Tech & Learning.com - New Learning Spaces - April 2021

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APRIL 2021

TECHLEARNING.COM

New Learning Spaces Also In This Issue: The T&L Best Remote & Blended Learning Tools Winners



CONTENTS 4

NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S CLASSROOM

How to Design “Future Ready” Science Labs By Erik Ofgang

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The CDC Now Recommends 3 Foot Distancing in Schools — Here’s Why

When you think of “learning spaces,” what comes to mind? If I asked you this question in 2019, I think most of you would have thought of a room, filled with kids, a teacher at the front guiding their learning. Some might have thought of rows of desks; others might have thought of flexible seating, walls covered in whiteboard paint where students could move around and collaborate. Whatever was in that room, most scenarios involved a dedicated space for teaching and learning. This past year, learning spaces were a whole different ball game, with kids bouncing from their bedrooms to classrooms and back again depending on the day and the ebb and flow of COVID cases. This issue addresses a new question: what will tomorrow’s learning spaces look like? T&L’s Senior Staff Writer Erik Ofgang offers a variety of answers, from designing future ready learning labs, to planning for new 3-foot CDC spacing guidelines, to improving ventilation in schools. Wherever the students set up for class, technology has been at the heart of keeping the learning going. To celebrate the work of the technology providers who stepped up to support this effort, Tech & Learning presents “The Best Tools for Remote & Blended Learning,” a new offering in our legacy Awards of Excellence program. Find the winners of this contest starting on page 18. Judges deemed these products as standouts for helping students, parents, and teachers succeed in these new learning environments. Congratulations to all of our winners. I hope you enjoy the issue — from wherever you are!

By Erik Ofgang

12 How To Improve School Ventilation Without Spending Thousands By Erik Ofgang

14 How Schools Use Drones to Deliver Internet to Students By Erik Ofgang

18 Best Remote & Blended Learning Tools 2021 By Diana Restifo

35 Women in Leadership: Examining Our History is Key To Support By Dr. Brandy Nelson

37 Why Zoom Fatigue Occurs and How Educators Can Overcome It

Group Publisher

By Erik Ofgang

Group Publisher Christine Weiser christine.weiser@futurenet.com CONTENT Managing Editor Ray Bendici ray.bendici@futurenet.com

Senior Staff Writer Erik Ofgang erik.ofgang@futurenet.com

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Senior Design Directors Lisa McIntosh & Will Shum

ADVERTISING SALES Sales Manager Allison Knapp, allison.knapp@futurenet.com VISIT US www.techlearning.com

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HOW TO DESIGN “FUTURE READY” SCIENCE LABS The new science labs at Deer Path Middle School in Illinois are tech-forward, bright, friendly, and comfortable spaces that emphasize student collaboration By Erik Ofgang

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he two science labs at Deer Path Middle School in Lake Forest, Illinois, were 20 years old and starting to show age. “They were beginning not to function,” says Renee Fitzsimmons, director of innovation at Lake Forest School District. This was in 2018, and Fitzsimmons and her colleagues in the district were faced with a choice. “It’s like in an old house. Do you just make the quick little repair or do you do a full makeover?” she says. “We decided to go with the full makeover.” The science classrooms for grades 5 and 6 and grades 7 and 8 were renovated across the district, creating an entirely new lab suite that is “future ready.” Gone are the old, stuffy, and institutional-looking labs of yesteryear, and now in place are bright new open spaces designed with collaboration

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and student-centered learning in mind. “We wanted a good ambiance to the space,” Fitzsimmons says. “We wanted things to be flexible because we wanted to be able to teach in a newer style of teaching, which is what we are calling ‘a future ready style of teaching.’ We wanted to be able to have kids do formal and traditional labs, but then also be able to go sit and work and brainstorm.” To that end, the two labs are joined together by a sleek, lounglike space called the “Living Room.” Fitzsimmons worked with designers from the school furniture provider MiEN to come up with a space that fostered comfort and learning. “It almost looks like a cafe,” Fitzsimmons says.“You’ve got high-top tables with high-top chairs, and a lot of windows and glass. You’ve got natural light coming in now to this inner lab space that before didn’t get any, and movable chairs, movable tables, and comfortable couches. You’ve got soft lighting.”



FUTURE READY SCIENCE LABS To foster student collaboration there are multiple whiteboard surfaces, and the whole suite is tech-friendly with TVs that are connected to Apple TV so students can sync their school-issued iPads and share their work in real time. It’s all designed to provide the opportunity for kids to be able to show their thinking as they’re talking, communicating and collaborating, Fitzsimmons says. Each lab can be split in half with moveable walls, so up to four classes can be conducted at once. The new spaces debuted at the start of this school year. The district is operating with 80 percent of students attending in-person classes, and they have embraced the new space even while adhering to the distancing requirements needed due to Covid. “Kids love it,” Fitzsimmons says. “The positive responses have been overwhelming.”

ADVICE FOR OTHER DISTRICTS Focus on the Learning to Come “Don’t just replace,” Fitzsimmons says. “Don’t just look at what you have and buy newer examples of what you’ve got. Actually think about what is that your students do on a daily basis, what are the outcomes you want, and how can you make it future ready. So design for the collaborative and creative learning model that we all should be using in our pedagogy and the different types of professional learning that we’re giving to our teachers.”

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DON’T JUST LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE AND BUY NEWER EXAMPLES OF WHAT YOU’VE GOT. ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT IT IS THAT YOUR STUDENTS DO ON A DAILY BASIS, WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES YOU WANT.” —RENE FITZSIMMONS Collaborate and Compare Before choosing the design for the new labs, the Lake Forest team met with science teachers and students to hear what they were looking for in a space. They also visited innovative labs at other schools. Fitzsimmons urges others considering an upgrade to make their process collaborative as well. “Work with your curriculum people so that you know what sorts of things are important with that professional learning so that you know what the district’s goals are,” she says. “Make sure that it’s going to be a space that matches what you’re doing in your curriculum and in your pedagogy.”



THE CDC NOW RECOMMENDS

3 FOOT DISTANCING IN SCHOOLS — HERE’S WHY

WESTEND61/GETTY IMAGES

The 6-foot distance requirement has kept many kids out of school. Here’s why it’s no longer recommended. By Erik Ofgang

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he CDC recently relaxed its distancing guidelines for most students in K-12 settings. Now it suggests distancing of 3 feet instead of 6 feet, provided other safety procedures such as universal masking are being followed. The move came on the heels of recent research suggesting distancing of 3 feet between students is safe in schools. However, the shorter distance is not recommended in all instances. “Middle school students and high school students should be at least 6 feet apart in communities where transmission is high, if cohorting is not possible,” the new guidelines say. In addition, the CDC continues to recommend 6 foot distancing: • Between adults in the school building and between adults and students. • In common areas, such as school lobbies and auditoriums. • When masks can’t be worn, such as when eating. • During activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, shouting, band practice, sports, or exercise. These activities should be moved outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible. • In community settings outside of the classroom. Prior to the new guidelines, many educators and public health experts

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had been calling for decreasing the distance between student desks from 6 feet to 3 feet “The single biggest obstacle to fully reopening schools is the 6-foot distancing requirement, as we don’t have the physical space or staffing to bring all students back five days a week with this distancing in place,” wrote Thomas K. Putnam, superintendent of schools, and Mark Elledge, board president, in Penfield, N.Y., in a letter to the state that argued for easing distancing requirements. In Indiana, Massachusetts, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, and elsewhere, 3 foot distancing between desks in schools was already permitted. “Three-foot distancing is appropriate for the student-to-student interaction,” says Dr. Joseph G. Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and chair of The Lancet’s Covid-19 Commission Task Force on Safe Work, Safe Schools, and Safe Travel. The question is complicated, says Dr. Sara B. Johnson, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-director of the Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education and the Johns Hopkins Consortium for School-Based Health Solutions. Six feet is not some ideal number where people will automatically be at risk if they move closer. “It is a risk continuum; more



3 FOOT DISTANCING distance is better,” Johnson says. That said, maintaining 6 feet substantially limits the number of students who can be accommodated in most school buildings, and thwarts efforts to get as many kids back into buildings as safely as possible.

6 FEET IS AN ARBITRARY DISTANCE

OTHER MITIGATION EFFORTS ARE IN PLACE “The 6-foot distance guidance came into being last February and March before universal masking,” Allen says. “We have a tendency to think about these controls in isolation. But when there’s universal masking in place, and good ventilation and filtration, 6-foot distancing is no longer critical.” However, since adults educators are at higher risk from the virus, they should continue to maintain a distance of 6 feet from their students and other educators. Allen also says adults who work in schools that are concerned should consider wearing a better mask. “If you’re going to wear a mask, you might as well wear one that has a high efficiency and has a good fit, because that can change the overall effectiveness from 50 percent for a cloth mask up to over 90 percent for a good mask,” he says.

