5 tips to create a successful hybrid learning environment

Over the past year and a half, “hybrid learning” has become quite the buzzword when it comes to education. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting learners across the world, we’ve witnessed the growing need for hybrid learning, an education option that combines the benefits of a traditional in-person classroom and online learning. But the need for this option won’t just be a fleeting trend. The future of hybrid learning is bright, and the benefits are unmatched. I’ve seen it for myself.

As an educator for 10 years, I’ve worked in in-person, online, and hybrid classrooms. I’ve experienced the dos and don’ts of creating learning environments where my students can not only learn but be their best selves. When my colleagues ask me for my secret for success, here are the tips that I share: 

1. Establish a positive hybrid learning culture and a strong learning community. …Read More

3 ways COVID actually made education better

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student engagement and online or hybrid learning strategies related to pandemic teaching. This year’s 8th most-read story focuses on the unanticipated benefits COVID had on learning.

As millions more Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19 every day, many are now wondering what society will look like in a post-COVID world. While the virus may stay with us in some form, many things will go back to normal. However, it’s less certain which of the adaptations we’ve collectively made over the previous year will fade along with the virus, and which might represent a “new normal” that we’ll take with us into the future. The American educational system, having seen dramatic impacts to educators, parents, and students as a result of the virus, is no different.

COVID-19 has represented a tremendous hardship for millions of Americans. However, that doesn’t mean that some good won’t come out of it, particularly as it relates to our students’ education. Over the past year, my organization, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE), has reacted, experimented, and adapted to the realities of education in the time of COVID-19, in order to fulfill our mission of providing economics classes and curriculum to high school teachers and students. …Read More

Why STEM literacy is critical for our students

Providing an engaging and equitable STEM education is an important step in helping to develop more scientists and engineers while increasing race and gender diversity in the field–both of which are much needed in today’s world. Education in STEM can also help develop a STEM-literate citizenry. 

While there are many nuanced definitions for STEM literacy, the basis is that STEM-literate individuals are able to apply STEM concepts to identify, understand, and solve problems in the world around them, whether or not these problems are scientific in nature. STEM-literate individuals are able to think in a scientific-minded way about issues that impact their life and the community as a whole.

As educators, helping students understand the importance and benefits of STEM literacy – and how science impacts so many facets of their everyday lives – is an important responsibility.…Read More

Sourcewell’s Technology Division Kicks off 2021-22 School Year with Launch of SpringMath and Proliftic

ST. PAUL, MINN. (SEPTEMBER 24, 2021)—

In an effort to extend the benefits of its evidence-based solutions to more schools and districts,  Sourcewell’s technology division is revamping the brand identity for its flagship products:  SpringMath (FKA Spring Math), a K-8 math intervention solution and Proliftic (FKA edSpring), a student data integration platform. Both offerings have a new website and will retain the same functionality and support via the Sourcewell Technology Advantage, ensuring educators and students are set up for success this back-to-school season.

“Inspired by the success of our district partners, we are investing in SpringMath and Proliftic–including refreshed branding and new, product-specific websites,” said Jamie Loken, Sourcewell Technology Managing Director. “We believe in the efficacy of these evidence-based solutions–and are actively working to extend the benefits to more students and educators.”…Read More

How scholastic esports opens up college pathways

Esports programs continue to grow at a rapid pace at both the collegiate level and at the high school level in the United States. With that growth, there are often salient questions that parents have when their children dive into the new world of scholastic esports and content creation: Are scholastic esports legitimate? What will they teach my child? Are you actually serious about a bunch of kids playing video games?

The answer to all of those questions is, without hesitation, yes. We are no stranger to those questions at NASEF and often talk with parents, educators, and students about the benefits of scholastic esports and the inclusion of video games into school curriculums.

Scholastic esports allows educators to open new pathways for their students in the burgeoning digital age of entertainment and education. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that in many ways, forcing classrooms to use online tools. Scholastic fellows are educators in a community of practice who develop and refine in- and  out-of-school curriculum that leverages student interest in esports. One of the most common refrains among the NASEF fellows was how the digital tools of gaming and esports helped keep their students connected to each other in a world-state that demanded we stay apart. In our interconnected world, games are often a dominant force in bringing millennials and Gen Z together.…Read More

Did online learning mostly miss the mark?

Online learning has untapped potential for students across the nation, and while the COVID-19 pandemic forced classrooms online in early 2020, that doesn’t mean learning became more innovative and personalized. To what extent have educators used the pandemic as an opportunity to realize online learning’s benefits?

A new brief from the Clayton Christensen Institute examines that very question, pulling from surveys and discussions with more than 1,000 teachers to paint a picture of programs, technologies, and instructional practices educators are leaning on as they work through the effects of COVID-19. The intent is to learn how educators use online learning, but also whether online learning leads to the benefits the Institute has documented in its blended learning research.

The traditional–and what many (or most) would argue outdated–education system relies on uniformity, notes the report’s author, Thomas Arnett, a senior research fellow for the Clayton Christensen Institute. And this means the majority of students won’t totally fit.…Read More

5 unexpected benefits of implementing an SEL curriculum

If the global pandemic and school shutdowns taught us anything, it’s that we may have been taking teacher-student and student-student connections for granted pre-COVID. After all, with most or all students experiencing in-classroom learning, bonds, connections, and relationships are just bound to happen naturally.

Even with students “connecting” virtually during the pandemic, it quickly became clear that we needed to do more to cultivate connections both in the remote setting and–once it was safe–in the classroom. With social emotional learning (SEL) becoming an increasingly important focal point for many districts, it made sense for us to build up this aspect of our educational offering.

5 unexpected wins…Read More

3 considerations for differentiation in the classroom

Differentiated classroom instruction has always been part of U.S. public education, but today’s focus on tailoring each lesson for each student can overwhelm teachers. There are, however, best-practice approaches to differentiating instruction that enable educators to provide customized learning experiences for students without creating an unmanageable burden for teachers. Here are the top three considerations for doing differentiation in the classroom right.

1. Redefine ‘differentiation’

Too often, educators are encouraged to implement a personalized approach for each individual student instead of recognizing the benefits that groups of students can enjoy from similar modifications to the curriculum. Teachers can adopt a manageable approach to differentiation in the classroom by identifying clusters of student needs and then classifying the most beneficial ways to differentiate instruction for these groups. The goal is to understand what will work for most students, while creating more than one entry point or path for individual student learning.…Read More