We Hope You Have a Lovely Holiday!

Can you believe we’re well into December already? We think this year has gone super fast! Before we say goodbye and see you soon, we have a little something to share with you…

As it’s the holiday period, we wanted to share our festive e-card with you all…

Click on the button below to view the e-card.

 

Well, that’s all for now! We hope you have a lovely break and we’ll see you in 2020!

December & January Opening Hours

We wanted to let you know about our opening hours over the holidays. The Edmentum International Team’s office will be closing on 23rd December at 15:30pm GMT and will be reopening on 6th January at 7am GMT.

We’re sorry if we cause any inconvenience with this but please be assured that we will return to the office and will be ready to support you with any questions in 2020.

From all the team here at Edmentum International, we would like to wish you a wonderful holiday and hope to speak to you when we’re back!

 

A Parent’s Perspective: School Breaks & Limiting Screen Time

The holidays are upon us for a lot of schools, and for some parents, this is a time to make incredible memories and spend quality time with our children. For others though, it can be a stressful time, wondering how on earth you are going to entertain the kids!

As parents, we all want what is best for our children, but sometimes figuring out what is best is the most difficult part. With social media being so prominent in our modern lives, we can’t help but compare ourselves. Maybe I should do more craft with my children? Maybe we should get outdoors more? Am I helping my child to learn enough? Are they getting too much screen time?

Depending where in the world you are, you might have quite a lot of time with no school, and we all want to ensure that we can help our children get as much value from the holidays as possible.

I have three children, aged eight, five, and four. I also work here at Edmentum International full time. Many parents will be able to relate to my lack of time, and my desire to keep the peace amongst their sibling rivalries! Therefore I hope that some of my tips below for balancing “what’s best” may give you hope for surviving the holidays.

School may or may not provide your child with homework or projects for the holidays. If they have, you won’t want your child spending the entire time working, but if they haven’t, you’ll probably not wish for your child to go throughout the holidays without picking up a book or pen and paper. Your child may even be fortunate enough to have access to some kind of online learning platform such as EducationCity or Exact Path. So how do we find the balance between encouraging them to continue their learning, whilst avoiding far too much screen time?

We have an unwritten rule in our house, if the children want to lose themselves to the television, PlayStation, or Nintendo DS, then they have to do something that will help them to grow first. This can be any of the following:

  • Reading
  • Creativity (writing, drawing, coloring, crafting, Lego)
  • Physical activity
  • Education
  • Time outdoors

If they come to me and ask for cartoons on the TV, I will simply ask them to choose one of the above first and they will. I try to avoid telling them what to do because they need time to explore their own interests. If they aren’t too sure where to start, here are some ideas they might like.

Blake, my eight-year-old son, is likely to choose to read an informative book about cars, write a story, or go for a run up and down our street in a bid to run as fast as the cars.

My five-year-old daughter, Emily, is more likely to make a card for a family member, follow along to Cosmic Kids Yoga, or put on some music and have a dance.

However, my four-year-old, Ellis, would head straight to the garden to do some digging, water the plants, and count the bees, or he’d build something with the Lego or get out his coloring book.

Quite often they get so lost in these activities that they forget all about their request to watch a movie.

All three of my children are lucky enough to have access to online learning platforms, which is good news for me because I don’t have to worry about trying to be a teacher and keep them learning. My only task is to remember where I put their login details! Many of these platforms, like EducationCity, are so fun and engaging that my children will happily spend hours after hours on them, and it is great that they are so motivated, but, if like me you want to be a little cautious of screen time, then anything between 20-60 minutes is quite sufficient.

One way to limit the screen time is by bringing the online activities to life. If your young child is working on maths, consider encouraging them to use objects from around the house to aid their counting such as fruit, toy cars, or leaves from the garden. If they’ve been set an online task to practice adjectives, see if they can get adventurous with describing their favorite toys or cartoon characters to you.

For older children, they may not be too impressed with having to use all of their screen time as educational time. Agree to compromise, if they spend 20 minutes working on their algebra, they earn themselves 40 minutes on their Nintendo Switch. When the 40 minutes is up, they have to do a further 20 minutes of any of my above suggestions before earning another 40 minutes watching random YouTube channels.

If your child is really into gaming, why not set them a task of designing their very own educational game? They’ll need to write their plan, draw their characters, do some research on what questions to ask, explain what controls to use, they could even video themselves acting out the game they have designed. If they do a great job, send it to us or tag us on social media. Who knows, if we love it too, we might just make their idea a reality!

Comment below with your best tips for managing screen time over the school holidays.

