Phenix City Schools Awarded Cognia STEM Certification

Phenix City, Ala. (August 4, 2022) — Phenix City Schools (PCS) are now STEM certified, becoming the largest and fourth district in the nation. Every school in the PCS system earned Cognia’s STEM Certification in June.

According to Cognia, its STEM Certification Program, “guides leaders with a specific framework and improvement process, culminating in recognition for programs that demonstrate a strong and effective STEM focus… These standards, which Cognia identified through robust research and extensive observations, focus on characteristics like problem-based experiential learning and the integration of
STEM thinking into a broad range of activities and learning opportunities.”

PCS met and exceeded each of the standards and expectations set forth by Cognia. Cognia recognizes and certifies PCS’ STEM program:…Read More

Teachers Know Students Need Social Emotional Learning, Face Challenges Delivering Support, According to New Survey From ReadTheory

WILMINGTON, DE – August 4, 2022 –   A new survey reveals that while teachers know their students need help developing social emotional skills, they rarely have time or adequate training to focus on them in the classroom. ReadTheory, an edtech company that helps students build reading comprehension skills, announced the findings of its new survey of nearly 1,700 teachers to get their insights into the challenges of implementing social emotional learning (SEL) programs in today’s tumultuous educational environment.

In the wake of the disruption of the pandemic, U.S. students are struggling. In 2021, the Center for Disease Control revealed that 37 percent of high school students reported poor mental health during the pandemic, while 44 percent said they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year. And with billions of dollars in federal ESSER funds available, schools are investing in SEL programs to help students  – and teachers – cope. According to Simba Information, spending for SEL instructional materials was $1.725 billion for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Yet, while 63 percent of teachers responding to ReadTheory’s survey believe mental wellness throughout the pandemic adversely affected instruction, a third reported they rarely or never teach SEL skills. Lack of time in the school day and lack of support from school leadership are among the challenges teachers said they faced when attempting to implement SEL.…Read More

This school year, align teaching strategies with student learning styles

The COVID-19 pandemic created an educational environment that had never been seen before. Many students –– and instructors –– were abruptly forced to transition from traditional classroom learning to adopt a new remote format. It accelerated the emergence of a new dynamic learning environment, where students learn in innovative ways far different from how education systems were originally designed. With advancements in technology and the rise of remote learning, classrooms are being remodeled and redefined to fit the evolving needs of modern digital learners.

But if there’s one thing that educators have learned over the last two years, it’s that a one-size-fits-all approach to instruction doesn’t work when you want to empower everyone to succeed in the classroom. Many educators were forced to rethink how to keep students engaged, and pandemic-era learning has only further highlighted the importance of differentiated instruction.

The forced disruption was also the catalyst for students and teachers to quickly acquire digital skills that are ripe to be amplified, taking them from consuming skills to creating skills. As teachers integrate technology into their lesson plans, they’re discovering various classroom tools effective in reaching and enriching the minds of all types of students—from visual and auditory to kinesthetic learners.…Read More

How hands-on education creates better educators

The profession of Educator is one of the most important occupations in the world. A great teacher inspires, motivates, encourages, and has direct impact on their students’ academic and career goals.

Educators are held to very high standards and are expected to have advanced knowledge and skills, as well as adopt and adapt to evolving practices and technologies. Great teachers know that their role first and foremost is to treat the student as an individual and understand their needs, learning styles, and abilities.

A teacher’s job is no longer simply delivering facts and information, but to help students learn how to use them, develop abilities to solve problems, make informed decisions, and build knowledge.   …Read More

Whitney Brothers® Nature View Writing Center Earns Platinum Spaces4Learning 2022 New Product Award

Keene, NH, July 29, 2022 – Acclaimed Early Learning furniture brand Whitney Brothers® today announced its new Nature View Writing Center received the Platinum 2022 Spaces4Learning New Product Award, one of the most widely recognized awards for product innovation in the educational products market.

The inventive design of the Nature View Writing Center accommodates social distancing and activity workspace in Early Learning environments, a nod to the impact of covid-19 on student desk design. The vibrant woodland scene on the desk’s clear back panel brings the calm of nature indoors and creates a comforting personalized activity space for young children that also provides important visibility for adult supervision. Notably, the 2022 award marks the company’s third consecutive win and fourth in the last six years, vaulting it to the level of a few select brands.

