New professional development focuses on engagement through gaming

New online professional development course focuses on increasing student achievement through engagement with game-based learning

The ever-increasing omnipresence of digital media in student’s lives can be challenging for teachers as they compete for kid’s attention in and out of the classroom. With this in mind, Teach n’ Kids Learn (TKL) and DimensionU have teamed up to create a robust Online Professional Development course that supports teachers’ instruction in mathematics and language arts through gamification, quickly and easily.

Included for K-12 educators who enroll in the course by February 15, 2016, is a free DimensionU Class License (for up to 30 students), through the remainder of this school year.

The online professional development course focuses on helping teachers incorporate educational video games and applying game-based learning techniques in the classroom. The DimensionU portfolio of educational games creates high student engagement and offers a solid foundation with demonstrated improvement in students’ achievement results. In regards to the online course, TKL’s instructional methodology, guarantees teachers immediate implementation in the classroom, individualized support and well structured, easy-to-use examples for applying the newly acquired techniques.…Read More

Lenovo, Google launch Project Tango device

Project Tango technology gives a mobile device the ability to navigate the physical world similar to how we do as humans

At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Lenovo announced the development of the first consumer mobile device with Project Tango in collaboration with Google.

Available in summer 2016, the new smartphone, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, turns the screen into a magic window that can overlay digital information and objects onto the real world. Lenovo, Google, and Qualcomm Technologies are working closely together to optimize the software and hardware to ensure consumers get the most out of the Project Tango platform.

Google’s Project Tango is a technology platform that uses advanced computer vision, depth sensing, and motion tracking to create on-screen 3D experiences, allowing users to explore their physical environments via their device. Specialized hardware and software combine to let the device react to every movement of the user, when they step forward, backward, or lean side to side. App developers can transform your home into a game level, or create a magic window into virtual and augmented environments. Project Tango-enabled devices can recognize places they’ve been before, like your living room, the office, or public spaces.…Read More

Bringing wi-fi, and parent engagement, to the community

Kent School District’s new kiosks are bringing the SIS and free wi-fi to the community

Ed. note: Joelle Bejarano will present a session related to this topic, called “Touch-Interactive and Digital Signage Displays for Parent and Community Engagement in Education,” at DSE 2016 on Wednesday, March 16 in Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.dse2016.com.

As the typical school day ends at Kent School District, in Washington state, many of our 27,000 students file onto school buses for the ride home. For some students, leaving their school’s campus means leaving internet access behind – and all that comes with it. As a forward-thinking, technology-driven district, we’ve long considered ourselves pioneers in bringing technology to students, and we’re proud of our mature, successful one-to-one laptop initiative. However, there still exists a digital divide to conquer.

Kent’s success in today’s digital world is, in part, reliant on electronic resources and timely, effective communications. This includes the delivery of educational programming, access to online tools, and leveraging technology to aid in the overall learning experience. Our laptop initiative provides the hardware and software for secondary students to complete homework assignments and collaborate digitally. But how do those students and their families take advantage of these tools if they’re not connected to the internet before and after school?…Read More

11 ed-tech buzzwords and phrases to think about

Do these “edubabble” terms have meaning or are they just empty rhetoric?

Get a group of educators together either online or in person and at times it can seem like they’re speaking a different dialect. Want to disrupt the fixed mindset and combat the device gap in the age of the digital native? Well, have you tried innovating your hidden curriculum? Just add more grit (or should that be rigor?). And do it all like a pirate. No, wait: a rockstar.

At best, ed-tech buzzwords can serve as a sort of shorthand when conversing with like minds to quickly touch on relevant, universally-understood phenomena, perhaps with an eye toward saving precious Twitter characters to add additional insight. At worst, as one blogger put it, edubabble is “an act of unconscionable self-indulgence.”

Moreover, in fitting with language’s protean nature, shiny new terms are likely to elude a single, fixed definition, making them even more incomprehensible to outsiders, or even other insiders. To educator Mark Johnson, in a recent blog post, it recalled the scene in Lewis Caroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” where Humpty Dumpty misuses the word “glory” in triumph at having successfully explained the concept of birthdays and un-birthdays to Alice.…Read More

100 districts that are digital learning innovators

Knovation honors districts for outstanding usage of online and digital learning resources

digital-learningOne hundred school districts across the U.S. have been honored for their use of online and digital learning resources to personalize learning.

Knovation’s 2015 Digital Learning Awards program honors districts across the U.S. that use netTrekker or icurio to find, organize and share hundreds of thousands of standards-aligned resources that are professionally evaluated, tagged and maintained, ensuring students truly benefit from their digital shift.

The awards are presented to small, medium, and large districts based on how they used the Knovation Content Collection via netTrekker or icurio during the 2014-2015 school year.…Read More

Research: Digital media could aid early math skills

Study of early learners reveals media content from the show PEG + CAT could help improve children’s critical math skills

math-skillsChildren who used media content from PBS KIDS’ series PEG + CAT showed improvement in critical math areas involving ordinal numbers, spatial relationships, and 3-D shapes, according to researchers at EDC and SRI International.

Parents and caregivers also showed greater comfort and confidence in supporting their children with math concepts and problem-solving strategies.

The randomized Ready To Learn study was based on a sample of 197 children ages 4 to 5 years old, primarily from low-income families, in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area.…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

22 districts join network of innovative school systems

 Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools members partner with other leading educators, entrepreneurs, and researchers from across the U.S.

league-innovativeTwenty-two new school districts have been accepted into the League of Innovative Schools, a national coalition of forward-thinking school districts organized by Digital Promise, an independent, bipartisan nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to accelerate innovation in education.

The League of Innovative Schools, launched in late 2011, accepts new members through an open application process once per year. With the new members, the League now includes 73 school districts in 33 states, representing 3.2 million students. The full list of members can be found at digitalpromise.org/districts. A list of the 22 new districts being added is also available via a blog post from the league.

“The League’s goal is to find leaders pioneering bold, creative, and student-centric practices, connect them with each other, and amplify what they do best so others can learn,” said Sara Schapiro, director of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools. “With these new members, we add a wealth of insights, ideas, and energy to help our members effectively support teaching and learning through technology.”…Read More