Focus

September 25, 2013 | | 6 Comments

What is your focus?  I started thinking again about education and technology and our focus thanks to a thoughtful blog post by Justin Baeder on his EduLeadership blog.  The blog post, Transformative, Not Nifty highlights the challenges of focus as related to education and how we use technology.

The focus should be on the learning, not the device or the specific tools. I have been around long enough to know that devices and tools change, but if the focus is on learning, the time and effort needed to make instructional changes in classrooms is not lost when something changes.

The very first presentation I made to a school board regarding technology was to seek funding for Apple eMates in 1997/1998.  Yes, we talked extensively about the learning, but it was still a presentation centered around the device.  We had eMates for the board members to use, demonstrated the tools and won support for our proposal.  Before the ink was even dry on the budget, Apple discontinued the eMate.  Lesson learned.

I know now that our real focus was on mobile learning…but we got caught up selling the device to the school board because it was pretty “nifty” at the time. As we continue to push decision makers to understand the importance of students using mobile devices everyday in school, we need to reflect on our focus and clearly understand the issues that are likely to occur. A laser-like focus on student learning will help to mitigate the potential disruption to student learning when devices or tools change.

Legislative Update-Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3, 2013 | | Comments Off on Legislative Update-Friday, May 3, 2013

First, the good news!

SB 2021 has been passed by both the House and Senate and awaits the signature of the was signed by the Governor with all of our funding requests intact.  This bill contains the funding for the ETC, EduTech, Center for Distance Education, State Longitudinal Data System and the state network.  Once the session is over and the dust settles a bit, I will give you more detailed information on the impact to each of these over the next two years.

The disconcerting news is about HB 1319, which contains funding for the statewide implementation of PowerSchool.  As you have probably heard, it was killed this morning by the House and we are unsure at this time what is going to happen next. As the final hours of the session continue this afternoon/evening/early morning I will let you know more regarding this important issue to all K12 schools.

 

Are students different?

April 29, 2013 | | Comments Off on Are students different?

Dr. Cory Steiner, the ND K12 Data Steward, has a great post today reflecting on the statement “Are students different?”.

As you might know, I do believe that kids are different today.  They have grown up in an environment where they have access to information almost immediately and can communicate with others on demand.  My own children speak to their grandparents more in a week on their cellphones than I did in a year and regularly interact with distant relatives on Facebook.  They have learned to think critically through immersive digital worlds that interest and challenge them far better than our old Atari game systems ever could. They instantly end arguments by Googling the correct answer on their smart phone and use the same smart phone to engage in anytime, anywhere access to their personal interests. Their connectivity allows immersion into personal interests and learning at levels never before possible.

I believe that we, as educators, have a decision to make.  We can continue to view these changes as bad/negative and continue to have students memorize facts while sitting in classrooms that are disconnected from the reality of the world they have grown up experiencing.  Or we can move to meet them closer to the reality of their life by making sure they have access to connected devices everyday, in every class and teachers willing to change their instructional practice to support the new learning environment. WHAT we teach (standards, Common Core, etc) does not change, but we should change HOW we teach to foster student engagement and develop critical thinking skills, collaboration and creativity in students.

We need to help students become digitally literate so they can effectively function and be productive in either career or college. They need to learn how to evaluate information and media for accuracy and validity. They need to be mentored to safely and effectively collaborate using digital tools.  These are just a few of the new items that will expand the definition of “literate” in the 21st Century.

As Cory so precisely noted, we need to stop blaming students for being different.  We have to stop asking “is it good or is it bad?” and just accept that “it is”. The world is different, the kids are different and we need to embrace the new realities and make the changes to our education system that our kids need for the future.

 

Legislative Update-The Homestretch

April 19, 2013 | | Comments Off on Legislative Update-The Homestretch

The 63rd Legislative Assembly continues and below are the current bills that directly impact the work of the ND ETC, EduTech and the North Dakota Center for Distance Education.

HB 1202: Relating to use of wide area network services. This bill amends existing law that requires state entities, including schools, to use the state network. The proposed change would allow exemptions to governmental entities for emergency service communication.

This bill has been passed by the House (4/17/13) and the Senate (4/18/13).

