SCOTT LAYNE NAMED CHIEF OF OPERATIONS FOR DALLAS ISD
WASHINGTON, DC (July 26 2016) – – Scott Layne, ALEP, chair, Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) was recently selected as the new chief of operations for the Dallas Independent School District (ISD). Layne brings 34 years of public education experience to the district.
Serving as assistant superintendent for support services for the Irving Independent School District ISD for the past 10 years, his responsibilities included maintenance, grounds, custodial, energy management, warehouse transportation, safety and security, construction, food service, technology services, risk management, fixed assets/surplus, records management, health services and athletics. Additionally, Layne managed the district’s 1997, 2001 and 2007 bond construction programs, which totaled approximately $575 million.
“I’m both pleased and honored to be joining the Dallas ISD family,” Layne said. “With the recent passage of a $1.6 billion bond referendum, the Operations Department will work diligently to provide quality learning environments for our students and staff and do our part to support other district-level initiatives. It is a very exciting time in the Dallas ISD community and I look forward to being a part of it.”
The Association for Learning Environments (A4LE), formerly the Council of Educational Facility Planners (CEFPI), is the only professional organization whose primary purpose is improving the places where children learn. With approximately 4,500 members, A4LE encompasses six geographic regions across the United States, and supports regional representation in Canada, Australasia, and the UK. A4LE embraces a collaborative network of professionals with one single goal – building healthy, safe, resilient and sustainable 21st Century learning places that inspire transformation in education, enhance student and teacher performance, and support culture and community vitality. To learn more, visit www.a4le.org or follow us on Twitter @A4LE2.
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Gryphon House Releases Rethinking the Classroom Landscape: Creating Environments That Connect Young Children, Families, and Communities
Lewisville, N.C. – An early childhood classroom should reinforce and enhance young children’s sense of belonging. Rethinking the Classroom Landscape: Creating Environments That Connect Young Children, Families, and Communities invites educators and administrators to reenvision the traditional classroom, with inspirational examples showing how to weave elements that reflect each center’s community into the classroom design.
The book, by Sandra Duncan, EdD, Jody Martin, and Rebecca Kreth, is full of beautiful photos from real early childhood classrooms, illustrating what teachers can do to encourage a sense of community that is unique to each classroom. Easy-to-implement ideas help educators create environments that include connections to past and present, geography, topography, flora, and fauna.
“We must rethink the traditional classroom, full of lots of plastic and cookie-cutter elements that actually limit the bounds of creativity and development,” Duncan said. “Classrooms should be a tapestry of elements; they should look, smell, and feel like the community outside and inside their doors.”
Rethinking the Classroom Landscape includes creative strategies and fun activities to engage children in their environments. The book is available now from Gryphon House, the award-winning publisher of early childhood teaching resources. To request a free excerpt or e-galley copy, contact email@example.com.
Edgenuity Takes Personalized Learning to the Next Level in North Carolina
New, State-Specific History Course to Drive Social Studies Skills and Engagement
Scottsdale, AZ – July 25, 2016 – Edgenuity, a leading provider of online and blended learning solutions, announced today that customer schools in North Carolina can now offer its newly-released North Carolina History course to their middle school students. This new course adds to their extensive elective offerings in the state, including Career Management, Health Science and Foundations of Information Technology.
“Edgenuity continues to evolve its curriculum to deliver a more personalized learning experience for students, and the addition of the new North Carolina History course is the latest example,” said Sari Factor, CEO of Edgenuity. “Students can now study the history that is unique to where they live through content that is more relevant and engaging, and will ultimately drive greater learning.”
The new North Carolina History course was designed to help middle school students meet the state standards for eighth grade North Carolina and United States History. Students have the opportunity to develop essential social studies skills, including analyzing primary and secondary sources, interpreting maps, charts, and graphs, and writing for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Students will learn about the significant events, people and landmarks that have contributed to their home state’s history, including:
- North Carolina native Andrew Jackson becoming the 7th president of the United States
- The Wright brothers making humanity’s first successful flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
- The establishment of Fort Bragg
- North Carolina’s role in the Civil War, Great Depression and civil rights movement
“The course offers students cutting-edge interactive tools, which they can use to customize their own learning as they think critically about the creation and development of our State and Nation,” said Diane Rigsbee, teacher at Nash Rocky Mount Schools (Rocky Mount, NC). “By incorporating a variety of best practices and research-based assignments that matter, the course challenges students to help prepare them to become 21st Century learners, thereby creating a pipeline for success in high school, college, careers, and beyond.”
