PBS, Smithsonian unveil new science games and videos

PD and student resources are now available

science-resourcesNew science resources for teachers and students, especially young learners, is forming the cornerstone of a new partnership between PBS LearningMedia and the Smithsonian Science Education Center. At the center of the partnership: an animated series called Good Thinking!, available online, that features science educator Isabella Reyes as she explores “the science of teaching science.”

The series draws from peer-reviewed research in science, cognition, and pedagogy and distills valuable findings from journal articles to promote effective classroom practices. The series is available now on the SSEC’s YouTube channel.

“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the Smithsonian, and to offer these valuable science resources for educators and students going back to school,” said Alicia Levi, VP of education, PBS. “PBS and Smithsonian share a common mission in developing high-quality learning resources and the new series and games will be a key addition to our science offerings and tools.”

In addition, there are also games and digital series for students, including:

  • Shutterbugs: Wiggle and Stomp – a game that teaches students movement and motion concepts while visiting rare animals at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (for kindergarten)
  • Showbiz Safari – a game that teaches students about the diversity of plants and animals in different habitats by casting plants and animals in movies (for grades 1-2)
  • Bumper Ducks – a game that teaches students what happens when two objects collide and how mass impacts the acceleration of an object by using animated rubber ducks (for grades 6-8).

Additional content will also be added throughout the year, including:

  • Ada Asks – an animated and live-action video series that encourages students to join the curious Ada as she answers students’ biggest questions about science through some seriously amazing investigations! (for grades K-2)
  • Morphy – a game that teaches students that animals have external structures that are important for survival. Students must guide an alien creature through an Earth-like planet while adapting different animal structures (for grades 3-5)
  • Disaster Detector – a game that teaches students how to analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast disasters by becoming a “Disaster Detector” for a city (for grades 6-8).

Material from a press release was used in this report.


It’s time to ask how E-rate will impact learning outcomes

With E-rate reformed, educators must consider new learning-centered questions

e-rateE-rate, officially known as the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, was created to provide schools and libraries with an affordable way to obtain telecommunications, internet access and internet-related services.

In the beginning, E-rate focused principally on telephone service, which was the most basic and universal way individuals communicated 20 years ago. While the focus on communication has remained, technology has changed radically throughout the past two decades. During this period, E-rate adapted by broadening the range of eligible services to include mobile phones, pagers, voicemail, email, school websites and basic collaboration tools.

As the program evolved, the definition of “new technology” grew increasingly inexact and complicated. It became clear that E-rate was in need of a refresh. Advocates for change, including legislators, the Federal Communications Commission and organizations such as ISTE and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), hoped to address the question: How do we increase internet bandwidth available to our schools and provide ubiquitous wireless coverage?

Next page: Practical questions to ask


Some high school students access college courses for free

Students attending an online private school are eligible for college credit

college-creditThe for-profit DeVry University has partnered with Connections Education to offer college courses at no cost to high school students attending International Connections Academy (iNaCA), an accredited, online private school serving students in grades K-12 worldwide.

Through DeVry University’s Passport2College program, juniors and seniors attending iNaCA can earn college credit while still attending high school. Students can enroll in such courses as Computer Applications for Business with Lab, Introduction to Business and Psychology.

“Passport2College is a wonderful opportunity for high school students to learn first-hand the college learning experience,” said Donna Loraine, chief academic officer and provost of DeVry University. “iNaCA students will be able to participate in the same academic learning environment that all DeVry University undergraduates encounter and obtain knowledge of how they can transition from high school to the collegiate level.”

Hannah Rinehart, director of school for iNaCA, commented, “More and more students are interested in taking college courses in high school.” In fact, the numbers topped 1.3 million students in the 2010-11 school year according to the most recent survey on the subject by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). “We are excited to bring opportunities like this to our students.”

Passport2College will launch for iNaCA students in the 2015-2016 school year.

For more information about Passport2College, visit http://www.devry.edu/high-school-students/college-credits.html.


Material from a press release was used in this report.


MobyMax launches K-8 cognitive skills science curriculum

New K-8 curriculum uses manipulatives to target science mastery

science-curriculumMobyMax, developer of personalized and blended learning curriculum for K-8 students, is kicking off the 2015-2016 school year by releasing a new Touch Curriculum technology that uses more than 20,000 cognitive skill manipulatives to deepen students’ mastery of science concepts.

Moby’s co-founders, Wade Willett and Glynn Willett predict that by tapping on the manipulatives embedded in every layer of Moby’s Cognitive Skills Science curriculum, students will become better problem solvers, critical thinkers, and even “creative geniuses.”

“Science is the core subject for learning cognitive skills,” said Wade Willett. “Learning science by using analogies or trying to figure out the solution with logic is very effective. But that is only half the story. Our Touch Curriculum technology is the engine that makes science truly engaging and captivating.”

Cognitive Skills Science is perfect for both personalized learning and the blended classroom. Students can discuss, learn, and retain science at a deeper level through exploring and discovering science concepts with cognitive skill manipulatives.

“Cognitive Skills Science is a great addition that will help teachers differentiate instruction, as well as assess students’ understanding of key concepts,” said Elizabeth Was, a teacher at Mark Fine Elementary School in Las Vegas. Was also values Moby’s big-picture approach to teaching. “MobyMax offers an all-in-one program, keeping students engaged and motivated by issuing awards, badges, and game time that reward them for their hard work.”

