In this episode, Kristy and Ricky celebrate the 100th episode of Ed Tech Weekly by talking about the news of the week and bringing Meredith back for a chat about the show.
Ed Tech News RunDown
Ed Tech for English Language Learners
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education announced the release of the National Study on English Learners and Digital Resources. This study is the first national look at how districts and educators are using ed tech to instruct English learner students, which happens to be the fastest growing population of students in the U.S. Perhaps more importantly they also have released an educator toolkit which offers five guiding principles for educators to apply in exploring new ways of working with and supporting their English learners through technology, starting with recognizing their students’ unique needs and thinking through to the best technologies to help meet those needs.They also gave access to a developer toolkit which helps guide those creating this type of ed tech. To give a little perspective, about 10 percent of enrolled students are English learners, so it is clearly something that all educators should be paying attention to. I especially recommend ed tech coaches or other ed tech leaders check out this toolkit and share with their teachers as it is becoming something that all teachers should be aware of as the numbers of english learners continue to grow. The toolkit is essentially a step by step guide to help teachers ask the right questions about resources, where to find them, and how to get professional development. I was hoping this was a little more detailed with actual resources to use but I still think it is valuable to check out, especially for the ed tech leaders out there. This study and toolkit make it abundantly clear that ed tech is going to have to be used as a tool for students to have an equitable educational experience.
3 Key Questions to Understand Your Ed Tech Ecosystem
Ed Scoop gives us 3 key questions for understanding your ed tech ecosystem. Now these questions will probably get significantly more difficult to ask depending on the size of your district but they seem to be extremely important especially moving forward. The first question asks if you know all of the applications that are being used in your district. I think that even in small districts this could be difficult based on individual teachers using their own applications to address their classroom goals and/or needs. The problem can also be that these teachers may not even feel comfortable sharing the tools they are using for fear of being told that they can’t use them. The obvious issue here is equity if students in one class aren’t getting access to the same tools as the students in another. So district leaders need to be fostering an environment where teachers feel safe to be open about the ed tech applications they are using. The second question is do you know how these applications are being used. Just because an application is available doesn’t mean it is being used or being used the way it was intended so knowing how it is being used is essential in understanding the data collected by these applications. And the last question is, Do you know if these applications are violating student privacy? This is definitely something we talk about a lot here at Ed Tech Weekly. Make sure you are aware of the privacy policies of the tools your teachers are using and educate your teachers about these privacy and security concerns.
E-Sports are For Real… Sort Of
Ed Tech Magazine explains some pretty interesting information about E-Sports in colleges. You may not have even realized but the National Association of Collegiate E-Sports launched about two years ago and it is already having a huge impact. For those of you still trying to wrap your head around this concept, join the club. As much as I love gaming, it is still difficult to understand how this is even a thing. But if you pay attention to E-Sports, you know the NBA recently went all in on this including drafting E-Sports players and running a virtual season with, I believe, a million dollar prize for the winning team. And you need to look no further than YouTube, or Twitch, to see that some of the most subscribed to and watched channels are people live-streaming their gameplay. So I guess we should expect that college e-sports would be exploding… and here are some of the highlights from the infographic ed tech magazine created. Close to 500 institutions offer club e-sports, around 100 are members of the N.A.C.E., 50 institutions are offering scholarships for e-sports “athletes”, and these e-sports are creating a need for even better internet infrastructure as gaming requires extremely fast connections.
40 Most Used Ed Tech Aplications
And the last story of the week is an Ed Tech Magazine Q and A session with Karl Rectanus, CEO of lea(r)n which is the company that brought the Learn Platform. The platform is a way to manage all of your ed tech applications and they have just released their 40 most used ed tech tools. In the interview he explains he has seen a rise in the use of ed tech for formative assessments. I know this is something we have been hoping for here at Ed Tech Weekly as it is such a powerful way to help improve teaching practices and give feedback to students. It’s also not entirely surprising that Karl thinks schools should be investing in operational tools, or management systems, as that is what one of his company’s main services. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true, just that we have to remember who is being interviewed here. That being said, the only real and meaningful way to be using formative assessment and using the data to really make meaningful changes in schools and districts is to have some way to manage the tools being used, collect the data, and then make sense of the data. We’ll put a link to both the interview and the report on the 40 tools at edtechweeklyshow.com. One of the more interesting things about this list is that Google Docs is the most used tool and it is being used about 30% of the total usage of all the tools put together.
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