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May 03, 2016

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Discovery Education's Discovery STEM Day Virtual Field Trip
Defined Learning's New Online PD Course Focuses on Incorporating Project-Based Learning
Truenorthlogic Introduces Mobile Attendance App
Follett Challenge Announces Grand-Prize Winning School

Free Resources: Discovery Education's Discovery STEM Day Virtual Field Trip

Discovery Education invites educators and students worldwide to the first Discovery STEM Day. An interactive, no-cost virtual field trip fostering student interest in STEM careers, this event will be held Friday, May 6, and caps Discovery Education’s weeklong celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week.

Streamed from Discovery Communications’ global headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, Discovery STEM Day will virtually introduce attendees to five different men and women whose roles utilize a variety of STEM skills each day. Through engaging, interactive interviews with a digital media creator, business leader, web designer, media analyzer, and virtual reality developer, students will see how the STEM skills and concepts they are learning are utilized in each of these careers every day. Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications, whose networks include Discovery Channel, Science Channel, and Animal Planet.

Participating educators can choose to participate in one of the five 20-minute livestreams scheduled for 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, and 2pm ET. To support educators as they integrate this event into classroom instruction, Discovery Education has prepared a number of STEM Challenges that further emphasize the skills students need to be successful in each highlighted career. To register for this event and to access the supporting resources, visit:

“Sometimes it can be difficult to show students the full range of great careers open to men and women with a strong background in STEM,” said Kim Miller, 2nd grade teacher at West Ada School District’s Barbara Morgan STEM Academy in Meridian, Idaho. “This virtual field trip to a global media company will help me show my students real jobs and real people who have benefited from a strong STEM education, and I am excited to share this opportunity with my students.”

“To support both our observance of Teacher Appreciation Week and continued commitment to STEM education, we at Discovery Education wanted to provide educators a unique experience they could share with their students,” said Lance Rougeux, Vice President of Learning Communities & Innovation at Discovery Education. “We hope that participating teachers will use this special event to ignite student curiosity about STEM careers and excite students about STEM in their everyday lives.”

Source: Discovery Education,

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Defined Learning's New Online PD Course Focuses on Incorporating Project-Based Learning

Defined Learning has announced the launch of its new online professional development course, Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe.

The four-module course guides educators through the process of incorporating project-based learning into their current curriculum. Upon completing the course, participants will be able to develop, implement, and evaluate student performance through a project-based learning performance task.

Module 1 gives a basic outline of a performance task, including key characteristics such as outlines and rubrics, and why they should be used to evaluate students.

Module 2 describes appropriate criteria for designing an effective lesson and tools used to align the task with current curriculum, State Standards, Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards.

Module 3 provides a roadmap for educators to follow as they make adjustments to incorporate project-based learning into their curriculum. Participants will understand how their role as an educator leading the class will shift as they become a coach providing feedback and guidance to allow students to gain 21st-century skills by exploring real-world topics, solving problems, and working collaboratively.

Module 4 demonstrates how to evaluate each performance task using a rubric, and how to “plan backwards” starting with the task analysis. This module also examines how tasks correlate with students’ ongoing formative assessment, which includes engaging students in self-assessment, reflection, and goal-setting.

Upon completing Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe, educators will possess a deeper understanding of performance task creation and receive a certificate of completion. 

Performance Task PD is designed and narrated by Jay McTighe, an accomplished author and thought leader who is focused on standards-based reforms and development of performance-based assessments.

Also available is an “evaluated” version of the course where a user’s understanding and implementation of performance tasks will be reviewed and assessed by an evaluator trained by McTighe himself. Those who finish the Evaluated Performance Task PD with Jay McTighe course will receive a certificate of understanding from McTighe and his team.

The PD course is product-agnostic, but complements Defined Learning’s flagship product, Defined STEM, a supplementary curriculum breaking down tasks by grade level and standards.

Source: Defined Learning,

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Truenorthlogic Introduces Mobile Attendance App

Truenorthlogic has announced a new mobile attendance app to complement its suite of professional growth solutions for K-12 schools and districts.

With the Truenorthlogic Mobile Attendance App, instructors can display a QR code for their course section on a computer screen or device, or print the section code on table tents and nametags. Using the camera on their smartphone or tablet, course participants can then scan the section code to register their attendance upon arrival, or they can display a participant QR code for the instructor to scan. The app automatically syncs each attendance record with the school district's Truenorthlogic PD course catalog within seconds.

Participants can also use the Truenorthlogic Mobile Attendance App to view course information, such as the date, time, instructor and location, or to search for upcoming courses or get directions with Google Maps. In addition, instructors can use the app to review section rosters and simplify attendance for courses that meet more than once a day.

 “The new app makes it easier than ever to track attendance at professional learning events,” said Jeanette Haren, chief product officer. “Eliminating the need for sign-in sheets saves valuable time for instructors and participants, so they can focus their attention on the course content. The app also provides instant access to details about upcoming courses — anywhere, anytime — so participants can get the information they need at the moment they need it.”

 The Truenorthlogic Mobile Attendance App is included with a school district’s license to Truenorthlogic PD. It is available for free download for Android in Google Play, and for iOS in the Apple App Store.

 Source: Truenorthlogic,

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Follett Challenge Announces Grand-Prize Winning School

Featuring an innovative and successful STEM program that teaches 21st-century learning skills in a unique way, Ben Eielson Junior/Senior High School, located on Alaska’s Eielson Air Force Base, is the grand-prize winner of the fifth annual Follett Challenge.

The school, part of Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and named after famous aviator, Carl Ben Eielson, earns a $60,000 prize in Follett products and services, plus a celebration May 6 at their school.

The school’s winning entry, “Aiming High at Eielson” documents how the students, many of whom are children of military personnel stationed at the base, participate in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) pilot program that gives them the opportunity to work with and learn from U.S. Air Force personnel.

Students in grades 7-8 are provided with specialized career training aligning with STEM lessons being taught in class. They have the opportunity to learn about aircraft maintenance on fighter jets, intern at the medical and dental clinic on base, work at the base fire station or pharmacy, shadow builders on construction sites, and do pre-apprenticeship at the two elementary schools on base.

Last month, the Follett Challenge – sponsored by Follett – announced Eielson was one of three semifinalists along with Quest Elementary School in Hilton, N.Y., and Broughal Middle School in Bethlehem, Pa. The other two schools each earn $30,000 in Follett products and services.

In seeking the most innovative K-12 programs teaching 21st-century skills to students, the Follett Challenge asks entrants to complete an online application and submit a video describing their program.The judges seek applications illustrating critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration.

For more information on the Follett Challenge, visit

Source: Follett Learning,

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