“There’s no magic distance where droplets drop out of the air,” Allen says. “Aerosols float. They float three feet, six feet, and beyond, and can accumulate in a room.” That’s why other mitigation efforts such as proper masks and good ventilation are needed. Rather than push schools to push their students closer together, Johnson favors a phased reduction of distancing, especially given the CDC had popularized the 6-foot rule and it has become ingrained in public conscience. “In some parts of the country, skepticism about returning to school and concerns about in-school “THERE’S NO MAGIC viral transmission remain prevalent,” she says. “For me, DISTANCE WHERE the 6-foot rule is a tool for building trust and bringing DROPLETS DROP teachers, staff, parents, and kids along with us in places OUT OF THE AIR. where many are still skeptical and have concerns about AEROSOLS FLOAT. school reopening. The goals should be for schools THEY FLOAT THREE to shift relatively rapidly to less distance once they demonstrate the integrity of their public mitigation FEET, SIX FEET, strategies.” AND BEYOND, AND A phased approach allows time to make sure that CAN ACCUMULATE circulating variants are still kept in check by current IN A ROOM.” measures, which Johnson expects they will be.

THE WHO & OTHERS SAY 3 FEET IS SUFFICIENT

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Children, especially younger ones, have a lower risk of contracting the virus and of having severe outcomes if they do. This is another reason many argue for 3-foot distancing between student desks. Allen says any potential risks to children are outweighed by the risk of keeping students out of in-person school. “The 6-foot distancing rule is one of the key, if not the most, determining factors that keeps kids out of school because of space limitations,” he says. “And the cost of keeping millions of kids out of school for a year is absolutely devastating.”

IZUSEK/GETTY IMAGES

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization has advised one meter distancing, which is a little more than three feet. A CDC study of 17 schools in Wisconsin found limited transmission of the virus even though K-8 students were generally not maintaining 6 feet of distancing. A large study of more than 500,000 students and 100,000 educators in Massachusetts found no substantial difference in transmission in schools if student desks were placed 3 or 6 feet apart. The American Academy of Pediatrics guidance for schools states that 3-feet distancing works when 6 feet is not possible. Prior to becoming CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky wrote the city council of her town in Massachusetts that, “If people are masked it is quite safe and much more practical to be at three feet.”

KIDS ARE LESS IMPACTED BY THE VIRUS



HOW TO IMPROVE SCHOOL VENTILATION WITHOUT SPENDING THOUSANDS Better ventilation is part of President Biden’s plan for schools to resume in-person learning. Here’s how schools can do that quickly and without major investments

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etter ventilation is a key component of the Biden administration’s plan to resume in-person learning at the majority of the nation’s K-8 schools by the end of April. In an executive order issued on January 21, President Biden directed the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to issue guidance for schools to safely return to in-person learning “including by implementing mitigation measures such as cleaning, masking, proper ventilation, and testing.” Dr. Joseph G. Allen, director of Harvard’s Healthy Buildings Program, is encouraged that Discovery Academy in Wethersfield, Connecticut, is a a new PK-5th the president is giving attention to ventilation. Grade magnet school designed by Amenta Emma Architects to facilitate a Allen is also chair of The Lancet’s Covid-19 healthy and productive educational environment for students and faculty. Commission Task Force on Safe Work, Safe Schools, and Safe Travel. He says that along with other mitigation measures, such as universal masking, ventilation of outdoor air, says Richard Loveland, vice president of BVH Integrated strategies are important because respiratory aerosols that escape masks can Services, a mechanical engineering company in Connecticut that installs accumulate if they’re not diluted through ventilation or captured through HVAC systems for many schools. “Typical air handling rooftop equipment filtration. takes in about 20 percent outdoor air and the coils and the heating units While many of the nation’s schools have severely outdated ventilation within that unit are designed for that 20 percent,” Loveland says. If you systems, Allen and his team have developed inexpensive strategies for bring in more outdoor air, you’re not going to be able to provide proper schools to quickly increase ventilation with strategic system upgrades, or heating and cooling. something as simple as opening a window a few inches. The same is true when it comes to filters. “In the guidance we released in June, we recommend that schools target “Most of these systems are designed for a certain range of filters in terms four to six air changes per hour, through any combination of enhanced of how robust they are,” says Michael Tyre, principal at Amenta Emma ventilation or filtration,” he says. “The recommendations we’ve made do not Architects, whose company often works with Loveland’s. He adds that many have to cost millions of dollars or take many months to implement.” schools want high-capacity filters but the systems just aren’t designed to have that kind of filters. MAXIMIZE YOUR SYSTEM However, there are other ways to overcome your schools’ HVAC Schools with centralized heating and cooling should adjust those limitations. systems in a way that prioritizes bringing in outdoor air. “You want to be sure that any recirculated air is going through a higher-efficiency filter, PORTABLE AIR CLEANERS specifically what’s known as a Merv 13 filter,” Allen says. “Most mechanical For schools with existing equipment that can’t get four to six changes systems have a Merve 8 filter. That captures about 20 percent of the particles per hour, Allen recommends the use of portable air cleaners with heavy we’re interested in. A Merv 13 will get you above 80 percent.” filters. “These devices can cost $200 or $300,” he says. “They are a relatively But there are limitations to what can be accomplished through this inexpensive means of ensuring that sufficient air cleaning is happening in a action. Many school systems are not designed to bring in large amounts classroom when they are sized correctly for the room.”

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ROBERT BENSON PHOTOGRAPHY/AMENTA EMMA ARCHITECTS

By Erik Ofgang


SCHOOL VENTILATION Look for a portable air cleaner with a HEPA filter. “You don’t want any bells and whistles, you don’t want or need UV ionization or any fancy sensor technology,” Allen says. “You do want to look for something that has a device that has a high clean-air delivery rate or CADR.” Allen recommends a CADR of 300 for every 500 square feet in the space you are using the air cleaner. (More information on how to make these calculations is available here.)

EVEN OPENING A WINDOW CAN HELP While it may sound like a low-tech solution, opening a window to let in some air can make a big difference, and can work in colder areas because the window does not have to be open so much that it will let out lots of heat. “Even two or three inches can greatly increase the amount of ventilation that a room gets,” Allen says. “When we’ve done experiments, we get anywhere from 2 to 14 air changes per hour in a classroom through opening windows.” To test how much air flow your open window is getting, you can use a carbon dioxide monitor. Humans release carbon dioxide when they breathe, and therefore, by measuring how much accumulates in a room, you can calculate the number of air changes a room is experiencing. On Healthy Buildings’ website there is information for schools on how to calculate the carbon dioxide level a room should not exceed by putting in the size of a room, the number of people who will be in it, and the amount of air changes per hour you are targeting.

A NEW WAY OF THINKING ABOUT SCHOOL BUILDINGS The pandemic-fueled focus on school ventilation is part of a larger conversation around designing schools that foster a more healthy environment that is better suited to education. “We’re talking about indoor air quality, but there’s a host of other considerations that revolve around health and wellness that have become increasingly in demand for academic environments,” Tyre says. In recent years, there has been more awareness about the way building design interacts with physical health. “Whether it’s access to daylight, or good air ventilation, or noise levels that allow you to concentrate--all of these things have been studied and have been shown to have correlations between how active and engaged and joyful kids are when they’re in school,” Tyre says. “We’ve known for a long time that things such as higher ventilation rates are associated with better cognitive function and lower infectious disease transmission,” Allen says. “We see higher ventilation rates associated with higher math scores, higher reading scores, higher science scores.” Solutions such as portable air cleaners are a stopgap measure to get through the next few months but longer-term planning is required. “We need to be making much larger investments in the buildings and the mechanical ventilation systems,” says Allen. “And when we do, we know from the scientific literature that this will provide years and years of benefits to both kids and adults.”

Keep Students Engaged From the classroom to remote and everything in between

MimioConnect blended learning platform is designed to keep students actively engaged in learning. Deliver lessons without interruption using this all-in-one teaching solution. No matter what happens throughout the school year, you can rely on one solution to consistently deliver content to your students – while measuring understanding and participation.

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HOW SCHOOLS USE DRONES TO DELIVER INTERNET TO STUDENTS A school district in Wisconsin has launched a pilot program to explore delivering internet to students via drone By Erik Ofgang

THE TECH The district is working with the drone companies Spooky Action and Wisconsin Telelift, which was founded by local entrepreneurs Scott and Greta Williams. Several years ago, Scott Williams developed the tethered drone technology while working with a nonprofit in Africa. It was conceived as a way of monitoring huge game preserves and preventing poaching. Rahul Tiwari, Spooky Action’s founder and CEO, worked with Williams in Africa and used the drone technology developed there to launch his company.

