Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Free guide to STEM resources on the web

STEM careers are highly lucrative and in-demand - yet females and minority students are drastically underrepresented in the historically male-dominated field of STEM.

To support this underrepresented group, Gosciencegirls.com are providing access to supplemental resources.

Gosciencegirls.com have recently published an “Ultimate STEM guide” – that covers almost all the resources available on the web for STEM education. Here is the link: https://gosciencegirls.com/ultimate-stem-resources-bank-for-k12-students/

These resources will help lay a strong knowledge foundation for young learners and prepare them for yet to come academic accomplishments.

Begin exploring various informative websites and resource links that motivate young learners towards a successful adult life with a better future.

More STEM Resources here

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

New Innovative SEL Tool from Aperture Education helps High School Students Build Skills for College and Career


This is a great tool to help understand high school student social-emotional needs and how to support them with strategies and interventions. 

New Innovative SEL Tool from Aperture Education helps High School Students Build Skills for College and Career

The Aperture Student Portal includes gamified goal-setting and SEL self-assessments offering a research-backed approach to understanding students’ needs

Charlotte N.C. (March 10, 2021) — Goal-setting and having a voice in their own learning are powerful motivators for students, especially those in high school. To help educators use these strategies to support social and emotional learning (SEL), Aperture Education has created the Aperture Student Portal for high school students, an online platform that gives students access to the DESSA-High School Edition Student Self-Report, goal-setting tools, and immediate feedback to help them grow in their social and emotional competencies. These competencies, which include self-management, personal responsibility, decision making and more, are vital for career and college readiness and imperative for any student navigating the dynamic challenges of distance or hybrid learning. The platform is gamified to optimize student engagement and motivation. Because the portal can be accessed online, teachers can use it to support SEL both in the classroom and during distance learning.


SEL assessments help teachers understand students’ strengths and needs so they can plan individual and school-wide interventions and evaluate student progress. And we know giving students a voice in their learning is important, especially for high school students,” said Jessica Adamson, CEO of Aperture Education. “Our Aperture Student Portal provides an engaging way for high school students to take stock of their social and emotional strengths and needs – and helps them strengthen their skills. It is also a great way for teachers to support SEL when they can’t be with students in-person or don’t have a dedicated time to focus on SEL during the school day.”


About the Aperture Student Portal

The Aperture Student Portal, specifically built for high school, is an online platform through which students take the DESSA – High School Edition Student Self-Report, a nationally-normed high school SEL assessment. The assessment provides schools and out-of-school-time organizations with reliable SEL data and captures student voice to help educators understand students’ social and emotional competence. It helps educators provide personalized research-based interventions and allows them to evaluate progress. The Aperture Student Portal includes:


  • Student access to self-guided SEL assessments
  • Personalized strategies to build SEL skills as individuals and in student groups
  • Tools to help students set personal goals
  • The ability for teachers to monitor student progress
  • Options for students to add a parent, mentor or other advocate to their account to help support their progress.
  • SEL assessment data, insights and a dashboard for educators and administrators


The assessment helps educators and counselors identify students in need of Tier 2 & Tier 3 supports. It also provides immediate results so students and teachers can take action right away.


“For the high school students, we felt it would be best if we could just get the data straight from the kids,” said Emilie Tregellas, school psychologist for the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District in Wisconsin, which piloted the high school self-assessments. “We’re at a pivotal point where people are realizing that if kids can’t access learning (through a key social emotional skill like self-management, for example), then they can’t learn their academic curriculum. It's good for us to know this type of information because now we can act on it."


Tregellas said the goal-setting component is especially valuable. “Executive functioning skills is a passion of mine. (The Aperture Student Portal) helps kids access goal setting in a way that might be challenging, but can help them follow through,” she said. “This program is helping us connect a lot of pieces, including the ability to teach kids a lifelong skill that is going to make them career and college ready. We can all benefit from knowing our strengths and how to set goals.”


For more information about the Aperture Student Portal visit https://info.apertureed.com/highschool.

