For COVID catch-up, don’t remediate–accelerate

One of the biggest changes educators will see in 2022 is the shift to accelerated learning. Educators have been experimenting with accelerated learning for some time, but in the last year or so, as districts looked for new strategies to address pandemic-related learning losses, organizations like The New Teacher Project have released reports on the effectiveness of the approach.

The phrase got picked up by the United States Department of Education and used in much of the department’s materials related to ESSER funds and stimulus money flowing to schools to address learning disruptions. As a result, if you look at almost any state’s recovery plan, you’ll find the phrase “accelerated learning.”

And for good reason, too. It’s an elegantly simple change, it appears to be quite effective, and it’s a perfect fit for the particular challenge we find ourselves in as we try to bring students back up to speed after a couple of difficult years.

What is accelerated learning?…Read More

7 tips for a strong remote learning strategy

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student engagement and online or hybrid learning strategies related to pandemic teaching. This year’s 9th most-read story focuses on strategies for impactful remote learning.

It’s halfway through the academic year, and schools across the United States are still wrestling with how to keep students enthusiastic about learning through a computer screen. According to a recent survey of high school students, more than half (54 percent) reported being less engaged during remote learning than during in-person classes.

In a virtual environment, educators are continually competing with diversions that aren’t present in the classroom, such as social media, television, and video games. Family distractions are also at play, particularly for older students who may care for younger siblings while parents are at work. Amid these disruptions, it can be challenging to get students to consistently log on, stay on, and participate in learning.…Read More

Cybersecurity learning standards offer a new look at a consistent threat

CYBER.ORG has released the nation’s first voluntary K-12 cybersecurity learning standards to be used to in schools and districts around the country. As the United States continues to face an onslaught of sophisticated cyberattacks, there are more than 464,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions nationwide.

As the first national effort to align cybersecurity learning criteria across all 50 states, the K-12 cybersecurity learning standards aim to build a strong, more diverse talent pipeline to protect U.S. national security and maintain U.S. competitiveness on the world stage, while helping address the cybersecurity workforce shortage. States now have the option to adopt the K-12 cybersecurity learning standards ahead of the 2022-2023 school year.

“The national K-12 cybersecurity learning standards are critical to providing the next generation of students with the skills and knowledge to pursue cybersecurity careers, ultimately helping solve the cybersecurity workforce gap,” said Kevin Nolten, Director of Academic Outreach at CYBER.ORG. “For the first time, educators have a roadmap for uniformly teaching cybersecurity to students in each grade band across the country. We are thankful to all our partners who dedicated their time to making the standards an incredible success and look forward to helping states adopt the standards in the coming year.”…Read More

2 teacher perspectives on ELLs and learning loss

Since the pandemic started, teachers and students have had to transition from brick-and-mortar classrooms to virtual environments, and back. During this time, learning loss–the reversal of academic progress due to disrupted formal education–has been of significant concern to educators. Unfortunately, studies show that English Language Learners (ELLs) have been disproportionately impacted by learning loss, as compared to their peers.

According to the OECD, school closures and distance learning measures have put ELLs at a greater disadvantage compared to the general student population. A learning gap, which existed prior to the pandemic, is widening across the United States. At the same time, the demands of virtual and hybrid learning have put incredible strains on teachers throughout the pandemic. 

This issue has become a point of controversy for English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, who do not feel the term ‘learning loss’ accurately describes the complex situation faced by ELLs in America.  …Read More

How social and emotional competence leads to educational equity

Educational equity is achieved by equipping students with tools to overcome some of the pre-existing barriers that impede their ability to succeed in school and thrive. Although educational equity was a priority in many school districts prior to the events of the past year and a half, talks surrounding the initiative have amped up–of the 10 largest school districts in the United States, eight now identify equity as part of their mission statements or core values.

Achieving educational equity requires multiple strategies and initiatives because the sources of inequity are so numerous and varied. One of the most important strategies is the promotion of students’ social and emotional competence (SEC).

First, we must understand how equity is defined. Recently, Jagers, Rivas-Drake, and Borowski asserted that educational equity “means that every student has access to the resources and educational rigor they need” (2018, p.1). Similarly, the Center for Public Education stated that, “equity is achieved when all students receive the resources they need so they graduate prepared for success after high school” (2016, p. 1). Both definitions make clear that the focus of educational equity efforts needs to be on the individual student. Equity is achieved when every (Jagers et. al) or all (CPE) students can benefit from education.…Read More

National Report Reveals Educators Are Concerned About Student Preparedness This Year

BOSTON (October 1, 2021) – Lexia® Learning, a Cambium Learning® Group company, has released its “Educator Perceptions of Teaching and Learning in Fall 2021,” a research brief exploring educators’ expectations for the 2021-2022 academic year.

