Don Johnston Incorporated Joins Texthelp Group; Edtech Giants Join Forces to Help Students Across North America and the Globe

WOBURN, Mass., Jan. 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —  Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, today announced that they will acquire the Education Technology Division of  Don Johnston Inc., a leading assistive technology and special education curriculum company based outside of Chicago, IL. Don Johnston Inc. is the latest Assistive Technology provider to join the Texthelp Group. Following Five Arrows’ investment in December 2020, Texthelp acquired Lingit Group and Wizkids in 2021, expanding the company’s reach in the Nordics and the UK. Texthelp’s goal is to use its assistive technology to help 1 billion people with reading, writing, and numeracy by 2030. Together with Don Johnston Inc.’s leading SaaS-based products, the Texthelp Group will become the global leader in assistive technology tools for classrooms and workplaces. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

One in ten people have dyslexia, and in the US, 12% of students are in special education, 15% of children at school are learning their 2nd language, and the average reading age is 7th to 8th grade. Using assistive tools has been proven to help students overcome these barriers and harness their unique strengths. Both Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. have made it their mission to support equality and inclusion of all people, especially individuals with dyslexia and other learning needs. Together, Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. will continue to offer their full suite of products, and customers will see the benefit of collaborative technology innovation between the companies within the first few weeks. Don Johnston Inc.’s curriculum division will form a new company, named Building Wings™, which includes the products Readtopia® and First Author®.

“Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. share a common vision of a world where every student can feel what it is like to learn and succeed,” said Martin McKay, CEO and founder of Texthelp. “Don and I founded our organizations for deeply personal reasons. We have an incredibly similar mission to elevate as many students as possible, helping them both understand and be understood. We are so excited to have Don Johnston Inc. join the Texthelp Group, and to have Don as an investor and board member. Our combined teams and expanded portfolio of products will allow us to give millions more students in the US and across the globe the best possible start in life and help them fulfill their full potential. Along with the Don Johnston team, we will continue to innovate and develop our suite of products to create the best assistive technology tools available.”…Read More

4 predictions for computer science education in 2022

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts across the country have seen an influx of funding for student devices, internet access, and a variety of edtech tools. While equity of access is still a challenge in many communities, this new funding has advanced a unique opportunity for schools to create pathways to computer science education, overcoming some of the challenges that made it inaccessible to many students in the past.

When combined with many states’ adopting new computer science standards, the pandemic has the potential to accelerate K-12 computer science education across the country. Some schools will find it difficult to fit new computer science into an already busy daily schedule.

But there’s a fix! Educators across the country are working on curriculum to integrate computer science into core content areas, alleviating the problem of where to fit a new computer science course into the busy school day. Computer science education is also being used as a tool for gauging social emotional learning. When computing devices become available to all students, it becomes equally important for districts to have a plan for the types of programming environments and platforms students will use as they build CS skills across the grades. Computer science is quickly becoming another tool, like the pencil and paper, that students use to express themselves and to demonstrate mastery of content in unique ways. Here’s where I see these trends going in the new year.…Read More

65 predictions about edtech, equity, and learning in 2022

As we wrapped up 2020, we thought for sure that 2021 might bring us a reprieve from pandemic learning. Well, it did–but it also didn’t. Virtual and hybrid learning continued into the spring, but then classrooms welcomed back students for full-time in-person learning in the fall. Many silver linings emerged and digital learning cemented itself as a “must have” in schools. Equity remained front and center, too, raising issues of inequitable technology access, along with racial and socioeconomic disparities and discrimination.

2021 brought with it new COVID-19 variants, the dreaded school COVID quarantine, and renewed calls to support the nation’s educators, who have worked tirelessly (and constantly) to support students’ learning, social and emotional needs, and more.

And now, we head into our third year of learning during a global pandemic. We asked edtech executives, stakeholders, and experts to share some of their thoughts and predictions about where they think edtech is headed in 2022.…Read More

How to create engaging active learning environments

Technology plays a pivotal role in classrooms, and as it becomes more sophisticated, educators realize that creating active learning environments can help them effectively and efficiently use technology engage students in their learning.

What’s your edtech plan post-COVID? Join this eSchool News webinar to learn how to assess your classrooms and ensure they are immersive, engaging, and embracing active learning practices.

You’ll learn from a team of experts and educators who can share important insights on the practices and components of active learning. Join today!…Read More

What did 2021 bring to K-12 edtech?

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student engagement and online or hybrid learning strategies related to pandemic teaching. This year’s 2nd most-read story focuses on the K-12 edtech predictions educators and experts had for 2021–were they right?

When we posted our 2020 predictions on January 1 last year, we–along with the majority of the world–definitely didn’t anticipate the curveball that was (and continues to be) the global COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 has been called a dumpster fire, the worst year in recent memory, and more. Abrupt shifts to virtual and hybrid learning laid bare the vast inequities that exist in the U.S. education system. The move to online learning also made people wonder: Are there practices we can continue when the pandemic abates? What can we take from this when we return to our classrooms? And will we return to our classrooms to teach in the same manner as we did before COVID?…Read More

6 reasons to use edtech tools to save valuable classroom time

According to the National Council on Teacher Quality (2012), the average teacher in the United States gets 45 minutes of planning time per day. If a teacher has five classes, that gives them just 9 minutes per class to create an engaging lesson that meets the needs of every student in the room.

Needless to say, educators don’t have nearly enough time to plan lessons. The easiest solution to this problem would be to give teachers more prep time. However, as that seems unlikely to happen, here are six ways that teachers can use edtech tools to save time.

1. Find a learning management system that works for you
Learning management systems such as Google Classroom, Schoology, or Seesaw can drastically cut down on the time needed to assign in-class work or homework. With just a few clicks, a teacher can push out an assignment to all of their students instead of having to waste time at the printer. Each learning management system operates a little differently, so you should experiment with a couple of them to see which one works for
you.…Read More

Discovery Education and Social Impact Partners Offer All Educators New, No-Cost Professional Learning Resources

Silver Spring, MD (Thursday, December 16, 2021) — As school systems nationwide begin to look towards Winter Break, Discovery Education and select social impact partners present curated professional learning resources at no cost to support educators’ continued professional learning. Spanning critical topics such as social-emotional learning (SEL), computational thinking, and STEM, this new professional learning content inspires educators to reimagine teaching and more deeply engage students. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.

Designed to support educators’ work to create immersive learning experiences every day, the curated content strengthens teacher effectiveness, empowers school leaders, and increases student engagement. Among the SEL and STEM professional learning resources from Discovery Education and educational initiatives created in collaboration with leading social impact partners are: 

Social-Emotional Professional Learning Resources…Read More

When it comes to edtech, it’s not about the tools, but how you use them

In this week’s Getting There: Innovations in Education, Editor at Large Kevin Hogan explores how to get the most impact out of the edtech tools in your district.

Also in this podcast:

  • New cyber security standards attempt to help secure district networks through awareness.
  • Dr. Matthew X. Joseph, Executive Director of Learning, Providence Public Schools on the power of human networks.
  • How video creation tools can improve parental relations.
…Read More