4 key ways ESSA can support SEL in schools

Although student achievement in core subjects is commonly used to define success, more educators agree that student success also depends on learning about intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies–commonly known as social and emotional learning, or SEL.

And while the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) doesn’t reference SEL specifically, it does offer opportunities to focus on school-based SEL. In fact, educators and policymakers can leverage ESSA funding to support SEL, according to a new report from the RAND Corporation.

Studies show that student success increases with various social and emotional skills, including self-management skills and the ability to navigate relationships. With increased acknowledgement that students need “soft” skills outside of core academic skills, interest in SEL programs and interventions has increased as well.…Read More

Everyone has a role to play in education today

As we enter a new year, education is a topic that continues to resonate well beyond the classroom into the core aspects of daily life, from home and family to the halls of politics and the corporate world. Since launching SXSW EDU several years ago with the aspiration to become the world’s largest and most inclusive learning festival in the world, it’s been exciting to see the event grow and evolve. As past speakers including philanthropist Bill Gates and Teacher’s College, Columbia University professor Christopher Emdin both observed from the keynote stage, the growth of the event is a direct reflection of the public’s deep passion and interest with teaching and learning—no surprise, when we acknowledge that education is the foundation on which everything is built!

More than the growth of SXSW EDU, though, what’s been most interesting to observe is the evolution of the topics that the community wants to address, as reflected through our crowd-sourced program. Each year, the community proposes thousands of suggestions for sessions and workshops and speakers. As such, the SXSW EDU community’s conversation about teaching and learning continues to become richer and more diverse, spanning the complete life cycle of learning, from early childhood, to and through college, career, and beyond.

While past programs for SXSW EDU focused largely on the standards and structures of schooling, today the program has grown to additionally address the intersection of culture and learning. Stated another way, beyond exploring the 4- or 8- or 12-year curriculums associated with the traditional classifications of elementary, secondary, and post- secondary education, it’s been fascinating to see the program enriched with discussions about lifelong learning in the real world, against the backdrop of rapidly changing expectations to prepare learners for a future that will look far different than today.…Read More

Text, tweet, email, call—what do parents want in school communications?

When it comes to school communications, parents today want more information from their children’s teachers and schools, but they also want that information to be timely, targeted, and personalized to their children or their interest areas.

The latest data from Speak Up Research Project gives insights on school-to-home communications. In “Text, Twitter, Email, Call—What Do Parents Say About School Communications?” Dr. Julie Evans, chief executive officer of Project Tomorrow, shared these insights from parents, educators, and administrators, and discussed takeaways from the research.

Currently: How Most Parents Receive Information…Read More

17 instructional practices for social and emotional learning

Interest around social and emotional learning continues to expand, due in part to recognition that positive social and emotional skills can help improve students’ behavioral and academic outcomes in school.

Now, educators can take a look at 25 evidence-based social and emotional learning programs to learn about curricular content and other features that they can use to help students develop key social and emotional skills such as self-control, empathy, flexible mindsets, and conflict resolution.

Navigating SEL from the Inside Out: Looking Inside & Across 25 Leading SEL Programs: A Practical Resource for Schools and OST Providers is intended for elementary schools and out-of-school-time (OST) providers. It aims to give practitioners resources to compare what is taught, and how it is taught, across programs. It also explains how social and emotional learning programs can be adapted to OST settings.…Read More

What’s next in ed-tech? These 18 trends

I do a lot of speaking about technology trends in education, and none of my talks seem to get larger audiences than those that address new or emerging technologies. Part of this is our never ending interest in what is “new,” and also that little voice in my head that says, “maybe I am falling behind.”

So, as an educator interested in technology — after all, you are reading eSchool News — what is the best source for tracking emerging technologies for learning? And, even more important, which of these emerging technologies address the chief problems you are trying to solve in your school or school district?

