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Education Week Digital Directions presents
Ed Tech 2014: the Common Core

Join your fellow district leaders next fall at the Education Week Leadership Forum Ed Tech 2014 and the Common Core—an interactive day focused on how to best use digital tools in school districts implementing the Common Core. Examine with colleagues, keynoters, case studies and panelists from all over the nation, the best approaches for using educational technology to improve teaching and learning, and the management of your schools.

Engage with ed-tech leaders for an interactive and thought-provoking day that includes invaluable professional networking opportunities, provocative roundtable discussions, and the sharing of best practices and lessons learned in the world of K12 Common Core education.

Tech. Readiness: Working With What you Have
The Common Core technology readiness tool is an inventory of where school districts are when it comes to the technology they already have. This collection of information will not only help districts and states determine what additional technology they need, but also will help test creators make decisions about how to design tests based on what types of technology most districts are likely to have in place.
• Find out what the readiness tool has found so far
• Hear from districts that have made tech decisions that they believe will work
• Discover what district leaders think may not work

Moderator
Michelle R. Davis (View Bio)
Senior Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Creative Budgeting for the Technologically Unprepared
Once the technology readiness of school districts is clear, some states will be forced to confront the fact that their districts are not technologically ready to test students online. Some school district officials and educational technology leaders hope that the results of the readiness tool will force state policymakers to find more funding for these initiatives.
• Where the money is coming from to pay for the technology improvements needed for the Common Core
• How some districts are getting creative with the technology money they already have

Moderator
Michelle R. Davis (View Bio)
Senior Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Assessments: the Adaptive Approach
Individual states as well as the PARC and Smarter Balance—the two coalitions currently developing online testing for the Common Core—are jumping in line behind one another to tackle the issues of adaptive technologies. Proponents say adaptive testing will result in shorter tests and less time spent on computers to free students up for other testing, developing greater engagement by students, and laying the groundwork for more precise measurement of student skills. But concerns remain about development of these tests and grading, especially when students often end up taking very different versions of exams for the same material.
• Examine Smarter Balanced coalition’s assessments that are inherently adaptive—each student could be presented with a unique exam to determine the extent of his or her knowledge of subject matter.
• While adaptive testing alters future questions based on responses from students, find out how this can work effectively districtwide in real time.

Moderator
Michelle R. Davis (View Bio)
Senior Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Online PD Meets the Common Core
Schools are already using online courses and virtual professional development to get their teachers up to speed on Common Core requirements. And some districts are using hybrid learning for Common Core PD while others are using a flipped model—where the teachers do some work on their own and then come together for face-to-face discussion sessions. And in schools across the nation, teachers are taking the initiative by leading the education of their fellow teachers, using new technology to share information with each other, as well as creating modules that can be disseminated. Hear from districts who are:
• Developing internal or proprietary teacher PD programs
• Purchasing teacher online PD from vendors and find out what works and what doesn’t
• Identifying what works best to help teachers get where they need to be by 2014–15

Moderator
Katie Ash (View Bio)
Staff Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Digital Devices
While the Common Core requires schools and districts to begin testing students online by the 2014-15 school year, neither states nor consortia give specific guidelines for how that testing should be administered. Because of that, districts are considering a range of devices across the spectrum of laptops, netbooks, smartphones, and tablets as potential tools on which to administer exams. To that end, we’ll explore:
• Which devices are gaining the most support, and why
• The pros and cons of assorted online testing hardware
• The challenge of connectivity, with examples from districts who are ahead of the curve

Moderator
Ian Quillen (View Bio)
Staff Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Securing the Assessments
With so many students taking Common Core assessments on a variety of devices, test security is a serious issue for schools. There’s a high probability, particularly with certain devices, of students cheating in a variety of ways. Additionally, keeping student assessments confidential and linked to the right students will remain a challenge.
• Discover which devices pose different problems when it comes to security.
• Best practices for ensuring students are taking their own tests and not surfing the Internet for answers
• Test-taking student best practices
• How schools are preparing for security issues of all flavors.

Moderator
Michelle R. Davis (View Bio)
Senior Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Open-Source Questions:
Cash-strapped states and districts are looking closely at open education resources, including open source digital textbooks, for materials to address the Common Core. But with an abundance of material on the Web, they’re struggling to distinguish what’s good and not good and what truly addresses the Common Core requirements.
• Find out which organizations provide the best guidance in this area, and
• Discover how online lessons mapped to Common Core standards can help teachers and students identify effective search terms, narrow results, and gather credible sources for research.

Moderator
Katie Ash (View Bio)
Staff Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Virtual Ed. Concerns
Virtual schools and online education have existed far longer than their recent foray into the public spotlight would suggest. Florida and North Carolina, in particular, have both included virtual schools within their educational landscapes for more than a decade. But it’s unclear whether those schools’ experience living in a virtual world with regard to instruction and assessment will help or hurt their efforts to conform to the Common Core, and whether measures within the Common Core will accurately reflect the quality of virtual education programs. We’ll examine:
• How the Common Core will affect online learning and virtual schools
• The edge online learning and virtual schools bring since they’re already operating in an online environment
• Effective ways district leaders are managing guidelines, measures, and mandates that only apply to virtual schools and online learning

Moderator
Ian Quillen (View Bio)
Staff Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Katie AshKatie Ash
Staff Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Ash is a staff writer for Education Week and its Digital Directions magazine. She covers educational technology, including such issues as computer-based assessments, mobile learning, gaming and simulations in the classroom, assistive technology, and online learning. She tracks ed-tech trends on edweek.org through the Digital Education blog, which she co-writes. In addition, she covers school facilities and transportation, as well as education in Alaska, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington state. Ash began working for Education Week in 2006.

Kevin Bushweller
Kevin Bushweller
Executive Editor, Education Week Digital Directions

Bushweller is an assistant managing editor of Education Week and the executive editor of Digital Directions, its magazine for K-12 technology leaders. He directs coverage of news and ideas in educational technology and e-learning that spans both those publications. He also oversees the Digital Directions and Industry & Innovation online channels and the twice-monthly Digital Directions e-newsletter. He also serves as project editor of Education Week’s annual Technology Counts report.

Before joining Education Week in 2000, he was a writer-editor for American School Board Journal and the senior technology editor for its Electronic School quarterly.

Michelle Davis
Michelle Davis
Senior Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Davis is the senior writer for Education Week Digital Directions, a magazine for K-12 technology leaders. She writes about cutting-edge trends in the education technology world, and has penned stories for the magazine on everything from green computing to social networks. Before shifting her attention to technology, Davis was a staff writer for Education Week, covering federal education issues in Congress and the U.S. Department of Education. Before joining Education Week in 2002, Davis reported on federal politics for the Knight-Ridder Washington bureau.

Ian Quillen
Ian Quillen
Staff Writer, Education Week Digital Directions

Quillen is a staff writer for Education Week and its Digital Directions magazine. He also co-writes the Digital Education blog. His interests as a reporter on the technology beat are wide-ranging, but they include a focus on federal ed-tech issues. Before joining Education Week in 2009 as a member of its Web production team, Quillen was a sports reporter and page designer with the Williamsport Sun-Gazette in Central Pennsylvania.