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May 04, 2017

Table of Contents

Neste Launches Environmental AR Gaming Platform EduCycle
Panorama Education Launches Panorama Student Success
PBS Announces Educators Selected for the 2017 Digital Innovators Program
Discovery Education and Jackson Charitable Foundation Launch Elementary School Financial Literacy Program “Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids” and Codesters Partner to Develop EasyCode Pillars, a K-8 Interactive Coding Curriculum
CoSN Launches New Peer-to-Peer Resource for District Leaders
Smithsonian and Lenovo Collaborate to Advance STEAM Learning
ASCD Introduces ASCD Student Growth Center and the Center’s First Product, GoalWorks

Neste Launches Environmental AR Gaming Platform EduCycle

Neste has announced EduCycle, a new game that uses augmented reality to teach children ages 12 and up about the impact their decisions have on the environment. Designed and built by Neste, the game’s challenge is to reduce the world’s carbon dioxide emissions to the level specified in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

The beta launch of the EduCycle game is the culmination of Neste’s year-long Pre-order the Future initiative, aiming to generate discussion on responsible alternatives and to develop bold and innovative solutions for sustainable products and services together with the general public.

By taking advantage of augmented reality and digital game logic, EduCycle simulates choices concerning energy, food and traffic affecting global carbon emission levels. Based on the environmental science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the game allows players to make choices using a physical map board, 3D printed markers and a mobile app which bring the resulting environmental outcomes to life in a virtual city, when viewed through an iPad. Thanks to its simple design, the board and pieces of the game can be printed out on a standard printer. In addition to the printouts, an iPad and the game’s app is required.

The first release of EduCycle are being donated to select schools for educational purposes. On March 30, 2017, Neste donated the first game to Lincoln High School in San Francisco. On the other side of the globe, Heureka science center in Vantaa, Finland, accepted the game in early April. Similar organizations around the world have shown an interest in receiving EduCycle.

The game was conceived as a part of the Pre-order the Future initiative by Neste experts, TBWA advertising agency and the spoken word artist and passionate environmentalist Prince EA.

The general public also played an active role in developing the game’s concept, and its prototype was tested by children both in Finland and in the U.S. The environmental science behind the game is based on research data by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), while the Finnish FAKE Oy, a digital animation and visual effects studio, is behind the game’s programming and look.

Source: Neste,

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Panorama Education Launches Panorama Student Success

Panorama Education, a provider of social-emotional learning and student, family, and teacher feedback surveys, has announced the release of a new platform, Panorama Student Success, to help educators bring together academic and non-academic data and act in targeted, timely ways to support students. Panorama Student Success brings academic, attendance, and behavior data together with school climate surveys and social-emotional learning data to paint a full picture of every student’s progress.

Developed in partnership with school and district administrators, Panorama Student Success provides tools to monitor groups and individual students, tracking who is thriving, which students are on track for graduation and college/career readiness, and those who may be at risk. By organizing data from multiple sources into an easy-to-use interface, the tool equips educators with the insights they need to spend less time sorting through spreadsheets and more time with students.

With daily syncs to schools’ data systems and automatic notifications for important changes, such as when a student is newly struggling, Panorama Student Success enables proactive, timely student support and interventions. With Panorama Education currently serving 5 million students and more than 7,000 schools, Panorama Student Success is in use in several districts across the country.

To learn more about bringing Panorama Student Success to your district to promote proactive, holistic support for every student, visit

Source: Panorama Education,

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PBS Announces Educators Selected for the 2017 Digital Innovators Program

PBS has announced the educators across the country selected for the fifth annual PBS Digital Innovators Program. The program recognizes classroom changemakers: educators who skillfully approach education with a bold and fresh perspective, and who integrate digital media and resources into their classrooms in a way that sparks a love of learning for their students. Among those selected were teachers who are using 3D printers with their students to create prosthetic limbs; a technology coach whose classroom is a “STEM Bus” and co-teachers who use technology to bring their students together in one class, even though they’re in physical classrooms that are miles apart. A panel of esteemed judges selected the 52 PBS Digital Innovators from across the US, representing each of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia.

