Browse Tag: Technology

Anyone’s Game: K–12 Esports Opportunities Abound for Girls

In recent years, esports has become increasingly popular. Its audience increased by 38 million from 2019 to 2020, and it’s projected to reach more than 576 million by 2024.

Female participation in the sport, however, hasn’t quite mirrored that pace. Sixty percent of female gamers in the U.S. and U.K. say there’s a significant lack of women participating in esports; nearly as many feel the gaming community isn’t doing enough to encourage female participation in the sport.

Ashley Hodge, who now coaches a 45-student esports team at Dodge County High School in Georgia, previously oversaw a large esports program at another high school in the state. Out of more than 125 students on that team, only five were girls, she says.

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Trends in K–12 Esports Arenas

School esports arenas are popping up across the country as competitive gaming teams grow in K–12 districts. Schools, administrators, and communities have begun to see the value esports provides to students and districts. As a result, district personnel who wish to start esports clubs are facing less pushback in making the case for these programs.

From school colors to shoutcasters, discover the popular elements in district esports spaces.

How K–12 Schools Can Future-Proof Their Technology Solutions

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught K–12 schools anything, it’s that circumstances can change quickly — and that technology can play a big role in adjusting. 

But pandemics recede, and schools continue to teach students. What lessons will K–12 districts learn from the past two years? If they’re like The Lincoln Academy, a new K–12 public charter school in Beloit, Wis., they learn to prepare for the future — not necessarily for the next health emergency, but for anything that could affect how they deliver quality education: curriculum changes, larger class sizes, student tastes, innovative pedagogies, new technologies, you name it.

Learn how The Lincoln Academy built an IT infrastructure that meets its current and future needs.

Bring the Classroom Outdoors

How K–12 Schools Are Bringing Classroom Technology to Outdoor Learning

If you stumble across a group of K–12 school students outside using laptops to track soil levels and search for monarch eggs or observing birdhouses with video cameras, you may have discovered an outdoor learning space.

From informal hammock gardens to high-tech tents, outdoor learning spaces have become markedly more popular over the past few years because of the pandemic. Educators say these spaces give students a chance to breathe fresh air, experience a change of scenery, and, most importantly, gain opportunities for increased learning engagement.

Read more about bringing education outdoors.

Is Dated Technology Contributing to the Great Teacher Resignation?

With 55 percent of educators ready to leave the profession earlier than planned, according to a recent survey from the National Education Association, school leaders are struggling to recruit and retain them. The most common reasons stated for leaving were burnout, limited staffing, and, of course, the pandemic.

Could upgrading the technology teachers use every day in their classrooms help make their work easier — and stem the tide of educators leaving school districts? According to some educational technology experts, it certainly can’t hurt.

Read more about what experts say regarding upgrading technology and its contribution to job satisfaction.

The Evolution of Technology in K–12 Classrooms: 1659 to Today

In the 21st century, it can feel like advanced technology is changing the K–12 classroom in ways we’ve never seen before. But the truth is, technology and education have a long history of evolving together to dramatically change how students learn.

With more innovations surely headed our way, why not look back at how we got to where we are today while looking forward to how educators can continue to integrate new technologies into their learning?

Read more about the challenges of integrating tech in a modern learning environment.

What Is the Flipped-Classroom Model, and What Does It Look Like in K–12 Schools Today?

Armed with more educational technology and the professional development to meaningfully use it, more educators in K–12 are considering the flipped-classroom approach.

At the onset of the pandemic, schools found ways to make virtual learning work. They rolled out one-to-one device programs and made investments in educational technology. Educators learned to use new tools and found new ways of bringing content to students.

With the technology barrier broken down, some educators took the opportunity to shift their methodology to a flipped-classroom approach. Others, who already employed this model, found that it made the transition to and from remote learning easier on students.

Read more about how technology and teaching techniques brought about by the pandemic pave a natural path to flipped classrooms in school districts.

Districts Partner with Businesses to Train Tomorrow’s IT Workforce

By 2025, an estimated 80 percent of living-wage jobs in Tennessee’s Hamilton County will require a degree or technical credential, according to the report “Chattanooga 2.0: Helping To Shape The Future Of The Workforce.”

Partly in response to this need, several years ago Hamilton County Schools launched what officials call Future Ready Institutes, designed to give students hands-on experience in fast-growing fields.

Six high schools in the county now feature an IT career cluster with classes on topics such as cybersecurity, coding, or networking.

Read more about how districts are integrating technology training into their curriculum.

2021 Survey Results

New Survey Results from GetEdFunding

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, most educators who used GetEdFunding (GEF) found it an intuitively easy and effective way to supplement shoestring budgets for technology and other needs. During the pandemic, many of them found the funding opportunities provided by GEF even more relevant and accessed them even more frequently than before.

These were among the findings of a 2021 survey conducted among 64,000+ users of, a vetted collection of thousands of relevant and innovative grants and awards sponsored by CDW-G, a leading provider of educational technology.

A total of 501 respondents from 46 U.S. states and the District of Columbia—a representative sample of the site’s users—answered the Zarca Interactive online survey between March 9 and April 30, 2021.

