Tech & Learning - February 2019

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Redefining Literacy How Tech Tools Can Make It Happen

To see more Tech & Learning scan the code or visit us online at: www.techlearning. com/FEB19

THE ABC’S OF AI See page 28 for more.


Don’t take the bait

See page 34 for more






























From the Future family of publications: Carie Lemack reports on schools throughout the United States that have embraced a “space-centric” approach to teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). PLUS: STEM Resources for PBL and Authentic Learning.



By Tara Smith As the traditional definition of literacy expands and deepens, today’s students need to be able to read, write, code, analyze data, and evaluate sources. Here are ways you can help your students strengthen all of these skills.





From the Future family of publications: Richard Mattka introduces readers to the powerful field of artificial intelligence, exploring how you can use it and create your own chatbot for your next web project.

By Andrew Wallace The sad truth is that phishing and spamming scams are now part of life in this digital age. But through more engaging education, more authentic practice, and more creative protection practices, schools have a much better chance of mitigating the impact.





The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year showcased some new products for schools and parents.


Scan here to access the digital edition, which includes additional resources.

4 EDITORS DESK The More Things Change 8 TRENDING 11 BIG IDEAS Reflection in Education, Technology Fear Therapy Tech & Learning (ISSN-1053-6728) (USPS 695-590) is published monthly (except July and December) by Future US, Inc., 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036-8002 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Tech & Learning, PO Box 8746, Lowell, MA 01853 Periodicals Postage Paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices.


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note FEBRUARY 2019


VOL. 39 NO. 6



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| WWW.TECHLEARNING.COM Content Director Christine Weiser, Advisors Carl Hooker, Andrew Wallace, Marianthe Williams, Steve Baule, Jean Tower, Hank Thiele, Jenith Mishne, Frank Pileiro, Patricia Brown, Mike Jamerson, Rico D’Amore, Todd Dugan, Grace Magley,



CONTENT Managing Content Director Kevin Hogan

Phil Hintz, Ken Wallace, Rick Cave, Chris Aviles, Diane Doersh,

et me take a wild guess. When you first started in this business of education and technology, any talk of artificial intelligence happened in English class where kids studied Ray Bradbury; media literacy meant cranking through microfilm; and student data privacy involved locking the gradebook in your desk. This month’s issue is a stark reminder of how quickly, and how dramatically, life and work can change. From defending against Phishing scams (page 34) to understanding technology fear therapy (page 12) to building next generation literacy skills (page 14), Tech & Learning keeps pace with these emerging techniques thanks to our stalwart crew our educator/advisors. Another big reason for the boost: the T&L media group—the print magazine, website, and events business— joined its new parent company Future plc last year. Future LET ME TAKE A WILD is a global multi-platform media company, which serves GUESS. WHEN YOU more than 120 million readers worldwide every day. FIRST STARTED IN Any self-respecting nerd will know the titles of our new THIS BUSINESS OF sister publications—PC Gamer, Mac Life, and techradar EDUCATION AND amongst others. As such, Tech & Learning can now draw TECHNOLOGY, ANY upon and share content like Richard Mattka’s artificial intelligence primer (page 28). You may not have realized TALK OF ARTIFICIAL you can build your own chatbot, or that you need one at all, INTELLIGENCE but now you do! HAPPENED IN Look for further collaboration with sites like tomsguide. ENGLISH CLASS com and the testing labs at, where we WHERE KIDS STUDIED can apply an educator’s eye to the in-depth analysis on RAY BRADBURY; the latest and greatest tech tools. One thing I hope never MEDIA LITERACY changes—that readers find inspiration and encouragement MEANT CRANKING from insights and knowledge of our contributors!

— Kevin Hogan Managing Director, Content


Andrew Marcinek, John Marcus, Laura Chesson, Jon Castelhano, Karen Fuller

Production Manager Fred Vega, Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban

Senior Design Director Lisa McIntosh ADVERTISING SALES Brand Expert Allison Knapp, Business Solutions Manager Katrina Frazer, SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to and click on About Us, email, call 888-266-5828, or write P.O. Box 8692, Lowell, MA 01853. ARCHIVES This magazine is available for research and retrieval of select archived articles from leading electronic database and search services, including ProQuest. Back issues are available. For more information, contact LICENSING/REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS Tech & Learning is available for licensing. Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of Print Licensing Rachel Shaw MANAGEMENT Managing Director/Senior Vice President Christine Shaw Chief Revenue Officer Luke Edson Chief Content Officer Joe Territo Chief Marketing Officer Wendy Lissau Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance FUTURE US, INC. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036

All contents © 2019 Future US, Inc. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/ all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.









Companies to Watch for 2019 Here’s a guide to nearly 100 companies offering a variety of innovative edtech products for K–12.


Top Ten Tech Predictions

for 2019 and Beyond As technology advances, costs are decreasing and access is increasing. Find out why robotics is growing and virtual reality may be fading.


T&L Awards of Excellence:

2018 Finalists Each finalist is a game changer, offering a unique solution to a specific problem in the classroom, school, or district.


It’s Easy Being Green! Green Screening in the Classroom Find out how to take students beyond classroom walls and spark creativity and engagement with green screen technology.


Over 150 STEM Resources for PBL and Authentic Learning, Part 2 Discover a gold mine of resources in Michael Gorman’s curated list of over 30 of the best sites in the area of technology.


10 Sites for Online

Tutoring/Teaching Digital storytelling is one of the easiest ways to integrate technology into the classroom—and it can be used with almost any subject.

30 Sites and Apps for

Digital Storytelling Digital storytelling is one of the easiest ways to integrate technology into the classroom—and it can be used with almost any subject.

Computer Gaming Gets Real

As esports take off, find out how educators are incorporating STEM, ELA and other elements of learning into online game play.

Plan, Track, and Share

Assessment Data with MasteryConnect This flexible CCSS grader includes comprehensive tools for curriculum mapping, organizing assessments, and tracking student progress on standards.

Play On! Three Trends We’ll

See in Tech Toys in 2019 Tech toys entertain and educate, but they also teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills kids will need for the future.

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BLOG BITS “If you are an innovative educator, then you know that you serve students with varying abilities and learning differences.” —Lisa Nielsen “If you want equity to be sustainable, it has to be led by the ones most impacted.” —Wisdom Amouzou “When new software licenses come down from the district office without clearly communicated benefits for teachers or pedagogical support, many teachers likely take a quick look and conclude that the software doesn’t fulfill any of the first three Jobs for them.” —Thomas Arnett

TOP TWEETS @CoSN: Don’t try to boil the ocean when you’re tackling student data privacy. Get a couple of wins under your belt. acsita@pacsita: A message from the future me to all educators out there: “Never assume that a student is doing something on purpose, assume that s/ he needs something and you might be one of the superheroes of his/ her life.”




People often ask me for advice about the best new tech gadgets. Since it’s hard to keep up with everything, I decided to phone some friends (actually, I texted them) to crowdsource these top five suggestions for both kids and adults: 1. Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game ($40 for kids)—This kit allows you to physically build your video game world and then make it come to life on the accompanying app. 2. Sphero Bolt ($149 for kids)—The latest edition of Sphero comes with a fully programmable 8X8 LED matrix and audio components. Program it using Scratch!



Chibitronics ($30 for kids)—The Chibitronics kit is the perfect blend of art and engineering. Draw and design, then light up with circuits! Ring Door Bell Camera ($100 for adults)—Both the Ring and Nest options are good. One word of advice: Get the extra solar power mount unless you don’t mind changing batteries every couple of months. Nebula Capsule Smart MiniProjector ($300 for family)—I absolutely love my Nebula Capsule. It’s got a built-in OS, HDMI connector, and AirPlay capability. All this with a great image and sound that lasts for two and a half hours on a single charge.

Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game

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CHECKLIST FOR INCLUSIVE TWEETING By Lisa Nielsen Twitter is an important platform for sharing stories and ideas and connecting with others. However, many Tweeters are unintentionally leaving out 15 percent of the world’s population who have disabilities by not composing accessible Tweets. Fortunately, making accessible Tweets only requires awareness in a few areas.

✔ ✔

Camel Case Hashtags—Make hashtags camel case, meaning that the first letter of each word is capital so it’s discernible to a screen reader, allowing the words to be read individually rather than as a nonsensical word.

✔ ✔

Plain English—Write using plain English. Avoid acronyms, for example, and write below a ninth-grade reading level. Most word processing programs have readability checkers built in. Online documents such as Google have extensions you can add.


Avoid URL Shorteners—In the early days of Twitter, we shortened URLs because of the character limitation. URLs are no longer judged by characters, so it’s not necessary. When you use a URL shortener, the screen reader says every letter. If you use the original URL, most screen readers can read the words in the URL.

Alt Text—Use alt text (short for alternative text) to tell those viewing your Tweet what’s in the image. You can set this up on Twitter by going to “settings and privacy,” then selecting “accessibility” and checking “compose image descriptions.” F O R M O R E G O TO W W W.T E C H L E A R N I N G .CO M / F E B 1 9



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This digital audio workstation with crossplatform access, including mobile devices, has built-in collaboration features and enables powerful online audio production.




App of the Day picks are selected from the top edtech tools reviewed by Common Sense Education.


