Here’s why civics education should teach students how to self-govern

In April, Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch called for improving civics education, saying the future of the republic depends on it. Indeed, the United States has never needed civics education more. The differences between opposing parties on the governing principles of our country are greater today than at any time in our history, even during the Civil War.

That’s not hyperbole. Looking at the Constitution of the Confederate States, it’s clear that both sides felt they were defending the U.S. Constitution. On the other hand, today’s battle is between two opposing views of how we govern ourselves.

There is a lot at stake. Congress is debating major changes to the core constitutional principle of checks and balances by increasing the number of Supreme Court justices and abolishing the electoral college. If implemented, these ideas would fundamentally change the Constitution. Our citizens, especially our student citizens, should understand the ramifications, whether they believe the country needs such dramatic changes or not.…Read More

5 ways IT leaders can inspire digital transformation post-pandemic

The past year propelled IT teams and leadership into the spotlight with never-before-seen digital transformation and multi-year technology plans executed practically overnight. After a year of awe-inspiring progress, Hillsborough County Public Schools CTO Jeremy Bunkley believes K-12 IT leaders need to keep the momentum going to ensure the year’s gains translate to long lasting technology and culture transformation.

A veteran IT leader and change agent, Bunkley embraced the pandemic’s challenges as a catalyst for district transformation. After building a collaborative ecosystem of partners, he executed some of the largest technology projects in the district’s history in a span of only 11 months, including migrating to a new, more effective email client, increasing technology staff through additional federal funding opportunities, creating the blueprint for a dark fiber WAN, and overhauling the district’s Wi-Fi network to a cloud solution.

Additionally, Bunkley worked directly with an OEM–a move rarely leveraged in K-12–to design custom Windows laptops tailored to the needs of district students and the technology environment, enabling HCPS to roll out 190,000 devices with a focus on 1:1 in grades second through twelfth while saving the district $5.6M. Future projects on the horizon include building a private LTE network and integrating application usage data analytics.…Read More

8 awesome podcasts for kids, families, and teachers

As podcasts skyrocket in popularity, news buffs and true crime addicts shouldn’t have all the fun. There are a growing number of podcasts for kids, covering topics from SEL and history to book clubs and brain challenges.

Below, we’ve collected a handful of fun and engaging podcasts for kids. You might be inspired to incorporate them into your virtual, hybrid, or in-person classroom when appropriate.

1. Ooh! You’re in Trouble: Ooh! You’re in Trouble is a podcast for tweens, parents, and teachers about the rules we broke growing up…and what those moments teach kids about making smart decisions when grownups aren’t around. Each episode features young people sharing stories of a moment they broke the rules growing up. The series explores why kids defy rules and what we can learn from it. …Read More

Defining Future Ready by reflecting on the past

Confession: I’m a bit of a hoarder. I’ve kept every email, text message, and document I’ve ever written.  It’s probably the journalist in me. Or it’s being the daughter of two antique collectors and the granddaughter of a collector of everything. 

Yet quite often, calling on history can help us make more informed decisions about the present. 

As I reflected on the structure of this article, my archived files got some exercise as I reflected on the origins of Future Ready Librarians® and why the journey we took to create the program has never been more important than today. …Read More

Cox Business Brings High Speed Fiber Connectivity to Historical Jamestowne Island To Provide Virtual Explorations of the James Fort and Archaearium

30,000 students from 175 schools in 27 states have experienced the immersive demonstration powered by the new optical fiber connectivity

ATLANTA and JAMESTOWN, Va., April 16, 2021 — England’s first permanent colony in North America, Historical Jamestowne Island, is modernizing with the help of Cox Business. The 411-year-old staple in American history now has high-speed, optical fiber internet, enhancing the visitor experience – both on-site and virtually.

Today, Historical Jamestowne Island and Cox Business will present a virtual trip for King’s Grant Elementary School from Virginia Beach, VA. In attendance and making remarks will be Congresswoman Elaine Luria, who represents Virginia’s second district, Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni and Virginia Chief Broadband Advisor Evan Feinman.…Read More

Twig Education Announces Launch of Twig Create Multimedia Makerspace

The company is offering a limited number of invitations to educators to engage students in knowledge building and understanding through creative agency and inclusion.

