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Instruct 169

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It's been flying across the internet this week--John Oliver's comical but critical take on standardized testing in school. Where do you fall? Is testing the answer to America's education woes, or are we giving these tests too much value? Shoot us a message and let us know--or better yet, tell us in person in New Jersey or Boston.


A NEW NEWSCHOOLS: The biggest celebs at this year's NewSchools Venture Fund Summit were, well, short. In fact, they were kids. Here's how one of the biggest players in school reform changed up its game at its annual confab this year.

BETWEEN THE EXTREMES: Spurring change across a school system doesn't work too well when it's top-down nor when there is "lone wolf" situation, where districts have only pockets of innovation. Alpha Public Schools has a three-step process for finding balance between these extremes--and principal Will Eden spells it out.

IN SEARCH OF THE MICRO-SCHOOL: AltSchool, the startup that's building a network of "micro-schools" across the country, is attracting major venture capital. EdSurge sat down with founder Max Ventilla this week to hear about just what a private school system does with $100 million. Or should districts be looking into the "micro-school" concept as edu-commentator Tom Vander Ark describes it?

SCHOOL CODE: Boil, boil, toil--and code? Coding in schools isn't as simple as putting kids in front of a computer with Code.org or Scratch. Beaver Country Day School's Peter Hutton shares how his school attempts to break gender stereotypes and bring a "coded curriculum" to all its students--including a clever idea around digitally acting out Macbeth.

BYOD--ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE? Why does BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) seem to be spreading, wondered Stanford prof Larry Cuban on his blog, if it frequently introduces more technical difficulties and pedagogical constraints? Prowling for an answer, Cuban dedicated a two-part series (Part 1 and Part 2) to tracking a Northern California teacher and BYOD fan. Her history class, he concluded, a "proof of concept."

FOR ALL YOU BOSTON EDUCATORS: We're coming out to Beantown for the June 12-13 EdSurge Summit, and we're bringing a brass band of entrepreneurs and companies with us! Check out the 30+ tools that'll join us on the floor.

TEACHERS KNOW BEST, according to www.teachersknowbest.org, a Gates Foundation site that shares results from surveys about the digital instruction needs of 3,000 teachers and 1,200 students. And guess what? The top ten favorite products of teachers and students are not the same. Check out the lists here.


BIRTHDAY TREATS: Happy one year (or so) to Google Classroom. Nope, no celebratory Doodles yet but Google did update its mobile app to help teachers "keep track of your classes, no matter where you are or what device you're on." EdSurge's Mary Jo Madda sat down with Product Manager Zach Yeskel to get the low-down.

STANDARDIZED PARABOLAS: Kids at Eanes ISD in Austin, TX use Desmos graphing software on their iPads during the school year—so why on exams? Eighth grade teacher Cathy Yenca reasoned that Desmos could make an exam-friendly version of the app, so she asked—and they did. Learn about the educator-entrepreneur collaboration, and Desmos' plans to expand into standardized testing.

USE YOUR OUTSIDE VOICE: Kids need to play--as do teachers. So take those iPads outside, argues former educator Tom Murray. Murray offers four ways to leverage tablets beyond the classroom, from taking them on field trips to integrating augmented reality.

LOCK IT UP: If you're looking for "12 Ways to Safely Adopt Google Apps into Your School," Gaggle and consultancy, Amplified IT, offer up this handy (and free) e-booklet with handy tips whether you're just now switching to Google Apps for Education or say, filtering your Gmail Drive.


TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY just happened to coincide this year with Cinco de Mayo. Across the US, folks are expressing thanks in different ways. US Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil thanked his high school physics teacher on the White House blog. News Corp. funded 147 DonorsChoose.org technology projects, including every one in Santa Clara, San Jose, San Mateo and Alameda counties in California, worth a total of $215,054.

SHOP TIL YOU DROP: Retail and fast-food chains are offering discounts and free chicken sandwiches this week. Educents and fellow Imagine K12 graduate, Peekapak teamed up to offer teachers a gift basket of lesson plans. And for you Title 1 school educators, you get free access to their Education.com PRO subscription for 12 months, which gives you access to 20,000+ worksheets in all subjects, 5,000 learning activities and science projects, and more!

SHHH, JUST WATCH THAT RED BULL'S EYE: We all know that big retailer, the one with the special red logo. Keep an eye out for a marvelous Teacher Appreciation promotion, slated to be rolled out next week! We'll offer up lots of thanks for this one.