Edgenuity is a leading provider of online curriculum and services with implementations in 8 of the top 10 school districts in the U.S. Our rigorous, standards-aligned digital content is fully flexible for use in any online or blended learning model to support a personalized learning environment, from NCAA-approved virtual courses to honors and Advanced Placement offerings to test preparation, credit recovery, and intervention. Edgenuity’s Blended Learning Services, Instructional Services and Professional Development offerings, as well as supplemental programs such as Edgenuity MyPath, help students, educators and districts achieve success in their online learning programs. For more information, visit Edgenuity.com.
Epson Recommends Google Cast for Education as an Easy Way to Share Chromebook Screens Wirelessly to your Epson Projector
New App Promotes Class Discussion by Enabling Teachers and Students to Share Screens in Class
LONG BEACH, Calif. – July 26, 2016 – Epson, the number-one selling projector brand worldwide, today recommends Google Cast for Education as an easy way to share Chromebook screens wirelessly toBrightLink® interactive projectors and PowerLite® projectors. Google Cast for Education is a free Chrome app that runs through the Chrome browser on any computer connected to a projector. The app carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers, and can be integrated with Google Classroom.
“Google Cast for Education opens up the classroom projector so that students can share what they know with everyone in class,” said Max Kirsch, product manager, Google. “Teachers tell us that giving students controlled access to the projector engages students as leaders and can make classrooms more collaborative.”
With Google Cast for Education, students can now wirelessly project or cast their screens from Chromebooks or any computer using the Chrome browser and share their work with the rest of the class.The Google Cast for Education app runs on the teacher’s computer connected to the Epson BrightLink or PowerLite projector, and does not require new hardware. Students cast their screens using the Google Cast feature in Chrome and teachers receive casts through the Google Cast for Education app.
“Epson designs classroom projectors with direct input from educators. With the rapid adoption of Chromebooks in schools in recent years, one of the top requests we’ve received is for a way to wirelessly mirror a Chromebook on an Epson projector,” said Jason Meyer, education product manager, Epson America. “Google Cast for Education meets this request and enables a new level of interactivity and class discussion through the power of simplified connectivity.”
Epson projectors expand the educational capabilities of flat surfaces, transforming any 2D surface, such as a whiteboard, into an educational work space. Epson 3LCD projectors deliver three times brighter colors than leading competitive projectors to deliver amazing, true-to-life color and detail for powerful, educational lessons1. With genuine Epson lamp life lasting up to an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 hours depending on the projector model2, educators can engage students in seemingly endless learning opportunities by projecting directly from a variety of devices utilizing advanced connectivity options while supporting easy readability for everyone in the room.
About Epson Education Products
Designed with educator input, Epson’s advanced interactive display and projector technologies make bright, collaborative learning environments a reality. Compatible with a wide range of devices and widely-used interactive software, Epson projectors make it easy for teachers to share content to engage students, no matter where they sit in the classroom. Epson’s unmatched technology, service and support ensure educators are confident that high quality, bright images and multimedia are available in the classroom every day.
About Epson BrightLink Projectors
Epson’s award-winning line of BrightLink interactive projectors offers advanced connectivity options to project onto any existing whiteboard, wall or other smooth, light-colored, hard surface. BrightLink interactive projectors offer dual pen support and PC-free annotation with a range of devices including document cameras, DVD and Blu-ray players as well as tablets and mobile devices, or no source at all. The cost-effective BrightLink models deliver a large interactive learning area with variable image sizes and include HDMI connectivity. Epson BrightLink projectors utilize 3LCD, 3-chip technology for brilliant images with vivid color.
About Epson PowerLite Projectors
Epson’s extensive line of affordable short-throw and ultra short-throw projectors provide a reliable design for the connected K-12 classroom that minimizes glare and shadow interference to deliver brightness and resolution options to accommodate a diverse range of educational needs. With models that offer moderator functionality that allows a network of up to 50 personal devices to connect to the projectors, teachers can wirelessly control which personal devices are displayed, with up to four student screens shown simultaneously. In addition, many projectors feature two HDMI ports, one with MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) support for connecting multiple digital devices, including mobile phones, tablets and other portable devices, for enriched high definition viewing capabilities.
Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, smart glasses, sensing systems and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics.
Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 67,000 employees in 90 companies around the world, and is proud of its contributions to the communities in which it operates and its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impacts.
Epson America, Inc., based in Long Beach, Calif., is Epson’s regional headquarters for the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. To learn more about Epson, please visit: epson.com. You may also connect with Epson America on Facebook (facebook.com/Epson), Twitter (twitter.com/EpsonAmerica), YouTube (youtube.com/EpsonAmerica), and Instagram (instagram.com/EpsonAmerica).
