When it comes to edtech, it’s not about the tools, but how you use them

In this week’s Getting There: Innovations in Education, Editor at Large Kevin Hogan explores how to get the most impact out of the edtech tools in your district.

Also in this podcast:

  • New cyber security standards attempt to help secure district networks through awareness.
  • Dr. Matthew X. Joseph, Executive Director of Learning, Providence Public Schools on the power of human networks.
  • How video creation tools can improve parental relations.
…Read More

How social and emotional competence leads to educational equity

Educational equity is achieved by equipping students with tools to overcome some of the pre-existing barriers that impede their ability to succeed in school and thrive. Although educational equity was a priority in many school districts prior to the events of the past year and a half, talks surrounding the initiative have amped up–of the 10 largest school districts in the United States, eight now identify equity as part of their mission statements or core values.

Achieving educational equity requires multiple strategies and initiatives because the sources of inequity are so numerous and varied. One of the most important strategies is the promotion of students’ social and emotional competence (SEC).

First, we must understand how equity is defined. Recently, Jagers, Rivas-Drake, and Borowski asserted that educational equity “means that every student has access to the resources and educational rigor they need” (2018, p.1). Similarly, the Center for Public Education stated that, “equity is achieved when all students receive the resources they need so they graduate prepared for success after high school” (2016, p. 1). Both definitions make clear that the focus of educational equity efforts needs to be on the individual student. Equity is achieved when every (Jagers et. al) or all (CPE) students can benefit from education.…Read More

ParentSquare Partners With Serent Capital for Significant Growth Investment

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.– AUGUST 03, 2021 — ParentSquare Inc., provider of the
premier unified school-to-home engagement platform for K-12, today announced it has received
a significant investment from Serent Capital, a growth-focused firm that invests in technology
and tech-enabled services companies. The investment will further accelerate ParentSquare’s
growth plans, including introduction of new products and services and expansion into additional
geographic markets.

ParentSquare is the only fully unified product that engages every family with school
communications and communications-based services—all the way from the district office to the
classroom teacher, and all in one place. Schools know who’s not being reached, and have the
reports and tools to improve contactability and communications equity while maintaining privacy
and security. Before ParentSquare, families and school staff had to navigate multiple platforms
and apps in order to communicate within their school and district, whether it was for district
announcements, attendance, forms, surveys, sign-ups or daily classroom communications.

ParentSquare is currently used by millions of parents, students and staff across thousands of
schools and districts in 44 states. Its namesake product has been honored in several awards
competitions, including as a finalist in the 2021 Software and Information Industry CODiE
Awards, and as winner of the 2020 SIIA CODiE Award for “Best Collaborative Community
Solution for Educators.”…Read More

PresenceLearning Becomes New Corporate Partner of ASHA

(Rockville, MD – July 27, 2021) The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) announced today that PresenceLearning, a provider of live online special education–related services for grades preK–12, has become an ASHA Corporate Partner.

ASHA’s partnership with PresenceLearning will help speech-language pathologists (SLPs) access teletherapy at a time when online education tools have proven to be critical to connecting to students and clients. PresenceLearning has been providing teletherapy tools for 12 years, and its proprietary platform has been built by clinicians for clinicians. The platform—which includes a built-in content library of activities and tools that allow clinicians to learn from their peers—is also available for individual and group practice.

“As we learned from the pandemic, our members need every tool available to them to help serve their patients, clients, and students no matter what arises,” said ASHA 2021 President A. Lynn Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP. “PresenceLearning’s therapy platform will help ensure that students get the care that they need from our members.”…Read More

5 immersive learning tools for the classroom

Immersive learning might sound like a no-brainer strategy, but it’s a superb way to ensure students are engaged in lessons and core concepts.

Augmented and virtual reality apps are excellent ways to engage students in immersive learning, while at the same time offering a fun learning experience.

Students can explore historical sites, meet sea creatures up close, and more.…Read More

3 familiar tools that enable 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

Community Brands Adds MobileCause to Its Suite of Fundraising Tools

Partnership Creates Powerhouse Solutions to Elevate Fundraising Programs and Results

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. June 16, 2021 – Community Brands, the leading provider of cloud-based software and payment solutions for associations, nonprofits and schools, today announced its acquisition of MobileCause, a premier comprehensive digital fundraising platform.

MobileCause complements the Community Brands fundraising suite by making available self-service, digital campaign tools, aimed to help K-12 schools and nonprofits augment their fundraising programs quickly. Paired with Community Brands’ GiveSmart solution, MobileCause will support the fundraising strategies of midsize and large nonprofits that want to engage donors through a combination of mobile, virtual, hybrid, or in-person events with the support of advanced event fundraising tools, such as auctions and guest management.…Read More

Facing the future through Future Ready

In Part I of this series, I reflected on the journey that led Follett Learning to Future Ready Librarians® and why the time has never been better for librarians to transform their programs using Future Ready tools. 

Now, let’s explore the most important question: Where do you start?

I used to advise librarians to pick a wedge of the Future Ready Librarians framework that aligned with their school’s or district’s strategic objectives. Today, aspiring Future Ready Librarians have a new Self-Assessment Tool designed to assess their strengths and areas of growth related to the Future Ready Librarians framework. Where are you on your Future Ready journey?   …Read More

4 under-the-radar data points to track as schools reopen

One of the most powerful tools in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has been data. Data analytics has informed what we can do, when we can do it, and has kept us safe. As more schools reopen their doors, data is also playing a vital role in ensuring they do so safely.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued key indicators for dynamic school decision making, which include measures of underlying community transmission as well as a measure of adherence to key mitigation strategies. While these indicators provide a solid foundation for establishing and maintaining in-person plans, they aren’t always inclusive of the data that parents, teachers, and staff need to feel comfortable about returning to the classroom.

To gain buy-in from these stakeholders and help inform plans as schools reopen, schools districts must also consider four under-the-radar-data points. Let’s take a look.…Read More