How to use Minecraft Education in your classroom

It’s easier than you think to begin using Minecraft Education in your classroom. During an FETC 2023 session, technology specialist Kristen Brooks from the Cherokee County School District offered an overview of how she engages her students with Minecraft Education.

“When kids use Minecraft in the classroom, they’re so engrossed in what they’re doing that they forget they’re actually learning,” Brooks said. “Students excel in their learning when they’re encouraged to create projects in a style or format they prefer.”

Here are some of her tips to get started and sustain enthusiasm for Minecraft Education:…Read More

How to provide effective and engaging virtual therapy for kids

As was the case for so many other therapists working with children and families, March 2020 felt overwhelming in our center for child and family therapy. From seeing clients in-person all day in our client-centered, carefully designed therapy rooms equipped with all the therapeutic tools that a child therapist might need to engage a child in the hard work of therapy, we scrambled to figure out a way to transfer our clinical tools to the virtual realm. The transition from using toys, games, animal assisted therapy, art, music, movement, and parent-child attunement enhancing interventions to connecting through a digital screen seemed at times to be an impossible mission.

The transition was especially challenging for our very young clients and those who appeared to have significant struggles with the adjustment to virtual education. Even after weeks of creating and identifying multiple virtual tools that enabled us to engage most of our clients in expressive ways to process their experiences and share their internal worlds with us, we consistently received skeptical messages from parents who were certain that their child would not be able to effectively use a virtual platform for their therapy work.

We were convinced that we would be eager to return to our carefully designed, in-person therapy rooms as soon as we possibly could safely do so. Little did we know that we would not only find the virtual therapeutic tools to be highly effective, even in some of our most challenging and complex cases, but we would also discover that there are many unexpected and valuable therapeutic benefits that come with this virtual approach to providing child and family mental health therapy services. …Read More

Learning needs joy and civility

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on innovative ways to engage students, digital resources, and online and hybrid learning strategies related to post-pandemic teaching. This year’s number 1 most-read story focuses on what’s missing from learning.

This special edition of Innovations in Education, hosted by Kevin Hogan, comes live from one of the nation’s largest edtech conferences. At least 15,000 educators and edtech enthusiasts are gathered in New Orleans for ISTELive 22.

ISTE CEO Richard Culatta notes that we’ve “beaten the joy out of learning” in recent years. Now is the time to inspire educators and learners. Along with inspiration comes the idea of injecting civility, kindness, and understanding into education.…Read More

With online learning, the kids are all right

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on innovative ways to engage students, digital resources, and online and hybrid learning strategies related to post-pandemic teaching. This year’s 5th most-read story features an episode of Kevin Hogan’s Innovations in Education podcast that focuses on the state of online learning.

In this episode of Innovations in Education, sponsored by Galaxy Next Generation, host Kevin Hogan explores:

…Read More

The phonics fix?

Much like the return of Cabbage Patch Kids, He-Man, and the Lite Brite I saw at the store on Black Friday, we’re living in an era where what’s old is new. 

During the pandemic, renowned reading expert Lucy Calkins called for a ‘rebalancing’ of Balanced Literacy, alluding to an increased focus on linking letters with their sounds–or what those of us who went to elementary school in the 80-90s know as phonics class. 

While some teachers are not necessarily abandoning components of Balanced Literacy (like reading aloud, guided and independent reading, and word study) in favor of pulling out the old phonics workbook with the tear out pages, they are reconsidering the role phonics plays in modern elementary education and turning more often to a Science of Reading-based approach.…Read More

Educators, parents remain vigilant about protecting student mental health

Parents still voice overwhelming concerns for student mental health and online safety, according to a GoGuardian survey conducted by Morning Consult.

With the 2022-23 school year underway, parents and educators appear to favor online tools that protect students from harmful content and help detect student mental health concerns, according to the survey

The nationally representative group of nearly 2,500 K-12 parents, teachers, and administrators indicated both significant concerns for student mental health and a high level of support for schools using online technologies to help keep kids safe.…Read More

Modern students need modern librarians

When you think of a school librarian, what comes to mind? Is it shelving, stamping, and shushing? That’s the stereotype you’re probably most familiar with.

Librarians are so much more than this, though. We’re the keepers of the information, the resource kids use to explore new lands through the turning of pages – but our role as librarians is one that has historically been misunderstood. Because as times have changed, technology has advanced, and student needs have evolved—so, too, has the role of the librarian.

Who is the modern librarian?…Read More

How this eSN Hero Awards winner helps at-risk students turn their lives around

One of three eSN K-12 Hero Awards winners and nominated by Ripple Effects, Ann Hughes was selected for her dedication to struggling students and the innovative ways she helps these students succeed.

The challenges that students face at Linda Tutt Learning Center in Sanger, Texas are tough. Ann Hughes is tougher.

As she told the Houston Chronicle earlier this year, “I bet on the outsider because when I win, I want to win big.”…Read More

Heading Back to School with Dungeons & Dragons in Classrooms, Afterschool Clubs

Renton, Wash. — As kids and teens return to the classroom, some for the first time since the pandemic hit in 2020, parents and educators are concerned about how the children will interact with each other and their teachers. A new initiative from Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS), hopes to provide a platform using the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons for social activities and educational learning. In celebration of the release of a new starter set, Wizards will provide Dungeons & Dragons-themed classroom materials for teachers across the country to add to their curriculum.

On top of that, schools, libraries, community centers and enrichment organizations can receive the D&D Afterschool Kit, which includes everything needed to start or enhance D&D clubs and meetups. Dungeons & Dragons has surged in popularity recently, and educators have taken note of its many benefits in a social learning environment.

“D&D saved my life, I’ve seen it save and change the lives of others, and I watch as it shapes the lives of the children who learn to play in my class,” said Kade Wells, Harrisburg North Middle School ELA Instructor in South Dakota and founder of Building Heroez. “Dungeons & Dragons is the best metacognitive tool for education that I’ve seen. The reading growth observed and measured in my class clearly indicates the great things D&D can do in schools. My students’ test score growth doubled each time they tested.”…Read More