The school that connects STEM, badging, and life beyond the classroom

As educators, we know that science is not just a body of knowledge, but it is a process that enables people to answer questions through scientific inquiry.  Scientists conduct inquiries using a specific toolbox of skills and knowledge that the Next Generations Science Standards (NGSS) has spelled out for emerging scientists as so-called “science and engineering practices,” or practices that increase in complexity and sophistication across grade levels.

These are important skills for students to master, not least because of the growing demand for science and STEM professionals. Here in California, like other states nationwide, the STEM job market is rapidly growing but students are still graduating without the skills and knowledge needed to fill these high-paying jobs. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that California will have the largest STEM workforce in the country by 2022.

The question is, how do you ensure students are graduating with these skills in a way that sets them up for future college and career success?…Read More

Watch 14 thought leadership presentations from a recent ed-tech symposium

New library of thought leadership resources will support creation of dynamic digital learning environments

In July 2015, Discovery Education, provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms and CUE, the California-based organization inspiring innovative learners and advocating educational opportunities for all, partnered with the California State Parks to host a unique leadership symposium.

Designed specifically for California superintendents interested in creating dynamic digital learning environments that meet the needs of today’s learners, this event featured a series of brief, thought-provoking talks that surfaced actionable strategies for improving teaching and learning.

Now, Discovery Education and CUE are sharing with educators nationwide the library of presentations from this event. These presentations explore a variety of critical topics, including using professional development to support device deployment, communicating with stakeholders, improving attendance and discipline during the digital transition, and more, and were delivered by school leaders from across California as well as nationally recognized Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance.…Read More

What Google’s virtual field trips look like in the classroom

Google Expeditions are field trips with a virtual reality twist

google-expeditions Last spring, Hector Camacho guided his high school economics class on comprehensive tours of the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Reserve banks, and the Treasury Building. Students swept their eyes up countless Neoclassical columns before heading inside for a detailed look — all without leaving the library of their Mountain View, California school.

The catch? Students were plugged into Google’s latest virtual reality creation — Expeditions, which creates immersive, 360-degree tours out of a cardboard viewer and a smartphone.

“The best thing about it that we can’t physically go to these faraway places,” Camacho said. “At the high school level, time is really precious. For field trips, you have to worry about buses, lunches, permission slips. If you can remove all those obstacles, still take them to a very faraway place, and give them a similar experience, that’s powerful.”…Read More

California dems propose free preschool

A top California lawmaker unveiled a $1 billion proposal on Tuesday to fund free public preschool for all children in the most populous U.S. state, the latest challenge by Democratic leaders to fiscal restraints imposed by Governor Jerry Brown, Reuters reports. The plan by Senate Democratic leader Darrell Steinberg to offer pre-kindergarten to California 4-year-olds comes as he and other Democratic lawmakers try to push Brown to raise spending on social services, including education, in next year’s budget…

Read the full story

…Read More

NBA great promotes STEM education at event

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar bent down Monday to study the solar-powered car being demonstrated by sixth-graders from Miller’s Hill School in Shingle Springs, the Sacramento Bee reports. The NBA Hall of Famer was at the Sacramento Convention Center to kick off the first-ever California STEM symposium, a two-day event designed to help K-12 educators improve how they teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “By fifth grade, 92percent of boys and 97percent of girls lose interest” in STEM fields, Abdul-Jabbar said. “I’m really stoked to have the opportunity to impact our kids’ lives in a really positive way. That’s what this is all about. That is why I’m here.”

Read more

…Read More

Public schools in Fresno, Calif., to provide tablet computers to students

A public school district in Fresno, California, in one of the first such programs in the country, will provide each of its 15,000 students with a tablet loaded with curriculum specifically designed for the new technology, CBS News reports. The plan, scheduled to be announced Wednesday, will put a tablet in the hands of all kindergarten through 12th graders in the district’s 21 schools next year. The Central Unified School District has been working with the Boston-based educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for two years to develop interactive learning materials that will allow its teachers to get rid of traditional textbooks and gear instruction to each child’s level…

Read more

…Read More

In reality and film, a battle for schools

On Tuesday officials in Adelanto, a California desert town, are set to consider whether parents there can be the first to take over a failing public school under a new state law that is being closely watched around the country, the New York Times reports. The Hollywood version? It’s already a done deal. In a rare mix of hot policy debate and old-fashioned screen drama, 20th Century Fox is preparing a September release for “Won’t Back Down.” The film heads smack into the controversies around so-called parent trigger laws that in California and a handful of other states allow parents to dump bad teachers and overrule administrators in bottom-ranked schools. Viola Davis, an Oscar nominee as best actress for “The Help,” plays a teacher who risks career and friendships to join the revolt. Maggie Gyllenhaal is the single mother who sells cars, tends bar and rouses parents to take charge of their grade school…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Are video games the answer to college counseling shortage?

Recent high school graduate Edwin Brito plays the pilot version of USC's Pathfinder game.
Recent high school graduate Edwin Brito plays the pilot version of USC’s Pathfinder game.

A simple online search will turn up hundreds of web sites packed with advice for high school students applying to college. But few internet resources offer step-by-step guidance, and with college counseling dwindling in public schools, University of Southern California researchers have created a video game that lets student simulate the application process in all its complexity.

The online game, called Pathfinder, has been piloted among more than 100 Los Angeles-area high school students this year and could be available to school districts free of charge if USC’s Game Innovation Lab secures $1 million in grants and funding, said Zoe Corwin, a research associate in the university’s Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis.

The Pathfinder pilot uses playing cards, but the finished product will be a web-based game, officials said.…Read More