110% humidity, 100% human collaboration

This summer, thousands of educators and vendors who serve education descended on New Orleans and braved 110% humidity for the first “back to normal” conference for the International Society of Technology in Education, or ISTE. After two virtual conferences, folks were excited to be back in person, and despite continued COVID protocols, hugs abounded as friends and colleagues reunited on the tradeshow floor and during sessions throughout the New Orleans convention center. 

My conference experience began at the Future Ready Library Summit on Collaboration where 150 librarians from across the country—and even overseas—gathered to brainstorm ways in which they could better collaborate with teachers, principals, district leadership, and each other. I had the opportunity to welcome the group and felt compelled to share a story about one of my previous visits to New Orleans in 2005, about a week after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. 

Back then, I worked as a television journalist in Oklahoma City. I traveled with the Army to New Orleans to cover the search, rescue, and recovery missions.  While there, we slept in the Walmart parking lot in the Ninth Ward. I had to wear a mask (many years before masks were the norm) and put Vicks VapoRub under my nose to combat the smell of the flood water and waste. My videographer smoked cigarettes at the time, and I found myself standing next to him because the cigarettes smelled better than the air (and I’ve never had a cigarette in my life)!…Read More

YouScience Releases National Student Ability Report, Indicates Widening Gap Between Students Aptitudes and Workforce Needs

AMERICAN FORK, Utah, July 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —  YouScience, the leading student engagement platform that leverages data science to improve student success and bridge the divide between education and careers, today announced the release of a new national report, ” State of The Future U.S. Workforce: Student Ability Report.” The findings reveal that students have the aptitudes, or talent, to excel in today’s in-demand jobs, but often lack interest in these fields, in some cases due to lack of knowledge about available careers. There is a critical need to address this career exposure gap. In doing so it can help engage students towards an educational pathway that results in career success.

The Report findings are an analysis of anonymized data from the YouScience Discovery aptitude assessment taken by 239,843 male and female U.S. high school students during the 2021 school year. The students represent all 50 states. YouScience Discovery uses psychometrically valid brain game-like exercises combined with an inventory of interests to uncover students’ aptitudes. Unlike interest-only surveys, aptitude assessments measure abilities, such as numerical reasoning, comprehension, spatial visualization, inductive reasoning, and sequential reasoning, to show how a person performs in given areas. Moreover, unlike interests, aptitudes don’t change and stabilize around age 14,  according to research

“This latest data paints a critical picture for industry and education: the skills gap is widening. Plus, it is widening at an increasingly rapid rate which impacts every aspect of our economy. Students must be better aligned to and prepared for the future needs of our workforce. We know students have the talent, but they are not being adequately exposed to the career pathways wherein they possess natural skills and where they have the most potential to thrive,” said Edson Barton, Founder and CEO of YouScience. “The good news is there is still time to close the gap and help all students become more engaged in their educational journeys and futures through early aptitude assessment and proper career guidance and exploration.”…Read More

Are you tackling the durable skills challenge?

 A new effort to evaluate the “durable” skills that lead to success and achievement in the 21st century workforce was launched this spring by nonprofit organizations America Succeeds and CompTIA.

America Succeeds and CompTIA are collaborating on ways to integrate durable skills into education pathways – in the classroom for future workers and in employee training for individuals already in the workforce – to prepare them for success in their careers and communities.

“Durable skills are the skills that last a lifetime, the skills that you use to demonstrate what you know and the skills that employers are looking for,” said Tim Taylor, co-founder and president of America Succeeds, a national nonprofit that is committed to engaging business leaders in accelerating equity, access, and opportunity in education.…Read More

5 steps to an engaging online elementary program

Elementary education is the foundation for early learning, providing students with the skills and community they need for future success in school and life. Thanks to today’s technology, helping them start on the right foot is easier than ever – especially with online learning opportunities.

Online learning has become a growing trend among K-12 students, including elementary students. In fact, we successfully launched our own online elementary schools, which grew by 10,000 students over the past four years.

If you are a school or district leader looking to build an online elementary program, knowing where to start can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are five steps that helped our teams successfully build and maintain an online elementary program that drives student and parent engagement:…Read More

Remote possibilities: Successful strategies for virtual teaching and learning

In this episode of Innovations in Education, hosted by Kevin Hogan:

  • 3 ways telepresence robots are impacting learning
  • How to ensure digital equity in online testing
  • Blended and hybrid learning–the future of education

…Read More

3 ways telepresence robots are impacting learning

Edtech is having a renaissance, driven by necessity. Ten years ago it was not commonplace to see a Technology Director on staff at an elementary school, let alone a Technology Integration Specialist. Times are changing. The global pandemic has created an immediate need for better edtech solutions in our schools due to increased awareness around ensuring the health and wellness of students and staff. 

Technology teams in schools are working with edtech companies to bring cutting-edge technology into the classroom, providing real-time solutions to long-term problems. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during 2013–2015, 3.9 percent of boys and 4.3 percent of girls missed more than 10 school days in 12 months because of illness or injury. Traditional tutoring only brings these students 4-5 hours of home instruction, whereas telepresence can provide these same children with 30-40 hours of classroom instruction. Advancements in edtech are helping kids stay connected at school, even during these uncertain times.

Modernizing the Classroom…Read More

3 ways to address teacher burnout

A teacher’s job is to educate the young people who will shape our future world. What profession could be more important?

Yet a recent survey by Merrimack College shows that 44 percent of teachers indicate they are very likely or fairly likely to leave the profession within the next two years. Another 2022 survey by the National Education Association found that 90 percent of teachers think teacher burnout is a very serious or somewhat serious issue.

Teachers have faced many challenges before, but the last three years have presented a steady stream of challenges, from a global pandemic to heart-wrenching events happening around our world and close to home. In order to proactively prevent further teacher burnout and demonstrate that we value our nation’s teachers, this is the time to ensure we are surrounding teachers with support at all levels–from within the classroom to our greater communities.…Read More

Education’s future? Blended and hybrid learning

Blended and hybrid learning models are life-changing for many students, extending personalized and flexible learning options to select individuals or groups.

But with onset of the pandemic, widespread adoption of blended and hybrid models suddenly became a necessity across all student populations.

Two years later, how have districts overcome the initial challenges and applied the lessons learned to re-imagine teaching and learning and develop an innovative vision for change in their school communities?…Read More

How to block school security threats now–and in the future

The typical K-12 school system has the same basic security needs as any modern university campus: centralized management and control of security systems and procedures, and a strategy for staying ahead of threats while protecting earlier investments. In both cases, the latest open-architecture Physical Access Control System (PACS) solutions offer an infrastructure that is flexible, scalable, and can easily be upgraded to strengthen security and add capabilities without changing the hardware.

Building a Future-Safe Foundation

A future-safe PACS infrastructure operates with any access control software and add-on solutions ranging from parking gates to additional IT security. This requires a highly flexible and non-proprietary open-architecture framework with modern security protocols, technology interoperability, and open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that enable hardware to be integrated into any access control system software or security application.…Read More

6 tools to help kids learn coding and robotics

Introducing students to coding and robotics gives them early exposure to STEM in general. This early exposure, according to research, is key to the future of the workforce.

Aside from the cool factor K-12 coding and robotics offers, students will learn a number of skills they’ll take with them well into adulthood, including creativity, problem solving, and the ability to fail without quitting. These skills stick around even if students don’t pursue STEM-related study paths or careers later in their lives.

Coding and robotics can be introduced in any subject, with a little creativity.…Read More