Thursday, May 14, 2020

Google launches new Distance Learning resource for Educators






Google has been announcing a lot of things to support educators, students and families with remote learning. The newest is a Distance Learning specific resource and course for Educators.


The course goes through a variety of topics and how to utilize G Suite for Education tools in each area.


Topics:



Instructional Design, communications, SEL and more are all covered, with specific examples of how to implement this in your classroom.

Easy to understand and apply. Check it out here: https://skillshop.exceedlms.com/student/path/27925-distance-learning-for-educators


And here are some more remote learning resources from Google:

Resources, tips and more for remote and e-learning (teaching online) 


General Google for EDU
Google Meet (Hangouts Meet)









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Monday, May 4, 2020

Teacher Appreciation Week - students can nominate educators to win $1,000 towards teaching tools and resources



Students to Recognize Teachers Going the Extra Mile for Home Learning with Brainly’s ‘Online Educator of the Year’ Awards

Students can award the best online educators now through May 8, and the winning teacher in each category will receive $1,000 towards classroom resources


The coronavirus pandemic has forced students and educators to adapt, essentially overnight, to the new reality of distance learning and instruction from afar. Teachers are facing the Herculean challenge of creating engaging, interactive online lesson plans, motivating kids to stay focused, and ensuring every student receives the help they need.

That’s why Brainly, the world’s largest online learning community of students and parents, has launched the Online Educator of the Year Award to recognize educators who have enacted inclusive solutions for students to finish out the school year at home. The scholarship is in partnership with DonorsChoose, Codecademy, and ClassTag.

“In this challenging time, we’ve seen many go above and beyond in their new virtual settings through meaningful, accessible learning. Even before the pandemic, the job of a teacher has never called for a typical 9-5 workday, and now we’re seeing teachers put in even more hours than ever before to ensure their students don’t fall behind while learning from home,” says Eric Oldfield, Chief Business Officer of Brainly.

Now through May 8, current U.S. middle-school and high-school students (ages 13 and up) can nominate and vote for their favorite educators three categories: Academic Teachers, Administrators, and Extracurricular Instructors.

The winning educators will each receive $1,000 towards classroom resources through their partners at DonorsChoose, as well as a featured post on Brainly.com and a one-year Brainly Plus subscription-- not to mention major bragging rights.

All students have to do to nominate a teacher is write a 4-5 sentence response to the question: “How has an educator been exceptional in your transition to remote learning?” As an added incentive, the students who nominate the winning educators will also receive a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, a Codecademy Pro student scholarship, and a one-year Brainly Plus subscription.

“We’re calling on everyone impacted by school closures and the transition to online education to help us celebrate the teachers, instructors, administrators, coaches, and mentors that have made a difference in the lives of the students who need them. These exceptional educators are finding new creative ways to connect with their students-- leaving sidewalk chalk math problems outside students’ homes for them to solve, teleconferencing poetry readings, dropping off packets to students without reliable internet access. It’s truly heartwarming, and these amazing educators deserve to be recognized,” says Oldfield.

For more information about Brainly’s ‘Online Educator of the Year Award’ and details on how to nominate and vote for your favorite educator, visit https://brainly.com/educator.

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About Brainly
Brainly is the world’s largest online learning community, where students and parents get homework and study help from peers and experts. Students from anywhere can ask questions and get step-by-step explanations from others to go from frustration to understanding. The unique opportunity for students to freely ask questions, as well as gain the confidence that comes from helping others, inspires students to learn in a collaborative community that now receives more than 200 million visitors each month. Based in Krakow, Poland, with its US headquarters in New York City, Brainly is currently available in 35 countries. More information about Brainly is available on www.brainly.com.





Two Bit Circus Foundation Announces First Virtual Cardboard Challenge




Community Online Event Uses Cardboard to Bring People Together While Apart


Two Bit Circus Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization, today announced plans for the first virtual Cardboard Challenge, an online version of the original event started by Imagination.org, designed to encourage the worldwide STEAM community to come together in these uncertain times to embrace creativity and inspire the next generation of inventors. 

The event will be hosted on the Foundation’s Twitch channel and welcomes anyone and everyone who would like to join. Continuing its mission of promoting STEAM learning during this time of social distancing, the virtual Cardboard Challenge will allow kids, families, teachers, and more to discover new ways to connect through creative play and engage in fun, educational activities using common household items, like cardboard. 



