STEM learning should start early, survey says

Early elementary school is a perfect time to introduce STEM learning, and building equitable STEM programs is essential

Nearly all Americans (94 percent) say STEM learning creates a love of science and mathematics in children from a young age, according to a new survey.

The Brainly survey of 1,000 U.S. students shows that while Americans clearly advocate for STEM learning and see the career advantages it offers, a whopping 83 percent of survey respondents think the U.S. is lagging behind other countries when it comes to STEM in public education and careers.

Twenty-six percent of Americans believe it’s most important to incorporate STEM learning in kindergarten through second grade (28 percent), followed by third through fifth grade (26 percent), and sixth through eighth grade (20 percent).

Eighty-four percent of those surveyed say they believe having an educational background in STEM makes someone more hire-able, and 76 percent say people with STEM backgrounds earn higher salaries than those with traditional educational backgrounds.


How academic teaming put this school on track for success

For a school with consistently low ratings, a strategy known as academic teaming was a key to improving school performance

What does it take to turn around a chronically under-performing school? If you ask educators at Moseley Elementary School, it takes determined school leaders and teachers with the ability to give students a purpose each day–and a strategy called academic teaming.

William D. Moseley Elementary School has a history of struggle. Its student population is fairly transient, and 100 percent of students are on free and reduced lunch. Twenty-five percent receive special education services and many students have deficiencies in key skill areas. Combined, those factors led to a large student population working through trauma that impacts their ability to learn.

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The school, in a rural area of Florida, had a consistently low performance record, falling somewhere between a D and an F for years. In 2016 it was the fifth lowest-performing in the state, prompting Putnam County Schools to hire Learning Sciences International (LSI) to help improve the school’s performance.


5 ways this district prioritizes digital learning

Learn how one school district in Alabama leaves no student behind when it comes to digital learning and academic success

It’s one thing to realize that you need more digital learning in your classroom, but it’s quite another thing to do the research and put in the time to learn how to effectively incorporate digital tools in a way that improves student success.

In Alabama’s Opelika City Schools, digital learning is an integral part of the school day, from classrooms and professional learning to behind the scenes in offices and IT operations.

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“We are a district that doesn’t buy tech tools as standalones–everything works together toward a common goal,” says Stacy Royster, the district’s technology director. “We’re very collaborative and interactive in nature.”

Here are five ways the district makes sure digital learning and student success are priorities.

1. Lightspeed Systems‘ Relay Classroom helps district teachers manage different devices in their classrooms and filter content. Students can work on assignments in Google Classroom, and teachers can use Relay to view students’ screens and open tabs or send assignment-related links to students. It also lets teachers spot conversation-worthy topics on students’ screens as they’re working.


5 reasons to integrate STEM into online learning

Students need STEM--and a strong STEM learning background will carry them from high school to a high-tech workforce

STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—are highly technical, which is one reason that the education system is changing to further incorporate these subjects into the curriculum.

As more and more fields require technical knowledge, it is a good idea to equip our young learners with basic STEM skills early on. With online schools, it is invaluable to start teaching these concepts at a young age, which is why STEM curriculum is now being introduced at the elementary level.

Related content: How STEM invigorates learning

Here are five reasons STEM courses should be included in online K-12 schooling.

1. Early exposure to STEM promotes digital literacy

Understanding technology is more important than ever. When children are exposed to STEM education in elementary school, they are getting a head start on being digitally literate. Children need to be well-versed in technology before they graduate from high school. For this reason, STEM education has been continuously evolving to fit current needs.


Four ways to transform your school culture

A school principal shares how educators can work together to challenge the status quo and improve school culture and student success

An effective school culture is a positive environment that supports learning for each and every student. In a healthy school culture, there’s a belief that every student holds unique gifts and talents, and has the innate ability to be successful.

This kind of school culture isn’t always the reality, but as educators, we have the power to make it that way. If we commit to placing value in our school’s culture, take risks, embrace innovation, and place a focus on relationship-building, we can transform education.

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It won’t always be easy, but it will be worthwhile. Here are four ways to challenge the status quo to spark cultural revolution in your school.

1. Create a literacy-rich school culture

I believe that literacy is the foundation for success for all students. Literacy impacts every other subject that a student will study in school, from algebra to creative writing. And, literacy impacts students of every age – from PreK to college and beyond.

Literacy provides another important opportunity to students: to learn about their own and their peers’ cultural backgrounds. Not every student has the ability to travel, some may not have ever traveled outside of their home state, or city. But through books, reading, and creativity, students are given an avenue to explore the stories of cultures around the world, no matter their socioeconomic background.


