3 Top Advantages of Having a Digital Curriculum

In our digital society, everyone communicates, learns, and explores across countless technological platforms.

The 21st century student now has access to several online tools including digital textbooks as well as ways to map out their digital curriculum effectively, in order to suit their learning needs. Here are some of the advantages of this progressing technology:


eBook Initiatives Bring Higher Attendance Rates

Lugging around heavy textbooks can be a great workout, but it doesn’t exactly provide the mental and physical motivation needed to make it to class on time, if at all.

Studies show that learning with laptops and the option to utilize eBooks has several positive educational outcomes. An evaluation of the North Carolina 1:1 Learning Technology Initiative has revealed greater attendance, graduation, and teacher retention rates, as well as improved testing and writing scores for students with access to more educational technology.


eBooks Save Money For Students

Not only are many textbooks cumbersome to pack and carry throughout the day, but they are often expensive, or even out of stock at certain stores.

Replacing textbooks with digital content is extremely beneficial for both schools as well as students and their families, helping them save as much as 60% on textbook costs.


eBooks Are Up-To-Date

Pluto isn’t technically a planet anymore – it’s a dwarf planet. If you didn’t already know that, then your textbooks may be a bit outdated.

That may seem exaggerated, but it can actually take traditional textbooks up to two years to print, so some of the content may have changed or re-classified once the actual textbook is published.

Digital content is easier to update as more information is discovered, and provides students and teachers a cost-effective way to quickly download new versions of eBook to ensure that they have the most up-to-date information available.


schools save money with technology

5 Ways Schools Save Money with Technology

Regularly, decisions are made to cut funding for schools. According to a recent study, Kentucky has cut at least 11.4 percent between 2008 and 2015 school years, but it isn’t the worst state. Oklahoma has cut investments on education by as much as 24 percent per student. We are a country of innovation and recovery, but declines in education funding are a disturbing trend. Is there a compromise? Schools are tasked with cutting budgets and reducing costs, so many new technologies have emerged to support school districts with saving money, without compromising educational quality. Schools are embracing technology in many ways to accommodate cash-strapped budgets.

1. Virtualization support

Many schools have embraced the concept of virtualization—access to all from a single, remote location. Virtualization delivers maintenance and interactive services for a low monthly rate. Schools are benefitting from remote support that has the ability to service and maintain multiple platforms, in many buildings, and used by multiple users. The complete IT infrastructure within the school can be managed from a remote location, without requiring individual tech teams to travel from room to room or school to school, installing multiple versions of software or having or evaluate a single device.

2. Encouraging device use

Many more schools are embracing the various devices available on the market: smart phones, mobile devices, laptops. Institutions are expanding beyond the traditional desktop and encouraging all users, including administrators, teachers, parents and support staff, to keep in touch with their own devices. For a successful virtual interaction, users need a smooth, safe and secure experience. Educational IT solutions provide IT staff with controls and school-specific platforms to make the school-wide interaction online easier and stress-free. The security system permits approved users and blocks access to unauthorized outsiders.

3. Embracing VoIP solutions

Everyone in the district needs to stay in touch, but comprehensive communication systems can be expensive. The alternative is installing a VoIP system where a broadband connection is available. VoIP maximizes communication, safety and efficiency, school- and district-wide.

4. Reducing paper and printing

Schools are embracing cloud services in an effort to increase communication and productivity, while reducing what needs to be printed and copied. Schools rely on paper, but many paper and printing expenses can be reduced with cloud technology. If the school suffers a loss or it needs to track down a paper trail, a cloud system ensures easy access and swift data recovery. It also encourages students, teachers and administrators to collaborate and communicate more effectively.

