How this teacher uses story coding to spark creativity and collaboration

When coding merges with storytelling, you have story coding, in which students use computational skills and design thinking as they demonstrate creativity across core curricular areas.

During an ISTELive 22 virtual session, computer science, robotics, and design thinking educator Paige Besthoff demonstrated how story coding–combining storytelling and coding–helps students develop critical skills.

Story coding involves using computer programming to retell stories–students might summarize a story, write original stories, or use programming to create alternative endings to well-known stories. Teachers can use story coding to bring history, science, world languages, ELA, and even math into their lessons.…Read More

Certell Named a Finalist for Two 2022 Civvys Awards

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — (June 14, 2022) — Certell, Inc., whose mission is to foster a generation of independent thinkers, was named a finalist for two awards in the fifth annual American Civic Collaboration Awards, also known as the “Civvys.”

The Civvys is the only national awards program dedicated to celebrating projects that emphasize working together across divides to strengthen communities and empower citizens. By leveraging collaboration as a core strength, these initiatives put community and nation before party, ideology, and narrow interests, embodying a civic spirit that inspires other Americans to take action.

Certell’s SensibleSchool was named a finalist in the National Category for its Bending Bars program that brings Civics and other classes to prison inmates. Certell’s Poptential™ was named a finalist in the Youth Category for its free family of social studies course packages that include engaging digital storytelling to bring social studies to life.…Read More

BoomWriter and Walch Education joins forces to provide world-class EdTech solutions

Milton-based EdTech developer and publisher,  BoomWriter Media Inc., (BoomWriter) has merged with education powerhouse  Walch Education. This puts the combined company on the map as the leading provider of applications supporting the core fundamentals of education. 

BW Walch, as the umbrella company will be known, brings a partnership that offers complete solutions for schools and teachers to create engaging in-class experiences and to provide better learning outcomes for students across all age groups. 

“This is a perfect merger of capabilities,” says Al Noyes, CEO of Walch, “Walch brings a platform that has been used for over 50 years and now we are adding the engagement applications for reading and writing in the classroom.” 

“With so many start-ups in the EdTech industry there will be inevitable consolidation and lots of elimination of fledgling companies,” adds Chris Twyman, founder of BoomWriter. “Bringing Walch and BoomWriter together gets us ahead of the curve and together we provide a greater portfolio of engaging educational solutions.” 

BW Walch has over 1m registered users of its technology solutions combined. In March 2022 alone it saw over 6m reading logs and more than 72,000 books written, using its unique collaborative writing tools. In 2020/2021 the two companies launched two major technology solutions: GoRead and the Curriculum Engine. GoRead won the top prize at the BETT Awards and the math flagship, Curriculum Engine, won a Tech Edvocate award. The Curriculum Engine and BW Walch’s math content is being used in hundreds of classrooms with tens of thousands of students achieving outstanding results.

Prior to the merger, BoomWriter acquired UK-based businesses  Squirrel Learning (Squirrel) and  Axe Edge to help grow operations and service solutions that empower teachers to bring classroom learning into the 21st century. The relationship between BoomWriter and Squirrel has been long established, with BoomWriter previously investing in the company’s platform. 

These acquisitions were made possible through both organic revenue growth as well as a significant investment from Alexander Elorriaga, a venture partner at  Scale Capital and chairman of SimpleTV. Mr Elorriaga also joins BoomWriter as a strategic advisor. With his extensive experience in the TV industry combined with a proven track record of leading large-scales operations Mr. Elorriaga adds edutainment expertise to the BoomWriter team. 

“BoomWriter is producing magic in the classroom”, said Mr. Elorriaga. “The blurring of the entertainment and education world is the holy grail for increasing engagement in the classroom. BoomWriter does this without sacrificing the delivery of a rounded educational experience.”

ABOUT BOOMWRITER MEDIA, INC.:
BoomWriter Media, inc., (BoomWriter) is a digital education company headquartered in both Wolverhampton, UK, and Milton, US, which engages children and educators through collaborative content creation and storytelling. 

Founded in 2012 by Chris Twyman and Ian Garland, the innovative, web-based publishing platform brings together passionate educators, technology experts, corporate sponsors, enthusiastic parents, and students to promote and develop creativity, writing, reading, critical thinking, and other essential 21st century literacy skills. 

Aimed at students in grades 2-8 to make them better writers and learners. BoomWriter partners with authors and celebrities to provide the first chapter that sparks kids’ imaginations and inspires story collaboration with classmates. Teachers and students from more than 37,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in more than 105 countries are already using the platform.
BoomWriter brings together creative writing and gamification to provide children a unique approach to writing stories as well as getting published. The company provides a competitive writing platform that can be integrated into a variety of curriculum.

ABOUT WALCH EDUCATION:
Walch Education is a leading developer and publisher of online teaching and learning solutions and tailored curricula. Adapted to fit the needs of each state and district partner, Walch’s proven solutions give teachers what they need to extend and enhance student learning. The company’s Curriculum Engine leads the way in a new category of “Curriculum-as-a-Service” offerings, helping teachers teach more effectively so that students can succeed. Curriculum Engine is a uniquely turnkey solution, enabling school districts to rapidly tailor high quality resources and answering the need for purpose-built accelerated learning support.

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Schools amplify inequity with failed solutions to teacher shortage

We’re racing against a ticking clock to resolve the teacher shortage for our students’ futures as the number of unfilled positions at schools and districts hits record levels.

Every unfilled staff vacancy at a school means that students are not receiving a high-quality education, which has a resounding effect on outcomes. One study shows that 10 additional teacher absences per year lead to 1.2 percent and .6 percent of a standard deviation decrease in math and English test scores, respectively. This principle applies to core subjects, which give students a solid foundation for academic and career success, and enrichment classes, which expand their skill sets and understanding of the world.

