New Resource Provides Guidance to K-12 Technology Leaders on Smart IT Management and Investment
Comprehensive Resource Part of CoSN Initiative to Help District Technology Leaders Deal with Budgetary Constraints and Develop Sustainable Solutions 
Washington, DC (June 18, 2014) – CoSN (Consortium for School Networking) today unveiled a new strategic resource that provides guidance to school system technology leaders on how to plan and manage their IT investments amid tightening budgets.
Released through CoSN’s Smart IT initiative, the comprehensive report provides an up-to-date look at the initiative’s current resources, and addresses the following key areas: demonstrating a return on investment (ROI); saving money through sustainable practices; connecting and aligning financial leadership; and tips in the coming year.
“District technology leaders continue to face an uphill battle in receiving adequate IT funding to meet school needs. Today’s tight budgets force school systems to operate with a near-term outlook, rather than developing long-term technology solutions,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “Despite the circumstances, school technology leaders can strategically maximize their investment opportunities. Capturing current leading insight and expertise, supplemented by leading-edge tools, this new paper guides school technology leaders in that direction, so they can make the most of their dollars to improve education outcomes.”
The paper specifically examines the following elements district technology leaders should consider in building and implementing sustainable IT measures:
  • Demonstrating education technology ROI.Rather than focus on ROI (a for-profit business measurement), district technology leaders should calculate the value of investment (VOI) and total cost of ownership (TCO) to determine project costs and benefits, compare projects, and evaluate results.
  • Sustainable practices. Green technology, or sustainability, strategies directly lower a school system’s carbon emissions and, in turn, can lower costs. CoSN’s “green computing” efforts specifically outline an effective green strategy that addresses purchase and disposal, energy use, and energy waste.
  • Building relationships with financial leadership. To demonstrate the value of investment in sustainable technology solutions, build trust and overcome governance challenges, district technology leaders and chief technology officers (CTOs) should communicate with and build stronger relations with the chief financial officer (CFO). The paper specifically identifies seven steps in strengthening this important collaboration.
  • Five tips in the coming year. Tech-savvy district technology leaders and CTOs offered and explained the following pieces of advice to put the “smart IT” vision into action: improve IT efficiency and effectiveness; do not overlook security; remember that it is about bandwidth and network design; define who the beneficiaries are for new services and seek their support; and fine-tune leadership skills. District technology leaders can strengthen their skills through CoSN’sFramework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO and by becoming a Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL).
The paper was produced through the generous support of Amplify, HP, Lenovo and Sprint.
To read the full report and learn more about the initiative, please visit: http://cosn.org/smartit.
About CoSN 
CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visitwww.cosn.org or call 866-267-8747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areasannual conference and eventsadvocacy and policymembership, and the CETL certification exam.

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Smithsonian Education Offers Opportunities for Summer Learning

Digital Badges Motivate Students Through Personal Exploration and Online Conferences Reveal the Work of Experts

June 18, 2014

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access is helping students avoid the summer learning slide with a collection of self-directed, project-based learning activities through its Smithsonian Quests program. Smithsonian Quests motivate young people with personal coaching from the Smithsonian and reward their achievements with digital badges. With more than 100 quest opportunities available, participants can explore interests, build skills and try out new roles. Popular badges include the Astrophotographer, the H2O Hero and the Symbols Spotter, which are interdisciplinary in nature and flexible for anytime, anywhere learning.

In addition to Smithsonian Quests, a comprehensive archive from the Smithsonian Online Education Conferences Series is now available for replay. The conferences highlight a variety of engaging topics and feature experts from the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo. Each hour-long session features Smithsonian curators, educators and specialists who explore themes through different disciplines and connect textbook learning to the world of their experience. With these resources conveniently located together for the first time, educators and students will find more than a hundred hours of presentations on such topics as climate change, the civil rights movement and problem solving in various academic disciplines.

“These digital resources can keep students thinking and exploring ideas during the summer,” said Michelle Smith, associate director for digital media at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. “The online conference sessions and the Smithsonian Quests highlight the real work of scientists, historians and other experts as relevant to future careers and prepare teachers and students for the next academic year.”

About Smithsonian Institution

Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. There are 6,300 Smithsonian employees and 6,500 volunteers. Approximately 30 million people from around the world visited the Smithsonian in 2013. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at 137 million.

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ASCD Calls for a Model to Make Accountability Meaningful 

Alexandria, VA (6/18/14)—ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, has released the Summer 2014 issue ofPolicy Priorities, which extends the association’s call for a more meaningful accountability model that encompasses a range of subjects, includes multiple measures of student performance, and considers conditions such as school climate and safety that influence learning.

“ASCD believes in multimetric accountability that more comprehensively measures student achievement,” said David Griffith, ASCD director of public policy. “We advocate for a new generation of accountability systems that are public and transparent, evaluate student learning beyond standardized test scores in one or two subjects, and more systematically track our efforts to provide students with a well-rounded education.”

