Common Sense Education ramps up ‘Digital Citizenship for All’

Common Sense Education’s new Digital Citizenship for All campaign, part of the organization’s commitment to making digital citizenship a national priority, urges educators to take a digital citizenship pledge and model behavior for students as they use technology responsibly.

The campaign is the cornerstone of Common Sense Education’s back-to-school offerings and invites teachers and administrators around the world to “Take the Digital Citizenship for All Pledge” to guide students in using technology safely, responsibly, and effectively.

Common Sense Education launched its K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum in 2011.

As technology becomes more commonplace in the classroom, teachers and students alike face new digital dilemmas, from issues with cyberbullying and digital footprints to creative copyright and plagiarism.

The pledge will increase awareness about the importance of–and need for–digital citizenship instruction and gives educators the opportunity to make a commitment to taking real action on behalf of their students.

“Digital classrooms are here to stay, and that is a good thing for educators and families given all of the innovative learning technologies available,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. “But we have to ensure that kids know how to use technology wisely while avoiding the perils. Digital citizenship is as important as every other lesson for kids, and we are excited to launch this effort to help educators incorporate this powerful program into their classrooms.”

As a bonus for signing the pledge, teachers receive Common Sense Education’s Back-to-School Guide, which provides tips and tools on everything from engaging students to bridging the home-school connection, all while empowering students to be good digital citizens.

“We hear every day from parents and educators who need help giving kids the digital literacy and citizenship skills they need to learn and thrive in today’s world, so we are launching this campaign to really help them start the year off right,” said Rebecca Randall, vice president of education programs for Common Sense. “By taking the pledge, educators are committing to empowering students with the skills they need to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly with technology, which is essential since we know that more than 92 percent of kids go online every day.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

tags

Google adds new features to Classroom, Forms, and more

As back-to-school approaches, Google has just released a grab-bag of new features aimed at K-12 educators—mostly upgrades to existing Google products like Classroom and Expeditions—announced in a new blog post.

For Classroom, Google’s still relatively new LMS, the company is adding summaries of student work that can be automatically shared with parents by teachers, who can send the summaries (or classroom announcements) daily or weekly as they choose.

Classroom’s mobile app is also getting some tweaks, namely the new ability to annotate documents, turning them into whiteboard-like screens. Teachers, too, can use the annotations to grade assignments, highlight passages, or demonstrate concepts. To help organize classrooms, teachers can now also add topics to posts and students can filter their streams for specific topics.

New virtual field trips for Google’s virtual reality program, Expeditions, which uses smartphones paired with cardboard viewers, are also being added, letting classes virtually travel to places like Bhutan or inside the human body. Expeditions now features more than 200 trips.

Cast for Education, a free Chrome app that lets teachers share their screens wirelessly to a projector, is now available for all classrooms. Google Forms is also getting an update—namely allowing images to be added to questions or as multiple-choice answers.

tags

Marketplace trend update: 6 ed-tech developments

Remaining a tech-savvy educator means keeping on top of the myriad changes and trends in education, how technology can support those trends, and how teaching and learning can best benefit from near-constant change.

Below, we’ve gathered some of the latest and most relevant marketplace news to keep you up-to-date on product developments, teaching and learning initiatives, and new trends in education.

 

PresenceLearning, provider of telemedicine/telehealth services in education and health care, is launching a free, three-part webinar series for special education leaders this fall. The series, “Results Matter – Closing the Achievement Gap,” will kick off on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 1 PM Eastern/10 AM Pacific with “Results Driven Accountability: Where Were We? Where Are We? Where Do We Go Next?” led by RDA expert Dr. Alan Coulter. Read more.

Modern technologies are making it easier to engage students, but choosing the right technologies to support student engagement in the classroom is a difficult task, and one with an important goal: creating learner-centered environments in which students can thrive. On August 25, Alan November will give a live presentation on student engagement, hosted by itslearning. Read more.

Washington’s Highline Public Schools announced the launch of a new partnership supporting college and career readiness with Discovery Education, provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms. Through this collaboration, all K-12 classrooms district-wide will have access to engaging digital content through Discovery Education Streaming Plus, a comprehensive digital service supplementing instruction across all K-12 curricular areas. Read more.

Renaissance Learning, provider K-12 cloud-based assessment and learning analytics, announced a major new alliance with ClassLink, provider of single sign-on and rostering solutions for schools. The partnership paves the way to faster, easier access to one of the most trusted education providers and offers millions of educators and students secure, OneClick access to Renaissance solutions. Read more.