The event kicks off at 10:00 a.m. PST on Thursday, May 7, 2020, and continues throughout the day with various guest builders including Caine Monroy, who created Caine’s Arcade and in doing so, spurred the very first Cardboard Challenge. Participants at home are encouraged to submit their projects (photo and/or video) by posting creations on Instagram before 2 pm PST with the hashtags #CardboardChallenge and #CardboardChallengeAtHome, for the chance to be featured on the Foundation’s Twitch stream, with Caine, for a one-on-one virtual creative build session at a later date.


Those interested in participating can use this link to sign up and tune in to the Two Bit Circus Foundation Twitch channel on May 7 to connect, share, and have fun — all while advancing their education.





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Friday, May 1, 2020

Timify - Time limited tests for education, free (in Google Forms)



Teachers around the world use Google Forms for student assessments. While in school, the teacher can limit the time students have to do the assessment, but while at home with #remotelearning, that isn't an option. Timify gives teachers the ability to time limit assessments in Google Forms.



"Time limited tests for education - Combine the power of Google Forms and time tracking to keep your students in shape"

It's easy to use, works on any device and the free version is all teachers need. 








Check out Timify here: https://timify.me/education 








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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

NICHE ANNOUNCES $35M SERIES C FUNDING TO REIMAGINE AND SIMPLIFY THE SCHOOL AND COLLEGE SEARCH EXPERIENCE





NICHE ANNOUNCES $35M SERIES C FUNDING TO REIMAGINE AND SIMPLIFY THE SCHOOL AND COLLEGE SEARCH EXPERIENCE

Modernizing the school selection process, Niche rolls out new features to support school recruitment impacted by COVID-19, adds Francisco D’Souza of Cognizant to board of directors

Niche — the leading school search platform connecting people to the perfect K-12 school or college — today announced it has raised $35 million in Series C funding led by Radian Capital, with additional participation from Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors Allen & Company LLC and Tim Armstrong. Niche also announced today the appointment of Weston Gaddy, Partner and Co-founder of Radian Capital, and Francisco D’Souza, Executive Vice Chairman and Co-Founder of Cognizant, to its board of directors.



Niche plans to utilize the funding to advance the platform as the leading destination for users to manage their school search journey, making it easier for students to manage their full application process. As a two-sided platform, the company currently has over 1,400 school clients including Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard Westlake School, Boston University and k12.com, and Niche will use the funding to partner with thousands of additional schools. Niche has established itself as the go-to recruiting tool for the nation’s education market, particularly during this uncertain time when students and schools are exclusively online.


Combining the best of both qualitative and quantitative student experience data and comprehensive academic statistics, Niche is transforming how prospective students and parents discover best-fit education options, and authentically experience a school or college beyond its academics. Niche’s website and native app include over 130,000 in-depth profiles on colleges and schools, over 140 million reviews and ratings from students, parents and alumni, providing powerful user search tools and resources to use during the school selection process. In 2019, Niche’s platform had over 100 million visits and currently more than one in two college-bound high school seniors are registered on the site and using the company’s discovery tools to find a college or university.


"Practically overnight, tens of millions of students across the country switched to online classes, standardized testing was canceled, and school tours went virtual for the foreseeable future," said Luke Skurman, CEO and founder of Niche. "Students and families need a reliable way to research and authentically connect with schools online. Schools need a better way to connect with millennial parents and Gen-Z students in this mobile-first, digital era. We've been seeing these trends for a long time and they will be accelerated in a post-COVID-19 reality. We're now more confident than ever in our ability to successfully help schools navigate the changing digital landscape and connect with more best-fit students."


In response to COVID-19 and to further Niche’s goal of strengthening relationships between schools and students, Niche has accelerated the roll-out of several new free features to support schools that have been impacted by closures. Due to the shift in virtual schooling, Niche is updating its platform to better clarify for students which schools offer online classes and degrees. Additionally, Niche is giving schools the opportunity to include links to their virtual tours on their site profiles to allow students to virtually explore campus life. The company has also extensively surveyed over 40K students and parents to track how school communities and students’ academic progress and college plans are being affected by COVID-19.



To learn more about Niche, please visit https://www.niche.com/.






