If you’re going to ISTE in Philadelphia, we hope to see you there! We’re hosting a panel on “Exploring a Free World of Personalized Professional Learning” and invite you to join us for the 412 District Teacher Band at the Field House Sports Bar. See below for details! edWeb is in NJ so this is a great year for our team to attend ISTE since it’s just down the road… read more →
edWeb.net is delighted to announce that it won the 2019 SIIA CODiE Award for Best Professional Learning Solution for Faculty & Administrative Staff, for the third year in a row. The winners were announced during the SIIA Ed Tech Conference & CODiE Awards in San Francisco on June 11.
Research continues to show the benefits of social-emotional learning (SEL), especially with elementary-age students. But as SEL gains ground, educators need to think about best practices for adding it to their classroom. In “SEL and Academic Learning Catalyst: Growth Mindset,” presenters Dr. Desiree Margo, Principal at Redmond Early Learning Center, and Dr. Kendra Coates, Growing Early Mindsets (GEM) Author, and Professional Learning Specialist at Mindset Works, explain why a growth mindset is the strongest foundation for both SEL and academic learning. They caution, however, that both principles need to be integrated into the regular classroom and throughout school activities to achieve the best results.
In a 2018 survey, the majority of school districts either have 1:1 as a current goal or have already achieved it. Along with a 1:1 goal, comes the deluge of edtech tools, software, and applications into classrooms. School districts are struggling with the fact that 70% of purchased licenses for edtech programs don’t get used at all within the school year and only 10% of teachers know how often students should use edtech programs to drive learning outcomes. In a recent edWeb.net edWebinar, Jena Draper, Founder and General Manager of CatchOn; Mike Schwab, Education Team at Google; and Suzy Brooks, Instructional Technology Director for Mashpee Public Schools, MA, point out that in order to combat this deluge of technology, it is imperative that school districts address the tech usage data that impacts and drive success in classrooms. While it is believed that the barrier to district leaders and classroom teachers using more data is that they don’t have time to look at it, 33% of districts and teachers say the real challenge is that information is in too many places for them to access.
The drawbacks of social media are well-documented—like anonymous trolls posting negative comments just to spark controversy. However, said Jamie Knowles, Senior Manager of Educator Professional Learning Programs at Common Sense Media, social media also has the ability to help users share their stories and shed a positive light on their activities. In his presentation, “Educators and Social Media: Avoiding the Pitfalls,” Knowles discussed some challenges of using social media but also the positive ways schools are using it to educate and communicate with their families.
Whether you are a first-year teacher or a veteran teacher, classroom and system-wide assessments can be a time of high anxiety and stress for everyone involved. In this recent edWebinar, Vernice Y. Jones, a candidate in the M.Ed. in School Counseling Program, Freed-Hardeman University, TN, lays out strategies and ground rules for what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to assessments.
Strategic planning for edtech is an endless journey—and not just because of constantly evolving hardware and software. Upgrading infrastructure, device maintenance, and ongoing professional development, in addition to program and device costs, mean tech initiatives need permanent budget lines that take into account the total cost. In the edWebinar, “Strategic Technology Planning and Investment,” which is part of CoSN’s Empowered Superintendent series for edWeb, three superintendents who’ve been in the trenches for all aspects of district edtech plans discussed effective financial planning for technology.
There’s no secret formula for parent engagement. And when English isn’t their first language, the obstacles seem more daunting. According to Rick Castaneda, a training specialist at Rosetta Stone, the key is to develop a multi-step approach that gives parents several different opportunities to connect with the school and their children’s teachers while also making sure that the parent, no matter their language, feels like a key part of the decision-making process. In his edWebinar, “Involve Parents for Greater English Learner Success,” Castaneda discussed six key areas of parental involvement, based on the work of Johns Hopkins professor Joyce L. Epstein, PhD, and how each one helps build a stronger relationship.
We, as edtech leaders and classroom teachers, must explore pathways where assessments support teaching and learning in the 21st century. According to Matt Renwick, Author and Principal of Mineral Point Unified School District, WI, in a recent edWebinar, complex authentic student learning experiences require complex assignments that not only demonstrate content knowledge but should also gauge enthusiasm, communication skills and habits of mind. Authentic assessments are always about the connections we make with students, each other, and the broader community as indicated in a Gallup poll. Only 47% of secondary students surveyed reported being engaged, enthusiastic and committed to their learning. Students who were able to agree with the statements, “my school strongly is committed to building the strengths of each student,” and, “I have at least one teacher who makes me excited about the future,” were 30 times more likely to be engaged at school when compared with students who strongly disagreed with the same items.
CASEL, The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, defines social and emotional learning (SEL) as the “process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.” SEL can be the underpinning of every action a principal or classroom teacher makes about their campus, classroom or environment for students. According to Jeff Goelitz, Director of Education at HeartMath Institute, during a recent edWebinar, SEL affects everything from systems and structure to climate, culture, and academics. “Everyone” is interested in SEL and buying into the theory and the models but the how can be a daunting challenge as school districts try to make it a priority. Rachelle H. Finck, Coordinator Social and Emotional Learning for Round Rock ISD, TX, remarks that when SEL programs are planned with intention, they become more of a philosophy than a black binder program.