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WISCONSIN TELELIFT

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fficials at Northland Pines School District in northern Wisconsin are working with a tech company and local entrepreneur on a pilot program to deliver internet to students via drone. The program, which received a $100,000 grant from the state of Wisconsin, will utilize drones that are tethered to a power source on the ground and can stay airborne for weeks, and even months. The drones will serve as flying cell towers, able to beam internet down to rural students who live in areas without high-speed internet access. “We’ll be testing it over the next few months,” says Harlan Leusink, director of technology for the district. About 10 percent of Northland Pines students don’t have any internet connectivity at home, while as many as 40 percent have inadequate connection speeds to meet the demands of remote learning. District leaders have tried for more than a decade to close that gap, but there are no easy solutions. “We’re a district of about 500 square miles and getting wired internet connection to those households that are at the end of that 500 square miles is a challenge,” Leusink says. In many cases, it isn’t feasible at all. Since the pandemic began, school districts have gone to extensive lengths to close the digital divide, in some cases even becoming internet service providers, but Northland Pines School District is one of the first to take to the skies to try to solve this problem.

Spooky Action drones are attached to a wire that transfers data to the drone as well as electricity. The tether is 400 feet, but usually the drone is not flying nearly that high. “What we find is for most radios, the sweet spot is about 100 feet,” Williams says. “Once you go above 100 feet, it starts to dissipate. Anything above 200 feet creates a little bit more complicated issues with the FAA for airspace, so we definitely want to stay under that.” The drones also offer flexibility that isn’t available with permanent structures. “One of the neat things about this technology is you can put it at 100 feet and go, ‘Well, we’re not getting great coverage there, let’s go to 120 or go down to 80,’” says Williams. “So you can kind of vary it based on terrain.” Spooky Action’s drones were originally designed to provide access during events and as part of disaster relief efforts. “A hurricane comes in and blows down all your cell towers, it’s pretty easy to put up a flying cell tower,” Tiwari says. “It’s not necessarily to replace a cell tower, we’re not going to be able to do that. The idea is to dynamically address the internet needs of a community without having to build a million cell towers everywhere.”



DRONES TO DELIVER

While Spooky Action drones are capable of staying in the air for more than a month, that’s not usually necessary when providing internet to students. Tiwari envisions a scenario where the drones will be active during peak class and homework times, and maybe won’t be flying overnight. Leusink says his district is looking at the drone service as a proof-of-concept for where and how they need to deploy more permanent equipment. If a drone in a certain area gives students good coverage in that area, he says the next step will be for the district to look for more permanent land-based solutions.

THE COST Emmett J. McBride, director of technology for The D.C. Everest Area School District in Wisconsin, started looking into providing internet via drone independently of the Northland Pines project. Though a mostly suburban district, McBride’s district serves many students who live in remote wooded areas where cable is unavailable and cell service is frequently nonexistent. Getting reliable internet to these students remains a challenge despite the district’s best efforts, says McBride. Wireless hotspots didn’t work well and satellite internet connections were plagued by latency (lag time). They explored building their own cell towers, but the cost was astronomical. “We realized the couple towers we wanted to put up were going to cost close to a quarter of a million dollars and they were going to cover like 10 houses,” McBride says. “Can you imagine telling your taxpayers, ‘We spent a quarter of a million dollars and 10 people got internet, and it’s okay internet, it’s not even great.’” McBride read about Google’s efforts with Project Loon, which was an initiative aimed at beaming high-speed internet to parts of the globe where it is unavailable with a fleet of high-altitude balloons. Google’s parent company announced in January Loon was ending, but last year

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WISCONSIN TELELIFT

WISCONSIN TELELIFT

McBride was inspired enough by the idea to begin exploring the possibility of his district doing something similar, albeit on a much smaller scale. He ultimately connected with the Northland Pines School District. Though drones are only one of several possible solutions McBride’s district is looking at, he likes the idea of delivering internet access via drone. “It’s like a cheap tower,” he says. “We have a tree cover canopy of about 100 feet, so you have to build a big tower, and it’s expensive.” But with a drone it’s easy to fly above and around any obstacles.

WHAT YOUR DISTRICT SHOULD KNOW McBride advises connecting with others in the education community through organizations such as Digital Promise and to connect with local, county and state organizations about potential resources. Tiwari recommends reaching out to companies such as his so developers can better tailor their products to addressing the real-world problems occurring within districts. He notes that the challenge of providing universal internet is so complex, there is no one-size fits all solution. “The magnitude of the problem is so big that they’re going to need technology like ours and technology like other folks have, all working in tandem to try to close this gap.”



BEST REMOTE & BLENDED LEARNING TOOLS 2021

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Judges deemed these products as standouts for helping students, parents, and teachers succeed in these new learning environments

s schools pivoted from in-person to remote and blended learning this past year, technology solutions were key to delivering quality, continuous learning. To celebrate the work of technology providers who stepped up to support this effort, Tech & Learning launched “The Best Tools for Remote & Blended Learning,” a new offering in its legacy Awards of Excellence program. Below are the winners of this contest. Judges deemed these products as standouts for helping students, parents, and teachers succeed in these new learning environments. Eligible products included hardware, software, curriculum, security/safety solutions,

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PD, student information systems, and more. Categories included: Best Remote/Blended Learning Tools for Primary Grades; Best Remote/Blended Learning Tools for Secondary Grades; Best Remote/ Blended Learning Tools for Higher Education. “Despite the many challenges schools have had to face this past year, technology continues to be one of the key drivers for innovation,” says Tech & Learning Group Publisher Christine Weiser. “The winning products recognized here have supported continuous instruction throughout the pandemic, and we expect this momentum to continue into next year and beyond. Congratulations to all of our winners.”


BEST REMOTE TOOLS BEST REMOTE/BLENDED LEARNING TOOLS FOR PRIMARY GRADES

ACCELERATE LEARNING STEMSCOPES NGSS 3D STEMscopes NGSS 3D is a phenomena-based science curriculum that provides K-6 teachers with everything they need to address the disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices that form each standard of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). “This STEM program is built on the 5E lesson model to move lessons away from teacher-led to student led,” our judges said.

AMPLIFY EDUCATION: AMPLIFY READING Amplify Reading is a K–8 personalized learning program that students can use in any environment, helping provide targeted instruction and practice in foundational reading skills. “Its age-appropriate games and contextual reading activities ensure that all learners have the opportunity to engage and grow as readers,” said judges.

ASUS: CHROMEBOOK C204 The ASUS Chromebook C204 is packed with features to protect it, such as the all-round rubber bumper, spill-resistant keyboard, and ultra tough I/O ports. “The spill-proof keyboard and rubber bumper keep this going through most situations, and the battery is good for a full school day,” our judges noted.

ACER: ACER CHROMEBOOK 311 (C722)

AVER:M11-8M DOCUMENT CAMERA

Made especially for younger students learning in the classroom and remote environments, the Acer Chromebook 311 (C722) incorporates industrial durability and safety standards that protect the device as well as more vulnerable young learners. “This is the most affordable, but still packs in that militarygrade toughness and capable specs thanks to a MediaTek MT8183 processor, HDR webcam, optional touch screen, and a 20-hour battery,” our judges said.

The AVer M11-8M is an affordable document camera offering HDMI and plug-and-play USB power and connectivity. “This is a very full- featured document camera for the price,” said our judges.

ASUS BR1100 The education-focused Windows 10 Pro laptop series offers a rugged and modular design and a secure infrastructure to help lower the total cost of ownership. “There’s plenty of performance, from the AI-powered microphone to a standard 4GB of RAM,” T&L judges said.

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BEST REMOTE TOOLS and share them. Students can complete an online lesson with their Snowflake account, and submit it. Our judges commented, “This educational software gives teachers access to teacher-made, standards-aligned lessons, and promotes collaboration and innovative learning.”

BOXLIGHT: MYSTEMKITS VIRTUAL STEM ACTIVITIES AVERCHARGE X18IS This 18-device intelligent charging cart provides UV sanitation that kills 99.99% of germs with selectable cleaning duration options. Tech & Learning judges liked the design, smart charge and sanitation features, and flexibility.

MyStemKits Virtual STEM activities were developed in the wake of the pandemic by converting 3D printable hands on STEM lessons in MyStemKits.com platform into virtual simulations that allow students to complete math and science challenges in the comfort of their home. Our judges liked the virtual options and said, “The LMS-like ability to assign lessons is also a nice feature.”

AVID PRODUCTS: AE-36 HEADSET AVID’s AE-36 headset, developed with feedback of educators, focuses on connectivity, durability, comfort, sound quality, omnidirectional microphone, safety, and overall value. Our judges said, “Very low cost headset with good basic features,” and especially liked the chew-resistant nylon cord.

ClassLink offers instant access to apps and files with single sign-on, streamline class rostering, automate account provisioning, and provide actionable analytics. “The admin console makes it easy to monitor, control and assess apps, software usage, and data sharing options,” said Tech & Learning judges.

CURRICULUM ASSOCIATES: I-READY i-Ready combines powerful assessments with engaging instruction in reading and mathematics to address each student’s individual needs. Our judges said, “This tool gives actual real-time solutions and information: an all-in-one data platform.”

BOXLIGHT: MIMIOCONNECT

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CK Mobile for iOS provides schools with the web-filtering intelligence required to deploy iPads as remote learning tools. “This web- and content-filtering system protects students, no matter what device they are using, and provides real-time information valuable to IT departments,” Tech & Learning judges said.

