Encourage Kindness, Evaluate Tech Integration, Create 3D Models & More
Funding & Recognition
Great Deals for Educators
It’s that time of the year again and Sprint has great deals for education employees:
Get an EVEN better deal not available in Sprint’s retail stores by calling 1.844.344.6552 and mentioning that you are an education employee. Mention code GDVRT_ZZZ.
Inspirational Teacher Awards
The Kennedy Center / Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards, sponsored by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is soliciting stories from the general public about educators who made a significant difference in their lives. The stories must be about a single, specific interaction between a teacher and a student that had a significant impact on the student. Entries may be written, audio, or video stories. On March 22, 2017, Stephen Sondheim’s birthday, selected teachers will each receive $10,000 in appreciation for their contributions to the field of teaching. Awardees will also be showcased, along with the people they inspired, on The Kennedy Center / Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards website. Teachers in any subject area from any US school, college, or university are eligible for nomination. Interested applicants will find this opportunity on GetEdFunding, a free database sponsored by CDW•G of thousands of funding opportunities for educators.
Deadline: December 29, 2016, for nominations
Simulation Design Challenge
The US Department of Education (ED) has launched the EdSim Challenge, a $680,000 competition to design the next generation of educational simulations that strengthen career and technical skills. The challenge calls on the virtual reality, videogame developer, and educational technology communities to submit concepts for immersive simulations that will prepare students for the globally competitive workforce of the 21st century. The challenge seeks to spur the development of computer-generated virtual- and augmented-reality educational experiences that combine existing and future technologies with skill-building content and assessment. Collaboration is encouraged among the developer community to make aspects of simulations available through open source licenses and low-cost shareable components. ED is most interested in simulations that pair the engagement of commercial games with educational content that transfers academic, technical, and employability skills. A multidisciplinary panel of judges will evaluate the submissions and select up to five finalists to advance to the Virtual Accelerator phase. Each finalist will be awarded $50,000 and gain access to expert mentorship as they refine their concept and build a simulation prototype. The challenge winner(s) will be awarded the remainder of the $680,000 prize money and additional sponsor prizes from IBM, Microsoft, Oculus, and Samsung.
Deadline: January 17, 2017, for submission of concepts
Engineering Essay Contest
The National Academy of Engineering invites all students (girls and boys) in grades 3–12 to submit an essay to the 2017 EngineerGirl Essay Contest entitled “Engineering and Animals.” To participate in the contest, students should describe engineering ideas that may improve life for endangered, critically endangered, and vulnerable animals. First-prize winners in each of three grade categories (3–5, 6–8, and 9–12) will each receive $500.
Deadline: February 1, 2017, for submission of essays
Digital Learning • Learning Support
Global Kindness Program
Choose To Be Nice is a social movement and global call to action dedicated to encouraging and inspiring kindness. The aim is to improve the way people interact with one another by reminding them that they have a choice about how to “be” in the world. The organization has launched the Elementary School Choose To Be Nice program for the 2016–2017 school year.(Middle school and high school programs are in development.) Schools can be part of this movement by joining a growing global community that has made the promise to be nice. A comprehensive welcome kit provides guidance on how to introduce the program at an all-school assembly where students, teachers, and staff can make the Choose To Be Nice promise by signing their name to a 10-foot banner. From there, schools can integrate the student-centered learning activity guides for kindergarten–grade 2 and grades 3–5. Designed and tested by educators, the guides provide engaging lessons that teach lifelong skills of resilience, empathy, and self-awareness to help children cope with the challenges and changes of life. Choose To Be Nice schools also get access to tools to help students and teachers spread the word and make a difference at school, at home, and in their community all year long.
Plus: Making Caring Common, an initiative of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is partnering with the KIND Foundation to launch a “kindness challenge” in schools nationwide. Details will be announced soon.
Multimedia Lessons About American Muslim Teens
Funded by the Carnegie Foundation, The Islam Project is a multimedia effort aimed at schools, communities, and individuals, created in part with the idea that accurate information, representing a spectrum of perspectives, is the most effective antidote to fear and misunderstanding. The project includes two PBS documentaries and a video entitled “American Muslim Teens Talk”—about what it’s like to be a Muslim teenager in the United States—for students in grades 6–12.
