Verizon launches free trainings and tools to help educators navigate digital instruction

What you need to know:

  • As the nation faces a surge in Covid-19 cases, and schools continue to grapple with uncertainty and closures, Verizon is providing additional support and remote learning resources for educators, students and parents
  • Teacher Training Pathways offers educators a free platform for professional development
  • Expansion of Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program to include additional student connectivity and teacher professional development for Title I schools

As the ongoing pandemic continues to exacerbate the digital divide in America and increase barriers to digital learning, Verizon is increasing its investment in support of remote learning with the launch of new programs to benefit technology-integrated instruction: Teacher Training Pathways and a new offering within the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program. Developed under the Verizon Innovative Learning program, Verizon’s education initiative focused on addressing barriers to digital inclusion, these programs will bring valuable training and tools to educators and students in support of digital learning and help bring connectivity to  students in under-resourced schools. These efforts are part of Verizon’s continued commitment to Digital Inclusion, a key pillar under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement, and are vital in helping Verizon reach its goal to provide 10 million young people with the digital skills training necessary for them to thrive in a modern economy.

Educators across the nation can now access Teacher Training Pathways, a free platform offering courses aligned to micro-credentials on remote and hybrid learning, instructional technology coaching and more. Created in partnership with the education non-profit Digital Promise, Teacher Training Pathways will help teachers become more efficient and effective in delivering technology-integrated instruction. The platform will feature an evolving library of courses to further develop educators’ digital literacy. Registration is now available for courses designed to help educators address learning challenges in remote instruction, explore education technology tools and develop both synchronous and asynchronous instruction for learners.…Read More

6 reasons why Chromebooks are the device of the moment

What makes Chromebooks popular, and will they outlast their buzz?

google-devicesAs the familiar refrain goes, “It’s not about the device,” but even so schools need to choose one to advance their digital instruction goals. And by all accounts, Chromebooks are the device of the moment, with 2.5 million shipped to schools in the first half of this year alone. There’s no doubt they’re trendy, but is there any deeper reasons for the sales surge beyond appearance and affordability? Recently, I joined host Larry Jacobs and Google Certified Innovator and trainer Chris Scott for an episode of Education Talk Radio in which we talked through these issues at length and came up with a handful of reasons for the Chromebook’s trendsetting status. Here’s the CliffsNotes of that discussion, but be sure to check out the full conversation available online.

Google’s name has staying power. We’ve been Googling for more than a decade by this point, and with the near ubiquity of Google Apps for Education in the nation’s classrooms, educators and students feel comfortable with the Google ecosystem. Branding helps, but at the end of the day, educators do realize that Google is just the conduit for students to advance their learning, not the first and last steps.

Chromebooks have some surface-level advantages. First, they’re cheap, with models often starting around $200. And while the cheaper cost can mean lower quality, it also means cheap replacement parts, too. IT management is simple — and there are few horror stories equaling what schools went through with iPads. They’re easy to share among students, and at a time when online high-stakes testing is still very much a part of the conversation, Chromebooks have the all-important built-in keyboard. None of these things necessarily makes the Chromebook the ideal or superior device for education, but they certainly don’t hurt.…Read More

Free software helps fuel digital instruction

ClassFlow is a software program that ties together lesson planning, instruction, and assessment—creating a more personalized, collaborative learning environment

classflow-software
ClassFlow is free for individual teachers, but Promethean will be selling an enterprise version for schools and districts.

While technology is having an impact in the classroom, teaching with technology is often a fragmented process, especially in “bring your own device” classrooms or other environments where not everyone is using the same device or platform.

Now, a new software program from Promethean aims to simplify teaching with technology—regardless of what devices teachers or their students are using.

Called ClassFlow, the software was introduced in a beta version earlier this year. It’s a cloud-based platform that helps teachers create and deliver lessons in a digital environment.…Read More

TCEA: Do your libraries need a change?

School libraries should be centers of digital instruction and learning

school-librariesSeeking to ensure school librarians’ roles reflect the changing nature of education, one Texas school district changed its librarians’ positions to better support digital learning.

Library and IT specialists in the Willis Independent School District knew they needed to transform school librarians into vital educational leaders who instruct and engage students with innovative resources and opportunities, and who are actively involved in helping students learn about and evaluate digital resources and information.

During a session at TCEA 2014, Willis ISD Director of Technology Deborah Menefee said the district wanted to support modern library practices that would engage students with opportunities to use digital learning, research, and collaboration tools.…Read More

Education chief wants textbooks to go digital

“The world is changing,” Duncan said. “This has to be where we go as a country.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Oct. 2 called for the nation to move as fast as possible away from printed textbooks and toward digital ones. “Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete,” he declared.

It’s not just a matter of keeping up with the times, Duncan said in remarks to the National Press Club. It’s about keeping up with other countries whose students are leaving their American counterparts in the dust.

South Korea, which consistently outperforms the U.S. when it comes to educational outcomes, is moving far faster than the U.S. in adopting digital learning environments. One of the most wired countries in the world, South Korea has set a goal to go fully digital with its textbooks by 2015.…Read More

SETDA urges shift to digital instruction

The report acknowledges that policy changes regarding instructional materials are not enough to ensure that digital content is used in classrooms effectively.

Everyone remembers lugging a 20-pound textbook. But should today’s students still have to consult hefty—and often outdated—printed texts? And should states and districts still pay for resources that few students now find relevant?

A new report says “no”—and it urges states and districts to stop delaying the inevitable shift from print to digital instruction. It also provides examples of how some states are making this shift and overcoming the hurdles this involves.

The report, “Out of Print: Reimagining the K-12 Textbook in a Digital Age,” is produced by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.…Read More