Illinois district launches digital math tools

All middle school students will use Discovery Education’s Math Techbook

math-techIllinois’ Mundelein School District 75 and Discovery Education are launching a new partnership bringing Discovery Education’s new digital math textbook to all middle school students district-wide.

The Math Techbook intends to transform the way students and teachers experience math through engaging instructional strategies and real-world problems that motivate and excite students with diverse learning styles, according to the company.

Seeking to improve access to educational technologies and more deeply integrate technology into classroom instruction, District 75 recently released a new technology plan that, when implemented, will create additional differentiated instructional opportunities for students, add depth to their learning and conceptual understanding, and help close achievement gaps district-wide. Discovery Education is supporting District 75’s efforts to achieve these goals by providing all educators and students in grades 6-8 access to the Discovery Education Math Techbook.

Next page: How the Math Techbook will help support the district’s new technology plan


Growth of a combined high school, community college program

More students flock to program that allows for simultaenous high school diploma, associate’s degree

college-diplomaA River Parishes Community College (La.) program that lets students simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree will have its largest freshman class yet when school begins Aug. 10.

The Advocate reports more than 100 ninth-graders have enrolled in what’s called the Early College Option program, a partnership of the community college and the Ascension Parish school district.

“I decided to do this so I could get ahead and fulfill my dream of being an animator,” said Faith Ward, 14, at freshman orientation held at the college last week. Ward, who lives in Gonzales, said she wants to act and write as well.

Next page: What motivates students to participate in the program


What Google’s virtual field trips look like in the classroom

Google Expeditions are field trips with a virtual reality twist

google-expeditions Last spring, Hector Camacho guided his high school economics class on comprehensive tours of the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Reserve banks, and the Treasury Building. Students swept their eyes up countless Neoclassical columns before heading inside for a detailed look — all without leaving the library of their Mountain View, California school.

The catch? Students were plugged into Google’s latest virtual reality creation — Expeditions, which creates immersive, 360-degree tours out of a cardboard viewer and a smartphone.

“The best thing about it that we can’t physically go to these faraway places,” Camacho said. “At the high school level, time is really precious. For field trips, you have to worry about buses, lunches, permission slips. If you can remove all those obstacles, still take them to a very faraway place, and give them a similar experience, that’s powerful.”

Next page: How Expeditions works


McGraw-Hill launches K-3 reading, language tool

Company to introduce new comprehensive K-3 reading, writing and language arts program

reading-literacyMcGraw-Hill Education, a learning science company, has announced the expansion of two key language arts and reading programs with significantly upgraded editions of SRA Open Court Reading and SRA FLEX Literacy, to enhance the school curriculum for K-12 reading and language arts.

“Literacy is a critical cornerstone of what we do. These new editions are an essential part of our continuum of differentiated programs across all learning profiles that empower educators to adapt literacy instruction to address diverse student needs, so each student feels confident and prepared for college and a career,” said Christine Willig, president of McGraw-Hill Education’s K-12 group. “The expanded offerings within our SRA Open Court Reading and SRA FLEX Literacy programs further that goal by using a combination of research-based pedagogy for every level with adaptive technology tools to help students develop a literacy mindset and gain the proficiency to meet rigorous standards and assessments.”

McGraw-Hill Education’s SRA Open Court Reading, a program that advances young students to meet state standard assessments and to become lifelong readers, now offers digital delivery, enhanced professional development options for teachers, and international availability to provide schools with a highly effective early reading curriculum for core instruction.

Next: More details about the tools’ reading and literacy strategies


Four Keys to Successful Collaboration on IEPs

FourKeys148x238The IEP process can be overwhelming, particularly for parents. That’s why it is important for IEP team members—including parents, educators, and administrators—to work together and support each other as they develop a plan for their student.


Virtual ed leaders launch Global Personalized Academics

Company aims to bring innovative virtual and classroom learning ecosystem to students around the world

virtual-onlineNewly-launched Global Personalized Academics will provide virtual and classroom learning to help students across the globe transform the way they learn. The company is in the process of completing the steps required for the name change to GPA.

GPA offers international students the opportunity to earn a dual diploma from their native country in addition to one from a U.S. accredited high school through virtual learning. Initially, this program will be available in Asia and will expand to Latin America.

The company is developing plans for a unique exchange program where students and teachers can spend time learning and teaching in the U.S. and the international countries where its students live. The design of the program emphasizes a personalized student-centered education curriculum in language arts, college prep and Advanced Placement courses along with leadership and entrepreneurial learning experiences. In addition to helping students gain the latest skills and knowledge, GPA will provide college counseling, career exploration and English as a Second Language.

Next page: More details about the new company’s goals


Program exposes rural students to science careers

University program seeks to connect small-town students with potential science careers

science-programWhen University of Wisconsin researchers study stem cells, they typically seek to create skin and organs. This summer, their goal was to create scientists.

Some 22 small-town high school students and teachers joined UW-Madison students and researchers this month in donning lab coats and blue plastic gloves to experiment with live human stem cells, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The four-day camp on campus hosted by the Morgridge Institute for Research was part of a program that encourages science careers and aims to give rural students chances they wouldn’t ordinarily get.

Next page: How students have responded to the science program


Private clouds help schools weather data concerns

Districts are using private clouds to save money and retain control over data. Is it right for yours?

private-cloudWith student data privacy commanding so much attention these days, some K-12 districts are building private clouds to distribute curriculum and IT resources to students and staff over their own networks.

A private cloud is an environment in which software or data are stored on a central server and delivered to users online—but instead of being hosted by a third-party provider and delivered to users over the public internet, these resources are hosted by the school district itself, under the control of the district’s IT department.

Because a private cloud setup is implemented safely behind a district’s own firewalls, it gives the district more control over its own data. The tradeoff is that the district becomes responsible for managing IT resources, instead of passing that responsibility on to a third-party cloud provider.

For a small but growing number of K-12 districts, this extra hassle is worth it to ensure the security and reliability of sensitive information.

Next page: how to create a cloud