ClassDojo introduces student-led digital portfolios

ClassDojo has launched Student Stories, an easy way for students to add photos and videos of their classwork to their own digital portfolio, and share them home. Parents will be able to follow along with their child’s learning: whether it’s a photo of a poem they wrote, a video of a science experiment, or a reflection on finally solving a tough math problem, students can easily record and share their learning with parents.

“Like everything we do, the idea for Student Stories came about from speaking with teachers and parents,” said Liam Don, co-founder and Chief Product Officer at ClassDojo. “Parents already loved seeing photos and videos from class on ‘Class Story,’ but wanted to see even more about their own child’s projects and accomplishments. And teachers wanted to give students more ownership over their work. Student Stories does both: gives students more of a voice, and involves parents in learning moments they might otherwise never know about.”

Student Stories replace boxes and binders of students’ work with digital portfolios that are shared between school and home, sparking meaningful conversations on what students are learning at school. This is a dramatically different experience to what most parents are used to – where work may only be shared a few times a year or sent home days or weeks after it was done.…Read More

Are high schools teaching science backward?

U.S. high schools are teaching science in a backward sequence of courses that is a remnant of 19th century thinking, says former Harman executive and New Jersey Teacher of the Year Robert Goodman—and changing the order in which science courses are taken and the way they’re delivered can lead to profound differences in both STEM interest and achievement.

Goodman was speaking July 22 at the Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference in Boston, organized by education thought leader Alan November. He talked about how he taught algebra-based physics to ninth graders near Newark, N.J., most of whom came from poor families—and many of whom went on to take (and pass) the AP physics exam. His approach was so successful that it has been replicated across the state and in countries around the world.

Goodman himself never took any science beyond biology in his own high school experience. Needing to fulfill a science requirement at New York University, he took a physics course because it was the only class that fit into his schedule.…Read More

5 ways to interest more girls (and boys) in science

Reworking lessons and the classroom environment can help girls excel at STEM courses

Despite recent advances, women remain underrepresented in the workforce in many science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. K-12 schools have been working to cultivate and encourage girls’ interest in STEM, and narrow the gap in girls’ participation in science courses. Yet, many girls enter my science classes lacking confidence in their abilities or expressing that they’re just “not good at science.”

I, too, used to have that mindset. I enjoyed science in elementary and middle school. However, in high school, my science classes were primarily comprised of lectures and worksheets. I made straight As, but I never understood the concepts. I merely memorized facts in order to do well on tests. At the time, I thought that meant I wasn’t good at science. It wasn’t until I got to college and started doing lab work that I started to enjoy science again and where I realized I could excel at it.

Here are a few strategies I use in my classes to engage girls and encourage them to pursue STEM in high school and beyond.…Read More

The 4 essential elements of passion-based learning

Teaching students effectively means getting to know them — and their passions

Think back to when you were still in school. What do you tend to remember most? Do you think back to the unique field trips you went on? The cool science experiments? What about a favorite teacher?

For me, it was projects and Mrs. Gianni. That’s what I remember most about school and the teacher that comes to mind. Mrs. Gianni had blond hair that always looked like it needed to be dyed. She was young and energetic. I also remember the way she made me feel, her high expectations, how she was always smiling, and how I felt like I could be anything in her eyes.

Teachers have always had the ability to make a big impact on their students. The teacher chooses whether it will be a positive or a negative impact. Of course every year we start the year with the best intentions. We love all our kids the same. However, there is always that one student (sometimes more) that we just can’t seem to reach. We try different things, we ask for help, we learn their background, but we still can’t seem to figure out how to get through.…Read More

Oracle bolsters computer science education

Part of $3.3 billion annual investment to advance computer science education and increase diversity in technology fields globally

In conjunction with The White House Science Fair 2016, Oracle and The White House recently announced Oracle’s plan to invest $200 million in direct and in-kind support for computer science education in the United States over the next 18 months.

Oracle’s pledge supports the Administration’s Computer Science for All initiative and is part of the company’ greater annual worldwide investment of $3.3 billion to empower computer science educators and engage diverse student populations globally. Today’s commitment expects to reach more than 232,000 students in over 1,100 U.S. institutions through Oracle Academy, its philanthropic computer science-focused educational program that impacts more than 2.6 million students in 106 countries.

