App of the Week: One-stop shop for research and writing

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated with help from the editors of Graphite.org, a free service from Common Sense Education. Click here to read the full app review.

Citelighter Education

What’s It Like? Citelighter is an engaging online platform designed to support students and teachers as they tackle the intricacies of the writing process. Students simply sign up and download the Citelighter toolbar or work on the Citelighter website. Students can work on Citelighter’s platform to research topics and construct their own written work or use the Citelighter toolbar to search and cite from the open Web. On the platform, students follow a series of scaffolded steps predetermined by their teacher; they’ll explore leveled articles and various multimedia content (videos and images) before they begin writing a paper. As students find useful excerpts, capturing and organizing is as simple as highlighting, clicking, and dragging. Citations are automatically saved and referenced in a bibliography.

Price: Free/subscription

Grades: 3-12…Read More

Sennheiser adds audio conferencing solution, TeamConnect with wireless or ceiling mics

Audio mics pick up who is speaking during conferences

Sennheiser’s TeamConnect is an end-to-end, professional-grade conferencing solution for medium to large conference rooms. TeamConnect can be integrated into any infrastructure or conference room to deliver leading-edge connectivity options for “bring your own device” IT environments, support for all leading unified communication solutions and brilliant sound quality.

Sennheiser TeamConnect is a complete audio solution for businesses. Consisting of the Central Unit CU1 – which offers both Ethernet and wifi connectivity options, a choice of fixed or table-top SpeechLine microphones or the new TeamConnect Ceiling microphone, and active loudspeakers, TeamConnect has everything needed to cater for medium to large conference rooms.

“TeamConnect is a classic, reliable audio solution, which is designed to be integrated into any infrastructure or room. It can be used with landline or Unified Communication clients, and either permanently installed or set up for flexible use,” said Jens Werner, Portfolio Manager Sennheiser. “As well as being easily linked to networks, it is also very easy to operate, both by IT and for end users, with powerful fine-tuning software to ensure effective installation and simple app- and browser- based tools for controlling conferences on a user’s own device.”…Read More

Oracle bolsters computer science education

Part of $3.3 billion annual investment to advance computer science education and increase diversity in technology fields globally

In conjunction with The White House Science Fair 2016, Oracle and The White House recently announced Oracle’s plan to invest $200 million in direct and in-kind support for computer science education in the United States over the next 18 months.

Oracle’s pledge supports the Administration’s Computer Science for All initiative and is part of the company’ greater annual worldwide investment of $3.3 billion to empower computer science educators and engage diverse student populations globally. Today’s commitment expects to reach more than 232,000 students in over 1,100 U.S. institutions through Oracle Academy, its philanthropic computer science-focused educational program that impacts more than 2.6 million students in 106 countries.

In 2015, only 2 percent of all participants in the College Board’s AP program took Computer Science and a mere 22 percent of those participants were female.[1] Yet, programming jobs are growing 50 percent faster than the market overall, according to new research by Oracle Academy and Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market company. The study (2016), which analyzed and interpreted real-time data from millions of online job postings from nearly 40,000 sources, revealed that demand for computer science, programming, and coding skills is large, growing, and far more widespread than just IT jobs.…Read More

K-12 science teachers in dire need of PD

Sustained professional learning opportunities are needed to help science teachers teach new science standards, according to a new report

K-12 science teachers are often left to deal with a lack of coherent and sustained professional learning opportunities that researchers say are needed to support science teachers inside and outside of the classroom, particularly as they strive to teach new science standards.

As researchers’ and teachers’ understanding of how best to learn and teach science evolves and curricula are redesigned, many teachers are left without the experience needed to enhance the science and engineering courses they teach, according to a Jan. 20 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

This issue is particularly pronounced in elementary schools and in schools that serve a high percentage of low-income students.…Read More

Hawaii partners on statewide STEM, energy curriculum

Defined STEM Curriculum aims to engage students in statewide renewable energy initiatives

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is moving to further support Ka Hei, its statewide strategic program kicked off in 2014 that educates students about sustainable energy transitions happening across schools throughout the state, through partnerships with Defined STEM, the flagship curriculum supplement of Defined Learning, and OpTerra Energy Services.

Hawai’i is the most fossil-fuel-dependent state in the nation, and the state’s schools spend $48 million a year on electricity alone. The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative aims to relieve the state’s dependence on oil by using 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

The goal of the Ka Hei program is to integrate innovative energy technology with meaningful learning experiences, all while reducing energy costs.…Read More

Report: States improve teacher policies

NCTQ’s annual report finds state policies to support teacher effectiveness are no longer the exception in the U.S.

teacher-policyTeacher policies across the U.S. averaged a C- grade, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), which on Dec. 8 released its ninth annual State Teacher Policy Yearbook.

The annual policy yearbook analyzes every state law, rule and regulation that shapes the teaching profession, from teacher preparation, licensing and evaluation to compensation, professional development and dismissal policy.

Across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, states average a C- for their teacher policies in 2015, up from an overall grade of D in 2009. The average state grade has held steady since NCTQ’s last comprehensive report card in 2013, despite the bar being raised on several key topics, including aligning teacher licensing policies with the expectations of college- and career-readiness standards adopted by many states.…Read More

These 3 policy areas could help principals become more effective

New report details how state policymakers can help strengthen, support principals

principals-policyWhile school principals are often low priorities on state education policy agendas, a handful of states have taken steps to strengthen the role principals play in schools, according to a new report commissioned by the Wallace Foundation.

After analyzing how principals are supported and prioritized in a number of states, Paul Manna, professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary and the report’s author, suggests that those states’ actions focus on three areas in policymaking.

1. State leaders can move principals higher on policy agendas. Teachers typically have the larger share of agendas and professional development investments, according to the report. But when principals are elevated in state policy agendas, it can strengthen other state education efforts. “Numerous state education policy initiatives developed during the last two decades depend heavily on excellent principals for their success,” the report notes.…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.

School eMail, Websites Hit by eRate Changes

New rules would eliminate eRate discounts on eMail, voice mail, and website hosting beginning next year

email
While free options for school eMail and website hosting exist, there are limitations to what these services include.

[Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of articles examining the new eRate rules and how they will affect schools.]

Beginning with the 2015 funding year, eMail, voice mail, and website hosting no longer will be eligible for eRate support. What will this change mean for schools—and what services exist to help schools reduce these costs?

The eRate offers discounts ranging from 20 percent to 90 percent of the cost of telecommunications services, internet access, and internal connectivity to eligible schools and libraries. Now indexed to inflation, the program will supply more than $2.4 billion in discounts this year.…Read More

Why support for Common Core is sinking

“Hit the delay button.”  That was the message New York’s senators sent to state Education Commissioner John King during last week’s hearing, the Washington Post reports. Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan made it clear that if King did not act, senators on his panel would.  Senator Maziarz observed that the only Common Core supporters remaining are “yourself (King) and the members of the Board of Regents.”  To make his position crystal clear, Senator Latimer emphatically smacked the table while calling for a delay, likening the rollout of the Common Core to “steaming across the Atlantic” when there are icebergs in the water…

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