The report shares findings from a survey of more than 1,000 educators across 48 states as well as from two focus groups examining educators’ beliefs about readiness for the 2021-22 academic year. Lexia researchers analyzed the survey data to discover whether educators believed students would be ready for grade-level instruction and whether educators themselves felt prepared for the tasks ahead of them. The focus groups also answered questions about student and teacher readiness.

Now that the school year is underway, the key findings are that educators are quite concerned about students’ preparedness to work on grade level in the 2021-22 academic year. However, educators are extremely optimistic about their own readiness to support students in the fall semester.…Read More

McGraw Hill Announces New Version of its Wonders K-5 English Language Arts Curriculum

NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2021 — McGraw Hill today announced updates to its widely used and trusted Wonders English Language Arts program for grades K-5, building upon the program’s proven instructional approach while offering a multitude of enhancements designed to meet the needs of today’s classroom. Since its initial release eight years ago, Wonders has been used by millions of students and hundreds of thousands of teachers across the United States. For its ©2023 update, McGraw Hill has drawn upon decades of rigorous literacy studies, collaborated with preeminent reading researchers and experts, and listened to and incorporated feedback from educators and users.

This newest update focuses on student agency and social-emotional learning (SEL) to build student self-confidence by encouraging them to take an active role in their literacy journey. Further enhancements include:

  • A dedicated English Language Learner Small Group Guide to enable flexible delivery of small group instruction in or out of the classroom
  • The addition of stronger phonics instruction
  • Enhanced writing activities
  • Text sets that provide additional time to engage with works more deeply

For more information about Wonders, visit: Mheonline.com/wonders…Read More

Three tips to conquer bilingual barriers in the classroom

More than 10 percent of students in the United States are English language learners (ELLs) – that’s more than 4.8 million children nationwide. While these children don’t learn any differently than their native-English-speaking classmates, they do have educational needs that should not be overlooked or go unmet.

From a teacher’s perspective, it’s difficult not to notice how challenging navigating educational environments is for a child for whom English is not their native language. They often walk into the classroom feeling intimidated and afraid, struggle to communicate even the most basic needs, and avoid interacting with peers and teachers due to the language discrepancy. As teachers, it’s our responsibility to help bridge that gap to not only support students as they learn English, but help them navigate their education in the meantime.

Thankfully, we’re not up to the task alone. There are many solutions to the most common teaching challenges, all of which serve to enrich the lives of students, streamline communication between parents and teachers, and help kids learn how to communicate and excel in everything they do.…Read More

Why automation is key to education’s cybersecurity problem

Across industries, ransomware and cyberattacks have proliferated in the past year, largely due to the rapid shift to remote work and school. The education sector has been hit particularly hard–the 2020 calendar year saw a record-setting 408 publicly disclosed cybersecurity incidents in the K-12 sector, according to The State of K-12 Cybersecurity: 2020 Year in Review.

The report, put out by the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center, found that the attacks affected 377 school districts in 40 states and cost millions of dollars to resolve.

The unfortunate reality is that the problem isn’t going to go away–the threat landscape will continue to expand. And compounding this is the fact that education IT departments are too often underfunded. This is where automation can play a key role.…Read More

Slooh Launches New Grant to Help One Million Students Explore Space Using Its Robotic Telescopes

Washington Depot, Connecticut, August 19, 2021 – Slooh, the only organization offering live online telescope feeds of amazing astronomical events to students, is launching The Slooh Space Exploration Grant for the 2021-2022 school year. The grant is being provided with the goal of helping one million students nationwide experience the wonder of space from their classroom and home computers.

The rolling grant will provide one teacher per every accredited public school in the United States with access to the Slooh interface, robust professional development, and 40 student seats which will enable students to use robotic telescopes to view space phenomena, capture observational data, and engage in gamified learning.  

“Space exploration is a powerful – and truly magnificent – way for students to build their scientific knowledge and practices, while tying celestial phenomena to STEAM concepts,” said Michael Paolucci, founder of Slooh. “Our new grant provides an equitable opportunity for students across the country to reap the benefits of space exploration as they become well-informed citizens and 21st century thinkers.”…Read More