I love writing, but it can be a challenge. Often the most difficult part is getting started. Here are 10 helpful tools with prompts, story starters, and other resources to use in your class:


Writer Igniter offers a simple but fun way to find random story ideas including character, situation, prop, and setting (which will display as an image).


Scholastic Story Starters, for grades K–6, randomly generates plots for adventure, fantasy, and science fiction stories, and then works students through the writing process. Students can spin wheels until they’re happy with the prompt, choose their format (e.g., notebook, letter, newspaper, or postcard), and print or download their finished story as a PDF.


With Writing Sparks, teachers select the type of writing they want students to do (e.g., story, news article, opinion, or poem) and how long the writing exercise should last (10–20 minutes). The tool then provides the writing prompt and guides students through the process, providing inspiration along the way.


The New York Times Learning Network offers new writing prompts every week, and each one comes with an associated New York Times article and thought-provoking questions to help students dig deeper into the topic before they start writing.


Students get inspiration from Describing Words when they type in a key word and get a giant list of adjectives and phrases related to that word.


Writing Exercises features a large collection of writing prompt tools. Students can click to generate titles, the elements of a story plot, character and creature descriptions, and story beginnings. Students can also find images, news headlines, and random words to inspire them.


Google Sheets Random Writing Prompt Generator is a template I created that pulls randomly from a list of 2,000 adjectives and 1,000 nouns to create over two million unique prompts. To get your own copy, visit


Google Sheets Emoji Writing Prompt Generator is another template I created that uses emojis instead of words to generate writing ideas. Users can choose to use prompts that feature two to five randomly generated series of emojis. To get your own copy, visit


Google Drawings Story Cubes. Story cubes can be a fun way for students to get inspiration for writing. You can buy these cubes, but you can also make your own. Below are three Google Drawings templates for making story cubes. Each is optimized for different types of cubes, including picture cubes, emoji cubes, and text cubes.


Watch out for Snakes offers several different random prompt tools. The option I’ve found most useful is the “phrase” tool.

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Art App Offers Excellent Tutorials, Support

Autodesk Sketchbook provides teens serious about art with professional tools on an easily accessible tablet screen.

Insect App Inspires Learning with Amazing Graphics, Fascinating Facts

Meet the Insects: Forest Edition is an interactive multimedia resource that brings the insect world to life with beautiful graphics and tons of scientific content.

Top-Rated Interactive Whiteboard App Educreations a Powerful Presentation Tool

This easy, functional tool for creating presentations on the fly includes options to make lessons fun and effective.


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TOP 25 SITES AND APPS OF 2018 By David Kapuler This year’s list of my favorite annual sites and apps features a lot of STEM tools that focus on programming and coding.

YO TEACH! With Today’s Meet shutting down this year, Palms created a very user-friendly tool for creating a “backchannel” that can be used in any number of ways in education.

SOCRATES A cutting-edge new site where educators can seamlessly differentiate instruction through game-based learning.

TYPETASTIC A great site (with educational portal) for K–12 students learning how to type/ keyboard.

BADABOOM A new gamebased learning tool (similar to Kahoot!) that enables educators to make quizzes and games to assess students’ learning.

CODECOMBAT Educators can teach programming and coding through this fantastic and innovative game.

CLASSPAD A free digital scratch pad that students can use to solve math problems.

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BOOK CREATOR A fantastic mobile (iOS/Chrome) app for creating stunning ebooks/ presentations that can be used for digital storytelling, project-based learning, and more.

EDJI An innovative new site for annotating texts for collaborative learning.

UMU An excellent mobile app (iOS/Android) that can be used in a number of different ways—for assessing students, creating quizzes and games, professional development, and blended learning.

PIXORIZE An interesting site for US history that reminds me of ThingLink. Students learn facts through the use of pictures.

THINK FLUENCY This wonderful iOS/ Google Play app assesses a student’s reading fluency without the user of paper. It provides instant feedback and saves teachers valuable time.

PROJECT PALS A great all-inone collaborative learning platform that’s ideal for project- based learning.

ELEMENTARI A fun site for digital storytelling and project-based learning. Students can create digital stories, portfolios, and choose-yourown adventures. An educational portal is in the works for easier student tracking and management.

WAYPOINT EDU An innovative new iOS app that enables educators to create scavenger hunts or geocaching activities using augmented reality.


DYSTOPIA 2153 An innovative new site that teaches programming/ coding through the use of gamebased learning and graphic novels.

I KNOW IT One of my favorite new free sites for grade K–5 math. Educators can assign lessons and track student progress.

CODEMOJI A cool new site where K–8 students can learn how to program and code by using emojis.

GRASSHOPPER A cool mobile app (iOS/Android) that teaches students how to code in Javascript through fun puzzles and games.

KHAN ACADEMY KIDS A new iOS/Google Play app for finding educational resources for math, reading, writing, and more.

NIGHT ZOOKEEPER An excellent new free writing tool filled with interactive lessons. It also features an educational portal to help teachers track and monitor student progress.

OODLU An excellent new site/app for creating games that lets parents or educators track student progress.

TYPING AGENT A great Webbased typing/ keyboarding tool for grades K–12 with features such as multiplayer games, certificates, type-to-code, and more.

HIPPO VIDEO This excellent site for creating digital videos can be used to “flip” a classroom or create explainer videos. KLASSROOM A free mobile (Android/iOS) app that’s a cross between Remind and ClassDojo. Educators can share photos, videos, and documents in a secure environment.

READING RACER A wonderful new iOS app that uses speech recognition to assess a student’s reading ability and comprehension.






0 Minutes recently posted a “groundbreaking” study about screen time and the adolescent brain. Whenever reports like these come out, within a few hours my inbox, Facebook feed, and text messages are all blowing up highlighting the negative things that the study reveals. In the last few months, I’ve noticed an increased amount of fear (and shaming) when it comes to technology and our kids. As an administrator in a 1:1 district, I hear about it all the time from our community. Articles like the recent New York Times article, "A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley" don’t help the matter, as they tend to fan the flames of fear and anxiety among an

already guilt-ridden parent population. One thing I try to do whenever someone sends me an article or blog post is to evaluate it closely. Is there actual research linked? Who’s performing the research? How large is the sample size? Is it longitudinal? Or, as is usually the case, is it just a line in the post that says “more and more studies say…” or “research says…” without any actual data or evidence? The truth is that everything our kids interact with changes their brains. That doesn’t mean it’s for the worse or for the better—it’s just change. The same thing happened to our brains with the invention of the printing press (although MRIs and Twitter weren’t around then to show it). Instead of being afraid, we need to be empowered. After all, the iGenie is out of the bottle at this point and he isn’t going back in (be sure to check the research!).

THE TRUTH IS THAT EVERYTHING OUR KIDS INTERACT WITH CHANGES THEIR BRAINS. THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S FOR THE WORSE OR FOR THE BETTER— IT’S JUST CHANGE. THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO OUR BRAINS WITH THE INVENTION OF THE PRINTING PRESS. Carl Hooker is the Director of Innovation & Digital Learning at Eanes ISD. He's also the author of the six-book series titled Mobile Learning Mindset, a guide for teachers, administrators, parents and others to support and embrace mobile learning in our schools. Read more at Hooked on Innovation.


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As a result of my students’ honest feedback, I worked harder on rubrics, expectations, models, and feedback. Students also shared how sometimes I missed things during unstructured times, so I worked to change that. My scores improved significantly over time, but that improvement only came with the stark realization of just how aware we have to be. And I thought I already knew that. I did not.


By Suzy Brooks



It’s easy to design surveys using tools like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and others— and they’re easy for others to answer as well. Asking consistent questions over time allows you to see trends, growth, and opportunities for more growth. Ask what families think about classroom culture, homework policies, communication, their child’s comfort level, levels of rigor, and the quality of feedback on student performance. It’s more difficult to ask questions in areas where we have less confidence, but the answers are important for improving teaching and learning. And families love being asked.

Your professional learning community can be a huge resource when you’re seeking feedback and clarity in your reflections. Reach out and ask for support and advice. Whether you’re emailing, texting, Snapping, Tweeting, Podcasting, Facebooking, Instagramming or Starbucking, you’re networking socially to broaden your perspective. The only wrong way to do it is not to do it at all.



When I authored our classroom blog, I wrote reflectively on what was happening in our classroom and how that was changing all of us. I believe that made our classroom more transparent as well. Consider these options to share reflections online: ■■ Blogging and website platforms—Share your ideas and insight on a Google Site, WordPress, Wix, or Weebly. ■■ Podcasting—There are many tools to share recordings online, including the Chirp app—a micro-broadcasting tool that enables you to share short audio clips easily, straight from your phone. ■■ YouTube/video—Create a reflective video (or a series of them) on a topic you’re seeking to improve. Share with co-workers, families, friends, or your PLN and ask viewers to share insight and add their own experience to the conversation.


eing an effective educator in the 21st century is complex and challenging and requires constant selfevaluation. Luckily, there are many ways technology can help teachers see themselves, and their practice, more clearly.

PICK UP THE PHONE Your phone is a powerful reflection tool. Use it as a “mirror” to see things you might miss when you’re in the moment. Prop up your phone and record yourself and your students, from different perspectives and doing different activities. Observe the balance of teacher versus students talking; the level of engagement and on-task behavior; your tone of voice and rate of speech; how varied your questions are; and who you call on and how. How much are you on stage as opposed to guiding from the side?


