Conference Insights: Charters & Tech

The Learning Collective just returned from two conferences: the National Charter Schools Conference and ISTE.  In fact, we may have been the only folks at both.  Here are some takeaways:

  • 2.1 million of the 55 million K-12 students nationally are in charter schools
  • Lots of discussions on BYOD (bring your own devices) were happening at both conferences
  • Many online teachers know their students better now than when those same teachers taught in traditional brick and mortar classrooms.
  • Khan Academy will soon launch an improved suite of services and technical assistance for educators
  • There’s an app for everything … including a good one for the Common Core
  • There’s an increasing need for companies such as Junyo that help schools use data, across digital learning providers, to inform instruction
  • Twitter is being used increasingly for teacher professional development
  • There are a couple interesting new videoconferencing technologies: iSee is an interesting mix of video conferencing and virtual worlds … think Second Life with real-time video-based avatars.  VGo is robot-based, mobile videoconferencing
  • 1:1 computing is best if it’s a mix of devices – iPads, netbooks, etc.
  • Portugal, Turkey and Uruguay have 1:1 national computing programs.
  • With all of the apps available, the Texas Instruments graphic calculators are becoming obsolete