How to ignite the fire of student engagement

Recently, a co-worker of mine shared a story from when he was in high school. During one chemistry class his teacher happened to light a small fire within a dish and began stirring in different compounds. First the fire turned green, then purple, and then finally blue. The students, who normally struggled to engage with the coursework, were completely enthralled. They began asking questions, forming hypotheses, and started investigating the subject themselves. A fire had been lit in that classroom – both literally and metaphorically.

Stories like these remind educators about the power of student engagement. Teaching, in many ways, is like building a fire. You simply gather the kindling (tools and strategies), create a spark (curiosity), and then add some logs to the fire (content). Still, many of us can have trouble striking that match. All too often, our students’ attitudes can feel dampened by apathy or outside distractions.

Building the blaze …Read More

How mixed reality glasses can help struggling readers

Imagine you are a struggling reader. You dread reading…in any class. You feel like a failure, and you are starting to hate school. One day, your science teacher brings in a Microsoft HoloLens headset. You put on the mixed reality glasses and pick up the science article that the teacher wants you to read. You begrudgingly begin reading.

After only a few sentences you are lost because you don’t know what “light energy” means. Because your eyes stopped on that phrase, an animation jumps off the page through the glasses demonstrating an example of the concept with a voiceover explanation. Several moments later you read the word “photosynthesis” and another animation appears with an audio explanation. Suddenly, reading in science class takes on a whole new emotion…you are feeling success and are even interested in reading more about science.

Characteristics of struggling readers…Read More

Will gamification replace paper tests?

Nearly everyone remembers the stress of taking a test in school. In-class exams have the power to make even the most dedicated of students quake with fear, not to mention the damage they can do to the egos of struggling learners. For some students, the stress causes their minds to go blank, while others experience physical symptoms like headaches and nausea.

In fact, around 40 percent of students regularly report experiencing moderate to severe anxiety over tests. Unfortunately, that stress isn’t limited to students in higher grades. Even elementary school students can struggle with fear and performance anxiety on standardized tests. No surprise, then, that teachers and schools are increasingly rethinking their assessment methods, seeking ways to evaluate student performance without causing undue stress.

Fortunately, there are other methods of assessing students–methods that greatly reduce anxiety levels while simultaneously improving performance. One method getting a lot of attention is gamification, which involves incorporating elements of game playing, such as establishing ground rules, scorekeeping, and engaging in friendly competition with other students. Recent studies have shown that gamification in education can increase assessment scores by nearly 15 percent.…Read More

How to flip the classroom and create avid learners

The traditional sequence of teaching using lectures, discussion, projects, and testing was upended during the pandemic as teachers adapted to digital classrooms and students took on more responsibility for their learning.

Now that students are back in school, many teachers are finding that continuing to use a blend of digital and face-to-face classroom learning methods can be effective in boosting student engagement and fostering constructive discussions.

The flipped classroom is one pedagogy that has been especially fruitful by reversing the traditional lecture and homework components of a class. In many traditional classrooms, the majority of class time is spent in a lecture-and-listen format. The flipped classroom replaces this static model by engaging students in active, dynamic learning. …Read More

Performance and Reliability Combine in New Christie GS Series Projectors

CYPRESS, Calif. – (March 11, 2022) – Christie® is pleased to announce the addition of  two new models to its line-up of class-leading 1DLP® projectors. Designed and built to offer both performance and reliability for high-use environments, the new Christie GS Series models are available in two brightness options: 9,000 ISO lumens and 10,600 ISO lumens, and are ideal for installations including meeting rooms, education spaces, museums, houses of worship and more.

“With their compact footprint and quiet operation, the new Christie GS Series models won’t distract audiences from the bright, vibrant projected images,” says Joel St-Denis, director of product management, Christie. “For installations that require multiple projectors, such as smaller entertainment venues, places of worship and themed attractions, the included warping and blending tools will save both time and money.”

The new projectors feature laser illumination, which offers 20,000 hours of consistent illumination to 50% brightness and a low total cost of operation – there is no need for lamp or filter replacements, which also reduces maintenance.  …Read More

SplashLearn Rolls Out Dates For Its Much Loved ‘SpringBoard Math Challenge 2022’

San Francisco, CA, 23nd February 2022: The popular game-based learning program SplashLearn, today announced the 8th edition of its massively popular SpringBoard Math Challenge. The math competition is a calendar marked event and is highly anticipated by teachers across the US and Canada. SpringBoard Math Challenge 2022, open to all classes from Kindergarten to grade 5, will run from March 1 – May 8, 2022.