A Student’s Tour of EducationCity…

Here at Edmentum International, we’re passionate about sharing our solutions with other teachers and parents, and showing them exactly how they can help support their academic goals.

We have a dedicated team of experts who are specialists in our solutions and provide live demonstrations to schools to help them best implement them in their schools.

However, it isn’t just our team who have been delivering demonstrations recently. We were sent a link from a member of staff at GEMS Our Own Indian School in the UAE which showed one of their fantastic students delivering a whole tour of EducationCity, our solution which supports classroom instruction and reinforces learning for ages 3-11.

Take a tour of EducationCity

A Student Tour of EducationCity

 

You can see the full video here on our Videos page where the tour gives a brief introduction to all the different and helpful features on EducationCity.

This tour is fantastic for sharing, particularly with parents (read about how EducationCity can support parents below) who may want to know more about using this solution, so we recommend you taking a look – you can see some stills of the tour in action below too!

A Student Tour of EducationCity

A Student Tour of EducationCity

How Can EducationCity Support Parents?

With Home Access, students can access EducationCity 24/7 at home via their school’s subscription. Here’s some benefits to using it at home.

  • You can use it with your child to support learning outside of school so it’s easy for you to learn alongside your child.
  • You can use it with your child to boost independent learning as students can track their own progress to help with mastery.
  • You can use it with your child to build their confidence with the range of resources available covering many different topics.

Find out more about EducationCity.

Personalized Learning & Edtech Tools: How Teachers Can Influence the Purchasing Process

Have you ever been in a position where you’ve found an ideal edtech tool to support personalized learning in your classroom? It has the right data being captured that’s going to help you in your teaching, it has high-quality content but most significantly, it can improve your students’ learning experience.

Despite all this though, you’re not the one who makes the decisions on which tools to implement.

You also know that your school already has tools it can utilize. So how do you make an impact with this new tool and pitch it to your peers, as well as the person who has the power to make decisions on school resources? What will everyone be looking for? Plus, how do you show return on investment after purchasing so you can effectively implement the new tool in the long term?

Based on 50 years’ in the edtech business, and our individual employees’ first-hand experience as educators, we’ve pulled together some best practices to support you in building a plan to get buy-in with stakeholders.

Ask Questions & Research

So to start considering technology for personalized learning, we’d recommend asking some questions and researching. Bear in mind the 5Ws and consider each one in turn to influence the purchase. Break it down in this way:

  1. Who – who is this solution for? Specific students? A year group?
  2. What – what problem will this tool solve? What kind of research or Success Stories are there behind this tool?
  3. Where – where do you plan to implement this solution?
  4. When – when will this tool be in use? Home use? Class use?
  5. Why – why are we choosing this solution? Why will this have an impact in our school?

Next, you’ll need to consider your ‘how’ questions which stem from the questions above.

  • How is it going to provide teachers with evidence of student progress?
  • How are you going to evidence return on investment and value?
  • How is it well aligned to your school’s or students’ goals?
  • How will this tool make an impact on your teaching or save you time?
  • How will this tool help personalize learning?

These are the kinds of questions you’ll need to ask when you frame how new technology can benefit your students in terms of personalized learning.

So following from this, we’re now going to focus in on this further.

Consider Your School’s Broader Goals

Firstly, you’ll want to make sure you’re really making it clear how the solution supports all your teachers, not just yourself. Also, consider how it will impact your school environment and students’ progress. The simplest way to do this is to consider how this solution supports and will help your school’s major goals.

For instance, your school may have a goal to create personalized learning plans for every student. What challenges does your school face currently in achieving this goal? Maybe time, knowing what the gaps are in skills, resource and progress monitoring are all major factors that limit your ability to create these plans for students.

So how does this technology combat these challenges? How does it save time for teachers and administrators? What type of data does it provide? How does it help you see learning gaps? What does it provide to help fill those learning gaps? You’ll want to make a list of questions for further evaluation and use this information to build your groundswell of other influencers.

Get Agreement from Your Peers

Now you’ve asked the right questions, you’ve understood where the solution fits within your school’s broader initiatives, it’s time to get agreement. It’s best to gather a cross-functional group (different academic levels, subjects, etc.) and then make sure the need and desire for this solution resonates with others. Once this is done, you can connect with your stakeholders and ask for the opportunity to evaluate the proposed solution. Make sure you share feedback received from everyone else in the group you assembled to make the larger-scale need clear.

