Author - Ashleigh Lutz

Top Books for Educators: Back to School Reading List

The 2017–2018 school year is underway! We’ve put together a back-to-school reading list to give you some guidance and motivation and help you get back into the swing of things. Check out these books for principals and teachers to help put yourself in the back-to-school spirit this season.

 

Books about Change and Leadership in the Digital Age:

Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools

Michael B. Horn, Heather Staker

Blended is the practical field guide for implementing blended learning techniques in K–12 classrooms. A follow-up to the bestseller Disrupting Class by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael Horn, and Curtis Johnson, this hands-on guide expands upon the blended learning ideas presented in that book to provide practical implementation guidance for educators seeking to incorporate online learning with traditional classroom time. Readers will find a step-by-step framework upon which to build a more student-centered system, along with essential advice that provides the expertise necessary to build the next generation of K–12 learning environments. Leaders, teachers, and other stakeholders will gain valuable insight into the process of using online learning to the greatest benefit of students, while avoiding missteps and potential pitfalls.

If online learning has not already rocked your local school, it will soon. Blended learning is one of the hottest trends in education right now, and educators are clamoring for “how-to” guidance. Blended answers the call by providing detailed information about the strategy, design, and implementation of a successful blended learning program.Tailor your coaching practices to meet the needs of each educator

  • Discover a useful framework for implementing blended learning
  • Unlock the benefits and mitigate the risks of online learning
  • Find answers to the most commonly asked questions surrounding blended learning
  • Create a more student-centered system that functions as a positive force across grade levels

Educators who loved the ideas presented in Disrupting Class now have a field guide to making it work in a real-world school, with expert advice for making the transition smoother for students, parents, and teachers alike. For educational leaders seeking more student-centered schools, Blended provides the definitive roadmap.

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Teaching Digital Literacy to Our Students

This summer the New Media Consortium (NMC) held its Summer Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Students who attended talked about the misconception that they have expert technological skills. They’ve been pushing back on generational generalizations about their tech-savviness, saying that some of these high expectations and assumptions regarding their digital skills have hindered them academically.

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Technology in the Classroom: The Teacher’s Companion

Technology in the Classroom article banner

A recent study by the Academy of Management Journal found that people who pursue careers they treat as callings have particularly high rates of burning out from emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. They feel a sense of obligation or moral duty to make a positive social difference in their work, and tend to go “beyond the call of duty.” It should come as no surprise that the teaching profession fits this description—many teachers expend vast emotional resources on their students and careers, and this kind of devotion can be time-consuming and financially draining.

Additionally, large class sizes, ever-changing teacher evaluation processes, and high-stakes assessments are adding even more pressure to teachers’ overflowing workloads. In particular, formative assessment, a range of formal and informal assessment procedures, is in high demand for its power to collect information about what students are learning while they’re learning it. Many believe that teachers should then use what they learned about performance to adjust their instruction to meet students’ needs. While some teachers may be naturally skilled at doing this, it’s not necessarily an easy or straightforward task.

Plain and simple, with an increasing number of challenges on the horizon, our teachers need more—more time, more tools, and more resources—to be able to meet the demands of school boards, administrators, parents, and the state and federal government. And with these high demands, it’s imperative for teachers to make the most of their time in the classroom.

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The Digital Skills Gap in Education and Beyond

The Digital Skills Gap in Education and Beyond article banner

Besides measuring academic progress, student scores on national and state tests, such as PARCC and SBAC, are also used by federal and state education agencies to make decisions related to curriculum and instruction, graduation requirements, and educator evaluations. So when there’s uncertainty in these scores, it becomes difficult to utilize them to make informed decisions.

In the 2014–2015 school year, students who took the PARCC exams via computer tended to score lower than those who took the same exams with pencil and paper. Since both exams tested similar academic skills, a likely factor in this difference is a new type of achievement gap: the digital skills gap.

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Top New Books for Educators: See What’s Coming in June

Here are some of the top new books for educators being released in June:

Differentiated Coaching book cover

Differentiated Coaching: A Framework for Helping Educators Change, 2nd Edition
Jane A. G. Kise

Jane Kise takes you on a journey into differentiated coaching with a strength-based framework for understanding, appreciating, and working with people who may think differently from you. Through an online self-assessment tool, you will discover how your strengths and beliefs influence your coaching practice. Through examples, case studies, and reflection exercises, you will understand how to:

  • Tailor your coaching practices to meet the needs of each educator
  • Increase teacher willingness to implement new skills in their classrooms
  • Anticipate patterns of resistance and adjust both the content and delivery of professional development

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