5 ways to nurture a cybersecurity interest in a healthy way

It’s something no teacher or administrator wants to think about, but what if one of your students is showing an interest in computer hacking? Teachers–sometimes more than parents–can tap into kids’ interests and skill sets. And with technology now a large part of how students are learning, it is just a matter of time until any educator runs into a student with an unexpected knowledge of how tech works or how to manipulate it.

How do you know if these students simply have a healthy curiosity or are interested in something darker? And how do you help an advanced student understand that they can use their skills for good by choosing a career as a cybersecurity professional rather than an underground hacker? Here’s how to handle such a nuanced situation.

1. Identify interest and skill…Read More

SAM Labs Launches Successful Teacher Accelerator Program

The program includes group workshops with like-minded educators, one-on-one training with our Senior Education Consultants, training on how to implement SAM Labs, and resources to teach STEAM and coding in the classroom across various skill levels. The STAR Program is designed to expand our community of support and knowledge, while continuing our practice of investing greatly in our customers and their success. Through efforts like this, we aim to use our solutions to power outstanding STEM, STEAM and learn to code education. Future ‘STARs’ will join our growing community, have customized solutions based on their specific use-cases and learn from the foremost SAM Labs experts in the world.

SAM Labs is unified by our values, such as ‘fight to delight’ on behalf of customers. We have always taken a deep interest in our customers, sharing and implementing educators’ insights across our team. From how we design our curriculum and software to providing the right resources for educators, SAM Labs wants to be the standard bearer for educator centricity.

The STAR Program is the next step on our journey working with educators to reduce their workload, increase their confidence and strengthen learner engagement. Through this initiative, we’ll enrich our understanding of STEM, STEAM & coding initiatives in classrooms across the United States. The in-depth knowledge and implementation of the STAR Program will lead to a new level of granular insight into the impact of these initiatives. After all, we are a company whose success means and relies on the success of both educators and learners – which is why we do what we do. As a result of this initiative and others to follow; SAM Labs will further entrench educators at the center of our mission: To equip educators with the tools, know-how, and mindset to reach learners’ potential for computational thinking. Put into words by our founder and CEO, Joachim Horn; “We hope to learn from educators about best practices that we can then share with the rest of our educator community, increasing the number of students who acquire 21st-century skills through Coding and STEAM.”…Read More

Kids Discover Partners with Rhino Records to Release Free Units Celebrating Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Curtis Mayfield for Black History Month

Kids Discover, a leading provider of high-interest nonfiction for social studies and science, has partnered with Rhino Records, the catalog division of Warner Music Group, to celebrate Black History Month by releasing three free units honoring classic Atlantic Records artists Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin as well as Curtom Records’ Curtis Mayfield. Each of these units, featuring music, original album art, and more, will be freely available on the Kids Discover website for the entire month of February.

Designed to shine a light on the lives and impact of these music industry legends, the free units engage students in grades 3–8 through music and raise awareness of Black contributions to the arts and society. Educators can choose from three different Lexile levels for use in grades 3–4, 5–6, or 7–8. To make the materials available to as many students as possible, the free units do not require a registered account or login.

“In the past, we’ve always made a number of units in our library free to celebrate Black History Month,” said Ted Levine, the President and CEO of Kids Discover. “Given what has transpired in our country over the past few years, we took time to reflect on what else we could do to share the stories and impact of Black history and culture. In July, we released a five-part pledge, two tenets of which were to increase the number of stories we tell about Black figures in American history and to collaborate with organizations that share this vision. We’re excited to partner with Rhino to offer engaging, multimedia content that will educate and inspire students while highlighting the impact these three figures have had on our history and culture.”…Read More

Tampa Middle School Receives the Superstar Treatment with Ashly Audio-Backed System

Sligh Middle Magnet School in Tampa, Florida has an audio system worthy of a superstar performance thanks to professional wrestler Thaddeus Bullard’s charitable organization, the Bullard Family Foundation.

Bullard’s foundation supports programs that provide opportunities to those in struggling communities to achieve more than what statistics might imply of them. His website states that he avoided the reach of statistics because teachers and local leaders took an interest in his success and “his community began investing in him.”

Now it’s Bullard who is investing in the community, and a critical part of that outreach sees him supporting schools. Thus, thanks to funding from The Bullard Family Foundation, Sligh Middle Magnet School – a premier Medical Studies and Explorations program in Hillsborough County Public Schools – now has one of the most impressive audio setups in the Tampa area located in its gymnasium. And at the heart of the installation is Ashly Audio.…Read More

High School Students Dive into Media Production

For the last few decades, U.S. school curriculum has centered on college preparation, but in recent years, parents, teachers and administrators have begun advocating for the inclusion of more professional skills-based training. Their vision is quickly becoming reality as more high schools invest in the technology and instructional staff to support more career-minded education, ranging from 3D animation to masonry, robotics and more. According to Texas-based AV Systems Integrator Digital Resources, one such field that’s drawn interest from the education community is news production and live event AV.

Year on year, the company continues to see new clients requesting sophisticated on-campus studio builds that incorporate real-world media production equipment from companies like AJA Video Systems. Schools then harness the facility and equipment to train students on how to deliver daily news casts from start to finish, with students serving as the production crew, news anchor team, director/technical director and floor director. In addition to learning the tools and roles of the trade, they’re taught how to write story scripts; achieve the right voice quality, diction and timing; performance and pacing techniques; and more.

