Texas Takes Aggressive First Steps to Address Autism with Humanoid Robotics
Through House Bill 21, the state has identified funding to provide districts the opportunity to address innovative and effective programs and services for autism
(Austin, TX) February 15, 2018 — The state of Texas recently announced the implementation of House Bill 21 (HB21), a state-funded initiative to provide its districts with innovative, evidence- and research-based, impact-proven programs and services for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Through this initiative, schools can help teach their students with ASD to tune in on emotions, express empathy, act appropriately in social situations, self-motivate, and reciprocate interactions. RoboKind, the world leader in social robotics and the creator of Milo and robots4autism, is proud to offer schools and districts a solution that meets or exceeds the expectations and goals spelled out in HB21.
To simplify the application process for educators, RoboKind is providing language for school and district administrators to use to ensure that Milo and the robots4autism curriculum are included in their grant. Schools and districts that take advantage of Milo the robot and the robots4autism curriculum will also have access to data collection and reporting analytics, a facilitator manual, training, IT and related technical support, and school and district customer service support.
“This is an incredible opportunity for schools and districts in the state of Texas to acquire life-changing technology to support their students with ASD,” said Dr. Gregory Firn, the Chief Operating Officer of RoboKind and former Texas Administrator. “It is our mission as a company to help every student on the autism spectrum connect to the world around them and reach their full potential.”
As of 2010, one in 68 children born in the U.S. are reported to have autism, a number that has risen 119.4% since 2000. Texas has the second-highest number of children with autism in the country. The total annual cost of autism in the U.S. is $236–$262 billion, but this cost can be reduced by two thirds with early diagnosis and intervention. Milo, paired with his evidence- and research-based ASD curriculum, is already bridging the gap and creating unprecedented engagement for ASD students in 26 Texas schools. This engagement has resulted in positive outcomes seen within 1–4 months in the following three areas:
- Increased self-regulation and decreased classroom disruptions and meltdowns;
- Increased understanding of human emotions, communication, and social interaction; and
- Increased human-to-human interaction.
Schools, school districts, and Educational Service Centers are encouraged to include robots4autism in their grant applications to provide their ASD learners the access and opportunity to develop social, emotional, behavioral, and communicative skills. HB21 grant applications are due March 8, 2018.
To learn more about how Milo and the robots4autism program meet or exceed HB21 requirements, administrators can visit RoboKind’s information page.
RoboKind is a Dallas-based company whose mission is to create cost-effective and inclusive education for all. Working closely with the ASD community, RoboKind has developed robots4autism and Milo, the most advanced, facially expressive humanoid robot, who has proven effectiveness in engaging ASD learners at 70%, as opposed to the 3% for traditional therapy. Milo never gets tired, never gets frustrated, and is always consistent, which is important when teaching through repetition. His friendly demeanor and patience encourage ASD learners to step out of their shell and gives them the courage to interact with their environment.
The team behind robots4autism is constantly refining the curriculum through feedback from families and practitioners. RoboKind is dedicated to creating pathways for all ages and groups so they can thrive in the real world through cost-effective means. To learn more, please visit RoboKind.com.
Language Learning Solutions Provider EMC School Expands Computer Literacy Offerings With Acquisition of Zulama
Comprehensive Computer Science Curriculum Centers on Game Design to Make Coding and Programming Fun for Middle and High School Students
Developed with faculty from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center, the Zulama program focuses on game creation, from developing a storyline to marketing an original videogame. The multidisciplinary curriculum for grades 6-12 adheres to national and state standards, including the Computer Science Teachers Association standards and can be easily incorporated into any existing middle or high school coursework.
“At EMC School, our focus is on digital literacy and communications, and providing schools with a comprehensive computer science offering is a key element of our strategy. The acquisition of Zulama accelerates our path to including an immersive and fully digital computer science and STEAM curriculum on Passport,” said Mick Demakos, division president at EMC School. “Zulama’s comprehensive course offering, coupled with EMC’s current foundational computer skills curriculum, offers students the opportunity to develop the critical skills they need to build digital competency and successfully pursue their career goals.”
Zulama on Passport
With Zulama on Passport, students will access lessons, view assignments, collaborate with peers, submit game projects, and communicate with their teacher in an engaging and highly interactive learning environment. For teachers, Passport offers an easy and comprehensive way to provide feedback and track student progress. EMC first launched Passport in 2014 for the world language market, and this year, introduced its core English language arts program, Mirrors & Windows, onto Passport.
