3 tips for maximizing your PLC participation during the new school year

For educators across the country, it’s time to get back at it. Summer is over, and if we are not yet back in school teaching, we are sorting through class rosters, getting our first week planned, and tying up the hundreds of loose ends that need to be addressed before we welcome our students back to school.

However, for many of educators, the end of summer signals not a return to work, but rather a continuation of our efforts to support the success of all students. While school was out over the summer, we attended workshops, participated in conferences, and stayed connected to our fellow educators through our involvement in various professional learning communities (PLCs).

While educators seem predisposed to worrying about the needs of others before they address their own needs, now is the time to be selfish about personal growth. As a new school year begins and your responsibilities again increase, I encourage you to continue learning, sharing and connecting with your PLC, or if you are not yet participating in a PLC, I urge you to join a learning community that will enrich not only your professional practice, but all facets of your life.…Read More

28 can’t-miss edtech innovations from ISTE 2017

This year’s ISTE Conference was all about technology-charged learning–and from the keynotes and sessions to the fast-paced exhibit hall, the conference’s more than 20,000 attendees (15,000 educators plus expo hall staff) were immersed in just that.

In all, ISTE 2017 produced 159,000 tweets from people across the U.S. and 72 countries. The most popular topics, based on number of sessions, focused on creativity and productivity tools (113), innovative learning environments (108), online tools and resources (82), constructivist learning and the maker movement (77), and programming and robotics (70).

But if you couldn’t make it to San Antonio this year, don’t worry–we’ve got a round-up of some of the newest products and announcements from companies dedicated to tech-enabled learning.…Read More

These 10 TED-Ed videos will hold your students’ attention

Given students’ easy access to videos and digital resources via mobile devices and computers, it makes sense that educators would incorporate such tools into their instruction.

With a wealth of resources online, educators can find content that meets students where they’re comfortable learning, with interactive and engaging presentation.

TED-Ed lessons are among these resources that help students learn while engaging them in the subject matter.…Read More

17 instructional practices for social and emotional learning

Interest around social and emotional learning continues to expand, due in part to recognition that positive social and emotional skills can help improve students’ behavioral and academic outcomes in school.

Now, educators can take a look at 25 evidence-based social and emotional learning programs to learn about curricular content and other features that they can use to help students develop key social and emotional skills such as self-control, empathy, flexible mindsets, and conflict resolution.

Navigating SEL from the Inside Out: Looking Inside & Across 25 Leading SEL Programs: A Practical Resource for Schools and OST Providers is intended for elementary schools and out-of-school-time (OST) providers. It aims to give practitioners resources to compare what is taught, and how it is taught, across programs. It also explains how social and emotional learning programs can be adapted to OST settings.…Read More

Association of American Educators Foundation Classroom Grant

Grants are available for up to $500. Classroom grants can be used for a variety of projects and materials, including but not limited to books, software, calculators, math manipulatives, art supplies, audio-visual equipment, and lab materials. Funds must be used within one year of the application deadline.

 

…Read More

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3 things schools must know about the rising “phigital” student

A major generational clash is underway, says a foremost expert, and it’s affecting all industries, including education. The clash is coming from so-called Gen Z, the first generation to be considered fully “phigital”—unwilling or unable to draw a distinction between the physical world and its digital equivalent.

So what does that mean for educators? Well, buckle up and hold on.

In an article published in, of all places, Delta’s Sky Magazine, writer Allison Kaplan details her interview with generational expert and author David Stillman on how Generation Z will begin graduating from college this year and what businesses should expect. Here’s a hint: Don’t expect Millennials.…Read More

5 ways teachers can improve student learning based on current brain research

The brain is an experience-dependent organ. From our very earliest days, the brain begins to map itself to our world as we experience it through our senses. The mapping is vague and fuzzy at first, like a blurred photograph or an un-tuned piano. However, the more we interact with the world, the more well-defined our brain maps become until they are fine-tuned and differentiated. But each person’s map will vary, with some sensory experiences more distinct than others depending on the unique experiences and the clarity and frequency of the sensations he or she has experienced.

Educators can positively influence students’ learning by understanding how the brain is shaped by their early experiences—and how it can be rewired and reorganized to work more quickly and efficiently.

The Plastic Brain and the Critical Period…Read More

These schools are leveraging E-Rate for a complete digital transformation

Textbooks and blackboards have become a thing of the past in K-12 schools as educators collaborate with IT teams to shape a full digital core curriculum as part of their educational strategy for 2017 and beyond. In a 2016 survey conducted by the Consortium for School Networking (COSN), 90 percent of IT administrators at K-12 schools expect that curricula will be at least 50 percent digital over the next three years.

As the world undergoes a digital transformation—with connectivity and access to computers and mobile devices playing an increasingly prominent role in everyone’s lives—elementary schools know they need to incorporate technology in the educational process to prepare their students for future success. To support these initiatives, the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program has recently been expanded to provide schools nationwide with subsidies for high-speed broadband and gigabit wireless networks.

According to the “2016 Digital Curriculum Strategy Survey Report” sponsored by Ruckus Wireless, hardware and network spend is estimated at $16.2 billion in 2017. Whereas currently 78 percent of students have device and network access for almost a full day, the expectation for this year is that schools will have close to one-to-one access, or one device per student.…Read More

SmartMusic Teacher Appreciation Sweepstakes

The SmartMusic Teacher Appreciation Sweepstakes will award three prizes to educators, and one grand prize winner will receive a free trip to attend the NAfME National In-service Conference in Grapevine, Texas on November 12-15, 2017.

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REcharge Academy Educator Scholarships

The REcharge Academy is a week-long educator training workshop about renewable energy. The intensive training blends lectures from experts and tours of energy facilities with replicable hands-on K-12 lessons to give educators content as well as context. A REcharge Academy combines materials from REcharge Labs, WindWise Curricula, KidWind, and Vernier, as well as other materials we find applicable and useful in the classroom. After successfully completing an Academy, all attendees become REcharge Instructors, and are certified to teach REcharge programming in their own areas.
Note: Scholarship deadline has been extended.

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