Recordings of Extraordinary Stories Told by Everyday People
Like so many of the best radio shows and podcasts available today, Radio Diaries is rooted firmly in the tradition of Studs Terkel, the author, historian, and radio broadcaster who was the first to popularize the recording of everyday people around the country. Unlike Terkel, however, the show’s host turns the recorders directly over to those everyday people to record the details of their lives. As a result, Radio Diaries is sometimes about history, when these citizen journalists are looking back on past events,and sometimes about capturing today, often through the eyes of populations that do not usually get to write their own stories, such as teenagers and octogenarians, prisoners and prison guards. The show is a powerful and unique look at history both as things were and as they are unfolding.
Plus: Radio Diaries’ Teen Reporter Handbook provides concrete and comprehensive tips for becoming a teenaged citizen journalist.
Online Games—From Macroeconomics to Game Theory
Economics-games.com is a free educational games site for teaching microeconomics, industrial organization, and game theory. Teachers can choose the game they want to run, enter the number of players, and then communicate their logins to their students, who connect to the site with their phones, tablets, or laptops. Teachers can then observe and debrief the game through their interface. Among the 33 games and simulations is the Industrial Organization game, in which players are responsible for managing the fleet and pricing policy of a virtual airline; as they play the game, they compete with a “robot” airline over one route. Another high-interest game is Market Competition, which has students apply important microeconomics concepts in the context of CO2 environmental policies. Teachers can use this game as an introduction to microeconomics or environmental economics or as a course illustration for advanced students. It is also available as a multiplayer game (“5 IO Market Games” section).
Blended Program on Teaching and Learning with Technology
A two-year comprehensive professional development program from the eMINTS National Center strives to change how teachers teach and students learn with technology. Participants complete learning activities, such as creating lesson plans and classroom materials, while receiving nearly 200 hours of direct online instruction paired with 40 hours of in-classroom coaching. The program includes formative and summative assessments, teacher guides, evaluation rubrics, and supplementary teaching and learning materials. The research-based materials use a constructivist approach to organizing instruction for any subject area or level.
Courses Connecting Technology and Instruction
Supported by the Regional Educational Media Center of Michigan (REMC), 21 Things for Teachers helps educators make connections between technology tools and best practice instructional strategies. It offers a free option for educators who prefer to learn from online tutorials and a paid program for those who prefer to collaborate in a cohort with a highly skilled instructor. It provides just-in-time training for K–12 educators covering a wide range of digital applications framed within the context of different educational practices, issues, considerations, and environments. The courses provide 30, 60, 90, or 120 hours of instruction, with the opportunity to earn graduate credit. The program helps to build the foundational technology skills needed to support the ISTE Standards for Teachers. Participants have the opportunity to learn about a broad set of digital tools and applications to help enhance classroom instruction and professional practice through modules that cover topics central to the effective use of technology in the classroom.
STEM • STEAM • STREAM
Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is pleased to announce that the 2016–2017 application period is now open. Please consider nominating a talented seventh- through twelfth-grade mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher today using the PAEMST website. If you’re a teacher yourself, you can begin an application at www.paemst.org. Nominations close April 1, 2017, and applications close May 1, 2017. PAEMST is the highest recognition the United States government bestows for K–12 mathematics and science teaching, honoring up to 108 teachers each year. Presidential awardees receive a certificate signed by the president, a trip to Washington, DC, to attend a series of recognition events, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Tool for Evaluating Ed Tech Integration
District- and school-level administrators can test a new tool developed by the US Department of Education (ED) to help measure the success of educational technology in schools. The Ed Tech Rapid Cycle Evaluation Coach tool will guide school leaders and teachers through the steps they should take before buying education technology. The “RCE Coach” will help schools define goals, create effective pilot programs, gather evidence, and measure results. The research tool will be available to schools in January 2017. In the meantime, ED is accepting applications from district- and school-level administrators who are willing to try the program. It’s free.
