How online education serves special needs students

Over the past few years, the pandemic made online education the de-facto schooling format for nearly all Americans. While it proved viable for many, it also exposed some of the common pitfalls in the traditional online education landscape, leading to a common perception that online education formats don’t yield the same level of instruction and retention for students. However, this belief is often misguided or a direct result of imperfect execution by school systems that struggle to adapt to a virtual format.  

As an educator in the online format since the outset of my teaching career in 2013, I firmly believe that with the right practices and systems in place, there are in fact many ways in which online education offers a more supportive, inclusive, and personalized learning experience–especially for typically overlooked or isolated students, such as those with special education needs and IEPs.

Online education can offer an inclusive and discreet experience for special education students that optimizes their potential and boosts their academic performance, personal confidence, and overall growth as a student.…Read More

VHS Learning Receives $1.4 Million Grant from The Manton Foundation

VHS Learning has received a $1.4 million, three-year grant from The Manton Foundation. The funds will enable the nonprofit to better serve students and schools by updating its infrastructure, website, and course offerings. VHS Learning will also use the grant to provide supplemental curriculum and instruction services to schools in rural and high-needs areas.

“In 2013 we received grant funding from The Manton Foundation, and we were pleased to recently reconnect with the foundation to discuss how VHS Learning has grown over the years, and how we are supporting schools during the pandemic,” said Carol DeFuria, President & CEO of VHS Learning. “We are very thankful for the support given to us by The Manton Foundation. This new award will help us to advance our mission and continue providing the very best online learning opportunities for students and schools – something that is especially important during these difficult times.”

VHS Learning’s will use a portion of the grant funding to help enhance its student information system (SIS). These enhancements will help VHS Learning better meet customer needs, streamline operations, and improve reporting capabilities. In addition, VHS Learning plans to use funding to redesign its website. The objective is to enhance both the site’s visual appeal and ensure that site visitors have a clear understanding of all VHS Learning product and service offerings.…Read More

What Is Good Leadership in Schools?

A recent study found that not one school (of 180 surveyed) was able to improve student achievement records without effective school leadership. This research  shows a clear connection between skilled school leadership and positive student learning outcomes. It’s proof that good leadership in schools makes a direct impact on students’ experience and performance.

Good leadership in schools is the practice of encouraging and enabling school-wide teaching expertise in order to achieve a strong rate of progress for all learners. This leadership can be driven by principals and executive staff in traditional leadership roles, as well as by school leaders and teachers without defined leadership roles.

For teaching staff and future leaders in the education sector, it’s important to understand what the benchmark is for good leadership in schools, and how it can be used to drive lasting change.…Read More

6 tips to help your students collaborate on awesome podcasts

OK, I’m listening

A 2019 Edison Research survey reported that 51% of Americans above the age of 12 have listened to a podcast. Interest in podcasts has increased 122% since 2014, with the majority of that increase coming from ages 12-24. Monthly listeners are growing up to 24% a year. That’s four times the number that go to the movies every week.

I’m the technology integration specialist at Lewis Central Community School District, a 3,000-student district in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Teachers come to me with content and standards, and I come back to them with the right creative tool. Separately, I’m an avid podcaster and have co-hosted the Dads In Ed podcast since 2013.…Read More

Is STEM getting ‘IT’ right for female students?

March 8th was memorable for many reasons. Not only was it International Women’s Day, but Meghan Markle made one of her first official public appearances with her future husband, Prince Harry, at an event in Birmingham, England. Significantly, the event was organized by the STEMettes, an award-winning social enterprise working across the U.K. and Ireland to inspire young women to pursue STEM careers. The STEMettes were founded in 2013 by a math and science prodigy who had been motivated by the fact that only three of the 70 students in her math and computer science class in college were female. In its first five years, the organization has worked with nearly 40,000 girls, 95 percent of whom have expressed an increased interest in STEM.

Organizations all over the world, such as EngineerGirl in the U.S., are working hard to encourage more women to seek careers in STEM fields, and it is clear that these bodies and their events are having an impact. However, my feeling is that we can and must do more in our schools to increase the number of women represented in STEM careers, not just because of the drive for equality but because we are potentially missing out on a massive pool of talent. It is widely recognized that a career in STEM is more than technical knowledge; increasingly, it requires soft skills such as flexibility, creativity, and judgement. We need to look above and beyond people who rate highly in cognitive ability as it would typically be defined, and create an intentional plan to acquire talent from diverse sources.

One great example is that set by the Haysfield Girls’ School in the U.K. The school has won awards for its efforts in promoting STEM, including specialist days, a science fair, visits to science attractions and from female science role models, and encouraging STEM scholarship programs. The school’s STEM initiatives have been supported by corporations, including Dyson, and The James Dyson Foundation has developed brilliant resources and activities to teach STEM in fun and dynamic ways. Thirty percent of Dyson’s engineers are female, five times the percentage of the overall engineering workforce in the U.K. and almost three times the percentage in the US. When an effort is made to engage girls in STEM, great things will result.…Read More

Digital e-Learning program allows innovative district to open the world to students

 

Boone County School District is offering digital world language learning to 10,500 students—half of its student population. With help from Rosetta Stone’s language learning solutions, Boone County Schools is providing students with access to programs that it hopes will enhance college and career readiness and global competence.

Following the district’s successful pilot in 2013 for 1,700 students at two elementary schools, the program is expanding to 14 elementary schools and five middle schools in the 2016-2017 academic year. Three hundred kindergarten and first grade ELL students and 10,200 WL students in grades 2-8 have access to the digital learning program. The use of Rosetta Stone in the classroom is a new initiative being funded by a county-approved tax levy.…Read More

How a GoPro Got My Students Excited to Learn

One teacher recounts the transformation in learning, collaboration, and creativity he’s seen after adding a GoProgopro-racecar

Rewind to May 2007. . .

I had not planned to purchase a GoPro while out shopping. However, it was on sale, I had a coupon, two gift cards, and two weeks in the Florida Keys was just a moon phase away. Needless to say the summer spent fishing, snorkeling, and kayaking in the Keys yielded very few incredible pictures. I had purchased the Digital Hero 3, the first GoPro with sound. After that experience my GoPro stayed packed up with all my kayak gear and did not see the light of day too often.

Fast forward to August 2013 . . .    …Read More

Favorite thinkers review 2013

The holiday season is the best time of year to reflect, notes TNTP. To that end, we asked a few of the most interesting people in education to do just that: Tell us what they consider the most significant development in education this year, and predict the likely impact of that development in the year ahead. We chose to highlight voices that have been particularly influential to us this year. From Common Core to teacher training, innovations among charter schools and the dreary new round of results on international PISA exams, our contributors raise important questions about progress and challenges in 2013—and offer wisdom and an ambitious agenda for 2014. We thank each of them for their thoughts, and all of you for reading…

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