Redefining what it means to be ‘college-ready’

Societal pressures on high school seniors seemingly grow by the year. These days, a student’s level of college and workforce readiness is said to be dependent on their college admission test scores, completing the most rigorous high school classes possible, and obtaining AP credit. But research shows that these are not the sole indicators.

ACT recently released a report that claims only 26 percent of 2018 high school graduates were ready for the workforce, but I believe readiness is dictated by so much more than a standardized test score.

Related content: 4 keys to supporting college and career readiness

For example, research from the University of California Berkeley found that high school GPA is the best indicator of grades during freshman year in college as well as college graduation. Of course, I don’t presume that everyone should go to college.

Being college-ready vs. post-secondary-ready

When educators say they want students to be “college-ready,” it’s easy to assume we mean a four-year degree. What we really mean is “post-secondary ready.” If an individual wants to earn a family-supporting wage over the course of their work lifetime, they need access to some form of post-secondary education.

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How STEAM prepares students for the global economy

“We have students who are passionate, engaged and comfortable with technology, yet students are living in silos and not equipped with the 21st century skills which they genuinely need to be part of the global workforce of tomorrow.”

This statement by Amy McCooe, CEO of Level Up Village, during a recent edWebinar hit home with her two co-presenters, Esra Murray, a fifth-grade teacher at International School Dundee (CT), and Fran Kompar, director of instructional technology and digital learning at Wilton Public Schools (CT).

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Related content: How our school transitioned from STEM to STEAM

Kompar expressed her frustration: “We are now 20 years into the 21st century, and we should be preparing our students for the work of their time, not the future–because the future is now.”

The presenters emphasized that the global skill most vital to students is learnability: the desire, passion, and capacity to learn, the ability to synthesize and evaluate information, and the willingness to take on new challenges. The impact of developing learnability skills will ensure that our young learners apply their knowledge and skills to the global economy and become lifelong learners.

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How film and a flipped classroom lead to student success

According to research, in a typical classroom lecture students will generally retain only five percent of the material presented. Today’s teachers are looking to new methods of teaching and learning to improve student engagement and achievement, including tech-based solutions like the flipped classroom.

Designed to create an environment for students to actively participate and engage with the material provided, the flipped classroom is shown to exhibit learning gains almost two standard deviations higher than those found in traditional classes.

Related content: 8 principles to help you advance to flipped learning 3.0

In most flipped classrooms, educators provide materials for students to review before class such as readings from textbooks, worksheets or videos. The videos consumed in a flipped classroom are usually lectures pre-filmed by instructors, but less attention has been placed on the learning potential of assigning feature films to students outside of class.

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8 resources for robotics education

Robotics education is gaining STEAM (pun intended) in classrooms across the nation, and for good reason–it’s engaging, hands-on, and students learn real-world concepts as they solve challenges.

And as K-12 robotics education grows, so do resources for teachers to strengthen their own robotics skills and transfer that knowledge to students.

Related content: The coolest K-12 robotics programs at ISTE

If your K-12 robotics program is in its early stages, you may feel you don’t have enough resources to support the program as it progresses. If that’s the case, or if you’re simply looking for some new K-12 robotics resources, explore the following list to find something new to use in your classroom.

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eSchool News Robotics Guide

The eSchool News Robotics Guide is here! It features strategies to help you effectively integrate robotics into instruction, along with tips to find the right robotics resources to successfully teach key concepts. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!

[Editor’s note: Many of these resources come from companies selling robots. We have not tested these robots, but the sites offer teaching tools, many of which are created by teachers, to help integrate robotics into your instruction.]

1. Seek out robotics professionals in your school community. Spread the word that you’re seeking to boost your K-12 robotics education and you want to bring in professionals with real-world robotics experiences. These professionals can help students connect what they learn in the classroom with what they can do in the real world.

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Implementing an effective learner-centered approach for educators and students

Shifting from an industrial-age education model to a post-industrial learner-centered model is an essential part of preparing students for college and 21st century careers, and the process works best when the learner-centered approach is applied to the professional learning of teachers and administrators, as well as the education of their students.