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1 Color brightness (color light output) measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4. Color brightness will vary depending on usage conditions. The projectors used by a third-party lab for measuring color brightness were leading Epson 3LCD business and education projectors and leading 1-chip DLP projectors, based on NPD sales data for June 2013 through May 2014 and PMA Research sales data for Q1 through Q3 2013.
2 Lamp life will vary depending upon mode selected, environmental conditions and usage. Lamp brightness decreases over time.
Note: EPSON and PowerLite are registered trademarks, EPSON Exceed Your Vision is a registered logomark, and BrightLink is a registered trademark of Epson America, Inc. Google Cast, Chromebook, and Chrome are trademarks of Google Inc. All other product brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Epson disclaims any and all rights in these marks.
CEV Multimedia Releases Architecture, Construction, Transportation and Manufacturing Curriculum
Cloud-based iCEV platform offers new courses to educate next generation of skilled laborers
LUBBOCK, Texas (July 21, 2016) – As the modern workforce continues to evolve, the need for skilled workers to fill vacant jobs is needed now more than ever. Some of the top 10 hardest-to-fill jobs call for skilled trade workers that have some type of career training. The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) cites that one million jobs are currently open in trade, transportation and utilities, and another 315,000 in manufacturing. To train the next generation of skilled workers, CEV Multimedia announces the release of a new Architecture, Construction, Transportation and Manufacturing curriculum that addresses the demand for educational materials that provide real-world and practical learning opportunities for students.
“This new curriculum offers a great opportunity for students to receive practical experience and to learn from industry professionals currently working in the field,” said Randall Hust, construction technology instructor at Byron Martin Advanced Technology Center and curriculum collaborator. “We have a responsibility to train the next generation of students that will ultimately fill jobs that build and maintain our infrastructure, transport goods and stimulate the economy.”
You can read the full release here.
Rochester, N.Y. (July 21, 2016) – Second Avenue Learning, a leader in the design and development of serious games for education, announces its partnership with iCivics, a non-profit organization dedicated to reinvigorating civic learning through interactive learning resources. Together, the organizations will deliver innovative election-related content to K-12 teachers and students.
“As this partnership demonstrates, we are serious about strengthening civic learning in education through engaging digital resources,” said Victoria Van Voorhis, founder and CEO of Second Avenue Learning. “As a part of our initiative, we are thrilled to contribute to iCivics, a key player in promoting democratic knowledge and skills among students.”
New REcharge Labs Hands-On Solar Power Kits Now Available in Individual and Classroom Sets
(Minneapolis, MN) July 21, 2016 – Teaching children, especially young children, about solar energy can seem difficult, but it is not when you have hands-on activities to engage them. To help educators and parents demonstrate solar energy concepts, REcharge Labs is expanding its offerings to include two new activity sets. The Solar Cork Boat and the Solar Scavenger Hunt are both available as individual kits and class packs.
“Our kits turn something as abstract as solar energy into a consumable idea,” said Asia Ward, Co-Director of REcharge Labs. “They help students learn basic circuitry, engineering design and problem-solving all while they learn about renewable energy sources.”
The Solar Cork Boat, which made its debut at the Bay Area Maker Faire in May, demonstrates how solar energy can be used to do work, such as to make paddles spin to propel a boat in water. While building the cork boat, students in grades 2-12 will learn about basic solar circuitry as they connect the boat’s motor to the solar panel. Students will then use simple engineering design to build the boat’s paddles, attach them to the boat and make it move through the water. The Solar Cork Boat Class Pack comes with materials for five Solar Cork Boats, making it perfect for group work.
Recommended for students in grades 4-12, the Solar Scavenger Hunt helps students explore which light sources and conditions generate the most solar power. Using the kit, students test various light sources to determine which generate the most solar power. Students will learn how to gather data, measure solar power output and discuss the different variables that influence output such as shade, temperature and more. The kit comes with a multimeter, a solar panel and different light sources for students to test, and students are highly encouraged to explore and collect readings for other light sources around them. The Solar Scavenger Hunt Class Pack includes five Solar Scavenger Hunt sets.
Both the Solar Cork Boat and the Solar Scavenger Hunt kits are built for repeated use, making it possible to reuse them for multiple lessons, classes and school years. When developing a wind or solar renewable energy kit, REcharge Labs works with a network of national educators to test the activities in a variety of educational settings. The included activity guides are aligned with national standards, and are scaffolded, making them flexible for multiple age groups. The kits are the newest addition to the REcharge Labs renewable energy kits line.
To learn more about the kits or to purchase them for your classroom or home, visit rechargelabs.org/store.
