Is the education system working?

PISA, the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, measures 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics, and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges. Its league table of results suggests which of the 90 participating countries have been able to improve their education system and student performance.

But when we look back at people throughout history who have made a significant impact on society, it’s not their school reading, math, or science test results that measure their success.

One well known winner of the Nobel Prize for physics was told by his teacher at school that he would ‘never amount to anything.’ For Albert Einstein, it was his fascination with the invisible forces that deflected a compass needle and a book on science that ignited his lifelong fascination with the world around him. But how do we strike a balance between the core curriculum and the invaluable importance of developing a child’s hard and soft skills, their curiosity, and their creativity?…Read More

Poptential™ Free Curriculum Brings History Alive for Independence Day

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — (May 6, 2022) — Poptential™, a family of free social studies course packages that pair pop culture media with engaging digital storytelling, provides teachers and students media-rich lessons on the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence, celebrated July 4. Click to tweet.

“While the Declaration of Independence was adopted 246 years ago, the heroes guiding the birth of our nation are brought to life in popular culture, which appeals to today’s digitally-savvy learner, and can make teaching more effective and relevant,” said Fred Fransen, CEO of Certell, Inc., the maker of Poptential.

Poptential courses, used by more than 30,000 teachers in 50 states, include everything instructors need to teach a subject, digitally accessible in one place, including lessons, ebooks, bell ringers, quizzes, and tests, as well as pop culture media to make lessons interesting and relatable to students. Curriculum packages are standards-based and developed by social studies teachers.…Read More

Bringing our history to light can improve our students’ futures

In November 2021, the Institute for Education Innovation (IEI) held its Fall Superintendent Summit at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.–one of the most stunning resorts in the U.S.

But as with many of the nation’s iconic landmarks, from The White House to Harvard University, the legacy of The Greenbrier is directly tied to the greatest stain on our nation’s legacy: the enslavement of Black people. During the Summit, we invited Toni Ogden and Janice Cooley of the Greenbrier County Historical Society to provide a historical context of our surroundings.

The original resort was built in 1858 largely by enslaved people, and as late as 1910, when the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway acquired the property, the company continued to exploit Black workers. African American staff members were expected to cater to the whims of white guests in the style of the old plantations before returning home to overwhelming poverty.…Read More

Discovery Education and Social Impact Partners Offer Educators and Students No-Cost Resources Supporting Women’s History Month Celebrations

Silver Spring, MD (Thursday, March 3, 2022) — Discovery Education and leading social impact partners are offering engaging, no-cost digital learning resources to students, teachers, and families to support Women’s History Month observances nationwide. Discovery Education is honoring the incredible accomplishments of women leaders during Women’s History Month and beyond with STEM-focused resources encouraging young women everywhere to reach their fullest potential. Discovery Education is the worldwide EdTech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.  

Under the 2022 theme of “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope” these curated resources from Discovery Education introduce students to the women leaders whose innovations make the world a better place for all. Among the resources created in collaboration with leading social impact partners are:    

Career Profiles 
Meet the women cybersecurity experts working to keep us all safe online in the career profiles from Girls4Tech – Mastercard’s signature science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program supported by Discovery Education. Geared towards giving girls in middle and high school access to STEM resources and career exploration tools, this program dives deeply into the topics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cyber security. …Read More

How teachers can make history current this Presidents’ Day

Social Studies teachers seem to have an impossible challenge: take events that happened hundreds or thousands of years ago and make them relevant to today’s teens. That explains why only about half of middle and high school students say they are engaged in what they are learning in school most of the time, according to recent research from Project Tomorrow.

Presidents’ Day is a great opportunity to turn this around. The key is understanding what gets students jazzed and adapting lessons to fit their preferences.

There are many reasons for the lack of interest in history and other subjects. Teachers worry that it’s hard for them to compete with smartphones and the type of entertaining content that students can access at any time, including TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. …Read More

Honoring Black History Month by Celebrating Black STEM Leaders with Career Readiness Resources for Students from the STEM Careers Coalition

Silver Spring, MD (Tuesday, February 2, 2022) — The STEM Careers Coalition™ – the first-of-its-kind national STEM initiative powered by corporate leaders and anchored in schools by Discovery Education – is connecting students to a curated collection of dynamic careers content celebrating Black leaders in STEM during Black History Month and beyond. The array of on-demand resources and an engaging event both introduce and deepen students’ connections to STEM through real-world content. Discovery Education is the worldwide EdTech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. 