IF YOU CARE ABOUT EDUCATIONAL EQUITY, you should care about mobile, according to EdSurge columnist Alex Hernandez. Much of the conversation about tech in K-12 centers on lack of access. But as Hernandez argues, what gets lost in these well-meaning debates is how critical technology access, especially mobile access, is affecting adults and students. (And he's got the facts to back that up.)

TFA IN THE BAY: What do you get when you blend Teach for America and Silicon Valley? Intensive training in blended learning methods, run by Summit Public Schools, for the program's 120 recruits who will be placed in Bay Area charter and public schools. "The Bay Area branch is the first to make blended learning a focus of the teachers' preparation for the classroom," writes Nichole Dobo.

STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING: If students are all learning at their own pace, instruction can start to look like a three-legged race. To design school policies for student-centered learning, educators must prioritize skill mastery over the fixed school calendar and traditional grading, and embrace student voice in scheduling and course choice.


LITERATURE: You gotta read, baby, read. On April 30, President Obama announced a plan to give low-income students access to 10,000 e-books, in partnership with publishers including the five major houses. He hopes that the free e-books, worth around $250 million, will help close the digital divide, alongside the ConnectED initiative, which works to connect 99% of American students to high-speed broadband by 2018. Get all deets here.

MATH: Kudos to EdWeek's Justin Reich for pointing out this gem of a blog. Mathmistakes.org is a site written and edited by Michael Pershan, a middle school and high school math teacher from NYC. In it, Pershan compiles, analyzes and discusses those math errors that every student makes.


THE RIGHT ANSWERS: Stumped on question four? Just open up your laptop and search for it. Over at the BBC, Mark Dawe, Chief Executive of the UK exam provider OCR, proposes a near future where students could use search engines during GCSE and A-level tests. "Exams are for assessing what students have learnt, and we're seeing youngsters use search engines more when they're learning," he says.


Free! Do your students struggle to read and pronounce words correctly? Planet Read helps young learners distinguish between short vowels, long vowels, and diphthongs through 54 mini lessons and games, available for iPhone and iPad.

Free! There's no time like the present for kids to learn a second language. With Juana y los Amigos de la Granja, available for iPad and iPhone, students can learn and practice Spanish language skills while helping Juana count, identify colors, and find her friends. Learners under 13 should have a parent or guardian to use the app. Buena suerte!

Free! Older students who struggle with reading shouldn't be left with stories written for younger kids. Story Share offers content for students beyond elementary school (students under 18 should have a guardian's permission to use the site) who struggle to meet grade-level literacy skills. Readers can also have the story read aloud, and click to see a word's definition. Check out Story Share books, from sci-fi to mysteries to nonfiction.

Fee for service: MathCrunch connects students with online math tutors. Users (who must be 13 or older) can attach photos of a tricky math problem, message with tutors, and go back to see what they learned in previous sessions. Available on Google Play and the App Store, MathCrunch costs $12 for 30 minutes of tutoring, $22 for 60 minutes, and $40 for 120 minutes.

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

Play to Learn: Dig-It! Games™ presents Roman Town™ , an immersive, engaging learning experience that blends history and puzzle-solving into a unique adventure game. Challenging mini-games exercise strategic thinking, spatial reasoning, memory, logic, math skills and more. Puzzles introduce players to ancient games and various aspects of Roman life, while facts gathered during the quest present an in-depth look at Roman history and daily life. The authentic content within Roman Town aligns to multiple standards, including the Common Core for ELA and Math.

High School Principal in Blended Learning Charter School  Rocky Mount Prep
Innovative blended learning charter school seeks a high school principal. No-excuses, college and career prep mission with high-poverty students.
Executive  ·  School  ·  Rocky Mount, NC

Sales Support  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
HMH is seeking a Sales Support professional who will provide courteous, timely, and efficient support to account executives, per diems, consultants, directors of sales, regional vice presidents and vice presidents, and customers at all times.
Sales  ·  Large Company  ·  Rolling Meadows, IL

Online Marketing Manager  TES USA (Wikispaces, Blendspace)
TES is looking for an Online Marketing Manager to join the marketing team in support of TES Resources, Wikispaces, and Blendspace, and help millions of teachers be the best they can be.
Marketing  ·  Startup  ·  San Francisco, CA

Managing Director  Insight Education Group
Managing Directors are responsible for the overall success of the contracts within their portfolio. They are integrally involved in upholding the core mission and vision of the company and report to the President of Insight Education Group.
Executive  ·  Startup  ·  Location Flexible

