Vernier Software & Technology Names the Winners of Its 40th Anniversary Educator Grants

BEAVERTON, Oregon, December 13, 2021 — Vernier Software & Technology has named the 40 recipients of its 40th anniversary educator grants. The grantees—who represent a range of grade levels and geographic regions—will each receive $1,000 in Vernier technology of their choosing, a one-year subscription to Vernier Graphical Analysis Pro, and three hours of virtual professional development to further support their teaching.

“With more than 800 total submissions, we were truly blown away by the response we received from educators,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “For 40 years, Vernier Software & Technology has supported hands-on science exploration, and we are excited to now support these 40 educators—from five elementary schools, eight middle schools, 23 high schools, and four colleges—as they use data-collection technology with their students.”

All the grantees were chosen by a volunteer Grantee Selection Committee, which consisted of current science and STEM educators, consultants, and members of the Vernier tech support team who are former educators. The committee selected the grantees based on various factors, including plans for implementing the Vernier technology and current needs of their school.  …Read More

The 10 most popular learning channels for kids

Even before COVID-19 forced the closure of schools around the world, the internet had become a virtual classroom with a growing number of engaging learning channels for students.

More than a year into the pandemic, parents are still turning to online resources to find activities for their children–but social media can be a challenging place when it comes to choosing content.

A new resource from Connections Academy features some of the most popular learning channels online, analyzing the number of subscribers they have and how many people have watched their videos to reveal the top 40 best educational influencers parents can trust. …Read More

From classroom to boardroom: Building diverse workforce tech talent starts with STEM

Women make up 47 percent of all employed adults in the U.S., but as of 2015, they hold only 25 percent of computing roles, according to data from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Of the 25 percent of women working in tech, Asian women make up just 5 percent of that number, while Black and Hispanic women accounted for 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

From childhood through education to careers and leadership, female representation often gets lost, with many women choosing not to pursue technology fields due to lack of support, access, and even cultural or regional norms. Culturally-prescribed notions of “male” and “female” careers subtly affect the way a teacher, mentor, or employer looks at women in technical fields. They can lead girls to second-guess their abilities or interest in technology.

Cultivating a diverse tech workforce starts with education. Companies, schools, and higher education institutions can work together to support the development of bright female minds. There are many ways to ensure that women have the support and opportunities to explore STEM fields in both their educations and careers.…Read More

A guide to choosing the right edtech partner

Based on the sheer amount of marketing emails and sales calls received on a weekly–or even daily–basis, district leaders can surely attest to the seemingly countless number of technologies on the market today. But just how big is the edtech industry? To put it in perspective, there were nearly 1,400 edtech companies in the United States alone last year, according to a report from RS Components. That’s a lot.

With so many technologies and providers out there, how can district leaders choose the right edtech partner or partners? Below are four questions to consider during the procurement process.

Does the company understand my goals? It is important that any edtech partner or prospective partner understand what the district is trying to accomplish, as well as share the district’s vision in reaching those goals. This involves honest and straightforward conversations from the start about where the district is at, where it is looking to go, and how the edtech partner can help.…Read More

5 ways to nurture a cybersecurity interest in a healthy way

It’s something no teacher or administrator wants to think about, but what if one of your students is showing an interest in computer hacking? Teachers–sometimes more than parents–can tap into kids’ interests and skill sets. And with technology now a large part of how students are learning, it is just a matter of time until any educator runs into a student with an unexpected knowledge of how tech works or how to manipulate it.

How do you know if these students simply have a healthy curiosity or are interested in something darker? And how do you help an advanced student understand that they can use their skills for good by choosing a career as a cybersecurity professional rather than an underground hacker? Here’s how to handle such a nuanced situation.

1. Identify interest and skill…Read More

VHS Learning Partners with Schools in Massachusetts to Offer Online Courses

Three Massachusetts schools are the latest to join the hundreds of schools around the world in choosing VHS Learning as an online course provider for their students. Schools can easily increase their course offerings by giving students access to the VHS Learning catalog, which consists of more than 250 unique teacher-led online courses, including 24 AP® offerings, innovative STEM programs, and a wide variety of unique electives.

