How to provide effective and engaging virtual therapy for kids

As was the case for so many other therapists working with children and families, March 2020 felt overwhelming in our center for child and family therapy. From seeing clients in-person all day in our client-centered, carefully designed therapy rooms equipped with all the therapeutic tools that a child therapist might need to engage a child in the hard work of therapy, we scrambled to figure out a way to transfer our clinical tools to the virtual realm. The transition from using toys, games, animal assisted therapy, art, music, movement, and parent-child attunement enhancing interventions to connecting through a digital screen seemed at times to be an impossible mission.

The transition was especially challenging for our very young clients and those who appeared to have significant struggles with the adjustment to virtual education. Even after weeks of creating and identifying multiple virtual tools that enabled us to engage most of our clients in expressive ways to process their experiences and share their internal worlds with us, we consistently received skeptical messages from parents who were certain that their child would not be able to effectively use a virtual platform for their therapy work.

We were convinced that we would be eager to return to our carefully designed, in-person therapy rooms as soon as we possibly could safely do so. Little did we know that we would not only find the virtual therapeutic tools to be highly effective, even in some of our most challenging and complex cases, but we would also discover that there are many unexpected and valuable therapeutic benefits that come with this virtual approach to providing child and family mental health therapy services. …Read More

Certell’s Poptential™ Free American History Curriculum Highlights Legacy of African Americans for Black History Month

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Poptential™, a family of free, award-winning social studies course packages that infuse lessons with digital storytelling, offers an array of engaging content about the Civil Rights Movement for instruction during Black History Month. Click to tweet.

Observed in the United States since 1976, Black History Month is celebrated yearly in February to honor the contributions and legacy of African Americans across U.S. history and society. Poptential’s American History Volume II curriculum, Bell Ringers, and digital media clips feature the accomplishments of African American leaders and civil rights activists as they fought for racial equality.

Poptential’s Unit 6: The Fracturing of America includes content and multimedia to help teachers lead discussions on the Civil Rights movement, including:…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

With online learning, the kids are all right

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 5th most-read story features an episode of Kevin Hogan’s Innovations in Education podcast that focuses on the state of online learning.

In this episode of Innovations in Education, sponsored by Galaxy Next Generation, host Kevin Hogan explores:

…Read More

Epson Technology Enhances Aquarium Education Programs

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – As the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif. welcomed students back for in-person learning, educators leaned on Epson technology to help enhance education and bring lessons into the spotlight. Leveraging multiple Epson document cameras throughout learning centers at the aquarium, education staff are able to provide hands-on demonstrations to bring engaging lessons to students and visitors of all ages.

“We were so excited to revamp our education programs and bring students back into the aquarium after a few years of virtual programming,” said Alicia Archer, education manager, Aquarium of the Pacific. “The Epson document cameras were teaching tools our staff incorporated into virtual learning. Now that we have launched our in-person programming, these cameras continue to enhance our education programs.”

One of the biggest benefits to leveraging document cameras in their education programs has been the ability to offer a shared learning experience to students. Rather than having to describe something, like a dissection, and then walk table to table to show students, a class can do it all together step-by-step. “We’ve been using the document cameras for our ‘Mysteries of the Deep’ class where we use gel layers on the document camera to simulate going deeper in the ocean. This application with the camera has helped us show how the energy of wavelengths differs, and colors change to bring the visualization to life,” said Archer.…Read More

5 tips to help students master foundational skills

English language arts (ELA) standards identify a set of foundational skills students must master in their progression to becoming skilled readers. These skills include alphabet recognition, concepts of print, phonological awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, and fluency.

To effectively teach foundational skills within the classroom, educators need access to engaging materials that offer the right level of challenge for students and provide ease of usability. Unfortunately, only 7 percent of K-5 teachers use one or more high-quality ELA material for their classroom instruction due to common roadblocks like long adoption cycles and costs associated with the materials. But that statistic may soon change.

The pandemic left a lasting, negative impact on the American education system. K-5 student test scores plummeted in math and reading nationwide this year, erasing two decades of progress. Now, many teachers, schools, and districts want to reassess their foundational skills instruction.…Read More

Discovery Education and Social Impact Partners Present Engaging Resources Supporting STEM Day Observances

Charlotte, NC.— Discovery Education and select social impact partners are offering engaging, high-quality digital learning resources to students and teachers to support observances of National STEM Day. Held annually on November 8th, National STEM Day unites communities in celebrating the importance of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math to students in grades K-12. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.  

Discovery Education offers educators, students, and families hundreds of no-cost resources tailored to STEM teaching and learning wherever it takes place. Among the resources created in collaboration with leading social impact partners now available to support observances of National STEM Day are:   

Engaging Classroom Activities 
Integrate STEM into instruction with activities from the STEM Careers Coalition™ – the first-of-its-kind national STEM initiative powered by corporate and non-profit leaders and anchored in schools by Discovery Education. These activities span a broad range of STEM topics and feature important skills, as well as step-by-step guides for implementing activities in your classroom.  …Read More

Poptential™ Offers Free Content for National American Indian Heritage Month

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Poptential™, a family of award-winning social studies course packages that infuse lessons with digital storytelling, offers an array of engaging content to illustrate the culture, traditions, and history of Native Americans for National American Indian Heritage Month. Click to tweet.

Signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, November’s National American Indian Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and pay respect to Native Americans for their culture and contributions to the United States and to raise awareness about the challenges they have faced in the past and today.

Poptential American History Volume II curriculum and digital media examples offer a look at the battles and struggles of the Native Americans as they were removed from their homelands and separated from their families. Content includes:…Read More

Cybersecurity to Be Taught to K-8 students across North America for Free

London, ON – Cyber Legends, the fun, free game that empowers kids to learn online safety through play, today announced the launch of the Cyber Legends Gaming platform and its availability to schools across North America. There is currently no standardized cyber safety curriculum being taught in primary, elementary or intermediate schools. Cyber Legends intends to change that with engaging, curriculum-aligned lessons, masked as a fun video game. The game teaches kids about passwords, identity theft, scams, phishing, cyber bullying, sexting, social media issues and much more.

Cyber Legends has reached out to teachers, schools, school boards, cybersecurity experts, and online safety professionals to collect data over the past 2 years to learn about their challenges.  The company has gathered all the complexities of internet safety and distilled them into engaging, well-tested, curriculum-aligned, and beautifully structured lesson plans (created by teachers) for grades K–8. Cyber Legends also comes with tons of free resources to help teachers, parents, and children.

As critical as it is that children learn about cyber safety early on, teachers often lack the resources to help their students. They aren’t cybersecurity specialists and the vast majority have never received any cybersecurity training themselves. This provides a simple way to give each child the basics on how to stay safe online.  This has become more critical as students use laptops, mobile devices, and home computers routinely.…Read More