Education’s Great Resignation

Just outside of Des Moines, Iowa, an opening for a sixth-grade teaching job sits vacant… with zero applicants.

An hour northwest of Chicago, a shortage of bus drivers, special education teachers, counselors, and paraprofessionals is forcing teachers to reexamine their workload and look outside of the profession.

Public concerns around books, curricula, and learning platforms, combined with debate over masks and vaccines, have compelled college students who intended to major in education to choose a different career path.…Read More

How to prepare new teachers for virtual learning

While the pandemic accelerated the demand for virtual learning, it’s clear that online pedagogy is now an integral part of an educator’s toolbox. As part of this shift to hybrid or virtual learning models, today’s educators face a new set of demands – it’s not just about teaching the curriculum; it’s about understanding and leveraging the tools that make learning possible and beneficial. 

As many of our interactions move online or become increasingly integrated with the digital world, teachers and the universities that prepare them need to shift as well.

Expanding Possibilities with In-Person and Virtual Learning…Read More

How I make online teaching work as a high school educator

I have been teaching at traditional and charter schools for the past 18 years, and I remain encouraged by the determination of the students I serve, even when faced with the challenges we’ve seen over the past several years due to the pandemic.

It’s a humbling experience to be a part of their academic journey, knowing that in some way I played a role in their success. To provide positive and meaningful experiences for students makes me feel honored to be an educator.

Like many of my peers, however, the onset of COVID-19 showed me it was time to make changes in my career and put my needs first after nearly 20 years in the profession. I’ve always had a passion for traveling, exploring other cultures, and learning new things—part of the reason why I became a teacher.…Read More

Carousel Digital Signage and Indiana School District Get into the School Spirit

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA  Carousel Digital Signage has provided Elkhart Community Schools with a seamless way to communicate timely, up-to-date messages to its diverse network of students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The K-12 public school district now uses Carousel Cloud to distribute department-specific messaging throughout its high school. The school district is also working with Carousel partner Jamf to securely convert Apple TV devices into media players, and providing access to meeting room schedules on mobile devices.

Based in Elkhart, Ind., Elkhart Community Schools serves approximately 12,000 students. The public school district is comprised of 14 elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school. Elkhart Community Schools also oversees the Elkhart Area Career Center, which offers programs for high school juniors and seniors seeking to make the transition into college or a career.   

Elkhart Community Schools has now successfully rolled out the new solution at Elkhart High School, explains Stephen DeCook, Technology Deployment Administrator at the district. The system is configured into separate zones to address the needs of different departments, such as arts, athletics, business, and food services. Each department can now contribute content and messages related to classes, special events, and programs, with food services updating menu options daily.   

DeCook’s technology department has also integrated Carousel Cloud with an RSS feed that displays internal-facing messaging about system status throughout the school, which helps to streamline troubleshooting and service calls for an IT and technology team with limited human resources. There is also a main zone for more generalized, school-wide announcements, which Carousel Cloud disseminates to all departments.  

“Contributors from different departments will display relevant themes depending on what day of the week it is, or if it’s a special day celebrating a certain event in history, to keep content fresh and engaging,” said DeCook. “We are using Carousel’s Education template, and right out of the box it was ready to go. We added a few pieces of our own content and were up and running.”  

One significant advantage of Carousel Digital Signage’s partnership with Jamf is Elkhart personnel can access conference room scheduling information using their iPads through the Jamf’s secure mobile device management (MDM) platform. DeCook says that the integration has streamlined the reservation process considerably.   

“It’s really helped folks who need to have impromptu meetings,” he explained. “They immediately know which rooms are in use and which are free without interrupting any meetings in progress.”   

Elkhart is also taking advantage of the system’s built-in weather and news feeds, and DeCook adds that his team is in the process of integrating Carousel Cloud with Singlewire’s InformaCast mass notification system for emergency messaging.   

DeCook notes that Carousel Cloud’s third-party integration capabilities help to optimize the school district’s return on investment. “We’re a Google shop, and it’s been easy to merge Carousel with Google. I don’t have to set up an additional account for the users that are         responsible for developing and distributing content,” he explained. “It’s easy to configure, and they offer a ton of information. And, whenever I’ve needed additional help and reached out to Carousel, their support has been excellent.”  

Five users are responsible for content development and delivery today, and this number will continue to expand as the district scales up its usage. DeCook, who estimates that the user count will grow to approximately 20 people, shares that Elkhart Community Schools will soon deploy Carousel Cloud at several of its elementary schools. “They’ve seen how the signage at the high school works and want to benefit from the same features,” he said.   

DeCook predicts that this continuing expansion will be relatively straightforward, thanks to Carousel’s intuitive user interface. “It’s a really robust system, but as soon as you understand the basics it’s really easy to navigate,” he said. “And through our Google integration we have full  control over who has access to which parts of the system, which enables us maintain our strict security standards.”  