About REcharge Labs
REcharge Labs generates resources for learners to creatively explore wind and solar power. REcharge Labs seeks to engage and inspire today’s students to become the innovative renewable energy leaders of tomorrow by offering effective hands-on learning activities and kits, teacher professional development, online engineering design challenges, and curricula. REcharge Labs also provides community outreach to partnering companies, energy developers, museums, state agencies, and more. For more information, visitrechargelabs.org.
LapCabby introduces new compact range LapCabby Lyte
New range perfect for industries looking to deliver a digital service on a limited budget
Leading ICT Storage provider, LapCabby, today announced the release of its new range of ergonomic and compact charging and storage solutions, LapCabby Lyte. In a period of reduced budgets within education, LapCabby Lyte provides both a cost effective and health and safety certified solution for schools that still want to provide their students access to the best devices, apps and digital services.
LapCabby Lyte completes LapCabby’s encompassing range of products to support smaller spaces and device deployments. It combines all of the existing renowned LapCabby features such as unsurpassed EN safety certification, robust construction, cable management, lifetime warranty and the trademark colorful designs – with space-saving desktop storage, floor standing and wall-mounted solutions to maximise possibilities for different environments.
Although primarily targeted at the education sector initially, the new product range can be used across any sector that is looking to deliver a digitised customer service through devices including healthcare, corporate, retail and hospitality. The range includes:
- Lyte Single
Perfect for securing multiple devices with a single key locked door
Lyte Single, available in multiple sizes, provides static storage for 10, 16, 20 or 32 devices up to 15” including Chromebooks, laptops and tablets, all within a single compartment and one key locked door.
- Lyte Multi
Created to secure and charge individual devices
Lyte Multi, available in multiple sizes, provides static storage for 10, 16, 20 or 32 devices up to 15”including Chromebooks, laptops and tablets, offering secure charging and storage for BYOD users with programmable digital key pad access on a door-per-device.
- Lyte Mini
Designed to secure and charge smaller devices
Lyte Mini is a 10 or 20 mini device charging cabinet with single locking doors or 10 individual doors to secure charging and storage for BYOD users with digital key pad access on door-per-device.
- Lyte Wall
The ultimate space saving solution for wall-mounted storage
Lyte Wall provides compact and secure storage for 10 or 20 tablets up to 15” with a single key locked door, designed fully assembled with wall fixings included.
Chris Neath, Head of Product Development, LapCabby, said: “As the Government continues to tighten budgets, schools are in need of cost effective ways of providing access to the latest technology, while still ensuring the highest standards in regards to health and safety. With this in mind, we are delighted to launch LapCabby Lyte as a solution for schools striving to provide the best of breed digital classroom.”
“We can also see multiple potential applications for Lyte in complementary sectors as well organisations looking at how devices can help them streamline their operations – without compromising the end user experience. This makes Lyte an exceptionally exciting announcement as it empowers us to diversify competitively into new markets.”
In addition to Lyte range, LapCabby will also be launching a range of charge only products, to their popular and portable Boost+, DeskCabby and GoCabby lines.
Committed to designing Education solutions for over 20 years, LapCabby delivers the most robust and innovative ICT Storage solutions to over 44 counties across the globe. With a passion for all things digital – we are committed to delivering portable and static ICT storage solutions to deliver class and work ready devices in a secure and safe environment.
Each year, iNACOL honors and celebrates four education pioneers for their work in personalized, blended and online learning. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 iNACOL Innovator Awards, which will be announced at the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium, held in San Antonio, Texas onOctober 25-28, 2016.
Nominations are now open for the following iNACOL Innovator Awards:
- iNACOL Blended and Online Teacher of the Year
- Innovative Blended and Online Learning Practice Award
- Research Award
- Outstanding Individual Contribution to K-12 Blended and Online Learning Award
Additional information, including eligibility requirements and nomination forms, is available on the iNACOL Innovator Awards page of our website.
Please submit a notice of your intent to nominate by August 26, 2016. Final nomination packages are due by 8:00 p.m. ET on September 9, 2016. Please send all intents to nominate and any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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EDspaces Grant Program Provides Schools a New Vision for Future
(Silver Spring, MD) — The Education Market Association (EDmarket) is pleased to announce that key facility decision makers from 13 universities and community colleges and 71 schools and districts with billions in planned renovation and construction dollars were awarded EDspaces 2016 Educational Facility Improvement Grants.
Educational Facility Grants assist with housing expenses and conference registration for the EDspaces Conference & Expo, November 2-4 in Cincinnati, OH. School and college facility planners, superintendents, and purchasing officials come to EDspaces to help make effective decisions for their upcoming facility construction or renovation project and to take part in the discussion about how facilities impact learning.
