“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.
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.
“The opportunity of bilingualism is an important gift to give to our students.” The cognitive, cultural, and professional benefits of bilingualism have the potential to broaden learners’ experiences in their careers and academics. In a recent edWebinar, Maya Goodall, Senior Director of EL Curriculum at Lexia Learning, highlighted that 10% of all students in U.S. public schools are emerging bilinguals and emerging multilinguals. Formerly called English Language Learners, students who speak more than one language have demonstrated advantages and awareness of languages, communication skills, memory, decision making, and analytical skills.
Whether it’s summer or not, digital citizenship skills are something that adults and children alike should be practicing every day as citizens of the world. Common Sense Media identifies six areas of digital citizenship, including digital footprint, media balance, cyberbullying, online privacy, communications, and news and media literacy. In a recent edWebinar, Heather Barnard, a Digital Learning Leader at Stamford American International School in Singapore, explains that teachers need to help parents and students prepare for the use of devices and the internet during the summer months. Parents need to know what tools are out there to help with screen time, setting limits, forms of cyberbullying, multi-user games, and YouTube.
The industrial education model was massively successful, with high school graduation rates and student achievement increasing decade after decade. However, by the end of the 20th century, it was evident that the industrial education model had hit its limit with graduation rates plateauing at 80% and student achievement and engagement plummeted the longer students were in school. According to Dr. Devin Vodicka, Chief Impact Officer at AltSchool, in a recent edWebinar, reform after reform and many well-intended efforts have tried to reach the aspiration of all students being successful. Vodicka along with Erik Burmeister, Superintendent, and Theresa Fox, Coordinator of Technology and Innovation, both from Menlo Park City School District, CA, agreed that if 80% of students are graduating, then 20% of students are not graduating and that educational professionals can’t be satisfied with these statistics.