MIT’s Education Arcade Releases Online Game for STEM Learning 
Seeks High School Math and Biology Teachers to Participate in Research Pilot

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT’s Education Arcade has spent two years collaborating with teachers and game developer, Filament Games, to develop an immersive virtual environment to support high school math and biology instruction. The result is The Radix Endeavor, an online multi-player game released today. The Education Arcade researchers will study implementation of the game in high school classrooms across the country through the end of the academic year.

The Radix Endeavor (www.radixendeavor.org) places students in an Earth-like world with a technical and social situation similar to our 1400s. Players are adventurers on an island at a crucial juncture. As political forces make arbitrary and greedy decisions that threaten the health of the island and its inhabitants, a group of dedicated and curious rebels are rising to oppose them. Players collaborate solve pressing social and environmental problems facing the island using fundamental concepts from math and biology aligned with the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.

The game integrates a web-based design that allows teachers flexibility in how and when students play; in school or at home. The island incorporates five different biomes with a variety of unidentified plant and animal species. Students use the tools of math and science to investigate these habitats and solve a series of quests aimed at saving the island from its evil rulers. Twelve quest lines support a variety of high school concepts including Genetics, Ecosystems, Evolution, Human Body Systems, Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics. A teacher dashboard allows teachers to track student progress and provides access to teacher resources including video supports, and classroom connections.

The MIT Education Arcade is currently identifying a pool of schools and teachers to participate in a research study that will examine how and to what impact teachers use such a tool. “The potential for video games to create effective learning environments has received much attention of late,” said Professor Eric Klopfer, director of the Education Arcade and The Scheller Teacher Education Program, the group that designed the game. “It is our hope to contribute to the national dialogue on educational games with evidence of effectiveness and case studies of varied implementation models.”

Formal and informal educators at the middle and high school level [High school teacher] from around the world are invited to participate in the pilot simply by enrolling their students in the game at www.radixendeavor.org. US-based high school math and biology teachers are also invited to participate in the pilot at deeper levels by using the game in conjunction with some assessments aligned with the learning standards in the game or by hosting MIT researchers to conduct classroom observations of students engaging with the game in the classroom setting.

“This deep level of collaboration with teachers is critical to successful implementation of any school-based initiative,” remarked Susannah Gordon-Messer, Education Content Manager. “Only by studying how teachers use the game to support their own instructional objectives can we accurately document the potential contribution games like this can make in terms of engagement and growth in student performance.”

Teachers interested in enrolling in the research pilot can choose their participation level at http://bit.ly/HV8ymZ

MIT’s Education Arcade and Scheller Teacher Education Program(http://education.mit.edu) is a research and development lab based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that explores that which is authentically playful in learning. Focused on supporting teachers in their efforts to create playful, powerful learning opportunities for students drives our research and development of games, simulations, and tools that help transform kids into creators and explorers.

Filament Games (www.filamentgames.com) is a game production studio that develops engaging teaching and learning games. The company’s games combine best practices in commercial game development with key concepts from the learning sciences, sparking inspiration through exploration and discovery. Filament Games works with teachers, parents and students to engineer authentic gameplay mechanics that assist educators with meeting Common Core requirements and specific learning objectives.

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CoSN Commends Administration’s Commitment to ConnectED
First Step in Equipping Classrooms with High-Speed Internet

Washington, DC (February 4, 2014) – Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) CEO Keith Krueger today remarked on President Barack Obama’s announcement regarding the ConnectED initiative:
“We applaud the Administration’s decision to make an immediate down payment on the ConnectED initiative. President Obama’s commitment, in partnership with America’s leading businesses, is a major step toward realizing the vision of connecting 99 percent of U.S. students to high-speed Internet in the next five years.
“In the coming weeks, we look forward to the Federal Communications Commission’s long-term plan for strengthening this progress and enhancing classrooms nationwide with high-capacity broadband.”
About the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) 
CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visitwww.cosn.org or call 866-267-8747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areasannual conference and events,  advocacy and policymembership, and the CETL certification exam.

