Tuesday, November 12, 2019

PleIQ: the early-years interactive smart toy that fosters multiple intelligences through an Augmented Reality experience

PleIQ: the early-years interactive smart toy that fosters multiple intelligences through an Augmented Reality experience

PleIQ (Play-Q) is the best new educational toy that beautifully merges the physical and digital worlds to provide our children with an immersive learning experience. PleIQ is the perfect complement to high-quality classroom instruction—a hands-on, 21st Century, augmented reality toy that appeals to all learning styles.

PleIQ is designed with every early learner in mind. Eight beautifully tangible cubes displaying each letter, number, and a handful of special symbols come to life before your eyes through the accompanying mobile app for smartphones and tablets. Together, the cubes and app provide 48 discovery-based AR learning experiences that naturally evolve and adapt to support each child’s unique intelligences. All activities are carefully designed to foster a child’s curiosity and creativity. 

Not only is PleIQ more modern and FUN than traditional educational toys, it is also firmly rooted in educational and developmental research. All learning activities are Common Core and Universal Design for Learning (UDL); any teacher in the US or abroad can experience the next ed-tech frontier of augmented reality in their classrooms. As teachers, you’re always looking for resources that will seamlessly integrate with your curriculum and instructional goals, and PleIQ allows you to trust that it will serve your students with their developmental needs in mind. PleIQ can serve English and bilingual Spanish communities equally through literacy, math, and real-world learning experiences. The taxonomy of Marzano and Kendall inspired much of PleIQ’s design, while Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences drives the toy’s purpose. The toy is organized into 8 dimensions: Linguistic, Logical, Kinesthetic, Visual, Musical, Naturalist, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal activities. 

We know that teachers are often asked to promote technology use in the classroom to prepare students for the digital world around them. PleIQ makes it easy to teach and reinforce skills though a variety of learning styles while appealing to all intelligences. You do not have to sacrifice crucial kinesthetic learning experiences that our young learners need in order to give them a 21st Century education. 

Teachers and parents both have access to progress monitoring data that shows exactly where your children are growing. Individual and group trends can be analyzed in real-time through automatically generated reports. These valuable insights allow for a more personalized learning to take place within the toy, in the classroom, and at home! PleIQ also promotes responsible use of smart devices in the hands of little ones, limiting screen time on the app to 45 minutes daily. Parents and teachers can best serve each child needs and strengths through play.

PleIQ is the first product from the ed-tech startup, PleIQ Smart Toys, based in Chile. A team of over 30 pedagogical, engineering, and design professionals researched, developed, and tested this toy for two years to bring you the best possible immersive learning product. This toy has been awarded as the best innovation in ed-tech in Latin America by the London-based organization Bett. PleIQ launched in Chile in 2017 and has been used by more than 5,000 schools across 3 countries in Latin America. Chile, Mexico, and Argentina have all seen excellent results. Check out this school testimony from Chile! https://youtu.be/Uc-iK_CGm2I

For the very first time, PleIQ will be available in the US and Canada! Through your support on Kickstarter, this startup promises to deliver this high-quality, educational, and (let’s be honest) super cool toy by Christmas to early backers only! If you, your co-teachers, or parent friends want to join this opportunity and get the special VIP discount, just sign up here:  go.pleiq.com  or join the Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/438700866779123/for instant updates. 

Squid Notes - Take digital handwritten notes for class, work, or fun! Markup PDFs, sign documents, & more

Squid is an inking app that works on Android (and Chromebooks as an Android app) and allows you to take handwritten notes, create drawings, markup PDF files and more. 

You can create beautiful notes at any zoom level and on any compatible device, erase entire letters and words quickly with the stroke eraser, move, resize, copy/paste and change color and thickness of strokes at any time.

There are a variety of "paper" styles as well, including lined, Cornell Notes and Graph Paper.

New note | Various paper backgrounds

Great for math and science classes.

Math Study Notes

You can also mark up PDF documents, add notes, grade student work, combine PDF pages, import, crop and resize images, and more. 

Copy, paste, resize, and markup images

In addition, you can easily share and present your notes. Export notes to PDF, PNG or JPEG, create a virtual whiteboard and present and write directly on your slides. 

