How learning science informs edtech product development

It’s no secret that the pandemic shift to remote learning resulted in boom times for edtech. Market intelligence firm HolonIQ expects global edtech spend to reach $300 billion in 2022 and up to $404 billion in 2025. The growth is fueling investment, too, as last year venture capital tripled over pre-pandemic levels.

But is all that money well spent on learning products with proven efficacy in the classroom, or are those billions going toward technology for technology’s sake?

With the boom in edtech and so many shiny, new product offerings on the market, it’s essential for educators to select tools they can trust will have a long-term impact on learning. More often than not, these are the tools that have prioritized learning science in their product design, to guide product vision and focus.…Read More

The Science of Reading: A Defining Movement

Dr. Maria Murray is dedicated to helping others understand how we learn to read, how to teach literacy effectively, and why it matters. In this podcast, learn why reading is comparable to medicine, how to create empowered readers/writers, and why literacy is a “defining movement” in the 21st century.

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Museum of Science, Boston enters metaverse with “Mission: Mars” Roblox experience

The Museum of Science, Boston is making its first move into the world of immersive online education with its launch of “Mission: Mars,” an educational experience on Roblox, a global platform connecting millions of people through immersive 3D experiences.

Developed in partnership with Filament Games, “Mission: Mars” challenges participants to engage in the Engineering Design Process, developing and iterating on vehicles ready to navigate the mysterious red planet and complete exploratory missions with friends to survive on Mars.

The Museum of Science is the first Roblox Community Fund (RCF) recipient to launch their experience since the fund’s introduction in November of 2021. Through the initial $10M fund, RCF has been offering grants to educational organizations to develop innovative learning experiences and curriculum leveraging the platform in immersive and compelling ways. …Read More

8 predictions about literacy learning in 2023

In the coming year and beyond, educators and students will continue to deal with fallout from the pandemic, but as they look for effective ways to help students become proficient readers, instructional practices based in the science of reading will become more widely used.

At the same time, teachers will focus on assessing individual students to understand their unique learning needs. Here are eight predictions about changes coming to the reading classroom in the coming months.

1. Students who were in grades K-3 during pandemic shutdowns may be most affected.…Read More

Discovery Museum Celebrates 30 Years of Delivering Hands-On Science in Elementary School Classrooms

Acton, MA – Discovery Museum announced a 30-year milestone for its in-school STEM program, Traveling Science Workshops, having delivered hands-on science to more than half a million PreK through 8th grade students from hundreds of communities throughout Massachusetts since the program began in 1992.

Traveling Science Workshops (TSW) are state curriculum-aligned, small group, in-classroom workshops that use simple, everyday materials and a hands-on approach to allow students to be scientists: exploring, observing, asking questions, and sharing discoveries. Museum educators deliver twenty-three STEM topics, including Sound, Weather & Climate, Physical Changes of Matter, and Force & Motion, to give elementary and middle school students direct experience with how things work in the physical world.

MathWorks has partnered with the Museum since 2010 to bring TSW to school classrooms, supporting program growth as well as the development of virtual workshops and distance learning resources for teachers during the pandemic. TSW is on pace to serve more than 42,000 students this school year, outpacing pre-pandemic numbers.…Read More

An OER curriculum brings my students’ lives into our classroom

When I was growing up, I assumed that my teachers knew everything, including all of the “right answers.” Now that I’ve been a teacher for 15 years, I know this simply isn’t true. In fact, some of the most powerful learning in my middle school science classroom has happened when I’ve pretended to NOT know the “right answer.” That’s when students take the lead and start to offer up their own ideas, share their experiences, and make powerful connections—sometimes amazing ones that I would never have thought of.

Teaching in this way requires a good deal of flexibility—including in your curriculum. A traditional science textbook doesn’t always provide educators the freedom to delve into topics that students bring up from their own lives or questions they have about the world around them. That’s why I’ve turned to open educational resources (OER).

OER are openly licensed, which means that educators can use, customize, and share these resources for free, allowing them to incorporate material that’s fresh and relevant for their students—all without having to worry about traditional copyright restrictions. I’ve been using an OER science curriculum called OpenSciEd for five years, and it has completely revolutionized the way I teach. It’s also transformed the way my students relate to and take ownership for their learning.…Read More

The phonics fix?

Much like the return of Cabbage Patch Kids, He-Man, and the Lite Brite I saw at the store on Black Friday, we’re living in an era where what’s old is new. 

During the pandemic, renowned reading expert Lucy Calkins called for a ‘rebalancing’ of Balanced Literacy, alluding to an increased focus on linking letters with their sounds–or what those of us who went to elementary school in the 80-90s know as phonics class. 

While some teachers are not necessarily abandoning components of Balanced Literacy (like reading aloud, guided and independent reading, and word study) in favor of pulling out the old phonics workbook with the tear out pages, they are reconsidering the role phonics plays in modern elementary education and turning more often to a Science of Reading-based approach.…Read More

VHS Learning Student Pass Rates on Advanced Placement® Exams Once Again Exceed National Averages

Boston – VHS Learning students surpassed national average pass rates on their Advanced Placement (AP)® exams during the 2021-22 academic year, marking more than a decade of high achievement. VHS Learning has offered AP® courses online for the past 19 years, and it currently has a selection of 26 AP® courses available.

A score of 3 or higher on an AP® exam is considered eligibility for AP® college credit at many universities. In AP® English Literature and Composition, 93% of VHS Learning students passed their exam in 2021-22, compared to the national average of 78%. In AP® Environmental Science, 76% of VHS Learning students passed, compared to the national average of only 54%. The largest difference was in AP® World History with 93% of VHS Learning students passing their exam, compared to the national average of 62%.

VHS Learning’s online AP® courses give high schools the ability to easily expand their offerings, and they give students the opportunity to take courses otherwise not available to them. The high-quality, teacher-led online courses can be taken as part of a student’s school day at their local school, or from home. All students need is internet access and the motivation to succeed.…Read More