With family engagement, universal pre-K will be a success in 2022

The next few years could be a turning point for those of us involved in early education, and even for education in general. As part of the American Families Plan, President Biden is aiming to set aside $200 billion to make universal pre-K a reality for the first time in this country’s history. It’s a large investment with a laudable goal, and it will no doubt help millions of children and their families if it passes.

For all the good it will undoubtedly do, however, it will ultimately fail in its goal to prepare all children for kindergarten if we don’t also focus on engaging families in their children’s academic lives.

Family engagement will be crucial to successful early education…Read More

The Steam Foundation Teams Up with MakerBot to Expand Access to 3D Printing for Students

January 14, 2022 — The Steam Foundation and MakerBot have teamed up to bring 3D printing to more students across the U.S. Founded by Aadhav Prabu and Akshar Raikanti, The Steam Foundation is a California-based nonprofit with a mission to make STEAM education equally accessible to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The organization, which is also run by a team of students, offers free workshops that teach 3D printing, robotics, graphic design, and coding to students as well as programs to help bring 3D printing into schools.

Prabu and Raikanti are currently juniors at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, Calif., and have been teaching 3D printing for years. They were inspired to start the organization after seeing how engaged students were in their 3D printing club in middle school.

“When Akshar and I ran the 3D printing club, we saw how excited students were for the chance to use the Replicator+. For some of them, it was the first time they had ever seen a 3D printer. We started The Steam Foundation to give more students the chance to learn about 3D printing,” said Prabu. “We’re fortunate to work with MakerBot, a company which has the same commitment toward 3D printing in education as we do.” MakerBot donated 3D printing equipment and materials to support the Foundation’s mission and programs.…Read More

Viewpoint: Can AI tutors help students learn?

If nothing else, the past two years have shown us that teaching, learning, and education can take different forms–and the pandemic may have altered how students, from kindergarten through college, learn in the future.   

With students returning to the classroom, educators and administrators alike continue to examine new ways that technology can be used to not replace, but augment, the teaching and learning experiences in our schools.  

What about the use of artificial intelligence in education?  Conversing with AI humans has been a long-time feature of science fiction, but it’s rapidly becoming a reality, particularly in customer service and experience settings as well in education. A realized future with AI is fast approaching. …Read More

While Covid-19 Created a Learning Gap for Millions of Kids Across the Country, New Research Shows Teachers Optimistic About Solutions to Recover From It

SAN FRANCISCO (September 23, 2021) —  BYJU’S FutureSchool today released new research conducted by The Harris Poll, which gives hope to parents fearing their child may have lost a significant amount of learning during the pandemic. Engaging 500 pre-kindergarten to 12th grade teachers across the U.S., who taught a variety of subjects either in a hybrid learning environment (a combination of virtual and in-person), or exclusively in one or the other during the 2020-2021 school year, this study asks about their experiences with student learning loss, what types of learners experienced learning gaps, and a range of solutions that parents may consider to help their child recover lost learning. The findings revealed that over 3 in 4 teachers (78%) think that learning gaps are more noticeable in certain types of learners, and nearly 8 in 10 (78%) believe one-on-one supplemental learning is an effective solution to minimize them. Plus, over three-quarters (76%)  would recommend one-on-one supplemental learning to parents as part of a comprehensive learning curriculum.  

While the “Teacher Survey on Bridging the Learning Gap” revealed a diverse range of factors that impact student learning, five key insights on pragmatic solutions emerged:

  • Teachers overwhelmingly believe learning gaps, which normally occur after extended breaks but became more pronounced due to the pandemic, can be reduced through supplemental learning (91%).
  • Over 8 in 10 believe that supplemental learning programs providing enrichment exercises can mitigate the Covid-19 learning gap (84%), as well as prevent learning gaps in general (84%). 
  • Almost 9 in 10 are favorable towards one-on-one supplemental learning programs (89%), and over three-quarters are likely to recommend them as part of a comprehensive learning curriculum (76%).
  • Nearly all view one-on-one instruction as critical to students’ ability to learn and grasp concepts they may otherwise struggle with (90%), and the majority think parents should consider one-on-one supplemental learning programs to fill gaps in their children’s learning rather than holding their child back (84%). 
  • Over 4 in 5 believe one-on-one supplemental learning provides a richer learning experience than classroom instruction alone (83%).

“We are really pleased that the data reveals a positive perception among educators of one-on-one supplemental learning as a viable solution to combat learning loss–and enough to recommend it to parents for a host of reasons,” says Prateek Ranjan, Head of North America at BYJU’s FutureSchool.“This study ultimately aims to help parents explore a wealth of learning opportunities by hearing educators’ thoughts about the pandemic and specific solutions they recommend, so children may recover what they missed and get excited about learning again.”…Read More

Student-centered learning lessons from the Future Ready Library Summit

As students across the country began heading back to classrooms, a couple hundred library leaders participated in one of this summer’s Future Ready Library Summits. The guiding principle driving the agenda of this professional development opportunity for librarians was simple: students–or rather, student-centered learning. 

During the Summit, we reflected on the fact that in some cases, the students who will be returning to the classroom haven’t been in a formal school setting in a year and a half.  They are returning to the classroom, changed in many ways.  First graders may be walking into school having spent kindergarten on Zoom.  Freshmen may be entering high school after spending eighth grade being home schooled by a parent. 