Science Teacher  East Bay Innovation Academy
East Bay Innovation Academy is seeking a dynamic, innovative, and passionate Science teacher to help us grow our new charter school, serving 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
Teaching  ·  School  ·  Oakland, CA

Product Manager  GG|Interactive
Responsible for coordinating and aligning the team with the needs and desires of the product's customers, which includes students, teachers, administrators, and internal support.
Product  ·  Startup  ·  Vancouver, WA

Various Teaching and Non-Teaching Jobs  MESA Charter High School
Math, Engineering, and Science Academy (MESA) Charter High School is a new high school in Bushwick, Brooklyn that is seeking to fill various teaching and non-teaching position
Teaching  ·  School  ·  New York, NY

Edtech Events

Post an event  ·  See all events and meetups

New speakers. New ideas. Not overdone. Not to be missed. Join AAP for CIC 2015: Development and Delivery for Digital Learners, June 1-3, 2015, in Washington, DC. You deserve better than the same outdated advice from the same people. AAP's annual Content in Context conference delivers FRESH perspectives on the most pressing issues facing our industry, schools and students BEFORE anyone else. Businesses can consider their impact and plan accordingly for partnerships, product development, sales and marketing. See why attendees rave about CIC and register today!

Google - Education on Air - TFA and the Join us for a free online conference. You have the best seat in the house (your own!) to learn with other educators. Explore the conference schedule below.
8 May - 9 May  ·  Online  ·   Free

Entrepreneurs United: Game Changing Innovations - TFA and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will host the 2nd-annual Entrepreneurs United conference for TFA alumni entrepreneurs. This conference is designed to inspire and propel education entrepreneurs of all stages. Join us! Registration has launched!
8 May - 9 May  ·  Kansas City, MO  ·   $1 to $50

1776 Education Conference: Learning for the Next Generation - Join 1776 and innovators from around the world to discuss how the education industry is undergoing its biggest upheaval in history yet. What are the trends and how are startups playing a major role in creating the future?
11 May  ·  Washington D.C.  ·   $51 to $250

Prospective Teacher Info Session - Thinking about applying for a teaching position at TEP? Attend an in-person information session with TEP's Principal, Zeke Vanderhoek. Take a tour of the school, and learn more about the teacher application process and teaching at TEP.
13 May  ·  New York, NY  ·   Free

Content in Context conference - Content in Context, the annual conference of the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group, is three days' worth of high-powered programming for education business professionals.
1 Jun - 3 Jun  ·  Washington, DC  ·  more than $250

Bring Summer of Minecraft to Your Community - Interested in running a summer Minecraft program? Connected Camps Summer of Minecraft is offering an online program of challenges and in-game events. Sign up for access to moderated servers or join as an affiliate for free guides and support.
6 Jul - 1 Aug  ·  Online  ·  Free


Post an opportunity  ·  See all opportunities

Access 31 Free PD Webinars for Credit - Looking for new and innovative ideas to engage your K-12 students in their learning? Share My Lesson partnered with top-notch content providers to create 31 professional development sessions – all free and available on-demand. Spanning the curriculum, each online session is eligible for 1 hour of PD credit. Topics range from ELA and mathematics to digital games, bullying prevention, classroom management, and working with parents. Get re-energized with Share My Lesson. Register today for free. Share My Lesson

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

NewSchools Venture Fund Pre-Application Survey: Tell Us Your Big Idea - Our Innovative Schools portfolio provides grant funding and customized support to teams of educators across the U.S. who are designing schools that prepare and inspire students to reach his or her most ambitious dreams.
10 May  ·  Innovative Schools  ·  Grant funding and customized support

The Fifth Annual Google Science Fair - The Google Science Fair is a global online science and 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

Imagine K12 Edtech Startup Accelerator - Now accepting applications for fall 2015! Push your startup forward with the help of strategic advice, mentorship, highly engaged networks of entrepreneurs and educators, and $100K funding from Imagine K12. Alums include ClassDojo, Remind, NoRedInk.
1 Aug  ·  Edtech Companies  · $100,000 of initial funding

Second Annual Digital Innovation in Learning Awards - EdSurge and Digital Promise are thrilled to launch the 2nd annual DILA competition! With 15 DILAs that celebrate the work of educators, administrators, and organizations, our applications and nominations are open to the public.
24 Aug  ·  Teachers and Administrators  · Free trip to the DILAs, editorial features and shared videos on EdSurge and Digital Promise, and the opportunity to spread your mission and practices


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!

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