Virtual Tutoring and Mentoring

Grow Your World (GYW) has transitioned its services from in-person to virtual in the midst of social distancing measures required by COVID-19. This virtual transition enables GYW to provide tutoring and mentoring services to middle school students, as well as tutoring to elementary schoolers, throughout the U.S.

Youths participating in GYW can choose any combination of weekly tutoring sessions in standard academic subjects, while also exploring non-traditional programs such as goal management skills, mindfulness and stress reduction skills, community service, arts and crafts, and identity caucuses. All programs are pay-what-you-can and design-your-own-schedule.

GYW has recruited twenty students from UNC Chapel Hill to serve as tutors and mentors for these youths in the areas of their expertise. Services are provided in both English and Spanish. Enrollment is now open.…Read More

Video: How edtech connects

At SXSW EDU 2018, The Christensen Institute’s Director of Education Research, Julia Freeland Fisher, reveals innovative schools that are creating learning models that strengthen teacher-student relationships, and emerging edtech tools that promise to expand students’ networks to experts and mentors from around world.

Julia’s current research focuses on emerging tools and practices that leverage technology to radically expand who students know – their stock of “social capital” – by enhancing their access to, and ability to, navigate new peer, mentor, and professional networks. She is the author of the forthcoming book Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations that Expand Students’ Networks. Prior to joining the Institute, Julia worked at NewSchools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy organization that supports education entrepreneurs who are transforming public education. She also served as an instructor in the Yale College Seminar Program. Julia holds a BA from Princeton University and a JD from Yale Law School.

Visit https://www.sxswedu.com/ to learn more about SXSW EDU and subscribe to SXSW EDU on YouTube for more great videos https://www.youtube.com/user/SXSWEDU.…Read More

Greatest lesson: Teacher buy-in is overrated

One of the greatest lessons my 30 years of experience in education has taught me is that teacher buy-in is, sometimes, overrated.

There, I said it.

Now, before you stop reading, note my use of the word “sometimes.”  As a former school administrator, I realize there is a time and place for buy-in.  However, as one of my mentors, a seasoned middle school principal once explained to me, while consensus and collaborative decision-making is important, it can also be paralyzing to innovation.  Understanding the balance between growing buy-in and launching innovation has never been more important than in today’s era.…Read More

Flexcat collaboration system gets big upgrade for ISTE

The classroom audio system now has expanded coverage, Whisper Coaching, and a new iOS app, making it a powerful tool for teachers and their mentors

At ISTE 2016, classroom audio provider Lightspeed Technologies will introduce three new features of its Flexcat system. The only classroom audio system designed for small-group learning, Flexcat consists of a wearable microphone for the teacher, a speaker for whole-group instruction, and a set of two-way audio pods that allow teachers to listen and speak to small groups from anywhere in the classroom so they can reinforce, respond, and challenge students in their moment of need.

Lightspeed’s new mobile app, launching in July, turns teachers’ iOS device into a Flexcat remote control. This allows them to switch among the two-way audio pods directly from their device, making the Flexcat an even simpler and more seamless tool for gathering critical learning insights. The new app unlocks some additional new features of the system.

With the app, the new Flexcat includes expanded coverage for up to 12 audio pods, making it a powerful tool for large classrooms, small-group instruction, team teaching, and professional development events.…Read More

How to use video and Google Forms to encourage deeper learning

This take on document-based questions turns students into mentors and instructors

video-questionsFor as long as I have been a teacher, I have been showing videos in class. While not a revolutionary idea, back when I first started I would show a video related to the lesson and hand out an accompanying question sheet to make sure the students were focusing on the main ideas. I would call out helpful reminders like “Number 3 is coming up!” to ensure that students were paying attention.

They were not.

My high school students were sometimes doodling on the paper, staring out the window, or hoping to just get the answers at the end from myself or a friend. But the content was so good and so relevant! I thought. These were primary source accounts! How could students not be engaged? What could I change to make the topic and delivery more relevant? That’s when the lightbulb went off.…Read More

What good are mentors in an online age?

As part of Mentor Month, one expert discusses STEM, women, mentorship, and how the whole economy could change

mentors-STEM-students In an age where anyone with an internet connection can learn everything from how to cut a pineapple to “Intro to Engineering” from MIT, are mentors still relevant to students interested in their future careers, and do women in STEM need mentors more than other groups?

According to Karen Purcell, professional engineer, founder and president of PK Electrical, and author of Unlocking Your Brilliance: Smart Strategies for Women to Thrive in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, it’s not because a YouTube video gives a virtual tour of a lab that students feel secure in their career choices.

“Nothing compares to one-on-one interaction between people,” explained Purcell. “It is the direct conversation and encouragement that makes mentorship valuable…The relationship goes beyond just the exchange of information, but making eye contact, picking up on body language, and experiencing the human contact with the mentor is an important part of the learning process.”…Read More

A State-By-State Look at Top Ed-Tech Initiatives

What initiative are you most proud of in your state?

tech-initiativeSometimes, an ed-tech initiative grabs national headlines. Other times, a technology initiative quietly spreads throughout a school building or district as it connects teachers with mentors, helps administrators become more efficient, or boosts student achievement and engagement.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of one ed-tech initiative in each state and the District of Columbia, to offer a look at some of the great technology advocacy and work being done around the nation.

The initiatives included here are not necessarily the most-discussed or the biggest in a given state. Sometimes they’re small, and sometimes they’re well-known. Some relate to the use of digital content, some support broadband expansion, and in others, states have formed groups to better support administrators and teachers as they work tirelessly to advocate for ed-tech’s crucial role in today’s classrooms.…Read More