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5 Reasons Your School Needs a Data Warehouse

Posted by Adam Jones on April 20, 2017

What do you think of when you hear the word data? Do you envision numbers rapidly scrolling on a computer screen like in The Matrix? Or of spreadsheets with endless rows and columns filled with figures and formulas? Even worse, maybe the word is anxiety-inducing because you’ve heard the phrases data-driven instruction and data-driven decision-making a few too many times.

What do you think of when you hear the word warehouse? Do you imagine forklifts carrying pallets of cardboard boxes across dusty concrete floors? Or a place where things go to be stored, perhaps indefinitely?

Despite some of these connotations, a data warehouse designed for educators is a platform for exploring questions tied to improving teaching and learning. A data warehouse built for teachers should bring together multiple sources of student information so that strengths and areas for improvement become clear. Any single source of information is likely insufficient to draw conclusions. But by storing, sorting, and synthesizing summative, diagnostic, and formative assessment results, a data warehouse can help educators identify problems and solutions more effectively and efficiently.

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Topics: assessments, Data Warehouse, educators, Pivot, education, teaching, school improvement

5 Steps for Turning Assessment Results into Meaningful Actions

Posted by Adam Jones on April 12, 2017

Formative vs. Summative Assessment

Rick Wormeli, a leading thinker in the world of assessment, has written, “It’s not the format that makes an assessment formative or summative; it’s when we give the assessment and how we use the data from it that makes it formative or summative.” Here’s another way to think about it: If an assessment is used for summative purposes, students likely will not receive actionable feedback. But if an assessment is used for formative purposes, results are critically analyzed, and a student is provided specific guidance on how to refine and re-apply the skill being measured.

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Topics: assessments, Pivot INSPECT, data, data analysis, action planning, education, teaching

Can the Tech Team Help the Tech Team?

Posted by Vanessa Eldridge on April 5, 2017

"No one can whistle a symphony alone. It takes a whole orchestra to play it." -HE Luccock

This is the third post of a three-part series about ways to strengthen communication between technology staff team members within your school district. Be sure to check out our first and second posts for more great ideas for facilitating communication between teachers and techs.

Effectively communicating with co-workers can sometimes be a challenge. Despite our best efforts, sometimes we say one thing, but others hear something different based on our tone, facial expression, or body language. When you are a technician, face-to-face communication may not always be possible, so it is even more important that you say what you mean, clearly and concisely so there are not any misunderstandings. Reminding ourselves of these things will help keep everyone on the same page and facilitate successful communication among team members.

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Topics: Managed Services, technology, technology in the classroom, communication, IT, computer technicians, teamwork

Can the Tech Team Help Teachers?

Posted by Vanessa Eldridge on March 28, 2017

This is the second post of a three-part series about ways to strengthen communication between technology staff and educators within your school district.

The answer to the question in this post title may seem obvious: the tech team helps teachers by fixing their technology, right? Yes, that's true, but I would like to look at ways we can go beyond basic fixes. How can we make the process of repairing technology more efficient? Less painful? As I mentioned in the first post, the key to making this happen is effective communication. 

Patience, empathy, and word choice are very important when techs are sharing information with teachers.  Computer techs must be skilled at communicating simply and clearly, both on the phone and in person. Here are some ways to create awesome correspondence from techs to teachers.  

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Topics: educators, Managed Services, technology, technology in the classroom, communication, computer technicians, teamwork

Can Teachers Help the Tech Team?

Posted by Vanessa Eldridge on March 8, 2017

Yes! Effective communication is the key that helps you deepen your connections to others and improve teamwork, decision making, and problem solving. It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust.

When you hear the word ‘key’ several words may come to mind; lock, unlock, guard, protect. Communication has been important for years. We have gone from telegrams and the Pony Express to USPS (or "snail mail" as it is called today), email and IM. It has gone from taking months or days to instant answers to questions you have. In order to have effective communication you need to understand the keys that unlock those doors.

In this blog series, we will look at ways to strengthen communication between technology staff and educators within your school district!

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Topics: educators, Managed Services, problem solving, technology, technology in the classroom, understanding

Make Sure Students do These 8 Things in your Classroom!

Posted by Adam Cole on February 13, 2017

This is the introductory post for an upcoming series about classroom activities that will help raise student engagement and create awesome learning experiences for kids!


Let’s say for a minute that, together, we do some distillation. Let’s boil down learning to what we truly need to make it happen in its most concentrated form. I will name off some of the ingredients in your average school day...Classroom? Don’t need it. Books? Don’t need those. Standards? Nope. Projectors? I don’t think so. Are you getting the picture?

The only thing a teacher truly needs to help make learning happen is a student and a relationship with that student. As teachers, the power to build relationships is always in our hands, but it isn’t always easy. One way to strengthen a relationship is by giving. As teachers we can give students experiences and opportunities that they might not ever be able to access again. In other words, we can create opportunities for learning that will go a long way in strengthening student relationships and result in deeper learning. If we focus on the right things, all of the other outside pressures and influences that we struggle with daily will fall into place.

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Topics: educators, engagement, impact, methodology, resources

Pivot Pops:  February 2017

Posted by Tammy Kikta on February 7, 2017
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Topics: assessments, educators, Pivot, Pivot INSPECT

3 Ways to Take Control of your Professional Learning

Posted by Adam Cole on January 25, 2017

Growth hurts. It especially hurts when there isn’t any interest in growth from the start. Every teacher has been in a PD session, sitting passively waiting for the few important nuggets of information to fall. We store them away and use them later, but it will be a long winter of boring presenter slides before anyone makes it back the classroom. Two more hours of this?  

While teachers will probably never escape these time-sucking black holes completely, there is hope.
The reasons teachers want to grow professionally vary greatly, but they almost always originate in their desire to have kids succeed. Teachers don’t hate learning. They just turn their nose up at professional development in its current form. I say, let’s take it back. Let’s take control or our own professional learning! There are a few keys to taking a leap in the right direction. Here are three ways to get control of your own professional learning.

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Topics: educators, goal setting, professional development

3 Things That Can Help Make Digital Learning Successful

Posted by Nathan Davidson on December 27, 2016

Let’s face it.  The day is rapidly approaching when every student, in every school, across the country will using a device in school.  Or, for that matter, TWO devices!  Many districts have already started the process of embracing this reality and shifting towards more digital learning environments.

This road has been bumpy for most, if not all, of us who are at some stage of the transition.  How has this process been for you?  Has it been smooth sailing?  Rocky and tumultuous?  A little scary?  Most likely, a little of each.

Any district delving into digital learning ultimately wants to do it well.  ISTE know this and developed the Essential Conditions for Effective Technology Integration.  There are thirteen essential conditions in all.  Below are three key elements derived from those that must be present to establish a foundation for success.

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Topics: 1:1, 1:1 rollout, technology in the classroom

Pivot 2.1 is here!

Posted by Amanda Fisher on December 5, 2016

Our Pivot team is excited to share several new features that enhance the experience of using our power-packed software. Check out the latest updates to each of our modules!

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Topics: Pivot, Software, software release, software update

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