What students think of their blended learning teachers
With blended learning, the computer may provide much of the learning fundamentals and students must be more self-regulated than in a traditional industrial model classroom, but the teacher still plays a vital (albeit different) role.
School leaders need to be aware of this, and need to have pathways developed to transition teachers to this new environment. Thus, teachers must be trained in the different pedagogy, and this should impact the way professional development is delivered.
The effect of the teacher is demonstrated by the results of a survey I recently conducted of our school's students in a self-paced blended learning course. All students used the same learning resources in “lessons” of the same duration and were in the same physical environment. The only factor that varied was the teacher. In this case, one teacher had not been trained in the differences between the self-paced blended learning environment and the traditional classroom; this teacher had to work out the differences “on the fly.” The other teacher had been working in a self-paced blended learning environment for more than four years, and was successful and enthusiastic about the environment.
Students responded to a number of survey questions. There was a five point scale for responses, with 1 being very positive and 5 being very negative, and with 3 being neutral.
Milpitas Unified School District Shares Results and Advice for Going Google
Date: Tuesday, February 19th, Time: 2:00 pm EST / 11:00 am PST In this webinar hear directly from Chin Song, Director of Technology at Milpitas Unified School District in California, about the results and real impact they are seeing from Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks. You’ll hear how the district has setup [ Read More ]
Texas approves Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook for statewide use
Following a rigorous evaluation, the Texas State Board of Education has approved the Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook for statewide use as a core instructional resource through its state adoption process. More than 1,000,000 students across the U.S. and Canada currently have access to the Discovery Education Techbook series, and over 7,000 schools in Texas have already integrated Discovery Education services into classroom instruction.
The Texas State Board of Education adopted all middle and high school Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook courses, including World Geography & Cultures for Grade 6, as well as U.S. History for Grade 8 and high school. School districts across Texas now have the option to implement the Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook, a fully interactive digital solution that replaces traditional textbooks and features standards-based digital content that strengthens literacy, critical thinking and citizenship skills. Discovery Education’s Social Studies Techbook is a complete digital solution that has been built from the ground-up to be fully aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency standards.
The Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook is the second Techbook to be adopted by the Texas State Board of Education as a core instructional resource. In 2014, the Texas State Board of Education approved the Discovery Education Science Techbook as a core instructional resource for elementary, middle, and high school science courses through the state adoption process.
“The Social Studies Techbook’s rich multimedia resources and wide variety of activities make Social Studies lessons more interesting and exciting to students,” said Yolanda M. Rey, Ph.D., Executive Director, Texas ASCD. “In addition, having model lessons, primary and secondary source documents, interactive tools and more all in one place saves educators a tremendous amount of time, allowing them to concentrate on their primary job: teaching.”
The Social Studies Techbook series uses an inquiry-based instructional approach that emphasizes informational text literacy, analytical writing and problem solving skills that students can apply in academics and as citizens. Each subject area includes primary source documents and activities, digital investigations, multimedia reference library, interactive maps and informational texts. Social Studies Techbook supports English language learners through helpful features such as hundreds of Spanish language video segments, a multimodal interactive glossary with definitions in Spanish, and a Spanish reading path with text-to-voice capability.
Austin ISD offers free test prep to high school students
Austin ISD (AISD) is partnering with Edgenuity, an online education provider, to expand support for all high school students by offering free test preparation services for college entrance exams, including the SAT.
AISD students may enroll in the web-based courses, which will allow them to complete lessons at their own pace.
AISD is the fifth-largest school district in Texas, serving about 85,000 students at 129 campuses, including 17 high schools. This semester, the district serves about 21,000 high school students throughout Austin.
This year, AISD’s graduation rates have reached an all-time high. More AISD students are participating in the SAT and ACT—and they are scoring better overall on the exams, compared with the state and national averages.
“Preparing Austin students to graduate ready for college is among our top priorities at AISD. Working with our school communities, we are meeting our goals by helping to meet students where they are, but there is more work to be done,” said Paul Cruz, interim superintendent. “We must continue to invest in our students’ success by ensuring all students have access to the tools they need. The new Web-based services offer students the flexibility to prepare for college entrance exams when and where it works best for them.”
Edgenuity’s online courses aim to help prepare students to successfully complete the SAT, ACT and Texas Success Initiative tests. The collaboration is part of AISD’s commitment to support greater academic achievement by ensuring all students have access to the latest in innovative tools and courseware.
“Most of today’s students are digitally savvy and are looking for educational opportunities that are personalized, engaging and rigorous,” Cruz said. “This partnership with Edgenuity will help AISD continue to meet the unique learning needs of all our students, including at-risk and first-generation college students. The online courses will help students prepare for and excel on standardized exams at the state and national level.”
Edgenuity’s on-screen teachers help demystify the SAT, ACT and TSI exams and their content and offer test-taking strategies. Courses include video-based instruction, interactive assignments and frequent assessment opportunities to track progress.
Infobase relaunches Issues & Controversies
Infobase, a provider of educational content to schools and libraries, has announced the relaunch of Issues & Controversies. The database, which aims to offer balanced treatment of complex, hot-button issues, is a recent recipient of The ComputED Gazette’s 19th Annual Education Software Review Awards.
Issues & Controversies’ dynamic new design is structured around today’s most controversial issues, from immigration, gun control, racial profiling, and Cuba policy to climate change, police brutality, terrorism, Middle East policy, and more.
Recent controversies in the news are highlighted on the home page, along with a hyperlinked list of all topics, organized by subject or A-to-Z, for quick access into the core of the database.
The issue pages themselves have also been expanded and improved, with a new, user-friendly organization that reveals at a glance all the controversies related to each issue, with clear pro/con statements for each, plus new features such as videos, interactive polls, and news articles that engage and enlighten users as they explore each issue.
Another new addition to the database is the collection of more than 90 debate videos from the renowned Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Series, featuring some of the most prominent political figures, journalists, academics, and experts in the United States and throughout the world on a wide range of crucial subjects. Linked directly to Issues & Controversies articles and topics, these provocative Oxford-style debates offer fresh perspectives from leading authorities on both sides of the issue and can be used to spark discussion, encourage critical thinking, and enhance debate prep. Each debate can be viewed in its entirety, by predefined segments, or with the help of the complete, searchable transcript.