REcharge Academy Educator Scholarships

The REcharge Academy is a week-long educator training workshop about renewable energy. The intensive training blends lectures from experts and tours of energy facilities with replicable hands-on K-12 lessons to give educators content as well as context. A REcharge Academy combines materials from REcharge Labs, WindWise Curricula, KidWind, and Vernier, as well as other materials we find applicable and useful in the classroom. After successfully completing an Academy, all attendees become REcharge Instructors, and are certified to teach REcharge programming in their own areas.
Note: Scholarship deadline has been extended.

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How an edtech innovation is giving performance assessments new life

Across the country, educators and policy makers are searching for ways to develop and implement innovative assessment programs to address accountability requirements and to reform instruction. As both local and state educators consider new assessment models, they find themselves coming up against many issues of time. It’s widely agreed that there’s too much time spent on testing and test prep, and there’s too little time to teach and take on additional responsibilities to transform instruction. Educators often feel that innovation represents an additional burden on their time rather than a benefit.

Since the last big push to reform instruction and assessment nearly a quarter century ago, we’ve developed new psychometric techniques as well as new technologies to assist us in our attempts to innovate.

Internet access, electronic collection of student work, and online distributed scoring, for example, can all play significant roles in making performance assessments more manageable and efficient.…Read More

This is what Gen Z-designed curriculum looks like for the future

[Editor’s Note: This story is Part 3 of our month-long series on “What it means to teach Gen Z.” Click here to read Part 1 on Gen Z and parents, and click here to read Part 2 on Gen Z and librarians. Check back every Monday in April to read the next installment!]

The generation in school now is the first generation raised entirely in the Age of Technology. They are digital natives, many of them using computers, smartphones, and other digital tools nearly from birth. As technology continues to grow and expand, so too will the ways we use it. This growth and expansion will impact the types of jobs that will be available in the next 10–20 years. So how do we as educators prepare Gen Z for jobs that may not even exist yet?

Go Cross-Curricular…Read More

Using politics to teach critical thinking

As high school social studies teachers in a swing state, election season is some of the most fertile ground for learning, and this past cycle—with all its splashy and expensive political ads—proved no exception.

Our students are all in their mid teens, which means in the next presidential election, they will be eligible voters. With so much information (and misinformation) swirling around our students, it was imperative for us to teach them how to think critically about the political process in an unbiased, nonpartisan way, giving them the power to sift through the reams of information we’re inundated with on a daily basis and decide what to trust and what to be skeptical about—and how to go about making those determinations.

Tools to Teach with Politics…Read More

3 major ways to boost basic data literacy in K-16

A new report outlines the need for K-16 students to develop key data literacy skills

Focusing on three specific areas could be key to boosting K-16 students’ data literacy in a world where big data’s importance grows daily, according to a new report.

EDC’s Oceans of Data Institute (ODI) convened an expert panel of data analysts and educators for a workshop on data literacy, and panelists focused on what it means to be data literate in today’s world of big data, as well as what to teach students to prepare them to be part of today’s workforce and society.

The panelists’ recommendations are included in a new report, Building Global Interest in Data Literacy: A Dialogue.…Read More

Teach students to communicate effectively in the Innovation Age

Communication looks different in the Innovation Age compared to the Information Age of yesteryear. Here’s how to help students succeed

PLCs-communitiesEd. note: Innovation In Action is a monthly column from the International Society of Technology in Education focused on exemplary practices in education.

Ready or not, education has entered the “Innovation Age,” where it’s not about what students know but what they can do with what they know. Teachers can prepare students to thrive in the Innovation Age by teaching them to think at three levels: “what,” “so what,” and “now what.” Students might think of it in terms of three overarching questions: What is the basic concept? What is its relevance and what is it related to? And now, what can I do with what I have learned to find solutions to unmet needs?

In the Information Age, the era we are just now emerging from, knowledge was power so educators taught students to access, gather, analyze, and report information. In the Innovation Age there is a glut of information and data are readily generated or at fingertip accessibility. Successful educators in the Innovation Age must empower students by leading them discover their agency, define their purpose, and be open to fresh perspectives.…Read More

Vernier opens 2016 engineering contest

Three STEM teachers will each win $5,500 in prizes for creatively using Vernier sensors to introduce students to engineering concepts and practices

engineering-grantVernier Software & Technology is now accepting applications for its 2016 Engineering Contest that recognizes engineering, science, and STEM teachers for their creative use of Vernier sensors to teach students engineering concepts and practices.

Three winning teachers — one middle school teacher, one high school teacher, and one college instructor — will each receive prizes valued at $5,500.

Applications for the contest are due by January 15, 2016, and winners will be announced on March 5, 2016 on the Vernier website and Facebook page.…Read More

5 critical 21st century skills that go way beyond the 4 Cs

Teach students to think like entrepreneurs with these skill sets

21st-century-skillsSince the publication of his highly impactful book, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Friedman has been teaching his readers and listeners to think differently about our world and how we interact with each other. Friedman consistently talks about new skill sets that are required for anyone who wants to not only survive but truly thrive in the hyper-connected world that is life in the 21st century.

Educators have been tackling a new mindset for student learning for nearly two decades. In the early 2000s, when as a nation as we sat at the dawn of the 21st century, The Partnership for 21st Century Learning (formerly The Partnership for 21st Century Skills) introduced the education community to a Framework for 21st Century Learning, which highlighted 18 different skills. Over time leaders from a broad spectrum of business and education communities narrowed the focus to concentrate on a set of skills that came to be known as the 4Cs—communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

The goal was to have the 4Cs integrated with the “3Rs” that had served as the backbone of American curricula for centuries. As the K-12 education community continues the work of embedding the 4Cs into all content areas, the world continues to evolve and we find ourselves once again considering what it is all students must know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school.…Read More

Drumming to Success: Why teaching music matters

As an instrumental music teacher in the Philly School District, there is not much that I haven’t seen in school, the Huffington Post reports. I’ve had students involved with drugs, violence and gangs. I’ve had students who were living out of homeless shelters, students who have both parents in jail, even a student that had a father who committed suicide while he was at home. I’ve seen students swear at teachers and disrespect principals. I’ve seen food fights, flash mobs in the hallway, and I often see Philly police officers in school for various reasons. However, there is one common theme that I’ve experienced in inner city schools: All students love music. I’ve had so much success with the students that have been labeled as “failing.” Even some of the most at-risk students in school can find success in music…

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