5 learner-centered education models to inspire reform

School models are, for the most part, outdated–and very overdue for replacement. When students reach high school, research shows that close to 66 percent of students are disengaged. But even students who do successfully navigate their schooling emerge with only a specific (and often narrow) skillset that may or may not match their strengths or interests.

Conventional schooling often leaves students disillusioned, questioning their intelligence and value as it is framed by a system that needs an overhaul.

Learner-centered education can play a critical role in reshaping education systems, offering a more holistic approach to meeting learners’ needs and helping students find fulfillment in their academic accomplishments.…Read More

10 back-to-school cybersecurity essentials

Summer is over and schools are back in session across the country. If you missed the chance to prepare and test your cybersecurity protocols while students were living their best lives on summer break, there are actions you must take at the start of the school year to get your programs in shape.

Teachers and administrators are ready to kick off a great year of learning, but must match that same preparedness to ensure their cybersecurity safety house is in order.

While not an exhaustive list, here is a checklist of 10 areas that deserve the most attention and that you can get started on (or even complete) immediately. Keep in mind, cybersecurity often touches physical security, too, so some of the recommendations make important cross-functional impacts, including helping you secure and maintain your insurance coverage.…Read More

How to ignite the fire of student engagement

Recently, a co-worker of mine shared a story from when he was in high school. During one chemistry class his teacher happened to light a small fire within a dish and began stirring in different compounds. First the fire turned green, then purple, and then finally blue. The students, who normally struggled to engage with the coursework, were completely enthralled. They began asking questions, forming hypotheses, and started investigating the subject themselves. A fire had been lit in that classroom – both literally and metaphorically.

Stories like these remind educators about the power of student engagement. Teaching, in many ways, is like building a fire. You simply gather the kindling (tools and strategies), create a spark (curiosity), and then add some logs to the fire (content). Still, many of us can have trouble striking that match. All too often, our students’ attitudes can feel dampened by apathy or outside distractions.

Building the blaze …Read More

How to transform problem solving

Technology has become vital to our day-to-day lives and critical in the K-12 classroom. In a tech-saturated market, parents of our students have raised questions about how artificial intelligence (AI) will impact their future careers.

Whether you believe AI has potential to meet or surpass human intelligence, it is imperative that we equip students with skills to match the nearing demands of the future workplace. Computational thinking (CT) is the latest skill set that addresses the demands of the future workplace. CT enables us to analyze and process data algorithmically, and often visually. CT offers a process for problem-solving, where one develops a series of steps (an algorithm) to solve open-ended problems. Put simply, it’s a framework to approach problems like a computer would: by processing data in a well-defined series of steps.

Harrisburg School District implements a 5th “C”…Read More

How to get students interested in STEM

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are not just important topics for school children—they are essential to our culture. These fields help the environment, revolutionize healthcare, innovate our country’s security, and ensure our global economic competitiveness.

According to the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the U.S. is not producing enough STEM undergraduate degrees to match the forecasted demand, creating a national workforce crisis. Fewer people pursuing STEM degrees means fewer scientists finding clever solutions to antibiotics resistance, fewer technophiles turning data into targeted healthcare, fewer engineers designing homes and buildings to withstand rising seas and powerful storms.

We must empower future generations with the tools and knowledge they will need to solve the global problems they will inherit, and that empowerment starts with education.…Read More

Kids Discover Online unveils custom assessments feature

Kids Discover, a provider of engaging science and social studies curriculum, announced that its interactive digital library, Kids Discover Online, now includes custom assessment capabilities. Kids Discover Online enables educators to mix and match material from science and social studies to facilitate students’ exploration of big ideas through cross-curricular learning. The newly added Assessments tool gives educators full control to create, distribute, and assess custom quizzes, tests, and homework assignments directly within the platform.

The Assessments feature includes more than 5,000 pre-built questions covering more than 1,200 science and social studies topics. Question types vary to include discussion prompts, short answer, multiple choice, and true/false. Educators can save content to their Classroom and have questions specifically corresponding to a given article automatically populate the question bank.

“It is so important that our users know we listen to their feedback and requests. They are our best source of information on how to continue making our solution the absolute best for them and their students,” said Ted Levine, the president and CEO of Kids Discover. “With pre-built questions, customization features, automated grading, and Gradebook tracking, teachers will now be able to use our science and social studies content to accurately assess their students’ knowledge and understanding within those subjects.”…Read More

Performance Matters introduces classroom observation tool for K-12 districts

Being observed in the classroom can be a nerve-wracking experience for teachers. Yet, observations that paint a fair, accurate picture of teachers’ strengths and areas of need can play a crucial role in their professional growth. To make the observation experience easy and efficient for both observers and teachers, Performance Matters announces Truenorthlogic Observation.

Truenorthlogic Observation is an intuitive, online solution for conducting classroom observations, collecting evidence and sharing feedback. Going far beyond simple scripting tools, it gives K-12 districts the tools to configure, customize and streamline the observation process, eliminating the need for onerous paper-driven processes.

With Truenorthlogic Observation, districts can design observation templates that match existing observation instruments, rubrics and ratings scales, and highlight desired teaching practices. School leaders can easily schedule formal observations or classroom walkthroughs, or start one on demand. They can also see how many scheduled observations are on the calendar and which teachers have not yet been observed.…Read More

TeachCS zeroes in on computer science

TeachCS addresses critical shortage of qualified computer science teachers by connecting high school educators with computer science curricula

computer-scienceAs the nation focuses on Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13th, computer science curricula developers and professional development providers joined forces to announce TeachCS, a platform for high school teachers looking to broaden their computer science training and curricula.

Funded by private sector philanthropy, the goal of TeachCS is to match in-service high school teachers with both computer science professional development and financial support to attend training from leading academic institutions, in order to better prepare their students for the lucrative computing jobs most in demand in the future.

In its pilot year, TeachCS will provide in-service high school teachers with funding for professional development in one of three areas – Exploring Computer Science (ECS), AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP), or Bootstrap.…Read More

App of the week: Winning Words Match Games

winningwordsName: Winning Words Match Games

What is it? Winning Words takes the familiar game of memory match, and adds a twist: Instead of matching two pictures, users match two synonyms, antonyms or other word combinations. Created by a retired teacher and downloaded more than 25,000 times in the last two months, their apps were listed in the top 200 grossing educational games section in the app store.

Best for: Most ages…Read More