It’s time to invest in tech equity in education

Today’s education doesn’t need to be limited to the walls of a classroom. It shouldn’t rely on home internet access, a community hotspot or a ride to the library. It shouldn’t be exclusive to kids who attend schools stocked with new textbooks and state-of-the-art laboratories.

Rather, U.S. students are entering a time where equity in education has the potential to be closer than ever before. Technology brings the opportunity for students to access the same plethora of information, regardless of location or status.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a trend toward one-to-one devices for students nationwide. Districts that had yet to assign devices to each student rushed to make that happen when remote learning began. Emergency funding helped fill in the gaps for districts that needed a jump-start to make big technology purchases.…Read More

Can web filtering really harm the kids?

Web filtering is undoubtedly an essential when it comes to school cybersecurity. However, when the service is not set up correctly or a number of blocked categories is way too high, it starts to annoy both staff, and kids. Let’s see how to use web filtering to stay safe out there on the internet and make full use out of it.

Starting with the basics, it makes sense to remind ourselves what CIPA is. The Children’s Internet Protection Act, signed into law in 2000, is a document that regulates the exposure of inappropriate content to children. To be precise, the content that shall be filtered or blocked is divided into 3 groups: obscenity, child pornography & content harmful to minors. To receive funding, an educational institution must follow the guidelines of the act. The easiest way to comply with it is to purchase a web filtering solution. Needless to say, K-12 schools must be CIPA compliant to use E-Rate discounts, but those schools and libraries that do not receive the fundings do not have this obligation.

Web filtering solutions work on a DNS level, blocking all unwanted websites: both malicious ones with viruses lurking around, and all kinds of explicit content. In a nutshell, the DNS system matches IP addresses and the names of the websites working as a phonebook of the Internet. DNS filtering, however, also categorizes the website to see if it belongs to any restricted groups. This part is usually customizable: you choose which type of sites you want gone (or vice versa – you create an Allow list, which contains only the resources you want your students, staff & guests to see, and everything else is blocked), and leave it be.…Read More

Transforming summer school with high-dosage tutoring

Summer school as we’ve traditionally known it hasn’t worked well for a long time, especially from an equity standpoint, but we all know that change tends to come slowly to educational institutions. I would submit that in 2022, after two years of extraordinary learning loss, a transformation shouldn’t wait any longer.

Today’s students have different summer learning needs, and we have better tools and methods to teach them. It’s time to start using them.

The old model of summer classes in school buildings every day from 9 a.m. to noon stopped being convenient decades ago, when stay-at-home parenting stopped being the norm. Even if families manage to find transportation for their kids to and from school at those hours, there remains the question of filling in the remaining hours with part-time child care — never a cost-effective option even when it is available.…Read More

How does neurodiversity impact learners and educators?

Close to half of student may have a learning different, and more than half of parents in say they have sought supplemental learning services for their child, according to a recent survey.

The 2022 Learnfully Neurodiversity Report, from personalized learning platform Learnfully, surveyed parents and educators across the U.S. and examines awareness of learning differences and the impact of neurodiversity on educators, learners, and parents.

The report found that 41 percent of kids may have a learning difference, with 24 percent having a confirmed diagnosis and another 17 percent of parents suspecting their child has a learning difference, a number that is much higher – more than double – than accepted industry statistics. …Read More

How to create a multi-layered approach to ADHD treatment

According to the CDC, 9.4 percent of children have ADHD. Teachers are often familiar with the associated behaviors of ADHD. Each child’s presentation of ADHD is unique. Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD include difficulty sustaining attention, completing assigned tasks at school (often including homework), physical restlessness, strain in social relationships and appearing off task due to daydreaming.

With nearly one in 10 kids struggling with some form of ADHD, it can put a strain on teachers in the classroom. For teachers and school systems, often the best way to manage ADHD in the classroom is to form a partnership with parents to develop a consistent strategy that can help children manage their ADHD behaviors. Consistency of care between a child’s home life and their school activities can provide the best support and least amount of disruption for the child as they transition between school and home. 

It is important to remember that the child’s brain is rapidly developing. Often they are not cognitively or emotionally developed enough to change their own behaviors. They need care and support from their parents and school systems. In many cases, teachers are aware of effective strategies for supporting children with ADHD, while parents are in new, uncharted territory as they begin to learn about the best ways to support their child.…Read More

4 tips to start meaningful conversations with students

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” It’s a question we ask students as young as kindergarten. I personally had the pleasure of watching my own kids answer this question at their kindergarten graduation (“dog breeder” and “ninja” – so proud!).

