6 tools to help kids learn coding and robotics

Introducing students to coding and robotics gives them early exposure to STEM in general. This early exposure, according to research, is key to the future of the workforce.

Aside from the cool factor K-12 coding and robotics offers, students will learn a number of skills they’ll take with them well into adulthood, including creativity, problem solving, and the ability to fail without quitting. These skills stick around even if students don’t pursue STEM-related study paths or careers later in their lives.

Coding and robotics can be introduced in any subject, with a little creativity.…Read More

4 engaging strategies that promote student SEL

In 2020, the World Economic Forum released a list of the most sought-after skills for the jobs of tomorrow. Among them were a number of surprising entries such as creativity, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, and service orientation. At least, they were surprising if you weren’t an educator. For those of us who spent the last year teaching through a pandemic, the necessity of social-emotional learning (SEL) has been only too apparent. After all, what good is a knowledge of STEM if you don’t have the ability to recognize and manage your own emotions?       

As educators, we know all too well how important social-emotional learning is to a student’s overall development. Science, math, and reading are vital subjects, but empathy, self-awareness, and responsible-decision-making are what allow someone to apply those subjects in ways that make the world a better place.

But with so many standards and subjects competing for our attention, how do we make space for effective SEL in the classroom? Well, it starts with the right activities. Here are just a few engaging lessons that can make a huge impact on students’ emotional growth:…Read More

5 ways to engage your students with Minecraft

As an educator for over 27 years and a Digital Learning Specialist (social studies) for the past 7 years in Atlanta Public Schools, I have supported educators across my district and beyond as they purposefully integrate technology in the classroom to promote engagement and 21st century skill development.

While there are many tools and resources available to educators to support their efforts to create dynamic digital learning environments, one of the newest and most engaging is Minecraft Education Edition (M:EE). Popular among students (and teachers!), M:EE is a game-based learning platform that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in an immersive digital environment.

Here are five ways that I have helped my district’s teachers use M:EE into classroom instruction that you can use in your teaching practice. Best of all, you don’t even need to be a Minecraft expert to get started!…Read More

Inspiring STEM Creativity and the DIY Spirit with a New Virtual Field Trip from The Home Depot and Discovery Education

Silver Spring, MD (Friday, May 20, 2022) — To empower students to embrace STEAM and tackle DIY projects, Science Fair Central presents the Operation Build It Virtual Field Trip, which premiered on May 17th at 1 PM EST and is now available on-demand. Science Fair Central is an educational initiative from The Home Depot and Discovery Education that is helping STEAM-powered classrooms and homes across the country prepare students for the careers of tomorrow. With 10 million students from grades K-12 participating in science fairs and STEAM events every year, Science Fair Central provides students the tools they need to take their projects to the next level. 

The Operation Build It Virtual Field Trip introduces students to innovative DIYers who demonstrate how to set-up workshops anywhere and tackle real-life challenges that they are passionate about. The Home Depot is celebrating 25 years of the Kids Workshops, and the new Operation Build It Virtual Field Trip further supports these efforts. Suited for students in grades 6-12, this Virtual Field Trip provides educators with ready-to-use classroom activities and a valuable educator guide that makes this plug and play virtual experience suitable for almost any lesson plan. Watch the VFT here or on Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform. 

“At The Home Depot, we’re here to help people make, create, and explore every day. Science Fair Central, in partnership with Discovery Education, empowers students to connect with and grow their curiosity and creativity. This new virtual field trip is another way for students to explore the world around them,” said Lisa DeStefano, Vice President of Brand Marketing & Creative at The Home Depot.  …Read More

Creatorup Raises Additional Investment To Disrupt The Video Creation Sector

CreatorUp has raised an additional round of financing from Gaingels and JFF (Jobs for the Future) to expand its first-of-its-kind video marketplace – that helps organizations of all sizes create professional video content easily and affordably anywhere in the world – while simultaneously providing training and opportunities for its creative workforce. 

