Best of 2008: Technology Focus

 Putting technology to work for school leaders

Related Documents

Low-Tech Communication Tools
A good, functional phone system can work wonders with your school-home communications. Optimally, every classroom should have a phone with voice mail at the teacher’s desk, so the teacher can access their grade books, attendance sheets, discipline stats, assessment data, and other important information. Other effective communications solutions include e-mail and websites.
December 2008

Alerting Parents in a School Emergency
In a nod to the widespread use of mobile phones and other PDAs by students, a majority of campuses, 57 percent, still maintain that text messaging is their emergency notification method of choice, and that they’ll be installing or upgrading those kinds of systems in 2008-2009.
December 2008

Protecting Students Online
Web-savvy kids are trying anything and everything to connect to their peers, but are not aware of the dangers that lurk in online communities. Teachers and, to a lesser extent, parents are not as facile with the new technology, and are hard pressed to keep tabs on what kids are doing.
December 2008

College Visits Made Easy
Designed as a one-stop shopping alternative to the task of schlepping around the country and visiting colleges in person, a new online tool called CollegeWeekLive ( brings students and college recruiters together for informative seminars, one-on-one chats, and virtual tours of campuses.
October 2008

Giving It All Away
As the Internet continues to grow into a place to do things as well as to view things, school leaders face attractive, but nevertheless challenging, new choices. The growing pool of new applications is moving toward open source, Web-based, and free products. But “free” here means “freely-available,” rather than freely implemented.
September 2008

Are You Ready for the Next Generation Technology?
When it comes to education technology, you and your district have it covered. Your teachers and administrators communicate through e-mail, many are PowerPoint wizards, and a few even post online content for students. Maybe you even have paperless board meetings. Life is good. Except that those applications are so 20th century.
September 2008

The New World of Electronic Textbooks
Familiar, stalwart, and in some cases, even romantic, the printed word has been the preferred method of instructional delivery in schools for eons. Change is on the horizon, however. For a select but growing number of school districts in a select but growing number of states, instructional content is as dynamic--and digital--as the world around them.
July 2008

How Schools Can Use Social Networking
The rise of dozens of new voluntary communities, or social networks, is bringing us together in unique, technology-driven ways. Could Facebook be a model for a 21st century purposeful student community designed for school improvement? Possibly. But evidence suggests that education is not prepared to accept the dimension of purposeful communities offered by social networks.
July 2008

The Smart Approach to Technology Purchases
How can a school board have confidence that it's making a good decision when asked to approve the purchase of new technology? It begins by putting less focus on the upfront price tag. The smart buy isn't always the cheapest, and it isn't a vendor discount or low bid that guarantees a district the best "bang for its buck."
July 2008

Making Your Website Google Friendly
Given Google's growing market share, it's absolutely critical for any school on the Web to ensure its site is Google-friendly. A Google-optimized site ensures that students and parents can quickly find your district on the Web even if they don't know the address.
June 2008

Arts Place in the Schools
Are the arts and music essential components of an education that every child must learn in school? Schools and school boards have struggled with this question for decades. But the advent of No Child Left Behind and similar state-level high-stakes accountability programs has put the arts under the microscope like never before.
May 2008

Net Neutrality Important in Schools
Major telecommunication companies like AT&T are trying to create two Internets. One would be free but information would travel as slow as a dirt road, while the other would perform like a six-lane expressway, but at premium rates. For schools that can't afford the extra charge, a two-tiered Internet would translate into a multitude of hassles.
May 2008

Using Technology in Phys Ed Classes
For today's students, technology has made life easier and more exciting. At the same time, the Internet, instant messaging, video games, and cellphones have contributed to a generation that is far less active and more obese than ever. So, for schools, the question is how to use the power of technology to drive students toward a healthier life style.
March 2008

Vista's Incompatibility Problem
Nearly a year after the release of Windows Vista, most users world-wide have responded with a resounding "no thanks." It's an unfortunate stumble for Microsoft, given that Vista brings an entire new level of security, search efficiency, and graphics to Windows. But a plethora of hardware and software is simply not compatible with Vista.
March 2008

How Fast Is Your Website?
Most websites today still have not been optimized for speed. The result: The Web pages you've worked so hard to build may be bypassed by frustrated parents and other visitors who don't have the time or patience to navigate a slow-loading site—especially if they're accessing the Internet with a dial-up connection.
February 2008