How technology can support diversity in the classroom

Diversity, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is the condition of having or being composed of differing elements, especially the inclusion of people of different races, cultures, etc. in a group or organization.

As an educator, with over 17 years of experience, I’ve heard the word diversity used in various contexts throughout my career. However, over the last 16 months or so, the importance of diversity–and especially inclusion–has been highlighted to Americans across the country, in very visible, and sometimes unsettling ways.

Throughout my career, I have taught a variety of grades from 1st grade to 6th grade ELA in a host of states and school districts. Currently, I am the Gifted and Talented Specialist for River Trail Elementary in Upstate South Carolina.  In this role, I’ve taken a fresh look at how I am helping to highlight the power of diversity in the classroom and build a more inclusive learning environment–particularly in the STEM fields–in which all learners can see themselves as they prepare for life beyond graduation.…Read More

3 ways chatbots can support mental health in schools

The U.S. Surgeon General has issued an advisory warning about a mental health crisis for children. Several national health organizations have also declared a national state of emergency for child and adolescent mental health resulting from prolonged stress, instability, and isolation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is old news for most of our educators, who once again find themselves as the baseline support system we rely on to fulfill the basic needs of our nation’s youth.

“When students returned to classrooms in August this year, we saw higher levels of stress and anxiety,” said Patrick Brady, Superintendent at the Massena Central School District in New York. “Addressing mental health concerns has become a number one priority in our district.”…Read More

Redesigning education for post-pandemic success

(Editor’s note: This article is the first in a three-part series about how school systems can build on the progress and leverage the investments they’ve made in technology during the pandemic to achieve true digital transformation. Part 1 looks at how K-12 leaders can build an effective blueprint for redesigning education in a way that’s more equitable, meaningful, and learner-centered. Part 2 will explore how leaders can obtain stakeholder buy-in and support for their vision, and Part 3 will examine what professional development should look like to turn this vision into action.)

COVID-19 arguably produced the biggest shift in education since the invention of the printing press. Nearly overnight, teaching and learning moved from classrooms to online environments. School systems invested thousands of dollars in Chromebooks, Wi-Fi hotspots, and other technologies. Educators spent countless hours working to ensure that students could learn from home uninterrupted.

Yet, aside from where the learning occurred, what else actually changed?…Read More

The biggest takeaways for the post-pandemic future of education

There is no argument that teachers are the most valuable asset in a student’s learning experience. This fact was only further underscored over the past 18 months.

While the increase in easy-to-use technology used in the classroom has been a significant improvement, teachers remain the most important factor in the learning equation and should be recognized as such.

Lessons learned over the course of the pandemic have highlighted ways that schools and districts can best support teachers and students throughout the learning experience.…Read More

TEACHERMADE BRINGS CO-TEACHER SUPPORT TO ITS INTERACTIVE ONLINE PLATFORM

Jacksonville, FL — TeacherMade, the online platform for making interactive digital learning activities, has released a software update that allows Teachers to share account access with other Teachers, paraprofessionals, substitutes, administrators, IEP/504 teams, or any other stakeholder. The new Co-Teacher shared access allows Teachers and staff to collaborate on lesson authoring, grading, assigning, and sharing. A video explaining how to use this powerful new feature is available at https://youtu.be/NUKUqm9si5s.

TeacherMade was created during the Covid-19 pandemic to meet the urgent needs of Teachers and students thrust into remote learning. Now TeacherMade is growing into a complete online learning platform that supports every stakeholder. The new Co-Teacher update makes TeacherMade a more complete solution for schools. 

TeacherMade has a library of original, pre-built, engaging online learning experiences for students. But most schools build their own private-use libraries from the PDFs their Teachers already use. TeacherMade’s one-of-a-kind PDF editor is the fastest way to digitally enhance an existing paper lesson. Digitally enhanced activities are part of a resilient curriculum that can adapt to in-person, remote, and asynchronous environments.…Read More

Texthelp’s Literacy Support Tool, Read&Write, Hits New Milestone of 35 Million Users

WOBURN, Mass., Dec. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, today announced that its literary support tool, Read&Write, is now used by 35 million people worldwide. Originally, Read&Write was developed to help users with low literacy and conditions such as dyslexia. Since then, Read&Write has been a staple in the company’s suite of products for more than 25 years. The product has become an important classroom and workplace product, supporting Texthelp’s vision of helping all people learn and understand.

Today, Texthelp is also honoring International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an international day of awareness to promote the well-being of persons with disabilities. Texthelp is committed to raising awareness of the barriers that people with disabilities often face. Together, we can make the world more accessible for all.

“Reaching a major milestone with our very first product, Read&Write, on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, is amazing,” said Martin McKay, founder and CEO of Texthelp. “Our team has continued to evolve our products and worked together to help create a world where everyone can understand and be understood. When we first developed Read&Write, our goal was to reach 1 million users. Surpassing that goal has been a great milestone and I’m excited to set our next goal at 100 million users.”…Read More

10 SEL activities to help students with stress management

As an educator, you are in a unique position to provide stability and care to your students and their families. One of the best ways you can support students during these uncertain times is by teaching them effective stress management strategies.

Just like adults, unmanaged stress in students can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability, poor concentration, aggression, physical illness, fatigue, and sleep disturbance. It can also increase tobacco, drug, and/or alcohol use.

Here are 10 activities to help your students learn effective stress management.…Read More

Using the rule of threes for a technology strategy

As the new school year starts amid fresh uncertainty, educators are grappling with how to navigate what I’ve come to call the “And Era.” The And Era is not about going only remote or returning to purely in-person experiences, but adopting the best of both. While many schools are bringing kids back into classrooms this year, the spread of the Delta variant and other factors out of their control mean they must again be prepared to support a mix of virtual and in-person learning.

That means focusing on what they can control–developing and deploying a strong technology strategy that will give them the agility to combine varying degrees of in-person and remote elements into a seamless learning experience. The heart of that strategy should center around three interdependent components: hardware, software, and the network.

While the stakes are enormous, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and its $130 billion in new K-12 funding offers great hope that schools will be able to secure the technology, expertise- and resources they need to build an educational infrastructure for the next generation. Given the possibility that many students will spend one-fourth of their learning journey under these trying circumstances, making best use of those funds to implement a thoughtful technology strategy is more important than ever.…Read More

Oklahoma Christian University and BloomBoard Announce New Partnership to Support Teacher Development and Salary Advancement with Micro-credentials

EDMOND, Okla. (September 30, 2021)- Today, Oklahoma Christian University (OC) and BloomBoard announced a partnership to help Oklahoma schools and districts with COVID recovery by supporting teachers with micro-credential-based graduate courses. This news comes after a recent report shed light on the Sooner State’s struggles with retaining teachers. Through this partnership, Oklahoma teachers will earn graduate credit from the university and build immediate teaching skills necessary to address pandemic-related setbacks to learning. Officials, including Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters, are striving to fast-track career development in the teaching profession and solve talent pipeline needs through this program.

“Studies show that the number one factor of student success in the school setting is the quality of the teacher,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Education, Ryan Walters, “Oklahoma needs professional development now to allow us to be better teachers tomorrow. Micro-credentials provide teachers a career ladder for advancement while allowing them to stay in the classroom where they can change students’ lives.”

This partnership allows teachers to develop skills through a learning-by-doing process that is directly relevant to their classroom practice. Micro-credential-based programs are a flexible alternative to earning traditional graduate course credit towards a master’s degree. They provide an on-the-job approach to professional learning while promoting educators’ career and compensation advancement. …Read More