During a recent edWebinar, Katie Martin, Ph.D and Symon Hayes of Altitude Learning explained how using a learner-centered process prepares administrators and teachers to implement the same approach with their students. Kimberly Hatten, Ed.D. discussed how the approach had worked successfully in the Futures Academy network of schools.

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The learning model Dr. Martin presented is known as competency-based learning, and one key aspect is that learners “articulate” their own progress toward competencies. This is important because with today’s diverse students and educators, learners have different timelines and trajectories and the pace of the learning may vary. Deep collaboration between the learners and the people guiding their progress is therefore necessary, and ongoing evaluations should guide the process as well as determine mastery.

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3 ways AI is changing education right now (and in the future)

New and creative uses of artificial intelligence are being developed every day. The potential of AI in education cannot be overstated. In edtech, the use of AI has flown largely under the radar thus far, but it has the potential to reimagine the student-teacher relationship and improve student outcomes across the board.

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Insights and predictions for the future of AI in education and in edtech from industry experts agree on several overarching trends. Technology, led by an interest in AI-based solutions, will produce a completely new educational system, and these are some of the trends I see impacting the work that is being done in the industry.

1. AI will lead to even better personalization.

The primary trend is personalization and it’s easy to see why. Not all students learn the same, and hence they shouldn’t all be taught the same. For a very long time, the education system has followed the one-size-fits all approach to student learning. However, the truth is that every student is unique. The future will see AI systems customize the learning experience for students based on their strengths and weaknesses.

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9 grants to fund your robotics education dreams

Robotics kits and resources can be expensive, and schools don’t always have money in their already-tight budgets to accommodate robotics tools. But you don’t have to say goodbye to plans for robotics education in your school.

Luckily, as interest in robotics education grows, so, too, do the funding opportunities for students and educators. We’ve gathered grants, scholarships, and internship opportunities to help educators increase their access to robotics education.

Related content: 8 resources for robotics education

Bookmark the following grants to have a list of active funding opportunities throughout the year. Some have deadlines and some accept applications on a rolling basis, and some of those deadlines may have already passed for the year, but you can mark your calendars for next year’s deadline.

9 robotics education grants

1. Samsung Solve for Tomorrow: This nationwide contest is designed to boost interest and proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and challenges public school teachers and students in grades 6-12 to show how STEM can be applied to help improve their local community. Samsung employees are volunteering to advise on projects and offer their expertise to all 100 state winners. Mentors are committed to offering informative webinars, Q&A sessions, one-on-one Skype conversations and more.

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eSchool News Robotics Guide

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2. Amazon Future Engineer is a comprehensive childhood-to-career program to inspire, educate, and train children and young adults from underserved and low-income communities to pursue careers in computer science. The site points users to scholarship and internship opportunities.

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Here’s why robotics education will help students for life

Much of today’s impactful teaching focuses on the “why” behind the concept being taught. When it comes to STEM concepts such as robotics, educators and students alike may wonder why they should learn robotics if they don’t plan to pursue it in college or the workforce. The answer? Robotics education will help students for life.

Students are more engaged when they understand how classroom concepts apply in the real world. Learning how robotics, science, engineering, and other STEM concepts are used to solve complex problems speaks to the “why” behind robotics education.

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The skills students learn through robotics and other STEM activities are commonly referred to as “employability skills.” These skills, also called soft skills or 21st-century skills, will follow students throughout their lives whether they pursue STEM careers or not.

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How one district handles student data privacy

Every school district is faced with a choice about how to protect student data. As districts have implemented more technology to support digital learning, student data privacy in schools has become a critical issue.

It can be a huge undertaking to vet and manage the privacy policies of all of the online resources used in a district. Even with good intentions, most districts do not have adequate protection and are vulnerable to a data breach. These breaches are becoming more common as districts struggle to keep up with technology.

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Here is the story of one district that is doing it right by effectively supporting its student data privacy policy with a comprehensive privacy management tool.

Forsyth County Schools

District administrators and school board members in Georgia’s Forsyth County Schools were committed to data privacy—and with nearly 50,000 students, the district knew protection was of the utmost importance.

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