How technology impacts literacy

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 7th most-read story focuses on the myriad ways technology is changing literacy instruction.

We live in a world where learning and technology are intrinsically linked, especially in the minds of our youth. But do today’s students process information differently because it comes on a digital device? Is there a correlation between technology use and plummeting literacy rates?  And is the way our young people consume information negatively impacting their growth as learners?

I recently discussed these questions with two education experts on my podcast, What I Want to Know. Earl Martin Phalen is the founder and CEO of Summer Advantage and the George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies, and Dr. Maryanne Wolf is the Director of the UCLA Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice. Phalen is well-known for his work improving literacy in marginalized populations, and Dr. Wolf has done extensive research on brain development and literacy.…Read More

New Hampshire Department of Education Selects Innovative K-12 Platform to Bring High Quality Instructional Materials to All Students, Families and Teachers

CONCORD, NH (July 14, 2021)—The New Hampshire Department of Education (Department) today announced the selection of  Discovery Education’s award-winning K-12 learning platform to support all New Hampshire learning environments with high quality instructional material.

Created by a team of education experts at Discovery Education— a worldwide edtech leader supporting learning wherever it takes place—this platform is available through the state’s Canvas Learning Management System to students and teachers across the state, including traditional and charter public schools, non-public schools, home education students and now, students enrolled in an Education Freedom Savings account program.

“This is really a win for everyone; students, families and teachers across the state. No matter what school district they live or work in or what education program they choose, they will now have access to high quality instructional materials,” stated Frank Edelblut commissioner of education. “The federal relief funds are targeted to close the gap on any learning loss coming out of the pandemic. With this resource, all of our children will have access to instructional materials to excel.”…Read More

How is technology impacting literacy?

We live in a world where learning and technology are intrinsically linked, especially in the minds of our youth. But do today’s students process information differently because it comes on a digital device? Is there a correlation between technology use and plummeting literacy rates?  And is the way our young people consume information negatively impacting their growth as learners?

I recently discussed these questions with two education experts on my podcast, What I Want to Know. Earl Martin Phalen is the founder and CEO of Summer Advantage and the George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies, and Dr. Maryanne Wolf is the Director of the UCLA Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice. Phalen is well-known for his work improving literacy in marginalized populations, and Dr. Wolf has done extensive research on brain development and literacy.

Technology can engage students and enhance their literacy skills…Read More

Creative (and Practical) Ways Educators Are Tackling Social-Emotional Learning

The pandemic has disrupted most, if not all, aspects of our lives. This rings especially true for educators who have continued working to overcome the challenges and disruptions prompted by COVID-19.

The 2020-21 school year has been anything but normal. Students, families, and staff members alike are dealing with new stressors, anxieties, and trauma, and social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies are becoming more relevant than ever.

With the importance of SEL in mind, we reached out to teachers and other education experts to learn how they’re tackling SEL during this unusual school year.…Read More

Remote Science Instruction White Paper Series

National K-12 science education experts contribute ideas and inspiring guidance for educators preparing to return to school and teach hands-on science during uncertain times

Leading school science supplier Carolina Biological stepped up to help K-12 school districts prepare for the highest quality remote science instruction this fall with a new series of white papers. Three of the best national K-12 science education leaders offer their expertise and ideas to help guide districts during these uncertain times. The papers are offered free to download now on Carolina’s Website. Carolina’s new three-part series helps districts think outside the box and traditional classrooms to turn students into inquiring scientists doing exciting investigations that will make science their favorite subject this fall by leveraging remote learning settings. Educators can learn tips to build their students’ hands-on experience, engagement, and excitement and create high-interest for their students during one of the most challenging back-to-school seasons ever with remote instruction.

Carolina Biological announced the publication of, “Closing the Distance in Remote Science Learning,” a three-part white paper series that examines remote science instruction in the age of COVID-19 and provides a way forward for school districts and their high school science teachers. In the first paper, readers learn the vocabulary of remote learning in the age of COVID-19. Commonly used education terms are redefined to reflect strategies for successful remote science education. Educators learn how to interpret techniques such as Teacher-Guided Instruction, Teacher-Centered Instruction, Student-Centered, and Independent Instruction for the current situation when students are six feet or several miles apart.…Read More

3 must-know’s about assessment achievement levels

In education and assessment, we use the word “standards” in a number of ways: curriculum standards, standards-based assessments, performance standards. Performance standards—also known as proficiency levels, achievement levels, performance descriptors, and more—are one way we report assessment results, and have a direct influence on decisions that affect educators and students every day.

Many of us use and discuss these performance standards without knowing where they come from. Performance standards are first a policy initiative representing student expectations of proficiency for an assessment program, and then are uniquely defined for each content and grade level, after at least one year of operational administration. Standard setting is the process undertaken by education experts to relate test scores from an assessment program to pre-defined achievement levels.

Here we explain the three basic facets of standard setting: purpose, use, and process.…Read More

Why making, coding, and online learning are the real trends to watch

Take a casual flip through this year’s trend-predicting Horizon Report, released today, and you’ll find plenty to get excited about.

The end of the report is stuffed with tantalizing promise about how future learners will engage with robots, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and wearable tech (think data-collecting headbands and skill-tracking sensors) that could explode into classrooms in as little as four to five years. By contrast, the report’s short-term developments, online learning and makerspaces, have a distinct yesterday’s news vibe about them. But make no mistake, they still hold some of the biggest long-term promise in the report.

Evaluating the accuracy of a report as sprawling and far-reaching as this one is notoriously difficult. Each year, a panel of education experts, convened by the New Media Consortium and CoSN, takes a deep dive into the trends driving ed-tech in every quarter, from Silicon Valley testing grounds to policy circles to actual classroom use. Panelists then narrow them down to just 18 in various stages of gestation: six trends, six challenges, and six so-called important developments.…Read More

Why it matters that ‘experts’ are poor predictors in education

Experts are poor predictors of the future, says Larry Cuban, a former high school social studies teacher, district superintendent, and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, for the Washington Post. In one study, college counselors were given information about a group of high-school students and asked to predict their freshman grades in college. The counselors had access to test scores, grades, the results of personality and vocational tests, and personal statements from the students, whom they were also permitted to interview. Predictions that were produced by a formula using just test scores and grades were more accurate. In another study, “data from a test used to diagnose brain damage were given to a group of clinical psychologists and their secretaries. The psychologists’ diagnoses were no better than the secretaries’.”

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Companies turn to social media for grant-giving

Companies are increasingly using social networking sites as a means of determining grant winners.
Companies are increasingly using social networking sites as a means of determining grant winners.

As celebrities, politicians, and students alike increasingly use social media to stay connected, education experts say they have noticed a growing number of companies turning to social media to determine grant award winners.

And education is not alone. Sherrie A. Madia, director of communications for the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, said the notion of using social media for social good is growing across all industries.…Read More