VCUSD eyes replacing paging system – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo City Unified School District is seeking to replace its internal paging system, a move which is estimated to cost about $200,000 to $250,000.

The VCUSD Board of Education will review the request during its meeting Wednesday night.

“For general announcements and emergency pages, it is recommended that wall-mounted speakers designed specifically for paging purposes be installed and tied into a paging system that is housed locally at the site, but can be monitored and administered centrally, according to a district staff report. “In addition, several schools are utilizing paging systems that are more than 30 years old and cannot be administered centrally.”

District staff is recommending that a control system, along with wiring, and speakers be installed at each school site to allow for paging services and emergency broadcasts.

 

Source: VCUSD eyes replacing paging system

Benicia High offers computer clubs for tech-savvy students – Benicia Herald

By Jasmine Weis

One of the many privileges of being a student at Benicia High School is having the opportunity to enroll in any number of the diverse range of clubs the school has to offer. In recent years, several computer and technology based clubs have made their way onto the list, keeping in pace with the increasing popularity of technical careers and growing number of tech-savvy consumers. I had the opportunity to talk with Maddie Beyer and Victoria Travao, both juniors involved in tech clubs, and gained some insight into what these clubs have to offer.

In search of something to keep her occupied with after school, and with a little encouragement from her teacher, Mr. Andreas Kaiser, Beyer decided to join the Computer Refurbishing Club. The club was established a few years ago by Mr. Kaiser, after the science department was granted new laptops, leading to an influx of old laptops with no place to go. Members of the club are allowed to take the computers home, where they first wipe the drives, then install new software and better operating systems to make them run faster. For people like Beyer, who entered the club with little prior experience dealing with computers, the process is broken down by more experienced members, one of whom even, according to Maddie, “made an instructional manual for the newbies.”

Source: Benicia High offers computer clubs for tech-savvy students

How Gaming Connects to SEL and Career Readiness | Edutopia

By Maurice J. Elias

What kinds of jobs will our students have, and how well are we preparing them for the future? The World Economic Forum, a not-for-profit foundation, is reaching out to educators worldwide. Their call to educators includes redefining what it means to be educated and prepared for work and civic participation—as well as an integration of technology.

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 report titled New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning Through Technology, “To thrive in the 21st century, students need more than traditional academic learning. They must be adept at collaboration, communication, and problem solving, which are some of the skills developed through social and emotional learning (SEL). Coupled with mastery of traditional skills, social and emotional proficiency will equip students to succeed in the swiftly evolving digital economy.”

Source: How Gaming Connects to SEL and Career Readiness | Edutopia

What EdTech Entrepreneurs Should Know And Do About Student Data Privacy – Forbes.com

By Barbara Kurshan

Successful edtech entrepreneurs are data-driven in their approach to innovation and seek to measure the impact of their solution on the problem it attempts to address. The data they use often comes in the form of “Big Data,” which Lev Manovich (2011) defines as “data sets whose size is beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time.” Given the possibilities Big Data offers for assessing impact, many edtech entrepreneurs incorporate ways to gather user data when developing their products. Other edtech entrepreneurs try to obtain student data from schools/school districts and typically encounter challenges in doing so. While Big Data provides the opportunity for edtech entrepreneurs to create innovative technology solutions to address critical problems in education, it also has ushered in a wave of privacy incursions. For ethical and legal reasons, edtech entrepreneurs must understand student data privacy laws and related privacy issues.

Source: What EdTech Entrepreneurs Should Know And Do About Student Data Privacy#1dbe973048b2

New Legislation to Promote Media Arts Education – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

Legislation introduced Monday will help California showcase its role as a world leader by improving media arts education so students will be better prepared for jobs in movies, animation, video games, virtual reality, and other media arts fields, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced.

Torlakson sponsored AB 37, which Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell introduced Monday. This is the first day bills can be introduced for the start of the 2017-2018 legislative session. O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, is Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.

“This is an exciting step forward to improve our students’ education in the fascinating and creative world of media arts,” said Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school teacher and coach. “I want to thank Assemblymember O’Donnell for introducing this measure and preparing students for media arts opportunities in 21st century careers and college.”

Source: New Legislation to Promote Media Arts Education – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

County 4-H’ers to hold SET training – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The 4-H mission, to engage youth to reach their fullest potential, continues in Solano County with another two-day SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) training session.

High school students are invited to take advantage of a chance to perform community service, learn new skills, experience teaching firsthand, and have fun.

The 10-hour training will be held at the Fairfield 4-H office, 501 Texas St., from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Jan. 21 and 1 to 8 p.m. Jan. 22.Teens must participate in both days of training. Deadline to register is Jan. 20.

Source: County 4-H’ers to hold SET training

$11.9 Million Available in Microsoft Settlement – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

More than 8,000 California public schools and districts are eligible to share $11.9 million in the latest round of Education Technology K–12 Voucher Program funding, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today. Funds are available through a 2003 antitrust settlement agreement between Microsoft Corporation and California consumers and businesses.