“The approved grant projects vary in scope and function, including a youth employment and training center, a historic preservation of a 1914 elementary school, and even the conversion of a 1980s WalMart into a community college workforce building” says Jim McGarry, President/CEO of the Education Market Association. “All will be at EDspaces in search of product solutions, design ideas, and education on what makes the ideal learning environment.”
Winners for this year include buyers from many of the major school systems including: Atlanta Public Schools (GA), Beaverton School District (OR), Berea City Schools (OH), East Side Union HS District (CA), El Paso Independent School District, (TX), Lake Washington School District (WA), Melissa Independent School District (TX), Orange County Public Schools (FL), Osseo Area Schools (MN), Spokane Public Schools (WA), Wake County Public School System (NC).
Colleges and universities approved for grants include Penn State University, Radford University (VA), Meridian Community College (MS), Porterville College (CA), Southern University of Baton Rouge (LA), Vancouver Community College (British Columbia), Indiana University of PA, Jacksonville State University (FL), Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and University of North Texas among others.
See the full list www.ed-spaces.com/grants/winners/.
EDspaces brings together all of the key stakeholders who design, equip and manage innovative learning spaces and the manufacturers, service providers and dealers who offer them solutions. EDspaces showcases the newest and most innovative products for educational facilities and includes a CEU-accredited education conference focused on forward-thinking, sustainable design and the changing impact of environments on learning. Find out more at www.ed-spaces.com.
BEST PRACTICES IN SELECTING LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES
Tips for School Leaders to Ensure a Successful Selection and Implementation
WHAT: A free webinar for K-12 educators and administrators tasked with the all-important task of selecting the right learning technologies for their students…and ensuring a smooth implementation.
PRESENTER: Libby Lawrie, implementation consultant and nationally recognized expert on instructional technology and virtual education.
WHEN: Wednesday, July 27 – 1pm EDT
Newton, MA – July 18, 2016— Just as consumers are overwhelmed with the variety of technology tools available today so, too, are educators. Choosing the right technology-based learning solutions for today’s students and classrooms is a daunting task, and one with extremely important implications: student achievement.
On Wednesday, July 27 at 1pm EDT, former teacher, school administrator and well-known implementation consultant Libby Lawrie will present a free webinar designed to give education leaders the insight and tools they need to select the right tools for the job. Lawrie will provide strategies for choosing the best product and partner, as well as important details about the discovery and implementation process. Insights and best practices from U.S. districts large and small will be shared as well.
Designed for teachers and how they want to teach, itslearning is a cloud-based learning platform used by millions of teachers, students, administration staff and parents around the world. It can be found at all levels of education, from primary schools to universities, helping teachers make education more inspiring and valuable for today’s students. Established in 1999, itslearning is headquartered in Bergen, Norway, and has offices in multiple locations around the world. For more information, visit http://www.itslearning.net.
Odysseyware Partners with NAF to Create Learning Opportunities in Agriculture
NAF will offer a variety of Odysseyware’s online courses to more than 700 academies around the country
(Chandler, AZ) July 19, 2016 – Odysseyware, a leading provider of dynamic, individualized online courses for K-12 education, has announced a partnership with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) to expand its career and technical education offerings in the field of agriculture.
Through this partnership, NAF’s more than 700 academies nationwide can now offer agriculture courses including Agricultural Mechanics I, Agricultural Mechanics II, Agricultural Biology, and Veterinary Sciences. These courses were specifically designed to meet NAF’s rigorous third-party review process and to prepare students for NAF’s industry-recognized credential, NAFTrack Certification.
The blended learning courses incorporate industry-validated, career-themed curricula based on current industry standards and practices, such as those recommended by the Future Farmers of America, literacy strategies, and STEM integration frameworks. A balance of online, blended learning, and real-world internships provide a dynamic and flexible instructional approach, helping students acquire valuable workplace skills and see their education as a step toward long-term career options. Upon successful completion of NAFTrack Certification, students are eligible for NAFTrack Certified hiring.
“We are delighted to expand students’ options for training and employment in the agricultural field,” said Beth Te Grotenhuis, the president of Odysseyware. “We are pleased to work with NAF and its many respected industry partners. These new blended learning courses reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to supporting career training and pathways to employment for all students.”
Headquartered in Chandler, AZ, Odysseyware is a customizable, multimedia-enriched online curriculum. Completely web-based, Odysseyware provides 21st-century educational solutions by offering the core subjects of history and geography, math, language arts, and science along with enriching electives, CTE, placement testing, diagnostics, and professional development. This curriculum is sold directly through regional education specialists. To learn more, visit Odysseyware.com or call (877) 795-8904.