Digital signage in general also helps to keep a diverse population of staff, students, and visitors engaged, DeCook adds. “We have a large community of English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) students, and the food services staff, for example, is excited about being able to display visuals alongside menu listings to help those individuals understand the content more easily,” he said. “We are also giving students up-to-date and sometimes real-time information on events and happenings, or opportunities to sign up for interesting programs. That helps us get everybody excited about what’s going on at our schools. It’s no secret that kids aren’t always thrilled about having to be at school, but when we can leverage this tool to show them some of the cool things that are going on, that helps to inspire more involvement.”  

About Carousel Digital Signage

Carousel is Digital Signage Content Management Software that is easy to use, scalable, and  reliable. With a deep feature set and strong technology partnerships Carousel gives you the most value in digital signage. Carousel Digital Signage is a division of Tightrope Media Systems. You can reach the Carousel team at (866) 866-4118, or visit www.carouselsignage.com.  

5 ways relationship mapping supports your students

When students have “positive and diverse” relationships, they are less likely to be at risk, more likely to boost their academic performance and persistence, and are also more likely to have access to a wider range professional opportunities, according to new research from the Clayton Christensen Institute.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, students without positive connections and relationships suffer when it comes to their well-being, academic success, and career potential. Schools often rely on existing faculty and staff to help grow students’ networks. And while mentoring and advising, volunteering, and new initiatives can positively impact students, these efforts are often institution-centric instead of student-centric–and they can burden staff who are already exhausted, along with placing added stress on tight budgets.

But according to Students’ Hidden Networks: Relationship Mapping as a Strategy to Build Asset-Based Pathways, taking an asset-based approach–leveraging the connections arising from people students already know–can help. A number of future-thinking groups are focused on equitably building students’ social capital and connections, and as they continue their work, helpful strategies and best practices have emerged for teachers and school leaders. The report is authored by Julia Freeland Fisher, director of education research at the Clayton Christensen Institute.…Read More

Students desperately need to see relevance in their learning

Many students see no relevance between their education and the real world, and say they are struggling to find meaning in their education or find a career direction, according to a new survey from YouScience, a student engagement platform.

The paper, “Solving Education’s Relevance Gap,” is a call to action for educational institutions, businesses, families, students, and community leaders to analyze the state of student engagement and work together to shift educational approaches to better meet student’s needs.

If communities take advantage of opportunities to close the relevance gap, students can move from disengaged to motivated, with a deeper understanding of their own natural talents and their potential for fulfilling, long-term, in-demand careers, according to the paper.…Read More

3 simple things you can do to start an esports program

Esports is a hot topic in higher education, from recruiting esports athletes, to helping to prepare the future workforce for a multitude of jobs in this more than $1 billion industry. Esports has pretty much exploded on college campuses in the last 10 years–and for good reason. According to Insider Intelligence, it is estimated there will be more than 29 million monthly esports viewers in the U.S. this year. With this amazing growth at the college level, it is bound to trickle down into K-12 education.

For higher education institutions, there have been many benefits of creating successful esports programs. It’s a great way to recruit students, increase engagement, and showcase potential career opportunities. It’s also a great way to connect students who may not have had any interest in other extracurricular activities on campus.

As more K-12 schools and districts start to consider esports, there is often the question of how best to bring it to their students–especially if they don’t have the budget or resources to create an arena like the ones seen on TV.…Read More

A supe’s 6 back-to-school tips for virtual district leaders

Over 30 years ago, I took my first job in public education as a biology high school teacher, and instantly knew this was the career path for me. What solidified my passion for education were the “ah-ha” moments, or those moments when at first a student struggled, and then, after teaching them in a way they could relate to, seeing their eyes light up from the excitement of learning.

I worked in a variety of roles in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, from dean of students to principal to now overseeing the strategy and vision of one of the largest online public school districts in the nation. No matter my position, my priority has and will always be making sure we are doing what is best for students.

I have prepared for the first day of school in many roles throughout my career, and while the planning may seem overwhelming at times, I found that if you have a list of tasks to check off, the entire process runs smoother.…Read More

Student from New Jersey Receives Award for STEAM Sustainability Innovation from Stanley Black & Decker and Discovery Education

Silver Spring, Md. (Wednesday, August 10, 2022) – Stanley Black & Decker and Discovery Education today recognized a New Jersey student as the winner of the 2022 Trade Champions Challenge. The Challenge asks high school students to work to create a 30-60 second video submission, directed at their peers, about why they aspire to be a trade professional and/or why they are passionate about the trade career in which they are currently engaged.​ 

The 2022 Trade Champions Challenge winner is Samantha S., a 10th grade student at Cumberland County Technical Education Center of the Cumberland County Vocational School District. Samantha will receive a cash prize and a Stanley Black & Decker Prize Pack. Her project – entitled “The Future of Construction” – addresses the fourth industrial revolution as related to the innovative technologies of the construction industry. See the full description of the winning project here

The annual challenge builds upon a Stanley Black & Decker and Discovery Education educational program – Innovation Generation – designed to ignite, engage, and empower students to become innovators through no-cost dynamic digital resources. Through real-world explorations of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM), Innovation Generation cultivates students’ collaboration, problem solving, and creative thinking. …Read More