SB 2021: The bill as introduced contains the funding line items for the ND ETC, EduTech, ND Center for Distance Education, STAGEnet and ND Statewide Longitudinal Data System. The bill is currently in conference committee. The differences being discussed in the conference committee have no direct impact to ND ETC related funding. No further meetings have been scheduled.

HB 1319: This is the foundation aid funding bill for K12 schools.  The statewide implementation of PowerSchool and the necessary funding is included in the bill. The weighted factor for PowerSchool in the formula has been reduced from the previous biennium, however the total funding level should remain consistent due to other changes in the bill. The bill was amended by both the House and Senate and is currently in conference committee.

Don’t forget to setup your personalized bill tracking on the new Legislative Bill Tracking system.  You can login with your STARS credentials at https://www.legis.nd.gov/lcn/council/billtracking/login.htm

 

Legislative Update-April 5th

April 5, 2013 | | Comments Off on Legislative Update-April 5th

The 63rd Legislative Assembly continues and below are the current bills that directly impact the work of the ND ETC, EduTech and the North Dakota Center for Distance Education.

HB 1202: Relating to use of wide area network services. This bill amends existing law that requires state entities, including schools, to use the state network. The proposed change would allow exemptions to governmental entities for emergency service communication.

The ND ETC is watching the progress of this bill because of the potential impact to the state network. The state network is effective  because of the efficiencies gained through the common usage by all state entities, including K12 schools. The bill was amended to include ONLY 911 services, which is acceptable to the ND ETC. The bill passed the House, was amended by the Senate to include only Enhanced 911 and passed on March 27, 2013. Due to the minor amendments passed by the Senate, the bill was returned to the House. No further action has been determined.

SB 2021: The bill as introduced contains the funding line items for the ND ETC, EduTech, ND Center for Distance Education, STAGEnet and ND Statewide Longitudinal Data System. The bill was amended to correct a minor issue and then passed by the Senate unanimously. It has been passed to the House and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.  The House Appropriations Committee-Government Operations Subcommittee heard the bill on Friday, March 15th at 9:00AM. Testimony on ND ETC issues was provided by Lisa Feldner, CIO, Mike Ressler, Deputy CIO and Darin King, ETC Director. Committee work sessions continue and no further action has been scheduled.

HB 1319: This is the foundation aid funding bill for K12 schools.  The statewide implementation of PowerSchool and the necessary funding is included in the bill. The weighted factor for PowerSchool in the formula has been reduced from the previous biennium, however the total funding level should remain consistent due to other changes in the bill. HB 1319 was passed by the House without changes to the PowerSchool funding as originally introduced.  The bill was passed to the Senate, referred to the Senate Education Committee and had a first hearing on Tuesday, March 12th at 9:30AM. There was considerable testimony both for and against the bill as presented, however there was no mention of the PowerSchool funding factor in the testimony. A committee hearing was held on  Thursday, April 4th at 8:00AM. No further action has been scheduled.

Don’t forget to setup your personalized bill tracking on the new Legislative Bill Tracking system.  You can login with your STARS credentials at https://www.legis.nd.gov/lcn/council/billtracking/login.htm

 

Legislative Update-March 29th

March 29, 2013 | | Comments Off on Legislative Update-March 29th

The 63rd Legislative Assembly continues and below are the current bills that directly impact the work of the ND ETC, EduTech and the North Dakota Center for Distance Education.

HB 1202: Relating to use of wide area network services. This bill amends existing law that requires state entities, including schools, to use the state network. The proposed change would allow exemptions to governmental entities for emergency service communication.

The ND ETC is watching the progress of this bill because of the potential impact to the state network. The state network is effective  because of the efficiencies gained through the common usage by all state entities, including K12 schools. The bill was amended to include ONLY 911 services, which is acceptable to the ND ETC. The bill passed the House, was amended by the Senate to include only Enhanced 911 and passed on March 27, 2013. Due to the minor amendments passed by the Senate, the bill was returned to the House. No further action has been determined.

