Google: Emerging Trends in K-12 Education

Google for education just released a report about what they believe are the emerging trends in K-12 education. Their premise: Education is evolving at a faster pace than any other period in recent history. Take a look at their report called the Future of the Classroom.

The report identifies eight “emerging trends” in k-12 education and does a really good job of breaking down each trend. They touch on several topics that I am also concerned about, such as digital citizenship, workforce preparation, and what is coming in the future. How about this for an eye-opening statistic from the report: By 2020, experts forecast that 1.4 million computer science jobs will be available in the US, but only 400,000 computer science graduates are expected to fill them.

But it is about more than just technology. It is about changing how we teach and structure schools. The report looked at student-led and collaborative classrooms, as well as innovating pedagogy. Schools are putting technology into the hands of teachers but how effective is it? “Just 10% of K–12 teachers in the USA feel secure in their abilities to incorporate ‘higher-level’ technology into their classroom. Technology can be a powerful tool for transforming learning…However, to be transformative, educators need to have the knowledge and skills to take full advantage of technology-rich learning environments.” (2017 US National Education Technology Plan)

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Google Status Check

This was originally posted in late 2015 but thought it was important enough to update and keep around…

We are all becoming more and more dependent on google in our work, school, or daily lives.  Like all technology, we just expect it to always work.  I will give google credit for being a very solid and dependable suite of applications.  But they are not perfect and once in a great while there is a problem.  We have experienced a few outages here at Willard and when we see one, it needs to serve as a wake-up call.  We live in an amazing time but there can still be problems.  Obviously, the first step is to identify the problem.  There is an Apps Status Dashboard that anyone can check to determine if Google is having any known issues.  If they are having issues then it is on to “Plan B”.  You can pre-configure your machine to be able to work offline during an outage.  Here is a short tutorial from PC magazine about how to do that.  It has to be done ahead of time, so it can be your “Plan B” for those outages.  It is not a perfect solution and obviously there is no real-time collaboration, but maybe it will help make the time productive.

Google Keep: An Easy to use Google Checklist

This is another post from 2015 but I wanted to refresh it a bit.  Google Keep is better than ever and if you are not using it, you are missing a great opportunity to store important notes, lists, and todo’s.  I use it for grocery lists, some password hints, and even quick access to some technical directions that I use just often enough to want easy access.  You can share the Keep files, you can view them on any device, and now you can even configure settings to have a link directly in your gmail.  Here is my original post…

I have dabbled with the built-in tasklist in gmail, but have never really liked it.  A couple of months ago I started using google keep for checklists.  It is very easy to use and ties with your google apps account.  It is very simple to setup and use.  Go to keep.google.com and login with your google apps account.  You can have multiple lists, share your lists with others, color code your lists, and view/edit on any mobile device (via app) or computer. You can delete your completed lists or you can archive them so you can reference them later.

Do you share calendars with other?  Why not share todo lists as well?  I have been using it with my family recently for grocery lists, projects, etc.  It is a great way to share progress and collaborate.  The share feature gives the other users edit options (view only is not an option).  It does send an email to the person you share with to let them know they can view the list.  All they need to do is go to google keep and login with their gmail address and the list will be viewable and editable.  You can even turn on notifications and have the program pop up a reminder when something is due.  It works seamlessly across multiple devices, just make sure to click “done” so the changes show up for everyone, including your other devices.  Give it a try and see if it works for you.

Email Do’s and Don’ts

I blogged about this last year but it has been quite a while.  Since we have staff turnover every year, it does not hurt to remind everyone of this.  I have seen several cases this year of people using their building or staff email for their own announcements.  School email is designed for school related items only.  If you are not sure if something is school related, then think about your target audience.  For example, before you send an email announcement out to the staffmail list, remember it goes to everyone.  There are nearly 600 email addresses including teachers in all buildings, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, etc.   Would it be better to create an email list in your address book to send it only to those that really want / need to see it?  If you want to tell everyone about something that you are selling or maybe you have a non-school related activity / announcement, then use the classified blog.  You can click here or look under the Staff Corner on the district website.  The school board tech usage policy for employees clearly prohibits the “sending of unsolicited electronic mail unless the communication is a necessary, employment-related function.”   Does that mean no outside school mail whatsoever?  No, it will never be strictly enforced.  This is just a gentle reminder to use the mailing lists wisely and don’t spam everyone with announcements about personal information.