The link between arts-based learning and STEM

The Art of Science Learning (AoSL), a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded initiative, spearheaded by its Principal Investigator, Harvey Seifter, has released its newest report, titled The Impact of Arts-Based Innovation Training on the Creative Thinking Skills, Collaborative Behaviors and Innovation Outcomes of Adolescents and Adults.

The report was written by Audience Viewpoints Consulting, the independent research firm AoSL retained to conduct the study. The effort compared the impacts and outcomes of arts-based innovation training with more traditional innovation training that does not incorporate the arts.

“With this research, we now have clear evidence that arts-based learning sparks creativity, collaboration, emotionally intelligent behavior and innovation in both adolescents and adults,” Seifter said. “The implications for 21st Century learning and workforce development are profound.”…Read More

Stretch student collaboration skills with Breakout EDU

There is a new platform for immersive learning games that’s taking classrooms across the world by storm. Based on the same principles as interactive Escape The Room digital games — which challenge players to use their surroundings to escape a prison-like scenario — Breakout EDU is a collaborative learning experience that enhances critical thinking and creativity while fostering a growth mindset in students.

There are two types of games available for teachers to run in their classrooms: the physical games (which are the main games) use the Breakout EDU box (or any box with a hasp that can be locked) with a set of locks, and the digital games which only need internet-connected devices.

Gameplay revolves around a Breakout EDU box that has been locked with multiple and different locks including directional locks, word locks, and number locks. After listening to a game scenario read by the teacher, students must work together to find and use clues to solve puzzles that reveal the various lock combinations before time expires (usually 45 minutes). Teachers can either purchase the Breakout EDU kit, which includes a plastic or wooden box and a set of locks, or the individual pieces of the kit can be ordered from Amazon directly. Either way, it takes about $100 to get started with the physical games; the digital games are free.…Read More

Encourage critical thinking by turning your class into a Socratic Seminar

With so much talk about the Common Core standards and truly increasing our student’s argumentative powers and critical thinking skills, some teachers are starting to think critically themselves about how best to engage students in thoughtful debate and discussion around texts they need to analyze anyway.

One method, called the Socratic seminar, challenges to students to formal discussions about a text based on open-ended questions. Throughout the exercise, students must alternately employ good listening, critical thinking, creativity, and rhetorical prowess.

The Socratic style of discourse lends itself quite well to establishing critical thinkers due to the fact that Socrates believed that enabling students to think for themselves was more important than filling their heads with knowledge. Even if you’re new to the concept, it’s easy to get started.…Read More

ClassFlow Marketplace lets teachers buy and sell original content

ClassFlow, provider of collaboration software for interactive classrooms, has announced a new feature that allows teachers to earn extra cash during the upcoming school year.

The new ClassFlow Marketplace is an open community where teachers may buy and sell original teaching resources such as digital lessons, unit plans, assessments, teaching guides, worksheets, and more. All teaching resources purchased in the ClassFlow Marketplace can be delivered to students in the classroom, at home, or on-the-go using ClassFlow’s free delivery features.

Teachers can now earn extra cash through the new ClassFlow Marketplace in three steps:
1. Select their best original curricular materials.
2. Upload the files to the ClassFlow Marketplace in one of many supported file formats.
3. Set their own price and then earn extra cash when their materials are purchased. ClassFlow automatically processes the sales transactions and delivers instant downloads of purchased materials to purchasers.…Read More

Stanford course prepares educators for the new school year

The ability to communicate effectively is increasingly recognized as an important skill for students entering the workforce. Two new initiatives that guide educators – the College and Career Readiness Standards and the Framework for 21st Century Learning – identify communication and collaboration as key elements of student learning. The standards particularly describe the importance of students understanding the reasoning of others and engaging in meaningful conversations using critical thinking.

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education has launched a short online course designed specifically to help educators create rich and meaningful opportunities for communication within the classroom. The course, Effective Conversation in the Classroom, launches this August with three online sessions. K-12 classroom instructors, instructional coaches, and educational administrators are invited to enroll.

Each session includes expert video screencasts, classroom video clips, readings and resources, and assignments that will help participants create a strong foundation of communication within the classroom. The course has been developed by Understanding Language/SCALE, a Stanford research and practice center focused on K-12 language and performance assessment. The teaching team consists of Stanford Professor Emeritus Kenji Hakuta, Senior Researcher Dr. Jeff Zwiers and Lecturer Dr. Sara Rutherford-Quach.…Read More

Designing custom ed-tech software requires joint effort

Off-the-shelf education technology platforms can often fall short when aligning with educators’ specific approaches to instruction. As a result, many school systems take matters into their own hands by developing custom software and tools only to find they lack the scale, revenue sources and expertise to do so successfully.

