As 2015 comes to a close, let's take a look at some of the most popular K-12 education technology stories on our website this year.
A problem dubbed "the homework gap" received plenty of attention, with two of our top five stories covering policy efforts to tackle this issue. This gap refers to students' ability to access the Internet and computing resources at home compared to what they can access at school. For many students, this lack of Internet access at home affects their ability to do their schoolwork and learn on their own.
The Federal Communications Commission is considering a revamp of its Lifeline program for low-income families so they will be able to access more affordable broadband, and the Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 was briefly considered in a Senate committee as a pilot program to provide students with Internet access outside of school.
Federal policymakers included provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act that Congress passed this month to authorize a national digital learning resources study. This study will gather more information about student digital learning habits outside school and the challenges they face when they don't have Internet access at home.
Another popular story covered a Web-based math curriculum that has been gaining ground in states. Out of 20 math curricula that the nonprofit EdReports.org reviewed, only Eureka Math was both user-friendly and met the K-8 Common Core state standards for math.
Once again, student data privacy proved a popular topic of conversation, as more than 30 education groups supported 10 privacy principles this year. The principles call for student data to be used to improve and personalize student learning while being protected from non-educational uses.
A joint effort of some of the same organizations that supported the privacy principles resulted in the organization of a nonprofit that's designed to help schools learn from each others' mistakes and understand how to put the "education" back in education technology. Three of the tips they suggest include planning before purchasing, replicating technology success and ushering in a culture change.