How coding shapes students’ future success

With unpredictability fast becoming our daily bread, what can be more important than preparing the next generations for future challenges? Every parent wants to secure the best foundation for their children, be it for primary school education, academia, work, or life in general. 

In this sense, research has shown us how coding can be relevant across school subjects and academic disciplines. Now it’s time to talk about the other advantages it brings, including the cognitive effects of coding on children’s brains.

This is how coding shapes the future prospects of children.…Read More

How positive psychology reduces stress and boosts reading comprehension

Learning to read is a higher brain function. Reading comprehension activates the cerebral cortex of a child’s brain. This part of the brain is important for complex cognitive tasks, but it’s also the part of the brain that’s the most sensitive to the harmful effects of stress.

Because stress impairs both learning and memory, teachers can improve reading comprehension and enhance classroom learning by reducing student stress through positive psychology.

The psychology of happiness and learning…Read More

High Prevalence of Mental Health Risk Amid COVID Pandemic Taking a Serious Toll on U.S. Students’ Cognition

Neuroscientific research conducted by Total Brain and the Center for Adolescent Research and Education shows students’  focus, planning, memory and resilience scores fall well below standard average

The COVID pandemic is having a dramatic impact on U.S. students’ mental health which, in turn, is affecting precious cognitive capacities like memory, focus and planning.  According to a neuroscientific study conducted by Total Brain and the Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE):

  • 48% of high school and college students are at risk of general anxiety
  • 45% are at risk of social anxiety
  • 39% are at risk of PTSD
  • Risk of common mental health conditions is 19% to 41% higher for females than males

Deteriorating mental health is usually linked with a decline in cognitive capacities. Expressed in percentile ranking, the standard average for any capacity is the 50th percentile ranking. However, the average percentile rank for students in this study fell well below the standard average:…Read More

Riverside Insights Launches New CogAT® Interactive Dashboard to Champion Educational Equity

Riverside Insights®, a leading developer of research-based assessments, has launched a new dashboard reporting tool designed to make it easier for educators to take advantage of the insights provided by the market-leading Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CogAT®) to promote educational equity. Championing an equitable education strategy demands balancing the needs and abilities of diverse students across varying local contexts. Navigating this complex spectrum requires the right data and tools to help educators develop a nuanced perspective of student potential.

The new CogAT dashboard provides educators with a tool specifically designed to support equitable program placement and instructional strategies that encourage student growth. The reporting format eliminates many manual steps in data analysis, empowering educators to quickly visualize the full set of ability insights from the school district, to the classroom, to the individual student. 

“With the new CogAT dashboard, educators can drill down into insights about each student without manual data analysis, thereby maximizing equitable identification for specific programs and services while minimizing the time and resources to assess each student’s cognitive abilities,” said Dr. Joni M. Lakin, Associate Professor at the University of Alabama and co-author of CogAT Form 8. “This new dashboard will speed decision making and give educators the insights they need to provide an equitable education for all students – especially in under-represented populations like those in lower socio-economic environments, students of color, and English language learners.”…Read More

15 skills students need for success — and how to teach them

21st century skills. Social and emotional learning skills. “Soft” skills. Whatever you choose to call them, there is a set of skills that are essential for success in school, work, and life — and yet teaching and assessing these skills in a formal, structured way can be challenging.

According to a report from McKinsey & Co., the global workforce will undergo a dramatic shift as a result of automation. The need for basic cognitive skills will decline by 15 percent over the course of this decade, while skills that can’t easily be replaced by computers —social and emotional skills such as leadership and empathy, and higher cognitive skills such as creativity and critical thinking — will be in high demand.

Related content: How gamification can improve schoolwide behavior…Read More

How should we define SEL in schools?

We are often asked for the definition of social-emotional learning (SEL). One common and useful SEL definition is the process of learning to integrate thinking, feeling, and behaving in order to become aware of the self and of others, make responsible decisions, and manage behaviors.

2 SEL models

There are two SEL models or frameworks emerging as the consensus view.

1. CASEL
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) developed an SEL model that promotes the inter-relationships between classrooms, schools, families, and communities.…Read More

Beware of ransomware: Here’s how to protect your district

A new, disturbing pattern has cropped back up that is reminiscent of some nasty behavior from the early days of Internet nefarious exploits: targeting schools and students and the innocent. Ransomware attacks have been making headlines in recent months—particularly as a threat to K-12. Both Roseburg (OR )Public Schools and Leominster (MA) Public Schools were two of the latest victims of cyber-abuse.

A history of hacking
21 years ago, I got a call at my first internet security startup company (Signal 9 Solutions, later acquired by McAfee) asking for help; a woman’s son had cognitive challenges and disabilities, and she thought he was the victim of hacking. She had seen a news piece about cyberhacking, and she thought this might be a case.

At the time, we focused on enterprise sales and cryptographic solutions, but we had accidentally invented the personal firewall for telecommuting, put a beta version of this new standalone personal firewall on our website, and started a forum talking about it.…Read More

3 ways districts can use AR and AI

Artificial intelligence (AI), mixed reality, and cognitive science research sound like science fiction for today’s classrooms, but this technology is available today. Innovation and technology are as integral to education today as chalkboards were in the past. And with the introduction of emerging, new, and proven technology-enhanced innovations, teachers are creating new ways of teaching and improving student learning, leading to a shift in pedagogy.

Here are three of the latest innovations our district is using.

Lumilo…Read More

The changing role of literacy today, part 2

We know we must teach children to read proficiently, yet the age-old challenge of getting a child to read on grade level still persists. Fortunately, science and technology are providing a roadmap.

Science tells us that when we are born, we house all of the tools to learn to speak. On the other hand, we must learn the skill of reading. There is no corresponding “reading center” to the language center in our brains. Instead, every child must go through the meticulous task of learning to read; through the amazing adaptive abilities of the brain we can acquire a skill that was invented only a few thousand years ago.

According to Professor Maryanne Wolf, John DiBiaggio professor of citizenship and public service, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research, and professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University, “It took our species roughly 2,000 years to make the cognitive breakthroughs necessary to learn to read with an alphabet … our children have to reach those same insights about print in roughly 2,000 days.” Those 2,000 days are roughly from birth to about first grade—in other words, at a fairly fast pace.…Read More