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Bright Ideas for Blended Learning

Finding Innovation in Google Apps for Education

Posted by Tatum Travers

By 2020, Google Apps for Education is predicted to have over 110 million users, due in part to the ease with which districts can use Google’s free suite of tools to encourage classroom collaboration. But many districts are failing to tap into the more innovative uses of GAFE, missing opportunities to nurture creativity and critical thinking in students.


During a recent webinar, we asked educators to share the most innovative uses of Google Apps for Education that they’ve seen in their district. Here are highlights from what they shared.

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Topics: Tech Education News  Education Technology

Tapping into Creativity with Student Choice

Posted by Tatum Travers

In a recent TED Talk, Dr. Michael Nagler advocated for student-centered learning, saying, “If I give students choice in the work that they’re doing, then they’re more likely to be engaged and produce better products. Choice matters.” Students need to do more than master skills and standards in order to find success after graduation. Until recently, many educators felt that creativity, a defining attribute of many successful people regardless of their industry or educational background, couldn’t be taught in a classroom.

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Topics: Tech Education News  Education Technology

The Case for Curated Curriculum

Posted by Alyssa Kasanoff and Mary Gurley

As educators have come to realize that differentiation is an essential component of effective instruction, it’s become increasingly difficult for districts to settle upon a fixed curriculum that’s both engaging and leveled to each student’s individual needs.

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Topics: Tech Education News  Education Technology

ISTE 2016: Educational Equity, Lifelong Learning, and a Simpler Approach to Edtech

Posted by Tatum Travers

At the end of June, eSpark joined the thousands of district and edtech leaders headed to Denver, CO to meet innovative educators and discuss the current state of technology in schools. Over the course of the week, three themes dominated the conversation.

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Topics: Tech Education News  Education Technology

3 Ways Districts Can Rethink Teacher Professional Development

Posted by Maren McMullan

According to a recent study conducted by the Gates Foundation, $18 billion is spent annually on teacher professional development. The average teacher spends anywhere from 68-89 hours in professional learning a year. However, only 29% of teachers are highly satisfied with their professional development. In other words, only $6 billion is truly spent effectively. From this data, I think it’s safe to say that the traditional model of PD is wasting districts’ time and resources.

Most of the professional development that teachers receive is some combination of boring, irrelevant, or one-time only. As a former teacher, I can attest to the fact that most of the PD I attended was of poor quality. I sat through many sit-and-get lectures and inapplicable seminars and, while I hate to admit it, I often brought papers to grade because I felt that was a more valuable use of my time. But every so often, I would have one transformative PD - interactive, practical, relevant, timely - that challenged my thinking, equipped me with new tools and strategies, and ultimately made me a better educator.  This is the sort of PD that all teachers want but so rarely receive. Read on for three ways that districts can rethink professional learning.

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Topics: Tech Education News  Education Technology

Reinforcing Learning with Synthesis Videos

Posted by eSpark Learning

Student privacy is of the utmost importance to eSpark, and we comply to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.  We never share student videos without obtaining permission from the student's parents, teacher, and district.

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Topics: Tech Education News  Education Technology

The Importance of Technology in Education, Pt. 2

Posted by eSpark Learning

Ashley and Chris used to teach kindergarten in the Midwest. Now, they both work at eSpark. In the following interview, find out what inspired them to work in edtech and why they're so excited about classroom technology. This is the second installment of a series of interviews about the importance of technology in education. To read part one, click here.

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Topics: Tech Education News

The Importance of Technology in Education

Posted by eSpark Learning

A few years ago, Shannon and Anthony were teaching in the Bronx. After seeing first-hand the importance of technology in education, they joined the team at eSpark. In the following interview, find out what led them to careers in edtech and why they're so passionate about student-centered learning. 

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Topics: Tech Education News  Education Technology