About Aperture Education

Aperture Education empowers over 3,000 schools and out-of-school-time programs across North America to measure, strengthen, and support social and emotional competence in K-12 youth and educators. This system enables education leaders to make strategic, data-based decisions about SEL within their organizations. The Aperture system includes the DESSA suite of strength-based assessments, CASEL™-informed intervention strategies, and robust reporting, all in one easy-to-use digital platform. Aperture has supported more than one million students in their social and emotional growth and continues to develop innovative solutions to bring the whole child into focus. To learn more, visit www.ApertureEd.com.


Summary of Google's Feb Announcements and lots of Google Edu resources

This is a resource I created for schools regarding Google's major announcements last month. 


And here are some more great resources:

Google Admin Resources and Tips: http://cdwgets.it/workspaceadmin

Google Resources for Educators: http://cdwgets.it/workspaceeducator 

Google Workspace Plus (fka Enterprise for Edu) resources: http://cdwgets.it/WorkspacePlus 


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Digital Citizenship: Why Teachers Should Instill It In Students + Free Resources

Digital Citizenship: Why Teachers Should Instill It In Students + Free Resources

With February well underway— and e-learning lingering — the time is now to revisit the importance of online safety. After all, Safer Internet Day is on February 9 and Digital Learning Day is on February 25.

And while it might be tempting for parents and even teachers to put restrictions on kids’ online activities, whether that’s with family cybersecurity suites or parent controls, as educators we know instilling the importance of something in students can be a far more effective way for them to put our preaching into practice.

That’s where lessons in digital citizenship come in. Generally, there are nine tenets of this concept that hones in on the responsible and safe use of technology:

  1. Digital access

  2. Digital etiquette

  3. Digital commerce 

  4. Digital rights and responsibilities

  5. Digital literacy

  6. Digital law

  7. Digital communication

  8. Digital security

Teaching all of these to students can feel like a task. Thankfully, there are a plethora of online resources on how to teach digital citizenship to K-12 students. I’ve included a few here:

And some more resources:

Digital Citizenship


“Organize Your Study Space: 9 Tips to Make Your Environment Perfect for Studying”


“Organize Your Study Space: 9 Tips to Make Your Environment Perfect for Studying”. 

Having a dedicated work or study space can make all the difference when it comes to productivity. In today's environment of work and learn at home, this is critical.

My home workspace. Everything where I can reach it and no distractions. 

This infographic illustrates nine essential tips that can help you set up a clear and organized study or workspace. 

You can find it here: https://custom-writing.org/blog/organize-your-study-space

And here are some more resources:

Productivity and Organizing - Resources, Tips and ideas for being more productive and organized


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Lots of free STEM Resources for Educators


STEM is a great way to teach students math, science, technology and engineering, but also teach them other skills like creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork. 

I have collected a lot of STEM Resources on this page: 


Here is another one I found out about recently: Engineers Tribune. https://www.engineerstribune.com/ 

The Engineers Tribune is a collection bleeding-edge technology commentary, electronics community research, and interviews with the engineers who are designing the future. This is a great resource to use with your students. 

And you can go to https://www.peigenesis.com/ , a leading distributor of electronic connectors and cable solutions, to get equipment for your projects. 

STEM Resources for Educators  


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Blended Teaching: How Plagiarism Detection Software can Help Educators

 Blended Teaching: How Plagiarism Detection Software Can Help Educators Gain Confidence

(sponsored article)

Discover the benefits of using plagiarism detection software in times of blended teaching

Today, EdTech has become more popular than ever before. With traditional in-class education on a hard pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, academic institutions rely more on e-learning technologies. Apart from conducting fully remote classes, many educators have chosen the blended teaching model. It allows combining both online and in-person education’s strong sides, along with reducing the risk of spreading the virus in school settings.

In fact, most US colleges have chosen the hybrid learning model for the fall semester of 2020. According to the survey, this approach even outruns the remote learning. NYU, MIT, and Yale are just a few universities that currently offer blended teaching to their students. 

