Source: Tech & Learning0046483738a7a376cac5fd29a607ddf1

The Defined STEM Web site contains a comprehensive set of K-12 cross-curricular resources and lessons that focus on the skills needed for the 21st Century.

Quality and Effectiveness:Teachers can login to the site and search by keyword or select a performance or literacy-based tasks or a lesson based on Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS). Performance tasks follow the Understanding by Design (UbD) Framework as well as the GRASP (Goal, Role, Audience, Situation and Product) Process. Once you select your task category and appropriate grade range, you can then filter your results for the grade level or subject in which you want to concentrate by clicking on one of the tabs across the top of the screen.

Each of the tasks have multimedia resources that can be used by both the students and the teachers to aid in completing the assignments. Performance tasks have the “Big Ideas” and “Essential Questions” clearly represented and the GRASP process is laid out in easy to follow links that take students through each step of the process. From this screen, teachers then have the choice to export the materials to a Adobe .PDF or MS Word file. One really nice feature is that the teachers can edit and customize the assignments and save them for future use.

Sharing the assignments with the students is as easy as distributing a unique hyperlink via email, Web page, Edmodo, or a variety of social media platforms. Teachers can also create a group and other logged in users join via a unique group code. So, disseminating information is easy.

Ease of Use: Defined STEM is very user friendly and has a comprehensive selection of training resources as well as a way to contact technical support. The interface is well designed and intuitive to use. I especially like the section that easily lets you see new content as it is added. Educators can find and distribute UBD performance tasks, literacy tasks or standards based tasks quickly and easily.

Creative Use of Technology: Web-based instruction is what everyone is using for anytime anywhere, any device instruction and Defined STEM has made it easy for educators and students to accomplish. The resources are ready to use but also allow for customization that can be saved, shared and reused.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: Defined STEM is specifically created for teaching students real world 21st century skills that challenge them by introducing real professionals in the particular field that they are studying allows them to take on the role of that person by completing real-world tasks. This is a great match for education.


Defined STEM can save educators a lot of time and hassle when trying to create cross-curricular, standards-based or UBD STEM projects.


• Ease of use.

• Multimedia, real world hands on tasks.

• Customization of tasks and assessments.

• Easy distribution of assignments.

One of the toughest jobs companies have is getting the attention of their target audience. As you look at your pipeline,

Machele Stefhon

Director, Convert!, powered by PR with Panache!

you might be asking yourself, “How do we nurture and qualify existing leads into the sales pipeline?” “What kind of strategies can we implement that will build our lead pipeline with the right targets?” “How do I demonstrate our commitment to our customers and education through thought leadership?”

To get answers to these questions, join Machele Stefhon for this engaging hour-long webinar. Machele is a former educator and seasoned content marketer who will share the why, how and when of lead nurturing and engagement.

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  • Critical questions to ask if you want your content to succeed in telling your story


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Sponsored by AgileEM_logo_4C

myoncwSource: eSchool News

District aims to transform learning through personalized approach to literacy

Florida’s Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the United States, is implementing myON in all 250 of the district’s K-8 schools for the 2014-2015 school year.

More than 259,000 students will benefit from access to the personalized literacy program, which supports the district’s vision of improving literacy outcomes for all students through effective integration of technology into the curriculum.

Through this district-wide K-8 implementation, students have unlimited access to myON, which includes more than 5,000 enhanced digital books with multi-media supports. Embedded Lexile assessments measure and predict student reading growth.

The system provides students with their choice of books within guidelines managed by the school or district. Each student also receives, on their personalized myON dashboard, a recommended list of books that meet their unique interests and which are written at the target Lexile reading level to support reading growth.

The district chose to incorporate myON into its Jumpstart CONNECT@HOME program, which provides a computer device and free internet access for all students in grades 3-5 at 11 targeted elementary schools. Early data is showing positive results. During the first four weeks of the rollout, 140,000 students read more than 48,000 books. After five weeks, third graders across the district saw an average Lexile growth of 9 percent.

“Literacy is so important—getting kids to read outside of the school day, to develop that love of reading at a young age, is vital,” said Sylvia Diaz, assistant superintendent of innovation and school choice for the district. “So many of our kids go home and don’t have home libraries, so they don’t go home to environments that are rich in print–and our district lacks the digital as well. Students don’t have access to diff types of reading materials. This was a way of making sure we were sending home some great tools to support literacy.”

