Why E-rate is critical for school technology access

Every year, schools and libraries have access to billions of dollars of funding through the FCC’s E-rate program. Unfortunately, many don’t take advantage, oftentimes because of confusion over who is eligible and what services are available. In this post I’ll break down the importance of E-rate, how it works, and the types of technologies it makes available that are crucial to education.

The importance of E-rate

For students in the 21st century, it’s almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of the internet and digital learning technologies. There is a growing dependence on these resources across the U.S., and they are often seen as critical for connecting students and teachers and preparing students for lifelong learning and jobs.…Read More

3 tips to balance the back-to-analog edtech transition

During the “emergency teaching” era of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital resources and edtech tools were used by educators worldwide in an effort to maintain students’ continuity of learning. Tremendous investments were made by school systems in an effort to rapidly scale digital learning.

With many of the COVID-era restrictions receding, it is tempting to think that we’ve entered into a new, highly digital era of education that will be far less dependent on pencils and paper. But, in the famous words of college football insider and former coach Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!”  

Interestingly, the post-COVID teaching environment has so far, in my opinion, been marked by a strong desire to see things done with pencil and paper. In my district, I hear from educators, students, and families alike that they wish to see what they learned online to be applied in hard copy. After a two-year period where “virtually” everything was done on an iPad, parents have a thirst to see their children bringing home papers in their backpacks again.   …Read More

Is it time to fire up gaming consoles in classrooms?

Digital learning has become a significant part of education as a result of the pandemic, and schools are continually finding innovative ways to engage and motivate students online. So, with Ofcom revealing six in ten children played games online in 2021, what might the use of video gaming in the classroom look like to engage students with a model they’re already invested in?

Historically, gaming has been associated with recreational activities rather than as a medium used to boost the diversity of learning techniques, despite it being an actual benefit to a child’s literacy, empathy and imagination.

The question is: Does gaming have a viable role to play right now, as digital learning continues to claw its way to the forefront of education, or is it simply an unwelcome distraction?…Read More

Hawaii’s Kihei Elementary School Selects Discovery Education’s Mystery Science to Support Deeper Student Engagement in the 2022-2023 School Year

SILVER SPRING, MD (Wednesday, July 20, 2022)—Hawaii’s Kihei Elementary School today announced that it has expanded its partnership with Discovery Education, which has supported the school’s educators in creating engaging digital learning environments since 2015. Through this new phase of collaboration, educators at Kihei Elementary School will add Mystery Science, an award-winning digital resource for K-5 teachers and students, to their suite of Discovery Education resources used across the school during the 2022-2023 school year. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports instruction wherever it takes place. 

Located on the Hawaiian island of Maui, Kihei Elementary School’s mission is to develop the whole child through teamwork and collaboration among students, teachers, parents, and the community. While the school’s educators currently use both Discovery Education’s K-12 platform and the company’s Science Techbook to support teaching and learning in all disciplines, Kihei Elementary School’s educators sought additional resources that would easily support the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and promote hands-on learning. Following a careful review of possible resources, the Kihei Elementary School team selected Mystery Science for classroom use.  

Mystery Science, which joined the family of Discovery Education services in 2020 and recently won SIIA’s Best Science Instructional Solution CODiE award for Grades PK – 8, provides K-5 educators simple to use, open-and-go, hands-on lessons that inspire students to love science. Each lesson begins by posing a question commonly asked by young students, followed by a series of brief videos and prompts to guide class discussion. The lesson concludes with a hands-on activity designed to bring learning to life. …Read More

Classworks® and Gwinnett County Public Schools Are Platinum 2022 Learning Impact Award Winners

Duluth, GA — June 15, 2022 — Classworks, provider of a best-in-class MTSS solution, and Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), the nation’s 13th largest school district, were recognized with the 2022 Platinum Medal Learning Impact Award by 1EdTech™ Consortium, the world’s leading non-profit collaborative advancing educational technology and digital learning.

Institutional leaders and public voters selected from 34 finalists to honor innovative projects that successfully impact and elevate learning experiences. The platinum award-winning project features the partnership between Classworks and Gwinnett County to deliver a successful online summer learning program, powered by 1EdTech’s Competency and Academic Standards Exchange® (CASE®) framework.

The project mitigated learning loss precipitated by COVID and effectively prepared students for the 2021-2022 school year. GCPS decided to launch a districtwide, online Summer Enrichment and Acceleration (SEA) program using Classworks evidence-based instructional program. GCPS utilizes district-specific Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) standards in reading, language arts, and mathematics as part of its curriculum. The summer learning program required Classworks to align its standards-based learning progression to the GCPS AKS.

“As a district with our unique curriculum standards, the CASE framework allows us to more easily align content and resources from our partners with our standards so that teachers and students have the exact resources to match their instructional needs,” said Tricia Kennedy, executive director of instructional development and support for Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia. “Our partnership with Classworks leveraged CASE to create a customized summer school curriculum addressing district-defined targeted standards in a learning path scaffolded for understanding.“

The CASE framework simplifies the way systems manage learning standards information, making it easier for districts to provide standards-based learning experiences. Using CASE, Classworks instruction was quickly aligned to the GCPS-specific AKS, saving hours of manual work. The effort ensured that students had access to summer lessons that both reviewed focus standards from the prior year and prepared them for the upcoming year in a research-based learning progression.

