Wednesday, March 13, 2013

NSBA highlights six innovative technology companies that will improve education

The National School Boards Association has chosen six companies to feature at their first-ever Technology Innovation Showcase at their national conference in San Diego April 13-15, 2013.

There are two really positive things I'm taking away from this announcement.  First, it's great to see school boards recognizing the importance of technology in the classroom.  School boards approve the vision and mission statements written by the schools, they approve the technology budgets, and they hire the top administrators in the district who in turn hire good principals who in turn hire technology-savvy teachers. As educators and as technology integration specialists we need the support of our school boards.  Seeing the NSBA showcase technology is a clear sign of their support.

Two, I love seeing technology that can help improve education but is not necessarily a classroom technology.  I love classroom technology.  I love +Nearpod. I love one-to-one devices.  We need more than just content, though. BloomBoard provides technology to improve the teacher evaluation and feedback cycle. Rather than fear evaluations, how amazing would it be if teachers actually looked forward to getting feedback from multiple points of view - principals, department heads, and colleagues - in addition to creating their own personalized professional learning plan? Improving our teaching practices will have an impact on classroom learning just as much as providing better resources and devices, and honestly I believe it will have more of an impact. So I really appreciate the NSBA recognizing that the focus should not solely by on classroom technology use.

Here is the list of the 2013 NSBA Technology Innovation Showcase companies:
  1. BloomBoard – Helping educators grow by providing a free platform to manage the entire feedback cycle for improving educator effectiveness (e.g.: observations, coaching, and individualized learning plans, etc.), connected to recommendations from an open marketplace of professional development resources.
  2. Guide K12 – Using the power of geovisual analytics, districts can look at student data in new ways for the purpose of forecasting, capacity planning, and boundary discussions and get immediate answers to “what if” questions.
  3. Nearpod – An all-in-one solution for the synchronized use of iPads (and other mobile devices) in the classroom that is helping redefine the traditional classroom lecture through interactive presentations and real-time assessments.
  4. TenMarks – An engaging web-based learning environment that super-charges math instruction by delivering contextual help, automatic interventions, real-time assessments, and a personalized curriculum for every student.
  5. VizZle – District Edition / Monarch Teaching Technologies – Committed to providing technology-enhanced solutions that offer districts more effective, yet cost-efficient data-driven tools that support children with autism and other special learning needs.
  6. World Wide Workshop, Globaloria – A blended-learning platform with a results-proven curriculum and educator support system to teach youth to produce STEM games with industry-standard methods and tools to increase digital literacy and global citizenship skills, and promote engagement in STEM and Computing.

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