6 tools to help kids learn coding and robotics

Introducing students to coding and robotics gives them early exposure to STEM in general. This early exposure, according to research, is key to the future of the workforce.

Aside from the cool factor K-12 coding and robotics offers, students will learn a number of skills they’ll take with them well into adulthood, including creativity, problem solving, and the ability to fail without quitting. These skills stick around even if students don’t pursue STEM-related study paths or careers later in their lives.

Coding and robotics can be introduced in any subject, with a little creativity.…Read More

MiEN Company Releases White Paper on Creating a Scholastic Esports Program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – June 15, 2022 – An increasing number of schools are finding that scholastic esports – competitive online video gaming between schools – provide the same social and emotional learning (SEL) benefits as traditional athletics and can also be used to teach a variety of subjects. To help schools implement this new pedagogical support, MiEN Company has published a white paper titled “ Using Esports to Teach K–12 Academic and Social Emotional Skills: Design of Esports Environment Supports Skill Development Outcomes.”

The white paper informs readers about resources like the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), which offers a free state-approved esports curriculum for class time instruction or after-school activities. Readers will also find information about the Middle School Esports League, the High School Esports League and the National Association of Collegiate Esports. The white paper outlines the benefits that each organization can provide for schools and students.

“Using Esports to Teach” also discusses how esports programs can help educators prepare students for STEM careers. In addition to describing the various career pathways, the white paper provides as a link to a NASEF infographic that shows how esports can prepare students for not only STEM careers but also for occupations such as event planner, business consultant, writer, financial advisor and more.…Read More

4 engaging strategies that promote student SEL

In 2020, the World Economic Forum released a list of the most sought-after skills for the jobs of tomorrow. Among them were a number of surprising entries such as creativity, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, and service orientation. At least, they were surprising if you weren’t an educator. For those of us who spent the last year teaching through a pandemic, the necessity of social-emotional learning (SEL) has been only too apparent. After all, what good is a knowledge of STEM if you don’t have the ability to recognize and manage your own emotions?       

As educators, we know all too well how important social-emotional learning is to a student’s overall development. Science, math, and reading are vital subjects, but empathy, self-awareness, and responsible-decision-making are what allow someone to apply those subjects in ways that make the world a better place.

But with so many standards and subjects competing for our attention, how do we make space for effective SEL in the classroom? Well, it starts with the right activities. Here are just a few engaging lessons that can make a huge impact on students’ emotional growth:…Read More

IXL Learning Acquires Language Learning Software Developer Curiosity Media

SAN MATEO, Calif.  — June 12, 2022 — IXL Learning, developer of personalized learning products used by more than 13 million students, announced it has acquired Curiosity Media, the creator of innovative language learning platforms that empower people to more effectively communicate in Spanish and English. The acquisition of Curiosity Media includes its flagship products SpanishDict, inglés.com and Fluencia, which collectively help more than 100 million people each year grow their languages skills through vibrant and interactive learning resources. 

The acquisition of Curiosity Media will further diversify and complement IXL Learning’s language and literacy offerings, including the world-renowned Rosetta Stone, IXL English Language Arts and Vocabulary.com

Curiosity Media has been at the forefront of creating products that help language learners interact in Spanish and English. SpanishDict debuted in 1999 and is now the world’s top destination for Spanish-language learners, reaching more than 100 million people annually. The platform provides users with a comprehensive set of tools to learn Spanish, including millions of free dictionary entries, verb conjugations, example sentences, pronunciation videos, vocabulary quizzes, interactive lessons and more.  …Read More

National Readiness Report: A Look at COVID-19’s Impact on Learner Readiness and How Institutions Can Improve Student Success

PITTSBURGH, PA – It goes without saying that the COIVD-19 pandemic has impacted higher education and students across the globe. But to what degree? And how can institutions respond to the shifts in learning? SmarterServices recently published data that reveals both individual and technical skills have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the degree to which learner readiness has changed over the past ten years. Learner readiness has seen statistically significant changes and institutions may need to reevaluate their programming to improve student success.

Data on how COVID-19 has impacted learner readiness comes out of the National Readiness Report, published by SmarterServices. The report provides measures of central tendency for learner traits such as life factors and individual attributes as well as several skill sets, including on-screen reading rate and recall, technical competency, learning management system competency, general technical knowledge, and keyboarding rate and accuracy.

The attributes and skills are measured by the SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator, which has been taken by over 6 million learners from over one thousand institutions. Through the National Readiness Report, institutions can compare the performance of their students to those of other students nationally. This year’s report reviews multiple comparisons of readiness levels within several demographic categories, a four-year comparison to determine the impact of the pandemic on learner readiness, and specifically how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted learner readiness over the quarantine period.…Read More

3 ways families can support students’ learning at home

For parents and caregivers, supporting your child’s learning can be stressful. Academic concepts are taught differently than they used to be. In addition, we’re all grappling with a scarcity of time and juggling competing priorities. It is hard to keep up–especially if you don’t have the resources to do so.

At Brooklyn Landmark Elementary School, we recognize that part of supporting students’ success is supporting families. Research shows students who have families engaged in their learning are more likely to attend school regularly, have improved social skills and behavior, and achieve high levels of academic performance.

One of our goals is to build the capacity of our families to make supporting their child’s learning as easy and accessible as possible. For example, we offer family coffee chats and family workshops that provide practical strategies and ways to support their own mental health and wellbeing—as well as their children’s.…Read More

‘Digital skills gap’ threatens innovation

The skills required for success in the new economy were already changing. Now, COVID has sped up these changes dramatically.

As researchers warn of a growing “digital skills gap” that threatens to hold back innovation, experts are calling on schools to rethink instruction so that it more closely aligns with emerging workforce needs.

The global pandemic has quickened the pace of technological development around the world as services that had not been digital before moved online and others that were performed by humans became automated. This rapid digital acceleration has created a huge demand for more highly skilled workers who can develop software, program machines, and support new innovations.…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

How to fund your CTE program

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs provide students with relevant tools and skills that set them up for success in life and their careers, including those not typically part of traditional academic programs.

These programs offer something unique and, in many cases, tap into a student’s personal interests – even as they still provide a valuable education experience. CTE programs have countless benefits to students, and funding to implement, sustain, or grow your existing CTE programs is crucial. While there are many free resources available, having the funds to purchase basic equipment or upgrade to premium services can make a huge difference.

So where do you start when looking to fund your CTE program? The most significant source of United States government funds for CTE comes from The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, also known as “Perkins V” or “Perkins CTE grants.” It’s a grant, meaning you don’t have to pay it back, but the application process is competitive, and you’ll need to satisfy requirements as part of the grant.…Read More

7 strategies to counter student learning loss

Until very recently, learning loss was a matter of concern mainly because of long summer holidays. Students’ socioeconomic situations played a role in those concerns but, mostly, making up for the knowledge and skills lost over school breaks involved returning learners to their school routines.

And, of course, revising the last few weeks of last semester’s curriculum before moving on to new material.

The coronavirus pandemic has redefined what learning loss means. Generally speaking, nobody was prepared for the sudden and dramatic upending of life as they knew it. Some adapted quickly, while others struggle with the mental and physical impacts of COVID to this day.…Read More