“Computer science is a core competency that all students need because most careers today require some technology and programming skills,” said Nikki Navta, Zulama’s chief executive officer who joined EMC School as part of the acquisition. “We’re excited to unite with EMC School and put our curriculum onto Passport, effectively reaching more teachers and students across the country.”
Zulama provides a comprehensive framework so educators can easily apply it to their own curriculum, regardless of their subject area. Beyond computer science, Zulama helps students develop skills needed for communication, creative expression and job preparedness in a digital world. Many Zulama courses prepare students and teachers to obtain industry-recognized certifications, including Unity Developer and 3DS Max,. Select higher education institutions accept completed Zulama courses, particularly AP Computer Science Principles, for college credit.
Earlier this school year, the White House announced plans to commit $200 million every year to computer science education. Virginia became the first state to require computer science instruction in grades K-12 and other states and districts are adopting computer science curriculum standards. Zulama is already in use in classrooms in three of the largest districts in the country: Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles.
About EMC School
EMC School, a business unit of New Mountain Learning, is a recognized leader in language learning solutions in classrooms throughout the nation. Founded in 1954, EMC offers core instructional materials, supplements, and assessments for the K-12 market, delivering blended learning solutions for world languages, literature and language arts, and computer science. Its innovative learning environment, Passport, was launched in 2014 and has achieved significant market adoptions due to its engaging student interface and easy-to-use teacher tools. For more information, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or on the web.
About Zulama, Inc.
Zulama, Inc. provides Computer Science education solutions that “hook” students by tapping into a topic they love—video games. Zulama’s curriculum for middle and high schoolers was created by faculty who teach these subjects to Master’s students at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. A comprehensive, turnkey solution, Zulama provides in-depth teacher training to ensure their success teaching game design, programming, 3D art, and digital storytelling.
FROM COSN: President’s Budget Takes Misguided Approach to Educational Investment
Washington, DC (February 12, 2018) – CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) CEO Keith Krueger today issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget request to Congress:
“CoSN strongly opposes President Trump’s misguided proposal to eliminate the bipartisan Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant program. Congress established the program to encourage local innovation, which would support STEM education, develop open educational resources and identify other specific local needs.
“However, the President’s budget, ironically, would cut one of the largest existing sources of STEM funding only months after announcing a major STEM initiative.
“Now is not the time to walk away from SSAE grant investments. They are critical in providing our students with the technology and training required to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.”
CoSN is the premier voice and resource for K-12 education technology leaders nationwide. Serving more than 13 million students in America’s school systems, CoSN provides education leaders with the tools and relationships to leverage technology and advance modern, engaging learning environments. Visit CoSN.org to find out more about CoSN’s focus areas, annual conference and events, advocacy and policy, membership and the CETL certification exam.
Governors’ State of the States Signal the Beginning of New Era for Edtech Says ISTE
WASHINGTON — February 9, 2018 — Governors, in their just-delivered State of the State addresses, highlighted major initiatives around using technology effectively in schools, expanding support for computational thinking, and building infrastructure that supports students and educators with digital learning opportunities.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), in a careful review of the speeches, says the addresses underscored that state executives are committed to investing in using technology to enhance learning.
“There are some really exciting and innovative ideas coming from the states that will prepare students to thrive in a digital world,” said ISTE CEO Richard Culatta. “These governors clearly understand the need to be forward thinking and recognize that technology plays a key role in education. We’re especially impressed with plans from the governors of Indiana and South Carolina to support professional learning for teachers around the effective use of technology for learning.”
Culatta added that ISTE and its affiliates across the U.S., comprised of educators, administrators, coaches, librarians and computer science educators, are vital partners in the success of any initiative.
The governors’ speeches mark a renewed focus on leveraging technology to address long-standing challenges in education. Common themes among State of the State addresses delivered since early January include:
• Expanding the availability of and access to technical education programs, particularly computer science, coding boot camps and other high-tech initiatives.
• Encouraging public-private partnerships around career and technical education, internships and externships.
• Improving infrastructure in schools, most notably initiatives for devices and broadband.