CLASSLINK: CLASSLINK SUITE

®

MimioConnect® combines lesson building and instructional tools to help create an active and engaged learning environment. “The features of this product pair well with touch devices, and the fact that it’s platform-agnostic and can import files from other programs is a great plus,” said Tech & Learning judges.

CONTENTKEEPER: CK MOBILE FOR IOS

CLEAR TOUCH: SNOW.LIVE FEATURING CANVAS ONLINE Canvas Online is a facet of Snow.Live that allows teachers and students to take notes and insert media files on an infinite whiteboard


Clearly, we’re happy to be recognized. eGlass. The illuminated lightboard + built-in camera.

The future of student engagement.

And the 3x 2020 Awards of Excellence winner.

www.eglass.io


BEST REMOTE TOOLS “With the idea of anytime/anywhere learning, educators can deliver instruction and assessment, connect with parents, and provide students with personalized learning using the system’s analytic engine,” T&L judges noted.

EDMENTUM: EXACT PATH Exact Path combines adaptive diagnostic assessments with individualized learning paths to mitigate learning gaps and promote growth for K–12 students in math, reading, and language arts. Our judges said, “Mastery of skills through analysis of student skill levels is valuable for teachers as they challenge and support students.”

DISCOVERY EDUCATION: DISCOVERY EDUCATION PLATFORM Discovery Education Experience is a flexible K-12 learning platform that connects educators to an extensive collection of standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, and professional learning resources. “Now interoperable with LMSs, Google and Microsoft Teams, and SSO with Clever, this product offers seamless opportunities for learning,” our judges said.

EDINCITES: INCITE TEACHING & LEARNING PLATFORM The Incite Teaching & Learning Platform supports remote, blended, flipped, or in-classroom teaching and learning while delivering standards-based insights to improve student achievement and teacher effectiveness.

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studies curricula. T&L judges said, “With its ability to deliver content based on student skill level and native language, this platform engages students effectively, while the integration with Kahoot! makes the learning fun.”

BRITANNICA SCHOOL Britannica School offers thousands of curated and curriculum-relevant articles, images, videos, audio clips, primary sources, maps, research tools, recommended websites, and three connected databases to meet every reading level. “This is a great way for the students to conduct online research; it’s a kidfriendly tool and easy for the students to use,” our judges noted.

EXPLORELEARNING: EXPLORELEARNING REFLEX EDSBY: EDSBY Edsby® is a cloud-based K-12 learning management system (LMS) built for the needs of K-12 students, educators, and parents, and provides an easy-to-learn, social media-style interface. “The safe and secure platform is easily navigated by the entire school community,” T&L judges commented.

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA: BRITANNICA LAUNCHPACKS: SCIENCE AND SOCIAL STUDIES Britannica LaunchPacks: Social Studies provides more than 2,000 curated bundles of Britannica informational text and multimedia assets focused around thematic units covered in the K-12 social

Reflex helps students of all ability levels develop fluency with their basic math. T&L judges said, “This program makes learning math fact fun, while also scaffolding the lessons so that each student feels successful.”

GALE, A CENGAGE COMPANY: GALE PRESENTS: MISS HUMBLEBEE’S ACADEMY Gale Presents: Miss Humblebee’s Academy is a fun, interactive online kindergarten readiness program for children ages 3-6 that provides hundreds of guided lessons with sound and visual cues across many disciplines, including


BEST REMOTE TOOLS art, math, music, science, social studies, and social-emotional learning. Our judges liked the features and accessibility, and commented, “Using this online kindergarten-ready curriculum helps literacy learning for ages 3 to 6.”

IMAGINE LANGUAGE & LITERACY HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT: WAGGLE® Waggle® is a digital learning solution for grades 2-8 that provides personalized practice and instructional lessons to support skills-diversity for remote or blended learning. “One of the pluses of this program is that it can be used as a stand-alone program if school districts do not want to purchase other HMH products,” T&L judges commented.

Imagine Language & Literacy provides instruction and practice in all four domains of literacy—reading, writing, listening, and speaking—in addition to teaching academic language, including both vocabulary and grammar. “This language and literacy program provides students opportunities to excel and take ownership of their learning,” said Tech & Learning judges.

HALL TECHNOLOGIES: HIVE CONTROL FOR THE HIVEENABLED CLASSROOM The HIVE Control is a cloud-based AV control platform. Hall Technologies’ HIVE Nodes are designed to directly connect to all existing legacy or wirelessly connect to IPenabled hardware devices. “The node-based architecture means no need for a centralized server, saving money and space,” Tech & Learning judges said.

HOVERCAM: EGLASS HoverCam’s eGlass is a transparent writing surface featuring a built-in camera and adjustable lighting, ideal for remote, hybrid, and traditional classrooms. The camera captures the instructor and whatever they write on the surface of the glass simultaneously. Our judges said, “The builtin software tools and lighting are amazing.”

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT: AMIRA LEARNING Amira Learning, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), provides 1:1 reading coaching and administers both an oral reading fluency assessment and dyslexia screener for emergent readers, from anywhere. “This intelligent reading assistant can accelerate reading mastery with the ability to listen, assess, and provide tutoring, allowing students to learn independently.”

INFOBASE: LEARN360 Learn360 is a K-12 streaming multimedia resource that allows teachers, students, and parents to access more than 182,000 media resources, filtered by grade level, on any internet-enabled device. “This is ideal for flipped classrooms, project-based learning, and one-to-one,” our judges said. “A free trial makes a great way to try this platform.”

IMAGINE LEARNING: IMAGINE MATH Imagine Math, a preK-8 online math solution suite, supplements standards-based mathematics instruction through a system of adaptive and standards-aligned benchmarks and formative assessments. “This math program’s unique features includes support of ELLs through scaffolding and the use of live bilingual teachers,” noted T&L judges.

IXL LEARNING: IXL IXL is a personalized learning platform with a comprehensive curriculum of more than 8,500 skills covering five subjects, fully aligned to all

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BEST REMOTE TOOLS 50 state standards. T&L judges noted, “With its Math, ELA, Social Studies and Science assessments, IXL continues to be a leading standard for standards-based curriculum and assessments.”

LEXIA LEARNING: LEXIA® CORE5® READING Lexia® Core5® Reading is an adaptive blended learning program that provides all students—from at-risk to on-level and advanced—a systematic and structured approach to six areas of reading, from phonological awareness to comprehension. “Students use Lexia everyday in our district, working on their level-completing tasks. It’s a very useful and dynamic tool,” our judges commented.

professional development to facilitate effective utilization. Tech & Learning judges said, “The analytics and data privacy features of this product are very valuable for districts.”

demonstrate learning, and enhance writing assignments – in any subject – through digital comics. “This product reaches all students with its comic book-style lesson and assignment creations,” remarked the judges. “Totally engaging!”

MIND RESEARCH INSTITUTE: ST MATH

POWERSCHOOL: SCHOOLOGY LEARNING

The program’s patented approach provides students with challenging puzzles, non-routine problem solving, and informative feedback. “One of the best tools for building students’ problem-solving skills,” our judges said.

Schoology Learning, PowerSchool’s learning management system, combines everything needed for remote or blended teaching and learning into one place – a one-stopshop for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. “This learning management system recently purchased by PowerSchool suite of products is a solution for districts looking for virtual environments,” said T&L judges.

PEARSON: PEARSON K-12 ONLINE LEARNING/ CONNECTIONS ACADEMY LIGHTSPEED SYSTEMS: LIGHTSPEED ALERT™ Lightspeed Alert uses AI to monitor, interpret, and flag the early warning signs of suicide, cyberbullying, and school violence in online student activity. “This is a much-needed solution, with the social and emotional issues that students are dealing with now and before the pandemic,” judges said.

Pearson’s K-12 online learning programs, including the Connections Academy online school, offer curriculum designed for the online environment and social/emotional learning, specially trained teachers, guidance counselors, clubs, and extracurriculars. “The outstanding curriculum, tutors, and virtual live meeting with other students supports learning and social and emotional growth,” judges noted.

PRESENCELEARNING: TELETHERAPY ESSENTIALS

LIGHTSPEED ANALYTICS™ Lightspeed Analytics tracks education technology adoption and usage trends to help schools eliminate redundancy, drive ROI, gauge usage trends to drive student engagement, or target training and

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PIXTON COMICS INC.: PIXTON Pixton EDU is a web-app that gives teachers and students a unique way to create stories,

Teletherapy Essentials combines teletherapy training with PresenceLearning’s platform to allow school teams to deliver teletherapy and tele-assessment on the company’s platform, designed specifically by clinicians for clinicians. “This program takes the burden off of school districts with its many options,” T&L judges commented.


BEST REMOTE TOOLS teachers create engaging lessons that students interact with in class, remotely, or on their own time, all on their own devices. “A set of resources any teacher can use, regardless of whether they have a SMART board or any interactive whiteboard at all. It enriches student-led learning, projectbased learning, and flipped classroom experiences,” T&L judges stated.

