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Articles: Teaching & Learning

ince its inception in 2001, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) has required internet content filtering to keep students safe online. Policymakers amended CIPA in 2008, requiring that students also be educated on internet safety. In addition to providing this required online safety training, schools must show evidence that training has occurred. With the new requirement taking effect for the 2012 school year, school administrators in many Ohio districts expressed their anxiety about meeting the new standards and retaining their E-Rate funding to state education officials.

Mia Dubosarsky, director of PD at The STEM Education Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, helps teachers teach science.

From designing more creative and flexible science classrooms to developing community service projects that engage girls in STEM, this year’s National Science Teachers Association conference in March is all about K12 students connecting learning to the real world. Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and an accompanying push for hands-on learning is bringing new ways to think about integrating science—and scientific thinking—into everyday experiences.

Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers has partnered with local businesses to create a multifaceted STEM program.

Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers has worked with his board and administrators, and partnered with local businesses, to create a multifaceted program to bolster STEM education. His city was founded by the U.S. government in 1943 as a secret production site for the Manhattan Project and is steeped in technology to this day.

At one large suburban school system in Westchester County, New York, an online assessment tool first used to comply with state law is now the foundation for a district-wide technology program that’s preparing students for life beyond their school days. Christine Coleman, director of technology for the City School District of New Rochelle, introduced TechLiteracy Assessments from Learning.com several years ago to determine how well eighth grade students had grasped lessons on cyberbullying and internet safety.

Middle school is a time of development, discovery and transition for students, as well as an exciting and powerful time for math education. Math starts to get more complex, and students must build connections between content. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 22, 2014, featured blended learning expert Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart, who shared research and findings from successful implementations of blended learning in middle schools across the nation, as well as lessons learned and best practices for blending middle school math.

Today’s students must be able to use digital tools as they develop critical thinking, problem solving and other 21st century skills. Administrators are tasked with the challenge of selecting the right technology resources that incorporate the development of these skills into the classroom. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 23, 2014, featured an expert on 21st century learning, who discussed the importance of equipping students with 21st century skills and practical ways for integrating those skills into teaching.

As increasing STEM teaching and learning continue to be goals of many districts, administrators are looking for tools that help encourage more students to pursue future careers in these fields.

According to recent U.S. Department of Education and Washington Post data, millions of students are struggling with reading and math.

The New Lenox School District 122 serves 5,400 pre-K through grade 8 students in 12 schools, and is located about 30 miles outside Chicago. The district has been noted for its high levels of achievement, with an average of 85 percent of students meeting or exceeding the Illinois Learning Standards in each of the last nine years. New Lenox administrators attribute this success to a rigorous curriculum that includes reading, writing and math, as well as instruction in art, music and technology skills.

For the 21,000 students of Federal Way Public Schools near Seattle, the goal of the district’s administrators is to involve as much interactive technology in learning as possible. 

Lisa Gonzales is superintendent of the Portola Valley School District and vice president of Legislative Action for the Association of California School Administrators. Charles Young is associate superintendent for the Palo Alto Unified School District.

At the core of powerful coaching relationships is the most important quality of effective performance and interactions: High emotional intelligence quotient, or EQ. To increase one’s EQ, coaching needs to focus on four domains: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management and relationship management.

Teachers participate in an EdCamp session, where the PD agenda is not determined until they arrive.

If today’s students are expected to direct their own learning, teachers have to be prepared to do the same. That’s the philosophy behind Edcamp, an international network of free, one-day “unconferences” where agendas and sessions aren’t determined until educators arrive in the morning and suggest topics.

Houston ISD’s new Arabic language immersion school will join the district’s Spanish and Mandarin programs.

Next fall, Houston ISD students will be the first in the nation with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Arabic language.

In November, the Houston board of education unanimously voted to open the Arabic Language Immersion Magnet School in fall 2015, with two pre-K and two kindergarten classes. A new grade level will be added each year as students progress through grade 5.

When it comes to instruction, new learning standards like the Common Core and technology will get the most attention in 2015. (Click to enlarge chart)

Exciting advancements are on the horizon for classrooms in 2015. While they sound technical, the biggest changes aren’t going to be driven by an app, a computer program or a new kind of tablet—they will come from new theories about how to engage both students and teachers in the classroom.

In November, middle school students from around the globe had the chance to take photos of Earth from the International Space Station. Sally Ride EarthKAM is a program meant to spark student interest in STEM subjects through photographing the earth from space.

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