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Digital Learning Is the Literacy of Today

Urbana, IL — February 4, 2014 — Tomorrow is Digital Learning Day and you may be asking just what that means. Sara Kajder, chair of NCTE’s Middle Level Section, explains, “We are in the midst of significant changes in how we read and write and where we learn to do either.  And it is all happening rapidly . . . The big question is how literacy educators can work to navigate a changing landscape — and how we can lead our students to do the same” (Adolescents and Digital Literacies: Learning Alongside Our Students, NCTE).

The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies explains that students must become proficient with the tools of technology and use them to create and manage information, build meaningful relationships with others so they can inquire and work together, reflect on their own work processes and products, critically evaluate the multimedia sources and tools they use, and use these sources and tools ethically.

What might this look like? In this video, NCTE member Abigail Kennedy invites you to “Step Inside a 21st Century Classroom.”

Students may be “digital natives,” but for the most part they still need help learning how to use technological tools for deeper, richer, more thoughtful critical learning. The NCTE Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment suggests ways that educators can take stock to ensure that they are planning, assessing, and supporting student learning in ways appropriate to the new digital landscape.

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The National Council of Teachers of English, with 35,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, is dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.  Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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NEWS FROM PAUL SMITH’S  COLLEGE

Cross-county skiing, yoga, owl watching, maple sugaring, winter astronomy and collecting secret codes by hiking with a map…this is how one college does things differently! It’s Paul Smith’s College (PSC), the only four-year college in the New York Adirondacks, and they take education to a whole new level: on the ground learning about the environment, in the kitchen learning about culinary skills, and in the real business world. Their laboratories are outside of the classroom in addition to traditional learning styles. PSC feels this combination is the best to creating the most nurturing learning environment. Not to mention because their students are engulfed in ‘experiential’ learning, they have a 90 percent job placement rate post-graduation.

The Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) brings nature, culture and education together. Students can explore miles of trails, or come inside our visitors’ center, all year long.

Here are ways that Paul Smith’s College is doing things differently:

Skiing and Snowshoeing

So far for the 2014 Dion Snowshoes U.S. National Snowshoe Championships, 12 Paul Smith’s College (PSC) students have qualified and even more are expected, as explained by Jim Tucker, PSC’s Director of Athletics. Tucker and the other faculty at PSC are proud of these students for taking advantage of the many opportunities that Paul Smith’s College is known for sharing school wide, and they are eager to see the results of the races.

Cross-Country Ski and Yoga

Weekly PSC hosts a series of yoga sessions from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Yoga is a perfect partner to cross-country skiing and increased focus on learning. A session prior to skiing or studying warms the muscles, joints and lungs.

Ski Club

Fridays at PSC are a bit different from most colleges. PSC studnets can ski the VIC trails every Friday morning from 10 a.m. – noon. Weekly outings are open to those of all ski abilities. A VIC naturalist will ski with the group and point out some of the hidden gems around the trails.

Intro to Maple Sugaring

Mike Farrell, of the Cornell Maple Program, provides an overview of the sugaring process, maple ecology and the PSC’s community-based maple program.

Winter Astronomy Night

PSC brings out a 16″ Celestron Deep Space Telescope to explore the winter night sky.

Winter Owl Prowl

PSC joins the Adirondack Birding Center Director Brian McAllister at 7:30 p.m. for a winter owl prowl. Students can bring snowshoes, headlamps or flashlights and warm winter clothing.

Sunday Afternoon Live Music and Ski Series

PSC vice president of College Advancement performs live! It’s not every day that a college VP showcases their talent. TheSunday Afternoon Live Music and Ski Series features Ray Agnew. He’ll be singing original music. Students will grab your skis, boots and poles and head to the VIC for a fun afternoon of skiing and music.