Literacy publisher Benchmark Education Company announced a new literacy intervention program for grades K–2 in print format with online support. Spring Forward helps students build essential literacy skills through explicit strategy-based instruction. The program provides teachers with everything they need to help struggling young readers accelerate progress in developing foundational skills, oral language, metacognition, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and writing. Read more.

NewSchools Venture Fund is looking for educators, creators and visionaries who believe in the power and potential of reimagining learning. NewSchools finds, funds and supports teams of educators and entrepreneurs whose bold ideas have the potential to achieve outstanding results for students. Nearly 18 months into a refreshed strategy, the organization is focused on investments and support in three specific areas: creating innovative schools; building technology tools to better support student learning; and cultivating pipelines of diverse senior leaders in education. Read more.

tags

3 reasons why AI is education’s future

If you ask kids today why phrases like “hang up” the phone or “roll down” the window exist, chances are they’ll have no idea. Fast-forward to the near future and “search the web” may also cause a few head scratches.

“We’re evolving, but remain electronic ‘hunters and gatherers,’” explained Ralph Lucci, cofounder and user experience director at Behavior Design.

But that’s about to change thanks to today’s quickly emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technology for practically every industry, including education. “The day will soon come when we’ll sardonically ask ourselves: ‘Remember when we had to visit a website and look around for what we needed?’ Now the data comes to us.”

And while mainstream AI isn’t at that level just yet, innovative industries and some schools are already either beginning to implement AI basics or planning to structure entire departments or services on the potential power of AI.

3 Reasons Why AI is Education’s Future

competition2

1. It will revolutionize the competition.

Almost every school or institution is currently vying for recognition among students that have become incredibly choosy consumers, and AI could be an effective way to stand out from the crowd, said Lucci.

“If an institution is embracing AI, students know there’s support and structure around these kinds of technologies and modernized learning; which is a good thing. Students will hold the school in higher regard and in turn the institution can attract more diverse and like-minded audiences, including professors and teachers! It’s a win-win situation.”

One of the more immediate ways Lucci sees AI working as a differentiator is via school portals or college and university websites. As he explains, AI provides a much different UX (user experience) than sites today are currently capable of.

According to Lucci, users consume online content in three ways–what behavioral designers call surgical, casual and assisted means. “Most websites employ solutions for quick access (surgical) and the ability to search, browse, and peruse (casual). The notion of guided (assisted) experience is typically only employed when necessary or relevant to the subject matter, e.g. wizards or calculators.” But Lucci noted that with the mainstreaming of AI, websites and portals will allow for this last tier to emerge as a means to simplify experiences and interfaces.

AI

“It may begin as a complementary offering, much like a customer service representative or live chat agent, but eventually this strategy can be front and center in any interface,” he explained. “In either case, a simple “What can we help you with today?” can generate a response in many forms – whether that is a direct answer with next steps or a potential list of results/matches – that initiates a personalized path akin to a choosing-your-own adventure experience. Institutions can ‘test pilot’ AI and adjust accordingly after gleaning feedback about how it may best serve student and school goals.”

Next page: Can AI be personalized?

tags

PresenceLearning’s fall webinars to focus on closing achievement gap for students with special needs

PresenceLearning, provider of telemedicine/telehealth services in education and health care, is launching a free, three-part webinar series for special education leaders this fall. The series, “Results Matter – Closing the Achievement Gap,” will kick off on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 1 PM Eastern/10 AM Pacific with “Results Driven Accountability: Where Were We? Where Are We? Where Do We Go Next?” led by RDA expert Dr. Alan Coulter.

To register for the webinar, visit http://www.presencelearning.com/sped-ahead-webinar/results-driven-accountability-where-were-we-where-are-we-where-do-we-go-next/.

In March 2012, the Department of Education announced it was taking new steps – what is referred to as Results-Driven Accountability (RDA) – to close the achievement gap for students with disabilities by shifting from a focus on procedural compliance to increased attention on educational outcomes. During the webinar, Dr. Coulter will discuss the current state of RDA and how it is affecting special education leaders. He will provide a timely update on RDA, explore the implications of RDA, and offer up guidance on where RDA is heading and how educators can prepare for it. As a result of the webinar, attendees will be able to:

● Identify and list the four primary purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its predecessors, the federal laws concerning children with disabilities in schools, and the current approaches to accountability.
● Summarize and describe the structure and phases of the state systemic improvement plan (SSIP) and its relationship to RDA.
● Apply three actions that support the principles of RDA in their professional practice.

