3 ways to get the most out of a digital classroom

Recent Food and Drug Administration approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds means that thousands of children who have continued to learn from home will dust off their lunch boxes and climb onto the school bus, destined for in-person instruction once again.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools indicates, students benefit from in-person learning, and face-to-face should be the primary method of instruction. Still, eLearning has earned its place in education, and smart educators welcome the addition.

Two are better than one…Read More

Reading Eggs Reaches 20 Million Users Milestone

NEW YORK, NY – August 10, 2021– Reading Eggs, a Blake eLearning program that creates a unique online world where children learn to read, today announced that the platform now has over 20 million users worldwide. Over the past year, learners spent more than 43 million hours using the Reading Eggs and Mathseeds programs, which create a level playing field for learners with sequenced lessons that feature interactive animations, fun games, songs, and rewards that keep children engaged and motivated to learn.  

School closures related to the pandemic disrupted education for children worldwide. According to  UNICEF, more than 168 million children lost almost a full year of in-person instruction. Many parents who are working from home struggle to help their kids keep up with remote school sessions. And remote learning can be especially challenging for children engaged in formative instruction like learning to read. Millions of parents turned to Reading Eggs to set their children up for success.  

“Reading Eggs is a popular worldwide reading and math program,” said Katy Pike, Chief Product Officer at Reading Eggs. “Starting last year, demand spiked, and now we have more than 20 million users to date. Just in the past year, learners spent more than 43 million hours using our platforms to learn in a fun, interactive online environment. Kids love playing in the program, and parents are pleased when children are learning instead of playing video games or watching TV.”  …Read More

Are you protecting health data amid COVID-19 testing and tracking?

There’s no point mincing words: School districts and administrators have had a heck of a year. Not only have you been under immense pressure from parents and state officials to reopen schools safely, but your teachers are also understandably concerned about virus transmission. What’s more, your plans keep changing and you’re being forced to adapt.

Related content: How eLearning coaches can support teachers

It’s an uphill battle, and there’s no doubt you’re doing your best. In all the chaos, you’re now responsible for taking temperatures and doing daily COVID-19 screenings, but you may not have had enough time to research screening devices and do sufficient due diligence before welcoming students back through your doors. Unfortunately, making a purchase like this can open you up to risk. Here’s why, and how to mitigate these risks moving forward.…Read More

Leading eLearning: A Future Ready Library opportunity

One of my colleagues is known for regularly reminding us that a crisis is a terrible opportunity to waste. The COVID-19 crisis has forced districts to redefine the manner in which they are delivering education.

In the best-case scenario, district leaders had a week to develop and roll out an eLearning strategy to students. Most teachers had a weekend to prep, and sent their students home without a defined plan or resources to help parents who became teachers overnight.

Related content: 10 reasons school librarians are more important than ever…Read More

Free eLearning Academy to Support K-12 Students

Otus, a K-12 edtech company that provides the award winning Otus Student Performance Platform, today announced the launch of the Otus eLearning Academy, a free K-12 virtual school with a variety of courses led by highly experienced certified teachers employed by Otus.

With millions of students being forced to learn from home due to school closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, families are struggling with ways to ensure that their children continue learning while K-12 school systems shift to becoming remote learning organizations.

“While Otus, like many edtech companies, is offering our software to school districts for free during this pandemic, we knew we could do more.” said Andy Bluhm, CEO of Otus and a Chicago investor and philanthropist. “We not only have an amazing platform designed to accommodate eLearning, but we also employ highly qualified teachers who have created engaging eLearning lessons that will include teacher feedback and engagement allowing students to continue their education even when they are not at their school.”…Read More

Free At-Home Learning Content During Crisis

WESTCHESTER, IL, Mar 18, 2020 – Follett, a trusted partner to PreK-12 schools, public libraries, and college campuses for more than 145 years, is working with customers to ensure they can quickly and easily use the company’s wide range of eLearning solutions and access to content as more students shift to learning from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“As we all navigate through these unprecedented times, we want educators and parents to know they’re not alone,” said Patrick Connolly, President and CEO of Follett Corporation. “Follett offers a variety of eLearning products for both PreK-12 and Higher Ed that can be quickly and easily accessed. These are solutions customers already have access to, and our goal is to ensure they know about all their options to help with the continuity of education.”

Here is a closer look at Follett’s company-wide eLearning resources that are being made available at libraries, schools and universities in communities across North America affected by the COVID-19 virus:…Read More

Are digital textbooks worth it?

Early digital textbook adopters share their pros and cons

discovery-textbookIt has been nearly three years since the FCC and Education Secretary Arne Duncan rolled out the Digital Textbook Playbook and challenged schools to go digital within five years. It’s safe to say schools are not there yet. While going digital looks certain, arrival in two years looks doubtful.

The potential benefits for schools transitioning to digital curriculum—specifically, replacing their print textbooks with digital ones—remain compelling. As schools move to the Common Core, and Pluto shifts in and out of planetary status, information can be updated on the fly. Interactive quizzes, comments, and discussions live within the text itself. The addition of video, audio and interactivity allows for multi-modal, personalized, accessible and interactive learning; it’s lightweight for backpacks; and there are cost savings down the road from not printing.

Of course, widespread adoption relies on a robust infrastructure. Wireless bandwidth must be able to handle the load, and filtering must let advanced material through. Students need reliable devices at school and home, and the content needs to be designed for whatever platform they might have. Importantly, teachers need time to learn a new way of running a classroom.…Read More

The best tips for getting your school ready for Common Core assessments

An elearning pro shares how to prioritize to make the transition to online assessments smoother

common core assessmentsAs with anything in life, certain tradeoffs must happen in order for schools to spread already-thin resources across all critical projects. Schools already face this challenge on a daily basis, and now they must become Common Core assessment-ready at a time when resources are especially tight.

“In the end, there have to be some projects and/or expenses that receive lower priority within the district,” says Thomas Ryan, Ph.D., CEO at eLearn Institute, Inc., a nonprofit that helps districts prepare online learning strategies. “At this point, any prioritization that takes place really has to be based on district-wide, long-term decisions.”

Transitioning to a data-driven system
In looking at the digital education shift as a whole, Ryan says some schools are “holding onto the old way of doing things” even as they realize that the shift to online assessments is going to have to happen. “Trying to support a paper-based instructional model and a digital-based model is just too expensive,” says Ryan. “Unless there’s a stream of new funding coming in, schools really need to start putting [digital] transition plans in place.”…Read More