Phenix City Schools Awarded Cognia STEM Certification

Phenix City, Ala. (August 4, 2022) — Phenix City Schools (PCS) are now STEM certified, becoming the largest and fourth district in the nation. Every school in the PCS system earned Cognia’s STEM Certification in June.

According to Cognia, its STEM Certification Program, “guides leaders with a specific framework and improvement process, culminating in recognition for programs that demonstrate a strong and effective STEM focus… These standards, which Cognia identified through robust research and extensive observations, focus on characteristics like problem-based experiential learning and the integration of
STEM thinking into a broad range of activities and learning opportunities.”

PCS met and exceeded each of the standards and expectations set forth by Cognia. Cognia recognizes and certifies PCS’ STEM program:…Read More

Reaching the 4Cs with 3D and virtual reality

I thought I was ahead of the times when I acquired virtual reality headsets and other
mixed reality technology via a grant award in late 2019. The pandemic shutdowns halted my plans to use the acquired virtual reality headsets for virtual field trips and other STEM investigations. Returning to in-person learning just six months later, the prospect of utilizing this tech for meaningful integration seemed more daunting and less appealing.

Feedback from my students revealed that they had already consumed hours of 360° views while gaming on their home computers and were well versed in digital travel because teachers frequently used video tours as engagement tools during the pandemic.

To overcome my discouragement, I recalled that in 2020, Natale et al. published a review of recent research related to learning with virtual reality and concluded that VR is not as impactful on learning when done with non-immersive tools such as the Chromebooks students were issued when they were forced into distance learning. …Read More

How I use digital curriculum in my math classroom

Prior to the COVID pandemic, technology integration in my high school math classroom was mainly used in two ways: discovery-based activities and homework assignments. Finding applicable resources for discovery-based learning that would fit into existing lesson plans was not always easy.

Along with that, the curriculum supplement that came with our new textbooks was starting to replace some of the traditional paper-and-pencil work that we had been doing. Being suddenly thrust into distance and hybrid learning situations for the next year and a half pushed me to find additional, more efficient ways to blend technology integration into my teaching.

In this article, I am going to briefly cover some of the tools and practices that I found to be most useful, in all classroom settings, as I continue to try to move toward an effective blended learning style.…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

Microsoft and Optoma Partner to Offer Cloud Based Remote Management Solution for Audio Visual Displays

LAS VEGAS, June 8, 2022 – Optoma, a world-leading manufacturer of large visual display products, and the #1 DLP brand worldwide,* today announced its cloud version of the Optoma Management Suite (OMS)™, an intuitive display management solution, powered by Microsoft Azure, to streamline operations by monitoring, diagnosing, and controlling audio visual displays worldwide via a single platform.

Complimenting Optoma’s award-winning display products, the OMS remote management solution is compatible with other displays that are connected via PJLink, enabling easy integration into existing display fleets while offering differing levels of access and control for users, ensuring devices are securely managed.

“The collaboration with Optoma and Microsoft marks an important milestone in our IoT business’ partnership and boosts Optoma’s capabilities to focus on end customers and IoT operations at scale,” notes Jenna Lee, Head of Asia Technical Sales – Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions at Microsoft. “In strengthening our IoT partnership with Optoma through Azure IoT services, we aim to serve and empower Optoma’s IoT ambitions to enhance existing businesses, develop new opportunities at the global scale, and bring the best IoT solutions to the market.”…Read More

New Resources Supporting the Integration of Minecraft: Education Edition into Classroom Instruction Now Available from Discovery Education

SILVER SPRING, MD (Tuesday, May 3, 2022) Discovery Education today announced the availability of a host of new resources designed to support the integration of Minecraft: Education Edition (M:EE) into classroom instruction. Accessible through Discovery Education’s award-winning K-12 platform, these resources complement M:EE’s ability to inspire student exploration, experimentation, and expression. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.