PROMETHEAN: CLASSFLOW ClassFlow is a cloud-based lesson-delivery software program that is integrated with Promethean’s interactive display, ActivPanel, and is available on all interactive displays. ClassFlow offers collective lessons, activities, quizzes, and more. Our judges said, “This interactive lesson-delivery platform is a great solution to engaging students both in person and virtually. It is device- and system-agnostic, which makes it easy for school districts to incorporate.”

SOURCEWELL TECHNOLOGY: SPRING MATH

TEXTHELP: FLUENCY TUTOR FOR GOOGLE Fluency Tutor® for Google™ allows students to record themselves reading and then share that content with their teacher - away from the pressures of reading aloud in the classroom environment, and independently in remote/hybrid learning environments. T&L judges said, “Ideal for spotting where reading intervention is required and with an easy-to-use and clear layout that makes action possible, even remotely.”

Developed in collaboration with a nationally renowned educator, Spring Math is an interactive platform that combines tools for assessment, intervention, and progress monitoring. “Its versatility provides highquality assessments for both high-achieving students and students at risk,” said our judges.

TEXTHELP: EQUATIO EquatIO lets users type or handwrite virtually any mathematical expressions and equations including chemistry and physics equations directly on keyboard or touchscreen. “This makes teaching and learning math digitally a far easier and more effective prospect,” judges commented.

SAVVAS LEARNING COMPANY: SAVVAS REALIZE™ LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR REMOTE LEARNING Realize is a one-stop LMS that brings standards-aligned curricula into a robust digital platform, ideal for remote learning. “A powerful learning management system that offers wide integration with the likes of Google Classroom and more,” judges said.

SMART TECHNOLOGIES: SMART LEARNING SUITE SMART Learning Suite is an all-in-one, web-based education software that helps

TCI: SOCIAL STUDIES AND SCIENCE BLENDED LEARNING SOLUTION TCI’s science and social studies programs and resources provide immersive learning experiences, including ready-to-teach lessons, rich media, lesson games, interactive activities, and more. Judges said, “In a time when students are learning both in-person and virtual, this program is designed to engage all students in the learning through student empowerment.”

TOOLS FOR SCHOOLS: BOOK CREATOR Book Creator lets students combine text, images, audio, and video to make engaging digital books that demonstrate their learning. “This program has been invaluable to

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BEST REMOTE TOOLS elementary school teachers in the virtual environment. Students create stories and books online that bring their ideas, creativity, and personalities to life,” T&L judges said.

BEST REMOTE/BLENDED LEARNING TOOLS FOR SECONDARY GRADES 7 MINDSETS: 7 MINDSETS

UNRULY STUDIOS, INC.: UNRULY SPLATS Unruly Splats is a STEM learning tool that combines coding with active-play, via programmable floor buttons that students code to light up, make sounds, and collect points when stomped on. Our judges noted, “Whether in the face-to-face or virtual learning environment, students learn coding commands using their bodies as physical movements.”

7 Mindsets is a research-based socialemotional learning (SEL) solution that includes a comprehensive web-based curriculum, professional development, and coaching. “This product solves school districts’ challenges of supporting both students and teachers with SEL programs,” said our judges.

connectivity, and impact-resistant chassis with reinforced I/O and a tamper- and spillresistant keyboard. T&L judges called it “The leader of the new fleet of Chromebooks,” and said, “This is made to go anywhere, with even a heavy-handed child.”

APEX LEARNING: APEX LEARNING DISTRICTWIDE DIGITAL CURRICULUM ACCELERATE LEARNING: STEMSCOPES NGSS 3D STEMscopes NGSS 3D is a phenomena-based science curriculum that provides K-6 teachers with everything they need to address the disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices that form each standard of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). “This STEM program is built on the 5E lesson model to move lessons away from teacher-led to student led,” our judges said.

Apex Learning districtwide curriculum helps educators to get students back on track with credit recovery as well as providing fully virtual learning programs. “This is a comprehensive online curriculum for high school students,” judges said.

VIEWSONIC CORP.: VIEWSONIC MYVIEWBOARD SOFTWARE The ViewSonic® myViewBoard™ platform is an interactive solution that can work in hybrid or remote-/distance-learning environments, helping teachers to prepare engaging content, present interactive lessons, and promote participation in the classroom. “The versatility of working with lots of platforms helps, as does the inclusion of cloud-based storage and a built-in educational video teaching platform,” said judges.

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ACER: ACER CHROMEBOOK 511 (C741L) The Acer Chromebook 511 (C741L) is an 11.6-inch notebook computer offering up to 20 hours of battery life, built-in 4G LTE

ARISTO EDUCATIONAL PRESS LTD.: ARISTO E-COMPANION FOR CHINESE HISTORY AND HISTORY Aristo e-Companion for Chinese History and History’ (the e-Companion) is a comprehensive package of blended learning resources available in both web and app platforms. “Using the app on devices, students


BEST REMOTE TOOLS are able to create, learn, and experience Chinese history in a way that jumps off the screen,” said T&L judges.

AVER: AVER TR310 AUTO TRACKING DISTANCE LEARNING CAMERA The TR310 features two auto tracking modes including Presenter Tracking or Zone Tracking with no need for a camera operator. “The features of this product solves a lot of distance learning issues. The use of AI and the ability to create learning zone presets is great,” judges commented.

AVER M5 DOCUMENT CAMERA The M5 distance learning document camera is UVC/ UAC compliant with plugand-play USB connectivity, and features a built-in mic. “This is an excellent affordable document camera, portable and lightweight, making it ideal for moving around to different locations,” judges said.

®

BOXLIGHT: MIMIOCONNECT® MimioConnect® combines lesson building and instructional tools to help create an active and engaged learning environment. “The features of this product pair well with touch devices, and the fact that it’s platform-agnostic and can import files from other programs is a great plus,” said Tech & Learning judges.

BOXLIGHT: MYSTEMKITS VIRTUAL STEM ACTIVITIES MyStemKits Virtual STEM activities were developed in the wake of the pandemic by converting 3D printable hands on STEM lessons in MyStemKits.com platform into virtual simulations that allow students to complete math and science challenges in the comfort of their home. Our judges liked the virtual options and said, “The LMS-like ability to assign lessons is also a nice feature.”

CLASSLINK: CLASSLINK SUITE ClassLink offers instant access to apps and files with single sign-on, streamlines class rostering, automates account provisioning, and provides actionable analytics. “The admin console makes it easy to monitor, control, and assess apps, software usage, and data sharing options,” said Tech & Learning judges.

CODERZ: CODERZ CoderZ, an immersive, gamified, and cloud-based virtual robotics education platform, is designed to engage students in learning principles of coding, robotics, and computational skills – whether learning is taking place in the classroom or remotely – through the engaging context of robotics. “CoderZ is a very good robotic simulation program. It solves the problem of keeping students engaged in STEM activities while learning from home,” our judges noted.

AVID PRODUCTS: AE-55 HEADSET AVID’s AE-55 headset offers an ambidextrous design, noise-reducing earpads, and a unidirectional noisecanceling 270° rotating boom microphone. T&L judges liked the price, noise-canceling features, and leatherette ear pads. They added, “The fact that they are also certified for various tests is a plus.”

CATCHON: CATCHON

CONTENTKEEPER: CK MOBILE FOR IOS

CatchOn’s data analytics allows educators to track digital engagement, personalize learning, ensure student data privacy compliance, and more. Judges called it “a valuable tool for looking at ROI and engagement,” and liked the real-time analytic information on student app/website use, and capabilities for planning and budgeting.

CK Mobile for iOS provides schools with the web-filtering intelligence required to deploy iPads as remote learning tools. “This web- and content-filtering system protects students, no matter what device they are using, and provides real time information valuable to IT departments,” Tech & Learning judges said.

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BEST REMOTE TOOLS is easily navigated by the entire school community,” T&L judges commented.

EDINCITES: INCITE TEACHING & LEARNING PLATFORM

CTL: CTL CHROMEBOOK NL71CT-LTE The CTL Chromebook NL71CT-LTE allows users to connect from anywhere, with no need for a wifi connection or mobile hotspot, giving instant access to email, documents, apps, video conferencing, and more, using the touch-enabled display. T&L judges liked the NL71CT-LTE and noted, “This seems like a well-built device with features to protect it from the daily abuse it could receive from students.”

DISCOVERY EDUCATION: DISCOVERY EDUCATION PLATFORM Discovery Education Experience is a flexible K-12 learning platform that connects educators to an extensive collection of standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, and professional learning resources. “Now interoperable with LMSs, Google and Microsoft Teams, and SSO with Clever, this product offers seamless opportunities for learning,” our judges said.

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The Incite Teaching & Learning Platform supports remote, blended, flipped, or in-classroom teaching and learning while delivering standards-based insights to improve student achievement and teacher effectiveness. “With the idea of anytime/anywhere learning, educators can deliver instruction and assessment, connect with parents, and provide students with personalized learning using the system’s analytic engine,” T&L judges noted.

