Rural school districts face many unique trials, and access to educational technology is no different. But the obstacles aren’t just about location. In many cases, school leaders need to justify why the district should invest in the first place. During the edWebinar “Technology in Rural Schools: Leading with Why,” the presenters discussed how they overcame challenges and helped the community understand the value of tech in schools.
Preparing young children for jobs that haven’t been invented yet may sound like a difficult task for educators, but a recent edWebinar showed how preK and kindergarten teachers can start developing the skills needed for future careers. Marnie Forestieri, the CEO of Young Innovators, and Debby Mitchell, Ed.D., a Young Innovators curriculum writer, explained the process for creating lesson plans that include projects introducing science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), noting that “STEAM happens naturally in young children as they explore and investigate the world around them.”
“Don’t call it professional development—call it professional learning.” Jill Abbott Sr. Vice President and Managing Director at SIIA, made this statement in a recent edWebinar, with Jeff Mao, CEO, Edmoxie LLC, Bruce Umpstead, Director of State Programs at IMS Global Learning Consortium, and Ilya Zeldin, Founder and CEO of 2gnoMe. The panelists recommended that educational leaders take a deep breath and recognize that there is a crisis happening in our districts. There are a vast plethora of people who could be the best teachers ever, yet they don’t want to be in the profession. It is not easy for teachers to thrive and to grow when teacher professional development is irrelevant, generic, and unsustainable. A familiar comment by teachers regarding district or school-wide professional development is, “Well, we’re just going to ride this one out because it is going to change in two years or when we get a new administrator.” The panelists suggest that if “we can get the professional development piece done collaboratively with teachers, not at teachers, maybe we can retain and recruit highly qualified engaging and innovative educators.
The research that came out of a recent white paper highlights the issues around the increasing crisis in adolescent mental health. In a recent edWebinar, the presenters emphasized the need for school districts “to intervene with students as quickly as possible to keep them safe.”
In July 2010, Michelle Luhtala, Department Chair of the New Canaan High School Library, presented her 1st webinar on edWeb. In November 2019, she presented her 100th! Over the course of 10 years, edWeb has presented over 2,200 “edWebinars” that have had nearly 2 million views. The edWeb community has grown to more than 700,000 educators in 185 countries. It’s not an overstatement to say that none of this would… read more →
A critical topic for schools, communities, and most importantly, our students, is what teachers do in the classroom to nurture ALL students, create a sense of belonging, and keep educational standards high. Only then can students, especially immigrant students and students of color, meet their potential and succeed in school and beyond. During a recent edWebinar, the presenters underscored that when schools make generalizations about particular student populations and their behavior, they strip them of their individuality, and these students become “invisible.”
As schools and districts strive to meet their existing technology needs and prepare for the future, access to federal and state funding, along with other grants, is making a major difference in whether students engage in 21st century learning or are left behind. And with online assessments now being required in many states, reliable broadband access is also essential so that students’ knowledge and skills are accurately represented, and technology is not a barrier to achievement and its documentation.
At Common Sense Education, the edtech reviewers have seen it all. And to help teachers navigate the plethora of materials for the digital classroom, Tanner Higgin, Director of Education Editorial Strategy at Common Sense Education, presented “50 Top Edtech Tools for the Classroom.” Below are some of Higgin’s favorites.
Despite universal concerns about student data privacy, communicating school policies can quickly overwhelm school leaders. CoSN has stepped in with guidance for superintendents and principals to help them with several aspects of student data privacy, including best practices for informing the community. In their edWebinar “Assuring Student Data Privacy: Lessons for Our Times,” presenters offered insights into how school leaders can take charge of communications for this critical issue.
Augmented Reality, or AR, is described by Jaime Donally in a recent edWebinar as a “digital layer in our real world that gives an illusion that it exists in our space.” She highlights that it is an exciting time, as emerging technologies associated with AR are feeling much more realistic. AR software such as Google Maps allows the viewer to have guidance as they are walking in a new area, and AR embedded browsers can display 3D animated objects in real-life environments. The key to giving students opportunities to engage in augmented reality begins with supporting teachers as they enhance learning experiences for students. Using AR software and tools such as 3DBear and MERGE, teachers have access to an abundance of activities and lesson plans that offer more in-depth content, provide opportunities for collaboration and exploration, and expand students learning experiences outside of classroom walls.