News Feature | April 28, 2014

Education IT News For VARs — April 28, 2014

By Amy Taylor, contributing writer

Education  IT News For VARs

In the news, and educational software company closes over student privacy issues, and the Gates Foundation surveyed teacher and students to see what they want from digital instruction tools. Also a Sudbury, NJ, school moved forward with cloud-based technology that provides a live video feed of schools to police—at the urging of a Sandy Hook victim’s parent.

Educational Software Company Closes Over Student Privacy Issues

InBloom, a nonprofit educational software company, announced last week it would shut down over issues related to student privacy. The company’s goal was to be a portal connecting school districts and states with educational companies. Parent objections about data that could be shared led to the decision.

Gates Foundation Survey Reveals What’s Needed in Education Platforms

The Gates Foundation released a report that surveyed over 3,100 teachers and 1,250 students, identifying what they want from digital instruction tools. Only 55 percent of teachers said that there were sufficient resources available to help students meet college- and career- ready standards. EdSurge also summarized the four instructional areas that the report identified as lacking in usable digital tools: high school math and ELA tools, grades 3-8 products that cover two or three subjects, grades 3-8 science products, content-agnostic platforms that host or aggregate content.

A Sandy Hook Victim’s Parent Pushes For Cloud-Based, Live Video To Police

Michele Gay, the mother of a victim in the Sandy Hook school shooting, spurs new security efforts in the Sudbury school system after relocating her family to Massachusetts, reports the Boston Globe.  By collaborating with the town and local authorities, the district is upgrading school security and emergency preparedness through a cloud-based technology that provides police with live video feed in Sudbury schools, interactive floor plans of each building and a 360- degree virtual view of every classroom, utility closet and hallway.

Education IT Talking Points

Joseph Dulaney and Bethany Bowman claim that technology is now a critical component in the public education process in their article, “Technology In Education: The Future is Now.”

NBC News offers four key issues that need to be addressed for technology to improve higher education. While the sophistication of academic technology is rapidly increasing at the same time that the basic cost and workload structure for higher education is undergoing enormous strain, technology needs to continue to experiment to reduce costs while improving access, learning, and faculty work, ensuring that the promise of higher education endures for the next generation of students.