Marketplace trend update: 5 ed-tech developments
Remaining a tech-savvy educator means keeping on top of the myriad changes and trends in education, how technology can support those trends, and how teaching and learning can best benefit from near-constant change.
Below, we’ve gathered some of the latest and most relevant marketplace news to keep you up-to-date on product developments, teaching and learning initiatives, and new trends in education.
Kids Discover's interactive digital library, Kids Discover Online, now includes custom assessment capabilities. Kids Discover Online enables educators to mix and match material from science and social studies to facilitate students’ exploration of big ideas through cross-curricular learning. The newly added Assessments tool gives educators full control to create, distribute, and assess custom quizzes, tests, and homework assignments directly within the platform. Read more.
Education network Edmodo's latest professional development program for teachers, Edmodo Envoys, is designed to help teachers find and network with one another at the local level and support each others’ professional development efforts. Edmodo Envoys host a TeachUp in their local area and can meet and exchange ideas with educators in their communities whom they might not otherwise have met. Read more.
High school students taking VHS’ U.S. History courses can now receive college credit at Quincy College. Starting fall of 2016, VHS students can earn college credit from Quincy College for taking online Virtual High School U.S History courses. These online classes are now eligible for transcripted credits, which are transferrable within Massachusetts’ State College and University system. Read more.
Pearson has unveiled the Beta-4, the latest revision of a nonverbal measure of cognitive abilities in adults, originally developed by the U.S. Army during World War I. With today’s Beta-4, clinical psychologists can obtain a quick assessment of adults’ nonverbal intellectual abilities. Read more.
Study.com, in partnership with Thomas Edison State University and Quality Matters, has been selected to participate in the Department of Education’s Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP). The program will allow low-income students access to financial aid for nontraditional education and training programs through partnerships with select colleges and universities. Read more.
Schools earn national privacy designation
Seven school systems, both urban and rural, have received a new CoSN seal, which recognizes a commitment to ensuring the privacy and security of student data.
$1.7M from Gates Foundation aims to improve computer learning
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a $1.7 million grant to Highlander Institute to expand Fuse RI and the EdTechRI Testbed.
Fuse RI was launched in 2014 to to help educators blend technology and traditional classroom teaching.
The two-year project recruits teachers from across the state and pairs them with Fuse Fellows, who are technology experts, to develop those blended classrooms, set policy for school districts using the blended-learning system and for professional teacher training.
Fuse RI is the brainchild of Shawn Rubin, Highlander Institute's chief education officer. Over the past two years, Fuse RI has trained 34 fellows to work in 18 districts.
A separate program called EdTechRI Testbed will train approximately 40 teachers across 12 Providence schools, studying the effects of math and reading software and individualized learning programs.
3 ways to make classrooms more interactive
Educators who want to reach students who favor interactive communication know that integrating digital tools into their lesson plans can be an effective strategy, and many have incorporated technology tools into the classroom in one way or another.
But to make a real difference, educators have to integrate technology in a meaningful way. It’s not sufficient to just use social media platforms as an alternate communication venue or post schedules on a class Facebook page.
So how can educators use technology in a more meaningful way? Following are three methods educators are successfully using to connect with a new generation of students in the classroom.
Next page: Three ways to make learning more engaging and interactive
Friendly competition can improve focus and drive better results, which is why gamification is a hot trend in corporate training and educational circles. Teachers can gamify lessons by integrating competition into classroom presentations in a number of ways. For example, a gamification feature in presentation software can enable educators to set up teams or allow individual students to respond to embedded questions and display aggregate results on a screen; some software solutions also feature a leaderboard so everyone can monitor progress.
A gamification approach is highly effective in getting all students involved in classroom activities and providing educators with data they can use to assess student progress.
Turn lectures into a 2-way conversation
Students who are used to highly interactive communication often have difficulty adjusting to traditional classroom lectures, where they are expected to silently take notes while the instructor speaks. Educators who are looking for new ways to engage students can turn top-down lectures into two-way conversations with technology. By embedding questions into presentation slides and allowing students to transmit
answers via response technology, teachers can give students a voice in the classroom.
New CTE bill creates new routes to credentialing
U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a bill to give more high school students the opportunity to take career and technical education college courses that can help prepare them for success in the 21st century.
The Workforce Advance Act will help strengthen and expand dual and concurrent enrollment and early college high school options as part of Perkins-supported career technical education (CTE) programs. Strong CTE programs can provide vital access to the knowledge and skills needed for job and career success.
"At a time when higher education is more important for success in the 21st century economy than ever before, we need to help create opportunities for students in high school to prepare for college and their future careers," Bennet said. "Tens of thousands of kids in Colorado are already taking advantage of dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities, which has helped more of them enroll and do well in college. This bill will help improve career and technical education programs by expanding these opportunities across the country to allow even more students to benefit."
"This bill creates a fast, affordable route for students to gain the skills and earn the credentials they need to compete in today's global economy," Hatch said. "Concurrent enrollment programs are demonstrably effective in helping young men and women prepare for their future careers. Take, for example, my home state of Utah: In 2015 alone, our students earned a variety of career certifications and collectively completed more than 180,000 credit hours of college-level courses-all before graduating high school. With each class students took, they were one step closer to finding a job or earning a college degree. I urge my Senate colleagues to help us empower America's youth and strengthen our nation's workforce by supporting this critical legislation."
The Workforce Advance Act encourages states to examine how they can expand access to CTE dual and concurrent enrollment and early college high school courses. Dual and concurrent enrollment programs and early college courses allow students to earn college credit while still in high school. The bill would allow states to invest leadership dollars in expanding access and supporting teachers and districts to increase the number of courses offered. It would also encourage districts to strengthen CTE programs by incorporating college credit opportunities.