How we created a computer science curriculum in 5 steps

Even with a strict budget, limited teacher expertise in computer science, and the chaos of a pandemic, the Metropolitan School District of Pike Township (MSDPT) launched a comprehensive and engaging K-5 computer science curriculum for every student.

As an instructional specialist at MSDPT during the launch, I now understand how much collaboration, clever resource management, and hard work are required to run a successful K-5 computer science program. 

As computer science has been launched into the national spotlight, schools across the country are finding ways to integrate STEM themes into early education. Although we faced challenges at MSDPT, we were able to find solutions that fit our budget and empowered our existing faculty to teach this specialized subject with confidence.…Read More

3 ways educators can leverage videos

As Covid-19’s Omicron variant is pushing some school districts back into distance learning, teachers may be frustrated at the return of video meetings. However, imagine if video wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is today.

I contend that video technology helped to save education during the pandemic, and therefore should not be abandoned. As years of research from Harvard University has shown, the benefits of capturing and sharing videos to support preservice teachers, new teachers, and instructional coaching are far too great.

While a districtwide system dedicated to recording, annotating, and sharing video may sound like it would require a big budget, teachers can get started using just their cell phones. The evidence is all around us. From TikTok to Instagram to Snapchat, students are perfecting complex dances, learning, and showcasing their skills with musical instruments, teaching each other about climate change, and more.…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

OverDrive Education Donates Juvenile & Young Adult Titles to Schools Worldwide

CLEVELAND – September 1, 2021 – To help schools meet growing demand for digital content without increasing budget, OverDrive Education donated over 280 juvenile and young adult titles to more than 50,000 schools around the world. This updated Sora Starter Collection bundle includes high-interest ebook, audiobook and Read-Along titles that are always available to students through September 1, 2023. Sora is the leading student reading app for schools worldwide.

This free collection allows over 50,000 schools and millions of students with the Sora app to encourage community engagement with young readers through book clubs, classroom discussions and more. The Sora Starter titles expand schools’ individual digital collections, removing barriers and providing access to more resources for literacy 24/7 anytime, anywhere. Notable titles include The Great Gatsby, Iggy Peck, Architect, Separate Is Never Equal and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Ebooks, audiobooks and Read-Alongs in this collection come from Sourcebooks, Jump!, Bellwether, Triangle, Lerner, Kaleidoscope, Rosen, Abrams and Duke Classics. More information about the titles can be found here (title availability may vary by region).

“The collections of Simultaneous Use ebooks and audiobooks have been wonderful during the pandemic – the titles are often among our most circulated,” said Denise Hull, Technician, Learning Resources at Aurora Public Schools in Colorado. “I want to offer my sincere gratitude to the Sora team and to the publishers for making this happen. We’re excited for our students to enjoy the new titles added into this refreshed Sora Starter Collection.”…Read More

How cloud adoption is changing public school education

As the past year has shown, cloud computing has proved a vital service for K – 12 public schools. It’s enabled online learning during a time of critical need, and the schools who have embraced cloud adoption have thrived and will continue to do so.

Cost efficiencies are a big driver of cloud adoption. For schools grappling with budget cuts, the cloud offers a cost-effective way to educate students and streamline operations. Cloud solutions are also easier to deploy and integrate than traditional IT infrastructure. This allows schools to reallocate their limited budgets toward teaching and improving student outcomes. Schools who choose to keep their operations on-premises may miss out on these benefits.

Let’s look at the ways the cloud is changing public school education today–and some of the common bumps administrators and IT teams should avoid along the way.…Read More

3 keys to protecting student data and privacy

When the sixth-largest school district in the United States announced in early April that hackers were holding its data ransom for $40 million, administrators everywhere paid attention.

The Fort Lauderdale-area district has 232 schools and a budget of $2.6 billion for the 2020-21 school year—seemingly, the district has plenty of resources to protect against cyberattacks. It also has thousands of students and staff who use hundreds of applications and technologies each day.

How do educators ensure that they keep students’ data, records, and personal information private and secure? And, on the flip side, how do they ensure that the integration with other systems remains seamless, so student data is always up to date, accurate, and accessible to teachers, students, parents, and district officials?…Read More

BenQ Introduces First Wireless Presentation System Purpose-Built for Classrooms

BenQ, an internationally renowned provider of visual display and collaboration solutions, is ensuring teachers and educators can quickly and easily respond to new demands in the classroom with the launch of the InstaShow WDC20E. The first wireless presentation system (WPS) built for the education market, the WDC20E delivers the same intuitive screen-sharing functionality to meet user and IT standards as leading corporations but fit for a school budget.

“There’s no time to waste in the classroom, and teachers must be ready with easy-to-use, network-free tools that engage and immerse students smoothly and immediately,” said Bob Wudeck, senior director of business development at BenQ America Corp. “Our new InstaShow WDC20E was built in direct response to the rising need for educators and students to share their screens right from their seats and to do so easily, affordably, and securely. Learning is just a tap away.”

Tap & Teach …Read More