Balancing SEL and classroom basics

As we enter our third year impacted by COVID, I predict that it is going to take schools three years to fully recover. After spending a year at home, my high school students are back in the classroom, and I am thrilled to be with them.

However, even beyond academic challenges, students also need to work on the basics of being a student, such as getting to class on time and not relying on their cell phone for answers. Here’s how I see teachers, administrators, and students working together to get school back to something resembling normal.

SEL will be essential for students and teachers.…Read More

The Steam Foundation Teams Up with MakerBot to Expand Access to 3D Printing for Students

January 14, 2022 — The Steam Foundation and MakerBot have teamed up to bring 3D printing to more students across the U.S. Founded by Aadhav Prabu and Akshar Raikanti, The Steam Foundation is a California-based nonprofit with a mission to make STEAM education equally accessible to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The organization, which is also run by a team of students, offers free workshops that teach 3D printing, robotics, graphic design, and coding to students as well as programs to help bring 3D printing into schools.

Prabu and Raikanti are currently juniors at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, Calif., and have been teaching 3D printing for years. They were inspired to start the organization after seeing how engaged students were in their 3D printing club in middle school.

“When Akshar and I ran the 3D printing club, we saw how excited students were for the chance to use the Replicator+. For some of them, it was the first time they had ever seen a 3D printer. We started The Steam Foundation to give more students the chance to learn about 3D printing,” said Prabu. “We’re fortunate to work with MakerBot, a company which has the same commitment toward 3D printing in education as we do.” MakerBot donated 3D printing equipment and materials to support the Foundation’s mission and programs.…Read More

Extron NAV & Streaming Systems Serve the Chef for St. Helena High’s Culinary Program

Anaheim, California (December 22, 2021) – St. Helena High School is a top-ranked institute of learning in California’s Napa Valley wine region. The county is filled with luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, such as The French Laundry. Because of this wealth of fine dining and high-end accommodations, the high school’s culinary classroom received a new AV system that enhances instruction on-site as well as for students attending from home. The school administrators brought in E.R.I.C. Low Voltage Services to design and program and Consolidated Networks Corporation to integrate a NAV Pro AV over IP system, along with the SMP 111 streaming media processor and other products from Extron. “Integration of Extron’s NAV Pro AV over IP system and the SMP 111 streaming processor lets the students at home be on the same page as those in the classroom,” says Brian Baesler, Program Manager at Consolidated Networks Corporation. “This makes the AV system just what the chef ordered.” St. Helena High’s culinary classroom includes six full commercial kitchens, and the instructor is Chef Karl Turner III. Originally, the students gathered around the outside of one kitchen to watch the professional chef prepare and plate the gourmet dishes. Now, a NAV Pro AVoIP system ties three broadcast-quality 4K HDMI PTZ cameras to the existing 55” displays, as well as provides content to the streaming system. An Extron NAV E 101 encoder mounted with each camera shares video from the chef’s grill/range station and the two food preparation stations. A fourth camera and encoder are being installed for a heads-on view of the chef at work. The chef’s PC and a TLP Pro 1225TG 12″ Tabletop TouchLink Pro Touchpanel are installed on a shelf beneath one of the prep tables, protecting them from heat and splashes. The PC is connected to an Extron NAV E 201 D wallplate HDMI encoder. To support the PC’s USB signals, an Extron MediaPort 200 HDMI and Audio to USB Scaling Bridge converts USB to HDMI. The bridge enhances the computer-sourced content for the students attending class from home.  The SMP 111 streaming media processor captures and distributes the camera feeds and other resources for selectable live streaming. Five Extron transmitters stream AV signals over the 1 Gbps Ethernet network. An Extron NetPA U 1004 power amplifier with Dante and DSP 100 watts per channel drives the 70 V distributed audio system. From concept to commissioning, the entire project was completed in two weeks. CNC credits this in part to Extron’s well-designed products and the support engineers. The administration is quite pleased with the success of the AV system upgrade in the culinary classroom, and Chef Turner III is happy with how easy it is to use. To read the full St. Helena High School Culinary Classroom case study, click here. Extron – The AV Technology Leader Every day, millions of people around the world are having their experiences enhanced by Extron audiovisual signal processing, distribution, and control solutions. We design advanced technologies to create better looking images, higher quality sound, systems that are easier to control and work more reliably. Our powerful asset management tools are helping technology professionals efficiently manage large numbers of audiovisual systems deployed throughout their enterprises and institutions. Extron AV technology solutions serve the diverse needs of organizations around the world and are deployed in a wide variety of corporate, educational, government, healthcare, retail, and entertainment applications. To learn more about Extron, click here. Extron®, NAV®, MediaPort®, and TouchLink® are registered trademarks of Extron. Dante® is a registered trademark of Audinate Pty Ltd.