5. Installing interactive software

Educational apps are allowing students, parents and teachers to access educational materials from school or home, and while on the road. As long as there is internet service, teacher productivity and student learning can continue outside of the classroom walls. With the nationwide implementation of Common Core standards, interactive digital software, apps and cloud services is giving users a platform to discuss, collaborate, learn, and comply with all things Common Core.

office 365 in schools

Ways Schools are Using the Cloud-Based Office 365

The All New Microsoft Office 365

Office 365 is the latest release of “office suite” software from Microsoft. In years past we used Microsoft Office, however this latest release is vastly different. Office 365 brings a variety valuable features for school and students, and is going to be a major game changer for teachers and students. Here are some basics about Office 365:

  • Office 365 is not being distributed traditionally. This means that in order to use this software you will have to download it from the internet. It is not available on disc.
  • Office 365 has a built in feature which allows you to store your files on the cloud by using a SkyDrive account.
  • In regard to home use, instead of buying the software and using it as you wish, the new Office 365 is available as a subscription. This means you have to renew the subscription yearly and pay a yearly price.
  • Once you have purchased your subscription, you will have a license to download Office 365 on up to five machines.
  • Office 365 is touch screen friendly.

Office 365 Offers Exciting Educational Opportunities

When it comes to how Office 365 will be used in the classroom, much of the same rules apply – except in the case of educators, the software is free for the students and teachers to use. The software is installed on school computers, and each student is given their own cloud storage. Office 365 includes cloud based e-mail and instant messaging for students along with a calendar feature and a place to store contacts information.

  • The use of Office 365 will bring some major changes to the classroom. Educators will be able to utilize Office 365 in a variety of ways which serve to improve classroom productivity and better educate our children.
  • Students will be well trained on the application, which provides real world education that students will need to succeed once they leave school.
  • Students will be able to work on school projects from home by accessing their school cloud account.
  • Office 365 will help save money for schools to help with budgeting
  • Teachers can connect with children who are out of school due to illness

Office 365 Support and Management

The only true obstacle that Office 365 poses is that the hardware for the cloud based storage is a burden that the school will have to carry. Not only that, but it can be a time consuming to manage the application and keep it updated. Oftentimes it is cost efficient for schools to outsource this instead of employing an in house team. At LIMOTTA IT we have put together a specialized program to address educational cloud support and options using Office 365. We excel at helping organizations implement Microsoft Office 365.

blended learning ipad in classroom

Blended Learning: Why Technology is Important in the Classroom

The term “blended learning” refers to the idea that classrooms are beginning to integrate computers in how they teach children. We have used computers at home and at work for a long time. We are seeing computer technology being used in the classroom more and more. Here are some examples for where you will find technology in the classroom:


  • Using iPads and App programs
  • Tests given using computers
  • Lessons given using Powerpoint
  • Reading Programs that track progress


Is Blended Learning Effective?

Is blended learning really changing anything? Teachers do report that blended learning is beneficial. Using computers in the class room help teachers to use their time more efficiently. Students are more likely to remain attentive. Since children use computers at home they report that the children enjoy using them in the classroom. This means that lessons are often easier when teachers use technology, or at the very least, students are more willing to cooperate and interact with the lesson.


Challenges of Blended Learning

Integrating technology in to the classroom does not come without a few draw backs. Here are a handful of challenges that teachers have when it comes to using blended learning:


  • Helping students who have not been taught how to use computers
  • Making sure children resist the urge to just play around
  • Making sure lessons are interactive.
  • Deciding which lessons are best taught traditionally


Importance of Blended Learning

Even though there are a handful of hurdles for teachers when it comes to blended learning, it is extremely important that technology is included in the classroom. Every state uses standardized testing for many different reasons. States are beginning to use computers to make standardized testing easier to implement. Therefore, it is important that students can easily navigate a computer.


Preparing For The Future

Not only are computers important for classroom use, they are also important once students graduate high school. Here are a few examples of how blended learning helps students once they join the work force:


  • Computer skills are necessary for job searching
  • Skills like typing, email and browser navigation are desirable
  • Students should be able to assemble a resume to apply for jobs
  • Computers are necessary to be successful in college


Home Integration

Clearly, the argument for blended learning is strong. The use of computers and the internet are necessary outside of the classroom, so it makes sense to bring those elements into the classroom. Many times teachers can feel as though they are sacrificing traditional teaching methods when they integrate blended learning, and some are hesitant. There are many teachers who have utilized programs which children can then access at home. By using individual student log in information, they can practice different lessons at home to further their learning and understanding of the subject matter. This helps teachers and families both feel comfortable with how technology is being used in the classroom.

student data security

Student Data Collection and Data Security

With Common Core, there is a greater push for the collection and use of student data to help guide teaching and learning. It’s an often debated topic for educators and parents, with growing concerns about student privacy and the security of student data. In Arlington, Virginia, a panel of education experts and stakeholders met at the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) Leadership Summit.