The list of eligible and potentially eligible schools and districts is available on the California Department of Education K-12 Voucher Program: Funding Web page. Today’s announcement is the fifth distribution of the Microsoft settlement funds. The first four distributions, in 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2015, totaled more than $470 million.

“These funds have improved our students’ education by allowing California to wire our classrooms, modernize instruction, successfully give online tests to 3.1 million students, and make progress in closing the digital divide,” Torlakson said. “I encourage all eligible schools and districts to apply for these technology funds.”

Source: $11.9 Million Available in Microsoft Settlement – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

Google Is Closing The Gap On Apple In The Classroom – Forbes.com

By Nick Morrison

The classroom is one of the most hotly contested frontiers in the tech war, and a new survey suggests that Google is closing the gap on Apple.

A bigger slice of a market that is worth around $68 billion, according to technology analysts Gartner, is clearly a strong motivation for the tech giants to steal a march on their rivals, but it is not the only, or even the most important, factor.

Students who take a shine to a particular device while at school may become lifetime loyalists, and possibly even brand evangelists.

Source: Google Is Closing The Gap On Apple In The Classroom#4fd37a7d661e

Using Technology to Empower Students With Special Needs | Edutopia

By Kathryn Nieves

One of the biggest problems I encounter as a resource room teacher is the self-esteem of the students in my classes. After years of disappointing academic experiences, their confidence is low and their motivation has declined. Combine those points with the peer pressure, bullying, and stresses of middle school, and the students do not have a positive outlook on their education.

In my classroom, technology is a tool for empowerment—it creates a collaborative and innovative space for all students. Along with over 50 million educators and students, I am primarily using Google’s G Suite for Education. The suite is a bundle of Google’s key products, such as Drive, Docs, Slides, and Forms, along with new tools like Google Classroom. While I used these applications in a middle school classroom, the following strategies are appropriate for any age from upper elementary students to high school seniors.

Source: Using Technology to Empower Students With Special Needs | Edutopia

Email advice among lessons for new Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Be careful what you say in emails, individual school board members have no power and trust the record of meetings rather than people’s memories about what was said.

Those were among lessons Thursday when Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees met in special session for a new board member orientation.

Joan Gaut and Bethany Smith, first-place finishers by wide margins in two trustee areas, attended the session where they heard Trustee David Isom advise them to do all school district business through the district email.

Source: Email advice among lessons for new Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees

4-H program seeks Solano high school students for training – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Local high school students are invited to join the Solano County 4-H Science, Engineering and Technology program.

Teens will be trained to teach science in teams to elementary school children in after-school programs. Training sessions are from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 19 and 1 to 8 p.m. Nov. 20 at the 4-H office, 501 Texas St.. Teens must participate both days.

Source: 4-H program seeks Solano high school students for training

Torlakson Kicks Off 2016 STEM Symposium – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today kicked off California’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education symposium.

Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school science teacher and coach, welcomed more than 3,000 teachers, parents, students, researchers, entrepreneurs and others to the two-day event at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“STEM education is a key pathway to success in 21st century careers and college, especially in the high-tech, international economy,” Torlakson said. “We want all of our students to get excited about STEM learning, dream big, and reach for the stars.”

The third annual event showcases the importance of STEM education. Speakers highlighted California’s Next Generation Science Standards, a revolutionary update in teaching California’s 6.2 million public school students about science.

Source: Torlakson Kicks Off 2016 STEM Symposium – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

Sprint to connect 1M students under ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ – Times Herald

By Darlene Superville

The White House says 1 million low-income high school students will receive free internet access under President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative for minority males.

The Sprint Corp. will provide students who can’t get on the internet at home with free tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices, and four years of service.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure says the goal is to complete distribution within five years.

Obama launched “My Brother’s Keeper” in 2014. The program is among the topics the president will discuss Tuesday in Greensboro, North Carolina, during a forum hosted by “The Undefeated.” The ESPN website explores the intersection of race, sports and culture. ESPN is broadcasting the forum Tuesday night.

Source:  Sprint to connect 1M students under ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ – Times Herald

Animated videos help teachers build sense of empathy in students | EdSource

By Jane Meredith Adams

A Silicon Valley educational technology company and researchers from Harvard have teamed up to launch a new series of animated videos next month about the importance of empathy, intended for teachers to use in building students’ social and emotional skills.

Developed by Class Dojo’s Big Ideas program and researchers at the Making Caring Common project at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, the series of three short videos, called “Empathy,” are the latest manifestation of a push to move promising ideas about social and emotional skill-building more quickly from research into classroom practice.

The Empathy videos star Mojo, a friendly green animated monster, who became something of an internet star earlier this year in a series of online videos called “Growth Mindset,” created by Class Dojo and researchers at the Stanford-based organization PERTS, or the Project for Education Research that Scales.

