PRODUCTS, SERVICES & EVENTS

7/31/15

AASA Applauds Congressional Leaders for their Efforts toward ESEA Reauthorization

Alexandria, Va. – July 30, 2015 – Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement today commending U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (D-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (R-Wash.), and U.S. Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) for their continued leadership and commitment to our nation’s schools and students as they meet today for the first time to begin the deliberate and critical discussions necessary to move the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization one step closer to completion. AASA represents more than 13,000 school system leaders across the country and has listed ESEA reauthorization as a top legislative priority since the day the most recent iteration (No Child Left Behind) was passed into law.

“As the only national organization to have opposed NCLB from its onset, we are keenly aware and appreciative of this group’s concerted efforts for comprehensive reauthorization. This group of leaders is the one responsible for moving ESEA reauthorization to its furthest point in 15 years. They know, as well as anyone, the importance of balancing personal and party policy priorities with the needs and priorities of the broader group and that compromise is central to the ultimate goal of complete reauthorization.

“As a former superintendent having worked in schools under NCLB, and today, as the leader of the national organization representing our nation’s public school superintendents, the schools they lead and the students they serve, I am confident that our nation’s students will be in a better position under this legislative work product than their peers who went before them under NCLB. Schools open their doors to students regardless of the quality of federal policy and I am looking forward to an ESEA reauthorization that bolsters and strengthens educators’ unwavering commitment to teaching, learning and achievement.

“Earlier this month, AASA joined nine other national education organizations to urge Congress to work quickly to complete the ESEA conference process. As the letter states, there is still more work to be done. We strongly urge you to build on the momentum generated this month around ESEA reauthorization by proceeding to conference as soon as possible. Today’s meeting is a big step in the right direction. We at AASA stand ready to support this process.”

For specific questions about ESEA reauthorization, please contact Noelle Ellerson, AASA associate executive director, policy and advocacy, atnellerson@aasa.org.

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About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.

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Wonder Workshop Streamlines Coding Instruction Through Touch App

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While the economic demand for computer science skills continues to surge, introducing coding to the classroom can be an intimidating overture for teachers without a technical background. To ease this transition, Wonder Workshop, creators of smart robots that teach students the basics of coding, has developed a new version of the Blockly touch app in consultation with education experts.

Through drag-and-drop programming and diverse puzzles, the app’s new content brings coding to life during STEM instruction. Students use the app to program Dash & Dot robots to sense and react to the world around them. Blockly’s project-based puzzles are designed to engage students of all genders and backgrounds, with personalized tracks that consider students’ diverse interests. The app integrates with Wonder Workshop’s digital curriculum, which is aligned to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

“Our goal is to alleviate the pressure and anxiety teachers often experience when it comes to coding instruction,” said Vikas Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Wonder Workshop. “Teachers don’t have to do it alone. Coupling Blockly with our vetted curriculum allows educators to address this 21st-century skill without needing to research unfamiliar concepts, develop lessons, assemble products and page through manuals.”

Blockly’s careful scaffolding of coding concepts ensures students in various grade levels remain engaged and in control. Younger students who are still learning to read can use the app’s visual interface to navigate challenges with introductory programming concepts, such as command sequences and algorithm design. In addition, the app helps older students visualize advanced concepts like variables and comparatives.

Blockly’s puzzles were carefully developed in collaboration with experienced computer science teachers to maximize ease of use and meaningful instruction. New lesson plans will be available for download regularly, ensuring fresh learning experiences for students.

About Dash & Dot
Dash & Dot are smart robots for curious minds! Targeted at teaching creative problem-solving and computational thinking, Dash & Dot help students learn fundamental cognitive processes relevant to all 21st-century skills that they’ll carry on throughout life.

Students can define how they want to play – whether solo, in pairs or in small groups. Dash & Dot are characters that ignite curiosity and confidence while providing fun and engaging ways of learning the essential skills of collaboration, communication and digital literacy. Teachers are using Dash & Dot to teach a variety of subjects, including math, science, social studies and English language arts.

Dash & Dot come with four free apps enabling students to explore a variety of learning experiences at different levels depending on their age and ability. Wonder Workshop accessories from Dash’s Xylophone to Building Brick Connectors (including LEGO™) bring endless creative possibilities, plus students can involve their existing resources around the classroom into the fun. The apps are compatible with more than 20 iOS and Android devices, including the iPad 3, iPad mini, iPad Air 1 & 2 and a variety of Nexus and Samsung Galaxy devices.

About Wonder Workshop
Wonder Workshop launched Dash & Dot in December 2014 and within its first month, delivered more than $3.5M in robots to 37 countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, European countries, India, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Based in San Mateo, CA, Wonder Workshop was founded in 2012 by Vikas Gupta, Saurabh Gupta and Mikal Greaves, inventors, designers, programmers and parents with the mission to make coding a new creative tool that is accessible for children from age five and beyond. The company has currently raised $15.9 million in funding from Madrona Venture Group, CRV, WI Harper, Google Ventures, Bright Success Capital, Maven Ventures, Vikas Gupta, Reza Hussein and Jeff Schox. For more information, visit http://www.makewonder.com.

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