Some of the most prominent examples of these trends by state include:
Gov. Kay Ivey announced the creation of the Alabama School of Cyber-Technology and Engineering. The school aims to prepare some of the state’s highest achieving students to enter the cyber-technology and engineering professions.
Gov. Doug Ducey discussed continued education investments for computer science and coding curriculum, and the importance of high-speed internet for rural K-12 schools.
Gov. Jerry Brown proposed creating the ground-breaking California Online College so that workers without a degree or credential can get convenient, affordable training.
Gov. John Carney pledged to strengthen the Delaware Pathways program that includes high-tech externships and championed the success of Zip Code Wilmington, a software development boot camp for students.
Gov. Butch Otter called for investing an additional $10 million in school technology and requirements for schools to develop plans for integrating technology into their curriculum. He also called for the implementation of a statewide degree audit and data analytics system.
Gov. Eric Holcomb called for legislation to require every Indiana K-12 school to offer computer science courses and to pay for the teacher professional development needed “to inspire students.”
Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state had invested more than $37 million in STEM education programs through public–private partnerships.
Gov. Rick Snyder touted the success and planned expansion of the Career Pathways Alliance, a statewide public-private partnership to join education with private industry. He also advocated to expand career and technical education statewide, and to provide equitable opportunities for all students. The governor called for additional funding for schools to offer career and technical education, as well as professional trades programs.
Gov. Susana Martinez proposed that schools allow chemists, biologists, engineers and others to be trained and certified to teach high school math and science to help address teacher shortages in these subjects. She also asked for funding to update schools with 21st century technology and expand broadband coverage.
Gov. Gina Raimondo touted Rhode Island as the “first state in America to teach computer science in every public school.” She also explained how a cut in burdensome regulations has helped the growth of a math application developed in the state.
Gov. Henry McMaster’s budget included $3.3 million to train new computer science and coding teachers. He also called for the creation of the South Carolina Workforce Partnership that would encourage high schools, businesses and technical colleges to develop internships, certificate programs and dual-credit courses.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced a partnership among higher education, high schools and the state department of labor that will provide high school juniors and seniors courses in cybersecurity, network services and software development. These courses will count toward high school graduation and college credit.
Gov. Phil Scott discussed his budget plan to expand adult technical education and other proposals to “better serve the current needs of workers and our businesses.” Vermont’s State Board of Education has adopted ISTE Updated Standards for Students.
Gov. Scott Walker said the state increased its investment from $6 million to $41.5 million in linking communities to high-speed internet connections and giving schools access to the latest technology and training. The ambitious goal is to connect every part of the state over the next two years.
Throughout 2018, ISTE will follow these state-based developments and encourage other states to pursue initiatives that support teachers in the effective use of technology based on unique state and regional needs.
Those interested in keeping up on edtech policy and receiving periodic updates can join the ISTE Advocacy Network. The network provides access to state and federal edtech policy updates and practical resources to support advocacy efforts.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a nonprofit organization that works with the global education community to accelerate the use of technology to solve tough problems and inspire innovation. Our worldwide network believes in the potential technology holds to transform teaching and learning.
ISTE sets a bold vision for education transformation through the ISTE Standards, a framework for students, educators, administrators, coaches and computer science educators to rethink education and create innovative learning environments. ISTE hosts the annual ISTE Conference & Expo, one of the world’s most influential edtech events. The organization’s professional learning offerings include online courses, professional networks, year-round academies, peer-reviewed journals and other publications. ISTE is also the leading publisher of books focused on technology in education. For more information or to become an ISTE member, visit iste.org. Subscribe to ISTE’s YouTube channel and connect with ISTE on Twitter, Facebookand LinkedIn.
CDI Partners with littleBits to Provide STEAM Coding Starter Kits to Schools
Kits provide an affordable solution to teach STEAM skills
Chicago IL – Feb. 8, 2018 – CDI Computer Dealers announced today it has partnered with littleBits to offer STEAM Coding Starter Kits for classrooms, makerspaces and libraries. The package includes two of littleBits’ best-selling kits – the STEAM Student Set and the Code Kit –plus two add-on packages that allow students to expand on the lessons by creating games or electronic music. CDI is showcasing the STEAM Coding Starter Kits this week at TCEA 2018 (booth 1922) in Austin.