Source: Animated videos help teachers build sense of empathy in students | EdSource

Benicia Middle Schoolers get taste of 21st century learning with Viking Village

By Nick Sestanovich

One of the growing educational trends in recent years has been the implementation of active learning classrooms. These are rooms that provide a 21st century learning environment with laptops, tablets, interactive whiteboards, ergonomic seats and tables and more with the goal of having students become more involved in the educational process in innovative new ways. Such classrooms have been utilized at various institutions at both the K-12 and college level and first arrived at Benicia Unified School District in 2014 with Benicia High School’s Active Learning Space. Now this kind of setting has arrived at Benicia Middle School in what is simply known as the Viking Village.

One would assume the “village” in the title was chosen as a complementary alliteration to the school’s mascot, but Principal Damian Scott assures that it is actually in reference to the funding received through the community and groups like the Benicia Parent Teacher Student Association and Benicia Education Foundation.“It was created by a village,” he said.

Source: Benicia Middle Schoolers get taste of 21st century learning with Viking Village

ECS Report Shows Growing Trend Toward Computer Science – Education News

By Corwin Mollett

The Education Commission of the States, or ECS, has released the Education Trends report that examines graduation requirements regarding computer science classes. The report notes that many states have changed their graduation requirements to encourage districts to offer computer science courses.

The report:

“… identifies states that are allowing or requiring districts to apply computer science coursework toward completion of high school graduation requirements in math, science or foreign language. This report also highlights several states that require computer science courses to fulfill requirements for a specialized diploma or endorsement to the standard high school diploma.”

The report found that 14 states now require students to be allowed to fulfill a math, science, or foreign language credit with a computer science course. In an age where computer knowledge is nearly a mandatory skill for a growing number of jobs, this push for offering and requiring computer science courses is a strong starting point for students.

Source: ECS Report Shows Growing Trend Toward Computer Science

Teen Creates App So Bullied Kids Never Have To Eat Alone : The Salt : NPR

By NPR Staff

You’re at a cafeteria, you’ve got your lunch … and then you just don’t know where to sit. You don’t want to sit alone, but you also don’t know who would be friendly and let you sit with them. Sixteen-year-old Natalie Hampton has been there. She’s an 11th-grader from Sherman Oaks, Calif., and the creator of a new app called Sit With Us.

Hampton recently spoke about the app with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish. A transcript of their conversation follows, edited for clarity.

Source: Teen Creates App So Bullied Kids Never Have To Eat Alone : The Salt : NPR

Schools Taking Various Approaches to Pokemon Go – Education News

By Corwin Mollett

Schools are attempting to find ways to keep the wildly popular mobile app Pokemon Go out of their classrooms. In the new technological age it was already difficult to keep students off their phones and focused on the class, but Pokemon Go has added a new level of distraction for the students.

As Joe Mullins writes for ars Technica UK, France’s education minister is asking Niantic to keep rare Pokemon out of schools. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, education minister of France, is worried that rare Pokemon in schools would be potentially distracting to students.

While France is trying to discourage the game within its schools, some have decided to try and use it to engage with students more. One teacher, in particular, plans to make writing assignments involving the new hit game:

Marissa Grodnick, an English teacher, said “Any time something becomes a big pop culture sensation, as a teacher I     try to just kind of ride the coattails.”

Source: Schools Taking Various Approaches to Pokemon Go

Getting muddy for kids – Solano Land Trust

To find innovative solutions to the challenges of modern living, we need a workforce skilled in science, engineering, and technology. To meet that need, the National Research Council recommended sweeping changes in the way science is taught in America, changes that push students from studying science to actually doing science.

Teachers are at the forefront of this change, and that is why we are offering a “Teachers on the Estuary” program this fall. Solano Land Trust and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are putting on this two-day, professional workshop on October 15 and October 22, 2016.

Source: Getting muddy for kids – Solano Land Trust

Pokemon Go… and Global Success Skills? | Edutopia

By John McCarthy

Not since Minecraft has there been an entertainment program that captures the imagination of so many people. Pokémon Go is addictive for blending imagination from the Pokémon game world into the real environments of our communities.

My son and I found our first Pokémon — Pikachu — in the parking lot of a major chain store. My daughter and I combed a local park to collect and categorize new Pokémon into our Pokédex. Many people eyed their phones and tablets in the park, as they too sought the diverse creatures that hung out near the library, ponds, playgrounds, and firehouse. Children with their older siblings or parents searched feverishly for any Pokémon, making use of the Lures set up by players to raise the spawn rate of Pokémon appearances in specific locations. One group of five players thought they “saw” a Gastly around the bend of a pond, and excitedly ran to the spot with whoops of joy. Most of them were adults.

Source: Pokemon Go… and Global Success Skills? | Edutopia