SB 2021: The bill as introduced contains the funding line items for the ND ETC, EduTech, ND Center for Distance Education, STAGEnet and ND Statewide Longitudinal Data System. The bill was amended to correct a minor issue and then passed by the Senate unanimously. It has been passed to the House and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.  The House Appropriations Committee-Government Operations Subcommittee heard the bill on Friday, March 15th at 9:00AM. Testimony on ND ETC issues was provided by Lisa Feldner, CIO, Mike Ressler, Deputy CIO and Darin King, ETC Director. A committee work session was held on Monday, March 25th at 3:00PM. No further action has been scheduled.

HB 1319: This is the foundation aid funding bill for K12 schools.  The statewide implementation of PowerSchool and the necessary funding is included in the bill. The weighted factor for PowerSchool in the formula has been reduced from the previous biennium, however the total funding level should remain consistent due to other changes in the bill. HB 1319 was passed by the House without changes to the PowerSchool funding as originally introduced.  The bill was passed to the Senate, referred to the Senate Education Committee and had a first hearing on Tuesday, March 12th at 9:30AM. There was considerable testimony both for and against the bill as presented, however there was no mention of the PowerSchool funding factor in the testimony. A committee hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, April 4th at 8:00AM.

Don’t forget to setup your personalized bill tracking on the new Legislative Bill Tracking system.  You can login with your STARS credentials at https://www.legis.nd.gov/lcn/council/billtracking/login.htm

 

Legislative Update-March 25th

March 25, 2013 | | Comments Off on Legislative Update-March 25th

The 63rd Legislative Assembly continues and below are the current bills that directly impact the work of the ND ETC, EduTech and the North Dakota Center for Distance Education.

HB 1202: Relating to use of wide area network services. This bill amends existing law that requires state entities, including schools, to use the state network. The proposed change would allow exemptions to governmental entities for emergency service communication.

The ND ETC is watching the progress of this bill because of the potential impact to the state network. The state network is effective  because of the efficiencies gained through the common usage by all state entities, including K12 schools. The bill was amended to include ONLY 911 services, which is acceptable to the ND ETC. The bill passed the House and was heard by the Senate Political Subdivisions Committee on March 8, 2013 at 11:00AM and Thursday, March 21st at 11:00AM. No further action has been determined.

SB 2021: The bill as introduced contains the funding line items for the ND ETC, EduTech, ND Center for Distance Education, STAGEnet and ND Statewide Longitudinal Data System. The bill was amended to correct a minor issue and then passed by the Senate unanimously. It has been passed to the House and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.  The House Appropriations Committee-Government Operations Subcommittee heard the bill on Friday, March 15th at 9:00AM. Testimony on ND ETC issues was provided by Lisa Feldner, CIO, Mike Ressler, Deputy CIO and Darin King, ETC Director. The next committee hearing has been scheduled for Monday, March 25th at 3:00PM.

HB 1319: This is the foundation aid funding bill for K12 schools.  The statewide implementation of PowerSchool and the necessary funding is included in the bill. The weighted factor for PowerSchool in the formula has been reduced from the previous biennium, however the total funding level should remain consistent due to other changes in the bill. HB 1319 was passed by the House without changes to the PowerSchool funding as originally introduced.  The bill was passed to the Senate, referred to the Senate Education Committee and had a first hearing on Tuesday, March 12th at 9:30AM. There was considerable testimony both for and against the bill as presented, however there was no mention of the PowerSchool funding factor in the testimony. No further action has been scheduled at this time.

Don’t forget to setup your personalized bill tracking on the new Legislative Bill Tracking system.  You can login with your STARS credentials at https://www.legis.nd.gov/lcn/council/billtracking/login.htm

 

The 63rd Legislative Assembly continues and below are the current bills that directly impact the work of the ND ETC, EduTech and the North Dakota Center for Distance Education.

HB 1202: Relating to use of wide area network services. This bill amends existing law that requires state entities, including schools, to use the state network. The proposed change would allow exemptions to governmental entities for emergency service communication.

The ND ETC is watching the progress of this bill because of the potential impact to the state network. The state network is effective  because of the efficiencies gained through the common usage by all state entities, including K12 schools. The bill was amended to include ONLY 911 services, which is acceptable to the ND ETC. The bill passed the House and was heard by the Senate Political Subdivisions Committee on March 8, 2013 at 11:00AM.  The next committee hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 21st at 11:00AM.

