Beyond simple search: The benefits of topic browsing in library databases

Key points:

Library databases, packed with rich and reliable content, are more than simply resources for students to reference when a research paper is due. They are also valuable teaching tools.

Databases are essential for helping middle and high school students understand the value of research, appreciate the importance of validating sources, and make connections between different topics — all of which are necessary for building information literacy skills. Databases provide full-text access to a wide range of content, including books, magazines, primary sources, images, charts, and peer-reviewed articles by credible authors representing diverse perspectives. They serve as trustworthy alternatives to internet searches, where the information surfaced can be unreliable, untrue, and unsafe. While traditional single-search functions are efficient, databases with topic browsing capabilities offer additional benefits for novice researchers and educators alike.…Read More

A cautious approach to using AI in education

Key points:

The November 2022 release of ChatGTP by OpenAI was an inflection point for AI technology. It was quickly followed by several competing AI systems: Microsoft’s AI-powered Bing search engine, Google’s Bard, and Meta’s Llama 2. And like so many technologies before it, companies are now in a rush to find ways to monetize and adopt AI, applying the technology to customer service, law enforcement, transportation–and education.

Guidance for using AI in education…Read More

Debunking common myths about AI in education

Key points:

Artificial intelligence is not a completely new concept in education; it has been used for years. Consider spelling and grammar checks that are built into word processors and autofill suggestions in search engines. What has become new to us this year is easy access to generative AI models, which can generate text and images with simple prompts.

In response to these new tools becoming available to the public, many teachers found themselves resisting AI, considering the ways in which it could complicate verifying academic honesty in student writing and artwork, acknowledging the inaccuracies that AI can generate, the human biases that impact the dataset AI uses, and more. …Read More

5 ways educators can leverage ChatGPT

Artificial intelligence is currently walking itself through the hallways of our schools and some teachers may not be leveraging this tool to enhance their teaching methods. Instead, many educators and learning institutions are nervous about the student use of artificial intelligence to pass assignments and assessments. Here are five tips for educators to enhance their learning methods and help students grow. 

  1. Create rubrics for all assessments with ease.

ChatGPT, one of the most well known artificial intelligence tools, can curate useful tables of resources for educators to minimize the need to search for information. One way educators can harness this optimization is by asking the software to produce a baseline rubric, with the teachers’ needed areas of assessment, for the educator to review. Type these prompts into the chat feature for a preview of the power ChatGPT can provide: 

  • Create a table of educational grants, with links, for classroom supplies. 
  • Create a presentation rubric, with 1 thru 4 scale, for organization, content, delivery, and creativity.
  1. Spark a new idea.

Artificial intelligence can help teachers spark a new idea by making suggestions for ways to engage students. Teachers plug in their lesson needs and artificial intelligence can help spark some ideas. These ideas do not replace the teacher, rather, they help set educators on the path of lesson creation with an added spark. Try these prompts in ChatGPT for yourself: …Read More

Educators Name Best Products and Services that Meet the Evolving Needs of STEM Teaching and Learning

BEAVERTON, Ore. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As educators face a new generation of technology needs for teaching and learning STEM, science, and coding, companies are rising to the challenge by deeply understanding educators’ evolving needs. The 2022 Best of STEM Award provides EdTech companies with a fresh twist—an awards program judged by STEM educators for STEM educators: “The Educators Pick Best of STEM Awards.”

“Three years ago, we created the awards program EdTech was missing—Educators Pick Best of STEM,” said Daylene Long, CEO, and Founder of Catapult X. “The needs of educators are rapidly transforming as new teachers enter the field, administrators address learning loss, and educators search for modern solutions to engage students born as digital natives. This program is truly about creating connections between EdTech and the teachers they serve.”

“Our educator judging team this year was particularly strong,” said Lead Judge Annie Galvin Teich. “With a larger team, we were able to match science and STEM technology to specific science and STEM expertise, such as high school physics and emerging technologies. These experienced STEM educators offered unique insights and feedback to the award entries.”…Read More

Paraprofessionals: The unsung heroes of the classroom

Staffing shortages continue to impact schools across the U.S., and vacancies are an increasingly common occurrence. Parents’ minds often jump first to teacher shortages, with significant numbers of teachers leaving schools in 2022 in search of less stressful work. But another essential role in schools is facing an equally urgent staffing crisis: paraprofessionals.