In 2015, only 2 percent of all participants in the College Board’s AP program took Computer Science and a mere 22 percent of those participants were female.[1] Yet, programming jobs are growing 50 percent faster than the market overall, according to new research by Oracle Academy and Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market company. The study (2016), which analyzed and interpreted real-time data from millions of online job postings from nearly 40,000 sources, revealed that demand for computer science, programming, and coding skills is large, growing, and far more widespread than just IT jobs.…Read More

Wireless sensors help students connect with science

PASCO’s wireless science sensors are compatible across all operating system platforms

Sensor-based lab investigations provide rich opportunities for students to deepen their science understanding and develop hands-on experience using tools like those used by real-life scientists and engineers.

PASCO Scientific has introduced a line of wireless sensors that are compatible with multiple technology platforms, including Windows, Mac, iPad and iPhone, Android tablets and phones, and Chromebooks.

The new line, which includes wireless pH, temperature, pressure, and force/acceleration sensors, simplifies lab setup and removes the clutter of cables. As a result, students can now spend more time exploring, and perform experiments that were difficult or impossible before. The wireless technology also helps schools save money by eliminating the need for a separate device to connect sensors to a computer, tablet or smartphone. Students can simply transmit the data directly from the wireless sensor to their device.…Read More

K-12 science teachers in dire need of PD

Sustained professional learning opportunities are needed to help science teachers teach new science standards, according to a new report

K-12 science teachers are often left to deal with a lack of coherent and sustained professional learning opportunities that researchers say are needed to support science teachers inside and outside of the classroom, particularly as they strive to teach new science standards.

As researchers’ and teachers’ understanding of how best to learn and teach science evolves and curricula are redesigned, many teachers are left without the experience needed to enhance the science and engineering courses they teach, according to a Jan. 20 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

This issue is particularly pronounced in elementary schools and in schools that serve a high percentage of low-income students.…Read More

The next top scientist could win $25,000

The next generation of STEM leaders is invited to solve tomorrow’s challenges and compete for $25,000 in the annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Discovery Education and 3M have opened the annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, a national science competition for students in grades 5-8.

Through the program, young inventors have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work closely with a 3M Scientist Mentor, compete for $25,000, and earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”

The Challenge rewards students who use their science acumen and innovative thinking to create new ways to solve the issues we face every day. Hannah Herbst, who won last year for her energy probe prototype that seeks to offer a stable power source to developing countries, entered the contest because she wanted to help her 9-year-old pen pal living in Ethiopia who lacks a reliable source of power and electricity.…Read More

South Carolina adopts science video service

Supplementary STEM videos serve to engage students in science learning

science-videosStudents in South Carolina will soon have access to short Twig Science and Tigtag Science videos through a new statewide partnership.

The South Carolina State Board of Education approved the adoption with Carolina Biological. These supplemental STEM resources can enhance science curriculum connecting science teaching and learning to career and college readiness.

South Carolina schools and Districts can now use State Board of Education approved instructional materials funding to purchase and implement Tigtag (K-5) and Twig (level 6 and above) online learning tools to supplement core curriculum programs (such as the Smithsonian’s K-8 STC Program™ – also adopted by the state) or other textbook or inquiry programs used in South Carolina schools.…Read More

6 STEAM tinkering tools for the holidays

Engage kids of all ages with these STEM and coding learning toyssteam-tools

 

The year that was brought with it a renewed, and much welcome, interest in science and technology, as STEAM, makerspaces, 3D printing, and coding all became hot topics. Each year, as parents look to celebrate the various holidays with our kids, many of us rack our brains trying to find gifts that are both fun and educational. This year is no different and fortunately, the latest STEAM push has made many of the learning tools very desirable as holiday gifts.

The following are six ed-tech tools that will undoubtedly spark the creative and innovative side of kids of all ages (parents and teachers included). These tools are dynamic, engaging, and fun for everyone. Best of all, they’ll help students focus on higher-order thinking skills as they make, design, create, and code their way into 2016.…Read More