America’s Favorite Rapping Teacher, Mr. Dwayne Reed, Joins Forces with Achieve3000

Achieve3000 is bringing teacher-led instruction to online classrooms in time for this year’s back-to-school season through a new partnership with Chicago’s rapping sensation Mr. Dwayne Reed, CEO of TeachMrReed. As educators and parents around the U.S. are raising increased concerns about the learning loss experienced due to the coronavirus pandemic, the partnership aims to reach students most in need of catching-up and getting back on track. Lessons will focus on teaching foundational literacy via Mr. Reed’s signature instructional style that engages students through music, a proven-effective method for enhanced literacy instruction (Kassel, 1997).

“The majority of online learning solutions are designed to provide opportunities to read or listen only. We wanted to do better than that. It’s more important than ever that we use every resource we can to keep kids excited about learning and provide the instructional resources teachers need to meet the increasing demands of their position,” said Mr. Kevin Baird, Achieve3000’s Chief Academic Officer.

Mr. Reed will facilitate complete, pre-recorded lessons that guide students through Achieve3000 Literacy’s original differentiated fiction stories. Each lesson will begin with students reading stories aloud along with Mr. Reed. Teachers can later access recordings of the students’ read-aloud sessions in order to evaluate pronunciation and provide personalized feedback for each student. Mr. Reed will then lead students through a series of word play games developed in partnership with Dr. Kay Stahl, Clinical Professor of Literacy for New York University. Finally, students will enjoy original instructional songs, including rap and other genres, performed by Mr. Reed before beginning their independent reading practice.…Read More

Ambassador Launches Revolutionary Course Materials Platform, Easing the Entire Process for Students, Schools and Publishers

Ambassador Education Solutions today launched its next generation Course Materials Platform, RODA, transforming digital content and all course materials for students, schools and publishers. Unlike any other technology on the market, RODA provides seamless access to print and digital materials, publisher and platform integrations, support services, analytics, financial controls, and compliance — all through one flexible and easy-to-use platform.

“Education is being reimagined. At Ambassador we’re not looking back; we’re focused on what’s next,” said Steven M. Blicht, CEO of Ambassador. “More than a year ago, we set out to develop a Course Materials Platform that would combat the fragmented approach to content and be all things for all stakeholders — one platform for everyone. Fast forward to today, RODA is more important than ever to address new learning models, especially in this increasingly digital world.”

Course materials have become more complex for everyone, and this is being amplified as schools evolve their online, on-campus and hybrid programs. Students are being forced to figure out how to access content and navigate multiple platforms, which can be both time intensive and confusing. At the same time, schools don’t have the bandwidth or necessary controls to handle an ever increasing number of publisher and platform integrations, and they don’t want to put the burden on their IT teams to manage various technologies, analyze analytics, and verify usage and costs. Schools also are facing increased pressure to comply with applicable Department of Education regulations, including Inclusive Access and opt-out requirements. Finally, publishers need greater transparency into how and how often their materials are being used so they can protect their content and reconcile fees. Publishers also need peace-of-mind that schools and students have the necessary support when using their content.…Read More

Klassroom, the first parent-teacher communication app designed specifically for elementary schools

Klassroom, the Paris-based company that reinvents parent-teacher communication in pre-kindergarten and all elementary school grades, just raised a $3 million seed round led by Bpifrance and several angel investors including Jerome Lecat, CEO at Scality, and Andy Myers, President at and former executive at Renaissance Learning.

This funding will enable Klassroom to accelerate growth in countries outside of France, including in the U.S. where more than 700 educators started using the app during the last school year without any significant investment in that market. Klassroom is already the leading app of its type in France with nearly one million users. Klassroom’s user community doubled in just under two months during school closures and the COVID-19 crisis.

Klassroom: an inclusive, engaging foundation for parent-teacher communication that enables deeper involvement in the school life of children…Read More

Flinn Scientific Launches New Solutions to Support Hands-on Science in Any Learning Environment

Flinn Scientific, a flagship provider of science lab materials and safety and STEM solutions for the K-16 education market, is launching two new solutions – 360Science™ and Science2Go – to support hands-on learning this coming school year. Now, regardless if learning is taking place in a virtual, hybrid, or in-person environment, educators will have the resources needed to teach students about important scientific concepts and phenomena in a safe, effective, and engaging way.

“Even though in-person learning was halted this spring, Flinn has been busy developing new hands-on learning programs for this coming school year,” said Mike Lavelle, CEO of Flinn Scientific. “We saw the need for programs tailored to both in-person and remote learning and created 360Science and Science2Go, respectively, to meet this need. These complementary offerings will help teachers deliver engaging science education no matter where teaching and learning is taking place.”

Designed for in-classroom learning, 360Science is a customizable program that provides high school teachers with 200 easily-modified, hands-on biology, chemistry, and environmental science labs along with complementary digital content. The program, which is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and other state science standards, features a unique instructional approach in which students begin each class with an inquiry-based lab.…Read More

Is it time to retire letter grades?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly disruptive to education, hindering instruction and other services for thousands — perhaps millions — of K-12 students across the United States. But those who see the glass as half full would say it has also presented schools with a unique opportunity for change.