In partnership with PBS member stations nationwide, PBS Digital Innovators serve as education partners – deepening the connection between educator communities and their local PBS stations, while leveraging PBS’ curriculum-aligned, classroom-ready resources to support learning goals. PBS Digital Innovators also participate in ongoing professional development; share their ideas on PBS platforms; have access to exclusive resources from PBS LearningMedia; receive a free PBS Teacherline professional development course; and are invited to special events, including the 2017 PBS Digital Summit. This year’s summit, in San Antonio, Texas, takes place directly before the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.

Below is a list of the 2017 PBS Digital Innovators and their local PBS stations; their profiles and photographs can be found here.

· Amanda Walker, Northport, AL (Alabama Public Television)

· Traci Espeland, Anchorage, AK (Alaska Public Media)

· Danielle Brown, Sierra Vista, AZ (Arizona PBS)

· Farrah McEntire, Star City, AR (AETN)

· Alejandro Picazo, San Diego, CA (KPBS San Diego)

· Bretta Loeffler, Thornton, CO (Rocky Mountain PBS)

· Furahi Achebe, West Haven, CT (CPTV Hartford)

· Katherine Mulrooney, Newark, DE (WHYY)

· Paul Podraza, Kissimmee, FL (WUCF-TV)

· Lynn Early, Roswell, GA (Georgia Public Broadcasting)

· Leah Aiwohi, Kapaa, HI (PBS Hawaii )

· Paige Somoza, Boise, ID (Idaho Public Television)

· Jamila Leonard, Chicago, IL (WTTW )

· Josie McKay, Carmel, IN (WFYI – Indianapolis)

· Cathi (Cate) Miller, Des Moines, IA (IPTV)

· Elizabeth Burns, Newton, KS (KPTS)

· Ashley Judd, McKee, KY (KET)

· Desiree Alexander, Shreveport, LA (LPB KLTS)

· Benjamin Brigham, Manchester, ME (MPBN)

· Tamala Stuckey, Laurel, MD (Maryland Public Television)

· Rich Lehrer, Ipswich, MA (WGBH)

· Melissa Kempski, Lake Orion, MI (DPTV)

· Nathan Lund, Glenwood, MN (Lakeland Public Television)

· Heather Montgomery, Ocean Springs, MS (Mississippi Public Broadcasting)

· Andrea Woods, Saint Louis, MO (KETC PBS Nine Network)

· Amy Leffler, Billings, MT (MontanaPBS)

· Allison Pontious, Elkhorn, NE (NET)

· Mike Lang, North Las Vegas, NV (Vegas PBS)

· Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne, Peterborough, NH (NHPTV)

· Matthew Farber, Branchburg, NJ (NJVT)

· Rachel Thomas and Steven Lamb, Albuquerque, NM (KNME)

· Elisabeth Bostwick, Horseheads, NY (WSKG-TV)

· Alexis Moore, Greensboro, NC (UNC-TV)

· Johanna Ibarra, Fargo, ND (Prairie Public Broadcasting)

· Amy Kochensparger, Eaton, OH (PBS ThinkTV)

· Brian Jared Morgan, Tulsa, OK (OETA)

· Shawn Patrick Higgins, Portland, OR (OBP)

· Steven Hartnett, North Huntingdon, PA (WQED Pittsburgh)

· Jennifer Graham, Richmond, RI (Rhode Island PBS)

· Ashley Fort, Batesburg, SC (SCETV)

· Matt Christensen, Brandon, SD (South Dakota Public Broadcasting)

· Justin Barton, Bristol, TN (East Tennessee PBS)

· Krissy Venosdale, Missouri City, TX (Houston Public Media)

· Sara Layton, Santa Clara, UT( KUED)

· Sharon Davison, South Hero, VT (Vermont PBS)