New Moon Art Show: Old Crows and Other Blackbirds

The Paul Smiths VIC is hosting an art show in the Great Room Art Gallery featuring works by Anne Burnham, Ray Whalen, Geoff Cobb, Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton, Michael Hart, Noreen Sadue, Linda Sauther, Arnold Sauther and others. The show runs from Thursday, Jan. 30, through Friday, Feb. 28.

Map Hike  

Afraid of getting lost in the woods? Have no fear! Paul Smith’s Students are experts at hiking via a map. Students and visitors at PSC can purchase a map at the VIC and use it to find their way to different checkpoints where they can collect secret codes. Participants who find at least five codes are eligible for prizes and a 10 percent discount on a compass at Blue Line Sports in Saranac Lake.

Adopt a Sugar Maple

Support the development of maple sugaring at the VIC by adopting a tree for $50. PSC do the tapping, and participants be investing in the education of an intern and the equipment to take care of the tree. Participatnts also get a quart of maple syrup from the tree when it’s ready. (Shipping not included) Adoption papers are available at the VIC front desk. Makes a great holiday gift!

About Paul Smith’s College: Paul Smith’s College was founded in 1946 and is the only four-year college in the Adirondacks. The college provides an experiential learning environment, with an interdisciplinary core curriculum and undergraduate programs in forestry, natural resources and recreation; hospitality, resort and culinary management; and the sciences, liberal arts, and business. Paul Smith’s College community, residing in the Adirondack Park, promotes economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

For more information please visit www.paulsmiths.edu.

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DC Public Schools to Provide College and Career Readiness through Ed Tech Training

Collaboration with Atomic Learning prepares students and teachers for PARCC assessment

February 4, 2014. Little Falls, MN — Atomic Learning, Inc. announces it has collaborated with DC Public Schools in Washington, DC to offer tech integration, assistive technology, and common core training resources to the entire district. Through this access, the district is able to provide the practical application of technology in education by empowering educators with the training and resources needed to create college and career-ready students, as well as help prepare students and teachers for the PARCC assessment.

 

“Many of our customers have been preparing for the new assessments on the Common Core State Standards coming from the PARCC consortiums,” said Jon Blissenbach, VP of Product and Business Development at Atomic Learning. “We have developed professional development and classroom projects to ensure our partner districts’ teachers and students have the needed tools to reach success.”

 

In conjunction with Digital Learning Day, recognized on February 5, 2014, DC Public Schools is encouraging its district learners to explore the Atomic Learning training library.

 

With Atomic Learning, schools can provide teachers, staff, students, and parents 24/7 access to professional development resources that are needed to create college and career-ready students. Featuring a guided, step-by-step path for tech integration through online teacher workshops, classroom-ready projects, assessments, and just-in-time training and support, Atomic Learning offers online training on over 250 software applications and over 50 assistive technology programs relevant to district and individual technology needs.

 

If you are interested in learning more about Atomic Learning please visit www.AtomicLearning.com.

 

About Atomic Learning
Founded in 2000 by a group of technology educators, Atomic Learning serves over 16 million individuals in more than 45 countries worldwide. Atomic Learning offers a cost-effective just-in-time professional development, technology integration and support solution that empowers educators to effectively utilize technology to positively impact student achievement. As your ed tech training partner, Atomic Learning helps teachers develop college and career-ready students with 21st century skills-based training. Visit us today at www.AtomicLearning.com.

 

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District winners advance to state level in Virginia’s “We the People” competition
Students study for months to defend knowledge of Constitution, Bill of Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2014

CONTACT: Caroline Godfrey, Communications Associate
cgodfrey@montpelier.org | (540) 308-2077

Orange, VA – Some of Virginia’s brightest students representing 10 middle school and 11 high school teams from 15 localities have been named finalists in the “We The People: the Citizen and the Constitution” district competitions and are moving on to the state-wide competitions held on February 7–8 at the Woodlands Hotel & Suites in Williamsburg, VA. Contestants will vie for the State Champion title; high school champions have the opportunity to compete for a spot in the national finals held at the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and in hearing rooms on Capitol Hill in April.