Present notes via Google Cast (Chromecast), Miracast, or HDMIPresent notes on the big screen

They have a site dedicated to using Squid in the Classroom with tips, resources and use cases. https://www.squidnotes.com/edu

Squid recently published a series of how-to videos about Squid and have a product overview video and a case study with a 6th-grade math teacher.

They do not currently have a way to backup notes automatically to Google Drive (but are working on it), however, you can create manual backups to Drive: http://feedback.squidnotes.com/knowledgebase/articles/1185616.

G Suite for Education does not currently support payments for Android apps, so they have released the Squid EDU Bulk License for the Academic Year. When this license app is installed alongside Squid, the premium features will be unlocked for the academic year. For more details, please see this FAQ article.

The cost of the EDU license fro 2019-2020 is $4/user with a minimum purchase of $100 for the academic year.

Check it out: http://squidnotes.com and https://www.squidnotes.com/edu 

Related Articles:


Friday, November 8, 2019

Today is National STEM/STEAM Day! Here are some great resources

STEM/STEAM Day falls on November 8. There’s no way around it: children are significantly better off with strong science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics skills. That’s why STEM and STEAM education programs are so important. It’s undebatable that these subjects push society forward, and these programs help to find fun and engaging ways to teach them to students, which is all worth commemorating. So, on November 8, we celebrate STEAM/STEAM Day!

STEM/STEAM help students learn skills they will need for the future. Beyond the content, they will learn critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration and more. 

Image result for stem education

Here are some great resources for teachers and students:


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

PBLWorks Introduces PBL School Leader Networks - a Support Program for Schools Implementing Project Based Learning


PBLWorks Introduces PBL School Leader Networks - a Support Program for Schools Implementing Project Based Learning

First two cohorts will launch in Los Angeles and Massachusetts

PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for high-quality Project Based Learning, has launched PBL School Leader Networks—two-year training programs that bring principals and their school leadership teams together to support the implementation of high-quality Project Based Learning at their schools, and sustain its momentum.

faces in a PBL network

The PBL School Leader Network features a blend of face-to-face workshops, personal online coaching for each school, school site visits, and deep collaboration with a peer network of fellow local PBL leaders.

The first PBL School Leader Networks will convene in Los Angeles in February 2020, and in Boston in March 2020. Leadership teams from 8 to 10 schools will be selected to participate in each PBL School Leader Network. Additional locations are being planned.

graph of school networks

PBLWorks created the PBL School Leadership Networks after achieving great success with a similar initiative, the Hawaii Innovative Leaders Network (HILN), implemented in Hawaii in 2018. Evaluated by McREL International, a not-for-profit education research organization, this program demonstrated the power of a network of school leaders to create larger regional change through shared learning, mutual accountability, and site visits that build and sustain the PBL work.

For more information about the Los Angeles and Boston School Leader Networks, including how to apply, visit https://www.pblworks.org/pbl-school-leader-networks.

About Project Based Learning

In Project Based Learning, teachers make learning come alive for students. Students work on a project over an extended period of time – from a week up to a semester – that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing a public product or presentation for a real audience. As a result, students develop deep content knowledge, as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills in the context of doing an authentic, meaningful project.

About PBLWorks

At PBLWorks (the brand name of the Buck Institute for Education) we believe that all students – no matter where they live or what their background – should have access to quality Project Based Learning to deepen their learning and achieve success in college, career, and life. Our focus is to build the capacity of teachers to design and facilitate quality Project Based Learning and the capacity of school and system leaders to create the conditions for teachers to implement great projects with all students. For more information, visit www.pblworks.org.


PBLWorks (formally Buck Institute) Introduces Project Idea Cards for Teachers

PBLWorks Partners with the Bezos Family Foundation to Launch “Hunger Challenge” Project Based Learning Unit


Actively Learn - resources for middle and high school ELA, science, and social studies teachers, including interactive text and video assignments as well as PhET sims.

Actively Learn is an excellent resource for teachers and students, providing middle and high school teachers in ELA, Science and Social Studies, resources to help their students. Resources include interactive text to help reading comprehension, videos and simulations from PhET.

