eSchool News

eSchool News
eSchool News covers the intersection of technology and innovation in education.
  • New app aims to improve parent-teacher communication
    Bloomz has launched a mobile and web app that connects teachers with today’s new generation of mobile and social-media-savvy parents. Bloomz intends to save teachers time by integrating communication, coordination, and community-building tools in one easy-to-use app. Bloomz allows teachers to connect with parents by sharing photos and updates about the day’s activities, and can also send announcements for assignment due dates, reminders of registration deadlines, or alerts for really urgent matters. Its integrated class calendar gives school communities one place where they can coordinate with parents, whether planning class activities, organizing field trips, or tracking parent-teacher conference signups. Bloomz also empowers parents to collaborate with each other, volunteer, and participate in these school activities. Parents, teachers, school staff, and PTA leaders can all instantly communicate through private and secure two-way messaging—no more searching for phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Everything created or shared on Bloomz is protected by its strict privacy measures, which give teachers and administrators full control of who accesses the virtual classroom or school community. “We are thrilled to introduce Bloomz to the ed tech community at TCEA 2016,” said Chaks Appalabattula, the founder and CEO of Bloomz. “Today’s parents do much of their communication through social media, from their mobile devices, and Bloomz allows educators to meet parents on their device of choice. The more parents participate in a sustained way, the more students achieve. Bloomz gives parents one place where they can stay engaged with every aspect of their child’s education.”
  • Before going one-to-one, this district is helping every kid get home wi-fi
    Little Falls Central School District is going one-to-one. But before it does, it wants to make sure that every student, and student athlete, has internet access when they're not at school.
  • Turning static content into digital lessons
    Knomadix has introduced a customizable interactive learning platform that converts static content such as PDFs and videos into fully interactive, dynamic content. This approach to teaching allows educators to transform the way students learn by creating personalized lessons that integrate mobile devices into workflows and maximize the true power of digital devices in today’s classrooms. Knomadix aims to help teachers, curriculum specialists, content developers, and school administrators create and deliver customized digital content for each student. The comprehensive content and workflow management solution is designed to facilitate an effective transition from an analog (print-based) classroom to a fully digitized and interactive classroom by transforming existing static content into customized activities and lessons. District-level and school-level instructional specialists, as well as teachers, can transform static PDF or video resources into engaging dynamic content such as: • Interactive worksheets with instant feedback, automatic grading, and differentiated instruction; • Multi-modal, gamified content that captivates students; • Customized instructional videos with embedded activities and assessments; and • Virtual interactive manipulatives including number board, geometry toolbox, and multimedia flashcards that deepens student engagement. “We created Knomadix as the single solution teachers need for every aspect of content delivery and student engagement,” said Ramesh Balan, the CEO and founder of Knomadix. “The paradigm of teaching is shifting from analog to interactive. Our platform makes it easy for educators to transform existing, static lessons into dynamic, interactive lessons that engage students at every level. Our user-friendly platform has saved teachers countless hours in grading assignments and helped them offer more personalized, targeted instruction.” In addition to simplifying dynamic content authoring and streamlining student-teacher workflow, Knomadix provides fully integrated tools for data gathering, reporting, and delivering insightful analytics. The platform captures student performance data, as well as each student’s intermediate steps, to guide decision-making. While students work through lessons, the system records all student activity. Educators can then selectively watch a video, or an instant replay, of how students have constructed their answers.
  • MIND Research launches K-12 math game-a-thon
    If they build it, they will learn from it. That’s the idea behind the national K-12 Game-a-thon, which invites students to let their imaginations and problem solving run wild as they design, build and share their own math games. Sponsored by the nonprofit MIND Research Institute, the third annual competition is open for entries now through July 1, 2016. The Game-a-thon challenges students to invent a card game, board game, app, outdoor game, or any other game that addresses a mathematical topic ranging from counting to irrational numbers or measurement to modeling. A growing body of research shows that mathematical experiences outside the classroom can have a significant impact on math achievement in school. In recent years, teachers have used the Game-a-thon to get struggling students excited about math through gameplay, to introduce advanced students to above-grade-level content, and to allow early finishers to apply what they’ve learned throughout the year New to the Game-a-thon this year: • A Game-a-thon starter kit to help spark teams’ creativity and guiding questions to help students design their game and help mentors facilitate the game development. The kit also includes printable templates for inspiration and feedback forms for testing their game with peers. • A Facebook community to share Game-a-thon ideas and inspiration, and check in on progress with other participants. • A recorded Google Hangout hosted by STEMconnector, Leveraging Game-based Learning to Increase STEM Engagement, introduces previous Game-a-thon participants, along with insights on game development from parents, teachers and a professional game designer. “We’re excited to see students, teachers and parents enthusiastically embracing the National K-12 Game-a-thon this year like never before,” said Matthew Peterson, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of MIND Research Institute. “We had students ready to submit their games even before the entry period opened – and that’s the ultimate success right there. Kids all across the country are already having fun with math.”
  • Kids Discover launches online platform for reading content
    Educational publisher Kids Discover has launched Kids Discover Online, a new platform that makes all of the publisher’s content available online from any device. All content is searchable by subject and unit and offered at three different reading levels designed to excite even the most reluctant readers. Specializing in the 100 most commonly-taught K-8 science and social studies topics, Kids Discover Online offers ad-free, high-quality, nonfiction reading materials vetted by subject experts from leading institutions. Subjects such as the Constitution, Ancient Greece, Matter and Ecology are presented using a mix of one-page infographics, articles, iconic photographs, and interactive elements to guide teachers and students through lessons. “In 2014 we set out on a mission to answer one question: ‘What does the modern classroom look like?’” said Ted Levine, the president and CEO of Kids Discover. “We knew we wanted to offer up our entire nonfiction library in digital form, but more importantly we wanted to create an experience that educators and students would want to use on a weekly basis. Only once we began visiting schools and sitting in on classes did we begin to architect the experience of Kids Discover Online. It was our conversations with educators and students that enabled us to develop such an engaging platform.” Upon logging in to Kids Discover Online, teachers will find a newsfeed of relevant science and social studies content that can be filtered down into ten different categories. Unlike a chapter book or textbook, Kids Discover’s content has the visual appeal of interactive GIFs, custom animations, and historically accurate photos and illustrations that make reading a truly immersive experience. Each article within the platform offers three differentiated reading levels. Teachers can adjust reading levels for individual students and assign material through the Classroom setting. Students then log in to Kids Discover Online using a classroom code and are dynamically served content at the appropriate reading level. Students also have the option to select easy, medium, or hard reading levels if they are using the platform for independent reading or research.
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