5 ways to create an inviting, engaging multipurpose learning space

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We always knew that it would be great to have a dedicated space for students who needed pull-out testing, different accommodations, and/or more individualized instruction. We also knew that by creating a modern, multipurpose space from an existing facility we’d be able to meet those needs while also using the space for staff meetings, academic clubs, Bible study, and other uses.

Using funding from our Parish Picnic and donations, we picked the perfect place for our new multipurpose room: a common space that was central to the gathering area near the entrance to our church.…Read More

Ensure Your District is Data Ready with this Free Playbook

Unprecedented funding has flowed into districts over the last several years as part of pandemic support and recovery efforts. As a result of this increased investment in technology, schools are generating more valuable data than ever—but much of that data isn’t readily available and actionable because it’s siloed in systems that aren’t connected to each other.

Simultaneously, with NAEP scores showing declining progress across the United States, school districts are trying to understand the scope of educational inequities and narrow equity gaps. However, it’s challenging to understand the root cause of these issues and to determine how best to address them without whole child insights made possible through interoperability—the seamless, secure, and controlled exchange of data between applications.

4 Key Considerations Around Data Interoperability for 2024…Read More

The looming threat that could worsen the digital divide

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In an era where technology plays a pivotal role in education, the expiration of the E-rate program’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) funding poses a significant threat to underserved schools and libraries. This funding, which was crucial in bridging the digital divide, now stands at a crossroads, potentially leaving many educational institutions grappling with outdated technology and hindering access to the digital resources necessary for effective learning.

While the stakes are high and a potential crisis may be looming, there are several solutions to mitigate the impact on underserved areas as we transition to a post-ECF era.…Read More

ESSER Funds help bring ClassVR to Schools in the Saint Louis Public Schools District

Chicago — Several schools in the Saint Louis Public Schools (SLPS) district have signed on to bring the immersive power of virtual reality technology to students this school year with ClassVR, from Avantis Education. So far, 17 of the schools in the district have leveraged federal ESSER funding to purchase the award-winning AR/VR headsets, which include thousands of pieces of VR and AR content to support all subject areas. Implementation is planned for later this school year.

Douglas Combs from Haddock Education Technologies coordinated the purchases following an ESSER showcase for SLPS principals and teachers. “When schools come to us asking about the benefits of AR and VR technology in the classroom, we know ClassVR will provide them with what they want,” said Combs. “At SLPS, school leaders were seeking something cool and exciting to engage students in the content they were learning in class. ClassVR is the perfect fit.”

ClassVR is an all-in-one VR/AR headset designed specifically for K-12 schools. Used by more than 1 million students in 100,000 classrooms around the world, it includes all hardware, software, training, support and implementation services needed for teachers to deploy AR/VR in their classrooms. ClassVR gives teachers access to thousands of VR and AR resources and content to enhance lessons and engage students more deeply in what they are learning. Students can virtually experience walking with polar bears, swimming with sharks, or traveling back in time to see what it was like in a World War I trench. New for the 2023-24 school year, Avantis aligned 400+ lessons in ClassVR to U.S. State Standards in science, social studies and English language arts, providing added value and convenience for teachers.…Read More

San Isidro Independent School District Leverages GEAR UP Grants to bring ClassVR to Students

Chicago — The San Isidro Independent School District in Texas is embracing the immersive power of virtual reality technology through implementation of the award-winning ClassVR VR/AR headsets in its middle and high school classrooms. The district leveraged federal GEAR UP Pathways to the Future grant funding to purchase ClassVR, which includes thousands of pieces of VR and AR content to support all subject areas. San Isidro ISD is among 13 school districts in Texas Region One Educational Services Center’s service area to have signed on with ClassVR using GEAR UP Pathways to the Future grants.

“The GEAR UP program has been great for bringing technology and training to our district,” said Cristobal Vela, GEAR UP facilitator for San Isidro ISD. “ClassVR provides an excellent opportunity to have students experience places that they otherwise would never be able to visit.”

English teachers, for example, are using ClassVR to immerse students in scenes from author John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” Social studies teachers are using it to take students on virtual field trips to big cities such as Times Square in New York City. In sixth and seventh grade science classes, students are using ClassVR to virtually go inside of an atom to see how it’s constructed.…Read More

How to find the right edtech tools for public schools

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Do public schools have the means to adopt the latest edtech for modern teaching? After all, the days of chalkboards and lightbulb-powered screen projectors are long gone. And with the popularity of smartphones and tablets, children are learning to interact with digital devices at younger ages.

Public schools must keep up with the modern times. This means investing in edtech to prepare kids for the real world.…Read More

Teacher shortages are worrying the majority of K-12 parents

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As the school year begins, an increasing share of U.S. parents are concerned about their children’s education and experience at school. More than half of parents (56 percent) say they are concerned that teachers are burned out to the point that teacher shortages will adversely affect their child’s education, according to the 2023 Back-to-School Study from Qualtrics.

Additionally, 45 percent expect to transport their children to school more often than in previous years because of bus driver shortages. Amid a national teacher shortage, 65 percent of parents report being concerned about their school’s ability to provide qualified educators.…Read More

Here’s why anecdotes are as important as data in edtech decisions

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From the moment they first set up shop centuries ago, businesses have depended on word-of-mouth to build their customer base–and today, word-of-mouth marketing is still the main driver of sales.

Ninety percent of consumers are more likely to trust a brand recommended by friends and influencers, while 46 percent of small businesses make choices regarding software purchases based on the experiences of their colleagues. Yet, when it comes to edtech, the consensus industry-wide is that recommendations from your peers mean nothing when compared to data points.…Read More

And the winners of the 2023 K-12 Hero Awards are…

eSchool Media is pleased to announce the three winners of the 2023 eSchool News K-12 Hero Awards, which honors educators for their exemplary use of innovative edtech to support student learning:

  • John Arthur, 6th grade teacher at Meadowlark Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Dr. Jesus Jara, superintendent of Clark County School District (CCSD) in Nevada
  • Tom Lamont, painting and design technology instructor at Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School (BVT) in Massachusetts 

Winners were chosen for their commitment to education despite obstacles–including achievement gaps, teacher burnout, and funding–and their creativity and innovation in helping all students continue learning while ensuring students felt safe, empowered, and engaged.

Nominations were judged by a panel of education experts, including Laura Ascione, eSchool News editorial director, and Eileen Belastock, CETL, Belastock Consulting. …Read More

District leaders: Act now to avoid financial disasters after COVID relief funding ends

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Among all institutions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, few faced challenges as profound and fast-moving as America’s public schools. But as many large organizations return to normal, school districts face a daunting challenge: key federal relief funds are set to expire next September. 

In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed the CARES and ARP Acts, which created and added to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Program (ESSER). In total, ESSER funding has provided $190 billion for K-12 school districts across the country–an amount that has surpassed the annual budget of the U.S. Department of Education in recent years. For many districts, ESSER funding has been instrumental in helping serve students’ heightened needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and allowed schools to avoid financial catastrophe. …Read More