Trade shows: When to go and what to do when you get there

Attending trade shows seems like an absolute must for educational publishers; the cost, personnel, and logistics can be obstacles for even the larger companies.

But going shouldn’t be booth or bust, though. In a new edWeb series Making the Most Out of Trade Shows, industry veterans discussed key factors in deciding when and where to go and how to make sure events support your company’s overall plan.

Related content: 30+ new things we saw at ISTE 2019

First, because no company can attend every event, staff should meet to discuss event strategy every year ahead of trade show season. Discussions should not only include sales and marketing staff, but also developers and representatives from executive leadership. When there’s buy-in across the organization, the implementation is typically more successful.


6 ways the E-rate supports digital and mobile learning

Education leaders expect school internet needs to increase over the next several years, highlighting the need for increased bandwidth and resources to support growing digital learning demands on school networks.

The ninth annual E-Rate Trends Report from Funds For Learning shows that the federal E-rate program is still critical in establishing broadband connectivity for schools and libraries. The 2014 E-rate update will expire in 2020, and stakeholders are urged to advocate for the program in order to ensure it can continue to serve schools and libraries and help close connectivity gaps.

Related content: 5 school and library applicants weigh in on E-rate

“Every year, we read through hundreds of responses that showcase how E-rate is mission critical for schools and libraries,” says John Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning. “It’s vital to identify what’s working and what improvements must be made, and to deliver that feedback directly to the FCC.”

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eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide

The eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide is here! It features strategies to help you effectively use digital and mobile learning resources, along with tips to support digital and mobile learning initiatives. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!


Teachers say edtech hasn’t reached its full potential

Despite overall low levels of teacher optimism, educators across the country agree that edtech helps their instructional strategies and has much more potential in the classroom.

The fifth annual Educator Confidence Report, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and YouGov, explores teacher sentiment across a broad range of topics and includes responses from more than 1,300 teachers and administrators.

Related content: 5 takeaways about the state of edtech

Surveyed teachers are optimistic about the use of edtech. Seventy-two percent of teachers report using edtech every day, and nearly all teachers (95 percent) have experienced benefits from using edtech.

Most teachers (82 percent) agree that technology has empowered them to strengthen their teaching practice in ways they would otherwise not be able to do, including helping to close equity gaps through more personalized instruction.


Mindfulness instruction makes a big impact on learning

Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, a neighborhood whose history of gun violence earned it the moniker “Chiraq,” can be traumatic for students. Many students come to school having witnessed violence or abuse in their lives. When they take their seats for the morning bell, learning fractions or the parts of a sentence is often the furthest thing from their minds.

These are the challenges Quinlan O’Grady faces each day as a teacher at Schmid Elementary School. And yet, her students are not only overcoming these challenges, they’re thriving — thanks in no small part to the use of mindfulness videos that give them effective strategies for coping with their emotions.

Related content: 8 ways I embraced mindfulness this year

In fact, O’Grady’s third graders last year performed 10 points higher than the national third-grade average on NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) benchmark exam. She attributes this success to a number of factors, one of which is her use of mindfulness content and other instructional videos from Adventure2Learning.

Promoting active learning

O’Grady began using Adventure2Learning’s instructional videos a few years ago as a way to promote active learning in her classroom.


3 essentials in a mobile learning environment

Gary Lambert: Wi-fi at home and on the bus

Beekmantown (NY) Central School District, a rural district of 2,070 students, was on a mission to be the most progressive educational institution in the area. When funds were earmarked for school wi-fi, we wanted to harness the internet to provide a world-class education for every student in this district.

Our initiative to address digital equity issues began with the rollout of Kajeet SmartSpots for students who needed home Internet access. In the four years since we had started our 1:1 program, the number of students without Internet has dropped from 30 percent to 10 percent because parents saw the benefit for their kids and made it a priority to get connected. For that 10 percent who still don’t have Internet, we had an easy-to-use solution.

Related content: Digital teaching and learning in the smartphone era

Because robust filtering and reporting features come standard with Kajeet, we’re now able to ensure that students are using wi-fi for its intended educational purpose. While we have a responsibility to be CIPA-compliant, we also are able to set notifications for when students violate our acceptable use policy by going to sites they shouldn’t. We can then determine when it’s necessary to intervene.

Related Content:

eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide

The eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide is here! It features strategies to help you effectively use digital and mobile learning resources, along with tips to support digital and mobile learning initiatives. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!


The challenges of broadband access in rural schools

Rural school districts face many unique trials, and access to educational technology is no different. But the obstacles aren’t just about location. In many cases, school leaders need to justify why the district should invest in the first place.