“By replacing a manual and labor-intensive mapping project that typically takes weeks with a CASE-powered process, Classworks provided more than 180,000 students at Gwinnett County Public Schools with a high-quality, standards-based learning experience in just a few days,” ​​explains Jerry Henley, senior vice president of product experience for Classworks. “Classworks embraces 1EdTech’s philosophy on interoperability, and we’re proud to partner with forward-thinking and innovative districts like GCPS. Our success demonstrates why we are a best-in-class online intervention solution.”

To learn more about the Classworks and GCPS summer learning project download our whitepaper Using CASE to Power Standards-Based Learning for All Students. 

Learn more about the 2022 Learning Impact Awards.

About Classworks …Read More

Why “offline” digital learning is critical to impact children worldwide

As thousands of educators, entrepreneurs, and investors gathered at the recent ASU+GSV Summit, a growing number recognized both the need and opportunity for educational innovation in developing countries, particularly for the over 250 million children who lack access to schools.

But many of the solutions proffered still focus on internet-based solutions. Glaringly missing from the landscape are adaptive, digital learning solutions that are offline.

While we work to increase universal access to the internet, the edtech ecosystem cannot ignore the hundreds of millions of children currently without connectivity but who are eager to learn.…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

Discovery Education’s K-12 Learning Platform Earns Learner Variability Product Certification From Digital Promise

SILVER SPRING, MD (Thursday, April 14, 2022)Discovery Education—the worldwide edtech leader whose digital services support learning wherever it takes place—announced today that its award-winning K-12 learning platform has earned the Learner Variability Product Certification from Digital Promise. Working at the intersection of education leaders, researchers, and technology developers, Digital Promise seeks to improve learning opportunities for all and close the Digital Learning Gap. 

The Learner Variability Product Certification serves as a rigorous, reliable signal for district and school leaders, educators, and families looking for evidence of edtech products supporting learner variability. Discovery Education submitted evidence to Digital Promise demonstrating its K-12 platform’s ability to support the diverse needs of learners and confirming their commitment to continuing to design with learner variability in mind. 

“Discovery Education’s culture of innovation is driven by our mission to prepare learners for tomorrow by creating innovative classrooms connected to today’s world,” said Pete Weir, Discovery Education’s Chief Product Officer. “However, we recognize that every student comes to the classroom with different approaches to learning. That’s why we strive to build products with flexible features that help all students grow and achieve. Discovery Education is proud to have earned the Learner Variability Product Certification and is grateful to the team at Digital Promise for their thorough review of our K-12 platform.” …Read More

Clever Releases Latest Identity Management Tool, Adding Microsoft Active Directory Support to Google Workspace

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 14, 2022 – Clever, the most widely used and trusted digital learning platform in U.S. K-12 schools, today announced an expanded identity management offering with new support for Active Directory, used by thousands of districts to manage users’ access to software applications and devices. Clever IDM helps school districts automate provisioning and management of their Active Directory and Google Workspace user accounts, saving districts time while helping to improve account security.

Clever Identity Management (IDM) was built to address growing school district concerns about cybersecurity threats in K-12 education that have accompanied rising edtech use. The last few years have increasingly shown school districts to be a target for cybercriminals posing a distinct challenge for overtaxed IT teams.

With Clever IDM, student, teacher, and staff accounts are automatically created once they’re added to the district student information system, meaning every user has access to learning resources from their first day of school. As users join, leave, and move around within a district, Clever IDM keeps their accounts current – ensuring everyone has the right access at the right time. The new solution saves district administrators hours of work a week, with the same level of reliability and trust that more than 65% of U.S. K-12 schools have come to expect from Clever – and at a significantly lower cost than alternatives on the market today.…Read More

Discovery Education Supports Social-Emotional Learning Day with High Quality Resources for Educators, Students, and Families

Silver Spring, MD (Friday March 11, 2022) — Discovery Education and leading social impact partners are offering engaging, high quality digital learning resources to students, teachers, and families to support Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Day nationwide. Established in 2019 by SEL4US and the Urban Assembly, SEL Day empowers communities to celebrate the importance of social-emotional learning. Discovery Education is the worldwide EdTech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.  

SEL is often described as the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Research reveals that SEL programs provide students the ability to manage stress and depression, improves self-esteem and school behavior.  

Observed this year on March 11th with theme “Finding Common Ground, Pursuing Common Good.” SEL Day helps connect students, educators, and families to resources learn about and integration social emotional wellness into all aspects of life. In support of this theme, Discovery Education is providing educators and students access to hundreds of digital resources tailored for any learning environment through its dynamic K-12 learning platform. Among the resources created in collaboration with leading social impact partners are: …Read More