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Free Webinar on Social-emotional Learning - May 7, 2020


  


Expert Shares Strategies to promote Social-emotional Learning and Character Development during School Closures in Upcoming Webinar

May 7, 2020 webinar features Dr. Maurice Elias and is moderated by Dr. Sheryl Harmer

Social-Emotional learning, commonly referred to as SEL, refers to ...

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the necessity of building character development and social-emotional skills in young children as they deal with the stresses of learning remotely. To help educators and parents teach these skills, Aperture Education and The Character Tree have partnered to host a free webinar “How, Not ‘If’: Promoting Social-Emotional Learning and Character Development in Young Children is a Necessity,” at 3 p.m. EST on May 7, 2020. The webinar features expert Dr. Maurice Elias, professor of psychology at Rutgers University and director of the Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab. It will be moderated by Dr. Sheryl Harmer who has 30 years of experience in public schools and six years of experience with the Committee for Children.

To register for the webinar, visit https://bit.ly/354Fzcz.

“Social and emotional skills – skills like self-management, social awareness and responsible decision-making – can help students cope with big emotions and with stressful situations like what we’re experiencing right now,” said Jessica Adamson, CEO of Aperture Education. “This webinar will provide expert advice for parents and teachers to help support these skills.”

“Building good character doesn’t just happen, it’s taught and learned and it starts early in life,” added Bill Apperson, chairman of Apperson, which developed The Character Tree. “Recent research shows that social-emotional learning skills are essential for character development and we’re glad to partner with Dr. Elias to offer his expertise.”

This webinar will cover how to:

· Bring social-emotional skills and character development together in everyday teaching (and parenting)

· Build a climate that promotes students' SEL and character development


Handouts will be made available to attendees, including an Optimistic Thinking Educator Guide, a social and emotional growth strategy, and more.

Those who can't attend live can register to receive a copy of the recording after the webinar to watch at their convenience.






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Monday, April 27, 2020

PBLWorks Creates New Free Web Resource for Educators to Facilitate Project Based Learning Remotely

Home



PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for high-quality Project Based Learning (PBL), has created a resource site to provide teachers with ideas, examples, and tools to facilitate PBL remotely.


“We know that during this uncertain time, educators have a pressing need to find solutions to keep students connected and engaged,” said Bob Lenz, CEO of PBLWorks. “Now more than ever, as students are distanced from their teachers and classrooms, Project Based Learning can be a powerful tool for keeping them engaged through real-world relevant, personally meaningful work.”



PBLWorks created this dedicated resource for teachers in response to their most frequently-cited requests, including: projects that can be adapted for remote learning across the grade levels, technology solutions for collaboration and connection, and ideas for how families can support their PBL students.



Additional resources on the website include a series of free webinars about doing PBL remotely, articles on best practices for remote learning, and ideas for making remote learning accessible for all students. PBLWorks will continue to add to and update this resource as the need continues.

To learn more about PBLWorks and its resources for remote learning, visit https://www.pblworks.org/pbl-remote-learning.




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Friday, April 24, 2020

Vernier Software & Technology Offers Free Remote Learning Resources for STEM




To keep students engaged in STEM learning during school closures, Vernier Software & Technology is offering a robust collection of free remote learning solutions for teachers and students. The resources, which support students at both the K–12 and college levels, cover a wide range of scientific disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, and physical science.


Teachers can access a wide range of experiments, software, coding activities, courses, learning platforms, and more to engage K–12 and college-level students in STEM learning



“This is an unprecedented—and extremely difficult—time for teachers and students alike with extended school closures caused by COVID-19,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “Our robust collection of free resources will help keep students engaged in STEM learning during this time, while supporting educators as they facilitate remote teaching. With these solutions, teachers can help students continue to form a deep understanding of key scientific concepts while outside the classroom and laboratory.”



The free resources from Vernier include the following:

