100 districts that are digital learning innovators

Knovation honors districts for outstanding usage of online and digital learning resources

digital-learningOne hundred school districts across the U.S. have been honored for their use of online and digital learning resources to personalize learning.

Knovation’s 2015 Digital Learning Awards program honors districts across the U.S. that use netTrekker or icurio to find, organize and share hundreds of thousands of standards-aligned resources that are professionally evaluated, tagged and maintained, ensuring students truly benefit from their digital shift.

The awards are presented to small, medium, and large districts based on how they used the Knovation Content Collection via netTrekker or icurio during the 2014-2015 school year.…Read More

Whitepaper: 5 Reasons to get physical with access control

AvigilonWP200x300While many network security systems are now built to support IT best practices and standards, physical access control systems (PACS) have traditionally been designed without IT professionals in mind. Learn how these limitations are changing, as a new breed of affordable, web-based physical access control systems are emerging.

Could these new standards work better than Common Core?

New science standards are free of time-crunches and high-stakes requirements

standards-science-NGSSImagine this ‘unicorn’ scenario in education: You take an entire subject–one whose mastery could push the country to the forefront of innovation–and spend years doing nothing but perfecting its standards and assessments with absolutely no looming deadlines or high-stakes requirements. Be prepared to believe, educators, because this scenario is real, and it’s happening with new science standards.

In a recent webinar hosted by the Alliance for Excellent Education, “Scientific Assessments: Innovations in the next generation of state assessments,” noted state education leaders described the enormous potential the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) could have for states and how assessments may be developed from these standards.

“This is truly a great opportunity for states, districts, and schools, because they don’t have the high-stakes national requirement breathing down their necks. States can really take the time they need for thoughtful, effective implementation and assessment development,” said Stephen L. Pruitt, PhD, senior vice president for Achieve, which helped developed the standards.…Read More

‘Thinkfinity’ completes MarcoPolo’s long journey

MarcoPolo, the free, standards-based curriculum web site for teachers, has had quite a colorful history. Created by the MCI WorldCom Foundation in the late 1990s in conjunction with leading content experts such as National Geographic and the Kennedy Center, it was in danger of folding after WorldCom’s accounting scandal and subsequent bankruptcy filing in 2002–then, remarkably, WorldCom’s creditors and board of directors committed $6 million to save the program. With Verizon’s purchase of WorldCom–then known as MCI Inc.–early last year, the site became the property of the Verizon Foundation. Now, MarcoPolo has merged with the Verizon Literacy Network to become a single digital learning platform called “Thinkfinity,” which Verizon defines as “endless possibilities for learning and infinite intelligence.” The new Thinkfinity contains more than 47,000 educational resources, such as lesson plans and interactive student activities, across seven academic disciplines. Offered in partnership with eight educational organizations, Thinkfinity is commercial free and accessible from any internet-connected computer at no cost. With the help of its partners, Verizon says, it is working to make this resource available on other platforms, too, to support learning in the 21st century.

Video-based modeling enhances online training for Minn. Teachers

Like many states across the country, Minnesota has implemented strategies to improve mathematics education that include higher standards, greater accountability, and increased access to challenging curricula. Still, the teacher’s role remains central to mathematics reform, particularly for elementary teachers who set the stage for students’ future success in math. Content-specific, practical professional development for these teachers is therefore crucial to the success of these reforms.

Unfortunately, as financial resources shrink, providing professional development to these teachers has become alarmingly cost-prohibitive. Time, funding, and logistics pose significant barriers to all schools, but particularly to those in rural areas where wide disbursement of faculty makes regular face-to-face meetings expensive and inefficient. Even if financial and technical resources were available, often there simply are not enough qualified trainers to reach every teacher in need.

In 2002, Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) brought its digital video expertise into partnership with the Rational Numbers Project (RNP) in an effort to provide teachers and districts with wider, easier, and more cost-effective access to high-quality professional development. The RNP had in its repertory a five-day, face-to-face workshop for mathematics teachers that gave our collaborative project ideal source material on several levels: the workshop’s effectiveness was backed by 20 years of research; its content (focused on increasing student understanding of fractions through the use of hands-on manipulatives) lent itself to online adaptation; and the RNP staff people trained to lead the workshop were few in number but high in demand. …Read More