About “Results Matter – Closing the Achievement Gap” Webinar Series
After decades of legislation, litigation, research, professional development, and an alphabet soup full of acronyms, the achievement gap remains stubbornly wide. What are the practical realities and what work still needs to be done to make the dream of full achievement for all students come true? PresenceLearning’s latest SPED Ahead webinar series will explore this topic and provide a comprehensive look at where our education system is in reaching full achievement for all students and where we are headed. Led by subject matter experts, the series will unpack topics such as RDA and ESSA, factors that contribute to programs like RTI not living up to their promise, socio-economic factors that impair achievement, how a growth mindset is the key to success, and much more.

 

tags

Submit your boldest, biggest ideas for reimagining education

NewSchools Venture Fund is looking for educators, creators and visionaries who believe in the power and potential of reimagining learning.

NewSchools finds, funds and supports teams of educators and entrepreneurs whose bold ideas have the potential to achieve outstanding results for students. Nearly 18 months into a refreshed strategy, the organization is focused on investments and support in three specific areas:
Creating innovative schools
Building technology tools to better support student learning
Cultivating pipelines of diverse senior leaders in education

“Every young person deserves a school that meets them where they are and helps them develop and reach big goals,” said Stacey Childress, CEO, NewSchools Venture Fund. “Some in education believe our existing school models can do this if we all just try a little harder. We don’t see it that way. That’s why we support teams that are reimagining the learning experience to help students develop everything they need for long-term success.”

To support this vison, each of the NewSchools investment areas will launch new funding cycles on August 1. Information about each opportunity can be found at http://www.newschools.org/about-us/investment-areas/open-funding-opportunities.

While each investment area has a different and specific area of focus, all three complement the larger strategy of supporting a new generation of diverse leaders and entrepreneurs who are creating schools that work better for every student, with the tools and services they need to be successful. Each funding opportunity will also be augmented by management assistance and collaboration within a cohort of organizations that received funding.

The Innovative Schools team invests in a diverse portfolio of PreK-12 public schools – both district and charter – with an emphasis on approaches that personalize the learning experience and allow students to take greater ownership over their learning. Investments include new schools, redesigned schools, and partnerships with model providers. However, this particular funding opportunity will focus only on teams that are planning to launch a new school in the next 1-3 years.

“We believe academic content mastery is very important, but students need much more to be successful. We partner with teams of educators who embrace an expanded definition of success, which includes the full range of mindsets, skills and habits students need for success in college, career, and life,” said Scott Benson, managing partner, NewSchools Venture Fund.

Using a rigorous due diligence process, NewSchools will select the most promising teams for one of two types of investments. Teams in the planning phase can receive $100,000 – $200,000 to help refine their designs and prepare for launch. Teams that already have strong plans and are ready to launch can receive $200,000 – $700,000 to support their first two to three years of operation. Submissions are due in November.

The Tools & Services team invests in entrepreneurs who develop sophisticated tools and services schools need to tailor learning for students, and make the best use of teachers’ time and talents. While some segments of the ed tech market have grown rapidly in the last few years, some market segments are still lagging in innovation that meets critical student and teacher needs. Tools for English Language Learners (ELL) is one of those areas, and is the focus of this current funding challenge.

“There is a dearth of quality ELL tools, and the need has never been greater. When designing this challenge, we spoke directly with ELL teachers and students,” said Tonika Cheek Clayton, managing partner, NewSchools Venture Fund. “We also conducted rigorous market research and talked with experts to help us understand the specific ELL needs. ELL educators will help us determine which ventures to fund, because they have an invaluable perspective on student needs. Our goal is to attract and support the best entrepreneurs with great ideas for addressing gaps in the ELL tools that can help teachers meet their students’ needs.”

For this challenge, the team is seeking a diverse set of entrepreneurs to create exceptional ELL tools and services to support personalized learning for students, with submissions due by August 29, 2016. Funding is in the range of $50,000-$150,000, and ventures will be selected by mid-October.

The Diverse Leaders team is focused on closing the racial/ethnic demographic gap between the leaders of education organizations and the students they serve. They are working to build strong talent pipelines so Black and Latino leaders represent at least 30 percent of senior leadership and boards of directors in PreK-12 schools, education non-profits and education technology companies by 2020.

“Efforts to reimagine public education are greatly enhanced when they include leaders from the Black and Latino communities they were intended to serve. Many in our sector understand this, and I am proud that NewSchools is taking steps to address it,” said Frances Messano, managing partner, NewSchools Venture Fund. “When we diversify education senior leadership, research shows impact in several ways: more relevant solutions and stronger outcomes for students of color; increased innovation and creativity; and stronger organizations.”