About the National Academy Foundation
NAF is a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure high school students are college, career, and future ready. NAF’s educational design ignites students’ passion for learning and gives businesses the opportunity to shape America’s future workforce by transforming the learning environment to include STEM –infused, industry-specific curricula and work-based learning experiences, including internships. Since 1982, NAF has been partnering with existing high schools in high-need communities to enhance school systems at a low cost by implementing NAF academies—small learning communities within traditional high schools. NAF has grown from one NAF Academy of Finance in New York City to hundreds of academies across the country focusing on growing industries including finance, hospitality and tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences. During the 2015–2016 school year, nearly 89,000 students attended 716 NAF academies across 36 states, including DC and the US Virgin Islands. In 2015, NAF academies reported 98% of seniors graduated, with 92% of graduates planning to go to college.
TECH & LEARNING NAMES WAGGLE BEST OF SHOW AT ISTE 2016
Waggle Celebrates Two Years with Second Consecutive Best of Show Win
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, July 18, 2016 – Waggle is pleased to announce that its adaptive practice platform, which adjusts the learning environment after every student interaction, has again been chosen by Tech & Learning as Best of Show at June’s ISTE 2016.
This prestigious award honors the top products presented at ISTE, the leading education technology conference. Winners are scored by individual judges on quality and effectiveness, ease of use and creative use of technology. When the panel convenes, the products named Best of Show, are those believed to have the most impact in the classroom. Waggle will be featured in the August issue of Tech & Learning.
At ISTE, Waggle announced the first major updates to its student and teacher dashboards, as well as enhanced implementation services.
- Waggle’s new teacher dashboard provides easier access to key learning information that teachers can use immediately. Includes Shout-outs, Leaderboard, and Skills Boosts.
- The enhanced student experience gives students clearer ownership of their own learning through My Progress views, historical views for achievement, and more.
- The redesigned Waggle Works Care Team provides advanced professional development, regular data reviews with schools, and ongoing customer care.
Waggle will also roll out Google Single Sign-On (SSO) this fall as part of a continued effort to respond to user requests.
Suggested Tweet: Celebrating two years of award-winning adaptive practice, @WagglePractice wins second consecutive Best of Show award at #ISTE2016!
- Video: Waggle in the School
- Case Study: Urban, High-Poverty Charter School Demonstrates Significant Gains with Waggle
- Teacher Editorial: Educating in the 21st Century
- White Paper: Productive Struggle for Deeper Learning
Waggle is adaptive practice for ELA and Math, grades 2-8, that adapts the learning environment after every student interaction to produce meaningful practice and real understanding. Productive struggle motivates students through helpful hints, supportive feedback, and achievement badges that build grit and confidence. Through real-time insights, teachers discover exactly how each student struggles or excels and achieve true, data-driven differentiation. Waggle launched in 2014 and has already garnered numerous accolades, including the 2016 CODiE Award for Best Learning Capacity-Building Solution, Tech & Learning’s ISTE 2016 & 2015 Best of Show, Learning Magazine’s 2016 Teachers’ Choice Award, and District Administration’s 2015 Readers’ Choice Top Products. For more information, visit www.WagglePractice.com.
Studies Show that ThinkCERCA Improves Students’ Literacy Skills and Test Scores
Three different efficacy studies confirm the award-winning literacy platform’s impact, including 4 years of grade-level growth for 7th-graders
(CHICAGO) July 19, 2016 — ThinkCERCA, a leading provider of personalized literacy solutions, today announced results of three efficacy studies showing that the program improves the teaching and learning of close reading and academic writing. ThinkCERCA offers literacy lessons for English language arts, math, science, and social studies for grades 4–12, applying the CERCA Framework to help students build critical thinking skills using five steps: Claims, Evidence, Reasoning, Counterarguments, and Audience.
ThinkCERCA was part of the 2014–2015 LEAP Innovations Pilot Network, whose mission was “identifying the most promising innovations, piloting these innovations with educators and students in the classroom, and evaluating the results.” Of 26 tools used in the study, ThinkCERCA led to the most student growth—four times more than the second best tool.
Students using ThinkCERCA scored 6.29 points higher on the NWEA MAP than the control group did. LEAP’s “Finding What Works” report put that improvement in perspective: “This is equivalent to closing the achievement gap by 264% for low-income students, 456% for black students, and 749% for Hispanic students.”
Additionally, ThinkCERCA was the subject of an extensive study in Chicago Public Schools. Atlantic Research Partners wrote in their report, “Literacy Instruction with ThinkCERCA,” “Overall, students in grade levels with significant use of ThinkCERCA outperformed their peers nationally on NWEA growth at different attainment levels.” The most dramatic improvements in the 2014–2015 school year were in the 5th and 7th grades, where students using ThinkCERCA showed 3 and 4 years of grade-level growth, respectively.