The answer to the first question is easy. Each year the New Media Consortium (NMC) and CoSN—the Consortium for School Networking — jointly create the Horizon Report. Produced with the insights of an international panel of experts, and with nearly one million downloads per year, this report on emerging technologies for learning is likely the most well-read report identifying key technology trends for primary and secondary education. (The 2016 Report is made possible by Share Fair Nation at go.nmc.org/2016-k12). This comprehensive report helps education leaders and practitioners develop future-focused digital strategies and learning approaches that mirror the needs and skills of the real world.…Read More

Report: Gamifying computer science is an easy place to start

With efforts to expand computer science education growing across the nation, some schools still grapple with a big problem: they don’t have the staff or space to accommodate a computer science course.

In fact, though interest in computer science education, and access to it, is growing, a recent report found that not enough students are taking high-quality computer science classes at the high school and university levels.

The report found that just half of U.S. states actually count computer science as a math or science credit rather than an elective, and 29 states lack computer science teacher certification programs.…Read More

How this state is turning its virtual teachers into online learning experts

In Arkansas, as in most states, student interest in online learning is skyrocketing. While most students still take at least some of their courses in a face-to-face setting, the need to scale online learning opportunities for thousands of students has required new infrastructure, new curriculum, and, of course, new teachers.

The state’s official response was to create a new program, called Virtual Arkansas, to manage its online courses and work with districts to find students who want to take them. The idea is to provide a full range of services, from catering to students in rural areas looking for a hard-to-find class to districts turning to online in the face of teacher shortages or budget cutbacks. Currently, about 30,000 students in the state take courses through Virtual Arkansas and the program employs dozens of teachers, whose experience with blended learning might be spotty at best.

Most teachers hired by Virtual Arkansas are brought on for their subject-matter expertise; few have ever taught an online course, let alone worked through the rigors of translating traditional curriculum to the online or blended environment.…Read More

3 major ways to boost basic data literacy in K-16

A new report outlines the need for K-16 students to develop key data literacy skills

Focusing on three specific areas could be key to boosting K-16 students’ data literacy in a world where big data’s importance grows daily, according to a new report.

EDC’s Oceans of Data Institute (ODI) convened an expert panel of data analysts and educators for a workshop on data literacy, and panelists focused on what it means to be data literate in today’s world of big data, as well as what to teach students to prepare them to be part of today’s workforce and society.

The panelists’ recommendations are included in a new report, Building Global Interest in Data Literacy: A Dialogue.…Read More

6 STEAM tinkering tools for the holidays

Engage kids of all ages with these STEM and coding learning toyssteam-tools

 

The year that was brought with it a renewed, and much welcome, interest in science and technology, as STEAM, makerspaces, 3D printing, and coding all became hot topics. Each year, as parents look to celebrate the various holidays with our kids, many of us rack our brains trying to find gifts that are both fun and educational. This year is no different and fortunately, the latest STEAM push has made many of the learning tools very desirable as holiday gifts.

The following are six ed-tech tools that will undoubtedly spark the creative and innovative side of kids of all ages (parents and teachers included). These tools are dynamic, engaging, and fun for everyone. Best of all, they’ll help students focus on higher-order thinking skills as they make, design, create, and code their way into 2016.…Read More

How 2 simple role-play games can transform students into active learners

Role-play enhances engagement and subject matter mastery. It’s also a lot of fun

role-play-game-deskStudents learning about the code of Hammurabi by acting as a council trusted with applying it

Maybe you’ve seen them interacting at Comic Con in fantastic costumes or reenacting decisive Civil War battles down to the smallest detail. Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably more familiar with role-playing than you realize. In education, role-play-as-learning is a unique experience which enhances student engagement, social skills, interest, and mastery of subject matter. It’s an approach that can have some major benefits for students.

At its core, role-play involves spontaneous, co-creative, contextualized, personally involved learning, and one of the best ways to introduce the concept to the classroom is though LARPs. Short for Live Action Role-play, LARPs are one part acting, one part historical immersion/interaction, and one part systematic modeling. It conceptualizes major concepts interwoven within human narratives that inspire students to enjoy and retain their knowledge within their experience. It leverages emotion as a mechanism for students to personalize key knowledge, processes, and concepts. And it involves embodiment and situational modeling, guiding students to not only learn the material but to experience it in context.…Read More