Unfortunately, teaching both in-class and online isn’t as easy as it seems. One of the challenges associated with it is assessing and grading numerous students’ works. To tackle this problem and organize blended learning effectively, educators should arm themselves with reliable technologies. Now, let’s explore why plagiarism detection software should become a part of every educator’s blended teaching toolkit. 

5 Advantages of Using Plagiarism Detection Software

Have you ever wondered what online plagiarism detection tools have to offer? Read further to find out their main benefits for blended teaching.  

Accessing a wide range of sources

If you plan on checking a student’s submission for plagiarism, googling suspicious parts from the paper won’t do the trick. The reason is, you need to have access to various online resources, such as articles, blog posts, publications in journals, etc. Luckily, plagiarism detection software has it. Modern tools allow running student papers for comparison with many different sources.

Take Unicheck, for instance. The tool can compare papers and texts with over 100 billion pages across open access sources. On top of that, the plagiarism detection software allows checking papers through the educational databases and historical student submissions from the institution’s database. 

Extensive plagiarism detection 

Unfortunately, a sudden switch to the blended learning model may result in increased student plagiarism. With classes and assignments held online, academic misconduct can seem easy and tempting for students. Copy-pasting, self-plagiarism, submission of papers of other students, text modification, and contract cheating are plagiarism types that are common today. Unfortunately, even an experienced educator can’t notice them in student papers. 

This is where plagiarism detection software will come in handy. Meet ModiFind - an algorithm which detects various suspicious modifications and manipulations within the text. Remarkably, the algorithm detects concealed student plagiarism. Even insertion of hidden symbols, character replacement and text replacement with images can’t be hidden from instructors. Any suspicious formatting is marked as potential cheating, which the educator can then review. 

Enhanced student learning experience

Contrary to popular belief, online plagiarism detection tools are not just the means of punishment. For an educator, using them is a way of enhancing the learning experience and helping students improve their writing. Checking papers with a plagiarism detection tool shows a teacher the common mistakes of students. For instance, a student may struggle with grammar, formatting, referencing, etc. Knowing that, an instructor can reach out to the student and offer some help.

Also, by pointing out the mistakes, an instructor makes sure students avoid making them in the future. In fact, some plagiarism detection software even offers a pre-submission check for students if the teacher enables this feature. This way, students can look for mistakes on their own and improve their papers beforehand. 

Raising academic integrity

Plagiarism detection software helps prevent academic misconduct and dishonesty at academic institutions. No doubt about it, fighting fraud and student cheating starts with teachers. For that matter, using plagiarism checkers during the course should be every educator’s practice. The thing is, not only does plagiarism detection software find academic misconduct cases but also helps reduce their number.  

If students are informed that a teacher will be using a plagiarism checker, this will prevent some of them from cheating. Especially if they are well-aware of the institutional plagiarism policy and the consequences of committing academic misconduct. So whether it’s an exam or a home assignment - every time educators use such tools, they support the culture of academic integrity. 

Educators’ time saved thanks to automation

Advanced plagiarism detection software offers various features for automating the work of teachers. This is especially helpful in blended teaching times where educators have to manage different learning environments and every spare minute counts. Some plagiarism checkers allow checking papers in bulk for the whole class, for instance. Instructors can also leave comments, feedback and grades right in the plagiarism detection tool’s similarity report.

Most importantly, an advanced plagiarism checker can make an educator’s life a lot easier if it integrates with major LMSs (learning management systems). Canvas, Moodle, BlackBoard, and Google Classroom are the systems of choice for most teachers working with e-learning technology. So the best plagiarism detection software will be the one that supports integration with all of them. 

Summing up

It’s no secret that students, teachers, and parents hope that circumstances will change for the better; that soon everyone will get back to conventional in-class learning. Still, the traditional teaching model will hardly be the same again. Having become common, online learning technology tools will likely keep their place in the educational process even after the pandemic. In particular, it's true for plagiarism detection software, which has proven to be so useful for educators. 

