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.
“We have students who are passionate, engaged and comfortable with technology, yet students are living in silos and not equipped with the 21st century skills which they genuinely need to be part of the global workforce of tomorrow.” This statement by Amy McCooe, CEO of Level Up Village, during a recent edWebinar hit home with her two co-presenters, Esra Murray, Fifth Grade Teacher at International School Dundee, CT, and Fran Kompar, Director Instructional Technology and Digital Learning at Wilton Public Schools, CT. Kompar expressed her frustration, “We are now 20 years into the 21st century, and we should be preparing our students for the work of their time, not the future because the future is now.” The presenters emphasized that the global skill most vital to students is learnability: the desire, passion, and capacity to learn, the ability to synthesize and evaluate information, and the willingness to take on new challenges. The impact of developing learnability skills will ensure that our young learners apply their knowledge and skills to the global workforce and become lifelong learners.
Teaching students how to become digital citizens is essential as technology assumes a greater place in their lives. Learners with opportunities to think critically about what they see online; recognize the benefits and risks of sharing information; and balance screen time with other activities will become digitally aware and responsible.
Engaging students with ADHD and attention challenges—rather than just managing their behavior—should be the goal for every teacher. Teachers worry, though, that they will have to create a separate curriculum or otherwise alter how they teach. Not so, said Ezra Werb, M.Ed., Educational Therapist and author, in his edWebinar “Engagement Strategies for Students with Attention Challenges: Lower Anxiety and Raise Confidence.” Instead, he offers strategies to lessen learners’ anxieties and raise their confidence so they can meet the same goals as their peers.
Current employment trends and future projections all point towards continued growth in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs, as well as the need for STEM-related skills in other fields. Yet, recent math proficiency levels among American students remain low, at just 44% in fourth grade and 33% at the eighth-grade level, and the math score trend lines are not showing significant improvement.
Storytelling can create educational environments where content is approachable and relatable, gives meaning to complex information, and creates new pathways to existing knowledge. According to the presenters of a recent edWebinar, Jenni Light, Senior Manager of Insights and Strategy for Cartoon Network, John Britt, Writer and Producer at Cartoon Network, Creative Group, and Chris Rettstatt, Product Manager at Wonder Workshop, STEM projects are designed to ensure that students have opportunities to learn problem-solving skills, engage in real-life experiments and analyze data. While these types of projects can be fun in their own right, adding a story and humor to the lesson increases overall student engagement.
Shifting from an industrial-age education model to a post-industrial learner-centered model is an essential part of preparing students for college and 21st century careers, and the process works best when the learner-centered approach is applied to the professional learning of teachers and administrators, as well as the education of their students.
Adoptions, non-adoptions, civics, SEL, career-ready education, and the possible recession. According to Kathy Mickey, Senior Analyst of Simba Information, all of these could impact the instructional materials marker. In her recent presentation “K-12 Instructional Materials: What’s New in 2019,” she previewed results from Simba’s Publishing for the PreK-12 Market, 2019-2020, and talked about how digital is changing—and not changing—the landscape.
While some English learners and students of color may be striving to attain minimal academic competency, others are likely to be high-ability or gifted/talented students who are not receiving appropriate support for their needs, and therefore are less engaged and have lower levels of participation in programs suitable for them.
Assistive technology teachers working at schools in the Fairfax County, VA school district, one of the largest in the United States, are finding that the use of audiobooks is improving access to grade-level content while also developing the love of reading that motivates many students to continue improving.