The Learning Counsel presents journals, papers and briefs on critical topics in Digital Education.
Most will require registration in order to access them, but they are all free.

Remaining Relevant with Career & Tech-Ready School Networks

School administrators nationally are worried about remaining relevant. Losing students to alternatives is at an all-time high and continues growing unabated. Everything from how to teach with technology to what to teach for subjects is under review in most schools as they scramble to avert losses. The fact is, most parents expect students to learn digital skills as the foundation for virtually all future employment.

With an understanding of the opportunities available and the types of rich learning experiences students are selecting through alternative schooling, school and district leaders can create and even surpass those experiences and counteract the reasons students are choosing alternatives to traditional public education.

Download this whitepaper to view some steps to create those experiences and also learn how three programs are making a difference.

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Unlock Limitless Learning

Because tomorrow’s leaders are sitting in our classrooms today.

There has never been a time in history when it was more possible to unlock limitless learning for students of all ages. Even the youngest learners now have an opportunity to engage in meaningful learning. Previously, we would ask young learners, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Now we can simply ask, “What would you like to do?” Children are finding learning pathways, collaborating with others across the globe and making real-world contributions. At the same time, their teachers, parents and grandparents are enriching their own lives, those in their communities, friends and strangers across the world.

Personalized tools are leveling the playing field by granting access for the first time to learners whose individualized learning styles and abilities once precluded them from an equal access to education. Collaboration tools are linking learners with ease, creating synergy and encouraging creative thinking and problem solving. In education, silos are breaking down, merging professional learning, technology and curriculum into one powerful stream of teaching and learning. The only limit that still exists is our own imaginations.

Download this Journal Poster to find out how three groups are unlocking limitless learning.

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Vanquishing Small Group Instruction Challenges for Good (The New Equity with Instructional Audio)

Most schools know that getting a shift away from whole-group-only to small group instruction is magical for driving engagement and more learning, but how do they get teachers to do that more often? In addition to enhancing the effectiveness of whole group learning, Instructional Audio Technology allows teachers to truly monitor and manage small group instruction in a way that encourages student participation while amplifying teacher effectiveness.

Download this brief to find out about this exciting shift in teaching.

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My Teachers Can Use Google’s G-Suite, Now What?

To stay competitive with other schools and the fast rate of change happening in the outside economy, great leaders always have their eye on what their next steps will be. Other industries have devised complex and beneficial workflow designs to manage the otherwise cumbersome flow of documents within their systems. Yet education seems woefully behind the curve, with many institutions stopping at document creation and some lightweight sharing capabilities across the internet. This can be both dangerous and easily correctible. By following these best practices, education document workflows can become more efficient and help us answer these important questions: What’s next for education? Where is teaching and learning really going?

Download this brief to find out what the future looks like for education and the next natural stage to take your workflow beyond Office Suites.

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The Digital Point of Divergence

There is a big difference between curriculum that is merely digitized and new digital resources. Telling the difference can lead to better learning results. To digitize is to barely alter the formerly analog object, to make digital is to use the full depth of technology to transform.

The distinct point of divergence is within the design because it is digital. It’s the content itself and not just the framework system.

Download this brief to learn more about digitized versus digital, leveraging teacher humanity with high quality digital curriculum resources and systems for greater efficiency and effectiveness.

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School Network Moles and the Emotional Toll of Breached Data Security

Considering the high value of hacked data on the open market, the threat of an ever-present data breach is a fact of life for school districts. The effects of a data breach can be far-reaching, including the loss of privacy for students, the loss of financial records of employees, almost-irreparable damage to the district’s reputation and the loss of millions of dollars to the defense of lawsuits. And that doesn’t even include the emotional toll to the district’s staff.

Download this paper to learn more about the data treasures you are really protecting as a school, the points of threat, handling the emotional human side, and what’s next in practical network security steps.

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Digital Transition: Personalized Learning and Professional Development

As schools advance the use of technology in education, additional skills are needed for both students and teachers. Autonomous learning, also called student-centered learning is tied to the change in focus in the classroom from the teacher to the student. In this Personalized Learning environment, teachers need to have the skills to be facilitators, and explicitly direct student learning while also developing larger professional roles in designing and leading schools.

Personalized learning is based on the concept of allowing students flexibility and a voice in how, when and where they learn while tailoring that learning based on individual student need. For students to thrive in a personalized model they must have critical autonomous and digital learner skills. These skills fall under the social emotional skill set. Teachers need to ensure that they are explicitly teaching these skills at each grade level.

At the same time, teachers need support as they integrate technology into instruction to engage students in their learning. Teachers are integral to a student’s success. Thus, a large variety of professional development opportunities, coaching and instructional supports are necessary in order to expand and deepen the teachers’ skill sets and knowledge.

Download this Journal Poster to learn how three school districts are meeting these needs.