“We the People” is a national program based on an award-winning, nonpartisan curriculum that helps students understand the history and principles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The competition consists of simulated congressional hearings in which students serve as expert witnesses on topics including the Bill of Rights and citizenship, and then testify in small groups before a panel of judges acting as U.S. congressional representatives. The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier hosts the program in Virginia and Washington, D.C. and offers free professional development seminars to teachers who are interested in the curriculum each summer. Since its inception in 1987, more than 28 million students and 75,000 educators nationwide have participated in the “We the People” programs sponsored by the curriculum authors, the Center for Civic Education. Read more about the competition here.

“The ‘We the People’ program is part of Montpelier’s initative to elevate civic awareness and engagement among our youth. The state finals is an incredibly inspiring event with students from around the Commonwealth defending their perspectives of the U.S. Constitution before lawyers and judges using the words of Madison, the Federalist Papers, and key court cases,” says Doug Smith, Vice President of Montpelier’s Center for the Constitution. “Nothing restores your hope in the American identity like seeing the next great generation of leaders embracing America’s most important guiding document.”

Media outlets are encouraged to announce the district finalists below in your local news sections and to cover the event onFebruary 7–8. Access will be provided to shoot photos and videos and to interview participants. Interviews with teachers from participating schools can also be arranged.

2014 high school division finalists 2014 middle school division finalists
  • Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School (Virginia Beach)
  • Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School (Richmond)
  • Matoaca High School (Chesterfield)
  • Brunswick High School (Lawrenceville)
  • New Covenant School (Lynchburg)
  • Douglas Freeman High School (Richmond)
  • T.C. Williams High School (Alexandria)
  • Woodgrove High School (Purcellville)
  • Loudoun Valley High School (Purcellville)
  • Wakefield Country Day School (Huntly)
  • Glen Allen High School (Glen Allen)

 

  • Rodney Thompson Middle School (Stafford)
  • Kemps Landing Magnet School (Virginia Beach)
  • Blessed Sacrament Huguenot Catholic School (Powhatan)
  • Midlothian Middle School (Midlothian)
  • Luther Jackson Middle School (Falls Church)
  • Rachel Carson Middle School (Herndon)
  • Browne Academy (Alexandria)
  • Lynnhaven Middle School (Virginia Beach)
  • Princess Anne Middle School (Virginia Beach)
  • St. Mary’s Catholic School (Richmond)

 

Virginia’s “We the People” state championship will be held in Colonial Williamsburg at the Woodlands Hotel & Suites, 105 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg, VA. High schools will compete February 7; middle schools will compete February 8. The event attracts more than 400 people each day over two days. It is free and open to the public. A complete schedule of events is available upon request.

The Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier
The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier seeks to enable the public to expand its knowledge and understanding of the Constitution. Through nonpartisan online and on-site programs, the Center inspires participation in civic dialogue, improves the public’s understanding of U.S. founding principles, and enables citizens to deepen their understanding of and participation in our constitutional self-government. To date the Center has served teachers from all 50 states, judges, state legislators, police officers, members of the media, and dignitaries from more than 60 countries. To learn more, visit montpelier.org/center.

James Madison’s Montpelier
Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, Architect of the Bill of Rights, and fourth President of the United States. Montpelier is administered by The Montpelier Foundation, which seeks to inspire continuing public engagement with American constitutional self-government by bringing to life the home and contributions of James and Dolley Madison. The historic home and grounds are open to visitors and student groups throughout the year, and through the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, Montpelier provides world-class residential and online educational programs. Montpelier is a National Trust Historic Site. To learn more, visit www.montpelier.org or contact cgodfrey@montpelier.org.

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