During the edWebinar “Technology in Rural Schools: Leading with Why,” presenters discussed how they overcame challenges and helped the community understand the value of tech in schools.

Related content: 7 broadband best practices

The presenters agreed that while there are multiple potential uses for school technology, their main goal is to give students a competitive education. While some students may choose to stay in the local area, school leaders want them to have the skills to succeed if they decide to leave.

But in order to take advantage of edtech, they first need broadband access. Telecom companies often forget about rural areas because they don’t have high population density. Thus, the price tag for getting connectivity can be expensive–in fact, schools and some businesses may be the only places with reliable broadband access.


Implementing STEAM projects in PreK and kindergarten classrooms

Preparing young children for jobs that haven’t been invented yet may sound like a difficult task for educators, but a recent edWebinar showed how preK and kindergarten teachers can start developing the skills needed for future careers.

Marnie Forestieri, the CEO of Young Innovators, and Debby Mitchell, Ed.D., a Young Innovators curriculum writer, explained the process for creating lesson plans that include projects introducing science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), noting that “STEAM happens naturally in young children as they explore and investigate the world around them.”

Related content: Transitioning a school from STEM to STEAM

Among the skills that can be developed and enhanced in preK and kindergarten classes are four that have been identified as critical to the success of 21st century workers: creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. These can all be integrated into STEAM-related projects, along with other key skills such as analyzing information.


Digital learning is helping this school close achievement gaps

There’s a widening technology achievement gap for minorities, despite blacks and Hispanics having more interest in learning computer science. So why is the field so dominated by whites?

eSchool News recently spoke with Mashea Ashton, who founded Washington, D.C.’s first computer science middle school last year in a struggling, historically black community to help bridge the technology achievement gap. Today, 99 percent of the students at Digital Pioneers Academy (DPA) are on a free lunch program. Ashton, who previously worked with Senator Cory Booker to create more educational options in Newark, N.J., talked about how innovative educators can help solve the racial achievement gap.

Related content: How our district is narrowing the digital divide

eSN: There are lots of cities with impoverished neighborhoods and poor public school systems, so why did you choose to start DPA in southeast D.C.?

Ashton: My husband’s family goes back six generations in southeast D.C. and I taught here early in my career. Southeast Washington, D.C.. is a unique and multifaceted community, where the talent pool is high, but access to transformational educational opportunities is often lacking. I love my community and know that our students can achieve anything they set their minds to accomplish. I saw DPA as a way to bridge the achievement and opportunity gap for scholars east of Washington D.C.’s Anacostia River, and for people of color who are disproportionately underrepresented in the technology field.

Related Content:

eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide

The eSchool News Digital & Mobile Learning Guide is here! It features strategies to help you effectively use digital and mobile learning resources, along with tips to support digital and mobile learning initiatives. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!


What is nature deficit disorder?

This year marked the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day celebrations all over North America, as well as around the world. The origin of Earth Day links back to the works of Gaylord Nelson and Rachel Carson and their work and dedication to the Earth’s environment. They were able to stand by their values because they felt the direct connection with nature, the outdoors and an approach towards environmental education that brought people together from all walks of life.

Currently, we are in a precarious situation. On one hand, we have Greta Thunberg, an environmental activist in her teens, taking a stand in the global arena. On the other, we have a rising number of K-12 students who say they feel they are losing their connection to nature.

Related content: How STEM learning invigorates classrooms

What is nature deficit disorder?

In an interview, Richard Louv explains that “nature-deficit disorder” is not a medical diagnosis, but a useful term to describe what many believe are the human costs of alienation from nature.

● Diminished use of the senses
● Attention difficulties
● Higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses
● A rising rate of myopia
● Child and adult obesity
● Vitamin D deficiency, and other maladies


What makes professional learning actually work?

“Don’t call it professional development—call it professional learning.” Jill Abbott, senior vice president and managing director at SIIA, made this statement in a recent edWebinar.

Additional panelists Jeff Mao, CEO of Edmoxie; Bruce Umpstead, director of state programs at IMS Global Learning Consortium; and Ilya Zeldin, founder and CEO of 2gnoMe, recommended that educational leaders take a deep breath and recognize that there is a crisis happening in our districts.

Related content: How to deliver PL that really works

There are vast quantifies of people who could be the best teachers ever, yet they don’t want to be in the profession. It is not easy for teachers to thrive and to grow when teacher professional learning is irrelevant, generic, and unsustainable.

A familiar comment from teachers regarding district or school-wide professional learning is, “Well, we’re just going to ride this one out because it is going to change in two years or when we get a new administrator.” The panelists suggest that if “we can get the professional learning piece done collaboratively with teachers, not at teachers, maybe we can retain and recruit highly qualified engaging and innovative educators.”