This funding opportunity is open to entrepreneurs with ambitious ideas focused on advancing Black and Latino senior leadership in education. Ideas may include efforts to attract, recruit, develop, retain, and/or place diverse senior leaders, CEOs, founders, and board members, among many others. Funding is in the range of $50,000-$150,000, and submissions are due by September 16, 2016.

tags

Benchmark Education announces new early learning literacy intervention program

Literacy publisher Benchmark Education Company (BEC) announced a new literacy intervention program for grades K–2 in print format with online support. Spring Forward helps students build essential literacy skills through explicit strategy-based instruction.

The program provides teachers with everything they need to help struggling young readers accelerate progress in developing foundational skills, oral language, metacognition, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and writing. The program includes 228 new leveled books, with an equal number of fiction and non-fiction titles. BEC released its best-selling parallel intervention program in Spanish, Soluciones, last year.

Each Spring Forward grade-level purchase option consists of six copies each of 60 or more science and social studies leveled books organized into two-book sets. Each two-book set features a double-sided colorful poster companion and a Teacher’s Guide that provides week-by-week instruction. The two-book sets and posters provide opportunities to read across texts at each student’s instructional reading level to compare and contrast ideas, themes, story elements, and author’s craft elements.

Spring Forward’s Kindergarten intervention resources develop concepts about print, vocabulary, writing, and phonics skills. First-grade intervention resources include grades K and 1 levels to support the leap to complex text. Second-grade resources progress from emergent to early/fluent reading levels to scaffold diverse readers.

Additional components to help accelerate student growth in literacy include a Progress Monitoring Handbook, an Oral Reading Records Handbook, more than 60 Take-Home Books in downloadable PDF-format to extend students’ learning and support family engagement, 100 Picture Cards, and 26 Letter Cards per grade.

Teacher’s Guides in Spring Forward provide 30 to 45 minutes of daily instruction per week. During small group instruction, educators guide three to four students in reading two precisely leveled books each week: one fiction and one non-fiction. As a Tier 1 & 2 Intervention solution, Spring Forward helps teachers prepare students for on grade-level reading participation.

Spring Forward has several features that make it unique to the marketplace. The program is not confined to a strict schedule, but rather offers flexible pacing options. It can be seamlessly integrated with BEC’s core literacy program Benchmark Literacy or used as a stand-alone intervention system. It was specifically designed to address Common Core State Standards and other new state standards, and emphasizes close reading as well as finding and using text evidence, access to complex text and academic rigor. Most significantly, it was conceived with the overarching idea that it can be used by the sole classroom teacher in either a classroom or pull-out setting.

Built on three instructional pillars—assess, instruct, accelerate—Spring Forward provides immediate and strategic intervention:
• Pre and post assessment to determine student placement in and exit from the program
• Progress monitoring to help make informed decisions and scaffold learning
• A variety of engaging informational and literary texts to build foundational skills and close learning gaps

“We are proud to offer research-based literacy resources to support intervention efforts. Spring Forward develops essential language and reading skills in diverse students from Kindergarten through grade 2,” said Tom Reycraft, President of Benchmark Education Company. “The instruction is thoughtful, explicit and strategy-based—strengthening teaching effectiveness and helping students to make measurable progress. Spring Forward and its parallel Spanish counterpart, Soluciones, are both suitable for yearlong intervention and summer school use.”

Spring Forward is a print-format package that also includes downloadable digital books. A computer with Internet access is needed to access those components. The product is available for immediate shipment through Benchmark Education.

Spring Forward is sold by individual grades starting at $2,295. The suggested price for the full set grades K–2 is $7,995.

tags

Renaissance Learning and ClassLink align for single sign-on solution

Renaissance Learning, provider K-12 cloud-based assessment and learning analytics, announced a major new alliance with ClassLink, provider of single sign-on and rostering solutions for schools.

The partnership paves the way to faster, easier access to one of the most trusted education providers and offers millions of educators and students secure, OneClick access to Renaissance solutions.

ClassLink’s OneClick delivers single sign-on to online cloud-based resources, such as the Renaissance platform, and to files, whether they are stored in the cloud, on a device, or on the school network. With more than 3,000 single sign-on connectors, ClassLink has brought together more resources than all other single sign-on platforms combined.

“Renaissance is very excited to work with ClassLink’s OneClick single sign-on to support districts in our joint commitment to solving real problems for educators by simplifying sign-on for student and teachers while maintaining the preeminent levels of security and privacy of data,” said Paula O’ Gorman, SVP of strategic partnerships at Renaissance Learning.