The STEAM Student Set and the Code Kit are designed for students in grades three through eight and are aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards. They provide everything needed to launch a hands-on, successful STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering Arts and Math) program.
“Students learn by doing, and the littleBits STEAM Coding Starter Kits provide a great way to teach important STEAM skills through hands-on learning experiences,” said Glenn Collins, vice president of mobile computing at CDI. “Students learn through creating games and inventions, and even generating their own music. Our goal at CDI is to provide the tools and technology that schools need to be successful. Our partnership with littleBits provides an affordable way for organizations to launch a standards-aligned STEAM program that engages and excites students.”
littleBits kits are comprised of multiple electronic building blocks, or “Bits,” that snap together to create inventions and teach students about coding, circuits, music and more. Each CDI STEAM Coding Starter Kit includes:
- A STEAM Student Set, which teaches engineering and design through hands-on inventing. It includes:
o Eight challenges such as inventing a self-driving vehicle or an art machine. Additional challenges and inventions are available on the accompanying app.
o 19 Bits and 45 accessories.
o A 72-page invention guidebook.
- A Code Kit, which introduces coding to the classroom through creating and playing games. It includes:
o Four games to invent and code such as “Ultimate Shootout and “Hot Potato..of Doom.” More are available in the accompanying app.
o 16 Bits and 30 accessories.
o A computer-based app that provides tutorials, lessons and additional games.
o Educator resources.
- Gizmos & Gadgets Kit, 2nd Edition, an extension kit that provides tools to create big games, toys and pranks. It includes:
o 16 inventions such as the Bitbot electronic rover and Prank Package, a box that opens on command to surprise bystanders. More are available in the app.
o 13 Bits and 56 accessories. such as ball coasters and mechanical arms
- A Synth Kit, an extension kit that teaches students how to create their own instruments and electronic music. It includes:
o Two inventions: Keytar, in which students create their own electronic instrument; and Synth Spin Table, which allows students to play their Synth Kit like a DJ. More inventions are available in the app.
o 12 Bits and one accessory.
o A 34-page invention guidebook.
To learn more about CDI Computer Dealers, please visit: http://cdicomputers.com/
CDI is the leading provider of technology-based solutions to the North American education market and has worked with over 10,000 schools and colleges. CDI delivers a powerful value proposition to budget-conscious institutions by providing new and recertified I.T. products and services at a significant discount along with the longest warranties in the industry. CDI’s product line includes PCs, Notebooks, Chromebooks, Tablets, Servers and Networking Equipment, 3D printers and classroom accessories. The company holds ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 certifications, and processes more than one million I.T. assets annually. Learn more at https://cdicomputers.com/education/.
littleBits empowers kids around the world to become inventors. Founded in 2011 by Ayah Bdeir, its innovative platform of easy-to-use electronic blocks allows anyone to create and prototype with electronics, independent of age, gender or technical ability. As the leader in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) learning, littleBits believes in creating the conditions of invention by creating products that encourage self-directed exploration and problem solving; support grit and tenacity; and create a safe place to experience both failure and accomplishment. The company is dedicated to successfully bridging the gender gap with its gender-neutral platform, attracting an industry high thirty five percent of young girls to invent with littleBits. By embracing STEAM, both girls and boys can invent solutions to the problems that matter to them. The company’s products have won over 150 industry awards in the toy and education industries. littleBits is headquartered in New York. For more information and inspiration, go to www.littleBits.cc.
Insight Education Group to Host National Educational Leaders’ Workshop
Insight’s leaders and members of its Empowering Educators to Excel community will share three instructional levers that are bringing success to schools nationwide
(Encino, CA) February 8, 2017 — Insight Education Group today announced that its National Educational Leaders’ Workshop (NELW) will take place in San Diego, CA, on March 9th and 10th. As part of Insight’s Empowering Educators to Excel (E3) initiative, the event was created to present district leaders, principals, instructional coaches, teacher leaders, and teachers from districts nationwide with the latest research and best practices that they can use right away to support educators’ growth and impact student achievement.