EDMENTUM: EDMENTUM COURSEWARE Edmentum Courseware digital curriculum for grade 6 through adult learners is aligned to state and national standards with more than 400 courses and 30,000 hours of instruction covering core, elective, CTE, world language, ELL proficiency, and advanced subjects. T&L judges noted, “With options such as live virtual teachers, self-paced learning, or a combination of both, this product is vital in our new learning environment.”

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA: BRITANNICA LAUNCHPACKS: SCIENCE AND SOCIAL STUDIES Britannica LaunchPacks: Social Studies provides more than 2,000 curated bundles of Britannica informational text and multimedia assets focused around thematic units covered in the K-12 social studies curricula. T&L judges said, “With its ability to deliver content based on student skill level and native language, this platform engages students effectively, while the integration with Kahoot! makes the learning fun.”

BRITANNICA SCHOOL Britannica School offers thousands of curated and curriculum-relevant articles, images, videos, audio clips, primary sources, maps, research tools, recommended websites, and three connected databases to meet every reading level. “This is a great way for the students to conduct online research; it’s a kidfriendly tool and easy for the students to use,” our judges noted.

EXPLORELEARNING: EXPLORELEARNING GIZMOS EDSBY: EDSBY Edsby® is a cloud-based K-12 learning management system (LMS) built for the needs of K-12 students, educators, and parents, and providing an easy-to-learn, social mediastyle interface. “The safe and secure platform

Gizmos are online simulations that excite curiosity and invite interaction, with more than 400 math and science Gizmos available for grades 3-12. “This program makes learning math facts fun, while also scaffolding the lessons so that each student feels successful,” T&L judges said.


BEST REMOTE TOOLS schools assess and monitor writing growth. “The assessment tools, guided practice, and authentic feedback functions allow teachers to focus on skills necessary for young writers,” said Tech & Learning judges.

FORWARD EDGE: EDGE•U BADGES Edge•U is an instruction-focused professional learning system that offers concise professional learning opportunities to support educators with the challenges they face every day. “Digital badges are a really great way to enhance and motivate users to participate in self-directed PD,” said Tech & Learning judges. “And we like that they align with the ISTE Standards.”

HALL TECHNOLOGIES: HIVE CONTROL FOR THE HIVEENABLED CLASSROOM The HIVE Control is a cloud-based AV control platform engineered from the cloud down. The HIVE Nodes (one of the three main components of HIVE Control) are designed to directly connect to all existing legacy or wirelessly connect to IP-enabled hardware devices. “The node-based architecture means no need for a centralized server, saving money and space. Touch controls are all inclusive and powerful while remaining easy to use,” said our judges.

GALE, A CENGAGE COMPANY: GALE CASE STUDIES Gale Case Studies is an online instructional tool that provides faculty with teaching resources to help students critically analyze culturally relevant social justice issues through the lens of primary sources on topics such as LGBTQ+, race, political extremism, and public health concerns. “This tool helps young researchers develop their information literacy and critical thinking skills,” said our judges.

GOGUARDIAN: GOGUARDIAN SUITE GoGuardian helps schools maximize the remote learning potential of every student by creating safe and effective digital learning environments. T&L judges especially liked the monitoring features and the chat function, and noted, “It can set sessions to automatically start and track the students’ online activity even if teachers don’t log in.”

HALL TECHNOLOGIES: EMCEE200 SEAMLESS MULTIVIEW PRESENTATION SWITCHER

HOVERCAM: EGLASS HoverCam’s eGlass is a transparent writing surface featuring a built-in camera and adjustable lighting, ideal for remote, hybrid, and traditional classrooms. The camera captures the instructor and whatever they write on the surface of the glass simultaneously. Our judges said, “The builtin software tools and lighting are amazing.”

EMCEE200 is a seamless multiview presentation switcher scaler with Picture-inPicture (PIP) and Picture-Over-Picture (POP) capabilities. T&L judges said, “The built-in dual mic mixer and audio embedding as well as de-embedding make this a powerful presentation tool.”

HUE: HUE HD PRO CAMERA HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT: WRITABLE With more than 600 easily customizable assignments, including essays, short responses, student models, state-level benchmark assessments, and more, Writable helps

The HUE HD Pro is a flexible, multipurpose document camera with a built-in microphone that delivers a high-quality image for $79.95. “This is a very affordable and portable camera. Having the built-in LED lighting is also a plus,” said the judges.

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BEST REMOTE TOOLS learning disabilities, special needs, and vision impairments. “With the ability to engage and reach all students with its voice-read texts, accommodation functions, and progress monitoring capabilities, this literacy program is tops,” our judges stated.

analytics and data privacy features of this product are very valuable for districts.”

MACKIN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES: MACKINVIA

INFOBASE: SOURCE REFERENCE Source Reference is an integrated research and information literacy skill development platform containing curated reference content, instructional videos, and tutorials. “Ideal for beginner researchers with instructional videos and tutorials to guide grades 6 to 12, with over 450 top-tier reference titles,” T&L judges said.

KRAMER: EDU-HYBRID-1 Kramer’s EDU-Hybrid-1 is a software-agnostic wireless presentation and collaboration solution that allows teachers to connect and present lessons from any wireless device to in-class and remote students simultaneously. Judges said, “This is a good solution for standalone blended-learning environments that can be made permanent for future use.”

LEARNING ALLY: LEARNING ALLY AUDIOBOOK SOLUTION The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is a flexible reading resource for students in grades 3-12 and higher education with reading deficits, including those with dyslexia and

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LESSON PLANET: LEARNING EXPLORER Learning Explorer is a unified lesson planning, curriculum delivery, and learning object repository (LOR) platform that helps teachers (preK-12) to discover, build, manage, share, and deliver engaging, standards-based curriculum anytime, anywhere. Tech & Learning judges noted, “This product takes the legwork out of developing rich, engaging curriculum for students in grades preK-12.”

LIGHTSPEED SYSTEMS: LIGHTSPEED ALERT™ Lightspeed Alert uses AI to monitor, interpret, and flag the early warning signs of suicide, cyberbullying, and school violence in online student activity. “This is a much-needed solution, with the social and emotional issues that students are dealing with now and before the pandemic,” judges said.

MackinVIA is a free digital content management system that provides schools, students, and educators with easy access to their collection of eBooks, read-alongs, audiobooks, databases, and videos. “The inclusion of free and paid books, at state contract pricing, is a plus and makes it easy for schools to manage their digital collections in one place,” said our judges.

MANAGEDMETHODS: MANAGEDMETHODS ManagedMethods provides a centralized command center for managing Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity and student safety risks in remote learning environments. T&L judges stated, “Managed Methods solves many of districts’ IT data privacy, data loss, malware, phishing, and student safety concerns.”

MAXCASES: EXTREME SHELL-L

LIGHTSPEED ANALYTICS™ Lightspeed Analytics tracks education technology adoption and usage trends to help schools eliminate redundancy, drive ROI, gauge usage trends to drive student engagement, or target training and professional development to facilitate effective utilization. Tech & Learning judges said, “The

The MAXCases Extreme Shell-L delivers full-coverage protection in a new lightweight and budget-friendly design. Our judges liked the high quality of the cases and called them “very protective.”


BEST REMOTE TOOLS

NETSUPPORT: CLASSROOM.CLOUD NetSupport’s latest product, classroom.cloud, is a cloud-based classroom management and teaching tool that is usable across a wide range of platforms, devices, and locations. “This solves a big problem for teachers trying to deliver online instruction, allowing them to monitor students as well as push out websites, etc., while saving a lot of time and stress.”

PEAR DECK: PEAR DECK Pear Deck lets teachers add formative assessments and interactive questions to presentations right within Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint Online. “Pear Deck is easy to use and implement, and a great way to get students to interact with the PowerPoints you make yourself,” said judges.

POWERSCHOOL: SCHOOLOGY LEARNING Schoology Learning, PowerSchool’s learning management system, combines everything needed for remote or blended teaching and learning into one place – a one-stopshop for students, parents, teachers and administrators.  “This learning management system recently purchased by PowerSchool suite of products is a solution for districts looking for virtual environments,” said T&L judges.

SECURLY: SECURLY CLASSROOM Securly Classroom is a cloud-based classroom management tool for Chromebooks, PCs, and Macs that helps teachers to guide lessons, monitor student activity, and keep the focus on learning during class, regardless of whether classrooms are in-person or remote. T&L judges noted, “Student safety is paramount for school counselors and principals. This project analyzes student activity over time, which can lead to early interventions.”

PROMETHEAN: CLASSFLOW ClassFlow is a cloud-based lesson delivery software program that is integrated with Promethean’s interactive display, ActivPanel, and is available on all interactive displays. ClassFlow offers collective lessons, activities, quizzes, and more. Our judges said, “This interactive lesson-delivery platform is a great solution to engaging students both in person and virtually. It is device- and system-agnostic, which makes it easy for school districts to incorporate.”

STUDY.COM: STUDY.COM Study.com is an online education platform offering more than 84,000 lessons and 18,500 teaching tools, including lesson plans, worksheets, and activities. “This impressively comprehensive app (and website) can help kids and adults learn more about an amazing breadth of topics,” our judges said.

