EdSurge Newsletter

Instruct 163

Learn more: Edtech Index | EdSurge columns | S'Cool Tools | Podcast (NEW!)

Sound the alarm: Now that Zayn Malik has left popular boy band, One Direction, school-age fans everywhere are taking "bathroom breaks" to sob and Tweet about it. (We aren't kidding.) To help get their minds off of Zayn, check out our "Live From The Field" section for ways to get kids involved with edtech, from creating Help Desks to putting out their own podcasts. And for you educators, we've got those free tickets to the LA Summit. Get 'em while they're available!

You know what they say--the show must go on!


WE R H3LP D3SK: Educators are busy these days--so bring in the students to help you with your edtech needs! According to high school students Julia Donohue and Megan Catalano, who co-founded Reading Memorial High School's Rockets Help Desk, it supports technology integration while also allowing students to be "independent and pursue their own interests." Read all about their experience and tips here.

BECAUSE YOU ASKED: Our version of "Dear Abby," otherwise known as "Because You Asked," offers you a space for you to get your most dire questions answered. This week, one teacher asked for an an easy (and low cost) way to share assignments with my students and have them turn the work in. Hear what EdSurgent and former teacher Mary Jo Madda had to say!

MARCH MATH MADNESS: Education can be all fun and games. Just take a look at Nea CLC, a project-based learning charter school in Alameda, CA where two fifth grade classrooms are engaging in a math learning project centered around March Madness, the NCAA men's college basketball tournament. EdSurgent and parent Alice Myerhoff reports on the project this week, and how you can replicate it without having to spend a dime.

SERIAL REALITY: We love podcasts as much as the next guy--it's part of why we start our own EdSurge "On Air" podcast! But what about students? It turns out that schools and districts love them as much as we do and are using podcasts for instructional purposes in the classroom. Are we raising the next generation of Sarah Koenig's?

TECH LORE FROM THE SHORE: Make all the jokes about the Jersey Shore that you want, but there's no ignoring the reality that this little state is taking a big punch at tech innovation. Get a look into the Department of Ed's innovateNJ initiative, a network of 37 innovative New Jersey districts that are designing and implementing new instructional models.


GET IN FORM-ATION: Our guide to personalizing social-emotional learning with Google Forms was so popular last week, we've thrown in another cool way to use Forms this week: track your voracious readers with them! Here's a Google video with tips on how to use Forms for reading lists and organizing field trips.

JUST FOR FUN: Since this is an "iPads and More" section, we've gone into the EdSurge time capsule and pulled out a oldie but goodie--a heated op-ed on exactly why iPads have Chromebooks beat (in one educator's opinion, that is). And for the Chromebook fans, a counter argument.


PUTTING CS FIRST: Back in July, one of EdSurge's coding-themed articles went viral. It told the story of the genesis of Google's CS First--a program designed to get students interested in coding at a very low cost. Since then, CS First users have hit the 27,000 mark; the CS First team has been updating the program with nifty new features and offerings. EdSurge's Mary Jo Madda caught up with Google to hear all the juicy updates and new offerings.

THE CODE FOR "DIVERSITY": Hadi Partovi's nonprofit, Code.org, enlisted the likes of Barack Obama, Shakira and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Malala Yousafzai, to encourage more females and minorities to take up computer science. But have they made a dent? The numbers so far, shared by Partovi: 10 percent of all US students have enrolled in its introductory course; of these, nearly half are girls, and 37 percent are black and Hispanic.

COOL VIDEO, BRO: Now for a little everyday science: A sweet collection of free "Science Take" videos for your classroom, created by the New York Times. Each video explains the science behind some cool idiosyncrasy of everyday life. We love this one: "The Physics of Droplets."

DOLLARS FOR STEM: At the fifth annual White House Science Fair, more than 100 students from +30 states presented their projects. Our fav: "Teen uses Tech to Tackle Cyber-bullying." President Obama also announced that several private sector initiatives, totaling over $240 million, are launching to get more students involved in STEM. Check the White House fact sheet for more. (Will these "commitments" be as dependable as those of ConnectED?)

DOLLARS FOR TEACHERS: But what about teachers? Around the same time as the prez's announcement, EdSurge got an email from Udemy about its Teacher Tech Initiative, where any K-12 educator can get a free programming class for $10 (up to a 95% discount).