Student Data Privacy and Data Security

The SETDA deputy executive director, Geoff Fletcher moderated the panel discussion at the Summit. He explained that student privacy and data security are two different things, and the panelists agreed.

Student data privacy deals with ensuring only authorized individuals have access to student records. Authorized individuals are those who are using student data to improve student learning and achievement.

Student data security deals with ensuring the data is protected from data breaches, hackers, and malicious use.

The role of vendors such as LIMOTTA IT in the protection of student data cannot be underestimated, and should be addressed with parents to relieve concern that their children’s information is stored securely.

Transparent Data Collection Policies

Parents should be informed about all student data collection and how it is used with complete transparency. If they can’t get answers to their questions about data collection, it is likely they will feel schools are trying to hide something, and become uneasy with the process. Here are some tips for sharing student data collection information with parents:

Explain the Value of Student Data – parents should know how the student data is being used and what the school is already doing to protect both data privacy and security. If you work with LIMOTTA IT for our Education Cloud +Plus solution, parents can even log in to view their student records.

Identity the Information Collected – parents should know exactly what student data is being collected.

Show how Data Collection Helps Students – the only purpose for collecting student data is to improve their performance, their learning, and create new educational opportunities for students.

Finding a Work-Life Balance When You Work in the Education Industry

For individuals working in the education industry, maintaining a healthy balance between work and a personal life can be tricky. Not only are educational professionals responsible for the loved ones at home, but they are also taking on many responsibilities for others at the job as well. At times, balancing is more of a juggling act of various demands and expectations, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Bring enjoyment and balance to your life with five easy routines. Start tracking your time to see how you are actually spending your time – and then create a plan that balances it better. Think about how much attention and devotion you give to yourself and your priorities. Here’s how to get started:


1. Monitor your health

You will be of no use to your coworkers or your family if you are constantly tired and unhealthy. You are understandably strapped for time, which means your body is likely the first thing to suffer. When you are overwhelmed, your stress levels go up, nutrition and activity levels decline, and your sleep slowly diminishes. Purchasing a health-monitoring band will help you monitor and control your health better. It is very important that you incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine: stop working by a specific time so you can sleep, take the stairs instead of the elevator, avoid the morning sugar-loaded coffee drink, avoid the donut and bagel tray, and always carry water around with you.

2. Prioritize

What means the most to you? Think about what it is you want to accomplish with your life and make that the number one item on your priority list. After you make the first commitment, consider the second, third, fourth, and fifth most important things you want to focus on. If your family is a priority, make a conscious effort to include them on your list and remind yourself of your dedication to your family. Do not forget that downtime can be an invaluable priority on your list, and don’t forget to say “NO” when you have too many things to do!

3. Start the morning off right

Mornings are critical at home and at your place of work. Many professionals find that a family meeting is just as helpful as an office meeting. Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what is expected of him/her. Use the morning to ready yourself, your coworkers, and your loved ones for the day. A creative and engaging family meeting will set the tone for a better, well organized day; it also gives your family members the attention and voices they deserve in the family as well.

4. Motivate the ones around you

Your leadership is important at work and in your family. You are responsible for making sure your employees and your family members are energized, engaged and productive. You can accomplish this by motivating them and providing the leadership example your family and workers need to complete goals and projects.

5. Remember your goals

Keep reminding yourself why it is you are doing what you are doing. If you are reading this, family and your personal life are very important. As an educational professional, your work is also a passion of yours. Keep that in mind when you are around your family. When you are at work, focus on work. However, when you are at home, that is family time. Unplug, read a book, ask about your loved ones days, and share a meal together if you can. Learn to separate the two important areas of your life and you will start to experience a better work/life balance overall.