Here are two overview videos as well:
Teacher overview video
Student overview video

It offers a searchable catalog of thousands of free assignments with embedded media, standards-aligned questions, scaffolding notes, and Teaching Ideas to save teachers time and drive deeper learning for students. Any teacher can create a free Actively Learn account that never expires by going to www.activelylearn.com.

Let’s say a teacher is doing a unit on cells. That teacher can come to the Actively Learn Catalog and find the Cells Topic page, which includes a variety of assignments related to cells like textbook sections, high-interest articles, videos, and PhET simulations. All of these assignments have scaffolding notes in the margins to describe concepts that may be challenging to students and standards-aligned embedded questions.

A screenshot of an assignment in Actively Learn with embedded media and scaffolding notes:

With Actively Learn, teachers are in the driver’s seat. On a free plan, teachers can:
  • Customize any of the instruction in Actively Learn (edit questions or notes)
  • Upload any Google doc, website, video, or PDF and turn it into an interactive assignment with their own embedded questions and notes
  • Deliver feedback to students as they read and get real-time data on student reading progress

Students can:
  • Create annotations in the text, share their annotations with their peers, and respond to one another’s notes
  • Translate text into over 30 languages, hear text read aloud, look up words as they read, and read in “dyslexic mode”
Example of a student discussion in Actively Learn:

Some of the benefits of Actively Learn:

The instruction is designed to drive deeper learning. Questions are aligned to Depth of Knowledge and Common Core or state standards. It actually helps students to engage with their content instead of asking generic, “What’s the main idea?” questions. Scaffolding notes are designed to help fill gaps in background knowledge while students read so that they can make sense of their grade-level, rigorous texts.

Actively Learn:

  • is a one-stop-shop for teachers of ELA, social studies, and science. 
  • has a content catalog of novels, short stories, primary sources, science simulations, textbook articles, high-interest articles, videos, and more. 
  • has content organized into topic pages that give teachers a full suite of options for their core content needs.
  • saves teachers time by offering pre-created instruction and automatic grading for multiple choice questions. Teachers on the paid plan have access to suggested grades for short answer questions and can see student progress by standard and assignment type.
  • offers the flexibility for teachers to create their own assignments or modify any of the ones in our Catalog. 
  • integrates with Google Classroom and Canvas for even easier use by teachers.

Take a look and try it out: https://www.activelylearn.com/


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Artificial Intelligence in EdTech

New and creative uses of artificial intelligence are being developed every day. EdTech is an area where the use of AI has flown largely under the radar thus far but has the potential to reimagine the student/teacher relationship and improve student outcomes across the board.

Artificial Intelligence is listed on top tech trends by multiple survey's and researchers and is definitely something to watch.

Bill Salak, the Chief Technology Officer for Brainly — the world's largest peer-to-peer learning community — has been closely following developments in AI in the EdTech space and has incorporated some of the industry's most forward thinking applications into Brainly's DNA, creating a more dynamic education space for today's students.

Salak has developed insights and predictions for the future of AI in EdTech and would be happy to share them. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. AI will lead to even better personalization.
With the advent of AI, the many students-to-one-teacher model is ripe for reinvention. AI will allow for students to access information along their own unique learning curve, positioning teachers to best advise students in a personalized way, rather than a way that works for all 30 students in a class.

2. Teachers will have more time for teaching.
AI can be utilized to reduce or even eliminate mundane administrative tasks like grading assignments opening up more time to create bespoke lesson plans for each student.

3. AI will help teachers get more powerful results.
Teachers will be able to augment their own experience, training and instincts with sophisticated data from AI applications to create a more efficient learning environments and curriculum predicated on the needs and pace of the student.

AI in Education Use Case on Brainly helpful: https://www.disruptordaily.com/ai-education-use-case-brainly/

Brainly, a social network created to help students collaborate, is integrating and exploring the benefits of Artificial Intelligence on its platform. To serve quality content, Brainly actually works with a team of over a thousand moderators who verify questions and answers of its users. Thanks to Machine Learning algorithms, the team of moderators have a powerful support in the automatic filter of spam and low quality content, so they are able to focus on providing quality services to students.

