3 wireless technology trends to track in 2022

2021 was a year of tremendous challenges, but there were also incredible strides made in the world of wireless technology that have changed the way we live, work, and play–all for the better.

As technology evolves, there’s always plenty to be excited about. Today, over 300 million people have access to a 5G wireless network, so it’s hard to believe this innovation became available only three years ago. 5G has been described as a transformative technology, but most transformations happen steadily – they become “trends” that happen over time.

To that end, here are three trends I predict for 2022 that can have a lasting impact on families and businesses across the country.…Read More

Study: Instructional Mode Played No Significant Role in COVID-19-Related Learning Loss in Indiana Public Schools in 2020-21

MUNCIE, Indiana – Students, teachers, and administrators across the country have faced unprecedented challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But researchers at Ball State University have concluded that various modes of instruction—whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid—did not play a significant role in learning loss among students in Indiana public schools during the 2020-21 school year.

What Contributed to COVID Learning Loss in Indiana’s Schools?,” a recently published study from Ball State’s  Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), utilized Indiana Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN) test scores from Spring 2019 to Spring 2021 as a measure of learning for Indiana public K-12 schools.

Testing the effects of several different contributing factors—including school size, demographics, type of school, instructional modes, and more—CBER researchers Drs. Michael Hicks and Dagney Faulk concluded that the level of poverty in a school, as measured by the share of students eligible for free and reduced lunch, was the single strongest correlate of COVID-19-related learning loss during the 2020-21 school year.…Read More

Slooh Brings Space Exploration to Classrooms Worldwide with ‘The Online Telescope for Teachers’

Washington Depot, Connecticut, January 18, 2022 – Slooh, the only organization offering live online telescope feeds to students, is now offering an affordable way for teachers to bring the power of its network of online telescopes to all students with The Online Telescope for Teachers. This solution can change how teachers teach astronomy by providing opportunities for students to explore and analyze more than 1,000 real-world space objects and events. 

“Slooh’s innovation is that an unlimited number of teachers and students can share online telescopes in a manner that includes an exchange of ideas and opportunities to learn from each other,” said Michael Paolucci, founder of Slooh. “Just as kids learn to play video games by watching other people play, the sharing inherent in the platform enables students to learn from the amazing things other teachers and students do with our online telescopes.”

In addition to online telescope access, this new solution provides elementary through college-level teachers integrated curriculum-based lesson plans that can be used with students and ongoing professional development to help educators easily use the technology.…Read More

Schools, at halftime, need to put funding into play for the second half of the year

As we enter into another winter season living with the pandemic, special education services are not where schools hoped they would be, with many feeling that they are still falling behind rather than beginning to catch up.

New York City recently announced delays to its academic recovery program for students with special needs. New York, like many others, is stretching limits to get programs activated, even allowing for educators not specifically trained in special education to staff programs. In addition to the urgency they are feeling every day to serve parents and children, there’s another good reason to expand programs right now: funding.

It was good news when states and districts received $190 billion in federal aid from three relief packages in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. But it’s a jaw-dropping amount of money, with limits on when and how to use it for special education. For once, the challenge on the ground for schools is not how to manage a tight budget. It’s how to manage the rush of money that’s available: when to get it, how best to use it, and how to be accountable for it.…Read More

5 reasons we greatly value our online literacy platform

With 640 students in grades K-4, our Mississippi elementary school serves a diverse population. In 2020, we were at a point with the third-grade reading test where we weren’t as prepared as we should have been. We knew we had to dig deeper to better prepare our K-2 students, and we also knew this was an ongoing journey.

We started working with the Barksdale Reading Institute to help improve our students’ reading capabilities. Through our experience with the Institute’s Literacy for Leaders, we learned more about Lexia Core5 Reading and the role it could play in helping improve our younger learners’ reading capabilities and test scores.

5 reasons we needed an online literacy platform…Read More

3 ways you can use digital tools to boost student motivation

Many educators navigating the use of technology for learning have seen this scenario come to life in the classroom: you give your students an online assignment and a few minutes into it you start the exhausting routine of trying to guess who might be opening other tabs to play games or watch videos, while you figure out ways to redirect them towards their work. 

In fact, the switch to hybrid and fully virtual learning during the pandemic highlighted how students can become distracted and lose motivation when they are seemingly hiding behind a screen, causing many frustrated parents and teachers to loathe the use of technology in learning.

But before you give up on e-learning altogether and grab that printed worksheet, let me tell you that there is a world of wonderful apps and platforms out there that when used properly can actually INCREASE student engagement and motivation, and help you maintain it throughout the school year. …Read More

Why unstructured free play is a key remedy to bullying

October was National Bullying Prevention Month, and in my decade of teaching in high-poverty public elementary schools, I’ve seen strategy after strategy and initiative after initiative implemented to decrease bullying.

While every case is unique, having a general understanding of why a student chooses to bully can be helpful.

Kids usually bully for one of the following reasons: they are frustrated with life’s circumstances and don’t have the emotional tools to cope, they don’t have many friends and are lonely, they have issues with emotional regulation, or they feel powerless to control their life for any number of reasons.…Read More

Cracking the code on student mental health

The past year has taken a toll on students’ mental health. Rates of anxiety, depression, and stress are up and the CDC reports emergency room visits for adolescent suicide attempts have soared.

Teachers and school staff can play a critical role in addressing student mental health and supporting student wellbeing. But they can only help if they know what to watch for–and the warning signs aren’t always readily apparent.

Students often spend several hours a day online and often the first clues as to their feelings–good or bad–are found in their online communications with peers, their posts on social media and in chat rooms, and in their internet searches.…Read More

Air filters are playing a big part in safe school reopening plans

As schools kick off the 2021-22 school year, the air is thick with questions — and with COVID-19 hesitancy. Will students and faculty have to wear masks? Will they have to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19? Will we see remote learning play a major role this year, as it did last year? How can we keep classrooms safe while the delta variant seems to be running rampant and vaccination rates lag behind national goals?

The unfortunate answer to all these questions is that there is no clear answer. Each state, and even each school district, is handling things differently in the U.S. In Florida for example, Governor DeSantis is threatening to withhold funding from schools that enforce mask mandates. Meanwhile, California has lifted its state-wide mask mandate for schools but highly encourages school districts to enforce their own policies.

An airborne virus doesn’t respect state borders, and the longer it’s allowed to circulate, the more likely the virus is to mutate into a new variant. Perhaps even one that ignores the protections of current vaccines. Which is why it’s important for schools to do everything in their power to protect students, faculty, and everyone else on their campuses.…Read More

4 strategies to boost student engagement

As the beginning of the school year is creeping up on us, many schools are reconsidering the need for online options. There are too many variables at play right now for any educator to feel they have everything under control for this school year. Historically, stability was often a reason for many to enter the education field, but stability is nowhere to be seen this fall. As educators struggle with keeping a variety of balls in the air, one of the key issues in all settings is how to keep students motivated and engaged.

Recently, a study of rural elementary teachers outlined a few key factors for engaging students and then keeping them engaged online.

The first suggestion from elementary teachers was to start the course by setting the stage with a clear set of behavior expectations for students working online. Simple things like expecting students to keep their cameras active, how to attract the teacher’s attention by raising their hand via video or using a Zoom tool, etc. This is not particularly different than setting beginning of the year behavior expectations in a traditional classroom. Students always appreciate having clear expectations. Interestingly, only about a third of teachers responded that they had set video lesson expectations at the beginning of last year.…Read More