Paraprofessionals, also referred to as classroom aides or a primary support person (PSP), are the glue in the school day, supporting teachers in monitoring classroom activities and ensuring that all students are where they need to be. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are greater than a million aides working in K-12 schools nationwide, with a meaningful subset focused on supporting special education delivery.

Paraprofessionals are particularly essential in special education. They’re an integral part of a team, working closely with clinicians—speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, school psychologists—and students, both one-on-one and in small groups. They play a critical role in assisting the evaluation process on the student side, they document student behavior, and support assistive devices. In some circumstances, they may act as an extension of the hands of the clinician, helping to guide the student in various tasks.…Read More

Are you teaching with Minecraft and Roblox? You should be

Millions of students use Roblox and Minecraft to create characters and build entire worlds. As educators search for ways to boost student engagement as they inject real-world relevance into their lessons, finding creative reasons to use these platforms in the classroom becomes their goal. Should you start teaching with Minecraft and Roblox?

“Why Minecraft? Why Roblox? Your students are already on these platforms and they absolutely love them. That doesn’t necessarily make for a great teaching tool right off the bat, but the engagement is there,” said Matthew Kreutter, a product manager for Connected Camps, during an ISTE Live22 session.

A Connected Camps team led session attendees through some brief examples of how they can begin teaching with Minecraft and Roblox with simple coding and building activities.…Read More

Is K-12 ready for skills-based hiring?

There are very few silver linings emerging from the worldwide pandemic related to education, but one of them is a crystalizing view about the importance of “skills visibility.” Skills are becoming and will soon be the currency in the new emerging global talent and hiring ecosystem.

This means that learners and earners will be judged and digitally discovered not by a paper resume that lists their college major, their clubs and activities, and their job experience so far, but instead, they will be digitally discoverable by employer search engines that set algorithms to look for named skills (thus, the skills become the currency).

Why is this view emerging? At the Education Design Lab, where we have been charting and designing new education models around the needs of “new majority learners” for eight years, we have been surprised ourselves by how quickly the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated three key factors. …Read More

Search for America’s Top Young Scientist of 2022 Begins

St. Paul, Minn. and Silver Spring, Md. (Wednesday, February 3, 2022)3M (@3M) and Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd) are excited to announce that the 2022 3M Young Scientist Challenge ( #YoungScientist) is now open to entries. As the nation’s premier middle school science competition, the annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge invites students in grades 5-8 to compete for an exclusive mentorship with a 3M scientist, a $25,000 grand prize, and the chance to earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.” Competition entries are accepted at YoungScientistLab.com until the April 26, 2022 deadline. 

Each year, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge recognizes the grand prize winner, 10 finalists, the Improving Lives Award winner, and up to 50 state merit winners, as well as Washington D.C., nationwide who have demonstrated a passion for solving everyday problems to improve the world around them.  

To enter, students in grades 5-8 will share an original idea that helps solve an everyday problem in their community. They are invited to submit their solution in the form of a one-to-two-minute video explaining the science behind it. A diverse group of judges will evaluate entries based on creativity, scientific knowledge, and effective communication skills. Videos will not be judged on production skills and may be recorded on cell phones or basic digital cameras. …Read More

5 easy tools that support project-based learning

Educators know project-based learning (PBL) isn’t simply another teaching strategy. Project-based learning gives students deeper learning experiences, and as they apply their knowledge, they develop soft skills such as critical thinking and team work–skills they’ll carry through to college and the workforce.

But it’s often a great undertaking to locate and vet resources and tools for project-based learning, and educators don’t have an abundance of time.

Below, we’ve gathered a handful of “add-on” tools for project-based learning. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we hope these resources help as you search for PBL examples and strategies.…Read More

7 fun ISTELive 21 sessions to add to your schedule

For the second year in a row, ISTE’s annual conference will be virtual–but ISTELive 21 is still chock-full of engaging and thought-provoking learning experiences for educators.

ISTELive 21 will focus on “Designing a New Learning Landscape”–an apt theme given the many discussions around how the COVID-19 pandemic has given education the chance to tweak last-minute changes and make them more permanent solutions.

While you’re building your schedule, take a look at some of the ISTELive 21 sessions we’re looking forward to attending. …Read More