District leaders pointed to outcomes from a 20-day summer school pilot in 2013 as the impetus for implementation. During the pilot, more than 3,800 participating students in grades 2 and 3 experienced an average Lexile reading growth of 11 percent as measured by embedded Lexile assessments. Equally important, according to district officials, students browsed more than 320,000 digital books and read an additional 180,000 to completion.

“Providing our students with access to thousands of books to support their reading growth and overall learning is paramount for our district,” said Marie Izquierdo, chief academic officer for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “And the real-time, actionable data on student reading activity and growth makes it possible for our teachers and administrators to collaborate with each other, helping ensure success for every student.”

“It has been extremely exciting for our team to support the transformational programs underway in Miami-Dade Public Schools,” said Todd Brekhus, myON president. “Their forward-thinking leadership has put students first with a host of innovative approaches that truly leverage technology to support access for all students. We are delighted that they have chosen to partner with myON and we look forward to helping them meet their literacy goals for all students.”


guidek12cwGuideK12 creates an interactive map to showcase districts and schools participating in two major events

The Alliance for Excellent Education wanted an interactive online map to highlight all schools and school districts that are participating in two important programs—Digital Learning Day and Future Ready Schools—when it turned to GuideK12 and its team of experts for its flagship solution.

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.

The first initiative, Digital Learning Day, is on March 13. It is a day to highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes. GuideK12, geo-visual analytics for education partnered with the Alliance to create an interactive map on the Digital Learning Day website, highlighting all the schools across the country that are involved with Digital Learning Day. Users can filter by state and zoom into areas of the map to see all the different type of events the schools are hosting.

The second initiative, Future Ready Schools, is led by the Alliance for Excellent Education and U.S. Department of Education with support from the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission. Future Ready Schools is helping districts quickly move to prepare students for success in college, careers and citizenships. The tools, technology and coaching needed are part of the initiative along with a Future Ready Pledge that over 1,700 school district superintendents have already signed.   To support and display which districts have joined this movement, GuideK12 provided Future Ready Schools an interactive map to visualize the location of all the districts that have signed the pledge with the ability to click on each link to learn more.

“GuideK12 was an invaluable partner in helping the Alliance communicate the broad participation and deep engagement we’re seeing from schools and school districts throughout the United States as they work to implement technology plans that engage students and empower teachers,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education.

“The Alliance is making a great contribution by building these extraordinary events for teachers and school leaders. Given the chance to help support the Alliance, it was an easy decision for us to customize a solution and help highlight the amazing work of districts and educators across the country.  GuideK12’s daily mission is to provide powerful tools for school administrators to visualize data for more informed decision making, so providing the Alliance with a  solution to help people understand data significantly faster was a natural fit for us, said GuideK12 CEO, Chuck Amos.

GuideK12 is decision support software that supports administrators in making more proactive and effective decisions around student and district needs, program placement, boundary changes, school choice, emergency planning and student performance.  This innovative web based software is changing how district administrators see, interact and use their data for better planning results and greater decision support.  Through data visualization on an interactive map, GuideK12 facilitates greater transparency and community trust for districts driving strategic change.

To learn more about GuideK12™ and Geovisual Analytics for education, go to or to schedule a demonstration contact

About GuideK12™:

Based in MN, GuideK12 LLC is a geovisual analytics software company. By visualizing information spatially, decisions on everything from boundary analysis, to policy changes to resource planning and forecasting enrollments can be faster and more effective. GuideK12™ has been the proud recipient of many industry leading awards: Selected as a 2013 finalist for SIIA’s education CODiE awards for Best K-12 Enterprise solution; NSBA Innovative Showcase Company (1 of 6); EdTech Digest “Cool Tool” Winner for Best District Data Solution; and one of the Top Products of 2012 by DA Magazine. GuideK12™ serves large metro, suburban and rural school districts throughout the United Sates. It is owned by private investors and a private investment group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more about GuideK12™, please visit:


Feedback Forums offered by GreyED Solutions offer iPadpalooza participants yet another unique, innovative learning opportunity at summer festival

Now more than ever it is imperative that vendors are creating and designing solutions that improve and adapt to teaching and learning practices, not the other way around. GreyED Solutions is thrilled to announce their partnership with iPadpalooza, to offer a full day of feedback forums on “Pre-Palooza”. The event will take place prior to the start of iPadpalooza on June 22nd.

