5 ways to engage your students with Minecraft

As an educator for over 27 years and a Digital Learning Specialist (social studies) for the past 7 years in Atlanta Public Schools, I have supported educators across my district and beyond as they purposefully integrate technology in the classroom to promote engagement and 21st century skill development.

While there are many tools and resources available to educators to support their efforts to create dynamic digital learning environments, one of the newest and most engaging is Minecraft Education Edition (M:EE). Popular among students (and teachers!), M:EE is a game-based learning platform that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive digital environment.

Here are five ways that I have helped my district’s teachers use M:EE into classroom instruction that you can use in your teaching practice. Best of all, you don’t even need to be a Minecraft expert to get started!…Read More

Using VR to radically improve learning outcomes

“When will I ever use this?”

Math students have been asking educators this very question for decades. And yet, it has long been reported by Brookings (Loveless, 2008) and others like the Algebra Project (Moses, 2001) that Algebra I is the gatekeeper to higher level math classes, higher education success, and careers in the technical fields. It is a commonly-held belief that algebraic concepts are directly related to critical thinking skills. So, what is the disconnect?

We have hovered our proverbial mouse over the 21st century now for two decades. Yet, our education system and structure had shown little to no trace of modernization. Bells rang, people moved. An agrarian calendar is used to let our students “off” for the summer to help with…wait, for what? …Read More

5 ways robots will bring your classroom into the 21st century

When you hear the word ‘robot,’ what comes to mind?

Off the bat, it’s probably either a hyper-realistic robot that can’t be distinguished from a human that sets out to take over the world, or ‘Disneyfied’ robots such as C-3PO and WALL-E that have been created for our entertainment. Today, however, their potential impact is more far-reaching. Robots are being built to improve daily tasks and improve our lives. Think about the Roomba vacuum, robotic arms for complicated surgeries, or Tesla’s self-driving car–all are setting a powerful precedent for new ways of living and being.

Education is another sector where robots are proving to be of valuable assistance. Conventional classrooms can become stagnant, often to the detriment of students’ learning experiences. That’s why telepresence robots can offer promising solutions for educators globally to empower engaged learning experiences and catalyze effective learning techniques inside and outside the classroom.…Read More

How esports can boost teamwork skills

Teamwork and communication are the top skills employers are looking for, a new survey of hiring managers reveals. That bodes well for the students at a Los Angeles secondary school who are taking part in an innovative program that uses esports to teach critical 21st century skills: Teamwork and communication are also the skills these young gamers have seen the most improvement in so far.

Working with a company called wethink, Horace Mann UCLA Community School launched an afterschool program in January that has students in grades 6-12 practice and reflect on 21st century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, communication, leadership, and character as they compete against each other in the popular online video game League of Legends.

Esports is a perfect vehicle for learning these essential workforce skills, wethink says. Many of the attributes that students will need in the workplace correlate with success in gaming. For instance, to achieve success, players have to learn how to work together to accomplish a common goal.…Read More

North Carolina Educators Praise Alef Education for Closing Math Learning Gaps With Its Innovative Digital Platform

Teachers in three North Carolina counties report their students, who are trying to close math learning gaps caused by COVID-related school disruptions, are making progress thanks to an innovative digital learning platform. This summer, six schools in Ashe, Gates and Polk counties are using Alef Education’s mathematics technology tool that helps teachers as they try to help students with their individual learning losses. 

Alef Education, a leading global education technology provider that empowers 21st century learning, partnered with NexGen Education to offer all North Carolina districts access without any cost. The participating counties in the summer trial have reached 825 math students in 6th–8th grades.

