5 ways video improves school-home communication

Increasingly, district leaders are incorporating video into school-home communication. Many districts that tried video options out of necessity during the pandemic are seeing the benefits that video can provide for parent engagement and are expanding video options even as schools are back to in-person instruction.

Districts are finding that using video can improve school-home communication by making the process of engagement easier for parents. Video options can help with:

  • Removing barriers to school-home communication.
  • Providing educators with real-time connections with students’ families without the hassles of gathering everyone in the same location.
  • Reaching parents who might be hard to engage otherwise. If a parent is working two jobs, doesn’t have access to transportation, or would have other barriers to coming to an in-person meeting, a video call can make the process easier for a parent.
  • An overall shift in individuals’ behaviors and technological skills to rely on video tools.

Here are five tips for school leaders who want to incorporate video into their school-home communication strategies.…Read More

Charting a path forward in K-12

After several years of disrupted learning, schools are taking stock of the range of challenges that need to be addressed—challenges resulting from the most significant disruption to K-12 education in history.

Across the nation, the pandemic has taken a toll on our children’s mental and physical health, behavioral development, social and emotional well-being, academic achievement, and plans for their future. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. Rather, educators anticipate a multi-year process of helping struggling students recover from pandemic-related school disruptions.

Addressing the complexity and scale of these challenges requires school and district leaders to make critical choices. But they don’t need to do it alone. All those serving the education community must come together as trusted partners to find solutions, support evidence-based research, and ensure successful implementation of instructional practices to address education’s most critical challenges. …Read More

How robotic gamification helped my elementary students love STEM

Coding is a necessary skill in today’s world, but it is relatively challenging to master, especially for kids. Its complexity is not necessarily because it is incomprehensible, but because it is a new concept for most students. This is especially the case for students in inner-city schools where technology is inevitably scarce due to systemic factors beyond the students’ control.

With numerous programming languages available, it can take time to pick a starting point. Educators have found a solution to this problem: gamification. Platforms like CoderZ offer virtual programming services where children can learn code through games. These games make learning code both fun and engaging for kids.

Through the CoderZ Robotics curriculum, kids learn to create, manage, and communicate with cyber robots in a virtual setting by inputting code. Block code is used because it is easier for children to understand and execute instead of complex text-based code. Learning is more accessible because virtual robots do not require hardware, space, or other associated costs.…Read More

AI’s promising reality in classrooms

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be an ambiguous word in education circles, evoking images of machines replacing human teachers in the future. The truth, while less fantastic, is that AI is a solid tool that assists educators in the classroom right now.

Join experts during an eSchool News webinar to discuss the real-world ways AI operates and how AI systems enable teachers to better interact with students, simplify everyday classroom tasks, and improve overall efficiency and productivity.

Key takeaways include:…Read More

Curriculum Associates Names 31 Exemplar Teachers to Its 2023 Class of Extraordinary Educators™

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass.—Curriculum Associates recently named its 2023 class of Extraordinary Educators, an annual program that celebrates and connects exemplar teachers in Grades K–8 from around the country. Representing 25 different states, this year’s 31 selected teachers all exhibit best-in-class use of i-Ready, i-Ready Classroom Mathematics, and/or Ready, illustrate growth and achievement via formal assessments, demonstrate innovation and engagement practices for students, are evangelists for high expectations and student achievement, are champions of equity, and have been teaching for at least two years.

“Teachers are true rockstars,” said Emily McCann, vice president of educator community at Curriculum Associates. “This year’s Extraordinary Educators are no exception – they were chosen from hundreds of nominations and represent the best of the best. We are happy to recognize and celebrate these educators’ amazing work and achievements, as well as provide them with ongoing professional learning and networking opportunities to help them continue to grow their craft.”

