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

8 things to ask about your first makerspace

You wouldn’t just randomly choose a tool from your toolbox and feel confident it was the right one to cut a board or attach a hinge. Same goes for a school makerspace.

Like everything in ed tech, it’s not enough to have a bunch of shiny gadgets in your makerspace. You need to have the right materials to meet your goals.

Vinnie Vrotny, director of technology at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas, understands how tempting it is to fill a space with the latest devices. But before you do, here are eight questions you should ask to determine if you’re choosing wisely.…Read More

8 questions to ask before creating a makerspace

You wouldn’t just randomly choose a tool from your toolbox and feel confident it was the right one to cut a board or attach a hinge. Same goes for a school makerspace.

Like everything in ed tech, it’s not enough to have a bunch of shiny gadgets in your makerspace. You need to have the right materials to meet your goals.

Vinnie Vrotny, director of technology at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas, understands how tempting it is to fill a space with the latest devices. But before you do, here are eight questions you should ask to determine if you’re choosing wisely.…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

School’s out! Finding teacher tools that finish at the top of the class

Technology delivers plenty of tools to help teachers manage their classroom and transform how they teach–from solutions rolled out by schools and districts, to personal mobile apps and programs. The challenge for teachers is sorting through the possibilities to find what truly works, what can be consolidated into a broader tool—and what should get a failing grade.

Based on our many years of experience as education technologists, here are key items to consider, both good and bad, in choosing technology tools that truly help teachers (and their students) succeed in the classroom.

Focus on Tools that are Easy to Use…Read More

Alan November to host student engagement webinar

Students are not engaged in the classroom like they should be, and educators are searching for ways to bridge this gap to create the best learning environment for each of their students.

Modern technologies are making it easier to engage students, but choosing the right technologies to support student engagement in the classroom is a difficult task, and one with an important goal: creating learner-centered environments in which students can thrive.

On Thursday, 8/25 at 1 PM EST (12 PM CST, 10 AM PST), Alan November will give a live presentation on Student Engagement.…Read More