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.

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.

Download Now

* Stay in the loop with OverDrive for exclusive event invitations, best practices for eBook and audiobook engagement and receive updates of our product features, newest content and offers

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.

Download Now

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.

Download Now

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.

Download Now

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.

Download Now

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.

Download Now

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?...

Download Now

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!

Download Case Study

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.

Download Paper

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

Unlocking the Potential of Every Student

Show you care!

Use our powerful, research-based assessments, that offer specific social and emotional skill lessons.

Click the image for more information, and to download this Broward County Public School case study.

We know you care!

See how Broward County Public Schools, one of Florida’s largest school districts, discovered Social Emotional Learning with Leaps!

Broward knows the power Social Emotional Learning; and how it affects Response to Intervention for Behavior; Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports; Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and helps students achieve academically.

Leaps is Broward County Schools behavior solution – not only for exceptional and special education students, but for its entire student body.

Download the Broward County Schools journey to SEL

Visit Leaps for more information how you too can bring SEL to your students and show you DO care.

The Network Crash Nightmare for Education

What do you do if you are in the middle of teaching, and the network fails? That’s not just a theoretical question today—it happens. BYOD initiatives and “digital first” learning models are bringing a tidal wave of demand to IT departments. This technology transition is causing everyone from Superintendents to IT directors to teachers to see that most districts are not ready for the challenges that come with going 100% digital.

There is no ignoring the fact that to achieve quality digital learning today, next generation education networks must be implemented immediately. And until then, a network crash is a high probability—thus our Crash Guide to help your teams put crash plans in place, so that everyone knows what to do when the network goes down.


A network crash isn’t funny, so included in our guide are five network readiness steps to ensure your network is built for density. Download today. The guide is FREE.

Enter a New Golden Age: Going 100% Digital in Education

There are many questions schools will need to answer as they transition to digital teaching and learning. The recommended starting place is with the underlying infrastructure, and therefore, one of the first questions is: “How is a school’s or district’s broadband and network scaling going to change to meet these new demands?”

To find an answer, the Learning Counsel reached out to Summit Public Schools and spoke with Bryant Wong, their Chief Technology Officer.

Important questions discussed include:

  • What has been Summit’s technology evolution?
  • How is Summit’s infrastructure set up and how has that enabled transformation?
  • What was the data and research which led to Summit’s network build-out? What is the key to a successful shift to 1:1?
  • And finally, what advice can be shared with other districts are they take their next steps?


Determine Your Position on the Scale of Digital Equity

Providing digital equity to every student is much more important than just giving them the ability to complete homework at home. It’s about how to deliver new learning opportunities. Educators have arrived at a crossroads where pedagogy meets network technology. As a district leader, initiatives that enable high-quality digital learning and provide services and support to your instructors for teaching anytime, anywhere on any device, are increasing in importance.

The Learning Counsel 2016 Digital Curriculum Strategy Survey found that even though eighty to ninety percent of schools have network coverage, it’s not enough to support the burgeoning use of digital curriculum. Most educators consider the network to still be “unreliable.”

This brief examines how schools are facing the problem of digital equity and explores the main considerations for districts as they start their digital transformation.


To LMS or Not? The Transition Challenge and Building the Next Generation Learning Ecosystem

The Learning Counsel has been taking a good hard look at the many options available to schools and districts to bring together all the pieces between curriculum and technology. Our hope is to better define where we’re going and help all to evolve best practices for transformation.

As executives traverse this transitional continuum path, there are many questions. And, no matter how far along this path a school or district is—some being rich in digital resources, and many others nearer the beginning of this undertaking—almost all lack enough organization.

Download the Journal-Poster to explore these issues and get answers to important questions, including:

  • What was Coachella USD’s strategy and process to move over to devices and digital curriculum?
  • What are options and solutions to one of educations biggest “thorns in it’s side” – multiple log-ins for teachers, students and administrators?
  • What are the vital priorities to confront before making the transition to digital curriculum?
  • How do you best support teachers in this shift?


Learning Wonderland: Conquering the Mad, Mad World of Digital Content

Today’s digital natives are more and more living in a learning wonderland of shiny devices and software, that presents them with materials which are both educational and entertaining, as well as personalized (backed with full machine learning), scaffolded and standards aligned, while supported by slick assessments to make sure nothing important is ever missed. The Learning Counsel examined what leading executives in this space are confronting and the innovative solutions they’ve deployed.

Download this latest Journal-Poster and share with colleagues.

Download the Poster:

Escaping Zombie Networks in Education

"Zombies” are more than just compromised networks, they’re tech that is so old it’s practically the walking dead. Transitioning to smart networks solves more than bandwidth, it solves many security issues while also getting agile, with the ability to adapt quickly to the introduction of new services.

This issue brief explains the current challenges of maintaining broadband and other networking services that work—as one Chief of Information and Technology put it—“as invisibly and reliably as a light switch.”

Schools now need an infrastructure that handles all of the data communication needs—wired, wireless and cellular.

Anytime, Anywhere Access to Learning

This Poster Journal includes details of Santa Ana California’s successful personalized learning program; an analysis of PD strategy and tips to keep yours on the right track; an intervention story from inner-city DC that achieved 0% truancy.

Download the Poster: