Screen recording and asynchronous collaboration tools

TechSmith is helping organizations and academic institutions who are preparing for prolonged absences and/or campus closures due to COVID-19. TechSmith is offering free access and expanded usage of tools that help enable business and educational continuity.

Their screen recording tool, TechSmith Snagit, and their asynchronous collaboration platform, TechSmith Video Review, will be free to use through the end of June 2020 to any organization that needs it.

In addition, for existing customers using their digital learning platform, TechSmith Relay, or their online video collaboration environment, Video Review, they will support increased usage with no charge. Existing Relay customers will be provided an expanded site license with campus-wide access through the end of June 2020.…Read More

Free communication, billing and payment tools for schools

Curacubby, an end-to-end commerce, billing and integrated payments platform built for the education market and modernizing the business of schools, announced that it is making several of its tools free until at least July 1, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak. Schools have been heavily impacted by this time of economic uncertainty, and Curacubby’s communication, billing and payment tools are helping their businesses run remotely. Using Curacubby, schools can issue tuition statements, receivables and other revenue items online and via mobile, ensuring they are receiving on-time payments to improve cash flow and keep their businesses operating without interruption. Curacubby keeps parents connected with schools and gives them the ability to make payments online or via mobile instead of in-person so families can continue practicing self-isolation while students are switching to online and remote learning.

Curacubby’s free tools include:

  • Reach Out Text (SMS) & Email Communications: In the current uncertain climate, Reach Out enables schools to instantly send important text and email communications to individuals and groups remotely. Schools can group communications any way that they prefer, including by class, grade, team and more. Reach Out can notify families of school closures, remind them of upcoming bills or tuition dues, or alert them to potential emergencies quickly, efficiently and effectively. Reach Out includes unlimited usage and no toll charges.
  • Financial Records Automation: Curacubby automates the creation of financial statements and tracking of school receivables in real-time online, ensuring that schools and education programs, as well as families, have a single and accurate source of truth for their financial records in times of crisis.

“We are in California, and when our school was mandated closed until at least April 7, we faced a major crisis. We had only the weekend to get all of our students set up to do their studies remotely for weeks and had no idea how to communicate effectively with every student in such a short amount of time,” said Susanne Ryan, Vice Principal at DP Christian School. “We turned to Curacubby for help, and they set us up over the weekend with Reach Out, which enabled our school to send important communications to families in real-time and set all students up with their home studies quickly and efficiently. It was critical in allowing our school to keep running so our children could continue learning despite this pandemic.”…Read More

Learn to fight fake news in your classrooms and schools

In the 1930s, Upton Sinclair was one of the most prominent writers in the United States. But no amount of fame could protect him, when he ran for governor of California, from “one of the most well-orchestrated smear campaigns in American history,” instigated by political and business interests hostile to the muckraking revelations in Sinclair’s books, such as The Jungle, making him a victim of “a forerunner of [the] ‘fake news’” that’s so pervasive today.

Nor was he the first American to be misrepresented by his adversaries: John Adams and others in colonial and post-colonial times often felt abused by an unfettered free press.

Call it fake news, propaganda, disinformation–it’s been with us in some form or another as long as the written word and doubtless in the oral tradition before that, in whispering campaigns and word-of-mouth slander.…Read More

What’s the one tech tool you can’t give up?

With so many tech tools out there, it’s hard to pick just one, but we convinced a bunch of educators to share their must-haves. Hopefully, their words of praise will help you the next time you’re looking for a new product to check out.

“I’ve been using LanSchool for about four years and I love it. I try not to constantly filter or block my student’s Internet access, but it’s nice to have a program that can keep them focused if they get off task.”—Tom Gilbert, M. Ed., NBCT, business and marketing education/DECA advisor, Apex Friendship High School, N.C.

“Until we found Workbench Programming Canvas, we were struggling with ways to help teachers access lessons that teach coding using Spheros and drones. Now our teachers can easily find these lessons on the Workbench platform, get them out to students, and track student progress.”—Ryan Johnson, former instructional technology coordinator, Enterprise (CA) Elementary School District…Read More

4 ways AR/VR can transform your lesson plan

The post-1990’s generation, Gen Z, doesn’t remember a world without digital technology. In fact, the children of millennials, born after 2010, are sometimes described as Generation Alpha. They are poised to be the most tech-savvy demographic to date, with a pathway to success that is largely shaped by video, e-books, podcasts, voice command, and the advent of virtual reality (VR) headsets and augmented reality (AR).

As our business and personal lives increasingly merge with the digital environment, the progression to a more technologically focused model in the classroom is gaining momentum. This trend is reflected in the growing demand for VR and AR applications as equipment becomes cheaper and easier to use while proving its value as an educational tool.

Even though technology has allowed knowledge to be more easily attained for more people, there are roadblocks to learning that must be surmounted. Traditional teaching methods too often focus on providing facts and delivering large amounts of information. The result? A bored, disengaged room of students who are not sure about what they are learning and why.…Read More

How to get students interested in STEM

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are not just important topics for school children—they are essential to our culture. These fields help the environment, revolutionize healthcare, innovate our country’s security, and ensure our global economic competitiveness.

According to the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the U.S. is not producing enough STEM undergraduate degrees to match the forecasted demand, creating a national workforce crisis. Fewer people pursuing STEM degrees means fewer scientists finding clever solutions to antibiotics resistance, fewer technophiles turning data into targeted healthcare, fewer engineers designing homes and buildings to withstand rising seas and powerful storms.

We must empower future generations with the tools and knowledge they will need to solve the global problems they will inherit, and that empowerment starts with education.…Read More

How to teach like the Finns

Shorter days, less homework, and better results. How do you get that? Do like the Finns. For those in the know, the Finnish system is often seen as the pinnacle of how to do education.

We’ve seen a huge rise in teacher mental-health issues and high levels of teachers leaving the field. One of the main reasons people look to Finland for inspiration is because of its high level of teaching. Realistically it is so advanced because of the expert training teachers receive, and because they are allowed to do their job without much interference.

As a Finnish-based entrepreneur in the business of creativity and innovation within the media industry for more than two decades, I’ve recently turned my focus on how to scale innovation within the education sector. Education innovations are siloed and practiced in isolated classrooms; that’s why my latest project, HundrED, is a nonprofit that’s on a mission to change this by seeking and sharing some of the world’s most inspiring K-12 innovations and packaging them online for educators to easily implement with 24/7 support for free.…Read More

Report warns a decline in language learning could spell bad news for U.S.

A diminishing share of United States residents speak languages other than English–a trend that could have important consequences for business, international affairs, and intellectual exchange, according to a new report from American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Academy’s new report, The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait, summarizes the nation’s current language capacity, focusing on the U.S. education system. A joint venture of the Academy’s Commission on Language Learning and Humanities Indicators, the report draws on the most recent national, state, and local data sources available to draw a more complete picture of language use in the nation.

“This very important work is ongoing and we look forward to the Commission’s final report and recommendations that will be available in February [2017],” said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.…Read More

5 critical considerations for CBE and CBL implementation

As schools begin to invest in competency-based education (CBE) and higher ed institutions set up competency-based programs, two of the big questions often unanswered become “is their focus on education or on learning?” And “what’s the difference?”

Educators can argue that the characteristics of CBE call for increased attention to learning: clearly defined competencies, flexible time structures for competency mastery, and teacher and faculty roles for mentoring learners, to name a few.

But to what extent is academic culture, even in CBE programs, actually changing to be more learner-centric? How often are educational business decisions made with clear consideration of learners’ perspectives? Are academic credentials simply assumed to represent relevant learning, or do they actually document and verify competencies with evidence of learning? Are we meeting the needs of lifelong learners?…Read More

Are students buying what schools are selling?

Calls for innovation in education seem to get louder by the day. “Innovation” has become the catchall term for the urge to make up for what our current system lacks; a system that, on balance, is neither delivering an equally high-quality education to all students, nor designed to reliably prepare young people for the modern workforce.

From there, of course, opinions about what sorts of innovations we ought to invest in, and to what end, vary politically and philosophically. At the Christensen Institute, we’ve always divvied up these wide-ranging ideas into two main categories, which Clay Christensen first identified in the 1980s: sustaining and disruptive innovations. Those categories are helpful in identifying the dimensions along which organizations are improving and how new business models can displace existing ones. But disruptive innovation theory has little to tell us about whether a particular innovation will be successful.

Enter Clay Christensen’s newest book, Competing Against Luck, out earlier this week. In it, Christensen and his co-authors Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, and David Duncan chronicle the coming of age of another theory that may prove just as, if not more, powerful than disruptive innovation: the theory of jobs to be done.…Read More