BetterLesson Sponsors $1 Million Matching Grant Program for Professional Development

To provide expanded access to K-12 schools and districts with virtual professional learning services to improve teaching and learning in remote and hybrid environments and to promote social justice, BetterLesson is sponsoring a matching grant program. Public and private K-12 schools, districts and education service agencies are invited to submit their proposals between today and Friday, September 4, 2020.

“Teachers and school leaders are facing intense challenges right now. And if we want success for all students, educators need to be meaningfully, continuously supported; now more than ever,” said Erin Osborn co-founder and COO of BetterLesson. “We’ve seen over the past few months how much BetterLesson’s virtual Professional Learning can help districts and schools improve the use of powerful distance learning strategies, as well as help educators take real steps toward advancing social justice. The grant program felt like a concrete way to increase access to this support and reach as many educators as possible.”

The program provides public and private K-12 schools, districts and education service agencies in the United States with virtual professional learning services to improve teaching and learning in remote environments and integrate practices that advance social justice as part of regular classroom instruction.…Read More

Protect and Recover Your Data with’s New Snapshot Features

In response to COVID-19, many creatives are being required to work remotely. This often presents technical challenges that can be difficult to overcome, especially for small production teams. To be successful, the creative process must remain easy, reliable, and secure. Collaborative storage is the main hub connecting remote locations, and recently there has been a 148% spike in ransomware attacks. Cyberattacks cost businesses of all sizes an average of $200,000, but with the right storage partner there is hope. has just released the industry’s most comprehensive storage “snapshot” tools, logic, and web app to protect and recover from accidental or networked file encryption and deletion attacks.


A snapshot is simply an exact picture of the state of your data at a certain point in time. It is based upon a single dataset (we call it a “Space”). Snapshots and rollbacks are almost instantaneous and don’t require additional storage space until any active files are deleted.’s enhanced features allow users to not only take a protected snapshot of their data, but also schedule future snapshots, set an expiration date, and assign administrative access based upon user roles.…Read More

International Code Council releases recommended practices for remote virtual inspections

– The International Code Council recently published “Recommended Practices for Remote Virtual Inspections,” a guideline document that governmental jurisdictions should consider for an effective and consistent remote virtual inspections program. The publication is based on study, research and discussions from the Code Council’s membership (including responses to an earlier Code Council survey of U.S. code officials on COVID-19 response), partners and industry experts.


Remote virtual inspections use visual or electronic aids that allow inspectors to observe specific construction projects, products or materials from a distance. These remote inspections are beneficial when the materials or buildings are inaccessible, in dangerous environments, or in other circumstances, prevent an in-person inspection. Given the challenges and limited financial resources available for building departments as cited in the Code Council’s ongoing survey of U.S. code officials response to the pandemic, the implementation of remote virtual inspections can also save jurisdictions time and money as there is no longer a need for inspectors to travel to and from sites.…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

4 Reasons to Run a District-wide Reading Challenge

Most librarians are familiar with reading challenges — the challenge format is a type of reading program that provides a more engaging way to get students to read. Challenges give students a set of goals to accomplish within a defined period of time.

Libraries and schools around the country run all sorts of reading challenges, and there are lots of ways to do it, themes to use, and ways to promote it — if you’re thinking of running one, feel free to take our quiz to see what type of challenge would work best for you.

But reading challenges don’t have to be run by one teacher or media specialist independently. Many K12 educators are finding success with reading challenges at the district level as a way to engage all their schools and students at once. It’s easier to get started than launching multiple individual school/grade level challenges all over the area, and students (and their parents) stay more engaged when they hear it promoted more broadly.…Read More

When the digital divide is made worse by a pandemic

The digital divide is proving one of the most pervasive and stubborn challenges in U.S. education, and its effects can follow students from kindergarten through college. As if that’s not bad enough, the COVID-19 crisis, which forced students across the globe to learn at home while schools closed physical operations, made inequities even more apparent.

Students in schools all over the U.S. struggled to find existing or reliable internet connections, many didn’t have access to appropriate devices to complete online assignments, others waited for weeks until schools managed to organize device-lending programs, while still others had to share devices with siblings and, sometimes, parents who also had to work from home.

Related content: Family tech nights can narrow the digital divide…Read More

8 STEM learning challenges students can do at home

I was chatting with my brother the other day about how things are going with my two nieces learning at home while their schools are closed due to COVID-19.

My 13-year-old niece, Sophie, has continued to follow a typical school schedule each day with her school delivering a full learning program online. Her high school is doing a wonderful job providing lessons and activities to keep her motivated, learning, and engaged. She is enjoying this new way of learning, although she does report that hands-on subjects such as music and science are not quite us much fun sitting in her bedroom as they normally are at school.

Related content: A virtual learning lesson from Hong Kong…Read More

Distance Learning Packages for Schools, Academic Institutions, and Libraries

Infobase, the award-winning provider of digital reference content to the school and library community, today announced that it has created a variety of distance learning packages to help schools, colleges and universities, and public libraries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The distance learning packages provide open access to curated, multi-subject groups of online databases, with or without streaming video collections, for elementary schools, middle and high schools, colleges and universities, and public libraries—helping educators and librarians set up virtual classrooms and remote reference libraries for their students in the wake of closures due to the pandemic.

“These are unprecedented times, and educational institutions face unique challenges as they work to create successful remote learning environments,” said Paul Skordilis, president and CEO of Infobase. “We created these distance learning solutions because we want to help our community in this time of need, and we know that our online resources, created with distance learning in mind, can be of great value.”…Read More

3 ways to stay connected when going remote

You’ve just made a heroic effort to rapidly transition your teaching to online delivery in response to school closures. It’s important now to take a moment to consider how your students are adapting, and the equity and access issues resulting from this change in delivery.

For students learning remotely at home, these challenges may include limited access to computers, high-speed internet, campus support services, and a lack of social connection with peers and instructors.

Related content: 10 resources to help everyone navigate online learning…Read More

Soundtrap Offers Extended Free Trial to Support Distance Learning

Soundtrap for Education, part of Spotify, announced it is extending its free trial for any school that signs up to try it with students this semester. Soundtrap’s cloud-based studio offers a safe learning environment that can be accessed via any device, at any time, from any location. Educators can create a free school trial account by visiting Soundtrap’s website and selecting “Start as a Teacher.”

“Everywhere across the globe, COVID-19 has presented challenges for schools and educators. As teachers continue their commitment to helping each student succeed, we want to do our part to support distance learning and give schools access to resources that will help in their time of need,” said Matteo Ottaviani, Head of Soundtrap for Education. “Schools who sign up to try Soundtrap with their students this semester will have the opportunity to use the program for free, and to experience the power of creative sound-making to foster engagement and collaboration, even when teachers and learners are apart.”

Using Soundtrap, teachers and students can create, communicate, and collaborate to explore creative sound-making through music creation, audio stories, podcasting, and more. The extended free trial is available to any school that signs up to try it with students this semester, whether or not the school is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Soundtrap team will work with educators to ensure access continues through the end of their semester.…Read More