9 TED-Ed Lessons about different holiday origins

Most schools are gearing up for December break, and students’ attention spans are likely to grow shorter each day. But crafting a video-based lesson that explores different holidays is a surefire way to boost student engagement.

These TED-Ed Lessons cover Labor Day origins, they examine why we celebrate Groundhog Day, they delve into St. Patrick’s Day, and more.

The TED-Ed platform is especially cool because educators can build lessons around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk, or YouTube video.…Read More

How teachers like me can use AI to improve their teaching

It is easy, as an educator, to get stuck in a rut. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to avoid at some point or another during the school year.

Throughout my 17 years of teaching, I’ve found myself asking questions like, “Is my instruction still engaging and fun?” and “Am I really helping my students become independent thinkers?”

I’ve even found myself feeling hesitant at times to use new technology. It can be time-consuming and, in some cases, intimidating.…Read More

Teachers’ helper: Edtech as TA’s

In this episode of Innovations in Education, hosted by Kevin Hogan:

Related:
Running the numbers: New data on the state-of-play in education
All about the IT department: Proven strategies for success

…Read More

5 school safety questions your district should be prepared to answer

With students and educators reentering their classrooms for the 2022-23 school year, district leaders need to be able to reassure everyone in their school community that school safety is a priority and that they will be safe physically, socially, and emotionally.

Decades’ worth of research have shown that school safety, school climate, and student well-being are all important for academic achievement. The conditions that support them are complex and ever-shifting, which means it’s a constant challenge to create an optimal learning environment. That’s why district leaders should always be ready to explain what their school safety plans are and how their administration arrived at them.

Be prepared to answer these five questions on the topic of school safety from parents, educators, and students as you head back to school:…Read More

5 safeguarding tips for schools this year

Criminal cyber groups have made it abundantly clear that there is no type of organization they will not target–the more vulnerable they are, the easier it will be to victimize. Unfortunately for us, the organizations most at risk are often public institutions. A combination of lack of resources and dependence on legacy networks creates the perfect storm for exploitation. Of all public organizations, education has the most significant difficulties to overcome.

In 2021, ransomware attacks cost US schools over $3 billion in damages and an incalculable impact on teachers’ and children’s lives. City officials and state lawmakers must ask themselves: What can I do to protect my constituents? As a former CIO for the state of Arizona, I have pondered the same questions and understand how stressful the responsibility can be.

Since then, I have helped hundreds of private companies and government departments fortify their security postures in an increasingly hostile security environment. In this article, I would like to share the five most valuable practices cybersecurity personnel can implement within their school district’s or university’s security planning.…Read More

5 STEM-based TED-Ed Lessons to close out your school year

School days might seem as if they move at a glacial pace in the countdown to summer break. Some schools have already closed, while others have a couple more weeks left. Teachers who still have classrooms full of students can use TED-Ed Lessons to liven up these last days and highlight students’ different personal interests.

The TED-Ed platform is especially cool because educators can build lessons around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk, or YouTube video.

Once you find the video you want to use, you can use the TED-Ed Lessons editor to add questions, discussion prompts, and additional resources.…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 schools can improve infrastructure and air quality as masks come off

As the CDC shifts its recommendations and schoolchildren are no longer required to wear masks in many parts of the country, questions remain about how aging school infrastructure can support the health and safety needs–including air quality–that accompany reduced precautions.

The March 2021 American Rescue Plan brought widespread economic aid to address such issues, with $122.8 billion specifically earmarked for K-12 districts, but this funding has an expiration date. How can school districts best act now to create healthier schools and repair crumbling infrastructure before the first round of funding expires in September 2022?

Many school districts nationwide have been using stimulus dollars to rethink infrastructure, classroom design, and building upgrades. According to the U.S. Department of Education, one of the most popular uses of federal funding has been repairing school facilities, especially ventilation systems, to improve air quality and reduce the spread of Covid-19.…Read More

Learn to use books to foster critical thinking

While I’m a far cry from a Newbery, once a year, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing a picture book for my nephew Knox. My goal is to keep the eight-year-old excited about reading, because what little boy doesn’t want to read a book about himself?

For the purposes of this article about using picture books in instruction, I invite you to listen as I read aloud to you The Great PunkaKnox.

When I was in school, my teacher would have read the book out loud and asked us questions to test our comprehension, such as:…Read More