Reflecting on Our Blessings – EdTech November 2019 Newsletter

Reflecting on Our Blessings

November is a month to reflect on blessings. We couldn’t feel more fortunate to work with so many inspirational educators.

Speaking of inspiration, many schools are giving back to their communities in amazing ways. Take a moment to read our article about how students are transforming lives.

We would love to hear about your school’s volunteer efforts!

Choosing an ebook provider is a challenging process. Our main article covers five questions to ask potential providers. The ideal company for your school should make the implementation process smooth and seamless. When you work with EdTech not only are you getting a quality product, you’re also getting ‘day-one-and-beyond’ support.

It’s time to put together your digital resources wish list. Contact us with your ideas. We will do our best to come up with solutions and make them happen!

Founder & CEO

5 Questions to Ask Potential Etextbook Providers

Are you interested in implementing etextbooks but don’t know where to start? You aren’t alone. It’s a big step into a new frontier!

First off, if you think they’re just the print version of your standard textbooks in PDF format, think again. Digital textbooks have come a long way. With collaborative tools, built-in multimedia study aids, note-sharing capabilities and interactive features like quick search and definition look-up, etextbooks are one of the most valuable study partners your students will have.

How are etextbooks implemented in the classroom? Let’s talk about the ebook platform. The platform is the technology an ebook provider uses to provide ebooks to users. In a sense, it’s the “librarian” of the ebook world!

It will have a web-based administrative interface or dashboard and may also include an app that makes the books readable on mobile devices. With a well-designed platform, teachers can customize their etextbooks to meet their curriculum needs, and monitor student progress.

When evaluating an ebook implementation service, these 5 questions will help you find the perfect ebook provider:

1. Is the implementation process smooth and seamless?
The last thing a school needs is an implementation process that takes weeks to provide etextbooks to students and teachers. Look for a company that provides instant service with unique administrative dashboards for schools to manage books, orders, and course curriculum. It should create an easy to use system for students and teachers to utilize. When a student enters a code for a class etextbook into the app, it should instantly download on multiple devices.

2. Does the company provide knowledgeable customer service and support staff?
No matter how advanced technology is, it can have issues due to the operator or the technology itself. To avoid disruptions, instant and knowledgeable support is vital. The goal should be to provide a digital tool that enhances education, not hinders! Needless to say, make sure the provider you choose is readily available to guide you through any questions you may have. Look for a company that’s proactive and works closely with schools before an issue occurs.

3. Is continuous learning available?
With any new technology introduced to a school, it’s important to provide teachers with flexible support and learning options with webinars or other types of professional development. Etextbooks are an exciting addition to the classroom. There are so many ways to make the most out of them and customize them to meet educational needs. Who better to provide this knowledge than the company providing your etextbook service?

4. Is the software compatible with the school’s Student Information System?
Nowadays, the Student Information System (SIS) is the “lifeblood” of a school. The web-based application software is designed to introduce a conducive and structured information exchange environment for integrating students, parents, teachers and the administration of the school. Needless to say, the etextbook software used should seamlessly interface with your school’s software system. If a student changes to a different class mid-semester, that student should have access to the new etextbook immediately!

5. Will the company be the go-to for publisher questions and concerns?
It’s not unusual for schools to contact publishers with questions or concerns. This can get difficult when a school uses multiple textbook publishers. Your etextbook company should have a positive, working relationship with each publisher in the system, and field all questions and concerns your school may have.

Giving Back: A Lesson Plan that Makes a Difference

Heart made of hand printsGiving back is something we have all done; whether it’s helping a neighbor carry in their groceries or volunteering at the local food bank. When schools get involved in volunteer efforts, the impact made in the community can be huge.

Not only do the students make a difference in the lives of others, they also gain valuable life experience. The time they spend volunteering develops job and social skills, looks great on a college application, and encourages a sense of community.

Here are three inspiring examples of students giving back.

  1. A program developed by the ASPCA enlists students to write persuasive biographies explaining why each shelter animal should be adopted. The results: Many animals have found their forever homes!
  2. As part of a legacy project, a Fremont, NE, teacher’s second-grade class spends the first half of the year making no-sew blankets. During the holidays, students proudly deliver their finished products to members of an early childhood center, and a senior care facility.
  3. Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio, TX, has teamed up with high school shop classes to build walls for Habitat family homes. The benefits: families gain well-constructed homes, and students learn about the tools and materials used to successfully execute a residential construction project!

See What One High School Principal Had to Say About Working with EdTech