How to implement a districtwide K-12 computer science program

With recent research showcasing the growing number of STEM-related jobs that will be available to our graduates in Indiana in the coming years, teaching computer science skills has become as important as teaching students how to read or do math. The state has recognized this importance by mandating that all schools incorporate computer science for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

As the career and STEM academy director for Barr-Reeve Community Schools, I helped our district integrate computer science into our K-12 students’ school days. Our program helps students develop essential skills for academic and professional success. I’ve learned a number of lessons along the way and hope districts across the nation can benefit from my experience.

Starting small…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

Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready® Assessment Named to the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Approved List of Dyslexia Screeners

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., April 3, 2022—The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) recently named Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Assessment to its approved list of dyslexia screeners. With this approval, districts throughout the state can now use the program’s online Diagnostic and offline literacy assessment tasks to screen kindergarten and first grade students for risk factors associated with dyslexia. Today, the award-winning i-Ready program serves more than 10 million students and 25 percent of all students in Grades K–8 in the United States.

“The recent MDE approval will help streamline the overall assessment process for Mississippi educators as they can now use i-Ready for both universal screening and targeted dyslexia screening,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “By eliminating the need for multiple and redundant assessments, educators will have more time to deliver personalized instruction, and specialized supports as needed, to help all students succeed.”

According to the MDE, each local school district is required to screen students for dyslexia using an instrument approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) in the spring of kindergarten and the fall of first grade. A panel of reading, dyslexia therapy, and speech-language pathology experts conduct a comprehensive review of all proposed instruments to determine which ones are included on the MDE Approved List of Dyslexia Screeners.…Read More

Why we should let online elementary students lead

The role of elementary teachers has never been more important, especially as kindergarten through fifth grade students today are facing more change than ever before–from the effects of the pandemic to social media and stressful current events being right at their fingertips.

According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the annual average learning gain for Kindergarten through second grade students is higher than at any time during a child’s years in school. This is why we both decided to become elementary school teachers–to make a positive impact in children’s lives during such a critical time of development and growth.

While it is essential for students to understand and master their learning in elementary school, it is also important that students develop confidence, feel ownership over their work, and become passionate about learning. If you can excite elementary students about learning, it can set them up for success not only throughout their entire education, but also their life.…Read More

SplashLearn Rolls Out Dates For Its Much Loved ‘SpringBoard Math Challenge 2022’

San Francisco, CA, 23nd February 2022: The popular game-based learning program SplashLearn, today announced the 8th edition of its massively popular SpringBoard Math Challenge. The math competition is a calendar marked event and is highly anticipated by teachers across the US and Canada. SpringBoard Math Challenge 2022, open to all classes from Kindergarten to grade 5, will run from March 1 – May 8, 2022.

Participation is free for the SpringBoard Math Challenge, whichis designed to give teachers and schools the opportunity to engage their elementary school students through fun math challenges aligned to the curriculum. The 10-week challenge will allow students to master their math skills and enter the new class with confidence, whilst having fun. 

Joy Deep Nath, co-founder, SplashLearn, said“SpringBoard is a math competition, but it has achieved more than that. It has grown to be a platform for social and emotional bonding for both students and teachers alike. Of course, it also helps reduce the attainment gap and ensures students are prepared for the next grade. There is a growing appreciation for SpringBoard as an effective way to challenge students in a familiar, secure and friendly setting to practice with their peers which is paramount in the present times”.  …Read More

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