Now in its seventh year, the Spaces4Learning New Product Award program honors manufacturers and suppliers whose products or services are judged for their ability to enhance learning environments. The contest judges are members of the publication’s Editorial Advisory Board, a panel of executives and professionals from leading industry vendors, industry associations, and architecture firms.…Read More

Reaching the 4Cs with 3D and virtual reality

I thought I was ahead of the times when I acquired virtual reality headsets and other
mixed reality technology via a grant award in late 2019. The pandemic shutdowns halted my plans to use the acquired virtual reality headsets for virtual field trips and other STEM investigations. Returning to in-person learning just six months later, the prospect of utilizing this tech for meaningful integration seemed more daunting and less appealing.

Feedback from my students revealed that they had already consumed hours of 360° views while gaming on their home computers and were well versed in digital travel because teachers frequently used video tours as engagement tools during the pandemic.

To overcome my discouragement, I recalled that in 2020, Natale et al. published a review of recent research related to learning with virtual reality and concluded that VR is not as impactful on learning when done with non-immersive tools such as the Chromebooks students were issued when they were forced into distance learning. …Read More

COVID crushed engagement–is student-centered learning the solution?

In a new survey of thousands of U.S. educators, teachers validate concerns over student engagement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but believe that technology and student-centered approaches to teaching can help to reinvigorate students in the fall.

Seven in 10 teachers believe that their students are more engaged when lessons involve play, and 68 percent of teachers said that their students are more likely to remember what they learn during learning activities they choose themselves. The survey of 8,000 was conducted by Kahoot!. 

“Even with most schools back to fully in-person learning, educators are reporting that their students continue to struggle. So much was out of students’ control for so long, and it’s no surprise that we’re seeing teachers pick up on the importance of student choice in their own learning,” said Louisa Rosenheck, Director of Pedagogy for the Kahoot! Group. …Read More

The critical link between scholastic esports and career pathways education

When I first approached my administration back in August 2021 about implementing a scholastic esports program at school, I had imagined facing significant opposition to the idea, and, in preparation, had rehearsed my talking points and done my research in order to be persuasive.  I was prepared to talk about the connections to STEM learning, the opportunity to engage otherwise disengaged students, the inclusive nature of gaming, the research behind gamification and game-based learning, and more. 

None of that was necessary, however, as my school principal was extremely supportive in my effort to implement scholastic esports at the school and, more importantly, to use the program to teach students transferable skills while simultaneously encouraging them to explore related career pathways.

I began my esports program with a focus on social-emotional well-being using resources from NASEF to structure initial lessons.  Before jumping into the competitive aspects of esports and gaming, we spent three weeks discussing the importance of positive mental health and the negative effects associated with some online gaming cultures.  This included discussions of toxicity and online “trash talk” of opponents, as well as the impact on one’s emotional well-being and overall confidence as a result of being repeatedly subjected to such toxicity. …Read More

Educators Name Best Products and Services that Meet the Evolving Needs of STEM Teaching and Learning

BEAVERTON, Ore. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As educators face a new generation of technology needs for teaching and learning STEM, science, and coding, companies are rising to the challenge by deeply understanding educators’ evolving needs. The 2022 Best of STEM Award provides EdTech companies with a fresh twist—an awards program judged by STEM educators for STEM educators: “The Educators Pick Best of STEM Awards.”

“Three years ago, we created the awards program EdTech was missing—Educators Pick Best of STEM,” said Daylene Long, CEO, and Founder of Catapult X. “The needs of educators are rapidly transforming as new teachers enter the field, administrators address learning loss, and educators search for modern solutions to engage students born as digital natives. This program is truly about creating connections between EdTech and the teachers they serve.”

“Our educator judging team this year was particularly strong,” said Lead Judge Annie Galvin Teich. “With a larger team, we were able to match science and STEM technology to specific science and STEM expertise, such as high school physics and emerging technologies. These experienced STEM educators offered unique insights and feedback to the award entries.”…Read More

Discovery Education Announces Latest Enhancements to Award-Winning K-12 Learning Platform

SILVER SPRING, MD (Thursday, July 28, 2022)Discovery Education—the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place—today announced a host of new enhancements to its award-winning K-12 platform. These improvements make it easier for educators to find, build, and deliver compelling lessons that capture students’ attention and drive deeper student engagement no matter the subject.  

Among the latest enhancements made to the Discovery Education K-12 learning platform for back-to-school are:  

More ready-to-use tools to assess student outcomes and address learning gaps.
Educators can refine instruction to keep students motivated with the classroom engagement tool, Quiz. Quiz gives multiple ways to promote active learning in the classroom and track progress in real time. Quiz now features: …Read More