Count Michael Horn among these optimists. In his podcast series “Class Disrupted,” Horn — an author and consultant who focuses on the future of education — has teamed up with Diane Tavenner, co-founder and CEO of the Summit Public Schools charter network, to discuss how the sudden shift to remote learning this past spring exposed the limitations of many educational structures we take for granted. Yet, it also suggests what might be possible if K-12 leaders are bold enough to see a new way forward, Horn and Tavenner agree.

For instance, a lot of the time wasted in transitioning from one class to another during a traditional school day could be reclaimed for learning and practicing essential life skills, they say. The factory-style model that herds students in groups from class to class could be replaced by a more personalized, student-centered approach that caters to each child’s unique interests and learning needs. And the letter-grade system that schools have been using to evaluate student learning for generations could be supplanted by a mastery-based grading system that gives stakeholders much more insight into what students know.…Read More

How edtech companies are helping schools navigate an uncertain year

In the middle of the abrupt changes to the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, edtech companies offered resources and access to help educators, students, and parents make the best of at-home learning.

Here is insight from a select few of those edtech leaders.

Based on what you’ve seen over the past couple of months, what are the major challenges that schools and districts have faced in the transition to online learning?…Read More

15 hands-on investigations to teach students about various physiology concepts

Vernier Software & Technology recently released Human Physiology Experiments: Volume 2 to engage high school and college-level students in hands-on data collection as they learn about key human physiology concepts. The lab book, available in both printed and e-book formats, offers 15 investigations that utilize a variety of Vernier Go Direct® sensors and cover circulatory and cardiac physiology, respiratory physiology, muscle physiology, complex reflexes, biofeedback, exercise physiology, and more.

“Hands-on learning is the best way for students to understand human physiology and how the body works,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “These new experiments are particularly engaging and are quick and easy to set up. This helps students get up and running within minutes, so they can spend the vast majority of their time collecting and analyzing data and making scientific connections. In addition, students can easily conduct these experiments at home.”

Investigations in the lab book use easily accessible materials and affordable sensors, such as Go Direct Blood Pressure, Go Direct EKG, Go Direct Spirometer, Go Direct Respiration Belt, and Go Direct Hand Dynamometer sensors, all of which can be used with a wide variety of devices. The lab book provides instructors with word-processing files that they can edit to match their teaching styles, helpful teaching tips, important discussion points, and sample data and graphs. It also includes a table with International Baccalaureate® Sports Science standards correlations. Sample data for these experiments and more than 300 others are also available within the Experiment and Sample Data Library, which is provided by Vernier for instructors to provide to students who are currently in a remote learning environment.…Read More

Verizon announced support for relief efforts

Verizon announced support for relief efforts across communities impacted by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by tripling monthly data allowance for its Verizon Innovative Learning schools and committing $10 million to nonprofits directed at supporting students and first responder healthcare workers.

“Verizon stands ready to support our community members during this challenging time,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon Chairman and CEO. “We will continue to work closely with partners to help provide resources and care for those who need it most.”

As the list of nationwide K-12 schools shifting to remote learning heightens, Verizon is supporting the students and teachers in its Verizon Innovative Learning program, the company’s education initiative targeting Title 1 middle schools, by tripling their data allowances. Effective March 16, the additional connectivity includes all tablets and laptops within the program and upgrades data plans from 10GB/month to 30GB/month through June 30.…Read More

Virtual Tutoring Service

Swing Education, a staffing application that matches schools with substitute teachers, brings its highly-qualified and experienced substitutes directly to students across America with the launch of Swing Tutors, an online tutoring service for students in grades K-12. Launching during Teacher Appreciation Week, Swing Tutors matches classroom substitute teachers with students based on their grade level and subject area needs to provide additional real-time, one-on-one support in a secure online learning environment.

“With school closures, we wanted to find a way to both support our substitute teachers and provide a valuable and much-needed service for parents and students,” said Mike Teng, CEO of Swing Education. “Swing Tutors taps into our substitute teachers’ expertise while delivering a flexible way for students to receive individualized support in the areas they need help with the most.”

All Swing Tutors are veteran educators with real classroom experience, each having taught in physical classrooms within the last 12 months. All tutors hold bachelor’s degrees, with roughly 40 percent having a master’s degree or higher. The tutoring service is available to any K-12 student in the U.S., regardless of school, and delivered using an interactive video-based platform in which the tutors can engage students in conversation as well as review course materials.…Read More

New Webinar Series to Support Virtual Coaching

Edthena is kicking off a new webinar series to help instructional coaches provide newly-virtual teachers with timely and much-needed support. The four-part “Kitchen Table Coaching” series, launching this Thursday, will provide strategies and best practices for facilitating virtual coaching. The series is part of the #PLtogether project ( which will provide a collection of free resources for instructional coaches, including tactical advice from notable thought leaders in the education industry.

“Effective coaching will lead to the ultimate success of distanced teaching,” said Adam Geller, founder and CEO of Edthena. “The #PLtogether project will provide a hub for topical resources to support instructional coaching during this unprecedented time. The first resource – this new webinar series – offers coaches an opportunity to ask questions and get tips and best practices for supporting professional learning now.”

The 30-minute Kitchen Table Coaching webinars, which will be led by former classroom teachers Heather Purzner and Rob McCreary of the Edthena Partner Success team, will take place every Thursday in May at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT. Educators can register for some or all of the following sessions:…Read More