Formative Assessment Resource for Science
The nonprofit Measured Progress has developed STEM Gauge, a formative assessment resource that provides students with opportunities to demonstrate understanding of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Performance Expectations (PEs)—Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas—as instruction occurs. For a limited time, Measured Progress is offering a free Next Generation Science Standards STEM Gauge middle school topic-based item set for teachers to try in their classroom. Included with one free topic-based item set is access to the Teacher’s Guide and Formative Support Tools. The Teacher’s Guide provides an Item Index that displays the way each item addresses the three dimensions and lists Performance Expectations, learning targets, depth of knowledge levels, and item types. Teachers will also find suggestions for using science and engineering practices to engage students in learning science content. The Formative Support Tools help teachers integrate the NGSS into classroom instruction and assessment. The tools also include instructional strategies for transitioning to the NGSS.
STEM Pipeline for Girls
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) provides STEM education to more than 10,000 girls each year at the branch, state, and national levels. AAUW’s national STEM camps and conferences target middle school girls because middle school is a critical time for girls to maintain their interest in STEM and begin taking courses that will lead to future STEM opportunities. AAUW members provide community programs that break down stereotypes about STEM and show girls that intellectual skills grow over time, regardless of gender. These programs create an environment where girls are encouraged to expand their knowledge and ability in STEM through fun and educational activities. AAUW offers two programs to foster girl’s excitement for STEM: Tech Trek is a weeklong science and math camp for eighth-grade girls. AAUW is currently accepting applications for locations for its 2017 Tech Trek summer camp program. Tech Savvy is a daylong conference for middle school girls and their families. The 2017 National Tech Savvy Program will take the AAUW Buffalo (New York) Branch’s highly successful, one-day science, technology, engineering, and math conference for girls to 18 sites nationwide. The 2017 Tech Savvy conference schedule appears on the AAUW website.
Virtual Journey into the Human Heart
The Virtual Heart app invites students to explore multiple views of the human heart in real time: an external view and three internal views that realistically depict the heart’s valves, blood flow, and electrical system. The app lets students turn on labels that identify different areas of the heart’s structure and slide their finger up and down the screen to change the view of the heart from external to internal. Red and blue color streams visualize blood flow, and flashes of light highlight the heart’s electrical system. The iOS app was developed by the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. Cost: Free
3D Modeling Tool
Computer assisted design (CAD) tools have a high learning curve that make them inaccessible to many youngsters, so 3D Creationist decided to make a modeling tool that is simple to use. The 3D Creationist app uses basic shapes (cube, sphere, cylinder, cone) to create any 3D models. From the simplest design to the most complex objects—students can make anything by simply moving, rotating, and resizing different shapes into the right place—and then 3D print their models. The app is available for iOS, Android, Mac, Steam, Windows, and as a web version. To see what other people are building, students can check out the 3D Creationist Gallery. Cost: Free, with in-app purchases starting at $1.99
Manipulative Tool for Mathematics Learning
The Math Learning Center’s Geoboard is a tool for exploring a variety of mathematical topics introduced in the elementary and middle grades. By stretching bands around pegs to form line segments and polygons, learners make discoveries about perimeter, area, angles, congruence, fractions, and more. This virtual version of the online manipulative is an open-ended educational tool from Clarity Innovations. It is ideal for elementary classrooms and other learning environments that use the iPad or iPhone. Cost: Free
The TED-Ed Clubs program supports students in discovering, exploring, and presenting their big ideas in the form of short, TED-style talks. The program is a global network of passionate youth with ideas worth sharing. In TED-Ed Clubs, students work together to discuss and celebrate creative ideas. Club leaders receive TED-Ed’s flexible Clubs curriculum to guide their school’s Club and to help inspire tomorrow’s TED speakers and leaders. The first part of the Clubs curriculum has members explore the ideas they’re passionate about. As members journey through the Clubs curriculum, they’ll be challenged to identify and shape their personal story. Through guided brainstorms and active peer feedback exercises, members will craft their own TED-style talk. By the end of their Club cycle, members will have recorded their talk and uploaded it to the TED-Ed Clubs YouTube channel. They can then share their talk with their families, friends, communities, and the world. TED-Ed Clubs support students aged 8–18—all over the world. Anyone over the age of 13 can submit an application to start a Club.
Social Media Rubrics
University of Wisconsin-Stout (Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University) has organized a collection of free rubrics for assessing social media projects. The Wiki Rubric’s criteria are useful for assessing individual and group wiki contributions. Users of the Blog Rubric can assess individual blog entries, as well as comments on peers’ blogs. And the Twitter Rubric will help teachers assess student learning during social networking instructional assignments.
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