With nearly 340 years of combined teaching experience, this year’s class of Extraordinary Educators includes classroom teachers, special education teachers, and instructional specialists. All of the educators were ultimately selected by an advisory board featuring leaders from Curriculum Associates, previously inducted Extraordinary Educators, and a college student pursuing a degree in urban education.…Read More

National Alliance of Black School Educators Names Patricia Smith of St Charles Parish Public Schools the 2022 NABSE $10,000 Scholarship Award Recipient

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass.—The National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) recently named Patricia Smith, director of federal programs for St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Louisiana, as the recipient of the 2022 NABSE $10,000 Scholarship Award sponsored by Curriculum Associates. The award’s Dr. Charles Mitchell, Jr. Leadership Scholarship will support Smith as she pursues a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University.

“We are thrilled that our signature partner Curriculum Associates is again sponsoring this wonderful opportunity for a deserving educator,” said Dr. Nardos King, president of NABSE. “Education is our core mission, and Patricia Smith will use this opportunity to add to the pool of needed leaders in our field.”  

Smith has demonstrated strong leadership skills throughout her 27-year career in education, which has included roles as an assistant director of summer and graduate placement programs, teacher, principal, coach, curriculum specialist, and, now, director of federal programs. Collectively, these positions have provided her with unique perspectives which contribute to the sustainable academic success and social-emotional growth of the students and staff she leads.…Read More

5 ways tech helps create calmer learning environments

When I started as a school counselor more than 15 years ago, technology in the classroom looked much different than it does today. Only a handful of students had their own personal device and the concept of one-to-one models, meaning every student is given a school-issued laptop or tablet, had not yet taken hold. At that time, students were accessing the internet or using digital tools sparingly throughout the school day, and typically only in tech-focused classes. Today, most teens have access to a smartphone and more than 80 percent of K-12 students use a school-issued device as part of their learning. Students are clearly more connected than ever, both inside and outside of the classroom.

This increased access to technology in school has had both positive and negative impacts on students. For some, the internet has proven to be an incredibly engaging and useful learning tool, while for others, the constant stream of information can be overwhelming. Because of this, it is important for educators to help students use technology in a purposeful way that supports learning.

While it might seem counterintuitive, technology and certain digital tools can actually help provide students with a sense of calm while enhancing in-the-moment thinking.…Read More

Learning needs joy and civility

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on innovative ways to engage students, digital resources, and online and hybrid learning strategies related to post-pandemic teaching. This year’s number 1 most-read story focuses on what’s missing from learning.

This special edition of Innovations in Education, hosted by Kevin Hogan, comes live from one of the nation’s largest edtech conferences. At least 15,000 educators and edtech enthusiasts are gathered in New Orleans for ISTELive 22.

ISTE CEO Richard Culatta notes that we’ve “beaten the joy out of learning” in recent years. Now is the time to inspire educators and learners. Along with inspiration comes the idea of injecting civility, kindness, and understanding into education.…Read More

USPTO launches free K-12 invention education platform

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced the launch of the free invention education resource, EquIP HQ.

EquIP HQ is a contracted effort created and maintained by Second Avenue Learning. The site is available for grade bands K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. The platform provides educators with access to free tools to teach students real-world skills and intellectual property (IP) literacy.

EquIP HQ enables students to personalize exploration of solving real-world problems through innovative design, prototypes and iterative tests and improvements towards real, inventive solutions. …Read More

Discovery Museum Celebrates 30 Years of Delivering Hands-On Science in Elementary School Classrooms

Acton, MA – Discovery Museum announced a 30-year milestone for its in-school STEM program, Traveling Science Workshops, having delivered hands-on science to more than half a million PreK through 8th grade students from hundreds of communities throughout Massachusetts since the program began in 1992.

Traveling Science Workshops (TSW) are state curriculum-aligned, small group, in-classroom workshops that use simple, everyday materials and a hands-on approach to allow students to be scientists: exploring, observing, asking questions, and sharing discoveries. Museum educators deliver twenty-three STEM topics, including Sound, Weather & Climate, Physical Changes of Matter, and Force & Motion, to give elementary and middle school students direct experience with how things work in the physical world.

MathWorks has partnered with the Museum since 2010 to bring TSW to school classrooms, supporting program growth as well as the development of virtual workshops and distance learning resources for teachers during the pandemic. TSW is on pace to serve more than 42,000 students this school year, outpacing pre-pandemic numbers.…Read More