Here are some other members in school you may want to speak to and get agreement from when building consensus:

  • Principal/Assistant Principal/Headteacher
  • Technology Directors/Specialists
  • Instructional Coaches
  • Department Leads/Heads
  • Guidance Counselors
  • Interventionists
  • Alternative Education Specialists

Consider Time

Let’s now explore how we can help with teachers’ time and how the solution can help. An example of this would be where a school gives an assessment at the beginning of the year and once the results come back, teachers spend a certain amount of time on putting data together grouping students in ability levels for skills. Following this process, these groups are re-looked at many times which naturally takes time. So if you found a solution that could streamline this process, you could see the amount of time spent and show a funding impact from that perspective, which will help your buy-in.

As a teacher however, you need to keep in mind that you are at the front-line of education. You know what your students need best and stakeholders know this. When you clearly articulate what those student needs are and put them forward to stakeholders taking all larger goals into account, you’ll find you have more influence than you think. So when it comes to trying to get the best tools for your classroom, remember that you’re the biggest advocate – for you and your students.

Take a look at our personalized learning solution, Academy, which is perfect for individualized learning and giving students’ control over their own educational journeys.

Tips & Tricks for Utilizing Technology in the Classroom

As more and more educators embrace the use of technology within the classroom to guide instruction and engage learners, it can become overwhelming at times for educators to find the best, most effective ways to use those tech tools with their students. There is a distinct difference between simply having a ‘tech-rich’ classroom and utilizing technology in meaningful ways to guide effective instruction that leads to successful student outcomes.

I have been fortunate to work within classrooms across the world that are striving to maximize the use of education technology to effect positive student outcomes. I consistently get asked by educators and administrators alike, “what are some of the most effective tips or tricks that you have seen when trying to best use technology within the classroom?” While each education technology implementation is different, there are some common themes that I have listed below, that I see leveraged within high-performing schools that can be easily adopted into practice in any school or classroom. These tips are really designed for any educator/administrator who is looking to refine or strengthen their use of education technology at his/her school or classroom.

1. Plan for the Use of Technology within the Classroom

While on the surface this may seem like an obvious statement, many educators who are working to integrate education technology within the classroom do not have the time necessary to define how tech tools are meant to enhance classroom instruction. Providing educators with high-quality training around exactly how the technology is designed to be used within the classroom can transform an instructor’s teaching processes.

Simply handing out a set of classroom iPads with little or no training on how that tool can be used to facilitate effective instruction is like handing someone who does not know how to drive the keys to a brand new car. It is critical to provide not only initial training on the new technology to educators, but also to provide ongoing, collaborative training that focus on topics such as “Change Management” and “Data-Driven Instruction”.

Using technology within the classroom is a process and it is not one that is learned overnight. Providing high-quality professional development opportunities to educators who are looking to enhance their classroom instruction techniques using technology, is quite possibly the most important thing you can do to ensure you are getting the most out of that technology within the classroom.

2. Use Technology to Gather Meaningful Student Data

One of the most powerful aspects of using technology within the classroom is the ability to quickly gather meaningful student data and feedback. Classrooms that relied in the past on teachers hand-scoring sometimes hundreds of assessments on a daily basis, can now use the power of technology to gather that student feedback in a matter of minutes.

Educators now have the ability to gather that student data and then interpret it to make adjustments on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis in how they approach classroom instruction. The power and speed with which educators can differentiate instruction for students within the classroom using technology is simply unprecedented. It is really not about simply having access to a set of computers or iPads within the classroom now, it is all about how you as an educator use them to provide learning experiences that are engaging and reflective of your particular student’s skills and abilities. Gathering student data and feedback using technology in the classroom is essential and it is one way that you can quickly make an enormous difference in how your students learn and grow.

3. Educate Everyone on How to Use Technology to Support Learning

Too often, I see technology being rolled out to teachers and students only to leave one critical group out of the communication loop – a student’s parent/family. Effectively using technology in the classroom extends beyond just the school grounds, it permeates to the student’s home as well. Taking the time to educate your student’s parent/family about what types of classroom technology will be used, what impacts it can have and how parents/families can support the use of technology within the classroom is critical.

Hosting a “Parent Technology Night” is a great way to help not only educate your students’ parent/family, it can also work to start a higher level of conversation at home about issues including good digital citizenship and safe internet browsing. The more you can take the time to educate your students and their parent/families about the use of technology within the classroom, the more effective your education technology implementation will be.

How I Set Goals with My Child

As we approach the new year, this is the perfect time to be thinking about New Year’s resolutions and setting goals for 2019. Many of us have a little reflection on the past 12 months and decide what we are going to set out to achieve this coming year.