In a new study, the Clayton Christensen Institute profiles two organizations that co-designed technology to help school leaders bridge the disconnect between instructional models and new technologies.

“Connecting Ed & Tech: Partnering to drive student outcomes” examines a unique collaboration between Leadership Public Schools (LPS), a charter school management organization that operates three high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Gooru, a nonprofit ed-tech company. Each organization had separate yet related issues – LPS needed more robust technology to support a new blended learning program at scale, while Gooru needed a school partner to help align its technology with specific classroom use cases. Rather than developing solutions independently, LPS and Gooru merged their teams to collaboratively design a tool that has already shown positive learning results for LPS students.…Read More

Panasonic showcases the power of K-12 interactive displays

The company’s ISTE presence demonstrated how display technology can be crucial in the classroom

Panasonic, provider of professional display solutions for education, demonstrated its BF1 display technology at ISTE 2016.

The ISTE booth featured the new refined BF1 Series Multi-Touch Screen Display, now with Color Universal Design and Intel® Pro WiDi. The BF1 will be linked to 3 different devices (C2, tablet and phone) via Ormi-Exo-U. Ormiboard Pro is a visual creation and collaboration tool that helps teachers and students build lessons, activities, and interactive games for use in any classroom with displays and/or mobile devices.

“Panasonic is committed to continual improvement in performance, versatility, and efficiency in the education space,” says John Baisley, Senior Vice President, Visual & Imaging, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. “We are driven by a desire to deliver a superior user experience beyond expectations while maintaining our industry-wide reputation for value, reliability, and quality.”…Read More

Are you a Hooray, Hmm, or Hell No educator?

Change is hard. How can you get reluctant teachers to embrace change and try new innovations in teaching with technology? At ISTE 2016, popular ed-tech speaker Jennie Magiera shared several strategies for doing just that—turning those “yes, but…” objections into “what if…” adventures.

Magiera, a former Chicago Public Schools teacher who is now the chief technology officer for School District 62 in Des Plaines, Ill., said there are three types of people whom ed-tech leaders will encounter when they encourage their staff to innovate: “hoorays, hmms, and hell nos.”

The “hoorays” are those who are eager to try new tools and techniques in their classroom, she said. The “hmms” are those who watch with interest but aren’t ready to dive in right away, and the “hell nos” are those who actively resist.…Read More

New Common Sense tool shows how secure your ed-tech apps are

New educator resource is intended to find accurate, up-to-date evaluations of privacy and security practices of ed-tech applications

Common Sense Education, in collaboration with over 70 schools and districts nationwide, launched its K-12 Ed-Tech Privacy Evaluation Platform to support educators in their effort to make informed decisions about the educational software being used on campuses throughout the country.

With schools and districts struggling to manage the challenge of evaluating the privacy and security practices of thousands of educational technology products on the market, Common Sense convened stakeholders to develop a platform that provides accurate and up-to-date evaluations of the security practices of the most commonly used ed-tech apps. The robust set of resources is available at https://privacy.graphite.org.

“Evaluating the privacy and security practices of educational software is a daunting task for most schools and districts, but it doesn’t have to be,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. “By working together with educators, Common Sense has developed a comprehensive, centralized, and free resource to help an education community that is spread out across the country learn from each other and make more informed decisions about protecting student privacy.”…Read More

Flexcat collaboration system gets big upgrade for ISTE

The classroom audio system now has expanded coverage, Whisper Coaching, and a new iOS app, making it a powerful tool for teachers and their mentors

At ISTE 2016, classroom audio provider Lightspeed Technologies will introduce three new features of its Flexcat system. The only classroom audio system designed for small-group learning, Flexcat consists of a wearable microphone for the teacher, a speaker for whole-group instruction, and a set of two-way audio pods that allow teachers to listen and speak to small groups from anywhere in the classroom so they can reinforce, respond, and challenge students in their moment of need.

Lightspeed’s new mobile app, launching in July, turns teachers’ iOS device into a Flexcat remote control. This allows them to switch among the two-way audio pods directly from their device, making the Flexcat an even simpler and more seamless tool for gathering critical learning insights. The new app unlocks some additional new features of the system.

With the app, the new Flexcat includes expanded coverage for up to 12 audio pods, making it a powerful tool for large classrooms, small-group instruction, team teaching, and professional development events.…Read More