6 tips to begin an elementary esports program in your school

The benefits of esports are well documented. A significant body of research has found that students who participate in scholastic esports programs benefit from increased emotional regulation, academic achievement, and graduation rates.

These benefits only scratch the surface of the positive consequences for students participating in scholastic esports. Thus far, conversations around esports have centered on collegiate and secondary levels, however, a recent change in the winds has shifted the conversation to elementary esports. 

My question: Why haven’t we started this conversation sooner?…Read More

Blended learning models can help schools reopen–here’s how

This story on how blended learning can help schools reopen during the COVID pandemic, originally published on June 15, was eSN’s No. 9 most popular story of 2020. Check back each day for the next story in our countdown.

As educators start considering their options for the fall, the future is full of uncertainty. If schools remain closed, they’ll need to prepare for more remote learning. On the other hand, there’s a chance schools might be able to open back up, in which case they’ll likely need to have students come in shifts in order to maintain social distancing.

Fortunately, if bringing students to school part-time is an option, schools don’t have to invent new approaches from scratch. Two of the blended-learning models we’ve documented are well suited to these circumstances: the Enriched Virtual model and the Flipped Classroom model. There is a caveat: They all hinge on internet connectivity, a challenge that both public and private efforts are moving quickly to try to solve.…Read More

Interactive Online Tool that Gives Teachers a Shortcut to Creating Quality Project Based Learning Units

PBLWorks, the leader in professional development for high-quality Project Based Learning (PBL), has created a first-of-its kind PBL Project Designer to help teachers plan standards-based PBL units for students. Teachers can build PBL projects from scratch or easily adapt one of 72 Gold Standard PBL units for their students and context.

The Project Designer walks teachers through each step of designing a project, providing tips for creating or adapting projects, instructional ideas, links to project resources, and modifications for online learning. Once complete, projects can be downloaded, printed, and immediately implemented with students.

“Project Based Learning is an incredible way to engage students and promote deeper learning and we want to provide as much support as we can to help teachers do it well, whether they are teaching in classrooms or remotely,” said PBLWorks CEO Bob Lenz. “The PBL Project Designer is a great resource for teachers – whether they’re experienced in PBL or just starting out – to help them confidently plan their next PBL unit.”…Read More

3 winning characteristics of a school STEAM program

I started my career at The Shipley School, an independent K-12 school located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, at an innovative and exciting juncture. In 2014, Shipley was starting an engineering course from scratch, and having spent several years in the industry as an engineer and several more as a math and science teacher in Philadelphia-area schools, I jumped at the opportunity to pioneer a new program as an Upper School (grades 9-12) teacher.

At the same time, Shipley was making great strides to build out its STEAM program, which is similar to a STEM program. It includes science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses, but also has an added focus on the arts. A STEAM program offers a more holistic approach to education than STEM, marrying subjects that traditionally have been separate–like arts and engineering.

From formalizing plans to create a “MakerSpace” outfitted with 3-D printers to incorporating STEAM projects in classrooms across disciplines, these initiatives underscored Shipley’s mission of developing a love of learning in each student and preparing them for whatever may come beyond the confines of the classroom after high school and college.…Read More

8 tips to help create and sustain a makerspace

Though makerspaces are becoming more mainstream, creating and maintaining one could overwhelm educators who are starting from scratch.

Aside from the technology tools and other resources that make up the space, it’s wise to have a plan in terms of when students will use the space, how it will be shared, where funding will come from, and how students will demonstrate what they are learning.

A makerspace is loosely defined as an area in which people–in this case, students and educators–use creativity, technology and computing to work on different projects and ideas, said October Smith, the K-12 science coordinator in Lamar Consolidated ISD, during a TCEA 2017 session.…Read More

7 reasons why your school should teach robotics and game design

One teacher describes the big impact robotics, coding, and STEM has had on her students

robotics-stem

I love every aspect of programming—the frustration, the creativity, everything. I taught myself and now I’m lucky enough to teach students how to code, build robots, and design mobile apps. I’m there to guide them, but the students, like me, are really learning these skills through their own hard work.

I think everyone should learn how to program and of course I’m no exception. My transformation from librarian-turned-tech facilitator to coding teacher started with a back room full of old busted computers. My school didn’t know what to do with them so I decided to fix them up and make them useful. Then I started thinking, “What else can I do?” I read something about Arduino and soon I was tinkering with parts, building, and programming anything I could get my hands on. It became a hobby.

When I moved to Plaquemine High School, near Baton Rouge, our principal had just written a big grant for the Dow Corp. to create a STEM program featuring elective classes in robotics and game design for 9-12th graders. When we got it, he asked me to design the curriculum, attend trainings, and teach the courses. It was a dream come true. Now I get to help students develop the creativity, logic, critical thinking, and career skills they need for the future. Here are seven reasons why every school should consider doing the same.…Read More