SEPARATING WHEAT FROM CHAFF: With so many edtech tools on the market, how can educators best assess the effectiveness of a tool? In EdSurge's Guide to Edtech Efficacy, we collected perspectives on measuring effectiveness, from Pearson, LEAP Innovation, Remind, the Silicon Valley Education Fund, and the MIND Research Institute. We'd love to hear your perspective: share your thoughts in the comments or via email.

A, B, C OR D? EdSurge columnist Eric Horowitz offers a better way to design multiple choice tests this week--one that can "wring more information out of [students'] answers" without writing new test questions. Here's why allowing students to report their confidence in their answers gives teachers a better idea of what they know.

TECH EVERYWHERE: 96% of teachers give technology a significant role in their classroom--but 35% still don't have sufficient internet connectivity. That's according to the newly released TES Global 2015 survey, which asked more than 3,000 teachers (globally, with 1,000 from the U.S.) about the ways they use tech. Read more about teachers' attitudes on gamification, communicating with parents, and differentiated learning.

NO GO, IDAHO: On Monday, the state of Idaho released a report criticizing a statewide rollout of Schoolnet (a Pearson student assessment product) and offering critical lessons for future IT projects. Read here to see what's causing the Gem State so much grief. Happier news from the west coast: Los Angeles' Information Technology Department are making progress on solving LA Unified's high-cost student data management system problems.


LITERATURE: Would you rather read Shakespearian English, or watch Sparky Sweets, who describes himself as a "hood black dude," to learn about Macbeth? The creators of "Thug Notes," a YouTube series (founded in 2013) popular among students and teachers, are betting on the latter. Hear from the duo behind the viral videos about edutainment, student cheating, and whether the play on stereotypes is social satire or offensive.

CURRENT EVENTS: More and more companies are hopping on the newspaper train! On Tuesday, Newsela added a fresh partner, The Washington Post. That brings the total number of news sources available on Newsela to 40, including the LA Times and Bloomberg. Here's a quick comparison of Newsela, Curriculet and LightSail.


CLEARING THE TENSION: Is talk about privacy and data creating a rift between technical and instructional directors on school campuses? That question was at the core of many discussions at the Consortium for School Networking's (CoSN) conference, where more than 900 CTOs and other administrators gathered. Christina Quattrocchi was on the scene to hear both sides of the argument.

UNDERSTANDING DATA PRIVACY: Educators, parents and entrepreneurs alike are concerned about how to best protect student information. But few people ask the obvious question: Why is student data security so important? Tony Porterfield, software engineer, parent, and edsec advocate, walks us through what we should (and shouldn't) be afraid of, from remote attacks to session hijacking to reputational harm.


**Rate ‘em E for "everyone": The following S'Cool Tools do not have any age restrictions listed in their privacy policies.

Free! If you're looking for a way to collect and review student assignments electronically, here's an idea. The Showbie app, available on for iOS, allows you to give assignments, receive student work, and add written, drawn or recorded comments directly onto them. Here's to easing up your classroom workflow!

Free! Do you use online texts and videos in your classroom? With DocentEDU, you can tailor sites from the web for your own lessons, by adding comments, highlighting, videos, maps, graphics, and questions. Your students can add their own annotations to the text, too. DocentEDU also offers a grading tool for all those answered questions and assignments.

Free! Take an LMS, mix in a classroom response tool like Socrative, and you've got Quipper. Available on browsers, iPhone, iPad, and Android, London-based Quipper offers a way to deliver short lessons and ask multiple choice questions of your students. After answers are submitted, the platform provides analytics based on class responses and messages for communicating with students individually.


Edtech Jobs

Looking for a job in edtech? You've come to the right place. EdSurge has the leading edtech jobs board with over 400 openings from schools, nonprofits and companies. Check out all our jobs today! Post your job  ·  See all edtech jobs

TEACHERS, WATCH THIS VIDEO Intrinsic Schools is hiring middle- and high-school teachers for its Belmont Campus on Chicago's Northwest Side. Teachers interested in personalized learning and a technology-infused classrooms click here to learn more and apply!