Building on the achievement of reaching 4.5 million students in its mission to support the next generation of diverse STEM solution-seekers, the Coalition presents a robust array of career profiles featuring diverse leaders across various industries and job roles. Included in the curated collection are career profile videos featuring Black leaders like science communications manager Nicole Epps at Procter and Gamble (P&G), Microsoft program manager Wadood Daoud, engineering project manager Antoine Sands at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), reliability engineer Korede Oluwasuji at Stanley Black & Decker, and many more. The videos are accompanied by career preparatory materials engaging students in the world of STEM by helping them focus on their career goals with simple strategies, roadmaps, and other easy-to-use digital tools. Learn more here

Students, educators, and families can take the learning further with a Hands-On STEM event on February 22nd featuring Coalition partners the American Petroleum Institute and P&G. The action-packed event empowers the next generation of STEM solution seekers with the skills they need to take on some of the planet’s greatest sustainability challenges. Host Brandon Okpalobi will introduce students to a local or global issue, explore why it is happening, connect with inspiring people working to find solutions, and help student solution seekers uncover their own potential with exciting Hands-On STEM activities. Register for the event here…Read More

7 Black History Month resources for February and beyond

During Black History Month, educators have the opportunity to delve into the difficult–and often uncomfortable–experiences of Black people in the U.S. and around the world.

Perhaps one of the most important “do’s” is this: Don’t limit your teaching of Black history to the month of February.

Check out these learning resources (last year’s resources are available here) to get started in February and to plan out how to include Black history in your teaching throughout the academic year.…Read More

3 resources for building engaging paperless lessons

As an inner-city U.S. History teacher of 17 years, I often reflect on my instructional practice in an effort to find new ways to improve. As I recently reviewed some of the videos I have of own instructional practice, I was struck by the massive amounts of paper-based assignments being handed out and collected.

While COVID-19 has forced educators to rapidly embrace digital resources, I have taken the opportunity to lean deeply into “green instruction” and attempt to go completely paperless. Thankfully, when the Duval County Public Schools went completely virtual in 2020, our district put into place a host of digital learning applications teachers could use to support blended instruction.  While my district has thankfully gone back to in-person teaching and learning, the resources we used to teach in the remote or hybrid environment are now supporting efforts to move to paperless teaching and learning.

A good example of what paperless lessons can look like in practice can be seen in how I teach my students about the history of D-Day. As the Team Historian for the Round Canopy Parachuting Team USA—an organization dedicated to honoring America’s paratrooper by performing the same types of parachute jumps that occurred on D-Day—I had access to a treasure trove of materials about the Allied landing in Europe.  Using these resources, I created a unique digital lesson on the history of D-Day using content from Discovery Education and the Airborne Special Operations Museum Foundation.…Read More

Virtual, Interactive Expeditions for Black History Month Provide Students with a Diverse and Multi-Dimensional Look at African Americans Throughout History

North Mankato, Minn. (January 28, 2022) – The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration, a veteran expert and thought leader in the virtual learning space, today launched a Black History Month package of fresh and engaging virtual and interactive real-world expeditions for students that cover significant historical, cultural and societal events.

CILC’s 10 virtual fieldtrips transcend other well-intentioned, but often one-dimensional and overly simplified narratives of African American historical figures by providing students with a detailed look at the encounters, achievements, and heroism of everyday African Americans throughout history. In addition to the Civil Rights Era, the fieldtrips cover everything from the American Revolution and its relationship to enslaved African Americans to the impacts of sharecropping and homesteading for Black farmers and western communities to the struggle for racial equality in the military during World War II. These “trips” also examine the meaning of race, the history of jazz, and the myths and misconceptions of Africa.

“These interactive, virtual learning programs break down the walls of the classroom and transport students back into history to witness the generations of African Americans who both struggled and triumphed throughout our country’s history, while also bringing to light current situations that many Black individuals still experience today,” said Glenn Morris, CILC’s executive director. …Read More

With family engagement, universal pre-K will be a success in 2022

The next few years could be a turning point for those of us involved in early education, and even for education in general. As part of the American Families Plan, President Biden is aiming to set aside $200 billion to make universal pre-K a reality for the first time in this country’s history. It’s a large investment with a laudable goal, and it will no doubt help millions of children and their families if it passes.

For all the good it will undoubtedly do, however, it will ultimately fail in its goal to prepare all children for kindergarten if we don’t also focus on engaging families in their children’s academic lives.

Family engagement will be crucial to successful early education…Read More