NELW attendees will meet and learn from members of E3’s nationwide networked improvement community as well as other leaders from around the nation who have experienced real success with three key levers:
“As a district leader, the Workshop will provide our instructional team with a unique, deliberate opportunity to learn and investigate the latest practices in what really works in improving student achievement,” said Nate Davis, the Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township. “I look forward to sharing what’s working for us and taking back what we’ve learned from others. The opportunity to develop a ‘network in practice’ is a wonderful chance to both provide and receive high-quality feedback and ideas in today’s ever-changing educational landscape. The Workshop will provide the time, space, and expertise to accomplish this.”
Dr. Michael Moody, the co-founder and CEO of Insight ADVANCE, will deliver the keynote, “Rethinking PD So It Actually Works.”
Panels will include “Equity, Equality, and Excellence: From Policy to Practice,” moderated by Jason Stricker, CEO of Insight Education Group with panelists Dr. Sharon Contreras, Superintendent of Guilford County Schools (North Carolina), Superintendent Dr. Demond Means of Clarke County School District (Georgia), and Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca, Board of Education Member of District 6, Houston Independent School District (Texas); and “STEP into Effective PLCs: Empowering Teachers & Improving Practice,” moderated by Dr. Anissa Rodriguez Dickerman, senior vice president of Insight Education Group.
NELW 2018 be held at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina, and the registration fee is $450 per attendee. Interested educators can register here until February 15, 2018.
About Insight Education Group
CEV Multimedia Announces 900 District Adoptions in Texas
CTE curriculum provider serves over 80 percent of districts statewide with TEKS-aligned materials
LUBBOCK, Texas (Feb. 7, 2018) – As part of Proclamation 2017, the Texas State Board of Education selected CEV Multimedia to provide Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum to align with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Following the development and approval of 87 CTE courses for the iCEV online learning platform, CEV Multimedia announced today that 900 Texas school districts have successfully adopted courses.
School districts that adopted iCEV materials received pre-packed, TEKS-aligned courses and learning materials, an automatic testing and grading system, and numerous lessons that will guide students through their education and careers. Student licenses offer interactive learning opportunities through project-based activities, video assignments and industry-backed certifications.
To read the full news release, please click here.
SXSW EDU® ANNOUNCES RENOWNED STORYTELLING NONPROFIT THE MOTH AS ITS OPENING KEYNOTE IN “STORIES OF
SCHOOLING AND GETTING SCHOOLED”
TO ELEVATE STORYTELLING AND TEACHERS’ VOICES
Four Educators Showcase Their Journeys and the Importance of
In this showcase, the four educators will engage the audience with short stories highlighting their teaching journeys. The program builds on the premise that teachers bring themselves into the classroom, and their classrooms into their lives. In exploring this intersection of teacher identity, The Moth will inspire listeners to find their voices and share their own stories, launching a week of learning and connection at SXSW EDU, including their hands-on workshop for attendees to learn storytelling skills.
“Since its inception, SXSW EDU has aspired to elevate the voice—and more broadly, the profession—of teaching,” said Ron Reed, Director of Emerging Events, SXSW. “In collaboration with The Moth Education Program, we’ve found a like-minded group who shares our intention and goal to elevate every educator’s story. Mixing life and learning, we are thrilled to bring this inspirational kickoff to SXSW EDU 2018—spotlighting educator and innovator voices through the art of storytelling, to empower us all, in the days to come and beyond, to engage authentically, inform honestly, and inspire one another greatly.”
“Telling stories about our experiences connects us to one another, to our students, and even to our own identities as teachers,” says Micaela Blei, head of The Moth Education Program and one of the educators slated to take the stage at SXSW EDU. “We’re thrilled to work with SXSW EDU to present this special showcase.”
Opening Keynote Voices are:
To learn more about SXSW EDU speakers, please visit the speakers page.
About The Moth
About SXSW EDU
Kano Breaks Into U.S. K-12 Education with New Education Packages
The new range of free teacher resources empowers students to understand technology and create with code
London (Feb. 7, 2018) – Following its success in consumer markets worldwide, Kano, the DIY computer company, is bringing its computer coding kits to U.S. classrooms with a range of education packages available online. Each package delivers full curriculum support, training and resources from an ever-growing online community of educators.
Each education package comes with core-curricular lesson plans, design challenges, implementation guides, video training tutorials, “how-to” coding lessons, professional development webinars, support from the Kano staff, access to an educator community and more. With the variety of available packs, teachers can easily integrate Kano in learning spaces ranging from makerspaces to libraries to entire classrooms.
To read the full news release. please click here