4 ways educators can combat rural brain drain

[Editor’s note: Today’s stories take a two-pronged look at rural brain drain. This story examines the issue from an educator’s perspective. Look at the issue from the tech community’s perspective here.]

More than 30 years ago, the Department of Justice researched and concluded that stronger families and communities create successful school environments. Fast forward to the present day, the importance of that link between the community and school is still vital for student success. There’s a give and take relationship with the education system and its community, meaning higher standards and stronger school systems encourage the community outside of the school to succeed as well.

With this in mind, a common problem in rural area schools is bridging that gap between school books and real-world experiences – particularly when it comes to STEM. With STEM fields expanding, it’s important to show students in rural communities how they can learn to be innovators and problem solvers for this generation.…Read More

How to balance work and study as a teacher

According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93 per cent of employees would stay at a company longer if their employers invested in their careers. Continued professional development (CPD) is something that a lot of employees, including teachers, are keen to invest their time and energy into.

CPD opportunities for teachers might include: :

  • Workshops, seminars and conferences
  • Online learning
  • Professional reading
  • Mentoring others
  • Formal study.

Going back to study while teaching can not only be fulfilling, but add sought-after skills and qualifications to your CV. Despite this, one challenge for those considering further study is the delicate work and study balance. To maintain this balance, there are some tips you can employ to ensure both your classroom work and study to thrive.…Read More

4 ways school leadership encourages proficient readers

At a time when schools are held accountable to the highest level of standards, strong school leadership is critical for success.

Fortunately, researchers have been exploring the school leadership factors that enable schools to successfully provide interventions to struggling readers, even in the face of complicating factors (e.g., a high percentage of the student population qualifying for free and reduced lunch).

Related content: 10 ways to use technology to promote reading…Read More

What Is Good Leadership in Schools?

A recent study found that not one school (of 180 surveyed) was able to improve student achievement records without effective school leadership. This research  shows a clear connection between skilled school leadership and positive student learning outcomes. It’s proof that good leadership in schools makes a direct impact on students’ experience and performance.

Good leadership in schools is the practice of encouraging and enabling school-wide teaching expertise in order to achieve a strong rate of progress for all learners. This leadership can be driven by principals and executive staff in traditional leadership roles, as well as by school leaders and teachers without defined leadership roles.

For teaching staff and future leaders in the education sector, it’s important to understand what the benchmark is for good leadership in schools, and how it can be used to drive lasting change.…Read More

6 tips to help your students collaborate on awesome podcasts

OK, I’m listening

A 2019 Edison Research survey reported that 51% of Americans above the age of 12 have listened to a podcast. Interest in podcasts has increased 122% since 2014, with the majority of that increase coming from ages 12-24. Monthly listeners are growing up to 24% a year. That’s four times the number that go to the movies every week.

I’m the technology integration specialist at Lewis Central Community School District, a 3,000-student district in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Teachers come to me with content and standards, and I come back to them with the right creative tool. Separately, I’m an avid podcaster and have co-hosted the Dads In Ed podcast since 2013.…Read More

4 tips for incorporating safe, engaging, tech-rich material into early elementary ed

I love incorporating technology into my curriculum and introducing it to my students in meaningful ways. The good news is that teaching them to use technology isn’t difficult. My kindergartners can navigate iPads better than I can. The challenge is incorporating tech-rich material in a way that’s meaningful and relevant to what we’re learning and that doesn’t take away from their learning experiences. Here are a few ways I successfully introduce technology and resources that are safe, engaging, and developmentally appropriate.

Finding safe, tech-rich material for the youngest students

1. Use video to warm up, engage, and transport students.

Every tool I use needs to reinforce whatever concept we’re learning or otherwise be tied into the lesson. It must meet the standards we’re working on, and it needs to be engaging.…Read More

Here’s how teachers think SEL can truly help students

A resounding majority of administrators, teachers, and parents say they believe social and emotional learning (SEL) is just as important as academic learning.

SEL is the process that helps students understand and regulate their emotions, understand different points of view and show empathy toward others, and develop intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies. Many believe these skills contribute to safer and more positive schools and communities.

Of the more than 1,000 people surveyed in McGraw-Hill Education’s 2018 Social and Emotional Learning Report, 96 percent of administrators, 93 percent of teachers, and 81 percent of parents overwhelmingly say SEL is as necessary as core academic subjects.…Read More

Putting the SEL into PBL

In project-based learning (PBL), teachers present students with a real-world problem and challenge them to solve the problem through research and inquiry, often collaborating with each another and producing a final product that encompasses everything they have learned. The project relates back to the standards and learning objectives teachers are covering, but in a more tangible way. Often, PBL will naturally integrate objectives from a variety of subjects within the same project.

The Buck Institute for Education outlines seven essential components for project-based learning:

  1. a strong student activator
  2. a driving question
  3. opportunities for student voice and choice
  4. 21st-century skills
  5. time for inquiry and innovation
  6. feedback and revision
  7. a publicly presented final product.

Learn more about these seven essentials here.…Read More

How to bring global learning to your classroom

The sun was high overhead as we stood in the open, slowly baking in the hundred- degree heat, which was abnormally hot for late October, even by southern California standards. It was late in the afternoon of day three of our expedition, and we weren’t sure what to expect as we got out of the van.

As one of 26 middle school teachers participating in EarthEcho International’s Water by Design Expedition, part of an annual program sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Foundation that leverages exploration and discovery to bring STEM education alive, I had been ferried about this bustling metropolitan area to learn how Angelenos use and manage their water. We were in good company, joined by various scientists, experts, and explorer and EarthEcho Founder, Philippe Cousteau, Jr.

Our destination was the terminus of the Los Angeles aqueduct, near the Van Norman Bypass Reservoir in Sylmar. Try to picture several hundred cubic feet of water per second cascading–no, raging–through a 12-foot diameter cement channel down the hillside and then leveling off in front of us. The snowpack in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas that feeds the aqueduct was abundant last winter, and the torrent of meltwater that had traveled over 400 miles to reach its destination was an astounding sight. I knew that I could use this powerful image with my students, along with the story of the aqueduct’s construction, as an engaging example of how people can engineer solutions to complex, real-world problems.…Read More

3 must-know’s about assessment achievement levels

In education and assessment, we use the word “standards” in a number of ways: curriculum standards, standards-based assessments, performance standards. Performance standards—also known as proficiency levels, achievement levels, performance descriptors, and more—are one way we report assessment results, and have a direct influence on decisions that affect educators and students every day.

Many of us use and discuss these performance standards without knowing where they come from. Performance standards are first a policy initiative representing student expectations of proficiency for an assessment program, and then are uniquely defined for each content and grade level, after at least one year of operational administration. Standard setting is the process undertaken by education experts to relate test scores from an assessment program to pre-defined achievement levels.

Here we explain the three basic facets of standard setting: purpose, use, and process.…Read More