Of course, this shouldn’t just be a question we ask in kindergarten and again in senior year. All students—regardless of their backgrounds and future aspirations—benefit when they have the opportunity to explore and reflect on their future plans throughout their entire K-12 journey.

So how do we make this happen?…Read More

Financial Literacy Challenge from Jackson Charitable Foundation and Discovery Education Empowering Communities to Win $10,000 for Their Schools Now Open

Silver Spring, Md. (Monday, March 14, 2022) – Jackson Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission to advance financial knowledge on a national scale, and Discovery Education today opened the 6th annual Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids Contest. The contest enables communities to vote for their school to win $10,000 that can be used for critical educator resources that teach kids how to earn, save, spend, and donate.   

This national contest encourages elementary school teachers, families, and community members to show their commitment to financial education by voting online daily for their school to receive a prize package featuring: 

  • A grant of $10,000 to build a brighter financial future at the winning school.  
  • $1,000 to be donated to the charity of the school’s choice. 
  • An interactive, hands-on, educational financial literacy event hosted by Discovery Education that brings to life Cha-Ching’s four pillars of financial education – earn, save, spend, and donate. 

Participants may enter up to once a day on behalf of their school from now through June 17, 2022. Learn more and vote for your school.  …Read More

CoderZ launches CoderZ at Home

DERRY, N.H. –March 9, 2022: CoderZ Technologies LTD today announced the launch of CoderZ at Home, a new version of their award-winning code-learning platform that’s designed for homeschoolers and kids looking to learn code outside of a classroom environment. CoderZ at Home takes an integrative approach to code literacy — combining STEM, computer science, and critical life skills to prepare kids for the changing demands of a digital future.  The flexible new interface lets children self-lead through the learning material without any need for parental guidance. 

“Homeschooling and self-paced learning is on the rise all over the world. But learning to code in a home environment presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities,” said Sharon Duchin, Chief Marketing Officer at CoderZ. “In addition, preparing today’s kids for tomorrow’s careers is more challenging than ever with the rapid-fire development in technology. No one is entirely sure what jobs or obstacles 2050 will bring, but one thing is for certain: the role of STEM and computer science will be pivotal.”

By using bite-sized missions designed to feel like a game and blending maximum engagement with a sense of accomplishment, the platform enables learners to gain problem-solving skills quickly and measurably. “We’ve used our combined experience as educators, programmers, engineers, and gamers to create a learning environment that makes coding feel like a game for kids, while empowering them to develop problem-solving, critical thinking and grit skills,” Duchin continued. “Following months of research that includes insights from a pilot study with our target audience, we’re confident that CoderZ at Home delivers an engaging STEM learning experience that will spark kids’ passion for STEM and coding.”…Read More

Why competency-based education is challenging centuries of tradition

It’s been nearly four centuries since the first formal classrooms appeared in what would eventually become the United States. The earliest example of a public school was the Boston Latin School, founded in 1635, the first to relieve families of having to educate their kids at home in the “three R’s”—reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Despite massive changes in society and technology since colonial times, one thing hasn’t changed much: the way we teach, test, and pass our students along to the next level—or into their adult working lives.

Most students today still take the same lessons from the same teachers in the same format—and they must pass the same tests to graduate. Of course, higher education allows for variations in courses of study, but within each classroom or curriculum, the content, delivery, and assessment are fixed. Over the course of their 12-year education (plus two, four, or eight more in university), students ingest, memorize, and practice the materials presented, then take tests to receive a certificate to prove they “learned” it.…Read More

SESI Kids Win Big! SESI Crixas TEAM from Brazil Are CoderZ League Champions in the Global Virtual Coding & Robotics Competition

DERRY, N.H – Feb. 23, 2022 SESI, Brazil’s Social Service of Industry (SESI), had a vision: To equip the kids in their network of more than 400 schools in all 27 states with the technological skills, knowledge, and tools to become the leaders of tomorrow—the era of Industry 4.0.

Between October 2021 and January 2022, over 50 teams from across Brazil participated in the CoderZ League, an international virtual robotics competition. All teams worked together to solve missions and challenges, while the top competitors advanced to the Brazilian playoffs. Team ‘Takamassa Numuro’, from SESI Crixás in Goiás (GO), advanced to the world championship which was broadcast live to audiences from all over the globe.

During the world finals, SESI’s students competed virtually with teams from USA, Ghana, Singapore, and Hong Kong—before eventually winning the title of world champions for the CoderZ League Junior Division.…Read More