“The pandemic has shed light on the need for student agency and inclusion, along with an emphasis on content-rich knowledge to support language learning effectively in literacy, history, social science, and science applications,” said Catherine Cahn, the CEO of Twig Education. “Twig Create inspires students’ enjoyment of the filmmaking process to help them develop a desire to deepen learning, resulting in dramatically reduced learning loss.”

Through inclusive topic- and standards-aligned tasks, Twig Create’s digital features empower students to build knowledge and develop language proficiencies through film and voiceover editing using music, visual and video sources, and text. The Twig Create makerspace encourages students’ creative agency in a number of ways:…Read More

Rise Vision Creates Free Women’s History Month Posters for Schools

 In honor of Women’s History Month, Rise Vision has released 9 FREE Women’s History Month posters for schools to print out, share on their digital signage, websites, and social media, or use in their classrooms and lesson plans. 

The posters are available for download in high-resolution JPG and landscape and portrait-oriented PDFs.

“Our aim is to support K-12 teachers who are looking for teaching resources or ideas for lesson plans. These posters are a visual way to spark conversations around Women’s History Month. We hope they will be a great compliment to other teaching material that schools are using.” Shea Darlison, Head of Revenue …Read More

BetterLesson Appoints Seasoned Educational Technology Leader Matthew Kennard as CEO

BetterLesson, a leading provider of high quality virtual and in-person K-12 professional learning, announces Matthew Kennard as its new CEO. In this role, Kennard will guide BetterLesson’s accelerating growth and focus on scaling the business’ operations to meet demand. With Kennard adding operational expertise, BetterLesson co-founders Erin Osborn and Alex Grodd will concentrate on forging large-scale partnerships, iterating on existing products, and driving future product development.

“Matt is an experienced leader with deep domain expertise and insights. His long history of successful collaboration with school districts combined with deep user empathy for teachers and administrators make him a uniquely perfect fit for leading BetterLesson,” said Tory Patterson, BetterLesson board member and Managing Director at Owl Ventures.

BetterLesson launched in 2008 with a mission to provide a simple way for educators to connect and share high-quality lesson plans. Since then, the organization has grown into a professional development leader with a team that possesses extensive educational experience and a deep-seated commitment to equity in education. Trusted by thousands of educators and hundreds of schools, districts, and organizations, BetterLesson’s professional learning services are action-oriented, evidence-based, collaborative, and tailored to the needs of individual teachers and the students in their classrooms.…Read More

Interactive Field Trips Offered to Educators for Black History Month, President’s Day, Women’s History Month and Earth Day

In preparation for several upcoming significant historical, cultural and societal events, the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) has curated a list of live, interactive virtual field trips that educators can access to enrich discussions surrounding Black History Month, President’s Day, Women’s History Month and Earth Day. The diverse list of interactive learning experiences ranges from an immersive underground railroad experience to an exploration of women war reporters who have made indelible marks in the world of journalism. Several of the offerings are free to the public, while others have a fee associated.

Virtual expeditions have gained in popularity in recent years and even more so since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic. What sets CILC and its content collaborators’ programs apart from traditional web-based experiences (prerecorded) is the live interactive aspect. Museum curators, historians, authors, researchers, and other expert instructors engage directly with students during the virtual field trip to create a richer learning environment. The selections below offer an engaging resource to educators who want to expand their curriculum in a unique and authentic manner.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH, FEBRUARY 2021…Read More

Rise Vision Creates Free Black History Month Posters for Schools

In honor of Black History Month, Rise Vision has released 10 FREE Black History Month posters for schools to print out, share on their digital signage, websites, and social media, or use in their classrooms and lesson plans.

The posters are available for download in high-resolution JPG and landscape and portrait-oriented PDFs.

“As a software company that supports K12 schools, we live and breathe technology development and all things education. For Black History Month, we want to help raise the visibility of unsung contributors to U.S. and world history.” Shea Darlison, Head of Marketing…Read More