4 innovative online learning practices educators should keep

Over the past two years, education systems across the nation have been challenged with oscillating shifts, from classroom learning to remote and online learning, and even hybrid approaches, due to COVID-19 precautions and responsiveness. Amid these ongoing changes, educators reimagined the ways they engaged with their students, and many turned to museums and other community organizations for support to better understand how to leverage our collections, educational resources, and expertise creatively for their students.

For the community of more than 300 museum educators at the Smithsonian, the sudden urgency to scrap our traditional modus operandi unleashed new levels of innovation. We reimagined how to share a vast library of artifacts, artworks, specimens, and content expertise with our audiences to best meet their teaching and learning needs.

As teachers and students return to schools and museums searching for a “new normal,” below are some practices from the past two years I know we’ll keep.…Read More

PresenceLearning and Highlights Partner To Support Children With Special Needs

NEW YORK, April 21, 2022— PresenceLearning, the leading provider of online therapy solutions for schools and clinicians, unveiled a new strategic partnership with Highlights, the children’s media brand known for their beloved Highlights magazine.  

This new collaboration marks Highlights’ first entry into online therapy in support of children with special needs. Speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and behavioral and mental health professionals using PresenceLearning’s proprietary platform now have access to an enhanced digital library featuring a curated collection of more than 160 content pieces from Highlights’ extensive catalog. This new content includes games, stories, and activities designed to support each child’s therapy goals for reading comprehension, handwriting, fine motor, and problem-solving skills. It also promotes social and emotional health to support the whole child by educating and nurturing well-rounded and confident children—a core philosophy of Highlights.

When children carry over content experiences from their therapy sessions into their play at home, it helps them to make connections and practice skills that can support their progress. By incorporating familiar characters and fun, purposeful activities into therapy, clinicians have the potential to create more dynamic therapy experiences. With the addition of Highlights content, PresenceLearning continues to invest in brand name, digital content that helps providers personalize and enliven each student’s session. …Read More

Labster Secures $47M in New Funding Tranche to Expand Global Opportunities for Virtual Science Laboratory Simulations

COPENHAGEN and BOSTON – April 6, 2022 – Labster ( www.labster.com), the world’s leading platform for virtual labs and interactive science, has raised $47 million in additional funding to support massive growth opportunities worldwide. This new capital infusion will enable Labster to further develop in Europe and the United States and to establish itself within Asia and Latin America. By investing more funds into its library of science simulations and expanding its reach to younger students and adult workforce skills training, Labster will be able to serve 100 million students around the world through its institutional and government partnerships.

Total investment in Labster now stands at $147 million. This new financing tranche is sourced from new investors: Sofina Group and Pirate Impact, along with fresh infusions from existing investors: Owl Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, EduCapital, NPF Technologies, and GGV Capital. They are joining the Series C round announced in 2021 led by Andreessen Horowitz. Additional investors included Balderton Capital, Northzone, Swisscom Ventures, and David Helgason, founder of Unity Technologies.

“As a contributor to sustainable development, Sofina is proud to support Labster’s vision of empowering millions of students with an engaging STEM learning experience,” said Bertrand Fawe, investment manager at Sofina Group. “The use of immersive virtual reality technology will continue to play a growing role in the delivery of education.”…Read More

TeachingBooks Resources Available to 24 Million Readers with New Statewide Library Systems Added in 2021

CLEVELAND – February 3, 2022TeachingBooks, an online database of supplemental resources that enrich children’s and young adult books, had a busy year in 2021. In addition to being acquired by OverDrive in October, TeachingBooks announced the signing of four new statewide licenses and one territory license in 2021. TeachingBooks also was awarded the “Common Sense Selection for Learning” as a best-in-class resource for both students and educators.

With the addition of the new licenses, more than 24 million readers at over 55,000 schools, public libraries and higher education institutions can now access TeachingBooks’ curated educational materials. TeachingBooks deepens the learning experience by “bringing books to life” through their database of over 270,000 digital resources, including author interviews, video book trailers, discussion questions and literary games.

The five new licenses signed in 2021 represent more than 7,300 institutions and 2.6 million students. These library systems include:…Read More

Salt Lake City School District Partners with Vector Solutions to Manage its Staff Training

Tampa, FL – February 3, 2022 – The Salt Lake City School District in Utah has adopted Vector Training (formerly SafeSchools), an award-winning online training management system  and Vector Solutions’ online video training courses to help the district manage staff training and compliance for its 4,000 employees. The switch to Vector Training helps the district address federal, state and local compliance training requirements, along with district-specific policies.