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Beating Back Enrollment Loss by Bridging to Personalized Learning Pathway

Almost every school today needs to counteract enrollment loss to opt-outers who are part of the growing “choice” movement, all seeking alternatives that will suit their individual needs. We now live in a society with a shopper-mentality when it comes to education.

What’s the fix? Dubbed an “Un-LMS,” the new student-centric personal learning pathway systems (PLPS) are the mirror opposite of traditional Learning Management Systems. It’s a revolution in the form of delivery. This type of system allows schools to start flipping the organizational construct to a new flow of learning that enables teachers and schools to truly personalize and promises increased student achievement. What are the differences from prior systems? How can schools pilot a personalized learning pathway system?

Download this whitepaper to find out why these new systems are imperative for schools today, and how they should empower teachers. Learn the key components and how the mix of them with workflow and interface equal a compelling difference for learning experience and impact. Finally, consider the steps of implementation or a pilot of this latest evolution of technology for schools to meet today’s expectations.

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Digital vs. Paper Books: Let’s Do the Math!

Few curriculum buyers are fully familiar with the cost-structure difference when transitioning from paper to digital books. Not just price difference on a per-book cost, but a structural model shift that allows for limited-time-access leasing, customized school collection subscriptions, and other incredible new cost efficiencies that are just not possible in print. Additionally, few educators are aware of the attendant learning gains because of how software transforms the experience of books and therefore the quality of learning.

Download this whitepaper to take a closer look at the real costs involved with Digital versus Paper. Learn how the benefits of digital expand beyond cost considerations. Get educator views on the transition and see how new dimension envelope books with administrative values.

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Re-Knit Networks for the Remodeled Campus

What happens when the digital incursion of devices and software starts amping up the mobility of students? Starts causing rearrangement of classroom furnishings while network cables form trip hazards everywhere? Starts altering expectations of access even from student’s homes?

Better internet is, in truth, the act of re-knitting your networks. Calling it “re-knitting” provides an apt image of the threads of coverage in schools, and questions how well they are held together. It’s also a good way to describe what your network professionals have to do. First, they have to somewhat unravel what is there that is inadequate, and then they have to re-do certain parts, or many of the parts, as they work to meet new demands and prepare for more in the future.

Download this Journal Poster and learn about what three different schools did as they journeyed along the road of more devices and digital curriculum.

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Next Level Serious Address of Digital Equity in Education

Most school executives are not aware of a lack of digital equity beyond just making sure students have a computing device. Yet, a second-level inequity of both slow and completely unavailable network access requires a second-level seriousness. This is particularly important as schools unleash digital curriculum and thousands of websites among their students – many creating enormous drag on already slow networks with video streaming.

Find out what education leaders and the industry are doing to solve the next level of equity concerns for all students’ learning – both their efforts and the rewards.

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From Data Dolt to Superhero

Micro-data is an observation data-point collected on an individual subject—a statistical unit, as in one question with answer, one quiz, or one piece of personal identity. Being the modern data superhero is using this small data for personalization.

The problem with introducing this interesting new data management idea is that a lot of school executives and teachers see ever-increasing data collection, and the drive to personalization as a sort of peril. Additionally, personalization ultimately means changing a teacher’s routine to give very focused attention to each student—a burden on top of an already enormous load.

Yet, remaining a data dolt is the equivalent to keeping one’s “head in the sand” on collecting, analyzing and using data, especially without regard to encouraging new tech developments. It’s resistance to an evolution in practice that refines the blunt instrument of human teaching and learning interaction into a masterwork. Small data, not just big trends, is the trick.

In this brief, learn the villainous data issues that keep leaders from getting to real personalization from data collection, and discover five steps to becoming a superhero.

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Categories of Digital Curriculum Characteristics

Download the update! This new edition is a treasure of information. “The 100+ Digital Curriculum Characteristics,” was formerly the “71 Characteristics.” It has been added to, edited, and researched so that schools can differentiate between types of digital functions inside the curriculum they purchase. This document is the authoritative standard for definitions of software functions inside educational digital curriculum.

Originally there were six categories, which have been expanded to eight to include “Business Model” and “Hostile Characteristics.” A great team of educators, including L. Beatriz Arnillas of Its Learning, who was with Houston ISD when she started the work, and Dr. Karla Burkholder, Director of Instructional Technology, of Schertz-Cibolo-Universal ISD in San Antonio, Texas, have worked hard to bring this document to teachers and school leaders.

Learning Counsel gives a special big thanks to these leaders and all the members of the User Interface Learning Group on the website. New members and contributors are welcome!

To join, click here.

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The Top 5 Reasons Personalized Learning Fails

For schools to survive into the 22nd Century, the distinction between individualized and the definitions of personalized learning just might be the most important concepts to grasp and apply.

Failures are happening when personalized learning is implemented as just an ideal, not a real pedagogy; when schools have unprepared students; when technology is a distraction; when operational structure and design get in the way; and when teachers are experiencing digital content overload. There are solutions to these barriers. Download this whitepaper to learn some ways that schools and districts can start their journey to success.

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Six Threats from Wasteful Professional Development

Schools and districts buy millions of dollars’ worth of professional development (PD) and training for their teachers. Collectively, Education spends about $8 Billion on total PD for teachers. In K-12, it ranges between $500 and $18,000 per teacher every year. In most schools, teachers are expected to attend the Fall intensive training, plus regular “in-line training” with online courses and workshops during the year. The 2017 Digital Curriculum Strategy Survey of 477 schools and districts shows schools offering a wide variety of training.
So what’s the problem?...

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Getting Ready for the Age of Experiential Education

Do you need an advantage for your school? For your teaching? A new point of leverage is emerging for schools using advanced networks and anything connected to the Internet for lessons that transcend school buildings and drive unavoidable relevance to your curriculum.

The concept is called “Digital Cohesion,” and it’s already here. This is more than geo aware education applications. It is a number of “micro-applications” coming together to form a spontaneous and immersive education experience.

Let’s put this in perspective. Digital Cohesion in education means using the world and the things in it to interact and drive experiential learning.

There are things you can do now to prepare your networks for this next level of student connection with their learning.


The Timeline to Reach “Experiential” Education: Many school districts are edging up to higher levels of connectivity and are considering institution-wide and remote wireless access. However, hardware installations and Wi-Fi capability is really just a first step. Today’s teacher and learner expectations are shifting dramatically as consumer tech shifts real-world and career realities. Download the paper for the stages of where things will go, the timeline to act, and why.

What Are Teacher’s Future Roles?

Taking advantage of the best of consumerized learning while building experiential centers for students (a.k.a. highly “personalized”) with administrations means new roles in addition to new policies and new structures.

What might some of the jobs in education be like in the future?

This infographic contains thirteen of the probable job descriptions in the future for the education sector.

Since no one really knows what the future looks like for certain, a lot of creativity is already going into defining job responsibilities and titles for what could happen with the digital transition. What absolutely needs to happen is for reallocated staff to have a distinct posture to co-opt the best in digital learning and to reposition their institutions as focused on experiential work.

Download the Future Teacher Roles infographic

Content for this infographic is excerpted from The Consumerization of Learning. Read the book and be part of the discussion about how schools are finding a new relevancy at the natural end-point of digital transition: maximized live experience and quality digital learning, also known as “expo” education.

Curric-U-Can! How 2 Districts Leveraged SSO to Deliver their Dream Curriculums

Educators create more vibrant classrooms than ever by leveraging the connectivity and power of Single Sign-On (SSO).

Classrooms can be chaos – compounded by painful access problems and password fatigue. Educators grow frustrated when technology issues exacerbate instructional downtime - derailing extensively constructed courses and lesson plans.

Evolving far past login management, SSO is now a critical component to minimizing classroom challenges and delivering curriculum:

• Teachers utilize the resources they want, minimizing login issues (e.g. QR Code login for K-2) and rostering maintenance

• Curriculum Directors’ decision-making hinges more on value, less on technical specifications or limitations

• Reporting capabilities provide insight into resource adoption and usage data, demonstrating actual value and engagement


Explosions of apps, devices, and browsers ensure that maintaining integration and access of learning resources in or out of the classroom is complicated – see how two districts have implemented SSOs within their environments to achieve just that!

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The New Digital Divide

Ensure all students have equitable access to quality digital literacy instruction.
Though broadband use and school hardware availability are at an all-time high, a new digital divide has appeared.
Today’s students carry cell phones in their pockets that are more powerful than the NASA command center that landed men on the moon in 1969, but many still do not have the basic technology skills they need for success in school and in life.
This skills gap is apparent in the recent analysis of scores earned by students on online versus paper and pencil versions of assessments developed by Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).
Read the full paper.


Download this paper to find out how we are solving the new “digital divide” so that no matter what class a student is in or what school he or she attends, they have equal opportunities.

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5 Ways Robots Transform Every Class to a STEM-Class

Robotics might just be the most powerful instructional approach currently available.

Basic computer literacy skills are vital for today’s students. The skills learned in a technology-focused class are becoming applicable to virtually every career field. But even beyond that, robots, coding and related technology bring learning to life and open the curiosity door that has been closed for many of our under-engaged students.

Here are five ways to use robots to transform your classrooms, inspire curiosity and re-engage all students—and significantly increase teacher satisfaction.

Download for FREE today.


As more and more schools make robot-based teaching and learning a central part of the regular daytime classroom experience they will see students—both boys and girls—gain interest. Take a look at 5 ways you can implement STEM in your school or district.

Download the Educator’s Guide