6 time-saving tech tricks for school librarians

Is there an educator on the planet who would turn down a bit more time in their day?

With time-saving technology strategies, school librarians can find ways to connect with their school’s teachers and students on a deeper level, forming relationships and helping with research and skill development.

During an ISTELive session, Kristina A. Holzweiss, a high school educational technology enrichment specialist librarian, shared her tips to help school librarians engage with students, support teachers, and make their school libraries dynamic and welcoming learning spaces.…Read More

How the COVID-19 pandemic changed how I teach

Ed Smylie is my hero. You may not recognize the name, but you probably remember that scene in Apollo 13 when, upon discovering the spacecraft’s lethally rising CO2 levels and the dilemma of mismatched equipment, flight director Gene Kranz commands his team to “invent a way to put a square peg into a round hole. Rapidly.” Engineer Ed Smylie led the way in an all-night race to do just that. Using nothing but the materials on hand, his quick thinking and adaptability saved the astronauts’ lives.

Spring 2020 required teachers to become Ed Smylie. Nearly every tool we normally used to reach our students was wiped off the table–we were left in complete upheaval. With no choice but to use whatever we had available, we dug deep into our resourcefulness to help our students (and ourselves!) survive distance learning. Amazingly, what we did served our purposes not only for the duration of remote learning, but changed our classroom practices for the better, even now with students back in the classroom.

Once the initial lockdown passed, my district allowed staff to teach from their classrooms (albeit empty ones), pushing us to find new methods of instruction. Just days before the shutdown, a new flat panel had been installed in my room; it seemed to be the perfect time to see what it could do.…Read More

Arizona Department of Education Selects Riverside’s CogAT for Statewide Universal Screening of all Second-Grade Students for Gifted Education Services

ITASCA, Ill. – Feb. 23, 2022 – The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) selected Riverside Insight’s Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CogAT®), the most respected and widely used test of student ability, to screen Grade 2 students state-wide for gifted programs. The ADE’s assessment choice supports the Department’s vision of promoting equity for all students to help them achieve their full potential. CogAT was specifically developed to be accessible to the broadest range of students and to ensure the greatest equity with valid and reliable results for identification and placement. 

“We are excited to provide this opportunity that will help our schools more equitably identify our state’s Gifted learners,” said Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. “Universal screening removes barriers to access and is a proven strategy to help identify students that have been traditionally underrepresented in Gifted Education programs – especially students who may be culturally, linguistically and socioeconomically diverse.”

CogAT, the #1 ability test in the market, according to an EducationWeek report, is the assessment tool that most effectively addresses the challenges of equity by identifying each student’s unique learning potential and empowering educators with the insights to help them achieve it. With demonstrated effectiveness with special populations, CogAT is uniquely positioned to meet the ADE’s requirements, supporting all learners including students with a disability or students acquiring the English language. CogAT is standardized with a representative sample of students from across the nation to provide both national and local norms, and it offers age-based Standard Age Scores (SAS) for the most fair comparisons of young students at different development and maturation levels.…Read More

Promoting student choice through SEL self-assessment

There is abundant literature on the many benefits of promoting student choice (for an accessible overview see, “The key to making improvements: as the students”).

Among the positive outcomes associated with giving students authentic choices in what they will learn, how they will learn it, and how they will demonstrate their learning are:

  • Better attainment of learning objectives
  • More engagement in the classroom
  • Better generalization of classroom learning to real life situations

I would like to suggest another reason for providing students, especially adolescents, with meaningful choices and then honoring those choices – they know better than adults what is really important to them.…Read More

FEV Tutor Named Winner of the Inaugural 2021 Supes’ Choice Award for Virtual Instruction Experience

WOBURN, Mass. – Dec. 16, 2021 –  FEV Tutor was selected as an inaugural 2021 Supes’ Choice Awards winner in the Virtual Instructional Experience category. The awards were presented by the Institute for Education Innovation (IEI), an organization that serves as the bridge between district leaders and organizations to support the greatest challenges in K-12 education.

FEV Tutor was selected by a panel of esteemed superintendent judges from across the nation. Their assessment was based on FEV Tutor’s commitment to student outcomes, innovation and ingenuity, client support, interactivity, and engagement. The Supes’ Choice Awards are the only industry awards judged exclusively by school district superintendents.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Supes’ Choice Awards as the inaugural winner in the virtual instruction experience category for our commitment to high-impact online tutoring,” said Ryan Patenaude, Sr. Vice President and Co-Founder of FEV Tutor. “This recognition by district leaders serves as a testament to our decade-long dedication to best-in-results-driven support for the students we serve. We provide continuous data-driven individualized learning plans with designated tutors; 24/7 homework and coursework support as well as test prep tutoring to effect positive change for priority students.”…Read More

4 ways to incorporate student voice, choice, and SEL into learning

Research shows that giving students agency and influence in their learning makes them more engaged and invested in their education. It also empowers them to take control, show initiative, and adopt leadership roles. Giving students voice and choice also helps them feel valued, encourages them to realize their interests and potential, and can improve their academic outcomes.