  • Experiment and Sample Data Library: Teachers can access more than 250 free experiments covering many subjects to distribute to students at home. Students can perform their own analysis of the sample data and answer questions based on their results.
  • Vernier Video Analysis™: An extended free trial of this physics app is available through the end of June 2020. With the app, students can use their mobile devices to insert their own videos with recorded motion, mark points to track the object in motion, and set the scale of the video. This application is recommended for high school and college students.
  • Pivot Interactives: A 30-day trial and reduced subscription pricing, which runs through the end of June 2020, is available for this video-based science learning environment. With 200-plus interactive activities, the high-quality Pivot Interactives videos give students the opportunity to observe and study hard-to-replicate experiments and phenomena. Pivot Interactives is recommended for high school and college students.
  • Physics with Video Analysis Lab Book: Teachers can download this e-book for free through June 2020. It features experiments covering a wide selection of video analysis activities for introductory physics at the high school or college level. All experiments are designed exclusively for Logger Pro, a software program that teachers and students can also access via an extended free demo. This lab book is recommended for high school and college students.
  • Scratch Coding Activities: This collection of free Scratch-based coding activities with varying levels of difficulty can all be completed by students at home. Each activity includes step-by-step instructions for students and teachers. Scratch is designed for students ages 8 to 16.
  • Additional free partner resources include the following:
  • Interactive Biology Course: ADInstruments and Vernier have partnered to create a free interactive biology course designed for college instructors to use in their remote learning instruction. A collection of experiments with sample data derived from three Vernier biology lab books helps educators teach scientific concepts, such as enzymes, while the intuitive Lt interface makes for a richer online experience for students and educators alike.
  • Lab Builder Platform: LabArchives has made its innovative learning platform free through the end of July 2020. Teachers can access Vernier experiments through Lab Builder, the robust content library by LabArchives, then customize online experiments easily using a digital laboratory notebook and course management tools. Teachers can also access Lab Builder to customize the experiments for different virtual lab setups, equipment, and learning objectives.

To learn more about these free remote learning resources from Vernier, visit https://www.vernier.com/remote-learning/.



RESOURCES:

More resources from Vernier

More STEM Resources



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Game developer launches free mental wellness app for kids during COVID-19




Kuato Studios,
the industry leading children’s educational gaming developer, has officially launched their brand new app Well-Beings, a wellness app for kids created to encourage them to be present and mindful of how they are feeling, which is now more important than ever during the times of COVID-19.



Thoughtfully designed as a free resource for kids that are currently faced with the mental effects of the global pandemic, the app will feature:
  • An interactive call to action for children to determine how they are feeling during that time. The options of feelings vary from happy, sad, creative, active, curious and worried. Depending on how the child is feeling, they will be suggested a different task to do.
  • Over 100 mood-boosting and motivational tasks ranging from fun physical activities, crafty creative activities, artwork and enchanting music to help children relax and become more mindful
  • Each task will have no time limits so the children can do them at their own pace, without the feeling of racing against a clock.
  • At the end of each task, kids will unlock a “well-being”. The more tasks completed, the larger their collection of well-beings will become.



Well-Beings is now available for download on all iOS and Android devices. 





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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Copyright and Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens - free K-12 resources for teaching students about copyright and fair use



Copyright and Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens, is a nonprofit project that has developed a suite of free K-12 resources for teaching students about copyright and fair use. 

The premise is that students today need to learn the basics of copyright as an element of digital citizenship. That's especially true in the current crisis, as teachers and students shift virtually all of their educational and social activity online. Whether they know it or not, they are doing things that raise copyright questions. For example, when is it OK to use some of someone else’s work in a project or presentation? How should they expect others to treat their own work online? This is an area of modern digital literacy in which both teachers and students often have significant gaps.



C&C offers a full suite of lesson plans, slides, and learning videos for teachers to use with students of all ages -- elementary, middle, and high school. They have an online professional development course for teachers to bolster their own knowledge. And recently posted a resource sheet on copyright issues that arise in distance learning. The aim is to provide positive, practical information about how to navigate copyright successfully, rather than a scolding message focused on anti-piracy.

-- These resources are all free. C&C is a nonprofit project under the Internet Education Foundation, so its goal is simply to promote education in this area by disseminating its materials widely.

-- The materials are intended to be easy for teachers to use on a plug-and-play basis. But they are licensed through Creative Commons so teachers are welcome to build them into their own lessons however they see fit.

-- C&C's materials take a positive approach, focusing on what copyright empowers and enables rather than just what it prohibits. That's important, because students won't be engaged with lessons that focus only on "thou shalt nots." What they need is guidance on how they can do the things they want to do -- access media, share their enthusiasm for media they love, and make their own creative work while sometimes incorporating the work of others. So C&C aims to provide positive and practical advice, focusing especially on kids' own roles as creators.



-- Of particular interest during this pandemic, C&C's resources are all readily usable for distance learning. We have also posted some tips and resources on copyright and distance learning.




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