to do this?”      

2. Share Ideas and Suggestions. Send out e-mails or tweets updating faculty on the best new resources you’ve found or curriculum connection for their classes. For example:  “Teaching Mythology? Take a photo tour of Rome using Google Maps.  Let me know if I can help!” or “Know you’re teaching cell structure.  Dr. Smith at XYZ University has students who are willing to Skype with Biology classes. I have his contact info.”

As we move farther into 2014, are you wondering what will be the big ed tech trends for the year? The authors of the 2014 Horizon Report provide some answers. 

This archived webinar looks at two districts that are doing great things with Intel-based Chromebooks in the classroom  and examines the ins and outs of picking a Chromebook model that is right for your school or district.

Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy (SLA) and The Franklin Institute have announced a partnership with Dell to form a new “Center of Excellence in Learning.” 

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