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A REPORT CARD Another way to gain a clearer view of how we’re doing as teachers and leaders is to ask students to “grade” you anonymously (either digitally or on paper). I always ask students to fill in all of the comment boxes, because that’s where the learning opportunities are.


WHO HOLDS YOUR MIRROR? Who holds your mirror? Your students? Their families? Your co-workers? Your administrators? Do you see what you want to see, or do you see what they see? We must bravely consider what these mirrors show us. We need to be fearlessly reflective so we can continue to strengthen our skills. Suzy Brooks is the Director of Instructional Technology for Mashpee Public Schools in Massachusetts.


New Tech & Learning Event Focuses on School Safety, Budgeting for Innovation, Building Planning, and More From 2016 to 2018, over 84% of school bond campaigns listed “improving school safety” as one of their top three construction and campaign goals — ­ yet, NBC News recently reported that over $2.7 billion has been spent on school safety without making schools much safer. How you can prove your schools will be safer without wasting valuable funds? This will be one of the important topics explored at Tech & Learning’s new event, “Making the Most of Your School Funding,” taking place in Austin on April 23-24, 2019, hosted in partnership with SchoolBondFinder. Security expert Sean Spellecy will provide guidelines that can help ensure districts meet their safety goals. He’ll share real-life experiences from other administrators who used this process, physical and operational security assessments that allow you to measure your school safety before, during, and after construction, security tool trends that can save your district money, and recommendations on what type of security systems, contractors, and training you need to keep your schools safe. In addition to providing school safety tips and resources, school district leaders will include their tips and lessons learned for

building planning, including creating flexible learning environments. Speakers will include Highline Public Schools (WA) CTO Mark Finstrom, whose efforts around capital facility planning, smart buildings, boundary revisions, safety and security have resulted in facilities and procedures that resulted in flexible and effective learning environments. Evergreen Public Schools will also share their story about turning a $900+ million bond into a unique approach to learning spaces that involved all of their stakeholders. They started with a pilot that included professional development on the impact of space on learning and engagement for the pilot teachers, administrators, and cabinet members. They will share the roadmap that came

out of this experience that helped the district determine best options for all purchases. In addition to school safety and facilities planning, author and former superintendent Don Lifto will share his “Top 10 Resources for Tax Election Planning” in the opening keynote. School districts across the country know the challenge of asking voters to approve tax increases for additional school funding. Preparing for these elections is a timeconsuming and daunting task, and a formula for success in one district will not necessarily work for for another district. In the opening keynote, Dr. Lifto will share strategies based on research and successful practice that can improve your chances for success while also building community trust and engagement. There is no charge for those accepted by Tech & Learning. The content of the “Making the Most of Your School Funding” conference is ideal for superintendents, CTOs, CFOs, facilities managers, safety and security officers, and others looking to network with colleagues to share best practices in making the most of school funding. As always, Tech & Learning will build in plenty of time for networking and opportunities to build your PLN.

For more information, visit:


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Two Neshoba Central Elementary School students work together at an interactive panel, critiquing each other’s work.


How Tech Tools Are Redefining Literacy to Prepare Students for Career and College By Tara Smith As the traditional definition of literacy expands and deepens, today’s students are learning new ways to communicate and collaborate. They need to be able to read, write, code, analyze data, and evaluate sources. They also need to know how to be good digital citizens and invest in positive relationships. Educators are learning new skills, too, as they teach and model these interconnected areas of literacy: reading, media


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literacy, digital literacy, and social-emotional literacy.

READING: CHANGING THE CONVERSATION The foundation for literacy, in all its forms, is reading. And building a strong reading program begins with teachers who are engaged learners themselves. Thanks to edtech, “The conversation


around learning has really changed,” says Dr. Lundy Brantley, superintendent of Neshoba County School District. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) have become a “way of life” in this rural district in east-central Mississippi with 68 percent free and reduced lunch. The culture, he says, has changed to one of high expectations. For the first time in its history, in September 2018 Neshoba Central

NEXT-GEN LITERACY Elementary was rated an “A” school based on Mississippi’s A–F accountability system. Brantley credits Neshoba’s elementary principal, Tiffany Plott, with initiating some of these conversations that are transforming the district. “Teachers are meeting in their PLCs, some every day, and talking about individual student learning and data points,” Plott says. “They’re building trust and recognizing that shared success depends on sharing ideas.” And Neshoba’s 3,3000 students in grades K – 12 are the beneficiaries. When Plott arrived from a more affluent district five years ago, she ordered Chromebooks and carts for the school, which is now 2:1 in K–1 and 1:1 in grades 2–5. Brantley, who’s in his second year at Neshoba, says that between a fantastic tech director and increased bandwidth, “everyone now has access to everything we have.” This investment in bringing opportunities for digital literacy to students in rural communities has paid off with huge dividends, he says. Because students are now able to create, analyze, and utilize edtech, they’ve grown, for example, over 40 proficiency points in science. A Robust Tool and Enthusiastic Learners With passionate teachers, edtech tools, and i-Ready, Neshoba students have also made huge strides in reading. The district chose i-Ready because of its diagnostic pretests, personalized learning paths, interventions, and embedded

help. “I love the teacher toolbox, instructional games and strategies, and reports with data that pinpoint exactly where we need to go to get a child to grade level, says Plott. “Other programs give lots of practice, but not instruction.” Teachers appreciate these tools and knowing exactly how to remediate and enrich. But literacy rates at Neshoba have improved because students have also caught the enthusiasm of this culture of transformation. “The kids love it,” Plott says, and incentives like four-foot trophies that the two classrooms who are the i-Ready champs in math and reading win for the week help spur competition, collaboration, and learning. “We take their picture, announce it on Facebook, and the kids even put the trophy on their table in the lunchroom,” says Brantley. “The A junior at Neshoba Central High School reads to fourth-grade students conversation has changed for at Neshoba Central Elementary School. kids and parents too.” If there’s one picture of literacy that’s worth a thousand words, it might other’s work. Brantley’s voice brims with pride as be a photo of two eight-year-olds working he describes this moment of shared learning and together at an interactive panel, critiquing each collaboration.

Teachers at Neshoba Central Elementary School meeting in their PLC.

The weekly i-Ready Reading Champs at Neshoba Central Elementary School.


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NEXT-GEN LITERACY MEDIA LITERACY: A SUBSET OF DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP In its broadest sense, media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. Students need to learn to look at URLs, for example, and determine the safety and reliability of sources. With the prevalence of 1:1 programs, media literacy is no longer the sole province of librarians teaching standalone lessons about staying safe online. The conversations need to be broader and deeper, and Nancy Battaglia, Director of Technology for Skokie (IL) School District 68, sees media literacy as a subset of the overarching theme of digital citizenship. In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, definitions can be slippery. The term “digital citizenship” has come into use over the past decade, and at Skokie, a pre-K–8 district of 1,900 students, Battaglia and others are working on a simple working definition for the district. Common Sense Education’s infographic below is a helpful starting point with younger students, as are the writings of Mike Ribble, who combines the elements of digital citizenship into three

areas: educate, protect, and respect. Increasingly, balancing screen time is also a component of being a good digital citizen. In a very real sense, however, as technology becomes more intricately intertwined with everything we do, Battaglia says there’s a case to be made for calling digital citizenship just “citizenship.” Media literate students are those who can think critically and comport themselves with wisdom, care, and concern for others—onscreen and off.

Simplifying and Embedding Rather than trying to create Nancy Battaglia reads a picture book on online safety to kindergarten an all-encompassing scope students at Jane Stenson Elementary School. and sequence to teach digital citizenship, Battaglia suggests them make decisions about how their children use simplifying and embedding the concepts into district technology at home. Parents also have a everyday conversations—in the classroom with key role to play modeling good online behavior. students, but also among educators. “Often,” she says, “teachers are already teaching digital Practicing Discernment citizenship—talking with students about not Some parents have been surprised, Battaglia using their last names online, for says, by their district policy not to block example—without realizing that’s YouTube. “We explain that, in the real world, what they’re doing.” Starting the YouTube is not going to be blocked. Students conversations with young students is use YouTube to learn to make things and learn important, she says, so good digital new skills—there are so many good parts, and so citizenship becomes a natural part of instead of blocking it we need to teach students their positive, discerning approach to to use sites like that safely.” all interactions online. See Battaglia’s presentation on digital Celebrating Digital Citizenship citizenship at the 2018 T&L Leadership Week each October is a great way to Summit here: start the year and to make sure that RHdITYp4WJ1wQ/ new teachers are all on board and part of the process. Online resources abound, including those from ISTE, Common Sense Media, BrainPop, and Google. Battaglia also recommends using instructional and technology coaches and librarians as resources in addition to capitalizing on real-life examples of situations and questions as learning experiences for all. Educating parents as part of this cultural shift is also key, she says. Parents Fifth-grade students at Highland Elementary School collaborate on a Download this poster from Common Sense Education at need resources to help literacy project.