The teacher shortage is even more detrimental to students in underserved districts, where teacher absences tend to run higher than the national average of 11 days per year.  …Read More

How our school is reimagining math education

At Scott Elementary School, our approach to education is defined as GAIN (Growth in Academics through Innovation and Neuroeducation), which includes multiple initiatives to ensure each student reaches their maximum potential. Our focus is to inspire a love for learning and prepare students to be successful throughout every stage of their lives.

Indiana is one of that states that has not adopted Common Core State Standards. Similar to the Common Core standards in other states, we focus on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that students need to be successful. Our view is that the real power to learn rests with the learner. My role is to seek out ways to engage this power within each child to optimize their opportunities in life.

My corporation strives to educate the whole child by integrating academics with social and emotional learning. We inspire students’ desire to learn by making them feel important, leading by example, praising their successes, and developing their confidence.…Read More

VHS Learning Supports Students’ College and Career Readiness via Expanded Catalog and New “Exploring College & Careers” Infographic

Boston – April 14, 2022 – Giving students the chance to explore subjects beyond those in a standard core high school curriculum is a crucial step in readying them for college and careers. Students taking online high school courses through VHS Learning will start the 2022-2023 school year with many unique for-credit options, from Python Programming to Law, thanks to the nonprofit’s newly expanded course catalog. These new courses add to the more than 300 courses already available.

VHS Learning’s new courses for the 2022-2023 academic year include the following:

  • AP® Chinese Language and Culture
  • Business Law
  • Career Exploration and Readiness
  • Chinese 3
  • Civics and U.S. Government
  • Law and the U.S. Legal System
  • Python Programming
  • Spanish 1 Credit Recovery
  • Spanish 1 Summer
  • Studio Art
  • Veterinary Medicine

AP® Chinese Language and Culture runs 33 weeks, while the other new courses are semester-length and run for 15 weeks. These new courses enable students to discover subject areas that might not otherwise be available to them at a high school level.…Read More

3 ways to improve science literacy

While teachers often experience the same year or course again and again, students and their families can really see how students change over the years in school. Families can see that what students learn each year builds on what has come before.

But for that to happen efficiently and effectively, the curriculum must be designed so that it builds coherently. Learning progressions help educators see a student’s advancement.

A learning progression is an articulation of the steps a student might go through as they work toward mastery of a process or concept. As the Framework for K-12 Science Education points out, “If mastery of a core idea in a science discipline is the ultimate educational destination, then well-designed learning progressions provide a map of the routes that can be taken to reach that destination.”…Read More

Schools in All 50 States and Two U.S. Territories Offer Students Access to Quality Online Courses from VHS Learning

Boston – Feb. 3, 2022 – In 2021, 44 new schools partnered with VHS Learning, a nonprofit empowering schools with the industry’s best teacher-led online learning programs. Located across the United States and around the world, these school partners are now offering their students access to the nonprofit’s more than 300 core and elective courses online. With the addition of these schools, VHS Learning is now partnered with schools in all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and 63 countries.

“Having partners in all 50 states is a first for us, and it’s extremely fitting that this milestone marks our 25th anniversary” said Carol DeFuria, President & CEO of VHS Learning. “Our students have maintained a high level of academic performance even during the pandemic, by continuing to surpass national averages for Advanced Placement® pass rates. Our history of excellence helps schools feel confident about choosing VHS Learning to meet their online education needs.”

The new U.S. school partners are in twelve states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. New international school partners are in China, Taiwan, Korea, Portugal, Sierra Leone, and the United Arab Emirates.…Read More

5 reasons to partner with an online learning provider

In 2020 and 2021, the pandemic changed the way we used online learning with our 1,200 students. We had an online learning platform in place but were suddenly facing a pandemic-driven switch to remote learning and the need to offer both hybrid (i.e., a mix of on- and off-campus options) and online options.

We were fortunate in that all of our teachers were accustomed to the online model, but we were suddenly facing an overload of courses and a bigger need from the student perspective. VHS Learning helped us fill those voids by helping us create a blend of both core and elective courses that would keep learning on track during an extremely disruptive time.

Many of our students were able to get through the pandemic by using those online courses.…Read More

Discovery Education and TrueSport Partner to Present a Unique, Virtual Town Hall Exploring the Life Skills Students Need for Success Beyond Sports

Silver Spring, MD (Thursday, January 27, 2022) — TrueSport – the outreach education arm of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) dedicated to transforming the culture of youth sport – and Discovery Education today announce a partnership providing powerful educational tools to equip students with resources that help build life skills and core values for success on and off the field of play. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. 

The partnership has produced The Mindset of a TrueSport Champion Town Hall, which premieres February 1 at 1 PM ET in time for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. In an engaging 24-minute video, students meet with Olympic, Paralympic, and Team USA athletes to explore how the values of sportsmanship, character building & life skills, and clean & healthy performance drive their success in both athletics and life. Included in the Town Hall are Team USA weightlifter Abby Raymond, wheelchair basketball Paralympian and three-time medalist Trey Jenifer, and Olympic boxing silver medalist Richard Torrez, Jr. Learn more about The Mindset of a TrueSport Champion Town Hall here.  

“The lessons and values learned through sport prepare young people to be more successful now, and in the future. The Mindset of a TrueSport Champion Town Hall is designed to inspire students, educators, coaches, and families to reflect on their choices and core values so that youth sport is about more than just winning,” said Dr. Jennifer Royer, the Senior Director of TrueSport and Awareness at USADA. “With Discovery Education as a partner, we are thrilled to take our mission of transforming the culture of youth sport through education even further.”  …Read More