A greater focus on personalized learning was required for the 16 districts awarded grants through the federal Race to the Top program. While most are tackling that issue in different ways, there are visible trends in the tools they are using -- including centralized student data, mobile devices, individualized learning plans and personalized learning coaches for teachers. Of the $400 million in federal grants awarded to those districts, $77 million is expected to be spent on technology such as iPads and increased bandwidth at schools.

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