Funds will be used to expand operations of the CreatorUp marketplace, which features more than 650 proven video solutions, in a multitude of styles and formats, that give clients the ability to choose, purchase, and create bespoke media with just a click.

“Powering the production of CreatorUp’s content is a network of almost 7,000 creative professionals, who bring a wealth of diversity and creativity to our projects,” said Mike Tringe, CreatorUp’s Co-founder and CEO. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer these opportunities in this new creative landscape.”…Read More

The aftermath of COVID–and the way forward

This school year began with enthusiasm for educators and students who were able to return to in-person learning after 18 months of remote instruction. Even with masks and other health protocols, educators and students were happy to be back on campus. We have all learned so much during these COVID years—resilience, creativity, determination, emotional well being and the value of teachers.

However, recent months saw school closings begin again because of new virus variants sweeping the country. The plans that administrators and teachers had carefully made were revised again due to changing circumstances. So, where are we now? Schools are still being significantly impacted by absences of teachers and staff due to the virus. This is the most pressing issue for leaders. There are simply not enough people on onsite to teach, engage, or help students reconnect socially and emotionally. The pressure on staff is just tremendous as leaders try to stabilize their teams to provide uninterrupted instruction and services.

From the classroom to the lunch room to the bus drivers and beyond, schools all over the country are facing a shortage of skilled staff to teach students, provide related services, transport children with IEPs, and serve meals. The pressure on leaders is enormous, particularly as they continue to navigate change and attempt to stabilize their campus. The recovery period from several years of disrupted learning will be significant. It will take longer than a single school year. …Read More

4 ways to bring creativity to math instruction

Here’s a question for you: “What do you think is the most unpopular subject in school?” If you thought the safe answer was math, then you’d be right. According to numerous surveys, mathematics is easily one of the most disliked subjects in school, regularly scoring in the bottom three. I can certainly understand the sentiment. As a student, I didn’t like math much either.

Now, as an educator, I can see the inherent difficulties to teaching math to K-12 students. Kids often feel that math is both pointless and boring. It usually doesn’t play a big role in their daily life and lacks the flare of other disciplines. This can dampen their engagement and cause them to miss crucial knowledge that will ultimately help them in their learning journey.

This begs the question: How do we as teachers infuse curiosity and creativity into our math lessons?    …Read More

5 tips to create a successful hybrid learning environment

Over the past year and a half, “hybrid learning” has become quite the buzzword when it comes to education. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting learners across the world, we’ve witnessed the growing need for hybrid learning, an education option that combines the benefits of a traditional in-person classroom and online learning. But the need for this option won’t just be a fleeting trend. The future of hybrid learning is bright, and the benefits are unmatched. I’ve seen it for myself.

As an educator for 10 years, I’ve worked in in-person, online, and hybrid classrooms. I’ve experienced the dos and don’ts of creating learning environments where my students can not only learn but be their best selves. When my colleagues ask me for my secret for success, here are the tips that I share: 

1. Establish a positive hybrid learning culture and a strong learning community. …Read More

Labster’s STEM Excellence Awards Winners Revealed

  • 10 teachers hand-picked as part of Labster’s Teacher STEM Excellence Awards supporting the changemakers across the globe
  • The Labster awards recognizes global changemakers in the education sector 
  • Winners have developed student-centered learning programs and applied creativity and innovation to teaching during a difficult year

BOSTON, ZURICH and COPENHAGEN  – Wednesday, December 8, 2021 – Ten educators across the globe that have blazed a trail of innovation and creativity in schooling the next generation have been recognized for their transformative course stewardship work by Labster, the world’s leading platform for virtual labs and science simulations.

The educators selected include seven higher education professors and three high school science teachers.

Labster founder Michael Bodekaer Jensen said: “The STEM Excellence Awards honor the changemakers in education who are embracing edtech innovation to make a measurable impact within their community.  Their achievements create greater awareness of the remarkable work happening in the sector.” …Read More