I personally set goals regularly, with my full-time career here as an International Account Manager, and with my three children, aged eight, five and three. At home, I often set myself a goal of simply surviving the day! That said, I’m rather ambitious and like to cram a lot into my life – so for me, setting goals is vital for achieving anything. If we want our dreams to become a reality then we must set clear, achievable goals and create a plan for achieving them.

My children have naturally picked up on my goal setting attitude, and over the winter break we will be sitting down together as a family to set our goals for 2019.

A goal has to be something you want to achieve; the more it is desired, the clearer the vision you’ll have towards achieving it, and the more precise the plan will be, as well as the more motivation you’ll have towards working to it. A goal is not something that someone else sets for you if you have zero percent interest in achieving it.

Firstly, as a family, we will sit down, reflect on what we liked about this last year and what we didn’t, then talk about what we want to achieve and break it up into smaller chunks. I’m going to focus on Blake, my eight-year-old and how we will speak about this year, as well as how we will set goals.

Long-Term Goals

I don’t expect an eight-year-old to know what he wants to do with the rest of his life. However, what I do expect is that he has several ideas and we help him work toward them from an early age. Some of Blake’s ambitions include:

  • To attend the local grammar school
  • Become an Olympic sprinter
  • Be a racing driver
  • Be a boss
  • Work as someone who makes, modifies, or fixes cars
  • To live with his best friend
  • To own several sports cars

I’m sure you’ll get the idea here. On reflection of 2018, what has Blake, and us as his parents, done to begin building the foundations for any of these goals? When he turned eight, he was able to join our local athletics club and so he did. Other than that, there have not been any significant changes made in order for him to achieve the above. But as Darren Hardy puts it in his book, ‘The Compound Effect’, it is the small, daily habits and decisions that gradually compound over time to take us toward the life we desire!

When goals are not necessarily achievable within a small time-frame and there are no significant actions that can be taken in order for you to achieve them, a great idea is to create a goal board – or vision board. A goal needs to be visual every single day to remind us to always be working towards it. It’s no use thinking about last year’s goal, realizing you forgot about it all year and set it again for this year. An idea I love is to print off pictures that we can put together in a collage to look at daily. For Blake, we might use a picture of the school he wants to attend, Usain Bolt winning gold, a Formula 1 car, the pits or garage, a house, and several sports cars.

Over time, we have educated Blake about the daily habits he needs in order to achieve his goals:

  • Try hard to learn at school in order to pass his 11+ exam to gain entry into the school he wants.
  • Choose to do things that are good for the brain: reading, writing, drawing, practicing spellings, and maths.
  • Choose healthy foods to fuel the body.
  • Take responsibility for his own learning and not wait to be told to learn.

Short-Term Goals

Working toward long-term goals can be daunting and it may be difficult to stay motivated when there is no immediate reward. Hence why us adults are so good at joining the gym, attending one class and then quitting because our trousers are still too tight! Therefore it’s equally important to set smaller, achievable, short-term goals, and this is where us as parents can really help toward rewarding small achievements.

Stickers, chocolates, toys, and money are all great for rewarding children; but they are also all materialistic. An idea I love is to write down a list of things my children love doing with me, pop them into a jar and let them pull one out each time they achieve a small goal. For example, a goal could be to learn 10 words on the spelling list, or to learn the names of a number of car parts. It may take a few days or a few weeks, but once this goal has been achieved, they get to pick a reward. Some things that Blake might put on his are a big hug, a high ten, watch a movie, play with the toy cars together, read Harry Potter together, play on EducationCity together, stay up late with us at the weekend, go for a run together, etc. None of this costs a penny, but for my child it is still a reward earned.

Goal setting and earning can be a fun experience for all the family and it’s a great way to teach children about managing their own choices! We’d love to hear about your new year goals too – tweet us @Edmentum_INT!

A Webinar on Personalized Learning…

Recently, our very own Gavin, International Director, and Derek, International Manager, have been flying worldwide delivering a personalized learning workshop at conferences such as the AISA Educators Conference and the Education Experts Conference.

Today, we’ve decided to give you an insight into the workshop delivered, which we’ve put together as a webinar.

You can see the webinar delivered on our page here.

If you’d like to find out more about what the webinar covers, which includes a discussion on what is personalized learning, how you can achieve it, and how you can overcome any challenges, read on, as we’re going to discuss a little bit about creating personalized learning plans for students.

