More schools are using data analytics to make hiring decisions, asserts Jonah Rockoff, a Columbia University associate professor of finance and economics who studies teacher-hiring systems. However, more research is needed to determine whether the programs are effective, he says.
Educators and advocates say schools increasingly are adapting to new technology and now are beginning to use social media, such as Skype and Twitter, in innovative ways to create authentic learning experiences for students. In one example, a second-grade teacher used Twitter to help students practice their writing, including proper use of grammar and punctuation. Educators are cautioned, however, to ensure social media use is private, education-oriented and secure.
In this commentary, Bryan M. Berretta, director of academic technology at Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tenn., suggests that school IT professionals work to balance their focus on the latest technology innovations with their support for teachers and students. He recommends, among other things, that IT professionals go into the classroom to experience the technology firsthand and ensure that curricular goals and vision are supported.
While back-to-school shopping season is still months away, instructional technology specialist Andrew Marcinek suggests that many traditional items can be replaced by purchasing an iPad for students. He suggests that note-taking be done on the Notability application, and that students use Haiku Deck to help build presentations. Other recommended applications include Edmodo, ShowMe and Google Drive, which helps students archive their work.
Educators at a high school in South Dakota are using technology to help further students' critical-thinking skills. As part of that effort, teachers recently participated in training on how to use iPads in the classroom. Among other things, teachers have used the devices to create their own iBooks, and educators say that communication and learning have improved.