Vector’s Safety & Compliance course library includes expert-authored online courses such as Bullying Recognition and Response, Active Shooter, Accident Investigation, Athletic Liability, Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Prevention, and more. Vector Training helps districts simplify training management and comply with important state and federal training mandates, including OSHA, Title IX, Mandatory Reporting, Youth Suicide Prevention, Bullying and FERPA.

The Salt Lake City School District selected Vector Training after an extensive vetting process. Among its requirements were:…Read More

Gale In Context: For Educators Receives Product of the Year in 2022 Modern Library Awards From LibraryWorks

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – January 14, 2022 – Gale, part of Cengage Group, is thrilled to announce that Gale In Context: For Educators has been named Product of the Year in LibraryWorks’ eighth annual Modern Library Awards (MLAs). The MLAs were created to recognize the most elite products and services that serve the library industry.

Products and services were submitted in the fall of 2021 using a simple application, and then were posted on a private site with an enhanced description and attendant materials. These products were batched into small groups and sent to the LibraryWorks database of more than 80,000 librarians at public, K-12, academic, and special libraries. Only customers with experience with these products/services in their facilities were permitted to judge the products/services, resulting in a truly unbiased score. 

Each judge scored the product on a numeric basis from 1-10 on a series of questions regarding functionality, value, customer service experience and overall satisfaction. The product with the overall highest score was awarded the coveted Product of the Year award. Gale In Context: For Educators received the top score this year, achieving a 9.95.…Read More

Are banned books challenges, or opportunities for innovation?

When I finished Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code, I began researching the validity of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene sharing a bloodline protected by a secret society. When J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was accused of promoting the devil and witchcraft, I dove into the series. When Oprah pulled Jeanine Cummins’ American Dirt off her Book Club, I put it on hold at the library. 

When the world makes a fuss about a book, consider my attention piqued.

Skimming the American Library Association’s list of most banned and challenged books over time, I’ve read more than my share, from To Kill A Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Diary of Anne Frank to Captain Underpants and 13 Reasons Why. I have to say I’m quite surprised Flowers in the Attic didn’t make the list as it made the 10-year-old me… well… blush.…Read More

A tale of three cities: Emerging from the pandemic…or not

New York City, New York. Cleveland, Ohio. Williamston, South Carolina.

In the height of the pandemic, nearly every community looked similar. Schools were closed.  Restaurants were closed. Families stayed home. 

As our world is emerging from the pandemic, there is a distinct division in our communities that was clearly articulated by the three librarians who participated in a recent panel for publishers who create content for schools and public libraries.…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

Extron Now Shipping Enhanced GlobalViewer Campus Communication Suite to Further Unify Communications

Anaheim, California (August 25, 2021) – Extron is pleased to announce the immediate availability of enhanced functionality and powerful new capabilities for GlobalViewer® Campus Communication Suite, which combines bells, public address announcements, intercom, and network monitoring and control of classroom AV into one software package. Users will experience a more intuitive interface with an improved visual icon library, plus a broader range of configured preset buttons to provide quicker access to frequently performed tasks. New District Operations features allow administrators to broadcast live announcements or use new configurable preset buttons to play recorded announcements to any or all campuses within a district. A dedicated lockdown button, plus presets, enable campus staff to play selected content at specified locations for fast targeted messaging. New self-diagnostic capabilities easily resolve configuration issues.

“GlobalViewer Campus Communication Suite unifies all campus audio systems with an enhanced easy-to-use web interface to manage campus bells and announcements, while providing advanced AV asset monitoring and control,” says Anthony Cortes, Director of Sales and Marketing, Education Classroom Systems for Extron. “We’ve listened to user feedback to expand and improve an already comprehensive list of features that make GlobalViewer Campus Communication Suite ideal for any campus and district. PA announcements and bell schedule management are faster and easier than ever before with the updated user interface.”

The GlobalViewer Campus Communication Suite allows administrators to create and manage recurring bell schedules locally or at the district level. For special events, such as rallies or holiday closures, bell schedules can easily be modified or disabled. Using the intuitive graphical user interface of the GlobalViewer web page or an Extron TouchLink Pro touchpanel, office personnel can make live public address announcements or play back pre-recorded messages with a simple push of a button. Zone capability allows the announcements to be routed to all locations on campus, or a specific room. The integrated intercom system supports two-way voice communication over the network and provides flexible setup options that enable users to quickly connect with the office, help desk, or other classrooms. GlobalViewer Campus Communication Suite enhancements are available today for customers in the United States and Canada.…Read More