SB 2021: The bill as introduced contains the funding line items for the ND ETC, EduTech, ND Center for Distance Education, STAGEnet and ND Statewide Longitudinal Data System. The bill was amended to correct a minor issue and then passed by the Senate unanimously. It has been passed to the House and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.  The House Appropriations Committee-Government Operations Subcommittee heard the bill on Friday, March 15th at 9:00AM. Testimony on ND ETC issues was provided by Lisa Feldner, CIO, Mike Ressler, Deputy CIO and Darin King, ETC Director. The next committee hearing has been scheduled for Friday, March 22nd at 8:30AM.

HB 1319: This is the foundation aid funding bill for K12 schools.  The statewide implementation of PowerSchool and the necessary funding is included in the bill. The weighted factor for PowerSchool in the formula has been reduced from the previous biennium, however the total funding level should remain consistent due to other changes in the bill. HB 1319 was passed by the House without changes to the PowerSchool funding as originally introduced.  The bill was passed to the Senate, referred to the Senate Education Committee and had a first hearing on Tuesday, March 12th at 9:30AM. There was considerable testimony both for and against the bill as presented, however there was no mention of the PowerSchool funding factor in the testimony.

Don’t forget to setup your personalized bill tracking on the new Legislative Bill Tracking system.  You can login with your STARS credentials at https://www.legis.nd.gov/lcn/council/billtracking/login.htm

 

What would you say?

March 12, 2013 | | Comments Off on What would you say?

How many times have you had to defend the use of technology by students in school?  It could be from a colleague, parent, school administrator or random community member promoting the use of pencil and paper instead of keyboards and mice.  Dr. Scott McLeod over at Dangerously Irrelevant takes an actual example and does a great job responding point by point to the arguments proposed by a digital detractor.

I am stubborn in the vision that all students should have a personal student learning device in front of them today (yesterday actually). I am flexible regarding the details…the device, software, policys, etc.  Each educational organization needs to customize the details to reflect the specific parameters of their situation to ensure the program is scalable and sustainable.

What would you say…

…when some asks to you defend technology in schools?

…when promoting personal student learning devices (1:1)?

…when faced by someone that thinks writing needs to be painfully executed on paper?

Legislative Update-March 6-8, 2013

March 8, 2013 | | Comments Off on Legislative Update-March 6-8, 2013

The 63rd Legislative Assembly continues and below are the current bills that directly impact the work of the ND ETC, EduTech and the North Dakota Center for Distance Education.

HB 1202: Relating to use of wide area network services. This bill amends existing law that requires state entities, including schools, to use the state network. The proposed change would allow exemptions to governmental entities for emergency service communication.

The ND ETC is watching the progress of this bill because of the potential impact to the state network. The state network is effective  because of the efficiencies gained through the common usage by all state entities, including K12 schools. The bill was amended to include ONLY 911 services, which is acceptable to the ND ETC. The bill passed the House and was heard by the Senate Political Subdivisions Committee on March 8, 2013 at 11:00AM.

SB 2021: The bill as introduced contains the funding line items for the ND ETC, EduTech, ND Center for Distance Education, STAGEnet and ND Statewide Longitudinal Data System. The bill was amended to correct a minor issue and then passed by the Senate unanimously. It has been passed to the House and referred to the House Appropriations Committee.  The House Appropriations Committee will hear the bill on Friday, March 15th at 9:00AM.

HB 1319: This is the foundation aid funding bill for K12 schools.  The statewide implementation of PowerSchool and the necessary funding is included in the bill. The weighted factor for PowerSchool in the formula has been reduced from the previous biennium, however the total funding level should remain consistent due to other changes in the bill. HB 1319 was passed by the House without changes to the PowerSchool funding as originally introduced.  The bill was passed to the Senate, referred to the Senate Education Committee and will have a committee hearing on Tuesday, March 12th at 9:30AM.

Don’t forget to setup your personalized bill tracking on the new Legislative Bill Tracking system.  You can login with your STARS credentials at https://www.legis.nd.gov/lcn/council/billtracking/login.htm