PEARSON: PEARSON K-12 ONLINE LEARNING/ CONNECTIONS ACADEMY Pearson’s K-12 online learning programs, including the Connections Academy online school, offer curriculum designed for the online environment and social/emotional learning, specially trained teachers, guidance counselors, clubs, and extracurriculars. “The outstanding curriculum, tutors, and virtual live meeting with other students supports learning and social and emotional growth,” judges noted.

SAVVAS LEARNING COMPANY: SAVVAS REALIZE™ LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR REMOTE LEARNING Realize is a one-stop LMS that brings standards-aligned curricula into a robust digital platform, ideal for remote learning. “A powerful learning management system that offers wide integration with the likes of Google Classroom and more,” judges said.

TCI: SOCIAL STUDIES AND SCIENCE BLENDED LEARNING SOLUTION TCI’s science and social studies programs and resources provide immersive learning experiences, including ready-to-teach lessons, rich media, lesson games, interactive activities, and more. Judges said, “In a time when students are learning both in-person and virtual, this program is designed to engage

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BEST REMOTE TOOLS all students in the learning through student empowerment.”

flexibility to large monitors, televisions, or interactive touchscreens. “A versatile, reliable, and sturdy option for mounting and moving a display from 60-inches up to 100-inches,” said our judges.

and students easily insert, view, and sync a video to sensor data for analysis, and it features the ability to perform live experiments and share data over the internet in real time. “Graphical Analysis Pro is compatible with multiple platforms, including Chromebooks, integrates easily, and is ideal for biology, chemistry, physics, and middle school science,” commented T&L judges.

TEXTHELP: EQUATIO EquatIO lets users type or handwrite virtually any mathematical expressions and equations, including chemistry and physics equations, directly on keyboard or touchscreen. “This makes teaching and learning math digitally a far easier and more effective prospect,” judges commented.

TEXTHELP: WRIQ WriQ is a Google Chrome extension from Texthelp that gives each student access to their own personalized mini dashboard, and automatically analyses Docs for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, in addition to metrics such as time on task, vocabulary maturity, and more. Tech & Learning judges said, “This offers a superb way to cut down on marking time for teachers, while helping encourage writing progress in students, both in-class and remotely.”

TRIPP LITE: USB-C DOCKING STATIONS Tripp Lite’s USB-C docking stations for multiple displays transform a USB-C port on a laptop, notebook, or tablet computer into a multiport workstation. “From DisplayPort and HDMI to VGA and Stereo Audio, these offer a lot of USB-C compatibility, with a reasonable price and high reliability.”

UWORLD: AP LEARNING TOOLS

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The ViewSonic® ID1330 is an ultra-thin ViewBoard® Pen Display that allows users to create, manage, and share digital content, and can be plugged into a PC or laptop and used as a secondary touch device for sharing online lessons. “With 8,192 levles of pressure sensitivity and a 60-degree tilt angle, this is versatile enough to work like a real pen to teach lots of types of classes,” our judges said.

Learning Tools for AP® Courses use realistic and up-to-date questions modeled after College Board®-level content with answer explanations that are clear, concise and complete, ensuring students understand why they got an answer wrong, retain the information, and master concepts. T&L judges stated, “Its customizable assignment tools that can be integrated into AP curriculum ensure students have the skills they need to be successful on AP exams.”

TRIPP LITE: ROLLING TV MONITOR CARTS WITH RECHARGEABLE BATTERY Tripp Lite’s new rolling TV/monitor carts with rechargeable battery power add mobility, height adjustability, and placement

VIEWSONIC CORP.: VIEWSONIC ID1330 VIEWBOARD PEN DISPLAY

WIN LEARNING: ESSENTIAL SOFT SKILLS

VERNIER SOFTWARE & TECHNOLOGY: VERNIER GRAPHICAL ANALYSIS™ PRO Vernier Graphical Analysis™ Pro lets educators

The Essential Soft Skills learning solution teaches, reinforces, and measures mastery of attitudinal and behavioral skills that are essential to success in school and the workplace. “A powerful soft skills assessment tool that can help those planning for work, or who have left school, to maximize their chances of getting work,” T&L judges said.


BEST REMOTE TOOLS BEST REMOTE/BLENDED LEARNING TOOLS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

CRESTRON ELECTRONICS, INC.: CRESTRON FLEX

BIBLIU: BIBLIU BibliU’s learning content management platform enables college students to access digital textbooks and other learning resources on any device in an interactive format, while also reducing overhead expenses for universities. “Full university and college integration makes this a powerful and efficient tool for higher educational institutions,” said Tech & Learning judges.

Crestron Flex is a portfolio of videoconferencing solutions that transform any classroom into a dynamic, collaborative learning environment. “This is a very good product for higher education and some high school uses,” said our judges.

GALE, A CENGAGE COMPANY: GALE CASE STUDIES Gale Case Studies is an online instructional tool that provides faculty with teaching resources to help students critically analyze culturally relevant social justice issues through the lens of primary sources on topics such as LGBTQ+, race, political extremism, and public health concerns. “This tool helps young researchers develop their information literacy and critical thinking skills,” said judges.

CYPHER LEARNING: NEO CLASSLINK: CLASSLINK SUITE ClassLink offers instant access to apps and files with single sign-on, streamlines class rostering, automates account provisioning, and provides actionable analytics. “The admin console makes it easy to monitor, control and assess apps, software usage and data sharing options,” said Tech & Learning judges.

NEO helps schools manage all classroom activities, such as creating and delivering educational content, organizing resources and learning materials, assessing students, tracking student achievement, providing professional development for teachers, and promoting collaboration between students and faculty. Our judges said, “This LMS platform offers educators the opportunity to personalize their courses and lessons to students’ needs and learning styles.”

HOVERCAM: EGLASS HoverCam’s eGlass is a transparent writing surface featuring a built-in camera and adjustable lighting, ideal for remote, hybrid,

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BEST REMOTE TOOLS and traditional classrooms. The camera captures the instructor and whatever they write on the surface of the glass simultaneously. Our judges said, “The builtin software tools and lighting are amazing.”

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS AMERICA: SMART MONITOR As Samsung’s first monitor with wifi, Bluetooth, and Wireless DeX built-in, Smart Monitor incorporates mobile and PC connectivity and remote learning features, giving students the flexibility to learn remotely and access entertainment without being connected to a PC. T&L judges noted, “These are really nice monitors at an affordable price, well-suited for higher education or at-home use.”

SHURE INCORPORATED: MV5C HOME OFFICE MICROPHONE Shure’s new MV5C Home Office Microphone provides studio-quality audio for video and online classes, and at $99, the microphone offers an accessible price point for all. Our judges said, “From an audio specialist brand, this microphone is crammed with technology to offer ultimate clarity when teaching remotely.”

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SONIC FOUNDRY: MEDIASITE MOSAIC Mediasite Mosaic is a light-weight desktop app that, when combined with Mediasite Video Platform, allows users to create great-looking videos, screencasts, and slideshows with one click from any device. “This product is great for anyone, even the most inexperienced student, who wants to create dynamic videos and media,” said T&L judges.

VERNIER SOFTWARE & TECHNOLOGY: VERNIER GRAPHICAL ANALYSIS™ PRO Vernier Graphical Analysis™ Pro lets educators and students easily insert, view, and sync a video to sensor data for analysis, and it features the ability to perform live experiments and share data over the internet in real time. “Graphical Analysis Pro is compatible with multiple platforms, including Chromebooks, integrates easily, and is ideal for biology, chemistry, physics, and middle school science,” commented T&L judges.

VIEWSONIC CORP.: VIEWSONIC LD163-151 DIRECT VIEW LED DISPLAY The ViewSonic® LD163-181 is a 163-inch, allin-one, direct view LED commercial display, designed for large venue environments such as auditoriums and lecture halls. The LD163-181 is a cost-effective alternative to traditional custom-made video walls. Said T&L judges, “For in-class display work, this is a powerful solution that offers a massive screen size combined with high-quality. This is a specialist display that works with lots of hardware dedicated to teaching.”


WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: EXAMINING OUR HISTORY IS KEY TO SUPPORT In order to support women in leadership positions, school districts first need to unpack their practices, identify when their inequities began, and then systematically change behaviors By Dr. Brandy Nelson

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ften, when I enter spaces, someone will ask me, “How did you get here?” Not literally how I got there, but figuratively. In other words, “What was your path to leadership?” I usually pause and say something along the lines of, “I prioritize curiosity.” I have always been a curious person. Growing up in Prince George’s County, Maryland, my parents enrolled me in a book subscription service as a youngster in an effort to support my voracious curiosity for a wide variety of subjects. My experiences growing up also helped me understand the complexity of inequity and access. As a result, I lead unapologetically from the influences and experiences grounded in my education, my family, my community, and my history. I also understand that I have consumed ideas that are racist and biased, and I must do the hard work to interrogate those beliefs and behaviors. When leading, coaching, and serving others, I remain constantly curious. This curiosity inevitably leads me to an exploration of individual and collective histories. Through my work in large and small organizations, I have found that the histories of the individuals and the histories of the organization serve as the foundation to decisions and structures. Said another way, individual and organizational histories serve as the soil from which concepts, decisions, policies, practices, rules, regulations, and discretion grow, and ensure that those individuals and systems continue to function in the way they were created. James Baldwin said it best when he commented in Ebony Magazine’s August 1965 article, The White Man’s Guilt: “On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” I believe it would be foolish to imagine that a problem being presented is new, novel and unique. It was forged in history.