In a recent Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge Evaluation conducted by SRI Education, large majorities of teachers said that ThinkCERCA led them to give more writing assignments, provided students with more immediate feedback than otherwise would have been possible, and allowed them to differentiate assignments and spend more time supporting the needs of individual students. Two-thirds of teachers reported that they would “definitely” recommend ThinkCERCA to another teacher.
Two-thirds of teachers who participated in the study also said that “their students’ writing skills improved, they were more engaged as writers, and gained more confidence as writers resulting from use of the product.” More than three-quarters of teachers reported that students’ reading skills improved as a result of using ThinkCERCA.
“These three efficacy studies are powerful third-party validation of ThinkCERCA,” said Eileen Murphy Buckley, the CEO and founder of ThinkCERCA. “The data shows that, in a variety of district settings, teachers found that ThinkCERCA dramatically improved the reading and writing skills of students of different ages and abilities. Our systems-level solution now gives superintendents the ability to improve instruction in these skills on a very large scale.”
The ThinkCERCA lesson library, which is accessible from any device with an Internet connection, features a curated array of applied reading and writing lessons, independent reading lessons, direct instruction lessons, passages, and automated and constructed response assessments. Its lessons include authentic informational and literary texts from real-world sources and support 10 different levels of readiness to meet the needs of diverse learners.
Close reading is activated in instructional settings through discipline-specific highlighting and summarizing practice, as well as in-text vocabulary and audio support. Writing practice is supported by ThinkCERCA’s scaffolded, interactive Argument Builder tool, rigorous writing prompts, and standards-aligned sentence frames.
ThinkCERCA’s personalized literacy platform helps teachers grow students’ critical reading and writing powers. With students and teachers using its platform in all 50 states and 130 countries, the company has partnered with prominent leaders in education, including Follett Corporation, and has been featured by The Atlantic and EdSurge. A 2016 SIAA CODiE Awards finalist in the Best Learning Capacity-Building Solution and Best Reading/English/Language Arts Instructional Solution categories, ThinkCERCA has also been named one of the best tools in ed tech by Common Sense’s Graphite. In July 2013, ThinkCERCA was the recipient of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge grant, and in December 2012, graduated from the inaugural class of Impact Engine’s social impact accelerator. To learn more, please visit ThinkCERCA.com.
Personalizing Online Learning with Atomic Learning’s New Learning Model
Little Falls, MN – July 19, 2016 – Last year Atomic Learning boldly stated its commitment to revolutionizing education, and they haven’t looked back since. Intensive research and development, constant customer feedback, and forward-facing product summits have led to the development of a new way to experience learning: The Hoonuit Online Learning Framework.
Understanding that learning is not a linear path and that each individual learns differently, the new Hoonuit Online Learning Framework works to both enhance and personalize online learning using four components:
|Learn from Best Practices||Apply Learning to Life||Connect and Get Feedback||Document Learning|
Atomic Learning’s well-established experience as a trusted online learning resource has helped in the development of this new model. Director of Product Management and Marketing at Atomic Learning, Emily Lachinski, stated “The Hoonuit framework is designed to be flexible and allow learners to learn what they need, when they need it. While the framework offers structure, it also provides learners also have the option to jump from one area to another to suit their learning style.”
Lachinski further explained this personalized approach, saying “For instance, a learner can jump right to a ProveIt activity if they are comfortable with the topic at hand.”
All of the conceptual learning resources included in Atomic Learning’s vast digital learning library are now available in this new LearnIt. DoIt. ShareIt. ProveIt. format. Just some of the many topics covered include shifting instructional approaches, addressing student engagement and retention, and supporting effective technology integration.
In addition to their model, Atomic Learning has also significantly updated the interface of their Website to make learning more engaging and easier to use.
To further explain these enhancements, here is a short overview video.
About Atomic Learning
Headquartered in Little Falls, Minnesota, Atomic Learning is dedicated to education. Through online professional learning resources focused on educational best practices, we help schools, districts, colleges, and universities prepare learners of all ages with the skills they need for success in college, career, and beyond. Learn more about Atomic Learning, including career opportunities, at www.AtomicLearning.com.
New Teacher Survey by Parent Engagement App ClassTag Shows Parent/Teacher Disconnect
Despite the fact that a plurality of teachers (40%) rated “a supportive family” as the top factor in student success, just a quarter of surveyed teachers report having taken “significant” steps to improve family engagement over last year.
JULY 18, 2016 – NEW YORK: Teacher survey results released today by ClassTag, the app that empowers teachers to turn parents into partners, show that even though teachers understand the premium value of strong family and home support for learning, teachers are discouraged by the lack of family support and engagement and few have taken significant steps to improve it.
