Author - Aaron Griffith-VanderYacht

Deeper Dialogue around Digital Distractions

Since the dawn of time, students have gathered together to learn new skills from teaching figures–– and subsequently been distracted from the learning at hand. Today, technology has infiltrated our classrooms and increased the likelihood of student distraction, whether from a buzzing in a pocket or an update in a browser tab. A quick web search reveals a spectrum of responses to this challenge, ranging from free use to an outright ban of devices.

When deciding how to handle digital distractions, it’s often good to start by drafting a contract. This can outline when and where digital devices can be used in a classroom, what they can be used for, and consequences for not meeting expectations. Some elements of a contract may need to be set by a teacher based on school or district policies, particularly around safety and privacy. However, a great way to encourage student buy-in is to have them engage in creating this contract. Here are some conversation starters that can help deepen the dialogue around digital distractions:

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S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Online Learning [Infographic]

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Online Learning Programs

Online learning has disrupted education, and with many schools sharing fantastic results it’s exciting to add these learning options for students. However, in the enthusiasm of getting started, goal setting might be overlooked. Too many times I’ve heard someone at a school say, “We tried an online learning program, but it didn’t really work.” Having clear goals for any school program is a key factor for success. The S.M.A.R.T goals framework is a simple way to engage in goal setting that will set your school, district, or classroom up for success. Use the outline below to learn how to apply S.M.A.R.T. goals for online learning.

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Major Themes from iNACOL 2016

Educators from across the country gathered in San Antonio October 24-28 for iNACOL’s annual Blended and Online Learning Symposium. Here are some of the major themes from this year’s event.

Redefine Success

Susan Patrick, President and CEO of iNACOL, opened the conference with a call to action. The recently adopted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has given our country the opportunity to redefine what success looks like for our students. States now control local educational policies and are encouraged to broaden the indicators of student success beyond standardized test scores. Now is the time for purposeful discussions about educational policy at all levels. Our students need fearless leaders to challenge the status quo and support changes that have a lasting impact.

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Summer School: Time for Playing in the Sand(box)

Kids and mom building sand castle on the beach

As the winter months drag on toward spring, you may already be daydreaming of sand in the summer. But instead of fantasizing about sand on a tropical beach, imagine a sandbox; that is, how your summer school program can serve as a testing ground for new ideas and programs.

Now is the perfect time to start the initial stages of planning summer school, and this year you can maximize the potential of this time by collecting data and feedback on the great new tools, curriculum, programs, and other solutions you’ve been dying to try out but haven’t had time or resources to implement during the school year. Here are some important ideas to keep in mind as you begin planning your summer school sandbox programming:

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