16 educators share their digital learning strategies

Digital learning has limitless possibilities--get some inspiration from how these educators are using edtech tools in their classrooms

Digital learning tools are invaluable when they’re used by confident educators. In fact, when used appropriately, digital and mobile learning resources engage students–and they can even help boost achievement.

Online literacy platforms, virtual field trips, STEM simulations and modeling–these are just some of the tools that help elevate instruction in classrooms across the country.

Here, 13 educators share snapshots of the digital learning tools they’re using in their classrooms.

I use edtech in my classroom to differentiate instruction and take my literacy curriculum to the next level. To accomplish this, I use Achieve3000, a digital platform designed to support accelerated literacy growth through differentiated content and assessments. This program gives my class access to digital texts and news articles that are adapted to each student’s independent reading level. I know my students are engaged when many of the article topics result in classroom debates and discussions for later research and presentation. Most importantly, my students are able to track their individual progress on the program. They are extremely proud when they are able to chart the increases in their Lexile levels as their reading comprehension skills improve. Digital learning tools support me in keeping my literacy curriculum current, in tailoring instruction to meet the needs of my students, and in showing my students the results of their hard work and efforts.
By Michelle Downey, English Department, Piedmont High School

Related content: Digital learning is helping this school close achievement gaps

Simply say the words ‘field’ and ‘trip’ in front of a classroom of students, and the excitement becomes visible. While teachers have always known the value field trips bring, we also are familiar with the logistical planning and budgeting that goes into them. Thanks to the power of technology, teachers now have the ability to introduce students to a variety of powerful experiences without ever having to leave the classroom. Free resources from TGR EDU: Explore, a career exploration program from Tiger Woods’ TGR Foundation and Discovery Education, make my field trips more accessible than ever. Recently, I took my class on a virtual field trip to Menlo Park, California, where we received a behind-the-scenes look at Facebook’s headquarters. As a class, we explored some of the innovative careers that fuel the Silicon Valley powerhouse, and modern technologies that gather data to solve problems–without leaving the classroom. These virtual field trips help students visualize their ambitions, see it in action in the real world, and strive for every career possibility.
By Josh Prater, United States History Teacher at Pasadena ISD, Sam Rayburn High School


December 2019 Guide: School Safety

We are excited to bring you the third in a series of eSchool News Guides, which are full of resources, tips, trends, and insight from industry experts on a variety of topics that are essential to the classroom, school, and district.


The 4 tech skills all middle schoolers should develop

A principal and a computer teacher detail the tech skills their students need to become digitally savvy in a connected economy

Saint Patrick’s is a small, pre-K–8 Catholic school in Yorktown Heights, New York. Last year, we received a grant to revamp our computer lab into what we call a STREAM lab, which stands for science, technology, religion, engineering, art, and math.

The grant allowed us to invest in 30 new MacBook Airs to supplement our existing iPads and Chromebooks. Before we spent a cent, though, we made certain to connect every purchase with our two important goals: improving each individual child’s academic and career prospects, and improving our students’ scores on state assessments, which are critical to whether we’re succeeding or failing as a school.

Related content: 4 ways tech can improve SEL skills

To that end, here are four essential tech skills that we strive to teach all of our students by the time they finish middle school.

1. Robotics and coding

Like many schools, we’ve expanded our robotics and coding programs. For the past year, we’ve been using the Sphero SPRK+ and Dash and Dot to introduce robotics and support inquiry-based learning. This year, students will also be using Ozobot’s Bit and Evo robots, as well as LEGO WeDo and Mindstorms robotic kits. Robots encourage kids to collaborate and to drive lessons with their creativity. They decide as a team what they’re going to accomplish, and they go from there.


10 things to know about digital learning

A new report outlines digital learning challenges and top priorities for teachers and administrators

Digital learning itself is expanding in schools, but access to classroom and home technology still remains a major obstacle, according to a new study from Schoology.

The State of Digital Learning report is based on responses from more than 9,200 education professionals and covers challenges, priorities, and student achievement as they relate to digital learning and edtech tools.

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The study yields significant findings regarding challenges and priorities, the role and impact of technology, digital citizenship and emerging edtech trends, and professional development and learning communities.


5 new strategies for digital content

Using digital content can save teachers time and bring real-world relevance to classrooms

For the past decade of my career, I’ve worked to empower and inspire educators in their use of digital content and technology. From teaching educators in graduate level courses and delivering school level professional development to producing digital learning content and designing educational products and services, my career has had one common purpose: to learn how to best support educators’ use of digital content.

This work has been informed by hours interviewing, surveying, observing, and conversing with educators in all roles, grade-levels, and subject areas. Throughout this process, I have observed time and again that when we give educators practical strategies to use digital content, they are more effective at teaching with that content and engaging students in the learning process.

Following are five new strategies educators at any level can use to more effectively use digital content to jumpstart classroom learning.