Hidden Common Core skills students need to learn…and how to learn them

School experts say these Common Core tools can teach students the digital skills they need to learn

common-core-student-skills As schools across the country begin to implement Common Core, assessments are asking students to use digital skills that many still need to learn. According to one school district, it’s knowing what these skills are, the online tools available, and in what grades to implement them, that will make students Common Core-ready.

“If you look at the Common Core requirements closely, there are minimal technology requirements for every student,” said Tamra Hogue, supervisor of instructional technology and media services for Bay District Schools in Panama City, Fl., during the FETC 2014 presentation “Common Core: Cool Tools for Your School.”

Beyond knowing how to respond to an online prompt during computer assessments, prompts that often use Microsoft Word icons without instructions, students also need to complete Common Core requirements by creating “brochures” or “video presentations.”…Read More

What good are mentors in an online age?

As part of Mentor Month, one expert discusses STEM, women, mentorship, and how the whole economy could change

mentors-STEM-students In an age where anyone with an internet connection can learn everything from how to cut a pineapple to “Intro to Engineering” from MIT, are mentors still relevant to students interested in their future careers, and do women in STEM need mentors more than other groups?

According to Karen Purcell, professional engineer, founder and president of PK Electrical, and author of Unlocking Your Brilliance: Smart Strategies for Women to Thrive in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, it’s not because a YouTube video gives a virtual tour of a lab that students feel secure in their career choices.

“Nothing compares to one-on-one interaction between people,” explained Purcell. “It is the direct conversation and encouragement that makes mentorship valuable…The relationship goes beyond just the exchange of information, but making eye contact, picking up on body language, and experiencing the human contact with the mentor is an important part of the learning process.”…Read More

Funding formula shows potential to help disadvantaged

Weighted student budgeting comes and goes in American school districts, the Washington Post reports. I rarely write about it because it is difficult to describe without putting readers to sleep. It is also hard to make comparisons from one district to the next because everybody does this sort of portable student funding differently. And yet it is important because the technique can significantly improve the educations of low-income students. If done right, weighted student formulas provide more money to teach children who need extra help and allow educators to address each child’s needs. That is why I grabbed with eagerness a study of a new weighted student formula at one of the Washington area’s biggest and most important districts, Prince George’s County…

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5 social networks for students to get academic help

With the growing use of social networking sites like Facebook and twitter, the methodology of education for students is finding new and improved ways, reports Edudemic. Students are getting more prone to the commodities these platforms offer. Therefore this advancement in social networking platforms is providing students with much better options to engage with their contemporaries, enhance their skills and access a wide variety of academic tools and resources which will most definitely add up to their convenience…

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The importance of low-stakes student feedback

Assessment is both a cornerstone of measuring learning and a point of contention between educators and policymakers, Mind/Shift reports. Most educators agree that learning must be evaluated to track student progress, but many also resent that high stakes testing determines public school funding, teacher salaries and children’s futures. While many educators want to see more authentic forms of assessment become the standard in public education, decades of policies and practices reinforce the current system. “When we innovate in schools, we need to do so with care,” said Bernard Bull, assistant vice president of academics and education professor at Concordia University, in a Global Education Conference presentation. Bull calls assessment one of the “load bearing” walls in education, a long-standing practice and belief system that can’t be removed or changed easily. Any innovations to assessment must be done carefully, and whatever replaces the current system must be well thought out…

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10 computer science education resources and facts

Computer Science Education Week is full of resources to get you and your students computing and coding

computer-scienceTo celebrate Computer Science Education Week and to make sure you’re ready to educate students and peers about why computer science is such an essential part of U.S. education and the economy, we’ve compiled a list of 10 useful resources and facts about computer science education.

Are you participating in Computer Science Education Week? Follow the hashtag #CSEW to keep up with events, and let us know your plans.

1. Daisy the Dinosaur is a free app that uses a drag-and-drop format to teach children the basics of computer programming. Students animate Daisy and make her dance across the screen. They also have the option to download a kit to program their own computer game.…Read More

Computer Science Education Week: How will you participate?

Participate in computer science events, which run from Dec. 9-15

computer-science-education-weekComputer Science Education Week begins today, and the week is full of resources and events to help curriculum directors and educators integrate and implement computer science lessons.

As of Dec. 6, 167 countries had planned 33,247 events for 4.5 million students–and those numbers definitely increased over the weekend.

Educators and stakeholders can take a number of steps to support Computer Science Education Week and broader nationwide initiatives.…Read More

How (and why) it’s time to create digital student portfolios

I always find it quite confusing when educators tell me that students in their classroom are reading at a 7th grade reading level, Edudemic reports. What does that really mean?  Does that mean that they are truly reading? When I say truly reading I mean with full comprehension. They are able to share their learning, demonstrate it in many different ways and extend that knowledge.  Too often when I hear that students are at a particular reading level the person is referring to decoding not reading.  Reading is only when true comprehension happens. I want to think I know what a 7th grade reading level is, but in actuality, I am only guessing. I am not sure this categorization does enough to prepare me to help that student grow as a learner. I have to spend a lot of time getting to know that child individually – only then, am I prepared to help him or her grow as a learner and reader. Usually it takes until October before I have enough information to be  equipped to make a difference in the life of that student…

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Why should students show up to class?

Where do you get your information on content or ideas that you present in the classroom?  Some of you educators may say the classroom text book, most of you may be experts on the topic, and few of you will say outside resources that aren’t technology based, CK-12 blogs.  Most of you may be putting together PowerPoint presentations or implementing some sort of slideshow or classroom discussion into your lesson planning.  The online classroom is full of presentations, videos and discussions with the help of companies like Khan Academy and 2U that actually allow you to have virtual face to face exchanges.  So, why should students continue to show up to class when they can learn and gain human interaction online? Today’s learning process needs experiences…

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Lower expectations for students with disabilities?

New report shows states sometimes offer lower-standard diplomas to students with disabilities

disabilities-studentsA majority of U.S. states offer multiple paths in high school graduation requirements to students with disabilities, according to a new report. However, what some likely intended as a way to help these students may be hurting their chances at entering post-secondary education and the workforce, which begs the question: Are states ensuring that students with disabilities are college- and career-ready?

The report, “Graduation Requirements for Students with Disabilities: Ensuring meaningful diplomas for all students,” released by Achieve and the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), reveals that more than 400,000 students in 50 states have disabilities. Though 90 percent of these students can meet the graduation standards offered by states for all students, during the 2010-2011 school year, only 64 percent left with a standard high school diploma.

(Next page: Colleges, employers skeptical)…Read More