“iPadpalooza brings together unique learning opportunities for everyone in education and is really centered around giving educators a voice,” said Carl Hooker, founder of iPadpalooza. “Partnering with GreyED Solutions to bring this “Pre-Palooza” feedback forum is another step in the evolution of what this learning festival is all about. It’s an opportunity for leaders to make their voices heard and provide feedback to a variety of companies involved in education. We’re excited to add this new feature to our already highly interactive event.”​

Through their Feedback Forums at Pre-Palooza, GreyED Solutions leadership; Dr. Julie Carter and Rob Dickson, bring their expertise in providing an innovative, productive environment for administrators and vendors to interact, allowing companies invaluable insight into how to shape their products to improve teaching and learning. Each participating company will have the chance to sit down with and receive feedback from forward-thinking education decision makers from all over Texas on how their products could better serve educators and students alike.

“We applaud all the hard work and effort put forth by Mr. Hooker and his team to make iPadpalooza such a valuable event to the education community, we look forward to contributing to its success in June,” stated GreyED Solutions CEO, Dr. Julie Carter. “In today’s fast-paced world, it is more important than ever for companies to gain insight in to what is actually happening within schools and districts, that insight will allow them to develop better, more effective tools that adapt to teaching and learning.”

Drawing from years of experience in technology and administration, GreyED Solutions’ industry expertise provides districts nationwide with technology implementation solutions, designed to empower today’s learners. Through their personalized LEARNing (Listen Engage Analyze Recommend Next Steps) process, GreyED Solutions helps schools and districts achieve their technology goals. By gathering leading national educators and administrators together for Feedback Forums, GreyED Solutions also aims to help organizations within the EdTech industry develop and refine their products and services based on current market needs.

For more information about Pre-Palooza and how to participate, please contact Julie Carter at

For more information about GreyED Solutions, please visit or follow them on twitter; @greyedsolutions

About GreyED Solutions:

GreyED Solutions believes every school and organization has its own unique culture and fingerprint. We seek to understand your environment and your needs through careful analysis of people, processes and technology. We believe that the success of products, programs and implementations are driven by a personalized approach to embracing the individual needs of stakeholders. Instructors at heart, and technologists by trade, we at GreyED Solutions work from your level. We recognize that not every district or company possesses equal amounts of technology experience, maturity or leadership, and we design commensurate solutions suitable to your unique needs.

LU logoSource: The Learning Counsel

By Vinod Lobo | CEO & Founder of Learning Upgrade

What does curriculum look like for today’s students? Ask them, and they’ll probably tell you it’s a combination of the same old textbooks, worksheets, web videos of a teacher at a chalkboard, or an online lesson with a text passage and questions. All too often, these are still standard practices in many classrooms across the country, so basic and familiar that even with technology, they fall short in effectively exciting students about and engaging them in their learning.

Now add music! Suddenly, a song becomes a fresh new way to learn, embedding lesson topics from simple phonics to advanced algebra. When synchronized to animated visuals, the song-video lesson is a short, self-contained pathway to rapid learning. As new mental pathways are activated, students see and hear the same topic in a new way, Any teacher who presses “Play” and watches students sit up, pay attention, tap their feet, and react to the music has experienced this transformation.

Through videos, interactive games, and online courses, teachers are integrating songs and music in general directly into their lessons and classroom activities, giving students the chance to join in. By using a song as an introduction to a new topic or to support the understanding of various topics being discussed in class, students are able to familiarize themselves with the relevant terminology and concepts in a familiar and more memorable way.

Since most of today’s digital natives grew up learning through catchy YouTube videos or watching cartoons on their parent’s iPads, even older students are comfortable with musical lessons. For example, the song and video, “Mean Median and Mode”, pulled from a course offered through Learning Upgrade’s online curriculum, is often used by math teachers to introduce basic measures of center to a sixth grade class.

Teachers working with a wide spectrum of learning styles are putting this new format to work, watching their students overcome many challenges or obstacles that once stood in the way of their learning or their interest in learning. Here are a few examples:

●    Special needs teachers are using music and song-video lessons to reach students who may not have the ability to absorb the necessary information using more traditional methods or concept delivery. Bringing these concepts to life with music and song increase their motivation and peak their interest in the topic which ultimately leads to an excited and engaged student, primed for a breakthrough in learning.

●    Math teachers faced with teaching difficult new standards and concepts are turning to songs and videos as a way to teach their students new terminology, show complex visuals, and sequence multi-step methods to solve problems.

●    After-school teachers wanting to deliver learning gains but not wanting to repeat the same lessons formats with tired students are using music-based online courses to sequence students through intervention.

Why are we seeing the acceleration of music in the classroom right now? There are four key forces driving educators to this new solution:

1. Access to technology – Students now have broad access to the technology to play a musical interactive lesson, thanks to one-to-one computing, tablets, Chromebooks, and the ability to play the same lessons at home and school. So innovative curriculum developers are only limited by their imagination as they create new lessons for these new platforms.