All in all, EdTech solutions have established a ‘new normal’ in which blended learning models dominate. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad. It simply means that everything changes and we have to keep pace with the changes. You know what they say, never stop learning as well as teaching. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

September 11th, 19 years later - Never Forget - join together in unity.

I was in EMS for 22 years before retiring due to a back injury. One of my most memorable experiences was responding to New York City as a Paramedic in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I will never forget that experience. What I saw and did are still with me, as is a type of asthma from breathing the dust. My Experience as a Paramedic on 9-11-01

We lost over 3,000 American's that day, including 8 EMS Providers, 60 Police Officers and 343 Firefighters in NYC.

Since that day, 200 FDNY Firefighters have died from 9/11 related illnesses, and hundreds of others are sick, including EMS, PD and civilians. There is a new area at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in NYC for these individuals who are sick.

As time passes, people seem to forget what happened and the toll it has taken. We need to make sure we never forget and educate our children about what happened. Talk to them about it, tell them how you felt and what the experience was. Take them to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in NYC. It is an amazing, somber experience going there. My 7 year old daughter has been to ground zero and the park, but not into the museum. That will come later.

I still vividly remember where I was (at Sikorsky Aircraft) when it happened, responding down there as a paramedic, the sights, the smells, the people. I was at Ground Zero for the last part of my shift down there on 9/12. It was sobering to see the pile, knowing there were people in there.

As the years have gone by, we have lost first responders to 9/11 related diseases, many struggle with PTSD or other medical issues. The current generation doesn't know this as anything but history. The worst part for many of us was not being able to save people and the many days and weeks hoping against all odds that we would find people alive.

I went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in NYC in 2012. It was an amazing, heartbreaking experience. I recommend that every American go there and see it, remember those who were lost, and pray something like this never happens again.
9/11 still haunts me to this day, as it does most of us who responded. But we persevere and move on, not letting the terrorists win.

The anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has become a very important National Day of Service and Remembrance in America, known as “9/11 Day”.

9/11 Day is a time when Americans are asked to join together in unity, remember those lost on 9/11, and if possible, perform good deeds or other acts of service as a positive tribute to the 9/11 victims, as well as first responders and military personnel who rose in service in response to the terrorist attacks.

This year, the organizers of 9/11 Day are asking all of us to participate virtually through a special program called “9/11 Day at Home”, There is no cost or required donation involved. The goal is to inspire one million acts of kindness that participants are able to do from home. 

Here’s how:

Visit www.911day.org. View the well-curated list of good deeds you can do at home or at your leisure for 9/11 Day. But think of them as thought-starters. You are free and encouraged to come up with your own ideas. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Send a letter or thank you note to your child’s teacher
  • Spend a day at a homeless shelter
  • Hand out drinks and snacks to your Amazon and other delivery drivers
  • Grocery shop for elderly neighbors
  • Water a neighbor’s lawn or flowers
  • Write letters to our U.S. troops
  • Plant a tree
  • Pay for someone’s morning coffee in the drive up lane
  • Help tutor a struggling student
  • Drop off a surprise gift basket for a neighbor or friend
  • Donate school supplies for kids in need
  • Leave letters or notes of encouragement for your colleagues and/or loved ones
  • Donate holiday gifts to an orphanage
  • Make dinner or donate dinner to a family in need
  • Pick up litter in your neighborhood or on the street
  • Let someone go in front of you in line
  • Volunteer at your local pet shelter
  • Become a pen pal with someone in a nursing home
  • Send a care package to a soldier deployed overseas
  • Donate unused clothes or items to a charity
  • Record videos of you reading books for kids in hospitals
  • Perform a concert or sing at a retirement home
  • Leave your waiter a generous tip
  • Do chores around the house without being asked
  • Make a family member breakfast in bed
  • Spread encouragement, love and positivity through social media and encourage others to do the same
So please share a message of support for 9/11 Day, about your deed, using #911day

Nothing could be more important right now than joining together in unity and to pay tribute by helping those most in need. Never forget what we are capable of doing together. Thank you!