This issue of Policy Priorities also looks at examples of multimetric accountability in action:

  • Kentucky’s next-generation instructional programs and support, which incorporate student performance in subjects other than English language arts and math through program reviews instead of traditional assessments; and
  • Tacoma (Wash.) Public Schools, where the district is strategically aligning its accountability system with its overall purpose of supporting the whole child.

Available for interview:

  • David Griffith, ASCD director of public policy
  • Joshua Garcia, deputy superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools and ASCD board member

Further Resources:

To find this issue, or any previous issue, of Policy Priorities, visit www.ascd.org/policypriorities. To view ASCD’s 2014 Legislative Agenda, go towww.ascd.org/legislativeagenda (PDF). For more information on all of the initiatives and publications of the ASCD Policy Team, visit www.ascd.org/policy.

Contact: For more information or to set up an interview with David Griffith or Joshua Garcia, please contact Ross Romano at ross.romano@ascd.org or 1-703-575-5607.

ASCD is a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. Comprising 140,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers, and advocates from more than 138 countries—the ASCD community also includes 56 affiliate organizations. ASCD’s innovative solutions promote the success of each child. To learn more about how ASCD supports educators as they learn, teach, and lead, visit www.ascd.org.

 

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Rourke Educational Media’s New

Spanish Library-Bound Collections

Fill Void in K-12 Marketplace

 

VERO BEACH, Fla. (June 18, 2014) – Filling a void in the K-12 informational text marketplace,Rourke Educational Mediaannounced it is introducing library-bound Spanish collections with science, history and social skills titles targeted for students in kindergarten and elementary and middle schools.

“There’s a great lack of hardcover titles such as these at those grade levels as almost all of the available titles are in English,” said Luana Mitten, director of instructional services, Rourke Educational Media. “These texts give the students an opportunity to build content in their first language.”

Here is a closer look at the newly released hardcover Spanish series:

 

  • Green Earth Science Discovery Library (grades K-2). Designed to introduce young students to the importance of being green, the series of six titles explains eco-friendly practices in easy-to-understand language and supports age-appropriate science concepts. Titles available are: “Helping Habitats,” “Growing Up Green,” “Water World,” “Cleaning Up the Earth,” “Trees: Earth’s Lungs,” and “My Green Lunch.”
  • How Can I Experiment With…? (grades 3-6). Designed for educators teaching the scientific method and experimental procedure, this series gives students a meaningful background in basic science concepts. The series’ four titles are: “…Electricity?” “…Force and Motion?” “…Sound?” and “…Light?”
  • My Science Library (grades K-4). The series taps into kids’ curiosity while building important science content knowledge. All content correlates to NSTA’s Science Standards of Life Science, Earth and Space, Matter, Nature of Science, and Forces, Motion and Energy. The 12-title series includes, “How Ecosystems Work,” “Studying Our Earth In and Out,” “Let’s Classify Organisms,” and “The Night Sky.”
  • Let’s Explore Science (grades 4-8). The series addresses such topics as the environment, solar system, and genetics. Among the 27 titles are, “Thanks, NASA,” “Food From the Sun,” “Climate and Weather,” “Exploring the Solar System,” “The Earth and the Role of Water,” and “Turn on the Light: How Electricity Works.”
  • History of America (grades 4-6). The series brings America’s early history to life, while each text is filled with engaging images, maps and facts. Among the six titles are “Exploring the Territories of the United States,” “The Spanish in Early America,” and “Immigrants to America.”
  • Little World Social Skills (grades K-2). The texts are filled with important lessons and real-world examples outlining the skills youths need to initiate and maintain positive social relationships in school, at home and in their communities. The 10-title series includes, “Are You A Bully?” “Look on the Bright Side,” and “Let’s Work Together.”
  • Social Skills (grades3-5). Much like the Little World series, this series is geared for older kids and features 10 titles, including “Skills for School Success,” “Skills for Social Success,” “Dealing with Bullies” and “Winning by Teamwork.”

 

All of the Spanish hardcover texts also are available in English, as well as in paperbook and ebook formats.

More information about Rourke Educational Media’s hardcover Spanish series, call (800) 394-7055, or visitwww.rourkeeducationalmedia.com.

 

About Rourke Educational Media
Rourke Educational Media, based in Vero Beach, Fla., helps to improve student learning through digital content, traditional print publishing, and response-to-intervention learning solutions that support the Common Core,  Next Generation Science, and state and national standards. A global leader in educational technology, print, and distribution, Rourke Educational Media promotes literacy/reading, science and math for the preK-12 market, and offers interactive ebooks, assessment tools, print resources and other learning resources for the classroom, library and parental involvement. For more information, visitwww.RourkeEducationalMedia.com.

 

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