Edsby Introduces ‘Perspective Analyze’ to Help Teachers Make Evidence-Based Instructional Decisions

ANDOVER, MASS (June 2, 2022) –  Edsby®, the award-winning social learning environment designed for K–12 education, today introduced  Perspective Analyze, helping teachers make informed decisions based on multi-dimensional assessment data. The new tool offers teachers visibility into several types of student assessments, integrating both learning evidence and gradebook scores within one place in the Edsby platform.

Edsby’s new Analyze view enables teachers to visualize student performance through a new lens to spot trends, patterns and areas of concern—helping teachers act on instructional decisions for individual students or groups of students. This new extension within Edsby classes gives teachers broader access to classroom-level analytics at no additional cost.

“I’m excited about this new feature as it will help teachers visualize data in new and powerful ways,” said Joe McRae, Math and Computer Science Program Area Leader at Lakefield College School. “It will help me assess students against course learning goals throughout the year and identify opportunities where students can improve. I look forward to building my assessments with this in mind next year.”…Read More

Can web filtering really harm the kids?

Web filtering is undoubtedly an essential when it comes to school cybersecurity. However, when the service is not set up correctly or a number of blocked categories is way too high, it starts to annoy both staff, and kids. Let’s see how to use web filtering to stay safe out there on the internet and make full use out of it.

Starting with the basics, it makes sense to remind ourselves what CIPA is. The Children’s Internet Protection Act, signed into law in 2000, is a document that regulates the exposure of inappropriate content to children. To be precise, the content that shall be filtered or blocked is divided into 3 groups: obscenity, child pornography & content harmful to minors. To receive funding, an educational institution must follow the guidelines of the act. The easiest way to comply with it is to purchase a web filtering solution. Needless to say, K-12 schools must be CIPA compliant to use E-Rate discounts, but those schools and libraries that do not receive the fundings do not have this obligation.

Web filtering solutions work on a DNS level, blocking all unwanted websites: both malicious ones with viruses lurking around, and all kinds of explicit content. In a nutshell, the DNS system matches IP addresses and the names of the websites working as a phonebook of the Internet. DNS filtering, however, also categorizes the website to see if it belongs to any restricted groups. This part is usually customizable: you choose which type of sites you want gone (or vice versa – you create an Allow list, which contains only the resources you want your students, staff & guests to see, and everything else is blocked), and leave it be.…Read More

IRIS Debuts Powerful New Application Where Students Use Seismic Waves Data to Learn about the Layers of the Earth

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 3, 2022) — The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) has created an online version of its popular activity “Determining and Measuring Earth’s Layered Interior” to challenge students to use evidence in the form of earthquake data to understand the Earth’s interior layers. This free web-based tool for Earth Science classrooms was funded in part by the National Science Foundation. 

The activities contained within the tool emphasize the use of models and the importance of using empirical evidence to make discoveries in Earth Science. When using the tool, students act as scientists as they discover and analyze real-world data. This exploration encourages independent thinking, data analysis, and engineering and design, as it builds an understanding of this dynamic planet and its internal engine.

“Students today have unprecedented access to seismic data and web tools that allow them to explore fundamentally big ideas such as the predictive power of models to help explain the Earth’s system and to measure the Earth’s core,” said Michael Hubenthal, Senior Science Education Specialist at IRIS. “The “Determining and Measuring Earth’s Layered Interior” tool allows students to explore and analyze the data that scientists use to understand the layers of the Earth.”…Read More

Why evidence-based solutions are critical for edtech buying

As districts budget for the 2022-2023 school year, they’ll have some additional funds to spend thanks to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

To ensure that these funds are well spent and will benefit students, Congress has mandated that 20% of district funds and 5% of state funds must be spent on evidence-based programs to recover from learning loss; plus additional funds for evidence-based enrichment, summer and afterschool programs.

When it comes to early childhood STEM resources, evidence of efficacy is more than just a stamp of approval. Evidence gives confidence that those products will lead to the buzzing environments we want for our youngest students, full of playful learning, collaboration, and the kinds of concrete engagement that come with hands-on manipulatives.…Read More

Leading Education Organizations Applaud Spending Increase for Social and Emotional Learning in FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act

March 17, 2022 — The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and Committee for Children strongly applaud the passage of the FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act which provides increased funding for a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Initiative to support SEL and “whole child” approaches to education.

This critical funding for SEL is part of a $2 billion increase over the fiscal year 2021 enacted level for students’ learning and development in K-12 education, including students with disabilities. Related to SEL, the bill provides:

  • $82 million for evidence-based, field-initiated innovations that address student social, emotional, and cognitive needs (increase of $15 million) within the Education Innovation and Research program;
  • $85 million for the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program with a priority for teacher professional development and pathways into teaching that provide a strong foundation in implementing SEL and “whole child” strategies (increase of $5 million);
  • $111 million within School Safety National Activities for Mental Health Services Professional Demonstration Grants and School-Based Mental Health Services Grants, to help LEAs directly increase the number of mental health and child development experts in schools (increase of $95 million); and
  • $75 million for Full-Service Community schools to provide comprehensive services and expand evidence-based models that meet the holistic needs of children, families, and communities (increase of $45 million).

“Policymakers join in the growing support from educators, parents, students, and employers in advancing students’ overall well-being and success – academically, socially, and emotionally,” said Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel, President and CEO of CASEL. “We believe these resources will support and expand safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments for our nation’s learners.”…Read More

New Teacher-Focused Program Launched to Drive Literacy Results for Alaska Students

Portland, Ore., Oakland, Calif., Juneau, Alaska – February 3, 2022 –  NWEACORE® and  Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN),  in partnership with the  Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), announced today a new learning, collaboration, and coaching program that will empower 100 literacy specialists, instructional coaches, and teachers to enhance their instructional practices, ultimately driving better outcomes for Alaska’s elementary students. The program will utilize federal funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act, Title II and feature CORE’s Online Elementary Reading Academy (OERA), as well as individualized coaching sessions for each participating teacher.

“Better outcomes for Alaska students start with access to teachers utilizing research-grounded, evidence-based instructional practices in the science of reading,” said Jason Mendenhall, President of State Solutions Division at NWEA. “We’re excited to partner with DEED, CORE and ASDN to offer this program to Alaska’s teachers and support their efforts to continuously hone their professional skills in service to their state’s children.”

CORE’s OERA course is a 10-week intensive professional learning experience rooted in the science of reading and focused on accelerating reading achievement. Participants access learning via textbooks, video clips, interactive learning tasks, and webinars and have opportunities to practice skills via weekly online discussion forums, webinars, collaboration activities, self-check exercises, and homework assignments. Instructors will provide support to participants through feedback and dialogue.…Read More