Flinn Scientific’s New PAVO Platform Provides Comprehensive Instructional Solution to District-Level Science Programs

Batavia, Illinois, December 21, 2021 — To support school district science programs in delivering comprehensive content and customizable labs across science subject areas, Flinn Scientific recently launched the PAVO platform. This all-in-one solution for middle school, high school, and advanced science levels helps educators support digital and hands-on learning, facilitate inquiry-based exploration, and differentiate instruction using labs, embedded safety resources, test prep, formative and summative assessments, and multi-level reporting tools.  

“We wanted to figure out a way to bring all of the rich resources Flinn has under one umbrella to make it easy for educators to offer dynamic, hands-on learning in science classrooms. The PAVO platform brings an unparalleled depth and breadth to science instruction, while focusing on inquiry, investigation, and exploration,” said Michael Lavelle, CEO of Flinn Scientific. “In one platform, PAVO provides all of our digital resources and labs, accessible by grade or subject area, to help educators deeper engage students in hands-on and digital learning.” 

All of PAVO’s content is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards to ensure students are practicing and mastering key concepts in the major science areas, including chemistry, biology, environmental science, physics, physical science, life science, Earth and space science, and STEM. The content includes more than 7,000 customizable lessons, labs, assessments, and safety courses and certifications, as well as 3,200-plus instructional videos, lab videos, and augmented and virtual reality simulations that bring science to life for students.…Read More

7 tips for a strong remote learning strategy

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student engagement and online or hybrid learning strategies related to pandemic teaching. This year’s 9th most-read story focuses on strategies for impactful remote learning.

It’s halfway through the academic year, and schools across the United States are still wrestling with how to keep students enthusiastic about learning through a computer screen. According to a recent survey of high school students, more than half (54 percent) reported being less engaged during remote learning than during in-person classes.

In a virtual environment, educators are continually competing with diversions that aren’t present in the classroom, such as social media, television, and video games. Family distractions are also at play, particularly for older students who may care for younger siblings while parents are at work. Amid these disruptions, it can be challenging to get students to consistently log on, stay on, and participate in learning.…Read More

Discovery Education’s Science Techbook Approved for Statewide Use by South Carolina’s State Board of Education

Silver Spring, Md. (December 20, 2021)—Following a comprehensive evaluation, the  South Carolina State Board of Education has approved the  Discovery Education Science Techbook for the K-5 and 6-8 grade bands, plus high school Earth & Space science, for statewide use as a core instructional resource through its state adoption process. South Carolina’s adoption of the award-winning Science Techbook empowers the state’s school systems to integrate this innovative digital curriculum into teaching and learning.  Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.    

Delivered through  Discovery Education’s flexible K-12 platform, Science Techbook drives engagement with exclusive phenomena and interactive content. Virtual and hands-on investigations, STEM activities, and a variety of instructional supports that enhance the delivery of impactful, blended instruction in person or at a distance. 

