How text and voice apps are changing student engagement

The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in some major changes for educators across the globe. Classes became virtual, as did most everything else, and administrators, teachers, and students alike received a crash course on the finer points of digital learning technology. As a result, digital transformation is no longer an alien concept–it’s a reality that everyone has had to embrace with open arms.

Although Zoom made a lion’s share of the headlines over the last year, other innovative new tools and concepts were also hard at work filling the gaps between students and teachers. One such technology, developed by Mote Technologies, is a Google Chrome extension enabling teachers to leave voice notes and feedback on documents, assignments, and emails via Google Classroom, Gmail, Google Docs, and more.

Thanks to the likes of Clubhouse, voice apps are extremely popular right now. However, they aren’t just being used for social purposes. Teachers are turning to voice apps like Mote to give students richer and more meaningful feedback on homework assignments. Of Mote’s 1 million users, most are teachers and students.…Read More

A national esports effort aims to ‘change the trajectory’ for students

As a student, video gamer and flight instructor Hudson Davis was often bored in school. He found that many classes provided only a surface-level understanding of key topics—and he was doing a lot of self-directed learning outside of class to explore topics he was passionate about.

“School should do a better job of allowing students to dig into those subjects that interest them,” Davis said. “Many kids just don’t get the opportunity to do that.”

Davis’s experience isn’t unusual. Even before the pandemic, many students felt disengaged from school. The shift to remote learning through platforms such as Zoom and Google Meets has only intensified the problem, creating what Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, called an “unparalleled crisis for today’s teens.”…Read More

ManagedMethods Launches Industry-leading Student Cyber Safety Monitoring Powered by Artificial Intelligence

ManagedMethods, the leading Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity, student safety, and compliance platform for K-12 school districts, today announced the launch of its Signals student safety monitoring feature.

Signals by ManagedMethods is an AI-powered student safety monitoring feature that helps administrators detect when a student is in crisis and in danger of potentially harming themselves. It does this by monitoring district Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 accounts for distress signals, and hidden cries for help. Upon detection, Signals sends alerts to designated school administrators in real-time. These alerts include the information needed to understand the incident, allowing for quick response to a student in need.

“We have put a tremendous amount of effort into developing the K-12 education industry’s leading AI technology for student safety monitoring over this past year,” said Charlie Sander, Chief Executive Officer at ManagedMethods. “Student safety is such an important focal point in making—and keeping—schools safe. We’re proud to see Signals already making a positive impact on students and staff in schools today.”…Read More

How to teach coding and robotics from home

When our school shut down in March, initially, it was for a two-week period. I thought, “Well, this isn’t too bad, we can do a few coding activities from Code.org or maybe put together some Google Slides presentations for when we return.”

Then, two weeks turned into the end of April and my plan had to change.

As the technology teacher in our district, I felt I was adept at communicating with my students online (we are a Google Apps for Education school, and I’ve been a Google Classroom user since its beginnings), but I knew others in our district weren’t quite as tech savvy. I put together a few tutorial videos on how to use Google Classroom, Google Meet, and Zoom for our staff members to use to reach out to their students.…Read More

MobileMind Launches ‘MobileMind HQ’ for Customized, Managed Educator Training

MobileMind, the most innovative Google professional learning solution for schools, announces the launch of MobileMind HQ, a single hub for creating, managing, and reporting training and compliance activities. With MobileMind HQ, school and district leaders can customize professional learning paths, create custom training courses, track completion and ensure compliance.

“As a group of former teachers and administrators, the MobileMind team understands the number of training and compliance initiatives that are required throughout a given year – MobileMind HQ simplifies the process,” said Tyce Miller, founder and CEO at MobileMind. “Our goal with MobileMind HQ is to simplify the lives of our school and district partners through our innovative and intuitive technology.”

Features of MobileMind HQ include:…Read More

Mentoring Minds Joins Google for Education Partner Program

  Mentoring Minds, a leading provider of K12 instructional and critical thinking materials, today announced it has been certified as a Google for Education Integrated Solutions Partner, integrating the ThinkUp! Standards Mastery System with Google Classroom. This collaboration simplifies the process of managing assignments and synchronizing students’ grades and schedules.

“Whether instruction is taking place online, in-person or a mix of both, districts are working tirelessly to create effective learning environments, and it’s our goal to support them in the process,” said Shad Madsen, CEO at Mentoring Minds. “As a certified Google for Education partner, Mentoring Minds can make accessing coursework easier for teachers and students.”

As a Google for Education Partner, Mentoring Minds is integrating the  ThinkUp! Standards Mastery System with Google Classroom. Key features include:…Read More

Can AR be the antidote to virtual classroom shortcomings?

Schools across the country are well into their second go-round of distance learning at this point. Things seem to be running more smoothly than the first attempt last spring–however, we are still experiencing growing pains to say the least.

Students, parents, and educators have all expressed serious concerns regarding distance learning. In a survey done by The Education Trust, a statewide poll found that 90 percent of parents are worried about their children falling behind academically due to coronavirus-related school closures.

One of the most difficult adjustments to this change, especially for teachers, has been the adoption of digital tools that aid distance learning. We’ve all become much more acquainted with Zoom and Google Meets.…Read More

ManagedMethods Launches Google Classroom Monitoring & Reporting

ManagedMethods, a leading Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity, student safety and compliance platform for K-12 school districts, today announced the launch of its new Google Classroom monitoring and reporting features. District IT teams now have the ability to track Google Classroom from the same cybersecurity and student safety platform that monitors their other G Suite for Education applications.

“K-12 education is undergoing a major shift as students and teachers begin the school year in remote or hybrid learning environments. For IT admins, this is creating new technology, access, and security challenges,” said Charlie Sander, Chief Executive Officer at ManagedMethods. “Our new Google Classroom features will give IT teams the visibility and control needed to support teachers during these challenging times, while protecting students when learning remotely.”

District IT administrators now have access to the following Google Classroom monitoring and reporting features—from one easy-to-use platform:…Read More

4 “musts” when vetting third-party vendors

Cybersecurity continues to be top of mind in new ways that we might not have considered during “normal” times. One area that needed our attention then and now is vendor management. Especially with the mad dash over the summer to get many districts ready for at least some remote learning, there are a lot of new third-party vendors on the scene.

Pre-COVID, third-party vendors for schools and districts meant everything from transportation systems and student information platforms to applications like PowerSchool, Quizlet, and Google Classroom. Post-COVID, the term references all of that–plus things like COVID tracking and tracing programs.

Related content: 3 ways to improve online learning security…Read More

Vernier and SAM Labs Help Teachers Incorporate Science and Coding into Instruction

Middle school teachers can now integrate science lessons with data collection and coding using new packages from Vernier Software & Technology and SAM Labs. Each new topic-based package—comprised of a Go Direct sensor, SAM Labs output blocks, and ready-to-go activities within the Google Workbench programming platform—engages students in scientific discovery and introductory block-based coding.

“The new Vernier Coding with SAM Labs packages provide a cost-effective solution for teachers looking to introduce data collection and entry-level coding using SAM Labs with Vernier sensors,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “The packages are versatile in that teachers can use them for in-person instruction or in a hybrid learning model. For the latter, students collect data that interacts with their output blocks in class or borrow the package for use at home.”

Each package is designed to help students explore a specific scientific topic, such as temperature, magnetism, sound, force, and motion. Students use each packages’ corresponding Go Direct sensor—Go Direct Temperature, Go Direct 3-Axis Magnetic Field, Go Direct Sound, Go Direct Force and Acceleration, and Go Direct Motion, respectively—with the SAM Labs output blocks as they complete their step-by-step lesson.…Read More