According to the survey:
- A plurality, 40%, of surveyed teachers said “a supportive family” was the “number one factor in achieving student success.”
- “Supportive family” ranked higher than “teacher skill” (33%) and “school supplies/resources” (12%) as the leading success factors.
- Teachers estimated that more than half of their students’ parents (56%) were not fully engaged in classroom activities and progress.
- And a majority of teachers (53%) reported negative feelings such as “sad” or “frustrated” or “extremely discouraged” by the lack of parent engagement in their classrooms.
- 70% of responding teachers reported that the biggest factor in their expectations of parent support is “experience with parents over the years.”
- Nonetheless, fully 58% of teachers reported that they are either “very satisfied” or “quite satisfied” with the “level of parent engagement they currently achieve.”
- And just a quarter of teachers reported taking “significant steps” to improve family support and another quarter told ClassTag their, “parent engagement strategy has remained unchanged.”
“There’s clearly a big disconnect between what teachers say is most important to student success, how they feel about it and what they have done to improve it,” said ClassTag founder and CEO, Vlada Lotkina. “It’s pretty clear that, even though they know how important a supportive out-of-class environment is, teachers have been frustrated by past experience, lowered their expectations and aren’t doing a whole lot to make the situation better.”
One teacher summed up the frustration by responding, “It is difficult to move forward if a parent is not responding. I feel frustrated that their child’s progress is hindered by a lack of home-school connection. I am not sure what else I could do.”
Teachers are neither alone nor wrong in identifying parent support as essential to academic success. Ample, separate academic research shows that parent engagement in education is the most important predictor of a child’s academic success. Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family–School Partnerships published by SEDL in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education states:
“Over 50 years of research links the various roles that families play in a child’s education—as supporters of learning, encouragers of grit and determination, models of lifelong learning, and advocates of proper programming and placements for their child—with indicators of student achievement including student grades, achievement test scores, lower drop-out rates, students’ sense of personal competence and efficacy for learning, and students’ beliefs about the importance of education.”
ClassTag commissioned the survey in part to demonstrate a new approach and new tools for teachers and parents to stay connected with the classroom. The ClassTag approach was co-developed by teachers, families and parent engagement experts to specifically increase parent engagement based on research-based practices and is an opinionated platform that early results show helps teachers leap over parent engagement barriers and turn parents into partners.
Specifically, ClassTag helps teachers:
- Set and manage high and clear expectations with parents
- Move from transactional engagement to relationship-building activities
- Create simple and meaningful ways for parents to support learning
- Reduce amount of effort required with automation and consistent system
- Get visibility into the level and type of family engagement
Through this approach, ClassTag has a staggering 90% parent participation rate on the platform.
“ClassTag has shown that a holistic approach to parent engagement can yield results,” says Lotkina. “By providing a combination of tools, best practices and strong leadership, we have seen over 90% of parents participate on the platform. That could be a game changer for what teachers expect, how they adjust their strategies and, most importantly, an amplifier for student success.”
The research was conducted 03/29/16 – 6/13/16 via a web survey and included 196 responses of classroom teachers in grades K-8.
About ClassTag: ClassTag is a web and mobile platform helping teachers turn parents into partners by simplifying all communications and scheduling, motivating parents to get involved and guiding them to success. It was founded by Vlada Lotkina, a fortune 500 executive, and Jason Olim, serial entrepreneur and technologist, to help parents like themselves make their children more successful and better prepared for life. For more information, visit: ClassTag.com
North Carolina Increases Education Opportunity
WASHINGTON, DC — Legislative action in North Carolina will result in new and expanded opportunities for students, thanks to the creation of a new Achievement School District and expanded resources for teachers, students and families.
The state’s 2016-17 FY budget provides for an increase in the statewide opportunity scholarship program, expanding choices for children who need them most. Within a decade, more than 35,000 students will be able to access new scholarships.
The budget also provides for teacher pay increases and allows schools to reduce class size in the early grades.
Recognizing that failing schools can be turned around, State Representative Rob Bryan spearheaded an effort to create the Achievement School District (ASD). The ASD will allow newly constituted schools to take the place of failing neighborhood schools, serving families without the economic means to pick up and move to a school with a better track record.
“This is an encouraging step forward for innovation and opportunity in the Tar Heel state education system, acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t work for all students,” said Jon Hage, CER Chairman and Founder and CEO Charter Schools USA.
About the Center for Education Reform
Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that the conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.
As a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to great opportunities for all children, students and families, The Center for Education Reform does not endorse candidates or take political positions, but we will always recognize and applaud when someone takes a step to advance sound education policies.