How do iPads affect learning? | A TV-inspired outline for improving school curriculum | Why online classrooms need virtual "hangouts" for students
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March 4, 2013
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Head of the Class
Survey: Schools prioritize development of wireless networks
The development of wireless networks is a top priority among 85% of school district technology officials who responded to a recent survey by MDR, a provider of marketing information and services for education. Of those who responded, 51% say they are focused on server virtualization, and 40% have prioritized tablet usage. The survey also revealed that teachers are increasingly using social media as part of professional development. Education Week/Marketplace K-12 blog (3/1)
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How do iPads affect learning?
Researchers studying the use of iPads in classrooms in California's Encinitas Union School District say the devices generally are favored by students and parents. In the district, where every student in grades 3 to 6 has an iPad, 90% of students said the technology has helped them learn -- especially when used in math lessons. However, some parents say they want to ensure the technology does not replace hands-on learning, and teachers say the iPads can be distracting for students if not managed properly. The Coast News (Encinitas, Calif.) (3/1)
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A TV-inspired outline for improving school curriculum
The Food Network show "Restaurant Impossible" offers insights that could help educators upgrade their curriculum, suggests Mike Fisher, an educational consultant and instructional coach. He writes in this blog post that, like on the show that focuses on turning around struggling restaurants, teachers should focus on what's working and what's not, prioritize improvements, gather a team, budget resources and make a plan to sustain the improvements. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (3/1)
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Other News
Systems Management
New student database sparks questions over security
A K-12 student database will be featured this week at an education-technology conference in Austin, Texas. The database, which has been operating for three months, was created with help from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and contains data on millions of students, such as addresses, social security numbers, information on learning disabilities, test scores, attendance, hobbies and career goals. While school districts would retain the rights to the data, the potential for information to be shared has sparked concerns over privacy and security. Yahoo/Reuters (3/3)
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Managing Budgets
Schools' technology investments go beyond computers, keyboards
While schools nationwide are spending billions of dollars on education technology, there is little research to support whether such investments are paying off. At issue is that standardized testing does little to measure student engagement, which is a primary result of using technology in the classroom, experts say. Still, educators are touting the benefits of education technology, such as the use of Skype to connect students with experts worldwide. National Public Radio (3/3)
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Schools and Social Media
How to hold a "connected" workshop for educators
Principal Joe Mazza describes in this blog post an in-service workshop he organized at his school on using Twitter and other digital tools for professional development. The session featured four "connected" educators from Mazza's own professional learning community, who chatted with faculty at Knapp Elementary School in Lansdale, Pa., through Google Hangouts. Mazza offers excerpts from the session as panelists provided insights on what they've learned from their PLNs, tips on how to cultivate one, and examples of educators they like to follow on blogs and Twitter. Connected Principals blog (3/3)
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Md. students take on role of lobbyists
More than 240 students in Maryland took an active role in state government recently during the Lobbying Day, held by the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils. Students visited Annapolis, where they lobbied lawmakers, participated in a mock election and expressed concerns about issues including graduation requirements and social media. "We understand principals might want access to social media accounts in certain situations, but there needs to be a level of privacy," said eighth-grade student Carolyn Williams. The Capital (Annapolis, Md.) (3/1)
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Last Byte
Researcher looks to cockroaches for insight into robotic design
A robotics specialist at the University of Michigan is studying the behavior of cockroaches as part of an effort to find the most suitable way to design robots that can think on the fly. Using high-speed videos of the insects running, Shai Revzen determined that roaches react to surprises passively, which he says can provide insight into the development of multiple-legged robots. "We shouldn't try so hard to control things actively; we should just build a good passive mechanical system and end up with a robot that's far simpler and more reliable," he said. Popular Science (2/26)
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Editor's Note
Help SmartBrief cover SXSW Interactive!
SmartBrief will cover the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, from March 8 to 12, and we need your help! SXSW has way too many must-see events for our staff to cover, so we're turning to our readers to help document the best panels as blog contributors. If you're headed to Austin and want to contribute to SmartBrief's blogs on Social Media, Leadership, Finance, Food and Beverage or Education, check out our guest-post guidelines and send a note to Jesse Stanchak.
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The person whose doors I enter with most pleasure, and quit with most regret, never did me the smallest favor."
-- William Hazlitt,
British writer and philosopher
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Lead Editor:  Katharine Haber
Contributing Editor:  Erin Cunningham
Publisher, Education Group:  Joe Riddle
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