I have spent more than 25 years of my life working in the education sector. Through my observations, one consistent problem of practice has been around the lack of women in senior leadership positions. It is important to note that education is not an outlier regarding this problem. Education is unique, however, when considering the number of women serving in teaching roles, for example, is not proportionate to the number of women in senior leadership roles. While 54% of public school principals identified as female in 2017-18, a 10% increase from 1999-2000, and the number of white principals decreased by 4% during those same years, this slow growth trajectory guarantees limited opportunities for women in general, and women of color in particular, into senior leadership positions. The solution to this problem of practice is not on the backs of the women seeking senior leadership roles. Organizations have to transform the way they seek, support, encourage, and amplify talent. Evidence to support this type of transformation is grounded in their history. It all came from somewhere. When coaching individuals and organizations, I work with them to unpack their practices, identify where in their histories the problem began, and then systematically change the behavior. Through these actions, we are able to dismantle the inequitable elements and reimagine a new system that drives toward intended outcomes. This style of leadership and coaching is hard work. Some might say “staying curious” is time consuming. However, if we don’t do this hard, time-consuming work, we will surely replicate the systems and the thinking we are trying to disrupt. Dr. Brandy Nelson is Executive Director, Learning and Teaching, Secondary, for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, and the founder/CEO of Nelson Roots.

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WHY ZOOM FATIGUE OCCURS AND HOW EDUCATORS CAN OVERCOME IT

Zoom fatigue is real, say researchers at Stanford University, but there are steps educators can take to prevent it By Erik Ofgang

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hen elevators first emerged in the 1800s, people riding these “ascending rooms” weren’t sure where to look but ultimately realized facing the door and avoiding eye contact was the best bet. “Being close to someone and staring them in the eye at the same time has a very strong meaning, but then suddenly if you are in an elevator, you find yourself very close to a stranger,” says Géraldine Fauville, an assistant professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. “To compensate for this proximity we avoid eye contact, so you will look at your phone and you will not turn toward the other person and stare at them, that would be a very weird behavior. But basically that’s what we experience in video conferences: suddenly everyone in the elevator is staring at you, is very close to you, and they are all oriented toward you.”

CAROL YEPES/GETTY IMAGES

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ZOOM FATIGUE Fauville is part of a team of researchers working remotely at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab and the Social Media Lab, both at Stanford University, to study the causes of Zoom fatigue and better understand how to combat it. A former postdoctoral researcher at the VHIL, Fauville and her colleagues have developed the Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale, or ZEF Scale, a 15-item questionnaire that measures Zoom fatigue. “We’ve shown that Zoom fatigue is actually something that people experience,” Fauville says. “The next step in our research is comparing Zoom fatigue to phone call fatigue to face-to-face meeting fatigue.”

SUSPECTED CAUSES OF ZOOM FATIGUE Too Much Eye Contact “During a face-to-face meeting people will look at you, will stare at you, when you are the speaker, but the moment someone else takes over you are off the hook, people will look somewhere else,” Fauville says. “During video conferences, you have this impression that everyone on the screen is staring directly at you, so you have this feeling of being constantly the center of attention and that is just stressful in general, especially for long periods of time.” The size of other participants’ faces is often large on our screen. “If you translate that into a real situation, the size of the head would mean that the person is actually very close to you, which is not a very common situation,” she says. “Generally, if people are very close to each other, that’s a very intense situation that could lead, for example, to mating or conflict.” Too Much of A Good Thing? During video meetings or class sessions we are looking at a live video feed of ourselves, which can be like looking into a mirror all day. “There are studies showing that seeing yourself makes you more critical of yourself, which has a positive impact on prosocial behavior, but it also has some potential emotional effects,” Fauville says. “This is tiring for the brain.”

No Nonverbal Cues “During face-to-face meetings, besides what we say, we have a lot of ways to communicate with one another,” Fauville says. “It’s about the intonation we use, the pauses we use in our sentences, the way we orient our body, and so on. So there is a lot of information that most of us understand naturally instinctively and that adds to what we say. With video conferences, the only information I have about your body language is your head and your shoulder, so suddenly I have to second guess what

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HOW TO OVERCOME FATIGUE Turn Off Your Camera After setting up her camera at the start of a class or meeting, Fauville uses the “hide self ” function. Educators should be open to students turning off their cameras as well because of the stresses it can cause. “It is important to think about using cameras only when it really adds something. But if it’s not essential to see one another during the whole class then maybe think about letting the student disable it,” she says.

TEACHERS ARE GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND DURING THE PANDEMIC IN TRYING TO ENGAGE STUDENTS THROUGH VIDEO. THEY MAY NOT REALIZE JUST STARING AT A SCREEN CAN WEAR OUT A STUDENT’S EYES.” —DR. HALLIE ZWIBEL

Lack of Movement “During face-to-face meetings it’s pretty common for people to move around, go get some water, go to the whiteboard, and so on,” Fauville says. “Studies have shown that motion and movement are very important for creativity, for learning and for performance in general, so suddenly with video conferences, you are stuck in this box in view of the camera.”

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you mean behind your words.” We also have to be more intense and put more effort into our own communication to get our meaning across. All this taxes our brain.

Take a Break From the Video Feed Fauville recommends shrinking the size of your video conferencing window so it’s not taking up your full screen. It can also be a good idea to focus on something other than your screen periodically by turning your body away from your camera and screen. This way, she says, “You focus on what you hear, you don’t have to think about the body movement and so on.” Create a Setup That Encourages Movement Fauville says standing desks can help with mobility on video calls. You can walk in place and even pace back and forth a bit. Setting up your camera further away from you so that it captures more of the room can also allow you to move more without fear of going off frame. An external keyboard can help you sit further away as well, which can encourage movement and put more distance between you and your screen, decreasing the intensity of the eye contact your brain perceives from other participants.

FOCUS ON PHYSICAL HEALTH Beyond mental exhaustion, spending so much extra time on computers can take a physical toll on our eyes and bodies. Dr. Hallie Zwibel, the New York Institute of Technology team physician and director of its Center for Sports Medicine, is an expert on the health of esports athletes. Much of the advice he and his team give esports athletes is applicable to educators finding themselves in front of a computer more frequently. “Make sure you’re limiting glare, that your screen is eye level, with a certain amount of distance between you and your screen,” recommends Zwibel. “Try to have an ergonomic chair, making sure your keyboard is ergonomically designed. We also recommend taking a standing break at least every 45 minutes. And between 20 and 40 minutes, we recommend eye stretches, just to relax the eye muscles.” He adds, “Teachers are going above and beyond during the pandemic in trying to engage students through video. They may not realize just staring at a screen can wear out a student’s eyes. For younger children, it could be helpful to instruct them to close their eyes and imagine something related to the lesson. For older children, teachers should demonstrate eye relaxation exercises and take breaks to stand and stretch.”


SAVE THE DATE

VIRTUAL EVENT APPLY TO ATTEND Reset & Reimagine: Planning for Tomorrow’s Education Tech & Learning, the magazine and website that has been hosting professional development events for over 20 years, is launching a new Regional Leadership Summit event series, sponsored by Defined Learning and Nureva. The Tech & Learning Regional Leadership Summits bring together the Instructional and Tech District Leaders from 15 districts in a relaxed virtual setting where attendees can talk candidly about how collaboration between these departments is key to developing effective district strategic plans. Each Tech & Learning Leadership Summit focuses on the unique needs of specific regions to give attendees the valuable insight they need to develop action plans.

Who should attend: CTOs, CAOs, Instructional/Tech District Leaders

Why attend: –C ollaborate with other technology and curriculum district leaders –S hare ideas and best practices –E xpand your PLN through this new community –G et the latest news about school funding –W alk away with specific actions for your strategic planning

Interested in sponsoring? Contact Allison.knapp@futurenet.com

OUTLINE AGENDA... 10:00 AM Welcome 10:15 AM Introductions 10:30 AM Research Round Up: Hear research related to important topics for the region. 11:00 AM Topical Round Table: Group discussion about what is currently going on in their districts. 12:00 PM Networking Lunch and Learn: Lunch, courtesy of Tech & Learning, as they meet with partners to learn more about their offerings. 1:30 PM Reflections and Next Steps: Reflective discussion around what has been discussed, including next steps for the participants. 2:15 PM Closing

May 18: California

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June 21: Georgia

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April 23: Mid-South

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(Mississippi/Arkansas/Tennessee)

September 24: Mid–West

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October 22: North–East

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November 12: North–West

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December 3: Florida

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