Prosper Rock Hill High School in Frisco, TX is one of the many high schools embracing this methodology, and with help from Digital Resources, recently built a cutting-edge TV studio that its students use to produce and broadcast a live daily news show campus-wide. Similarly, Northwest Independent School District (ISD) in Fort Worth, TX, is using its Creative Media Production Academy, built by Digital Resources, to train students in 3D animation, live event production, broadcast, and more. Some students from the program have gained such valuable experience that they’ve gone on to land positions assisting proAV management for collegiate athletics and professional sports productions post-graduation. With educational outfits like Prosper Rock and Northwest ISD continuing to demonstrate the value that early media production training can provide, Digital Resources expects more districts and campuses to follow in their footsteps.…Read More

Activities to keep kids engaged and learning during the summer

BrainPOP, the online educational solution that makes rigorous learning experiences accessible and engaging for all students, today announced a new product offering designed specifically with the needs of families in mind. The new BrainPOP Family allows kids to learn independently across multiple subject areas with a fun, personalized experience that is tailored to their interests and grade level from K-8.

“With the shift to remote learning, BrainPOP has been an invaluable resource for our family. My six-year-old son is really interested in biographies and, with BrainPOP, he is able to safely and independently explore different topics that are of interest to him,” said Lori Noto, a parent of two in Seattle. “The new BrainPOP Family features that allow parents to have insight into what content kids are accessing and how they are working toward goals is a game-changer for summer learning.”

BrainPOP Family was developed in response to feedback from hundreds of parents as they recently made a dramatic transition to remote learning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than one million families and teachers turned to BrainPOP content to support continuous learning. As families look to a summer without traditional camps and other enriching opportunities, parents overwhelmingly asked for a self-directed product that allows kids to safely explore their interests.…Read More

New Science Kit Series for Educators

Carolina Biological introduced a new Next Generation Science Standards® (NGSS)-aligned science kit series for educators of elementary students in both formal and informal education settings. Carolina launched Phenomenal Explorations™ kits for grades 3 to 5, which each explore an interesting focus question about a phenomenon that can be completed in two weeks or less. Carolina’s new three-dimensional science kit series turns students into inquiring scientists during short investigations that easily fit into the busy elementary school day or informal settings, such as science clubs, afterschool sessions, or summer camps. The lessons are designed to complement any core science curriculum that teachers are using with concise, high-interest topics to help them explain the most difficult concepts that are challenging to present in an interesting way to students. Each lesson is broken into four student-driven investigations.

Available now, Phenomenal Explorations kit topics cover life science, Earth science, physical science and engineering. Designed for flexibility, educators can use the kits in many ways, such as for a two-week change of pace, after testing, before vacations or afterschool programs, museum programs, kids groups, or even camps to build their students’ hands-on experience, engagement, and excitement. The kit topics include: Why Can a Sloth’s Fur Be a Habitat?; How Can We Keep Pets Cool During Hot Weather?; What Can Fossils Tell Us About Past Environments?; How Do Airplanes Fly?; and How Does Matter Change When an Object Dries? These new kits provide supplemental science resources with hands-on materials and digital components that support teachers who need to fit science lessons into smaller 30-minute time slots and create high-interest engagement for their students. By giving students direct experience with phenomena, the kits help them learn about and make sense of the real world.

The kits support teachers as they teach science to strengthen NGSS three-dimensional connections. Each one emphasizes science and engineering skills within flexible 3D activities. They explore bite-sized topics using a combination of hands-on, print, and digital resources. The investigations challenge students to solve real-world problems and use claims, evidence, and reasoning to support their own explanations of phenomena.…Read More

Language supports for offline schools worldwide

Lingoda, Europe’s leading online language school, is supporting offline language learning institutions across the world facing the sudden transition to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the #StayHomeKeepLearning initiative, Lingoda is offering free access to all its language learning materials, full assistance in setting up online classes, and masterclasses and guides on running a successful online class experience.

Over 2000 fully digital lessons in English, German, French, and Spanish are now accessible for free. Ranging from A1 to C1 CEFR levels, the curriculum covers a range of skills – grammar, speaking, reading, exercises – and topics of interest.

For institutions unfamiliar with online tools, Lingoda offers full support in setting up classes in an online environment. They can also request to participate in dedicated live masterclasses about how to teach successfully online run by Lingoda experts in remote teaching. The masterclasses will be in English and German, will take place online on selected dates, and will include a Q&A session where participants can directly ask their questions. Masterclass attendees will also receive via email a guide containing best practices and specialized know-how about online language teaching.…Read More

Free access to English and Spanish eBook libraries

Benchmark Education is are now offering free access to their extensive collection of eBooks to families and educators. The library includes books both in English and Spanish for grades K-6 and is accessible to users using nearly any device with internet access.

The books are organized by subject and reading level making it easy to find the books that will interest your students while they are reading at home.

This library is available through July 31, 2020.…Read More

Robotics isn’t scary! 4 benefits of working with robots

Robotics is attracting more student interest, and there’s a reason–when students can make real-world connections between what they learn in the classroom and exciting careers, their engagement and achievement often improve.

Educators across the country are working to establish robotics clubs after school, they’re creating robotics units in STEM classes, and they’re doing their best to ensure all students have the opportunity to learn just how essential robotics is to our daily lives.

As the director of blended learning in the Lancaster Independent School District (TX), Kimberly Lane Clark works with district campuses to help them implement successful blended learning practices. In that role, she frequently incorporates personalized learning and differentiated instruction.…Read More