ClassLink CEO Berj Akian echoed the sentiments of O’Gorman. “Renaissance Learning is a standout among cloud-based assessment and learning analytics providers. Their commitment to working with ClassLink and our single sign-on solution demonstrates how companies can work together in ways that benefit everyone, including schools, publishers, and technology providers.”

Renaissance and ClassLink collaborated with district leaders to build the functionality, making it easy for all schools to access Renaissance solutions from OneClick.

tags

Washington district partners with Discovery on college, career readiness

Washington’s Highline Public Schools announced the launch of a new partnership supporting college and career readiness with Discovery Education, provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms.

Through this collaboration, all K-12 classrooms districtwide will have access to engaging digital content through Discovery Education Streaming Plus, an award-winning, comprehensive digital service supplementing instruction across all K-12 curricular areas.

In addition, 35 teacher leaders and their principals, representing five elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school, will participate in Discovery Education’s Digital Leader Corps. A comprehensive professional development system, Digital Leader Corps develops teacher-leaders to propel the district’s transition to modern digital learning environments.

This new partnership supports Highline Public Schools’ Strategic Plan for 2013-2017, which was developed with input from parents, students, community members, and district staff at all levels. The plan outlines six major goals designed to ensure that each student is prepared for college and careers, with one of the goals being that every student will graduate tech-savvy and tech-literate. Key components of the district strategy include providing technology devices to every student; partnering with local technology organizations to provide resources and access to leading-edge technology and industry professionals; and providing current and continuous professional development for teachers, leaders, and staff to ensure seamless integration of technology-driven approaches.

Access to Discovery Education Streaming Plus ensures that educators and students using district-issued devices have the ability to access the highest-quality digital content for teaching and learning. Discovery Education’s Digital Leader Corps supports the school system’s efforts to provide rigorous professional development that empowers all teachers to effectively integrate new educational technologies and digital media into classroom instruction.

“Highline Public Schools is committed to creating engaging personalized learning environments that ensure district graduates are college and career ready,” said Highline Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield. “The addition of Discovery Education’s dynamic digital resources and robust professional development will help our educators innovate and lead us in meeting this critical goal.”

Discovery Education Streaming Plus’ digital resources are aligned to state standards, are searchable, and include videos, images, primary source documents, podcasts, oral interviews, audio books, articles and more. Teacher resources in Streaming Plus include lesson plans, instructional strategies and content collections organized around themes, as well as instructional videos, skill builders, writing prompts, multimedia activities, and articles. Through its popular Board Builder feature, students can create virtual project boards using multimedia and text to synthesize their thinking and provide evidence of their understanding of a concept or problem.

Discovery Education’s Digital Leader Corps helps school systems develop a network of teacher-leaders prepared to design and implement successful and innovative teaching strategies to be shared with their peers. Featuring a unique combination of professional learning, pedagogy and tools, Digital Leader Corps offers participating educators proven approaches to integrating educational technologies and digital media into classroom instruction. Digital Leader Corps provides teachers with continuous customized, job-embedded consultation throughout the process with on-going modeling, coaching and feedback from Discovery Education experts in the pre-planning, stakeholder communications and implementation phases.

The Discovery Education Community will also support Highline Public Schools’ educators in their efforts to transform students’ learning experiences with digital media. A global community of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing and inspiration.

“Discovery Education shares Highline Public Schools’ belief that engaging digital content combined with high quality, ongoing professional development can play a critical role in preparing students for success beyond the classroom,” said Jolie Vigen, Director of Education Partnerships at Discovery Education. “We look forward to supporting Superintendent Enfield and the entire Highline team as they create the authentic, real-world digital learning environments their students need for college and career readiness.”

For more information about Discovery Education Streaming Plus, the Digital Leader Corps and other Discovery Education services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com.

tags

Alan November to host student engagement webinar

Students are not engaged in the classroom like they should be, and educators are searching for ways to bridge this gap to create the best learning environment for each of their students.

Modern technologies are making it easier to engage students, but choosing the right technologies to support student engagement in the classroom is a difficult task, and one with an important goal: creating learner-centered environments in which students can thrive.

On Thursday, 8/25 at 1 PM EST (12 PM CST, 10 AM PST), Alan November will give a live presentation on Student Engagement.

Learn strategies for supporting learner agency, creating environments where students feel safe to take risks and engage in valuable peer learning opportunities, and helping students develop critical learning skills to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

There is no cost to join the webinar, but registration is required. For more information go to: http://info.itslearning.net/alan-november-student-engagement.html

tags