Student voice, choice and social and emotional learning (SEL) go hand-in-hand. SEL helps students develop agency because it teaches them to engage authentically as leaders, problem-solvers, and decision-makers. It also improves students’ communication skills and their ability to advocate for themselves.

Here are four ways schools can incorporate student voice, choice, and SEL in students’ learning.…Read More

3 simple—yet powerful—practices for student-centered learning

It is encouraging to observe an increasing number of educational leaders calling out the importance of student-empowered, student-owned, and student-centered learning.  A.J. Juliani, John Spencer, Katie Martin, and Alan November, to name a few, are inspiring the shift that so many educators already know needs to happen–from a mechanical, soulless approach to learning to an inspired, student-honored approach. 

Personalized learning defines a learning experience for the student and teacher that is intrinsically motivated and student empowered/owned. True personalized learning occurs when the student is a partner with the teacher, not only in student voice and choice, but a partner in content and curriculum creation as well. 

The necessity for students to have a student-centered learning experience at school directly addresses three specific areas of educational need:…Read More

Delaware Ensures Every Student Has Digital Access to Curriculum and Choice Reading Titles

CLEVELAND – June 29, 2021 – With schools facing the challenge of unfinished learning due to the pandemic, one state is proving itself a pioneer. The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) announced an agreement with OverDrive Education to provide access to online books to every K-12 student in the state. Students use their school credentials to read required and recreational digital books in the Sora student reading app. Students will also have seamless access to age-appropriate popular ebooks and audiobooks from the Delaware Libraries’ digital collection as a result of the new partnership with the DDOE.

The DDOE invested federal Education Stabilization Funds (ESF) to provide students with access to educational and popular digital books that will be available to 221 schools and their 144,000 students. This “ Delaware Accelerate Learning” digital collection is available for students to borrow and read on any device inside the classroom, at home and anywhere 24/7. Sora is a popular reading app used by millions of students in over 48,000 schools around the world.

“We are excited all public school students in Delaware will have the opportunity this summer to immerse themselves in literacy,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said.…Read More

5 tools for student voice

As we prepare students for college, career, and life, it’s vital that we foster skills that will ensure students are successful. As educators, we’ve heard about the importance of the “21st century 4 C’s” to our students’ future success. Post-secondary schools and employers are looking for students and a workforce that can communicate effectively, work collaboratively, think critically, problem-solve, and use creativity in various settings. I believe there is a 5th C that is also important–and that is Choice. If our scholars have a choice, they have a voice.

In my experience as an Educational Technology Specialist (ETS) and many years as a middle school teacher, one thing I have learned is that if students have a choice in demonstrating their knowledge and showcasing their skills, they are often more invested in the task or end product. When I was a gifted English Language Arts teacher, I used project choice boards for all my units. Furnishing students the opportunity to choose the means and methods for practicing acquired skills, modeling newly learned concepts, and creating original content increases student engagement.

As an ETS, I collaborate with teachers and assist in developing technology-infused standards-based lessons and activities.…Read More

CAE Presents Case For Authentic Assessment To Improve Student Outcomes At Beyond Multiple Choice Seminar

Experts in performance-based assessment share research on student engagement and effort

June 3, 2021, NEW YORK – The Council for Aid to Education, Inc. (CAE), a nonprofit developer of performance-based and custom assessments that authentically measure students’ essential college and career readiness skills, recently presented “Leveraging Performance Tasks to Assess College Readiness”, at “Assessment Challenges of Our New Decade” hosted by Beyond Multiple Choice. An international community of education and training-industry stakeholders committed to exploring, innovating, and implementing the future of assessment, Beyond Multiple Choice drew hundreds of attendees from around the world, explored urgent challenges confronting the future of assessment, and shared expert visions, plans, and tools to address them.

According to Beyond Multiple Choice, assessments have come increasingly under fire over the past decade, with critics claiming they are overused, inequitably applied, and not aligned with optimal outcomes for training and education. The challenges of COVID-19 highlighted already existing perceptions of assessment deficiencies.…Read More