But beyond content moderation, Brainly is also using AI algorithms to personalize its platform’s networking features and to provide an enhanced experience to users with personalized features. The platform will enhance the user experience by making friend suggestions based on areas where students need help. “Each student can gain access to information that helps them along their unique path of their learning curve. In the future, that means that a student won’t have to learn the same exact thing at the same exact pace as 30 of their classmates. Instead, we will be able to hone in on the areas where a student struggles, and tailor their lessons to help them through difficult topics”, says Bill Salak, Brainly CTO.


PBLWorks Partners with the Bezos Family Foundation to Launch “Hunger Challenge” Project Based Learning Unit

PBLWorks partnered with the Bezos Family Foundation to create a project-based learning unit that teachers can download. It is a high quality PBL unit for the upcoming Hunger Challenge. It is for K-12 educators and students and the unit has them exploring solutions for hunger and malnutrition. 

You can download it here: http://go.pblworks.org/hunger-project

PBL Works is a great resource for all things PBL. 

You can read more below.

This is a great opportunity for students to learn about hunger as well as learn skills like creativity, collaboration, communication and teamwork.

PBLWorks Partners with the Bezos Family Foundation to Launch “Hunger Challenge” Project Based Learning Unit

Foundation to donate $3 for each piece of art created by students to help address hunger and malnutrition globally

Novato, CA (Sept. 17, 2019) – PBLWorks, the leader in Project Based Learning (PBL) professional development, has partnered with Students Rebuild, a program of the Bezos Family Foundation, to create a high quality PBL unit for the upcoming Hunger Challenge. K-12 educators and students are invited to participate in the challenge to explore solutions for hunger and malnutrition around the world, and raise funds for youth-focused nutrition programs.

The Hunger Project PBL unit – designed for English, math, and science – is available for teachers starting today and the challenge runs through June 5, 2020. Students participating in the challenge research hunger and malnutrition, then work together to develop potential solutions to these issues, and create a work of art to showcase their results.

For every piece of artwork submitted, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $3 (up to $700,000) to youth-focused nutrition programs. Students and educators participating in the Hunger Challenge will support UNICEF programs in Yemen and Ethiopia combating chronic malnutrition, expand Mary’s Meals’ school-based nutrition initiatives in India and Malawi, and back community-based initiatives across the U.S.

To download the Hunger Challenge PBL Unit, visit http://go.pblworks.org/hunger-project.

“Students Rebuild is a global force in mobilizing young people to action and we share their passion for engaging youth around international issues,” said Bob Lenz, CEO of PBLWorks. “At PBLWorks, we see the power of students doing PBL projects both as a deeper, more effective learning method and also as a tool for societal change.”

Since 2010, Students Rebuild has mobilized over a million young people in nearly 80 countries and donated more than $5 million to organizations confronting critical global issues impacting children and youth. It selected PBLWorks as a partner because of their expertise in Gold Standard Project Based Learning design.

"Every day we see students acting as agents of change in their communities," said Jackie Bezos, President of the Bezos Family Foundation. "We hope their collective voices and actions will inspire more people around the world to act on critical problems facing humanity."

About PBLWorks

At PBLWorks (the brand name of the Buck Institute for Education) we believe that all students – no matter where they live or what their background – should have access to quality Project Based Learning to deepen their learning and achieve success in college, career, and life. Our focus is to build the capacity of teachers to design and facilitate quality Project Based Learning and the capacity of school and system leaders to create the conditions for teachers to implement great projects with all students. For more information, visit www.pblworks.org.

About Students Rebuild

Students Rebuild is a collaborative program of the Bezos Family Foundation. Created in January 2010 in response to the devastating Haiti earthquake, Students Rebuild has mobilized more than one million participants in 83 countries and all 50 states and raised more than $5 million in matching funds for projects like rebuilding schools in Haiti, aiding disaster recovery efforts in Asia, supporting livelihoods in Africa, helping Syrian youth from conflict areas recover from crisis, and supporting empowerment opportunities for youth affected by poverty. Through its Challenges, Students Rebuild tackles some of the world's most difficult problems, issues that one cannot solve alone. Guided by the belief that every young person should have an opportunity to help others—but not everyone can fundraise—its Challenges require young people to create a simple, symbolic object, which the Foundation matches with funding. This approach allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and in countries around the world to take action and see change on global concerns. Find more at www.studentsrebuild.org and @StudentsRebuild.


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