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NEXT-GEN LITERACY FOSTERING DIGITAL LITERACY THROUGH DISCOVERY, DISRUPTION, AND INNOVATION Philadelphia, the fifth-largest city in the US, is a city of neighborhoods, strong community, and connectedness. And although the Declaration of Independence, which asserts equality for all, was adopted here, like most cities today Philadelphia faces challenges to ensure that there are equal digital opportunities and access for everyone. Andrew Stutzman is one of many passionate and innovative educators seeking to advance digital literacy in creative ways and in multiple contexts throughout the city. Stutzman’s leadership roles have morphed over the years as he works to ensure equality in the dynamic tech landscape—from providing free computer lab access through the KEYSPOT network to various initiatives connecting educators,

The ExCITe Center The ExCITe Center accomplishes its mission, “to inspire transdisciplinary research and discovery connecting technology and communities,” through novel projects as diverse as an entrepreneurial game studio, 3D knitting machines, and Summer STEAM programs where students can participate in unique arts-science learning activities exploring, for example, the science behind music, the engineering behind sneaker design, and the intersections between visual art and geometry and biology and dance. ExCITe’s STEAM workshops for teachers, with keynote Students from the ExCITe Center’s Young Dragons summer program. speakers and presentations as well as hands-on workshops, promote computer science by providing busy LRNG Philly teachers with professional development LRNG, which recently merged with opportunities, resources, and skills to implement Southern New Hampshire University, is another proven initiatives in their classrooms. organization working in Philadelphia and other The ExCITe Center also conducted a cities across the country to address workforce year-long, in-depth exploration of makerspaces needs and increase low-cost or free access to across the country. Its report, Making Culture, learning pathways for all youth. Their urban highlights how important student interest, realecosystem approach focuses on low-income world relevance, and community collaboration populations and seeks to identify and meet are to learning. The study also revealed the very educational needs in each city. real gaps in inclusion in STEM education and Beyond knowing how to use a computer formulated recommendations for addressing to perform basic office skills, Stutzman says, them. Another goal of the ExCITe Center, one of the key components of 21st-century Stutzman says, is to offer more professional digital literacy is knowing how to work with development for teachers on creating, data. Financial literacy is another important maintaining, and integrating makerspaces. area as, for example, students fill out college

Recommendations from the ExCITe Center’s Making Culture report. employers, and students. The common thread of his involvement with projects like Drexel University’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center, the Technology Learning Collaborative (TLC), Digital OnRamps, and LRNG Philly, is digital literacy training for all. These projects demonstrate how digital literacy can transform communities. They’re also resource-rich examples for educators seeking to promote digital literacy in their own districts and community contexts.


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Recommendations from the ExCITe Center’s Making Culture report.


applications. Community partnerships through LRNG enable youth to connect learning experiences to career and higher education opportunities through mentoring and earning digital badges, internships, and scholarships.

in positive relationships, they will not be fully “literate” members of the workforce and society. Social-Emotional Learning, or SEL, is a rapidly growing Equality for All Digital Natives field in education and Digital inclusion, Stutzman says, always Randi Peterson, an SEL needs to be part of the conversation about digital curriculum developer in literacy. While broadband penetration is about Bellevue (WA) School 83 percent across the country, it’s still only 71 District, explains that it percent in Philadelphia and as low as 37 percent needs to begin with adults. in the poorest areas. That’s why programs like Helping to equip every CS4PHILLY (part of the national CS for All adult who has an impact consortium), which sponsors major events to on children—teachers, but promote and expose high-school students to also other school personnel, At Cherry Crest Elementary in Bellevue, WA, fourth-grade teacher Kimberly Hansen teaches a RULER lesson about the meta-moment anchor. technology, are so important. coaches, after-school At a recent holiday event for the homeless, program facilitators, and the TLC provided technology including iPads parents—with their own SEL skills is critical for Peterson says, gives adults and students a and laptops for the kids to use. “Every device was teaching and modeling SEL. But even positive common language for talking about feelings and in use the whole time,” Stutzman says. “Everyone change can be difficult. Sometimes, for example, mindful decisions as well as what she calls “SEL knew what they wanted to do and how to use it’s a challenge to get parents on board. They opportunities” in unstructured and sometimes the device to do it. There were no questions.” might say, “We didn’t talk about feelings in my stressful environments like the playground, Students who don’t have the kind of tech access family.” And because it’s relatively new as a cafeteria, or school bus. Washington is now that their peers do still took to it like fish to curriculum area, teachers who may have grown one of CASEL’s collaborating states and has water. “That was really encouraging,” Stutzman up learning SEL implicitly at home or in their also instituted state-wide SEL standards and says. Imagine what they could do if they had such community need to be supported as they build benchmarks (competencies). equal opportunities every day. a mindful capacity to teach SEL. “It’s more At the elementary level, Bellevue is using than a content area—and it’s a learning curve,” evidence-based curricula, including Second Step SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL Peterson says. Patience, kindness, and open (grades K–2) and The RULER Approach (grades LITERACY: PRACTICING communication are key. 3–5). Peterson acknowledges that SEL is more PATIENCE, KINDNESS, AND Another key to integrating SEL into the easily and naturally integrated into elementary OPEN COMMUNICATION curriculum successfully, Peterson says, is classrooms where teachers spend the day with a Unless our students who know how to read, triangulating multiple data points. Bellevue group of students. While there are a few resources write, and solve math problems also master the uses various tools to gather data. Aperture’s available for middle and high schools, it can be a skills necessary to manage their emotions, set DESSA helps to build the kind of picture of a challenge to prioritize SEL intentionally. “We’re goals, make decisions, show empathy, and invest student’s needs that enables educators to target explicitly incorporating SEL for our secondary instruction, and the Panorama students by utilizing affective statements and Student Survey captures questions, talking circles, and community building students’ voices in areas like assemblies, as well as integrating prosocial lessons student engagement, pedagogical into content area subjects.” With neighbors like effectiveness, school climate, and Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, Bellevue hears safety. all the time how crucial these relational skills are in the workplace. A Framework for “It’s also critical to develop leaders in Talking about Feelings SEL,” Peterson says, and Washington’s microBellevue began their journey credential pilot program in SEL is equipping focusing on SEL as an academic teachers to be leaders among their colleagues. area in 2011. The district adopted The websites for CASEL ( and the the five core competencies set out Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley by the Collaborative for Academic, ( offer a wealth of resources as Social, and Emotional Learning well as conference opportunities for educators. (CASEL): self-awareness, self“It’s complex work that requires a management, social awareness, lot of coaching and continuous cycles of Students at Cherry Crest Elementary in Bellevue, WA participate in a relationship skills, and responsible improvement,” Peterson says. “But I truly believe RULER lesson for SEL. decision making. This framework, it’s the work that we need to be doing.”


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How Out-of-This-World STEM Education Is Transforming Schools

NASA astronauts Suni Williams (left) and Kevin Ford, crewmembers of Expedition 53 to the International Space Station, answer questions from students during a video conference held in honor of International Education Week at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on Nov. 15, 2012, in Washington. to better educate a new and less aristocratic class of students. The G.I. Bill, meanwhile, gave World War II veterans financial assistance to go to college. Credit for this new disruption in the education industry goes to the ongoing modernization of curricula and a revolution in telecommunications, seen in the widespread use of smartphones, laptops

and tablets. We can thank Moore's law for the global adoption of these devices; that law says that an exponential increase in the power of computing leads to a corresponding decrease in the cost of computer technology. These changes will inevitably alter the direction of educational spending in the U.S., which, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES),


Frank Lloyd Wright called space "the breath of art." He disrupted architecture — he revolutionized the use of space on Earth — through the buildings he designed. If you want to see a different but no less artistic use of space, look not to Wright's artistic treatment of space, but instead to students using their creativity to design experiments bound for outer space. Look to the heavens to see the latest academic disruption on Earth. By disruption, I refer to schools throughout the United States that have embraced a "space-centric" approach to teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Students can now take what they have learned in the classroom and, in partnership with organizations like DreamUp (which has launched 400 student-built payloads to date), conduct experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Never before have so many learners had so much access to the ultimate laboratory, where teachers and students have an emotional stake in what happens to their projects. This recent expansion in educational opportunities is historic and democratic. The disruption is on par with the rise of the United States' land-grant colleges and the passage of the G.I. Bill of Rights. Land grant colleges were created during or after the Civil War, with a focus on agriculture, science, military science and engineering,


By Carie Lemack


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SPACE currently amounts to $634 billion per year, or $12,509 per public school student enrolled this fall. These changes are part of the same technological forces that connect a multitude of schools across the country. Change is alive and well at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. A land-grant university famous for its aviation and aeronautical engineering programs, Purdue is the alma mater of 24 NASA astronauts, including moonwalkers Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan. "As a student working with the ISS, I was presented with real problems to solve, real consequences for

failure and therefore a real reason to learn," Joe Tiberi, one of Purdue's many talented aerospace engineering students, said in a testimonial for DreamUp. Tiberi had the opportunity to design, test and build a science experiment through a program called High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH). Like other land-grant colleges, Purdue is an example of how schools are transitioning from one era to the next, as the demands of the industrial age — and the need for factory workers — yield to the importance of the information age, in which factories

have fewer workers and employees have specialized skills. This university shows that the best way for a school to stay relevant is to refuse to stay complacent, making changes so that it graduates students fluent in STEM who are eager to explore space. Accelerating that disruption is critical to modernizing the nation's schools. It requires not only a change in courses but also a change in priorities among grade schools, colleges and universities. Teachers and professors at these institutions need to know — and students need to understand — that the sky isn't even the limit to the science they can accomplish. Excitement about these possibilities is reason enough for us to prepare ourselves for the changes ahead. Those changes will help the United States stay ahead and go head to head with the scientists, educators and entrepreneurs throughout the world. Awareness will maintain our readiness, while disruption will ensure we are ready — and able — to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Only then, will we have the Wright stuff to succeed.


Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Carie Lemack is co-founder and CEO of DreamUp, the first company to bring space into classrooms and classrooms into space. A former national security policy expert/ advocate and producer of an Academy Award-nominated film, Lemack is a proud alumna of Space Camp and a supporter of all space cadets reaching for the stars. Lemack contributed this article to's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.


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TOP TEN MAKERSPACE FAVORITES OF 2018 Laura Fleming shares her favorite makerspace resources: 1. Brickstuff: This starter kit includes everything you need to get started. No electronics or soldering knowledge is necessary to set up these lights and start using them right away. 2. Unruly Splats: These programmable floor tiles are made to be stepped on! They pair with a tablet preloaded with tons of recessstyle play games. 3. Everblock Systems: EverBlock is a lifesized modular building block that allows you to build nearly anything. This makes them ideal for collaborative building and engineering projects. 4. IDEO Method Cards: These cards are low-tech and offer 51 ways to inspire design, while keeping humans at the center of the process, the whole time.

5. Dowling Magnets Junior Architect Wonderboard Magnet Set: This magnet set allows children to design and construct their own imaginative building, while exploring art, spatial geometry, and engineering principles. 6. AlphaBriks and MathBriks: In terms of STEM and makerspaces, I feel that Mathematics is often overlooked, as compared to the other letters in STEM. This is why I love these AlphaBriks and MathBriks sets from StrictlyBriks so much. 7. Mini-Materials: Avoiding plastics and paint, Mini Materials are mini versions of products familiar to the construction world, like cinder blocks, red bricks, jersey barriers,

pallets and lumber, all made the same way their replicated versions are made. 8. Chalk of the Town: This Chalkboard T-Shirt from Chalk of the Town caught my eye a few years ago now, and we have had fun with it ever since. 9. Rockwell Tools-Jawhorse: With space being an issue for many educators in their makerspace, and mobility continuing to be more and more of a focus, this tool fits the bill perfectly! 10. Hands-On Coding: This Hands-On Coding blocks allow for a screen free way of learning the fundamentals of computer science, while also allowing children to get up and get moving and act out their algorithms.

Laura Fleming has been a classroom teacher and media specialist in grades K-8 and currently is a Library Media Specialist for grades 9-12. She is a well known writer, speaker and consultant on next-generation teaching methods and tools, and the author of the best-selling Worlds of Learning: Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for Your School.


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STEM Resources for PBL and Authentic Learning Michael Gorman shares some of his top picks for STEM resources:

DESIGN SQUAD NATION Another great service from PBS, this is filled with entertaining and engaging ways to integrate STEM into any classroom. Teachers can explore and use Design Squad Nation activities, animations, video profiles, and episodes in classrooms, after-school programs, libraries, museums, and at events and at home.

ENGINEER YOUR LIFE This engaging website is the centerpiece of a national campaign for high-school girls and the adults in their lives (parents, counselors, teachers, and other educators) who want to learn more about what life and work are like for engineers. It’s a great place to explore outstanding engineering possibilities.

TEACH ENGINEERING This is a comprehensive collaborative project between faculty, students, and teachers associated with five founding partner universities with National Science Foundation funding. This real-world collection continues to grow and evolve with new additions submitted from more than 50 additional contributors, a cadre of volunteer teacher and engineer reviewers, and feedback from teachers who use the curricula in their classrooms.


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DISCOVER ENGINEERING This coalition of volunteer engineer professionals works together to celebrate engineering and give students hands-on experiences with engineering.

EGFI DREAM UP THE FUTURE Be ready to discover a variety of tools to boost your students’ math and science skills, enliven the classroom with engineering projects, expand your own professional horizons, and stay informed. There’s also an amazing free newsletter with updated features that will arrive in your in-box every month. This site is a must visit for any STEM teacher.

EIE Engineering is Elementary supports educators and children with curricula and professional development that develop engineering literacy. EiE serves children and educators in grades K–8 with research-based, teacher-tested curriculum materials for schools and out-of-school programs. The program’s professional development workshops also help teachers build skills and confidence in teaching engineering and technology.

THE LEMELSON CENTER Take a moment to visit this amazing website that showcases the study of invention and


innovation. It’s part of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. The center documents, interprets, and disseminates information about invention and innovation; encourages inventive creativity in young people; and fosters an appreciation for the central role that invention and innovation play in the history of the United States.


Take a look at the design possibilities covering all subject areas and grade levels. There’s sure to be something to promote design thinking for your students.

TRYENGINEERING Here’s a place to visit for the latest information, resources, and research. It provides numerous ideas to bring engineering to the classroom.

THE ENGINEERING PLACE This might be the right place to get the idea you need. There are wonderful lesson plans for K–8 students.

SPARK!LAB Discover the Spark!Lab Process for design, which includes: identify a problem or need (Think It), conduct research (Explore It), make sketches

STEM RESOURCES (Sketch It), build prototypes (Create It), test the invention (Try It), refine the invention (Tweak It), and market the invention (Sell It). You’ll want to explore the links to these resources and the amazing Spark!Lab Free Design Book.



This is one of the easiest ways to draw in 3D. Say hello to SketchUp Free: 3D modeling in a Web browser.

This is a wonderful example of the many simulations that teachers can work on with students.



TINKER BALL This is a great simulation that allows students to see that there are multiple iterations and possibilities when designing.

This is a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. It’s used by teachers, kids, hobbyists, and designers to imagine, design, and make all sorts of things.



Explore this wonderful program that puts an emphasis on artificial intelligence and engineering.

Check out these great physics games that are all about constructing something.

UL EXPLORE LABS Solve real problems through science and engineering and become part of the movement to make the world a safer place.

STEM CAREER Find your STEM type. Explore different careers and see where you might fit. Your students may find that they want to be engineers!

This is a three-week, project-based learning unit for middle-school science classrooms focused on developing solutions for the negative impact of plastics on the environment. In this NGSS-aligned unit, students use the engineering design process to define a problem, brainstorm solutions, develop prototypes, and iterate on their designs. The project culminates with students producing videos about their solutions to share with the community.


ITE RESOURCES The activities and presentations on this site are specifically designed to introduce K–12 kids to what ITE does—transportation.

This interactive roller coaster ride produced by WGBH illustrates the relationship between potential and kinetic energy. As the coaster cars go up and down the hills and around the loop of the track, a pie chart shows the relative transformation back and forth between gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy.

BRIDGE DESIGNER This is one of my favorite sites, formerly known as the West Point Bridge Design Program. It teachers physics as students create and test their simulated bridge.

LINK ENGINEERING This site connects pre-K–12 engineering to experts and resources for teachers and students.

GO! EXPLORE This is a wonderful website on transportation engineering from Iowa State.

OK GO SANDBOX Helps students learn through the joy, wonder, and fun of OK GO’s music videos. There are some really engaging possibilities here.




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A great collection of activities, lessons, and videos to help students see the engineering in football.


Similar to Super Bowl Engineering, this is a site with activities for baseball enthusiasts.



A series of educational podcasts created to help students understand engineering in the real world.

This is a great collection of videos, based on all types of design and technology principles, that can fit into lessons.



A collection of illuminating short videos that take viewers inside the elementary engineering classroom.

ENGINEERING MAP OF AMERICA Learn about the most challenging and important engineering projects that transformed America in this interactive map from American Experience. Each project is described with a variety of supporting materials, including archival images and documents as well as videos excerpted from American Experience episodes.

NASA: MORE TO EXPLORE Check out the links on this website to find games to play, videos to watch, things to make, and stories to read with students in grades K–4.

BIG DIY IDEAS Here are 35 fun DIY engineering projects just for kids. Some are perfect for tiny tots, and other projects are terrific for older kids and teens. It’s important to use your judgment and provide adult supervision and guidance when needed.


There are a lot of neat projects from the NASA Summer Innovation Program to pick from.


Check out this PDF from Intel and PBS that outlines the design process as well as some great build possibilities.


If you’re ready for a challenge, check out these easy-to-support ideas for students who want to build it better!

At the USPTO, they’re always thinking of ways to promote innovation. Here are a few fun activities for makers, builder, and tinkerers to enjoy. Check back from time to time for new activities.


The Robotics Alliance Project seeks to provide a clearinghouse of robotics-related educational materials.


Discover resources and projects that connect students to engineering design practices and future careers.


This is a wonderful PDF booklet filled with great build possibilities for students to explore.


Build a lesson around any TED-Ed Animation, TED Talk, or YouTube video.

Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education. His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more


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Artificial intelligence for the web

AUTHOR RICHARD MATTKA Mattka is an awardwinning creative director, designer and developer specialising in VFX and entertainment projects.

w: t: @synergyseeker





Artificial intelligence for the web Richard Mattka introduces you to the powerful field of artificial intelligence, exploring how you can use it and create your own chatbot for your next web project


rtificial intelligence (AI) is an integral part of our world, embedded in nearly every technology we have. AI is in the Google searches we run, the voice commands we give Alexa and the map directions we follow. It’s part of ordering our morning coffee and in the navigation system in our cars. Our AI-powered phones, which are never out of reach, have become an extension of our physical selves and our very identity. AI has the potential to make almost everything we do easier and vastly improve our world. As a technologist, it’s critical that you learn as much as you can about how to leverage these technologies and integrate them into your work.

So what is AI? Artificial Intelligence (AI) is defined as a machine-based intelligence, as opposed to the biological-based intelligence of humans and animals. AI refers to machines performing functions of cognition, such as learning, planning and solving problems. But the definition seems almost too simplistic to capture the incredible range of incarnations of AI. Communication, transportation, scientific discovery, medical research and service industries – all are enhanced



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Artificial intelligence for the web

Case Study John Wick 2 chatbot experience

Chatbots, like the one you’re creating with this tutorial, can be used in a wide range of service and customer support roles. They can help you shop online, troubleshoot IT issues and pick the right vacation. They can also be used creatively as well, like in this cool, interactive chatbot developed by Jam3. Lionsgate used this engaging AI agent to promote the movie ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’, starring Keanu Reeves. The experience draws fans into the world of the hitman character John Wick, enabling them to interact with the master assassin. Using an SMS-based chatbot, fans interact via text messages through their phone. It leverages the ‘faceless’ interactions we are already accustomed to having via text. Just like in the film – where assassins are contacted via text message – fans get contacted the same way. Natural language processing via Wit.AI interprets a wide range of user messages, trained with a high volume of potential phrases. Hundreds of responses were also created to yield a unique experience for each user. Location tracking was used to further enhance the personalisation of the experience, connecting the storyline to the users’ location. Computer Vision via Microsoft’s Vision API, was also used to recognise content in images. For example, if you happened to be wearing glasses in your photo, Wick might respond with: “Lose the glasses. They can be a hazard when fists and bullets start flying.”


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by AI. It performs a wide range of activities including game theory, electronic trading, robotic automation and exploring the vastness of space. Another way to define AI is as intelligent ‘agents’ , which can perceive their environment and take actions towards achieving their goals. You’re going to learn how to create your own intelligent agent later on in this article, in the form of a chatbot.

Blurred lines and the challenge of defining AI Defining AI has become increasingly difficult because technology evolves so rapidly. We tend to extend the definitions of AI as tasks performed by AI become routine. Basic tasks such as autocorrect or autocomplete hardly seem notable today, in the face of self-driving cars and computer vision. In fact, AI is so integrated with our everyday experience we may be hardly aware of it. We may lose sight of where we end and AI begins. AI is so prevalent it is becoming invisible to our perception. Instant search, with most relevant results at out fingertips, is just expected. Massive collective knowledge available with a voice command. Your phone shows you directions to a location that you are ‘most likely’ to be going to next (yep, your phone knows you walk to the coffee shop every morning before work).


Disciplines of AI Despite the ever-changing definitions, there are several identifiable objectives or disciplines within AI. Some applications are but are not limited to: ● Knowledge reasoning ● Machine learning ● Natural language processing ● Computer vision ● Speech recognition ● Robotics ● Virtual reality ● Data mining ● Game theory

AI knowledge reasoning Knowledge reasoning is defining information in a format that a computer system can use to solve complex problems such as diagnosing a medical condition or having a dialogue using natural language. It combines problemsolving psychology and logic to automate reason.

Machine learning Machine learning uses statistical techniques to ‘learn’ without being explicitly programmed. Using data samples, the AI progressively improves by analysing them and making continual predictions. Some examples include Amazon recommendations, Siri voice recognition, spam filtering and computer vision.


Artificial intelligence for the web Natural language processing Natural language processing (NLP) focuses on the interactions between machines and human languages. It is the objective of NLP to process and analyse vast amounts of natural language data, to have improved ‘natural’ communication between humans and machines. This field of AI includes speech recognition, understanding language and generating natural language.

Computer vision Computer vision is an incredible field that focuses on how AI can gain comprehension or understanding from digital images or videos. The objective is to automate what biological visual systems can do and make AI see and understand what it is looking at.

Examples include detecting events, tagging and classifying images, motion tracking in videos, image or scene restoration and object recognition.

AI in web applications Websites and apps can have a variety of moving parts, including front-end creative, server-side processing, APIs, data storage and various forms of interconnectedness. AI can plug in any of these components. On the front end, you can connect voice commands, chatbot interfaces or reactive WebGL creative elements. On the back end, databases use intelligent algorithms to maximise speed and analysis. APIs can provide a layer of abstraction from a wide range of AI functions, from predictions to collective training.

On the front-end, you can connect voice commands, chatbot interfaces or reactive WebGL creative elements

Case Study Netflix movie recommendations

Netflix combines a powerful prediction system, based on a high-volume data continually collected from viewers. What you watch, how long you do, how often and when you watch is all tracked. Movies are tagged and categorised by genre, length, type, actor, theme, director, location, content and many more data points. Your information is also used to intersect this data. Training is done on millions of viewers’ watching habits: eventually the system has a very accurate prediction of what you’d like to watch.

Artificial intelligence APIs

To fully customise your front-end apps and experiences, you’ll want to leverage the abstracted interfaces of AI APIs. These endpoints will enable you to interact with a variety of services. You can easily send data from your app and receive responses. Whether you need to process a user’s input, analyse an image or make predictions based on datasets, these APIs can get it done. Add these AI resources to your projects:

Dialogflow by Google Allows you to build and manage powerful AI agents using natural language processing and much more.

Watson AI Tap into one of the most power AI systems in the world via API endpoints. Data mining, predictions and computer vision are all possible.


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Artificial intelligence for the web

CREATING YOUR FIRST CHATBOT To create your first chatbot, we’ll use Google’s new Dialogflow toolset. It harnesses powerful machine learning as well as speech-to-text. It can be incorporated right into your website as a widget or customised to your needs.



Go to and create your account. Sign in and agree to the permissions to enable Dialogflow to have access to your account.



Dialogflow uses the term ‘agent’ to represent instances of your AI. Think of the agent as the virtual intelligence you are creating. You could have many agents working for you, each with its own personality and purpose. Click on the ‘Create Agent’ button and enter a name for your agent: ‘HAL 9000’.

enter these in the ‘Responses’ window. Try out some like this: ● ‘I’m afraid I can’t do that, Dave.’’ ● ‘I can’t do that right now.’ Then press ‘Add Responses’ and ‘Save’ up at the top again. You’ll see notifications that the agent is being trained and then it is ready.



On the right-hand side of the screen is a testing tool. The chatbot will use Google’s speech-to-text service to translate your voice into text if you try that out. You should see the results of your request and the response the AI agent selected. Very cool!



Train the AI for this intent by providing phrases that a user might use. The NLP AI will use these and derived variations to train the agent. Add the following training phrases in the ‘Training phrases’ window and add as many of your own as you like: ● ‘Open the Pod bay doors, Hal.’ ● ‘Open the doors.’ ● ‘Let me in, Hal!’

Entities are concepts that can be defined and reused in the agent’s responses as variables. Let’s train the AI to understand when a user is expressing an emotion then use that in its response to the user. On the left-hand menu, click ‘Entities’. Type ‘emotion’ for the name of your new entity. Keep ‘Define synonyms’ checked. Click in the table below and type ‘angry’ as the first emotion. Then click to the right of that and add synonyms such as ‘mad’ , ‘upset’ , and so on. Then add another entry for ‘scared’ and use synonyms ‘afraid,’ ‘terrified’ , etc., that you like. Press ‘Save’ when done. This has now trained the Agent to understand that ‘angry’ and ‘scared’ are emotions a user may communicate. All those synonyms are variations that might occur. The AI will generate some as well.





First, you need to create an Intent. We are defining the ‘intention’ of the user’s inputs. Click ‘Create Intent’ and name it ‘open doors’. Press ‘Save’.




Next, you need to add some responses that the agent will respond with. You

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Now we are going to create a new intent to use the ‘emotion’ entity we

Above Train the AI for an intent by providing phrases that a user might use Above right Clicking on Web Demo will display a code snippet you can use to drop the widget into your own website

have created. Call this intent ‘emotions’ and click ‘Save’. Next add new training phrases such as ‘you’re scaring me’ , ‘you’re making me mad’ , and ‘I’m very angry,’ using variations of angry and scared keywords. This will train the agent to understand the various ways that a user may phrase this emotional statement. You’ll notice the system highlights the scared and angry words for you. It’s already flagging these as entities. It has also added an entry into the ‘Actions and parameters’ window. This enables you to use these entities in your responses, too.



In the Responses window, add new responses that use this new entity. Note the ‘$’ to denote the ‘$emotion’ Entity. Try adding these responses: ● ‘I am sorry you are feeling $emotion, Dave.’ ● ‘Feeling $emotion is a human response, Dave.’


Artificial intelligence for the web

Click ‘Add Responses’ and press the ‘Save’ button at the top of the screen to save the entire Intent.