Inside Sales Team Lead  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Inside Sales Team Lead will be responsible for meeting assigned territory or district targets and will partner with District Managers and Account Executives in the field to create effective sales strategies/action plans that maximize sales
Sales  ·  Large Company  ·  Evanston, IL

District Success Fellow  Education Elements
Ready to network with Education/EdTech leaders, identify new district players in the blended-learning field, and evaluate the relative readiness of districts to pursue innovative blended models? If so, join EdElements as a District Success Fellow!
Sales  ·  Startup  ·  San Carlos, CA

Associate Marketing Manager, TIME for Kids  Time
This individual will drive subscriptions of print and digital classroom products and execute campaigns across marketing channels, including SEM, email marketing, direct mail, social media and trade shows.
Marketing  ·  Large Company  ·  New York, NY

Content Analyst  TES USA (Wikispaces, Blendspace)
TES is looking for Content Analysts to work with our large audience of teachers to ensure that the teacher resources they share on TES Resources are high quality and high value.
Marketing  ·  Startup  ·  San Francisco, CA

Assessment Lead  Zeal
Zeal has built an item bank of 20,000 Common Core assessments with the help of a dozen master teachers. Now we need a lead to take our assessments to the next level.
Teaching  ·  Startup  ·  San Francisco, CA

Global Marketing Manager  Education Entrepreneurs
We're the largest and fastest growing initiative in the world focused on helping people use entrepreneurship to solve problems in education, and we're hiring a new Marketing Manager to take our global brand and story to a whole new level!.
Marketing  ·  Non-profit  ·  San Francisco, CA

Early Education Advisor  MyChild Inc
Convince childcare centers and preschools Directors to participate in a free demonstration of our system, deliver product demos and convert Early Childhood Centers to become clients.
Sales  ·  Startup  ·  Chicago, IL


Edtech Events

Post an event  ·  See all events and meetups

Napa Valley Education Exchange - The Education Exchange is a forum for educators to learn from each other. Come with your district team, or as an individual, to be part of the exchange of ideas around learning practices, principles and school cultures.
25 Mar - 27 Mar  ·  Online  ·  more than $250

Stanford EdCareers EdTech Fair - Come recruit Stanford talent to your edtech organization! Each organization will be given an opportunity to give a short pitch to students. Following the pitches there will be tabling and mingling with students.
9 Apr  ·  Stanford, CA  ·   $51 to $250

General Assembly Web Developer Meet and Hire - General Assembly welcomes you to meet graduates of our Web Development Immersive Program. Our full-stack developers will be on hand to show off their projects, and are available to chat about job opportunities
15 Apr  ·  San Francisco, CA  ·   Free 



Post an opportunity  ·  See all opportunities
4.0 Schools is now accepting applications for the 11th cohort of its Launch program Launch supports entrepreneurs to bring new ventures – products, services, or school models – to life in under 90 days. If you're a bold, gritty individual hungry to solve a tough problem, the Launch program will push you to test and iterate your envisioned solution until it is really meeting the needs of your end users. 4.0 provides an extensive test-bed in NOLA, where companies can iterate based on real user feedback and secure their first customers. During the Launch program, entrepreneurs will have access to coaching, connections, and equity-free capital up to 5k.

ISKME and 23andMe Learning Challenge - ISKME has joined forces with 23andMe to inspire Middle School and High School educators to reimagine the ways we teach genetics. Submit your instructional design plan for how you might personalize genetics learning today!
31 Mar  ·  Middle School and High School educators  ·  23andMe kits ($99 value) and training to create high quality education materials.

LearnStorm: A Bay Area Learning Challenge - LearnStorm is a free, learning challenge that will build a student's ability to learn through mastery of math on Khan Academy. Have a child or student in grade 3 - 12? Sign them up in < 5 minutes at http://www.khanacademy.org/learnstorm
30 Apr  ·  Teachers and students  ·  Earn points and unlock prizes for yourself, your school, and your city

SpringBoard Math Contest Win Prizes worth 50K for classrooms - Spring Board is a nation-wide free-to-participate math contest from March 23 to May 10, 2015. Classrooms win iPads, gift cards and other prizes worth $50K by doing more and better math on Splash Math compared to others, and compared to themselves!
10 May  ·  Elementary school teachers  ·  Total Prizes worth $50,000 up for grabs

The Fifth Annual Google Science Fair - The Google Science Fair is a global online science & technology competition open to individuals and teams from ages 13 to 18.
18 May  ·  Individuals and teams from ages 13 to 18  ·  $50,000 in scholarship funding


Thanks for reading. As always, drop us a note if there's something you missed in this edition of Instruct. We love hearing from readers!

EdSurge is the leading site & newsletter for educators, entrepreneurs, and investors involved in education technology, bringing perspectives and expertise together for better education outcomes.

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