Monday, March 24, 2014


The 2014 Cue Conference in Palm Springs California was overwhelming. Many schools who attended this annual event have thrown away their text books and have replaced them with Chrome Books, iPads and Apps. The digital age has moved into the classroom in a big way and it was evident by the number of attendees. CUE organizers stated there were over 5,500 educators on March 19 through 21.

The first session I attended was on 1 to 1 learning. Which means one devise per student. The students are given a Chrome Book on the first day of school and then  return it on the last day of school. This is theirs to use but is owned by the school district. The parents are offered insurance but are not required to purchase it. If the devise is broken they return it to the IT department and check out another one. Many schools are using their text book adoption money and allocating it to digital learning.

Here is a list of resources which I heard about over the 3 day conference. I have seen a few of these websites and Apps in action but for the most part I have not looked at them.
#Mysteryskype on twitter
Duolingo- Rosetta Stone like newspaper math facts specific math facts- up to algebra 2 - SAT study
Desmos app-
Ck12 free California text books
Q14coreteach- language art and math trends  rewrite at grade level. Own revisions. Computer reads it. Kids not revising down fall. Spoon fed.
Stockportfolio Google
Google art project
Brain pop good 
Weebly education
khan academy auto grading.

Districts that have made this leap have clearly stated going digital does not save money nor does it cost more. Funds are just allocated differently. 

"They have to interact with technology" Christina teacher at Escondido high school. "You are not building college ready students. Common core standards a student must create, interact and publish. How Are you facilitating smarter balance assessment if there is a lack of technology?"

Boyd who is an educator within LAUSD- "All you have to do is out fit your school with WiFi. Kids bring their own devise. Resulting in higher digital literacy without the cost to the district. Legally you can not mandate a student to purchase a devise." How many students have a devises within your district ? 

The largest problem a district will have is bandwidth as each student will have 3 devises which will be attempting to get onto the internet. The student will be given a devise as well as bring two of their own. This is why most IT educators I spoke to stated a school site will need 1 gigabyte for each 1,000 users.

Safety and filters also created a few heated debates. Most agreed that keeping filters open promoted the best education platform for student achievement. Educators must teach students to make correct choices. A districts technology policy is not about technology but about human behavior. hub for admin and board policy and technology legal header. Free iBooks on citizenship. Help students build a positive and professional reputation with technology.

Both Michael Volmer of Rio School District who manages 4,000 devises and Anthony Schwab of LeGrand School District who manages 1,000 devises concurred the annual cost of digital learning is between $125 to $135 per year per Chrome Book, not including bandwidth and wifi. 

The process of being a full blown digital school is a three year process. Once a district makes the commitment Professional Development days(PD)and infrastructure must be addressed. In Year two start rolling out devises on all the students but only for a few hours/periods per day. In the third year is when the experts stated to make a run at it. They also said many districts buy devises and end up saying now what? 

"What is going to happen in the classroom when you purchase the devise?" Schwab said.

Two great recourse for help can be found on Twitter. Use #Edchat or #cue
Merced High School District is devise agnostic and they are promoting their 1 to 1 as one to web. As they do not draw attention to  the devise but to the web itself as that is where the information and learning happens. Merced was also clear in their directive, Don't filter; Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc, keep them open. They feel kids learn varied ways as well as it creates discussion and collaboration. MHSD's four buzz words are Infrastructure, instruction, tools and training. 

GAFE- Google Apps for Education - devise agnostic.

Why chrome books? They are cheaper and Google Apps are free as are their Google Drive products. Apple charges for most of their products and often at a premium.

"Google Drive" is like a flash drive but on the web. Collaborative. Free.

Corcoran Unified says leasing the equipment is okay.

A 21st century digital classroom should have 1 to 1 devise and overhead projector and WiFi.
iMovie- Easy to use fun hands on workshop

PD days, Tulare K-12 district. Once a month technology PD, 3 consecutive days prior to school, support the educators who want to lead, use train the trainer model as well as bring in experts. Support the teachers - paid  time, collaborate, teachers with buy in lead the way. Don't rep-remand the set backs, celebrate them.

Learning management systems - LMS
Top pick- Canvas -Chris Long versatile software, IMS Global standards, makes Google doc better, grade book works with social media, mobile apps. Negatives - want better grading, parent ux needs to be better. Fullerton.
Edmoto- looks like FB. Google compatible. No discussion board- free new add on common core questions, great customer service, simpler than blackboard. Tulare likes this. Backpack 
Haiku learning - similar to canvas, clean and easy to use, in bed on homepage, mobile compatible. Made for k-12 students. Needs better thread discussion, needs better grade book, wiki, $4.95 per student. Set up fee 2500. Apple and PC. 
Moodle- free open source, learning is social, learning communities all over the world. Blended learning. Host on server need a programmer. Now using haiku. Let's you share the course/content.
Big Campus- upload video clips. Engage in discussion threaded. Bundles use other teacher course work. Works with google docs. Needs better discussion board. Can't edit student post. Cross platform. Communication is limited.
Schoolnet- owned by Pearson. You can upload or create your own course work. 
Desire to learn - heavy analytically
Blackboard- not great
Schoolagy- was mentioned.

In closing the event was stimulating to say the leased as well as exhausting. As to what a district is going to do? It comes down to the educators not money. If the classroom educator get behind the digital delivery of knowledge so will the students. Most of the schools which have moved to this platform have a high EL student count as well as a high socioeconomically challenged base as they receive more funding than most California schools.

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