While we all hear “It's the time to act!” and “Don’t wait! There’s something you need to do!” acting on those reminders is a different story. But, you guessed it, the time is now for several federal funding opportunities which all have been extended for the last time. Let’s briefly look at the status of some significant ones and hopefully, if you have not already taken advantage of these funding opportunities, you will very, very soon.
The mission of NYSCATE (New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education) is “to lead the transformation of teaching and learning through technology.” In their ongoing efforts to further the use of technology in schools, NYSCATE regularly offers workshops and webinars that show how educational technology can optimize teaching and learning.
There are countless rewarding moments in teaching, but we can agree that when we see students totally excited about a new topic, concept, or skill, we are as overjoyed as they are! This is what teaching is all about – seeing the spark of understanding in students’ eyes when they are actively involved in learning something new. We feed off that energy and look for ways to create more of these experiences. Excitement for learning is increasingly associated with educational technology that invites interaction such as a touchscreen or interactive displays.
We are extremely proud and excited to announce that we won Primary (K-6) and Secondary (6-12) 2021 Best Tools for Back to School from Tech & Learning for not one but FOUR of our education solutions! What Boxlight solutions earned recognition from this prestigious organization?
We are living in a time when we can tap, scroll, and swipe through information in a matter of seconds. Decisions can be made easily on our devices – phones, PCs, even large displays that are touch-capable. In more and more classrooms, teachers are moving from throw projectors and whiteboards to interactive displays (also known as interactive flat panel displays, interactive panels, interactive touchscreens, and smart boards) to boost overall engagement in lessons. Just what is an interactive display?
How was your classroom arranged this last school year? How did the arrangement affect your instructional practice? How did it affect student learning? Do you think having an audio system might have made a positive difference for everyone in the classroom?
Barry Sunder, Central Regional Manager with Boxlight, recently spoke with Larry Jacobs from Equity and Access Pre K-12 (ace-ed.org) on how large interactive flat panel displays can improve engagement for students with special needs. Sunder who has experience working with students with special needs, as well as a wife and sister who are both Special Education teachers, shares that in special needs classrooms, the use of technology has “gone up another level.” Referencing an experience his sister had with a student, he says, “His attention span was about 15-20 seconds. He has seizures. When he got in front of that board, (his) time with seizures was reduced. He was up there focused on that activity.”
Shamrock Independent School District (Shamrock, TX, U.S.) has long strived to provide its teachers and students with innovative technology to engage and boost active participation in all grades, whatever the situation. A case in point, they were able to respond quickly to school closures due to the pandemic because they are a 1:1 school and students could connect to remote learning without extensive issues.
Pre-pandemic, the thought of incorporating flipped or blended learning, self-paced learning, video conferencing, and creating videos to teach key concepts or skills was seen as reserved mostly for virtual schools that catered to families that wanted an alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar schooling or for especially ‘high-tech savvy’ educators who could deftly handle quickly changing technology. Of course, the pandemic and consequent school closures changed all that, and educators, students, and parents had to learn to navigate online learning fairly quickly. For teachers who were comfortable with the tried and true, front-of-class style of instruction, switching to tech tools for creating, assigning, grading, and facilitating lessons was a steep learning curve. But here we are, over a year later, and many teachers have found that they have become incredibly adept at using these same tools if not more so.
Bennington Public Schools (Bennington, NE) is a quickly growing district that has gone from one K-12 school in 2005 to six schools today, including a new elementary school that opened two years ago. Bennington expects to open two more elementary schools, and another middle school and high school within the next 10 years. According to the district website, their mission is “to provide educational opportunities in a safe, caring environment that will prepare all students to meet the challenges of the future.”