eSchool News

eSchool News
eSchool News covers the intersection of technology and innovation in education.
  • Debunking the myth that good teachers shouldn’t use curriculum aids
    Expecting teachers to go it alone hurts school improvement. It’s time to reframe the debate The myth that good teachers have the Midas touch and therefore don’t need curriculum programs has been around for decades. This myth paints teachers as curricular experts who are best positioned to create instructional plans tailored to particular students. It  [ Read More ]
  • Music teachers invited to pilot-test assessments
    This past summer representatives of all arts education groups gathered at the headquarters of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) to benchmark the “model cornerstone assessments” developed for each discipline’s national standards. In 2014, the new National Core Arts Standards were released, and NAfME participated in their development, leading the way with the new National Core Music Standards (not part of the Common Core). As the process continues, teachers in the music field are being called upon for initial pilot-testing of the model cornerstone assessments. These model cornerstone assessments help bring the National Standards into focus. Following the initial pilot during fall 2014-spring 2015 to improve the assessments, this coming academic year NAfME is piloting all assessments. Many more teachers in all areas of music are needed: • 2nd, 5th, and 8th grade general music • All types and levels of ensembles • Composition and Theory • Music Technology • Harmonizing Instruments This is a critical opportunity for music educators to take the lead in developing music education standards, bringing their expertise from the field into the final development of their assessments. Volunteers are needed to join in the pilot tests and are asked to sign up by visiting this page:
  • PASCO launches inquiry-based STEM tools
    To provide teachers with new ways to involve students in hands-on, inquiry-based science this school year, PASCO Scientific is introducing new hardware, apparatus, and curriculum solutions to engage students in STEM subjects such as chemistry and physics, and motivate them to want to learn more. For high school and university physics classrooms, PASCO introduces the 550 Universal Interface, a wireless sensor interface with measurement capabilities for any physics experiment. For high-speed data collection, it features two PASPORT inputs that are compatible with PASCO’s complete line of more than 80+ PASPORT digital sensors. It also includes two high-speed analog inputs, two digital inputs compatible with all ScienceWorkshop digital sensors as well as timing devices and photogates, and a built-in signal generator with voltage and current sensors. The 550 Universal Interface offers wireless or USB connectivity, and works with PASCO’s SPARKvue and Capstone software. Another new solution for physics classrooms is PASCO’s Projectile Launcher with the new Smart Gate system. Designed for tabletop projectile experiments, the launcher allows students to investigate projectile motion, while the Smart Gate provides more accurate velocity measurements with dual photogates. The Smart Gate connects to most PASPORT interfaces and has an auxiliary port to daisy chain to an additional photogate. Finally, PASCO’s new Advanced Physics through Inquiry 1 teacher guide helps teachers prepare students for the rigors of the Advanced Placement Physics 1 lab. It includes 15 labs, which are based on the College Board Learning Objectives and employ strategies found in open response questions on the AP exam. Each lab is presented in three ways — structured, guided inquiry, and student-designed — allowing teachers to choose the appropriate level of inquiry. The labs also include instructional videos, assessment questions, sample data, editable lab activities, and more. A new solution designed specifically for higher education classrooms is PASCO’s new Polarimeter. Ideal for introductory organic and biochemistry experiments, the Polarimeter can be used in biology and physics classes as well. With this scientific instrument, students can measure the optical rotation of plane polarized light by chiral compounds. The Polarimeter features Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and works on iPads, Chromebooks, Android devices, and computers.
  • Minority youth develop community-enhancing video games
    A new fellowship challenges minority youths to develop video games addressing social issues impacting their communities. Twenty Fellows, ages 15-25, will receive grants to continue development of their projects and fly to Washington, D.C. this October and present their ideas to the White House and national community leaders. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) Leaders on the Fast Track (LOFT) Video Game Innovation Fellowship are sponsoring the fellowship. The Fellows will be selected for their vision, creativity and positive impact on their community. Previous ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellowship winners used games to shed a light on a variety of subjects such as safe dieting techniques, teaching literacy through music, using racing-mechanics to complete algebra problems and promoting STEM career paths for women. Applications are accessible online at and must be completed by September 15, 2015. Selected Fellows will connect with previous Fellowship participants through the award-winning LOFT Network to help complete their games. “Through this creative partnership with the ESA, we are engaging youth on their terms, through video games and phone apps to make a positive social impact,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of HHF. “We believe there is a link from playing a video game to developing a game to computer coding, cybersecurity and other workforce skills gap areas America is desperately trying to fill. It is important minority youth are encouraged to create.”
  • New myON version looks to boost personalized learning
    myON, a business unit of Capstone, has announced a redesign of its personalized literacy environment for PreK-12. myON engaged administrators, teachers, library-media specialists and students throughout the development process to ensure their feedback was incorporated within the new design and features. myON 3.0 includes new student and educator interfaces, advancements in content recommendations based upon individual student interests and Lexile reading level, gamification, and improved enhancements to the state-of-the-art monitoring and reporting functions. All schools and district currently using myON will gain access to these new tools at no cost. The addition of the new writing tool further enhances the myON Literacy Toolkit, introduced in 2014, which includes a suite of close/active reading tools. Using the new writing tools, educators can create assignments --complete with their own writing checklists -- that direct students to write essays integrating their reading journal entries, graphic organizers and myON’s embedded dictionary, within the myON platform. “We are extremely excited to launch myON 3.0” said myON President Todd Brekhus. “Now, each of the 6 million plus students and educators on myON will have access to even more engaging content, additional tools to support the connection between reading and writing, deeper insights into project-based learning, a new interface and so much more. The feedback from our school, district and community partners, whose input guided our work, has been overwhelmingly positive.” These enhancements to the award-winning myON environment are launching as the myON collection, consisting of more than 10,000 enhanced digital titles from Capstone and over 60 publishing partners, continues to grow on a regular, monthly basis. The collection is comprised of 70 percent non-fiction and informational text, 30 percent fiction, with 10 percent of the overall collection comprised of dual-language text.
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