Jamie Graber, a 6th and 7th grade math teacher at Polk County Middle School, says, “I think Alef Math paired with targeted lessons is helping by ensuring students are truly able to apply the content they learn. Alef Math allows students to review the content just taught and then practice without fear of failure. Alef also provides students with an opportunity for deeper application after the basic concept is understood.”…Read More

reDesign Seeks 250 Content Experts to Reimagine the K-12 Educational Content Map this Summer

Educators, academics, and industry experts are invited to apply or nominate others for a paid one-week Design Studio to create inclusive, future-oriented content maps across 25 discipline areas

reDesign, an educational design consultancy, is launching an all-call for K-12 content discipline experts from diverse backgrounds and geographies to join together this summer to re-envision the “canon” of K-12 content.

Content experts will be selected across 25 discipline areas, and will convene for a virtual Design Studio the week of June 27th to reimagine a 21st century K-12 Content Map that defines essential topics and concepts, develops critical consciousness, and fosters deep connections to community.Selectedparticipants will receive an honorarium of up to $2,000 for their contributions. To learn more, and to apply or nominate colleagues, visit: K-12 Content Mapping.…Read More

Learning through gaming

When students are so deeply engaged in a task that they can’t wait to dive in — and at the same time, they’re learning fundamental skills that are critical for their success — it’s a magical combination.

That’s what a lucky group of 20 students at Horace Mann UCLA Community School are about to experience as they take part in an innovative afterschool program. The students will practice and reflect on 21st century skills such as problem solving, communication, and teamwork as they compete against each other in the popular online video game League of Legends.

A partnership between UCLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Mann is a public school serving students in grades 6-12. As director of the UCLA Community Schools Initiative, Dr. Christine Shen serves as a liaison between the school and the university. Her typical day consists of interacting with others and solving problems, and so she knows firsthand the value of these skills.…Read More

Making access and equity a reality for diverse students

Large school districts in different parts of the United States have now developed systematic ways to increase diverse students’ access to advanced courses, and the districts are also providing other important aspects of equity, including an education that prepares the students for 21st century careers.

During a recent edWebinar, hosted by AASA, The Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, Dr. Christine Johns, Superintendent of the Utica Community Schools in Michigan, and Dr. Ann Levett, Superintendent of the Savannah-Chatham Public Schools in Georgia, explained how their districts were achieving better outcomes for their student populations and offered recommendations for other district leaders.

Related content: Did you know online learning can lead to equity?…Read More

Samsung’s Display Solutions Help Reimagine the Classroom for one of the U.S.’s Largest Charter School Support Organizations, Academica

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. announced today its partnership with Academica – one of the largest charter school support organizations in the U.S., serving more than 200 public charter schools and 125,000 students in nine states – to reimagine the classroom for the 21st century.

The partnership arrives during the new learn-from-home era, as traditional classroom settings are being enhanced with virtual setups that are interactive and engaging. Samsung delivers a complete ecosystem of display products and solutions optimized for all variations of back to school, including remote learning and hybrid teaching models. With long standing education programs including Solve for Tomorrow, Samsung understands how technology impacts education, and how now more than ever, it is critical to learning and creating change in grades K-12.

“As we continue to navigate this new normal together, we need to take a practical approach to helping students and educators adapting to a new learning environment,” said Mark Quiroz, Vice President of Marketing for the Samsung Display Division. “We’re offering new solutions and working with education networks like Academica to bring ease to the transition to remote and hybrid learning models. Students’ safety and health are top of mind and we are proud to be able to offer tools that bring the classroom into the home.”…Read More

15 skills students need for success — and how to teach them

21st century skills. Social and emotional learning skills. “Soft” skills. Whatever you choose to call them, there is a set of skills that are essential for success in school, work, and life — and yet teaching and assessing these skills in a formal, structured way can be challenging.

According to a report from McKinsey & Co., the global workforce will undergo a dramatic shift as a result of automation. The need for basic cognitive skills will decline by 15 percent over the course of this decade, while skills that can’t easily be replaced by computers —social and emotional skills such as leadership and empathy, and higher cognitive skills such as creativity and critical thinking — will be in high demand.

Related content: How gamification can improve schoolwide behavior…Read More