Marblehead High School, located in Essex County in the northeastern part of Massachusetts, has chosen to expand course offerings with a new membership that provides 112 student enrollments in VHS Learning courses. Andover High School, also in Essex County, expanded their VHS Learning partnership by purchasing 100 enrollments, and is also incorporating one teacher into the program. Natick High School, located in the Greater Boston area, purchased 40 enrollments.

VHS Learning design and delivery standards were the model used by the National Education Association when they created the first standards for online learning. Last year in collaboration with the international nonprofit Quality Matters and the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance, VHS Learning helped revise the National Standards for Quality (NSQ) in three areas: Online Courses, Online Teaching, and Online Programs.…Read More

How district administrators can drive student success in the COVID “tech rush”

Following an abrupt shift to remote learning this past spring, school and district administrators have had their fair share of summer homework as they prepare for a technology-first fall term. From filling out funding applications to reworking classrooms to promote social distancing, to choosing the right technology for hybrid learning environments, they’ve been working diligently to prepare for a school year that drives student engagement.

With COVID-19 showing few signs of slowing down, schools will likely not get through the next school year without some form of remote learning. It is also a safe bet that schools will lean heavily on education technology solutions to help ensure teachers can continue to deliver lesson plans to wherever students are located. With thousands of districts around the nation going back to school, the need for online education tools for students, teachers, and parents has never been more vital.

Related content: Using digital tools for engaging STEM instruction…Read More

Follett Online Book Fairs a Convenient Option to Keep Kids Reading

Whether the 2020-21 school year is starting in the classroom or remotely,  Follett is ensuring elementary and middle school students won’t be missing out on one of their favorite back-to-school traditions: the book fair. With  Follett Book eFairs, events can be held 100 percent virtually with schools choosing the dates that work best for them, students are empowered to select the books they wish to read, and families are afforded the opportunity to conveniently purchase books online.

The ease with which Follett’s online fairs are carried out are extremely attractive to school and book fair coordinators. The approximate setup time is 10 minutes, while there is no need for forms, handling cash or finding space in the school.

“I chose a Follett Book eFair because it seemed so easy,” said Shawn Crist, media assistant at James E. Plew Elementary School in Niceville, Fla. “It was almost too good to be true. I didn’t have to worry about rearranging our Media Center or finding volunteers.”…Read More

Future of School Awards Scholarships to Students from 23 States

Future of School (FoS), a national public charity focused on access to quality public education, today announced its 2020 Student Scholarship Program (SSP) winners. High school graduates from 23 states were awarded this competitive scholarship of up to $10,000 each. The financial award will support post-secondary education plans for nearly 40 students who are choosing to attend vocational, tech or trade programs, community colleges, or four-year universities

Since 2016, FoS has supported digital pioneers—both students and teachers alike—with the ultimate goal of demonstrating to all Americans the importance of transforming schools to include more innovative, tech-enabled teaching and learning opportunities. Student scholarship winners submit written essays and video testimonials focusing on the impact of digital education on their lives. Now more than ever, these success stories are important lessons for schools as they navigate plans for reopening amidst the pandemic.

In her video, 2020 SSP Scholar Alaina Smith stated, “In these trying times it’s been so difficult for all of us. There hasn’t been a single one of us that hasn’t been affected by what’s going on. However, I can say that my schooling was unaffected. Because I was already going to online school…I didn’t miss a beat.” Learn more about Alaina’s story here, as well as other students taking charge of their futures.…Read More

6 reasons why district-wide tech implementations are the right choice

In any given K-12 district, you’ll find at least some teachers choosing their own edtech products. Why? If their district hasn’t shown tech leadership, there are no shortage of tempting free apps to choose from. Why not fly solo, so to speak?

But that’s contrary to what districts have come to learn over time: that students and their parents benefit most when all teachers in a district are assessing and reporting on students using a common, approved set of tools and schemes.

In some instances, teachers independently using their own technology can work out well. But teachers run multiple risks when finding solutions to use on their own that aren’t integrated into the district’s systems or procedures. Without centralized budgetary or student-privacy management, teacher-sourced software in classrooms is getting some teachers and their districts into trouble.…Read More