2. Assessment changes – New standards and computer-based tests are putting pressure on educators to find new formats that are effective with every student. If the old formats are failing a group of students, it’s time to try something new before that test this spring!

3. Alternative learning formats – For the first time, students have access to many alternative formats to learn. They don’t have to use that textbook they were given, which explains mean and median in a very confusing way. Instead, they can search for a “Mean Median” song-video on the web where data flies around the screen through multiple steps, methods are sung to a hard-to-forget tune, and they can visualize how to solve these problems.

4. Audio all around us – Music is now everywhere, all the time! Today’s student has a soundtrack to their lives with a constant stream of music reaching from their smartphones to their ears. But when they arrive at school, a music-free zone exists. As educators are now realizing, adding music puts students back in their comfort zone ready to soak up new information in their favorite format.

When Learning Upgrade started incorporating music into its math and reading curriculum more than a decade ago, teachers were surprised. We heard reactions such as, “I’m not sure my students will go for that!” Now, teachers envision their students making breakthroughs with musical lessons.

guidek12cwSource: Tech & Learning – School CIO

Iowa City Community Schools has completed the process of designing, approving and announcing  new elementary boundaries for the 2015-2016 school year. To communicate these changes, the district is using GuideK12’s SchoolSearch™, a school locator tool recently launched by GuideK12.  By entering an address in to the site, parents are able to see new school boundaries and their student’s assigned school fT&L-SchoolCIOLogoor the 2015-2016 school year.

Front office personnel will receive instruction on the tool so they are able to answer any questions from parents.

To learn more, visit


Source: Tech & Learning – School CIO

Bridgeport Public Schools in Bridgeport, CT, announces the expansion of their partnership with myON, a personalized digital literacy platform providing students online and offline access to over 7,000 authentic digital books. As the second largest district in the state, with 37 schools serving over 21,000 students, Bridgeport Public Schools sought to strengthen their literacy program and to place more books in the hands of their students.

Last fall, the district began using myON at Luis Munoz Marin School (PK-8) to support their literacy program and to increase the number of books available to students and their families. Students and families were given an online library to access in school and at home on T&L-SchoolCIOLogocomputers, devices and tablets.  The district decided to expand their pilot program to offer access to myON’s library to students at Beardsley School (PK-6).

“As Director of Literacy, I am constantly looking for new ways and resources that promote reading and reading engagement with our students,” said Melissa Jenkins, director of literacy for Bridgeport Public schools. “Since its implementation we have seen the platform generate more excitement to read as well as fostering student literacy growth and achievement.”

“Our mission is to increase digital access in our community and to put more books in the hands of our students,” added Fran Rabinowitz, superintendent of Bridgeport Public Schools. “In the past three months, students at both Luis Munoz Marin and Beardsley have spent over 750 hours reading and read nearly 3,000 books using myON. We are very excited about the expansion of myON in our district and we look forward to more of our students gaining access to the platform.”

VinciAcademyLogoAward-winning creator of VINCI Blended Learning Curriculum will open its first U.S. location in Los Angeles in Summer 2015

After years of success educating children worldwide, VINCI Education in partnership with Mass Equity will open its first U.S.-based full-service daycare and Pre-K facility in Century City this summer.

VINCI Academy blends the highly regarded teaching philosophies of Montessori and Reggio Emilia, together with developmentally appropriate technology, to provide a holistic learning environment where children are positioned on the path to academic and life success.

The daycare and Pre-K program, located at 1940 Century Park East in L.A.’s Century City, will accommodate approximately 160 students from 18 months to 5 years old. With more than 10,000 square feet of learning space and an additional 3,500 square feet of play space for students, VINCI Academy offers unparalleled programs for young children.

In addition, the facility will offer an in-home infant care program in which trained, certified, background checked, and insured caregivers will work with infant aged children (3-18 months) in the comfort of their homes to provide brain-stimulating movement-based exercises, improve motor skills, and more.

“We are thrilled to be opening the first of many VINCI preschools in U.S.,” said Matthew Massman, co-founder and CEO of VINCI Academy. “We can’t wait to see our graduates becoming the top students of every school they attend.”

The VINCI Academy program is based on a “whole-child” approach, adopting the latest research results in the brain science, supported by a team of scientists, teachers, engineers and artists at VINCI Education, the award-winning company that has built a bridge between early childhood education and technology with its blended learning approach to learning.

