New Storybooks and Companion Stuffed Animals Support Children’s Mental Wellness

Los Angeles — Silver Lining Stuffies launched its inaugural line of storybooks and companion stuffed animals crafted to provide children with the tools to cope with mental health conditions. The first three books, Slow Down, Alfie!, Andie & the Worries, and Frankie & Gloob, address attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and depression. Each stuffed animal stars in its own story as a lovable, relatable character who learns to cope with a unique set of difficulties, helping to normalize the experience of mental health challenges.

Silver Lining Stuffies was born out of the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when CEO and founder Sara Moore recognized the massive toll it was taking on the mental health of many, particularly children. As someone who has lived with depression and anxiety from a young age, Moore empathized and was propelled into action. As a child, she was fortunate enough to have a supportive family that provided the resources and tools to cope with depression and anxiety, which she continues to use.

Unfortunately, her story is not the norm. 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 are diagnosed with a mental or behavioral disorder every year, and only 20% of them ever receive treatment. Silver Lining Stuffies aims to improve that by offering parents, educators, and children strategies to deal with these conditions, and by donating part of their proceeds to relevant organizations.…Read More

How plagiarism makes the literacy gap worse

Plagiarism is becoming ubiquitous in academia as an increase in AI-powered writing tools become more advanced and available to students. As a result, educators are faced with preventing, identifying, and stopping plagiarism even as plagiarism becomes increasingly harder to detect.

But why should educators even continue to tackle plagiarism? What are the documented and potentially long-lasting impacts of students plagiarizing their work?

According to a recent study, there was a marked increase globally in paraphrasing and text replacement during the pandemic in 2020 compared to 2019. The average similarity score, which is the score that comes from detecting what content was paraphrased versus what is original, increased from 35.1 percent to 49.6 percent. This is especially troubling considering the already negative effects the pandemic had on education. The National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that the pandemic erased over two decades of progress with drops in both mathematics and reading scores for students at record highs. …Read More

How Minecraft and agriculture lead to an esports competition

Our world is changing around us in so many ways, and the climate crisis is proving to be one of the paramount challenges of the 21st century. As temperatures rise, our food systems across the globe feel the impacts of this man-made phenomenon. This heightens the pressing need to mitigate our carbon emissions, as well as adapt to climate impacts. We need to foster sustainability across all spheres, especially in the preservation and resilience of our agricultural systems.

Despite the fact that we all consume food every day, there is a disconnect between the needs of modern agriculture and challenges many farmers face due to climate change. So few of us truly know where our food comes from and teachers do not always have tools for raising awareness and educating on this important topic. This is why NASEF Farmcraft was developed. 

Farmcraft is a global esports competition hosted by the nonprofit NASEF and the U.S. Department of State. It is aimed at students grades 3-12 and participation is free for students from all over the world. This year we had participants from 68 countries! Teams register with the support of an educator or other adult sponsor and take part in a wide variety of activities that teach about the connections between modern agriculture, climate change, and biodiversity. …Read More

Pivot Interactives Announces New Iris™ Technology to Increase Students’ Active Phenomena-Based Learning

(May12, 2022) — Pivot Interactives introduces a new set of tools, Iris™, which make learning critical science concepts—such as heat transfer, Beer’s Law, light emission, population density, temperature (infrared and blackbody), pH, and wavelength—accessible to students regardless of classroom equipment or teaching experience. With this new patent-pending collection of color and light measuring tools, students can now take quantitative measurements of color & light for themselves directly from information encoded in a video within a web browser.

“Making measurements using light is a fundamental practice of science. From optical measurements made by microbiologists to the light gathered by powerful telescopes, light, and color-based measurements are at the heart of science at every scale,” says Peter Bohacek, CEO and Founder of Pivot Interactives. “But light- and color-based measurements are normally out of reach in the classroom, limited to expensive and complex equipment. Pivot Interactives brings the power of light- and color-based measurements to students’ fingertips. As the leader in using interactive videos for science education, we are thrilled to be the first to make the power of light- and color-based measurements available to classrooms everywhere.”

Iris technology addresses three critical issues that science classrooms face:…Read More

10 cool AR and VR tools for the classroom

We all know that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are super fun, but AR and VR tools can also be incredibly powerful when integrated into classroom learning.

What’s the difference? AR is the idea that the user brings something into their real world and using a device to see something that isn’t actually there–animation or 3D images come into the real world. VR immerses a person in the experience, as if they’re actually there.

AR and VR tools have a number of benefits for students, and because the tools are engaging, students are more likely to absorb classroom lessons and concepts. Plus, students are engaged in active learning with AR and VR tools.…Read More

3 tools to support trauma-informed teaching

While the awareness of trauma-informed teaching has been a concept I have grappled with, teaching amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has moved this concept to the forefront in terms of how to be effective as a trauma-informed educator in the virtual classroom. 

Trauma is prevalent in the lives of both educators and learners.  Though prevalent, it can also be silent in that it is not always a visible or known quantity.  Living through a pandemic, by its very nature, has been traumatic for everyone and it is important to debrief and reflect on the failures and successes of our educational practices during this time.

It may be surprising to learn that as of 2020, according to the CDC-Kaiser Ace Study, up to two-thirds of U.S. children have experienced at least one type of serious childhood trauma.  Some examples include abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence.  Trauma may be the largest public health issue facing our children today (CDC, 2019).  It is imperative that we are not only aware of these statistics but that we act on known strategies that help our students cope with trauma so that they can meet with success in both in-person and virtual classroom spaces.…Read More