As every librarian in the virtual audience was challenged to be empathetic to the challenges the return to school may bring for some students, each was also encouraged to acknowledge the progress the pandemic forced upon us. Today, students readily access digital resources. They understand the norms associated with virtual group discussion. Teachers are more comfortable delivering differentiated instruction through multiple channels.  After a year and a half of turmoil, we’ve made progress that should be celebrated.…Read More

Alabama Expands Use of LETRS Professional Learning Course Statewide

BOSTON (Aug. 16, 2021) – Lexia® Learning, a Cambium Learning® Group company, announced today that all schools throughout Alabama can now boost literacy instruction via LETRS® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional learning. This professional learning experience provides the knowledge and tools for successfully applying the science of reading in classrooms. The Alabama State Department of Education funding is to support kindergarten through third grade teachers, in addition to Pre-K, administrators, and other support positions that impact K-3 literacy in the state. Educators can earn continuing education units (CEUs) or professional learning units (PLUs).

“This implementation shows Alabama’s commitment to supporting all teachers of foundational literacy,” said Lexia Learning and Voyager Sopris Learning President, Nick Gaehde. “Our LETRS professional learning program has more than a decade of demonstrated success in schools and districts across the United States, and it’s been proving itself in Alabama cohorts over the last few years.”

The Alabama State Department of Education adopted use of LETRS as part of the Alabama Literacy Act, which in addition to providing foundational literacy support, also provides intensive support for the state’s lowest performing elementary schools. Even before the act was signed into law, Alabama was piloting the program with a small cohort during 2018. At that time, 109 participants completed the LETRS for Early Childhood Educators course, and 97.2% showed growth in knowledge. Approximately 200 elementary educators participated in the LETRS Third Edition course during this pilot.…Read More

Adventure 2 Learning Acquires Mission Move, An Activity-based Education Provider

Mission Move’s standards-based video program utilizes kinesthetic movement to make math, language arts, and nutrition fun for elementary-aged students.

New York, NY – Adventure 2 Learning, a leading video-based education platform, announces the acquisition of Mission Move to expand its offering of fun, interactive programs to help educators and parents make learning exciting.

Mission Move was developed by educational experts to utilize kinesthetic teaching and amplify learning for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Mission Move incorporates movement with lessons in math, English language arts (ELA), and nutrition to make learning fun and engaging for kids. Mission Move won the 2016 Wisconsin Innovation Award following the initial success of its program in schools throughout the state. An independent research study across 3 school districts that was subsequently published in the Journal of Childhood Obesity found that Mission Move not only increased students’ general physical activity and desire to learn, but also resulted in an 18% increase in math scores and 8% reduction in behavior-related incidents across the districts. …Read More

Hand2Mind Delivers Custom, Screen-Free Solutions to Los Angeles Unified School District to Support At-Home Learning

Hand2mind, a family-owned educational resource company, is delivering custom solutions to help solve the complex challenges faced by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), including a lack of essential learning supplies for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) to grade 6 teachers and students in areas with at-risk populations. hand2mind’s customized assortments will help provide LAUSD with the tools needed to engage students with equitable, screen-free education opportunities despite the remote learning environment.

hand2mind personalized grade-level math and literacy lessons, activities and materials for TK to grade 6 students to meet the district’s specific needs. LAUSD is the nation’s second-largest K–12 district with more than 650,000 students enrolled in over 900 schools and 249 public charter schools. With the student population predominantly Latino (73.4%)—up to 161,484 students are considered English language learners—hand2mind was able to develop and supply additional support materials for teachers and parents. Instructional videos in English and Spanish were developed to explain how to use the manipulatives featured in the kits and how best to facilitate parent engagement while their kids are learning remotely. In addition, hand2mind partnered with LAUSD to provide on-demand training opportunities for 14,000 teachers.

“Delivering resources and curriculum to students across the Los Angeles Unified School District was imperative for student success, and these hand2mind kits are the perfect tools to address students’ needs during the pandemic,” said Sari Winick, SVP of Marketing at hand2mind. “Our mission is to support teachers, inspire students, engage parents, and champion learning by doing, and that’s exactly what we’ve been able to achieve with this partnership. Most importantly, we couldn’t be happier for the students and their families.”…Read More

SplashLearn Raises $18 Million in Series C Funding Round From Owl Ventures & Accel

SplashLearn, the US-headquartered learning company began 2021 on a high note raising $18 million in Series C funding round led by Owl Ventures. San Francisco based Owl Ventures is the largest edtech sector-focused venture capital firm in the world. Accel, who earlier invested $7 million in Series B, also participated in this round.

SplashLearn was incorporated in 2010. The bulk of the business comes from the United States and currently, students in one in every three schools in the country use SplashLearn. SplashLearn is a game-based learning program that intelligently adapts to each child’s learning ability and helps them master skills at their own pace. Its curriculum covers pre-kindergarten through grade 5 for math and reading. With a strong focus on engagement and efficacy, it has over 4,000+ curriculum-aligned games and activities, designed to create an exciting learning experience for kids.

With the onset of Covid-19, SplashLearn saw a surge of almost 3x in adoption, as more students turned online and families began seeking educational support. In 2020, more than 10 million new users joined the SplashLearn program. The demand came in not only from the US but also the UK, Australia, and Canada. In the latter half of 2020, SplashLearn expanded its offering beyond the math program to include reading and also launched a personalized tutoring product, owing to growing demand from parents and teachers.…Read More

5 cybersecurity life skills to teach all year

If a student from your school had someone knock on their front door, ask for personal information and offer to give them a treat in exchange for that information, what would happen? It depends on the child, but what you know for certain is that your district or school has been teaching stranger danger since that child was in kindergarten, so the odds are good that the interaction would raise a red flag for the student.

Why is it, then, that students are posting videos and photos on TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat without any concern that their school name or home address is displayed prominently in the background?

Related content: 10 cybersecurity must-dos…Read More