The Minecraft: Education Edition Channel, now available within the Discovery Education platform, provides educators useful lesson plans as well as ready-to-use activities that support students as they explore Minecraft Worlds and uncover important subject area content and skills. Furthermore, students can demonstrate creativity and showcase evidence of learning through an editable showcase board built within Discovery Education’s content creation tool, Studio. With Discovery Education’s dynamic set of learning supports, educators have a new set of resources supporting the integration of M:EE into Discovery Education’s math, SEL, STEM, and science lessons.

Connecting educators to a vast collection of high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources, Discovery Education’s K-12 platform facilitates engaging, daily instruction in any learning environment. …Read More

Introducing a new State and District Data Validation Tool for SKYWARD® Users

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – APRIL 6, 2022 – Level Data, Inc. announces a new suite of data validation tools for districts using the Skyward brand Student Information System (SIS). Level Data is a privately-held SaaS Company working with over 1,200 school districts and more than 5 million students using their data validation, data integration and reporting products.

Public School Administrators and student data specialists everywhere understand that submitting accurate data to federal and state agencies is absolutely essential for their district to receive all the funding they are entitled to from many government sources. State submission specialists at school districts are under significant pressure to secure all the funding they possibly can to bolster their local budgets.

Also of critical importance, data-driven decision-making has proven to be key in providing the highest quality of education to students. These decisions that can positively affect curriculum and other strategies are only as good as the quality of the underlying data. Simply put, districts that do not actively focus on maintaining the highest quality data face a substantial performance and economic disadvantage.…Read More

A teacher’s tips for effective edtech integration

It’s clear that technology isn’t going anywhere and will become an integral part of students’ educational futures. Being able to effectively utilize technology in the classroom is no small task for the classroom teachers. Integrating technology into the classroom isn’t simply transferring a worksheet into a virtual format–rather, it involves using technology to enhance lessons and enable the students to showcase their content mastery in a variety of ways.

The National Center for Education Statistics said it well: “Integrating technology is what comes next after making the technology available and accessible. It is a goal-in-process, not an end state.”

The first thing that needs to be done in order to successfully integrate technology in the classroom has to be instructing/training teachers to do so. Having professional development sessions offered yearly and up to date with the ever-changing tech tools that schools are offered would be something that every teacher could benefit from. Students, as a result, will reap the benefits of their teachers’ pedagogical tech skills. Teachers should also start utilizing the International Society for Technology in Education standards in their lessons regularly as they help focus the lessons to build on students’ competencies with technology.…Read More

Fastest-Growing EdTech Provider Trox + Tierney to “Bluum” Under New Brand

PHOENIX, AZ – Jan. 26, 2022 Having already transformed into North America’s leading education technology company, Trox + Tierney will continue to grow in the education markets under the new brand of Bluum beginning today. The higher calling of ensuring every student has access to a world-class education remains the company’s mission.  

The April 2021 Trox and Tierney merger resulted in a technology solutions provider with a robust suite of technology products and services, AV design and integration, and professional development for educators. Many of Bluum’s 775 employees stem from education, providing first-hand experience and unrivaled knowledge to their former colleagues.

“Our company’s growth has occurred through mergers and acquisitions, as well as organically, more than tripling our revenue over the past three years,” Bluum CEO Erez Pikar said. “We are united under one aspirational brand and a vision of creating equity and access in education. All of our employees equally share in this identity, which aligns with our mission, objectives and pursuit of continued growth.”…Read More

3 steps to better edtech integration

The pandemic forced a significant shift from traditional classrooms to virtual and hybrid teaching environments–often before schools and districts were ready. It quickly became apparent that reliable virtual learning tools were a must-have for teachers to be productive.

However, classroom technology is only valuable if it builds a positive learning environment. Solutions must also be scalable for successful reiteration on the technology itself, based on research, data, and analysis. If a school has software that can analyze the effectiveness of academic content based on the average grades of the schools that adopt it, for instance, the statistical data will show the content schools should use to improve student performance.

With integrated technology and software, schools improve student performance and teacher productivity through more accessible application and learning of edtech systems.…Read More