Try saying or typing the following phrases in the testing tool. ● ‘You’re making me very angry Hal.’ ● “You’re freaking me out.” Notice how it responded using ‘scared’ with the second one? It used our synonym, ‘freaked out’ to know that we meant scared. Very cool. Feel free to play around with this as well as add some more intents and responses that you like and then we’ll add this to a web page.



To add it to your web page, click ‘Integrations’ on the left-hand menu. Then click on the ‘Web Demo’ box to turn that option on. A pop-up will appear that shows you a direct link so you can use to test your integration out right away. It will also display a code snippet that you can use to drop the widget into your own web site. Copy that snippet to the clipboard so you can paste it into your site.

The technology creates fantastic opportunities but it also comes with a need for responsible, ethical use CREATE A BASIC WEB PAGE AND ADD THE SNIPPET


Create a basic HMTL page and include that code snippet next. Try out the following code and upload it to your server or run it on your local server. Replace the snippet below with the one you copied from your Dialogflow agent: <!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <title>NET - AI Chatbot</title> </head> <body> <iframe allow=”microphone;” width=”350”height=”430” src=”https:// embedded/bbd27d04-5546-4b62-85a5-

c373575a33aa”> </iframe> </body> </html>

Parting thoughts Artificial Intelligence (AI) enables us to create new ways of looking at existing problems, from rethinking environmental strategies to how we learn. Your projects – whether apps, web sites or games – can leverage AI to make them more engaging, easier to use and have more valuable results. The technology creates fantastic opportunities but it also comes with a need for responsible, ethical use. Seek ways to enhance experiences and make life better as you learn and grow.


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Phishing Scams:

Don’t Take the Bait By Andrew Wallace Just glance at your inbox and odds are you’ll find at least one variety of phishing scam or email hack. Whether it’s spear phishing, spoofing, account takeovers through embedded malware, or that time-honored plea from a Nigerian prince, there’s no doubt that our schools’ email systems are under near-constant attack. One careless click of a link can turn a teacher’s account into a spam factory, landing your email system on a blacklist and cutting off communication with the rest of the world. Providing employee tax information to a phisher posing as your superintendent, for example, can result in the identity theft of hundreds of employees. The sad truth is that phishing and spamming scams are now part of life in this digital age. But through more engaging education, more authentic practice, and more creative protection practices, schools have a much better chance of mitigating the impact.


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NEVER STOP EDUCATING Studies indicate that annual, one-off email security awareness training is not effective. Here are some more effective ways an IT department can educate school staff to reduce the risk of cyber attacks: ■■ Send periodic email reminders about common phishing strategies. This can reduce the number of users who fall victim to emailbased threats. Don’t be overly specific in these messages, or your staff might become disinterested or believe you’re only concerned about a particular scam and miss the general concepts of email safety. ■■ Connect with users on a personal level. Let staff know that learning to recognize phishing scams protects them not just at work but also can help them avoid personal email scams that come in many forms—from online banking to social media and even online dating sites. ■■ Mistakes happen. Make sure your teachers feel comfortable approaching you about mistakes and asking for help. To avoid


detection, an infected email account usually will not initiate the release of thousands of spam emails until the weekend or late at night. Quickly changing a user’s password is often all that is needed to avoid infecting your entire network. Let your staff know that prompt reporting of any phishing concerns is crucial. ■■ Back up data regularly. In the age of the cloud, the fear of wiping a computer in order to stop a virus should no longer deter a teacher from reporting a breach. Remind teachers just how easy it is to back up and restore devices. ■■ Reevaluate staff policies. Multiple mistakes by individual staff members can be considered grounds for corrective action. Consider revising employee technology use policies and include resources that support cyber security best practices in staff handbooks. Proactively involve unions to affirm that effective and reliable communication is a core function of schools.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT All of the training, resources, warnings, and exhortations to vigilance can still come up short when users come face-to-face with a well-crafted phishing email. Because of this, many districts are choosing to implement phishing simulations. The theory is that if people are exposed to a few instances of simulated hacks and are met with fairly immediate educational feedback, then the likelihood of falling for the real thing will be diminished. Phishing simulations are common in

government and business sectors, but less so in public education—and they’re not usually embraced warmly by employees. An IT department can help school staff see the benefit of phishing simulations. Let users know that these periodic tests can help all staff become more savvy about spotting phishing scams so that less convenient security practices, such as two-factor authentication or overly restrictive password policies, can be avoided. Phishing simulations can also discreetly identify specific employees who need additional email safety training, rather than requiring all teachers to sit through training sessions. Teachers resent group punishment, but they typically welcome collective rewards. Rather than shame those who fail, celebrate those who succeed. Consider canceling a routine staff meeting following a highly successful phishing simulation, or at the very least cater that meeting with everyone’s favorite pizza or donuts. Some schools enter the names of those who didn’t take the phishing bait into a drawing for gift cards or preferential parking spaces. No one needs to know whose names are in the prize hat, or whose names are on the list for personalized support. These are small prices to pay when contrasted with the lost time and energy and breakdown of communication that result from an email breach.

SECURE THE PERIMETER Certainly, education and practice are critical in the fight against phishing, but there are technology-based approaches to consider in this seemingly endless assault on our lines of communication. Consider these approaches to

Resources & Definitions Resources: Security awareness training and detection software Phishing simulators List of email scams maintained by the Federal Trade Commission features/scam-alerts Definitions (adapted from &


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MISTAKES HAPPEN. MAKE SURE YOUR TEACHERS FEEL COMFORTABLE APPROACHING YOU ABOUT MISTAKES AND ASKING FOR HELP. QUICKLY CHANGING A USER’S PASSWORD IS OFTEN ALL THAT IS NEEDED TO AVOID INFECTING YOUR ENTIRE NETWORK. stanch the flow of ill-intentioned email: ■■ Familiarize yourself with anti-spoofing authentication methods found in all major email solutions such as DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) or Sender Policy Framework (SPF). Explore attachment sandboxing to remove the really nasty malware codes that can infect multiple systems quickly. ■■ Trying to block the ever-changing names and email addresses of phishers is an endless game of Whack-a-Mole, but you might be surprised just how unoriginal many phishers are, relying on oft-repeated and awkward verbiage. Phrase blocking via your email filter is a very effective way of stopping phishers before they ever get through the gates.

Social Engineering: The non-technical cracking of information security. It applies deception for the sole purpose of gathering information, fraud or system access. It is an umbrella term that includes phishing. Phishing: The fraudulent act of acquiring private and sensitive information, such as account usernames and passwords. Using social engineering techniques and computer programming expertise, phishers lure email recipients into believing that a spoofed website is legitimate and genuine. Account Hijacking: A process through which an email or computer account is stolen by a hacker. It’s a type of identity theft in which the hacker uses the stolen account information to carry out malicious or unauthorized activity.


■■ Encourage the use of alternate forms of communication. Very few people in schools should be sending hundreds of external emails. Use services like Remind or School Messenger to keep your blacklist ratings low. It only takes a handful of spam complaints for a local ISP to throttle delivery or block your communications entirely. ■■ Proactively monitor blacklists and review your sender reputation. Removal from block lists can be a time-consuming and often manual process. Don’t wait until all outbound communication has ceased before clearing or establishing your school’s good name.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE A failure of basic email safety impacts everyone—teachers, students, families and the community. Keeping communication flowing is a shared responsibility. As IT works to limit the threats that make it into our inboxes, teachers need to be engaged in authentic cyber-security learning experiences so they know exactly what to do when facing a suspicious email. There’s no silver bullet in the fight against email hacking, but a concerted and multi-pronged effort involving all stakeholders can keep the phishing wolves at bay. Andrew Wallace is the director of technology for South Portland (ME) schools and is the president of the Maine Educational Technology Directors Association. Connect with him @andrewtwallace

Five Things to Look for in 2019 on Student Data Privacy 117 state bills and 22 laws written in 2018; 43 states have passed foundational student data privacy legislation Here’s what to look for in 2019: All eyes on the feds—There’s increasing interest in federal privacy legislation from both sides of the aisle in Congress. Children first—Look for discussions about providing students between the ages of 13 and 16 with more control over their personal information. Hands off—The best way to protect privacy and eliminate data breaches is to not collect the data in the first place. States in action—Discussions from 2018 will turn into action in 2019. Watch Illinois, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. A new sheriff in town—Both the FTC and the Education Department need to ramp up their enforcement of existing privacy laws. SOURCE: EdSurge,

Education Ranked Worst at Cybersecurity out of 17 Major Industries SecurityScorecard has ranked education the worst in cybersecurity. The analysis, published in December, reveals incredible risk to student data as hackers become more adept at accessing student and school data.

Areas of cybersecurity weakness: • Application security • Endpoint security • Patching cadence • Network security

• Insufficient staffing • Phishing scams, which account for 41% of cybersecurity incidents. SOURCE: EdScoop,


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CES ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR EDUCATION The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year showcased some new products for schools and parents. Here are some highlights:

Beyond Tablet Coding Pack provides a brand-new platform for young children, typically aged four to seven, to create and execute code with physical manipulatives and without a display screen, for example, to code battle strategies or to develop interactive stories with multiple characters incorporating their own voice performance and music composition. It comprises two main components, a Beyond Tablet, and game maps and physical manipulatives. Beyond Tablet is a smart tablet without a display screen, and offers tangible interactivity through capacitive sensing and RFID recognition. AEvice Health’s AireSone Junior is a smart wearable for children, launching in the U.S. in June 2019. The AireSone Junior tracks breathing and heart rate, and detects wheezing and cough. The device notifies parents via smartphone when there are any potential concerns. AEvice Health says the AireSone Junior is the first wearable specially designed for asthmatics.