Let’s Begin… Personalized Learning Plans

So to start, we need to set out the fact that to really personalize learning in the classroom, plans should be created for each student. To create a plan, we discuss six steps. Although they may not be surprising, together, they are powerful and each one has the individual student at its center, which is really important.

We’ll go through the first four steps here and explore how you can create the optimal personalized learning plan for each of your students.

1. Lay Out Your Starting Point

Clipboard

To start, let’s make sure you begin at your starting point and define it. By looking at assessment results as the blueprint of your curriculum design, we are able to understand where we’re going. Also, through adaptive technology that yields reliable, fair results and enables you to have smart data you can interpret, you can put the correct assessment in place to set benchmarks which is ideal.

 

2. Set Goals

PencilNext, we’ll take a look at setting goals. It must be remembered that it’s not necessarily simple for students to set goals. As teachers, we should be setting goals with our students alongside asking them what areas they’d like to improve in, what their strengths and weaknesses are, etc. Students must be a part of this process and set their own goals so they know what they must achieve and how they’re going to get there.

 

3. Map Learning Modalities & Interests

WorldAlso, to help us develop learning plans, we need to understand our students’ preferences. Do we have visual or auditory learners? What are their interests and favorite subjects? Well, knowing these means we can accommodate students’ preferences in plans. What’s more, using Exact Path and similar adaptive technology, we can design a program tailored to a student’s needs.

 

4. Teach Students to Track & Focus

Bar ChartNow, moving onto the next step, we must consider the fact that students should be able to track their own progress. It’s important to make sure you have the right tracking tools to support your students and give them what they need. Allow students to view their own progress easily and see how they can master any misconceptions with adaptive technology such as Exact Path. Fundamentally, however, students need to see all their data and be able to interpret it verbally.

The final two steps focus on benchmarking and growth points, as well as relationship building. If you’d like to listen to the other points then make sure you listen to the full webinar.

View the full version of the Personalized Learning webinar.

As always, if you have any questions regarding personalized learning and how Edmentum International’s solutions can support you, just email international@edmentum.com and we’ll be happy to help!

Creating Personalized Learning Plans

Discover all you need to know about personalized learning and how you can create personalized plans for each student to give them the greatest chance of success.

What’s in the webinar? 

This webinar includes: 

  • Explanation of personalized learning.  
  • Step-by-step guide to creating personalized learning plans to benefit every students’ learning. 

For more information on Edmentum International and our solutions, take a look at our page.

Focus: EducationCity Features You Might Not Know About

There are plenty of fantastic features and resources within the solutions you’ll find on Edmentum International…

Let’s focus on one in particular, EducationCity, a cross-curricular resource perfect for 3-11 year olds.

Read on to find out about a few features on EducationCity that you might not know about; they all help with developing students’ progress and saving you time, so you can try them out and get the most from your subscription.

Assessing progress with MyCity

MyCity is not only ideal for targeted learning where you can quickly group content for whole classes, groups or individual students, for homework or classwork, but it is also great for assessing progress too.

Each MyCity you create has a Tracking tab, which lets you track students’ progress from the content set within a MyCity. It’s really handy for seeing students’ attainment levels and is a great way to see any areas of weakness too.

Aiding mastery with SuccessTracker

A fantastic progress-monitoring tool, SuccessTracker automatically records all Activity and Test scores to save you time. Here, you can also filter the data you’d like to view and export it for reporting purposes.

However, another benefit of SuccessTracker is the fact that you can see any weaker scores and then reset work to individual students in a MyCity to ensure mastery – just press the orange plus button beside a content item in SuccessTracker to do this.

Aligning to objectives with the Curriculum Map

The Curriculum Map allows you to easily find content relating to the curriculum objectives you’re teaching. Here, not only can you ensure you’re meeting curriculum objectives, but you can also add any content directly into a MyCity for your students to do as classwork or homework, saving you valuable time – perfect!

 Encouraging progress with MySuccess

Heard of MySuccess just yet? MySuccess allows students to see all their Activity and Test scores whether this is via Pick and Play, or Homework and Classwork MyCities. As students can easily see their scores, for any weaker scores they have, they can also replay content very simply from here to try and achieve a better score – perfect for improving their progress independently.

Personalized learning with MyRevision

Lastly, we also have MyRevision which is a fantastic tool where, after taking a Test, if less than 100% is scored, a personalized Revision Journal is generated for students in MyRevision. It’s made up of a range of Activities and Learn Screens that are automatically gathered together based on a student’s previous Test scores, so they simply can focus on the areas where they need to improve.

To try out any of the features listed above and see how they can directly help your teaching and learning, just log in to EducationCity.