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

Enabling the next generation of citizen data scientists

Google has ruined research.

Okay… I’m being hyperbolic. Google hasn’t ruined research. But as a senior data scientist, I do worry that search in the age of Google has outstripped our ability to gather, analyze and truly interpret data.

Thanks to algorithms, predictive text, billions and trillions of bytes of data, cookies, and the like, we’re used to searching for a needle in a haystack and Google returning the exact needle we’re looking for. We’ve been tricked by the fallacy that our answer will be in the top 10 results.…Read More

What AI can and can’t do in education

When some people hear the term “artificial intelligence,” they think of robots like the ones in the Steven Spielberg movie AI. In education today, AI is something less glamorous.

As a tool among others in the software developer’s toolbox, it is used under the hood in many services and applications that teachers and students use every day in schools and families rely on at home. For example, it enables natural-language processing (search engines, speech recognition, spell checking), social media (interest profiling, sentiment analysis, add targeting), and computer vision (object detection, face recognition, augmented reality).

Despite its many uses, AI has raised some concerns among parents and teachers. According to the report “AI and the Future of Learning” from the Center for Integrative Research in Computing and Learning Sciences, three of those worries are students’ privacy, the potential for bias, and the possibility of teachers losing their jobs to AI.…Read More

Eric Weinheimer to Serve as Interim CEO of Teton Science Schools

The Teton Science Schools (TSS) Board of Directors announced today that Eric Weinheimer has been selected as an interim CEO to lead the organization while the Board conducts a national executive search to fill the position permanently. Former CEO Chris Agnew moved on from the organization in January.

Eric most recently held the role of President and CEO of Forefront, a 1,100-member organization that supports foundations and nonprofits in working collectively for community benefit. Prior, Eric was President and CEO of Cara Chicago, a nonprofit that provides comprehensive training, job placement, and support services to individuals experiencing homelessness. Eric has also engaged in inequity, diversity and inclusion work in nonprofit environments, experience that will provide TSS additional leadership in these organizational priorities.

“Eric brings extensive nonprofit management credentials, including strong financial acumen to balance mission and margin,” said TSS Board Chair Kristie Wade. “His experience in long-term non-profit and business leadership will provide the bridge and oversight that TSS needs during this interim period.”…Read More