Available with the Science Techbook are coordinated digital teacher guides offering unit, concept, and lesson overviews, standards connections, and differentiation activities to inform instructional planning and guide three-dimensional learning. Teacher editions also provide flexible pacing options, embedded teacher notes, and Pathways for Learning to address diverse learners.   …Read More

Stanley Black & Decker and Discovery Education Invite High School Students to Win $30,000 in Prizes from the Trade Champions Challenge

Silver Spring, Md. (Monday, December 13, 2021) – Supporting students on their pathway to STEM success, Stanley Black & Decker and Discovery Education invite students to join the new Trade Champions Challenge. The Challenge introduces students to the unique opportunities offered through trade careers, encouraging them to consider a new career or education path. Participation in the Challenge is supported by a suite of digital resources to make student engagement possible in an in-person or virtual learning environment.

The Trade Champions Challenge asks high school students to create a 30-60 second video explaining to their peers why they aspire to be a trade professional. Open through April 15, 2022, the entries will be judged on content, effective communication, and presentation skills by a panel of educators, as well as Discovery Education and Stanley Black & Decker representatives. Each of the top three winners will receive a Stanley Black & Decker prize pack, in addition to $15,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third place aimed at supporting their continued education. Learn more about the Trade Champions Challenge here.

The Trade Champions Challenge builds upon a Stanley Black & Decker and Discovery Education educational program – Innovation Generation – igniting, engaging, and empowering students to become makers through no-cost dynamic digital resources. Through real-world explorations in STEM, Innovation Generation cultivates students’ collaboration, problem solving, and creative thinking.…Read More

4 ways to use SEL to prepare students for life beyond high school

Preparing students for life beyond high school can mean many things. It can mean making sure they have the knowledge and technical skills needed for a specific job. Or helping them achieve the GPA or course requirements needed to get into a certain college or university. It should also mean focusing on what are sometimes called the “soft skills”–I call them “life skills.”

Life skills are the social and emotional skills that help someone succeed, both in academics and in life–skills like relationship-building, personal responsibility, and decision-making. When you start to look at what the ideal graduate looks like, they would have both academic and social and emotional skills.

I serve as principal of the 540-student Business Technology Early College High School (BTECH) in Queens, New York. Our focus is on underserved youth who are interested in careers in information technology and computers. We have many pathways and partnerships to help prepare students for college and career. …Read More

How to support older struggling readers

The reasons that students remain struggling readers in middle and high school are frequently based on myths and misconceptions.

The first big myth, based on reading assessment measures, is that comprehension is the problem. The majority of reading assessments and standardized tests for older students focus on reading comprehension measures without determining gaps in the essential components that lead to comprehension: decoding, fluency, and vocabulary. A low comprehension score doesn’t tell teachers what they need to know to intervene, yet the proposed solution is often more reading “strategies.” This is generally unsuccessful because, as stated by Dr. Anita Archer, “There is no reading strategy powerful enough to compensate for the fact that you can’t read the words.”

Decades of research have shown that effective readers have a solid and automatic knowledge of how to translate the sounds of our language to the print that represents those sounds. This begins with the sounds for consonants and vowels—called phoneme proficiency—and an understanding of how speech and print work together for reading and spelling. Without this foundation, the ability to develop accurate and automatic word recognition and fluency will always be limited.…Read More

4 ways a STEAM-centered curriculum is critical to youth education

A few months into the 2021-22 school year, teachers, parents, and students are once again confronted with the devastating reality of pandemic-prompted learning loss. The global health crisis forced students out of the physical classroom and into a new virtual world for nearly two grades, and their initial homework and test scores reveal a significant decrease in knowledge transfer, social skills, and core learning habits across a variety of subjects.

Within the first quarter of this school year, gaps in academic proficiencies such as reading, writing and math have become prevalent. Furthermore, many students are struggling to reacclimate to in-person classes after extended periods of online learning, and attendance rates have dropped as a result. And while high school students dream of a return to normalcy, college prep and career readiness is more fraught with confusion than ever before as the world of higher education and the occupational opportunities available post-graduation have been disrupted by the pandemic.

So how can educators restore the learning systems eroded by COVID-19? And how can they better support students and education communities across the country in their shared mission to empower and inspire the next generation of leaders and innovators with the skills needed to thrive in their future careers? The answer lies in the inclusion of arts in a STEM-centered curriculum.…Read More