VINCI Academy will offer full daycare, food program, enrichment classes and field trips. Children will be grouped by ages from Infant Care (3-18 months), Toddler Program (18-30 months), Jr.Pre-K (2.5-3.5Years), and Pre-K (3-5 years).

From the classroom layout to the educational activities, VINCI Academy is dedicated to maximizing the growth and potential of each child. Parents will be quick to notice their children’s progress thanks to a combination of hands-on activities and the award-winning VINCI digital lessons, and through a fully cloud-based child skill and progress monitoring system specifically designed for VINCI Academy.

“The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical of their growth and learning development. That’s why at VINCI we’re committed to helping children to discover their limitless potential by offering such a happy and exciting place to learn and explore,” said Dr. Dan Yang, founder of VINCI Education, which has received multiple awards for its innovative game-based curriculum.

About VINCI Education—Winner of CODIE 2014 for Best Game-Based Curriculum, VINCI Education provides blended learning curriculum, assessment tools and data analytics for early childhood education. Incorporating findings from the latest brain science research, and relying on its award-winning blended pedagogy, VINCI supports schools and learning centers around the world to create a ‘Happy Environment’ that maximizes each child’s growth potential. VINCI also operates schools and daycares in Canada and China. For more information, visit

About VINCI Academy—VINCI Academy is the daycare/Pre-K of choice for parents dedicated to helping their children excel socially and academically. VINCI Academy teaches children to think on their own, with an emphasis on character building, child empowerment, blended learning, hands-on activities, and maximizing technology, all in a socially interactive atmosphere. For more information, visit


Emily Gould, Director, VINCI Academy | PH: 310-660-7422 | Email:

Early-Learning-Labs-My-IgdisTo ensure young children are reaching important achievement standards and school readiness goals, the Kansas Preschool Programs (KPP) are integrating structures necessary for implementing a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS).

The Kansas MTSS framework is based on a systematic, evidence-based approach to curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices for influencing positive educational outcomes. Working within this framework, the Kansas Inservice Training System (KITS), a program of the Kansas University Life Span Institute at Parsons, initiated training to reinforce assessment, planning, and intentional instruction by the KPP.

“Our goal is to support educators at the classroom, school and program level working together to inform instruction and make data-based decisions for improving programs as a whole and educational outcomes for individual children,” says David Lindeman, Ph.D., Kansas University, KITS Director.

At the core of the Kansas MTSS framework, is the identification of children who may need additional instructional support in the area of early literacy, beyond what the core curriculum provides. The myIGDIs assessments were selected to provide early childhood educators with ongoing universal screening and progress monitoring information useful for making instructional decisions for groups and/or individual children.

“As an evidence-based approach to differentiating instruction and targeting intervention, myIGDIs are perfectly suited for decision-making frameworks such as MTSS. We’re thrilled to be working with the KPPs, together striving to improve child outcomes,” says Steve Johnson, President of Early Learning Labs.

Funded by the Children’s Cabinet and administered by the Kansas State Department of Education, leadership teams of the 12 KPPs were trained last year on using myIGDIs data to identify potential gaps in the program curriculum, need for staff professional development, as well as the instructional needs of the children in the area of early literacy development. This April, additional training will be provided to focus on fidelity and incorporate practices for monitoring early numeracy development.

“We were looking for an assessment that was fast, predictive of later academic success and sensitive to growth. We selected myIGDIs because it was supported by research, and very similar to assessments used by elementary schools in Kansas implementing MTSS with older children,” adds Misty Goosen, ED.S. KITS, Project Coordinator.

According to Goosen, leadership teams are increasing their understanding of how to use the data, collaborate, and help them focus their work in ways that have not happened in the past. The teams’ discussions are evolving and include a higher degree of problem solving and proactive planning. Before using myIGDIs, collaborative meetings between the various early childhood programs were more often a reporting out of activities each one was involved. The collection of myIGDIs universal screening data has provided an opportunity for these collaborative programs to look at a set of data and make hypothesis about what is needed across all of their programs to improve quality.

About myIGDIs

myIGDIs are a set of early literacy & numeracy assessment tools based on over a decade of research that allow early childhood educators to monitor the growth and development of young children. myIGDIs are uniquely suited for use within an RTI or MTSS decision-making framework and have been used across over 12,000 school settings. For more information, visit

About Early Learning Labs

Early Learning Labs grew from decades of research at the University of Minnesota. Early Learning Labs provides research-based solutions for assessing the development of young children. Formed through the collective creations of multiple decades of expertise, Early Learning Labs is dedicated to helping early childhood educators establish important learning goals early and measure progress often.