Author - Ashleigh Lutz

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

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

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

The Coach Approach book cover

The Coach Approach to School Leadership: Leading Teachers to Higher Levels of Effectiveness
Jessica Johnson, Shira Leibowitz, Kathy Perret

In The Coach Approach to School Leadership, Jessica Johnson, Shira Leibowitz, and Kathy Perret address a dilemma faced by many principals: how to function as learning leaders while fulfilling their evaluative and management duties. The answer? Incorporating instructional coaching techniques as an integral part of serious school improvement.

The authors explain how principals can:

  • Master the skill of “switching hats” between the nonjudgmental coach role and the evaluative supervisor role.
  • Expand their classroom visits and combine coaching with evaluation requirements.
  • Nurture relationships with teachers and build a positive school culture.
  • Provide high-quality feedback to support the development of both teachers and students.
  • Empower teachers to lead their own professional learning and work together as a team.

Drawing from the authors’ work with schools as well as their conversations with educators across the globe, this thought-provoking book speaks to the unique needs of principals as instructional leaders, providing solutions to challenges in every aspect of this complex endeavor.

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