Trends | Changing Higher Ed

CREDIT Online Learning Consortium changing higher ed

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cool Tool | ST Math: High School Intervention

CREDIT ST Math HS InterventionReleased in April, 2014, ST Math: High School Intervention is stronger than ever and includes curriculum designed to prepare high school students for success in Algebra 1 by providing them with customized content to meet their individual learning needs. It is designed as an intervention for high school students performing below the math proficiency needed for Algebra 1. The intervention identifies students’ math readiness through a built-in diagnostic, prescribing a learning path for each student that connects interactive visual models to abstract concepts and language components for each math topic. Individualized student reports provide teachers with diagnostic results and real-time content mastery. ST Math is a leader in visual learning in mathematics delivered through instructional software. The “ST” is for Spatial-Temporal Math; this product engages students in developing a deep conceptual understanding of mathematics by manipulating visual models to solve problems in a self-paced, mastery-based environment. The ST Math program family ensures that all students have access to rich content that drives critical thinking. ST Math includes embedded assessments, detailed reporting of student learning patterns, and interactive whiteboard functionality. It’s aligned to Common Core and state standards, integrates with core instruction, and is accessible on desktop or laptop computers and on supported tablets. Learn more.

Posted in cool tools | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

New Year’s Resolution Number 1

Making time to continue my own professional learning.

GUEST COLUMN | by Scott Kinney

CREDIT DEN Discovery Educator Network teachersAs I rang in 2016 with my family, like many others, I made some resolutions for the New Year. This year, I am going to make sure to find time for my daily run. I am going to work harder to choose salads over cheeseburgers. Most importantly, I am going to make more time to continue my own professional learning and networking.

As I consider my New Year’s resolutions, I believe making more time to focus on my own professional development will be the hardest to keep. Today’s hyper-connected world empowers each of us to be more communicative and collaborative, and by extension, more productive. However, the flip side of that productivity is that sometimes, we forget to focus on personal growth.

Learning communities are the connective tissue that helps you link to others who share your passion.

Due to a host of economic, social, and technological forces, teaching and learning have changed dramatically since the late 1990’s when I served as an Instructional Technology Coordinator in Pennsylvania’s Sharpsville Area School District. The shift from print textbooks to dynamic digital content in particular has been transformative. While this shift has had a tremendously positive impact on instruction, it has also made education more complex.

In the past, educators could draw on the experience of their immediate peers in their own school system for guidance on a particularly thorny challenge. Yet, the complexity of modern education requires teachers and administrators to cast an even wider net when seeking support and advice on a particular topic. For example, if I want to make progress in closing the achievement gap in my school system, I need to draw on a nationwide network of experts to learn the latest research-based practices on this topic.

The need to build a network of colleagues that can be accessed for constructive input and inspiration becomes even clearer when one considers the relative isolation of educators. The classroom teacher, for example, may connect regularly with four or five fellow teachers. The principal may connect regularly with perhaps two or three colleagues. Of course, a superintendent and other senior administrators often experience even greater levels of professional isolation.

The unique combination of complexity and isolation make ongoing professional learning and networking the most important of my New Year’s resolutions. One way to stay connected and continue learning is by participation in the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) – a global community of educators passionate about teaching with digital media, sharing resources, collaborating, and networking.

The DEN works under the singular mission of connecting educators to their most valuable resource – each other. The DEN’s role is to provide support and help facilitate connections among educators who share similar passions.  Some educators want to deepen their understanding of inquiry-based instruction while others want to find colleagues who share their desire to collaborate on student projects. Learning communities like the DEN are the connective tissue that helps you link to others who share your passion. Personally, I find that my involvement with professional learning networks like the DEN keeps me attuned to the practical application of the latest research in education, and helps broaden my perspective on the needs of educators at all levels.

While joining a professional learning community is one way to connect with your colleagues and continue your professional development, participating in the numerous conferences and symposiums various education organizations host each year is another way to continue learning. Organizations such as ASCD, ISTE, CoSN, NSBA, and others provide regular opportunities for professional development throughout the year.

Discovery Education also hosts these types of professional development opportunities. In addition to supporting the DEN, Discovery Education offers numerous, no-cost, professional learning opportunities throughout the year that are open to all educators.  One such event, our Powerful Practices series,  launches on January 28 in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Designed specifically for public and private school instructional leaders interested in moving their schools to best practice, these no-cost, one-day events will feature engaging keynote addresses from prominent education thought-leaders, interactive breakout sessions, and numerous networking opportunities. Additional Powerful Practice sessions are scheduled for February 24 in Nashville, Tennessee, and March 15 in Pasadena, California.  These events, which will explore critical topics in education including equity, personalized learning, formative assessment, culturally responsive classrooms, and student engagement, offer the perfect chance to begin your year of connecting with colleagues and growing professionally.

It’s a new year, and with each new year comes a new opportunity for self-improvement. In 2016, I am going to make it a priority to leverage all the enriching professional learning and networking opportunities at my disposal to simplify the complex and grow my professional network. I hope you will join me!

Scott Kinney has nearly 25 years of experience in the fields of professional learning and educational technology. As Discovery Education Senior VP of Educational Partnerships, Scott collaborates with educators around the world to develop and implement customized solutions that empower the creation of modern, digital learning environments that support student achievement. Prior to joining Discovery Education, he spent 15 years in public education serving at both the school district and regional service center levels. In addition to his K-12 work, Scott has taught undergraduate and graduate classes for Kent State University and Penn State University, and has served on numerous education-focused advisory boards.

Posted in guest column | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cool Tool | Total Motivation ELA

CREDIT Total Motivation ReadingHere’s a print and online supplemental curriculum that integrates critical thinking and process skills with instruction. It is built to provide complete alignment to 100 percent of the Common Core Standards for Reading/Language Arts and addresses rigor, depth, and conceptual understanding—online and in print. In the online system, teachers have access to automatic grading of selected-response questions and can create student assignments with the click of a button. Real-time progress monitoring provides meaningful feedback to differentiate instruction. As it combines print materials with classroom technology, it enables teachers to integrate three tasks: Instruct: Creates an integrated learning experience with critical thinking at its core. The print and online instructional strategies allow teachers to incorporate individualized instruction, adjust lesson plans and provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of students. Practice: Enables teachers to divide a classroom into multiple groups and provide each group and student with the assignments and practice to improve academic knowledge — useful in classrooms that lack a 1:1 ratio. Evaluate: Helps to identify learning gaps, track student progress to the individual standard level and inform instruction. Teachers can quickly analyze the students mastering specific standards, the students gaining understanding and the students requiring interventions. Learn more.

Posted in cool tools | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cool Tool | KnowRe

CREDIT KnowReKnowRe is an education technology company with an innovative cloud-based adaptive learning program for secondary mathematics. It assesses a student’s strengths and weaknesses, algorithmically creates a personalized curriculum targeting that individual’s gaps in learning, and engages students through gamified learning and beautiful graphics. Through its Teacher Dashboard, KnowRe provides teachers with data on each student’s progress and highlights where an individual, or the entire class, may be struggling. Its flexibility allows schools to use the program in a variety of ways – from core to supplemental, from remediation to enrichment. Having been born from a popular after-school math academy, the workability of their platform has withstood a test of efficacy that can only be gleaned from practical knowledge. In fact, these guys have an interesting South Korean backstory, check it out.

Posted in cool tools | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment