A Challenge-Based Learning model pioneered by Apple is now helping teachers engage middle school students in deep learning through projects that combine developing questions, investigating scientific phenomena, and solving problems in their classrooms, schools, and communities. In a recent edWebinar, Anthony Baker, Project Director for Digital Promise, which has further developed and researched the Challenge-Based Learning model, explains that this approach enables students to make meaningful connections to their science curriculum while also answering the age-old student question: “Why do I need to learn this?”
A pilot program of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has made 12 states’ reviews of secondary math and language arts materials available, with a wide range of K-12 resources from these and other states to follow. As explained by Christine Fox, Deputy Executive Director of SETDA, during a recent edWebinar, this searchable information will help educational leaders ensure that the materials they purchase are high-quality, aligned with their standards and goals, and accessible to all students.
“One of the challenges of teaching math, particular in the United States is that school math seems to come from a different universe than life math.” In a recent edWebinar, Sara Delano Moore, Ph.D., Director of Professional Learning for ORIGO Education, underscored that we, as educators, need to help students engage in math by seeing math as something vital to them. Moore points out that there are formal mathematicians with advanced degrees and accreditations, but anyone who uses math and thinks about the world quantitively can be considered a mathematician.
All educators are lifelong learners, whether they’re figuring out how to incorporate the latest edtech device into their lessons or researching bios on NBA players to help a reluctant reader. But while schools expect teachers to continue their education, most only get rewarded for getting an advanced degree like a master’s or a Ph.D. Now, organizations like Digital Promise have developed micro-credential programs, which recognize educators for acquiring new skills. During her presentation “Measuring and Sustaining Professional Learning Through Micro-Credentials,” Odelia Younge, senior project director for educator micro-credentials at Digital Promise, explained the key elements of micro-credentials, how they work, and what differentiates them from other professional development.
Coding and robotics programs in classrooms reflect how integral technology is in our lives. Educators like Angie Kalthoff, Technology Integrationist in St. Cloud, MN, and Ann Bartel, Instructional Technology Specialist in Chilton, WI, teach K-8 students about technology through coding and computer science programs that incorporate the 4 Cs of learning: collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication. In a recent edWebinar, Kalthoff and Bartel explain that they want to coach students and not just tell them what button to push or the correct sequences to move a robot across a mat. By being challenged to take ownership of their learning through design thinking, students grow to understand that it is okay not to get the right answer the first time and that failing is part of the learning process.
School- and district-wide wireless internet access is no longer a nice-to-have—it’s a must have. And with staff, teachers, parents, and students needing 24/7 access, there’s never a good time for down time. During the edWebinar, “Smart Network Design for Transformation and Innovation: Reaching in and Beyond the Classroom,” the presenters discussed the six elements of CoSN’s new network design for continuous service.
Schools are facing new challenges now that most learning involves the web—chiefly, the ability to do work at home or anywhere away from school grounds. While many are looking for ways to provide all students with a device, just having the device does not mean equitable learning. All students need to have the same access to WiFi, and thus the ability to use the device, whether they are at school or not. In the edWebinar, “Closing the Homework Gap: Digital Equity for All Students,” the presenters talked about the challenges and potential solutions to fulfill the promise of anytime, anywhere learning.
edWeb.net is delighted to announce the launch of Principal Leadership: Making a Difference, a free professional learning community to help principals connect and collaborate on challenges they face leading schools and driving school improvement. Collaboration with peers is one of the most powerful ways to learn about effective ideas and practices. The community will host a series of monthly edWebinars with panels of leading principals where presenters and principal attendees can discuss topics of concern.
While the Wild West era of edtech may be over, there’s still some mystery over how schools decide what digital materials to buy. Similarly, researchers and developers have their own approaches to the sales process. In the edWebinar, “Building Authentic Need and Research into Edtech Development,” representatives from a large school district, a small district, a developer, and the research community answered burning questions about edtech procurement.
When we “flip” the learning, and have students present to educators in our edWebinars, it’s a great example of how much we can learn from our students. In a recent edWebinar, Turn Struggling Readers Into Leaders Using Assistive Technology, Gavin and Marley, two middle school students, along with dyslexia specialist Dana Blackaby, presented on their use of assistive technology that helps struggling readers. We wanted to know how they felt about playing the role of teacher to a crowd of over 800 attendees.