Cognitive Skills Science creates a solid STEM foundation in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) domains—life, physical, earth, and space science. Through cognitive skill manipulatives, Moby’s Cognitive Skills Science leads the way in providing a world-class STEM education for K-8 students.


Material from a press release was used in this report.


New state versions of Waggle will conform to learning standards

State versions are intended to help educators monitor student progress

waggle-learningTriumph Learning, producer of K-12 texts and interactive digital tools, unveiled new versions of Waggle, its smart practice solution, to align with learning standards in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida.

The three state-specific versions help students master math and ELA skills and educators monitor real-time student progress.

“We researched for months looking for a product that closely aligned with the format of the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA),” said Angela Whiddon, principal of W.E. Cherry Elementary in Clay County, Florida. “We were at the point of giving up when we found Waggle. It is exactly what we needed to provide our students with daily practice and exposure to the format of the FSA.”

All practice skills for math and ELA instruction are correlated to each state’s standards. The New York and Florida versions of Waggle help students in grades 2–8 master math and ELA skills, while the Pennsylvania version covers grades 3–8. State standard codes and definitions appear throughout students’ practice and are included in educator reports.

The “Find Instructional Material” functionality recommends lessons and resources that are aligned to each state’s standards from Triumph Learning’s Coach curriculum. Teachers can easily assign these lessons to students online within Waggle or use Coach print resources in their classroom.

“We recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all tool for education,” said Aoife Dempsey, CTO at Triumph Learning. “With these state-specific versions of Waggle, we’re able to address the needs of teachers and students in these states to successfully accomplish their learning goals.”

In addition to the new state-specific versions, Triumph Learning is expanding Waggle to include second grade curriculum for mathematics and English language arts. This will help educators track real-time student progress from an earlier age to ensure they are mastering foundational skills.

To learn more about the new state-specific versions of Waggle, visit http://www.triumphlearning.com.

Material from a press release has been used in this report.


Classi, Knewton to launch adaptive learning courses abroad

Partnership will bring personalized learning products to high schools in Japan

adaptive-learningKnewton has announced a partnership with Classi to provide adaptive learning solutions to Japanese public schools.

Classi is a joint venture of Benesse, the largest education publisher in Japan, and renowned Japanese telecom company SoftBank. Knewton will power Classi’s digital courses to help high school students get a more personalized learning experience.

“Knewton technology understands each student’s unique strengths and areas to develop and will help individuals move ahead as efficiently as possible within Classi,” said Masaki Yamazaki, CEO of Classi. “With SoftBank’s technical expertise, Benesse’s unparalleled experience in education, and Knewton’s adaptive learning engine, we will help Japanese students excel and better support teachers.”

More than 120 Japanese high schools are using Classi. By integrating with Knewton, Classi will enable teachers to assign adaptive practice materials for high school math students.

In addition to learning content from Benesse, one of the largest education publishers in the world, Classi will feature contents from other major Japanese textbook publishers including Gakken Education Publishing Co., Ltd., KIRIHARA SHOTEN K.K., Suken Publishing Co., Ltd., Syobun Shuppan Co., Ltd., and Yamakawa Shuppansha, Ltd.

Knewton continuously identifies strengths, weaknesses, and learning patterns and recommends what content to study next. Teachers can set goals and maintain full control of the learning process, while Knewton provides continuously updated recommendations for what each student should practice next. Knewton is the most well known adaptive learning technology, embedded in products from more than 20 major publishers around the world.

“Japan’s education system has long been a pioneer in personalizing non-digital educational content and experiences,” said Jose Ferreira, founder and CEO of Knewton. “Now with Classi, Softbank, and Benesse, we’re building more personalized digital learning materials as well. This is a first for the Japanese market, and we’re excited to align with some of the most innovative companies in education in Japan.”

The partnership marks Knewton’s second major partnership in Asia and its first in Japan. Classi joins a growing list of global publishers, universities, and schools in 20 countries around the world partnering with Knewton to personalize digital courses.

Material from a press release was used in this report.


New TV series focuses on social-emotional learning

HMH, WGBH partner to create TV, cross-platform learning series

social-learningHoughton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) and national public media producer WGBH today announced a co-production agreement for the creation of a television and cross-platform series based on the Gossie & Friends book series, published by HMH and written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea.

HMH and WGBH will partner to pursue a domestic broadcasting arrangement for the series, as well as international co-production financing. The series will emphasize social emotional learning, which is a critical curriculum area for the preschool audience of two-to-five year olds.

With more than one million copies sold globally across all formats, the Gossie & Friends series is the story of a band of inquisitive goslings who navigate common childhood concerns, such as new siblings, sharing, and lost toys.

Next page: More details about the learning series


Hobsons, Gallup partner for strengths-based PD courses

New PD program’s strengths-based culture aims to improve teacher engagement, student success

strengths-teachersHobsons and Gallup have announced plans to launch on-site and online professional development courses to help teachers identify their strengths and apply them in their teaching.

The program will also help teachers to show students how to pinpoint and build upon their own unique talents to succeed in school.

“Our research tells us that people who use their strengths are six times more likely to be engaged in the work they do, and teachers are no exception,” said Brandon Busteed, Executive Director for Education and Workforce Development at Gallup. “Great teachers build on their own strengths and teach their students to do the same. We’re excited to apply this work to the classroom as we know that teachers have the most significant impact on student success.”

Next page: Components of the new PD offering