eSchool News

eSchool News
eSchool News covers the intersection of technology and innovation in education.
  • Adobe Spark offers visual storytelling capability
    adobe sparkAdobe has launched Adobe Spark, an integrated web and mobile solution for creating and sharing impactful visual stories. Free and designed for everyday communications, Adobe Spark empowers anyone – including small businesses, social marketers and students – to create stunning visual content that engages audiences across multiple channels and looks great on any device. “Today anyone can create content and share it via social media, but most people lack the skill, time and resources to create something that cuts through the online clutter,” said Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager, Digital Media at Adobe. “With Adobe Spark, anyone can create authentic, professional looking visual content for their project, passion, cause or business." A new service that is part of Creative Cloud, Adobe Spark brings Adobe’s 30-plus years of technology and innovation for creative professionals to creative consumers. The Adobe Spark web app seamlessly syncs with Spark Post, Spark Page and Spark Video iOS mobile apps, allowing users to create, edit and share their story from wherever they are – regardless of their design experience. The integrated solution consists of: Adobe Spark web app: a browser-based web experience for creating social posts and graphics, web stories and animated videos. Spark Post: an iOS mobile app that enables anyone to create stunning social posts and graphics in seconds. Spark Page: an iOS mobile app that helps users create beautiful web stories. Spark Video: an iOS mobile app that enables users to create compelling animated videos in minutes. As part of its focus on everyday communications, Adobe Spark is designed to help solo entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed. Adobe is collaborating with Facebook Blueprint – a new global education and certification program to help agencies and advertisers achieve their business results through marketing on Facebook and Instagram platforms. Facebook Blueprint users will benefit from Adobe’s expert guidance through tutorial content on how to successfully market themselves on the Facebook and Instagram platforms using Adobe Spark. Adobe Spark is also partnering with, the world's largest social change platform, to co-create training materials for petitioners and change agents. Petitions with a video receive six times more signatures than those without, and petitioners will gain access to Adobe Spark resources for creating effective explainer videos for cause-based and crowdfunding campaigns that further their causes.
  • A new plan to get high school students to take college classes
    college dualThe costs of college textbooks and fees, as well as being responsible for their own transportation, proved too much for some students in Career and College Promise, a dual-enrollment program at Guilford Technical Community College. A couple reduced the number of classes they were taking. The others left the program. “My girls would have had to have dropped except for the fact we had a credit card,” said Pat Raines of Greensboro. She and her husband charged the textbooks, which she estimated cost about $400 or $500 a semester, for each of their granddaughters. The Raineses also charged the student fees for their granddaughters, for whom they have custody. Their granddaughters, Andrea and Stephanie Raines, will have completed a full semester of college when they graduate from Western High on June 5. Officials with the U.S. Department of Education want more students, particularly those from low-income families, not only to access dual-enrollment programs such as the one at GTCC but also not to have to worry as much about their costs. The Dual Enrollment Pell Experiment, announced Monday, would reach about 10,000 high school students across the nation over three years and allow them to access a share of about $20 million in federal Pell Grants for dual-enrollment courses. GTCC is the only college or university in North Carolina and one of 44 nationwide chosen to participate. Dual-enrollment programs are “powerful ways” to introduce students to rigorous courses, particularly for those students in low-income families or who would be first-generation college students, U.S. Education Undersecretary Ted Mitchell told reporters during a press call. Students from public high schools would complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly referred to as FAFSA, to determine if they are eligible for a Pell Grant. Those eligible can only receive grants for up to 12 semesters, or about six years. There is also a cap on the maximum amount a student can receive in a year — $5,815 for 2016-17. Accessing Pell Grants while in high school would count against those limits, but the expectation is that students would put the grant dollars to work to complete college on time and at cost, if not at a lower cost, Mitchell said. “The hope is that this investment will accelerate students toward completion,” U.S. Education Secretary John King said during the press call. Whether that holds true will be a critical piece for evaluating the program, he said. The cost factor The courses students take in high school are major factors in whether they go on to college and how well they perform there, King said. Many students from low-income backgrounds lack opportunities to pick courses that could prepare them for college, he said. Picking those courses could lead to better grades, more students continuing their education after high school and higher college completion rates, King said. Linda Whitlow, GTCC’s liaison for early middle colleges and concurrent enrollment programs, said she believes the U.S. Education Department’s experiment will draw more students to the Career and College Promise program at GTCC.
  • 5 tips for creating a makerspace for less than the cost of an iPad
    maker-spaceYou don't need power tools and 3D printers to get students making. A trip to the craft store and a little ingenuity can be just as effective.
  • myON launches Summer 2016 Reading Challenge
    myON readingContinuing its commitment to prevent summer slide, myON, a business unit of Capstone and provider of personalized literacy solutions in the K-12 marketplace, announced the start of its fifth annual summer reading challenge, “Get in the Game and Read!” Since 2012, myON has provided a turnkey program to help educators encourage students to read “just right” books during the summer months. Last year, 4.5 million students nationwide read 4,732,169 books over summer vacation. Recently, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and the White House included myON in its Champions of Change Summer Opportunity Project 2016 Action Toolkit, recognizing myON as a key solution for maximizing learning and motivating kids to read during the summer. “Research and our own experience show students read and learn more when they have the freedom to choose books that meet their interests and individual reading level, which is the fundamental principle of myON,” said Todd Brekhus, the president of myON. “We are pleased and honored to collaborate with NSLA, the White House, a large number of schools, districts, communities, and state and superintendent organizations that work so hard to keep kids reading and learning year-round.” Increased Lexile® levels and student success over the summer have led a number of state and superintendent organizations to partner with myON to offer students digital books to combat summer slide. States providing unlimited access to myON through the summer include the following: • Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) is offering all district members access to more than 5,000 enhanced digital books and literacy tools. • North Carolina Give Five, Read Five, with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, will provide unlimited student access to myON through August 31. • Get Georgia Reading offers all Georgia students access to myON’s digital literacy platform from April 15–August 31. Comparing 2015 to 2016, Georgia students have already tripled the time spent reading reaching more than 11,000 hours as of early May.
  • Nova Scotia’s innovative science curriculum for grades 4-6
    science pascoIn 2015, the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development launched an Action Plan for Education to renew, refocus, and rebuild the education system for the first time in a generation. As part of its efforts to create an innovative and streamlined curriculum in grades 4–6, the Department has purchased PASCO Scientific science solutions for nearly 300 elementary schools from PASCO Canada/AYVA Educational Solutions Ltd. The PASCO science solutions will be part of the Department of Education’s curriculum resource kit for grades 4–6. It will include SPARKvue®, a science application that delivers data collection, visualization, and analysis tools in a content-rich, standards-based science learning and sharing environment. It will also include the PASPORT General Science Sensor, Weather Sensor, and Weather/Anemometer Sensor, as well as the AirLink interface, which will allow students to wirelessly connect the PASPORT sensors to their Chromebooks or iPads. Training will begin in May and the new streamlined curriculum resource kits will be introduced to students in the fall. “Sensor-based investigations support inquiry-based learning and help students develop scientific literacy and technological literacy,” said Eric Therrien, information, communication and technology (ICT) mathematics and sciences consultant at the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. “The SPARKvue software and PASPORT sensors will allow students to collect, visualize, analyze, record, and assess data in and out of the classroom — all with the touch of a finger. Using these tools for data logging, students will have the opportunity to think and act like scientists, which will improve their learning and retention of core scientific concepts as well as their higher order cognitive skill development.”
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