Insights from educators: Priorities for 2023-2024

Key points:

Education news is full of trends and predictions for the new school year, but hearing from the folks doing the work is a more direct path to understanding what educators need at this moment.

Heading into the 2023-2024 school year, K-12 teachers and principals are sharing their honest views on their goals and challenges. Let’s uncover what really matters to educators and how it’s shaping our schools.…Read More

3 pillars for building a positive classroom culture

Key points:

True education is as much about the environment as it is about instruction. That may sound like a bold statement, but it makes sense when you take a moment to consider the evidence. If a child is placed in a classroom that experiences multiple disruptions, has little interpersonal connection, and rarely tries to engage students, they are unlikely to experience much growth. Students require positive environments that strive to build them up both socially and academically. Unfortunately, even the best educators can fall short of this if they don’t understand what positive classroom culture fully entails.      

Positive classroom culture functions a lot like a three-legged stool. If one of the legs is removed, the stool becomes unstable. The key for educators is recognizing the three pillars of a positive classroom culture and the unique role they play in shaping student development.…Read More

With better data, these 12 things would improve, supes say

Key points:

Data access is critical when educators need to make informed decisions about curriculum, assessments, academic and social-emotional interventions, and more. So how are superintendents using data–and can they access it quickly and effectively in order to use it?

A national poll from the Data Quality Campaign and AASA, The School Superintendents Association surveyed district superintendents to find out they use data to support their students and schools.…Read More

Now is the time to plan for next year’s technology upgrades

Key points:

While school districts are well underway into their new year – and their new budget – many are already planning for the year ahead, and technology remains one of the top priorities schools focus on to keep their students, faculty, staff, and administration effectively moving forward.

There are significant advantages of planning technology upgrades over the winter, not the least of which is moving your school forward by giving your leadership team — including the technology and finance directors, as well as operations staff and even your school board —time to research, plan, and coordinate any upgrade initiatives that will need to happen over the summer. Here are just a few advantages to planning ahead of time for next year’s technology upgrades.…Read More

4 ways to create a comedic classroom

Key points:

“In improv there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents. And many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident.” – Tina Fey, Bossypants

The art of improv comedy is to create a scene from nothing but a suggestion. An actor can never say or do anything that will be wrong. There are no bounds to how a scene can develop. People often feel pressured to force something funny, but good improv only requires a genuine reaction.…Read More

Here’s why anecdotes are as important as data in edtech decisions

Key points:

From the moment they first set up shop centuries ago, businesses have depended on word-of-mouth to build their customer base–and today, word-of-mouth marketing is still the main driver of sales.

Ninety percent of consumers are more likely to trust a brand recommended by friends and influencers, while 46 percent of small businesses make choices regarding software purchases based on the experiences of their colleagues. Yet, when it comes to edtech, the consensus industry-wide is that recommendations from your peers mean nothing when compared to data points.…Read More

5 positive ways students can use AI

Key points:

You’ve heard all the news about kids using ChatGPT to cheat, but there’s another side to this story. Just as the internet revolutionized education, AI will be the next game-changer. While the fears of cheating have definitely been legitimate, have you actually tried writing an essay using just AI? Hate to say it, but the outcomes aren’t instant gratification.

Using AI still requires work, and in fact, it often leads to a deeper understanding of the subject matter because you are the one who has to teach AI what to do and say. Just like the internet, AI isn’t going anywhere–so let’s teach our kids to work with AI, not against it. …Read More

Building a representative STEM pipeline needs to start in kindergarten

Key points:

The demand for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals outweighs the supply. The number of U.S. technology job vacancy postings in September 2022 exceeded 804,000, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a need for 3,800 new aerospace engineers every year until 2031–an industry that is already grappling with employee retention and workforce shortages. These numbers are reflective of the broader STEM community and related career fields, including scientists and mathematicians.

I believe that the low supply of STEM professionals can be attributed to significant barriers to entry originating in educational settings–this is to no fault of teachers and administrators, but how the educational system is structured. Many of these barriers disproportionately affect those from underrepresented communities. Women, for instance, make up only 28 percent of the STEM workforce, and Black, Hispanic, and Asian adults combined make up only 30 percent.…Read More

Empowering staff and students with a sense of belonging

Key points:

  • When students feel supported, they’re more likely to share their struggles
  • Mental health partnerships can better support students and staff
  • See related article: How to build relationships with students
  • Get the latest news on student and staff well-being by visiting eSN’s SEL & Well-Being page

Belonging is a fundamental human need. We are all searching for a sense of connection with the people and places in our lives. Students and school staff are no different, so it’s crucial to ensure learning environments foster a sense of belonging.

When students have a strong sense of belonging, they are more likely to be engaged in school and to perform well academically. Unfortunately, new data shows that only 62 percent of high school students feel connected to others at school, and nearly one-third of students experience poor mental health.…Read More

Nothing but winning: Edtech honors announced by eSchool, IEI, and Classlink

When did October become awards season in the world of edtech? This week’s newsfeeds are stuffed with announcements for finalists and honorees for both educators and vendors on the best and brightest developments for teaching and learning.

The winners:

Of course, we need to start with the most prestigious! The eSchool News Hero Awards, honors educators for their exemplary use of innovative edtech to support student learning:…Read More