Participation is free for the SpringBoard Math Challenge, whichis designed to give teachers and schools the opportunity to engage their elementary school students through fun math challenges aligned to the curriculum. The 10-week challenge will allow students to master their math skills and enter the new class with confidence, whilst having fun. 

Joy Deep Nath, co-founder, SplashLearn, said“SpringBoard is a math competition, but it has achieved more than that. It has grown to be a platform for social and emotional bonding for both students and teachers alike. Of course, it also helps reduce the attainment gap and ensures students are prepared for the next grade. There is a growing appreciation for SpringBoard as an effective way to challenge students in a familiar, secure and friendly setting to practice with their peers which is paramount in the present times”.  …Read More

Using the book club model in the classroom

I vividly remember my English teacher, Mrs. Grant, bringing a stack of 20 well-read copies of A Wrinkle in Time out from the closet for everyone in the class. She would read a chapter or two out loud during class and later we would read independently until it was time to take a test or write a report on what we learned. I don’t remember ever debating my classmates about the themes in the book or frankly ever even talking to fellow students about what we read.

Yet, for most of my childhood, I spent my free time with my nose in a book. I was an avid reader who read well above grade-level, but even I didn’t like to read the books that were forced on me.

Which is why middle school English teachers like Carrie Friday at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay, Florida are using the book club model instead. Friday is her school’s librarian, and she also teaches several English classes. With 80% of her students reading between two and three grades below level, Friday says offering students’ choice in literature is a game changer. “Even if you just give them a couple of titles to choose from, they are going to be invested because they had a say in the process.”…Read More

Playing to win: The vital role of research in the future of esports

You stand, triumphant in front of a crowd cheering your name. After years of dedicated training and countless hours of practice, you’ve made it to the pinnacle of your game, the moment of enjoying the spoils of being a world-class athlete. Just a few months later, the pressure, stress, and injuries due to maintaining that top position have had a severe impact on your mental, emotional, and physical health and you’re forced to retire at 23.

While this may sound like a tragic story of a basketball or football athlete struck down as they were beginning their career, it happens for esports athletes too.

Esports–commonly accepted as “a multiplayer video game played competitively in front of spectators, by both professional and amateur gamers”–is quickly becoming a household term along with esports game titles such as Rogue Company, Call of Duty, and Rocket League. Over the last several years, schools and universities have realized that esports allows students who felt excluded from other extracurricular activities to finally find their “place” doing something they are passionate about within their scholastic environment. Research shows that students involved in an extracurricular activity are more engaged in the classroom and in their studies.…Read More

Osmo From BYJU’s Names Kar-Han Tan, Ph.D., Head of Computer Vision and Machine Learning

Palo Alto, CA–Feb 10, 2022–Award-winning STEAM brand, Osmo from BYJU’S, announces Kar-Han Tan’s appointment as Head of Computer Vision and Machine Learning, effective immediately. With three decades leading teams in robotics and AI research and development, Tan will further thedevelopment of a world-class computer vision and AI platform that aids in the creation of new products, games, and devices incorporating gains made in deep learning technology. In addition, he will lead a growing global team to research, develop, and optimize new algorithms for computer vision and AI-enabled features such as object detection, object recognition, hand tracking, pattern matching, and hand-drawing analysis, among others, all in an effort to create the best learning tools and outcomes.

“We were impressed by Kar-Han’s extensive experience leading R&D teams in robotics, AI, and deep learning,” says Mark Solomon, Senior Vice President of Products and Platform at BYJU’S. “His background will help Osmo expand the usage of computer vision technology across BYJU’S various products and platforms, further meeting the needs of learners of all ages everywhere.”

Tan, who was born and educated in Singapore, most recently founded Helpful Robotics LLC, which designed and built an AI-enabled autonomous assistive robot from the ground up, and fostered a collaboration between scientists and engineers located in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the University of California San Francisco, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.…Read More

TeachingBooks Resources Available to 24 Million Readers with New Statewide Library Systems Added in 2021

CLEVELAND – February 3, 2022TeachingBooks, an online database of supplemental resources that enrich children’s and young adult books, had a busy year in 2021. In addition to being acquired by OverDrive in October, TeachingBooks announced the signing of four new statewide licenses and one territory license in 2021. TeachingBooks also was awarded the “Common Sense Selection for Learning” as a best-in-class resource for both students and educators.

With the addition of the new licenses, more than 24 million readers at over 55,000 schools, public libraries and higher education institutions can now access TeachingBooks’ curated educational materials. TeachingBooks deepens the learning experience by “bringing books to life” through their database of over 270,000 digital resources, including author interviews, video book trailers, discussion questions and literary games.

The five new licenses signed in 2021 represent more than 7,300 institutions and 2.6 million students. These library systems include:…Read More