Teacher Commitment to Education Technology Is Necessary

Introducing technology into the classroom requires accommodating changes to a school’s curriculum. When technology is implemented it represents a shift away from traditional methods of teaching, but we must realize that not all teachers have the facility to commit, engage, and leverage technology effectively.

This may be due to a lack of belief in education technology, or it may be as simple as a lack of opportunity to develop the necessary skills and conceptualize its benefits. Teachers are not always comfortable with technology in the classroom, but there needs to be an affective commitment in order for technology to be effective in the classroom.


10 Smart Test-Taking Tips to Give Students

Not every student is a skilled test taker. However, testing is necessary to assess whether students have mastered new concepts. It’s also something that will come up again and again in their adult lives. That’s why it’s important for teachers to ensure their students understand the basic principles of good test-taking.

But the start of a new school year brings with it more than a new batch of students. It also brings a whole lot of unknowns, and many teachers might wrongly assume that students, especially in middle school or high school, have already learned good test-taking strategies. Sadly, that’s not always the case, but most teachers won’t find out until after the first exam, when they’re greeted with a host of disappointing test scores.

Don’t assume your students know how to take a test. And even if they do, reminding them about smart test-taking strategies never hurts.


Demystifying the Common Core State Standards Assessments

Common Core State Standards were implemented in schools across the country beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. And with its implementation, schools also rolled out two new standardized tests designed to assess the effectiveness of the new standards. Check out our infographic to learn more about the Common Core assessments.


Google Teacher Academy vs. Apple Distinguished Educator Program

With so many edtech professional development opportunities available for innovative educators, it can be hard to distinguish which one is right for you, the qualifications necessary, and how to apply. We did some research on two of the most highly competitive and prestigious programs for teachers who are passionate about using technology in the classroom: the Google Teacher Academy and the Apple Distinguished Educator Program.


Responsible Decision Making: Applying Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in Your Classroom

One of the most important aspects of social and emotional learning (SEL) that educators must keep in mind is that these skills can be taught. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL programming is most effective when it begins in preschool and continues through high school. And the short term goals of SEL to promote self-awareness, social awareness, relationship, and responsible-decision-making skills have been proven to have a positive impact on student behavior and academic outcomes.

In the fifth and final installment of our five-part series on the SEL competencies, we looked at how to incorporate responsible decision making into your classroom.


Math Scores Take a Dip across the Nation, Reading Scores Mixed

The Nation’s Report Card delivered disappointing news in late October 2015, revealing lower scores in math and mixed results in reading scores for students participating in the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

The NAEP, which is sponsored by the Department of Education, produces the Nation’s Report Card to keep the public informed about the academic performance of elementary and secondary students in the United States.

Since the last assessment in 2013, there was a national decline in both fourth-grade and eighth-grade math scores for students across the performance range, from high to low performers. This is the first time since the early 1990s that there has been a decline at both grade levels.


Behind the Scenes of the Common Core State Standards Assessments

A number of states are now well into their implementation of the Common Core. In some of these states, Common Core has already impacted the state test design, but in many others, that impact was just beginning in 2015 with the launch of two new tests designed to assess the standards.


Getting Parents on Board with the Blended Learning Model

When parents find out that their child’s school is implementing a blended learning program, it can leave them feeling like their world is being turned upside down—especially when one of the most common models for blended learning is literally called the “flipped classroom.” But it is possible to transition to a blended learning model without turning a community of parents into an angry, pitchfork-wielding mob, and it all starts with how your school or district presents their case for switching to blended learning.

In this second installation of our three-part series about getting on board with the blended learning model, we examined some of the most common misconceptions that parents have about blended learning and how your school or district can allay those fears and build trust.


Cognitive Rigor in Lesson Planning: Where Bloom's Taxonomy and Webb's DOK Meet

When educators examine the rigor of an activity or when they look for ways to introduce rigor into their lesson plans, they often consult one of two models: Bloom’s Taxonomy—originally developed by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom in 1956—or Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK)—developed in 1991 by Norman L. Webb, a senior research scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

But because Bloom’s Taxonomy is so prevalent and well-known, most educators will begin and end their lesson planning with Bloom’s model alone. And there are still many educators who are not even familiar with Webb’s DOK or who mistakenly believe that Webb’s DOK and Bloom’s Taxonomy are essentially the same. However, by understanding how Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s DOK are different and how the two actually work hand in hand with each other, educators can work from a more complete model to help increase the cognitive rigor of their lesson plans.


Getting Teachers on Board with the Blended Learning Model

Implementing a blended learning model in the classroom is a big transition for most schools, so it’s understandable for teachers to have some apprehensions about moving away from the traditional model. However, most educators will agree that incorporating online learning into the classroom has become a necessity.

Blended learning has come to the forefront as one of the most effective solutions for accomplishing this end, but implementing this new teaching model isn’t as simple as putting kids in front of computers. The fundamental ideas behind it are complex and can present a number of challenges when it comes to implementation.

In this first installation of our three-part series about getting on board with the blended learning model, we examined some of the most common misconceptions—especially for teachers—and provided suggestions on how to address those concerns to ensure a successful blended learning implementation.