Education technology today is froth with new trends. Blended learning. Self-pacing. Flipped classrooms. Project-based learning. There’s a lot to choose from on this menu and schools and teachers are looking for just the right option for their students.

But should you limit yourself – or your students – to just one innovative practice? Maybe not. Maybe it’s time to branch out and test the waters with a few ideas.

That’s what we did at Taylor County School District. We decided to get creative and let teachers determine how they want to teach and students determine how they want to learn. Our strategy is based on a six-spoke wheel of innovative learning, consisting of a traditional spoke, self-paced spoke, peer/cooperative spoke, virtual spoke, project-based spoke, and Cardinal Academy spoke. (Cardinal Academy is an independent learning program that includes an internship.) Students and teachers decide where their strengths lie on the wheel and make their decisions accordingly.…

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Netflix recently released the third season of its original production “House of Cards.” This critically acclaimed political drama is the story of Frank Underwood, a high-powered congressman who, after being passed over for appointment as secretary of state, initiates an ambitious plan to obtain a position of greater power.

As the third season unfolds, Underwood’s elaborate scheming has come to fruition and he steps in as president. Every episode has Underwood delivering important high-stakes presentations: campaigning at a town hall meeting, briefing the press, addressing the nation and debating opponents. But what can this notorious character teach high-integrity business leaders about message delivery?

After binge-watching all 13 episodes, I can tell you that there are a number of presentation delivery lessons we can learn from Frank Underwood. Consider these (no spoilers, I promise):

  1. Glance and grab like a pro: Addressing the nation. In episode 26, Underwood addresses the nation, announcing his America Works initiative.
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The popularity of craft and small-batch brews has been growing steadily, fueled in part by a growing awareness of the ways beer and food work together to tempt increasingly adventurous palates in search of new flavors.

U.S. craft beer continued to soar in popularity both at home and abroad last year, jumping 22% to $19.6 billion, according to the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association. Craft beer has grown to 11% of the total beer market, a new record, and there were 3,418 craft breweries operating by the end of 2014.

The Culinary Institute of America is putting more of an emphasis on beer, with plans to open a craft brewery on its campus in Hyde Park, N.Y., this year, staffed by students. And last week, the Brewers Association named classically trained chef and former restaurateur Adam Dulye as its first executive chef.

Dulye, a CIA graduate, honed his craft at restaurants in Portland, Ore., and Aspen, Colo., before moving to San Francisco and eventually opening two restaurants, including The Abbot’s Cellar which featured a four-course tasting menu paired with different beers.…

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Every Monday, SmartBrief on EdTech features Product Showcase, a section highlighting new products and services designed to support teaching and learning. We’ve pulled all the solutions together into a product roundup, featured here on our Connected Teaching and Learning blog.

Spring is upon us and, with it, the launch of several new classroom products and solutions. Here’s what SmartBrief on EdTech readers liked this month in Product Showcase:

Permission Click. Teachers now have new way to create and send digital permission slips, thanks to Permission Click, a free online platform for schools. Parents can submit approvals, make payments and receive receipts through the system. The platform comes with form templates, digital archiving and payment history.

Backyard Engineers. Students design catapults for water balloon fights with neighbors in Backyard Engineers. Gamers can tailor their device’s mechanical elements to control movement, accuracy and range. The game can be played on Google Android and iOS devices as well as through a Web browser for $5.99.…

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classroomA couple of years ago, we commissioned an external review of our human resources functions in the Syracuse City School District. I noticed that our district needed to take a more proactive approach in seeking out the highest quality teacher candidates.

Our superintendent and the board of education based one of the primary goals of our 5-year strategic plan, Great Expectations, on the results of that review. This plan continues to serve as a road map for us, defining the reform-based goals that will guide education transformation in our city.

Great Expectations specifically called for us to develop and implement teacher recruitment and selection processes that would make it possible for Syracuse to compete for the most talented educators around. We realized that we needed to implement new, forward-thinking processes and technology to attract, identify and hire the highest quality candidates.

Here’s how our district strategically used data-driven technology like predictive analytics, a new microsite with Google Analytics and social media to improve our hiring processes and achieve meaningful results.…

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