Grade levels for which participants are responsible span the education spectrum.  Distribution was close to even among K–12 grades, which comprised the bulk of respondents. In addition, 22 percent were connected with PreK and 18 percent with higher education—a six percentage point increase over the proportion in the most recent prior survey, conducted in 2019. Percentages are based on multiple responses to grade levels for which respondents are responsible.

Technology grants high on educators’ wish lists

More than a third of participants in the survey—36 percent—have job titles indicating likely interest in grants for technology purchases. These include educators directly involved in the grant process (writers, administrators and coordinators), technology administrators and staff (CIO/CTO, IT managers, technology integrationists, coordinators, directors, and support staff), as well as library/media specialists.

Twenty-eight percent say more than 25 percent of their technology budgets come from outside sources, such as grants, PTAs, local corporations and other sources.  Thus, technology needs are high on the list of subject/content areas for which users are most interested in getting grants:

  • STEM, 25 percent
  • Technology, 23 percent
  • Literacy, 17 percent
  • Career and college readiness, 12 percent
  • At-risk students’ education, 11 percent

Major new funding sources emerged not long before the survey was conducted: the $54.3 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund II (ESSER II), made available as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. After the survey began, billions of dollars more became available through the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER) and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III), also authorized under ARP.

Ninety-five percent of those surveyed anticipate using ESSER II funds. Number one in expected usage—voted on while the pandemic was in full force—is cleaning/sanitizing products, 46 percent. But technology-related categories are the next three: laptops, second at 41 percent of responses, followed by infrastructure to support remote learning, 40 percent, and Internet hotspots, 37 percent.

Users say GetEdFunding is easy, intuitive way to find grants

Sixty-two percent have applied for funding opportunities, and of those, 51 percent found those opportunities on GetEdFunding. And of those respondents, 56 percent received grants. Sixty-nine percent of users say GetEdFunding is an easy, very intuitive way to identify the kinds of grants they want.

Forty-seven percent of respondents have applied for six or more grants in their career. Ten percent have not sought grants. Their reasons for not applying include:

  • Lack of time, 39 percent—down 13 percentage points from the 2019 survey
  • Hard to identify appropriate opportunities, 38 percent
  • Often don’t find out about opportunities until it’s too late to apply, 33 percent
  • The grant application process is intimidating, 23 percent
  • We do not have personnel to undertake the grant writing process, 15 percent
  • Our school/district/campus budget suffices to meet any needs, 13 percent—up 10 percentage points from 2019.

Forty percent are with a school, district, campus or organization that has a grant writing specialist on staff or an individual who works with it to identify and prepare applications—up 11 percentage points from 2019.

But comments from the educators indicate a continued need for an easy, effective way to access grants such as those they can find on GetEdFunding:

“Typically, an individual applies on his own time. Not much support from a team.”

“I am a board member and so volunteer my time to grant writing. I am not a formal or educated grant writer, so it is all a learning process.”

“We can ask for assistance from the district grant specialist, but she rarely replies.”

On the other hand, some respondents seem to have access to clearly understood grant writing roles and procedures, enhancing their ability to use the kind of grant information GetEdFunding provides. A sample comment:

“1. A formal request for grant research, review, or development is made and approved by administration 2. Grant writer receives the request and reviews a grant program, researches grants, or develops a grant application 3. Grant writer completes the request and the administration decides next steps 4. Grant writer works with staff to develop grant applications 5. Grant application is submitted; if awarded, program staff manage the award.”

Top ways in which GetEdFunding users find out about the site are:

  • Referred by a friend or colleague, 24 percent
  • Search engine, 24 percent
  • Received an email, 16 percent

Relevancy rating of GEF newsletter soars to 90 percent

In addition, 56 percent of respondents get the GetEdFunding newsletter, and 63 percent of them say its length is “just right.” Of those who answered a question about grant opportunities featured in the newsletter, 90 percent rate them as relevant to extremely relevant, up from 75 percent in 2019. Thirty percent subscribe to the Discover GetEdFunding Blog, and 99 percent find its content relevant to extremely relevant, up from 92 percent in 2019.

Happy with their own GetEdFunding results, 71 percent of respondents are extremely or very likely to recommend the site to their colleagues:

  • Users have referred an average of one to three colleagues to GetEdFunding, while six percent have steered more than 16 to the site. 
  • Respondents have forwarded opportunities they found on the site to an average of one to three colleagues. Ten percent have referred such opportunities to more than 16 others.

Fifty percent say social media are very or extremely important to their work/professional life.  Of 12 social and professional networking websites listed, the top five with which respondents have an account are:

  • Facebook, 76 percent
  • LinkedIn, 62 percent
  • Instagram, 54 percent
  • Twitter, 51 percent
  • Pinterest, 48 percent

The order remains the same when users are asked which social networking service they would use for work/professional reasons if they could only use one. The leaders are:

  • Facebook, 27 percent
  • LinkedIn, 25 percent
  • Instagram, 11 percent

Sixty-three percent say they are very or extremely likely to use a social networking site in a typical week. The most popular purposes for using them are:

  • Exchange of information with peers, 54 percent
  • Professional networking, 45 percent
  • Personal professional development, 44 percent

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