How to engage at-risk students through esports

It is well documented that extracurricular activities boost academic success. In recent years, schools have tried to broaden the traditional extracurricular definition to appeal to a more diverse, and often disengaged, group of students who are at-risk of dropping out of high school.  Esports just might be the natural fit.

Lack of Engagement Leads to Hopelessness

Summer Jibril was a 16-year-old high school sophomore, and she was in a bad place.  Suffering from diagnosed depression and anxiety since her middle school years, she sat on the edge of her bed and contemplated her next move.…Read More

Online STEM Summer Camps for High School and College Students

Numerade—an online education platform founded with a mission to provide equitable access to high-quality STEM instruction—today announced the launch of free, virtual STEM summer camps open to students at the middle, high school, and college levels. Course offerings include SAT Test Prep, Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics, all taught by top-ranked STEM PhDs, college professors, and high school teachers. Students can enroll now for this free program and begin taking their courses as soon as June 1 with ongoing enrollment available thereafter.

Students can participate in Numerade’s free summer STEM camps to get a head start on the courses they’ll be taking in the fall or as an enrichment opportunity in which they can take courses not offered at their school. Students may also use these courses to catch up on any material missed due to school closures caused by Covid-19. Each course follows the common core curriculum and covers an entire semester’s worth of material.

“We’re excited to launch Numerade’s STEM summer camps at a time when it’s more important than ever for students to have access to world-class content to maintain and enhance their learning despite ongoing school closures,” said Nhon Ma, CEO and Co-Founder of Numerade. “By taking our engaging STEM courses this summer, students will not only acquire foundational knowledge but also be positioned to excel next school year. The summer camps are completely free and available asynchronously on any device, making them a great option for any student interested in getting ahead in their learning.”…Read More

It’s not your grandfather’s SAT prep

From a rise in test-optional schools to redesigns that move away from being a test of “how well you can learn how to take the tests,” the last few years have seen significant shifts in both the approach to—and importance of—the SAT and ACT.

When students sit for their tests, they’ll look just like students from generations past: nervous, fidgeting with their calculators, and a little tired from an earlier-than-usual wake-up call. But the ways they’ve prepared for the test today look very different, and in the near future, will look even more distant than the traditional dry methods students have used to cram. Here are a few of the study trends I’ve seen in my role leading Quizlet, a learning platform used by 30 million students each month.

Test-prep anywhere
Think back to the test prep book you studied with. It most likely weighed down your backpack as you carried it around all day before you had a chance to crack it open during study hall. There simply wasn’t another good way to prepare outside of textbooks.…Read More

Mystery Skype Calls Connect Your Classroom to The World

Mystery Skype calls are a great way to connect with the world

skype-mystery[Ed. note: Katrina Keene will give a related session on Mystery Skype at ISTE 2015 on Monday June 29.]

For centuries, schools have sat in silos. Teachers and students were capable of communicating only with those inside their own buildings. It was at one time not only unattainable, but unthinkable to collaborate and communicate with outside classrooms. The technology for these types of interactions had not yet been introduced to education—and even if they were, cost and practicality were barriers to implementation.

I have been an active user of “video conferencing” since the early 90’s, when this type of technology was usually seen in large businesses or colleges that were fortunate to have the funds to provide the equipment to make use of such a progressive form of communication.…Read More

6 Characteristics of Great PD (And Great Classrooms)

Great and effective PD usually has these characteristics

PD-6For nearly a dozen years I’ve traveled to various schools and districts to deliver professional development workshops and presentations. Over the years, I’ve also sat in on many ed-tech workshops and presentations at schools, conferences, and “unconferences.”

These experiences have taught me that if our goal is to create fundamental change in classrooms, professional development workshops should ultimately devote less time to the “nuts and bolts” of technology and more time addressing pedagogy and best practices. Technology, in and of itself, doesn’t necessarily change learning. So, the primary focus of any workshop must be the educator’s vision of a technology, and not the technology itself.

My EdTechTeacher colleague (and HarvardX researcher) Justin Reich and I believe that if we want teachers to integrate exemplary practices and lead and inspire the next generation, then we must prepare them in exemplary learning environments.…Read More

Didn’t ace SAT? Just design microbe transplant research

The New York Times reports: High school seniors with poor grades and even worse SAT scores, you may be just what one of the nation’s most prestigious liberal arts colleges is looking for. You need not be president of the debate club or captain of the track team. No glowing teacher recommendations are required. You just need to be smart, curious and motivated, and prove it with words — 10,000 words, in the form of four, 2,500-word research papers. The research topics are formidable and include the cardinal virtue of ren in Confucius’s “The Analects,” “the origin of chirality (or handedness) in a prebiotic life,” Ezra Pound’s view of “The Canterbury Tales,” and how to design a research trial using microbes transplanted from the human biome. If professors deem the papers to be worthy of a B+ or better by the college’s standards, you are in…

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Bypassing the SAT altogether

Mind/Shift reports: “It’s kind of declaring war on the whole rigmarole of college admissions and the failure to foreground the curriculum and learning,” Leon Botstein, Bard’s president of 38 years, said in an interview. Saying the prevailing system was “loaded with a lot of nonsense that has nothing to do with learning,” he hailed the new approach as a “return to basics, to common sense” and added, “You ask the young person: are they prepared to do university-level work?”

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