Kano showcased its Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit, a DIY kit that shows you how to build a Bluetooth Coding Wand, learn to code with step-by-step creative challenges, and make magic, with a wave, twist and a twirl. The Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit lets kids create with creatures, spell motions, music, sounds, wizarding artifacts and iconic locations. Make feathers float, enlarge Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans, immobilize Cornish Pixies, make fire flow and more. Available now at selected retailers, Kano's Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit is priced at $99.99.



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Viewpointsystem showcased the VPS 19 smart glasses, which combine eye tracking with a display element for a Mixed Reality experience. The inclusion of "digital iris" technology is what sets the VPS 19 apart from other wearable technologies. The digital iris is capable of interpreting a person's eye behavior to enable interaction by eye gesture, both consciously and subconsciously. The VPS 19 glasses are lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods of time (less than 95g including display unit), just like an ordinary pair of glasses, but are durable to provide reliable service in real-life environments and changing light conditions. The Viewpointsystem VPS 19 will be available in early 2019.

More schools are turning to mindfulness to support their students’ social emotional learning needs. Muse by Interaxon, creator of the Muse brain sensing headband, addresses this issue with their newest product, Muse 2. This new device is a personal meditation assistant that is designed to provide real-time feedback on brain activity, body movement, breathing patterns and heart rate during meditation. Muse 2 uses built-in biosignal, inertial, and heart sensors to create real-time audio experiences in four key areas to help users find focused calm, improve posture, and increase breath and heart awareness. With the companion app, Muse 2 translates meditators' internal states into immersive soundscapes to provide subtle guidance during meditation. Muse 2 is available for $249. Yuneec International is launching its all-new Mantis Q, an adventure ready drone controlled via mobile device or remote, features voice control technology and is small enough to tuck away inside a bag. The Mantis Q also features foldable arms for optimal portability and convenience, up to 33 minutes of battery life and autonomous flight modes with top speeds over 44 miles per hour. Due to its portability, ease-of-use and superior flight time, the Mantis Q is ideal for adventurers, families and drone enthusiasts. With the all new Voice Control feature, users can command Mantis Q just by using their voice. The Mantis Q, priced at $499.99, includes a controller, one battery, spare propellers (one set), three-port charger, power and USB cable. The Mantis Q (X-Pack), $649.99, includes the Mantis Q, controller, three batteries, travel shoulder bag, spare propellers (one set), three-port charger, power and USB cable.


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NEC Display Solutions of America ( announced the launch of two new projector series. Designed primarily for K-12 education, the five new models provide between 3700 and 4000 lumens and offer XGA, WXGA or WUXGA resolution. The new MC series projectors — MC372X and MC382W — replace the models in NEC’s popular VE and V series. These models offer a significant upgrade for entry-level projector customers, including increased brightness, better connectivity, network capability and longer lamp life. The three new ME series projectors — ME402X, ME372W and ME382U —replace models in NEC’s first-generation ME series, offering longer lamp life and a broad choice of resolutions.

MaxPad is a new interactive whiteboard from Starton (www.startonusa. com). It combines a tough ceramic-coated steel board with a built-in Windows 10 computer, optical infrared sensor technology, highdefinition camera, microphone, and a complete set of wired and wireless ports. The MaxPad, when combined with a Casio LampFree ultra short throw projector, provides an image from 75” to 165” diagonal. It’s big, responsive and remarkably useful – the ideal presentation and communication tool for any classroom or conference room.

Sphero ( announced the launch of Specdrums, the STEAM learning brand’s first music-focused product. Specdrums are musical, app-enabled rings that empower kids of all ages and skill levels to create and play music by using colors on a variety of surfaces as their instruments. Specdrums meets kids where they are, from beginners to the artistically-inclined, and connects coding and technology with kids’ ability to move and tap to create rhythm and sound. Kids can create their own masterpieces on the corresponding Specdrums app with hundreds of instruments, loops and sounds.

Listen Technologies (www.listeneverywhere. com), a provider of assistive listening systems, has announced the launch of Listen EVERYWHERE, its new and improved Wi-Fi product. Listen EVERYWHERE is an affordable, lowlatency solution that is ideal for houses of worship and classroom settings where ambient noise and distance can make it difficult for congregants and students to hear audio clearly. The product also can be used in indoor arenas and airports and in combination with other ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) systems such as ListenRF, ListenIR or ListenLOOP for assistive listening.



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Apex Learning announced the acquisition of Youth Digital’s library of project-based technology courses. In courses ranging from coding and design to gaming and animation, students are empowered to go beyond being tech users to become creators. Students use industry-standard tools to complete projects such as developing an iOS or Android app, creating a 3D video game, or designing a fashion collection. Apex Learning will provide online support from experts to students enrolled in the technology courses to ensure they can successfully complete their coursework and projects.


( Intelitek recently made several significant updates to CoderZ, its online learning environment where students in grades 5-12 learn STEM by coding real and virtual 3D robots that will further support educators’ efforts to make computer science education an integral part of the curriculum. CoderZ helps schools develop fundamental coding and programming skills through fun virtual robotics. Major enhancements include: Cyber Robotics 101 (a course for learning programming basics), training activities (project-based missions) to enhance the existing bank of individual lessons, improved functionality, and several new and upcoming tools to

improve class management, including class and student progress tracking and progress control.

COMMON SENSE LAUNCHES CURRICULUM TO COMBAT CONCERNS FACING MIDDLE SCHOOLERS ( With all this time spent online, tweens and teens are navigating a minefield of challenging issues, from sexting and cyberbullying to fake news and addictive design. In response, Common Sense launched the Digital Citizenship


Resource Components, and Global Renew Enhancements. For a complete look at all that is new in Destiny 16.5, visit https://bit. ly/2QC75VZ.


( GuideK12TM announced the acquisition of Excensus LLC, a computer software development and applications firm based in Eagan, MN. Excensus was a development partner with GuideK12 for

Curriculum for grades 6–8, available free to all schools through its flagship Common Sense Education platform. Each lesson in the award-winning curriculum takes on the authentic concerns that students face in their conMted lives, giving them the skills they need to succeed as digital learners, leaders, and citizens tomorrow.


( Follett has released Destiny 16.5 featuring enhancements to Destiny Library Manager, Destiny Discover, and Destiny Resource Manager. Destiny 16.5 highlights

include: Collection Playlists, Genrefication Improvements, Revised Job/Report Manager Functions, Assess Fines for

many years, so this acquisition expands the development capabilities to enable future GuideK12 growth. GuideK12 serves the K-12 market with school district clients across the entire United States providing geovisual analytic software used by school administrators for visualizing data. GuideK12 software applications range from boundary planning, open enrollment tracking to resource placement and beyond. The ability to visualize data assists with critical decisions and improves data insights, transparency and broad support.


( Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has acquired adaptive learning solution Waggle. Integrating Waggle’s platform with HMH’s leading core curriculum programs and services will create effective, classroombased personalized learning experiences for all students across the spectrum of


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software & online


organization that helps educate middle and high school students about how to separate fact from opinion in media

Check out the following resources from our partner sites:

WEBINARS How to Launch an Instructional Technology Strategy Sponsored by: OverDrive Education

learning needs—those above, on and below grade level. The acquisition continues HMH’s investment in the extension of its core solutions.

Strategies for Building Proficient K-12 Writers Sponsored by: Voyager Sopris


Content, patience and a plan: How to launch an instructional technology strategy

(www. Lenovo’s LanSchool Air, the company’s new cloud-based, classroom management platform, is now integrated into Edwin, the latest technology innovation from

Sponsored by: OverDrive Education

Strategies for Delivering Required ESSA Reporting and Supporting Student Success Sponsored by: BrightBytes

8 Ways Teachers Can Incorporate Technology into the Classroom Sponsored by: Voyager Sopris Check for updates

NELSON, Canada’s leading educational publisher. The inclusion of LanSchool Air in the Edwin digital ecosystem brings Lenovo’s classroom management software to Canadian teachers and students, empowering educators to create a classroom environment that is highly interactive, collaborative, and easily manageable.

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( StudySync is partnering with The News Literacy Project (NLP), a non-profit

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reports. NLP will provide articles and video content for StudySync’s recently released product, SyncBlasts. SyncBlasts offer reading and writing assignments that present social studies, science and current event topics relevant to students’ lives and their world.


( Vernier Software & Technology is accepting applications for its 2019 Engineering Contest. This annual contest recognizes one middle school, high school, or college educator with a prize valued at $5,500 for innovatively using Vernier technology to introduce engineering concepts or practices to their students. Applications for the Vernier Engineering Contest are due by February 15, 2019, and the winner will be announced on the Vernier website and Facebook page in March. For complete information on the 2019 Vernier Engineering Contest and to submit an application, visit https://www.vernier. com/grants/engineering/.

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