· Joe Beasley, Henrico, VA (WCVE/WHTJ)

· Melissa Wrenchey, Kirkland, WA (KCTS)

· Carmen Jenkins, Frazier, Washington, DC (WHUT/WETA)

· Sandra Wiseman, Wheeling, WV (WVPB)

· David Olson, Madison, WI (WPT)

· Abigail Hurley, Sheridan, WY (Wyoming PBS)

More than 100,000 digital resources, including lesson plans, worksheets, video content, and more, are available through PBS LearningMedia for pre-K-12 classrooms. Teachers can access this content at

PBS Education,

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Discovery Education and Jackson Charitable Foundation Launch Elementary School Financial Literacy Program “Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids”

Discovery Education has partnered with the Jackson Charitable Foundation, which provides educational programming to increase the financial knowledge of Americans, to offer elementary school classrooms nationwide a dynamic financial literacy program.

Developed for teachers, students and families, Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids! prepares students in kindergarten through grade 6 with knowledge, tools and the practice they need to make good financial decisions. The multi-year program includes no-cost classroom and family activities, educator guides, and more developed by Discovery Education’s award winning curriculum team, as well as colorful, animated videos featuring the cartoon band “Cha-Ching.” These engaging activities can be used as stand-alone materials or can be integrated into elementary math and financial literacy lessons.

Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids! Program Elements include:

· Engaging Music Videos — Help children learn money management concepts with lively cartoon characters from the band and storylines around earning, saving, spending and donating; created by children’s educational media expert and Emmy-award winner Dr. Alice Wilder (Blue's Clues, Super Why).

· Classroom Activities —Provide K-6 educators with engaging activities to teach students be money smart.

· Educator Guides — Help educators enhance background knowledge, make meaningful classroom connections, and leverage the Cha-Ching financial literacy videos and classroom activities.

· Family Activities — Offer parents and families the tools and knowledge to teach their children to be money smart.

· Sweepstakes — Promote positive money habits; launching during back-to-school 2017 for up to $10,000 in prizing.

Other program elements include a broad-based public service awareness (PSA) campaign running on Discovery Family; a financial literacy-themed professional development community event and a session at the Discovery Educator Network Global Virtual Conference.

For more information about Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids!, visit

Source: Discovery Education,

Back to Contents... and Codesters Partner to Develop EasyCode Pillars, a K-8 Interactive Coding Curriculum has announced a new partnership with Codesters, a leading platform for K-12 computer science instruction, to develop EasyCode Pillars, an online interactive curriculum that incorporates coding challenges and game design into the classroom to cultivate students’ coding skills. This digital literacy resource offers students a dynamic, hands-on coding experience, while providing teachers with a turnkey instructional solution for use in the computer lab or the classroom.

As an extension to’s EasyCode computational thinking and coding curriculum for grades K-8, EasyCode Pillars takes a project-based approach and gives students hands-on coding experience via small coding challenges, debugging practice, game design and short quizzes that test comprehension. Students learn how to animate objects, play sounds and use their mouse and keyboard input, building real-world Python coding skills. Self-paced EasyCode Pillars allows teachers to easily identify and work with struggling students, while more advanced students can move on to increasingly complex projects.

Among the dynamic features of EasyCode Pillars is The Drag-to-Text Toolkit, which simplifies syntax and seamlessly takes students through the transition into full-text coding from block-based coding. Using Python, an industry-leading programming language, students are able to see how the skills they are learning are applicable to real world careers, increasing their level of engagement and interest. By building new projects from the ground up, they deepen their understanding of the concepts they are learning while demonstrating mastery over the core skills they have developed.

The step-by-step activities in EasyCode Pillars are designed to help teachers with little to no computer science experience immediately provide quality classroom instruction. The detailed lesson plans expertly guide teachers through each concept, including answer keys for each activity, ensuring instant solutions for in-class exercises. Sample projects and metrics, along with in-lesson progress monitoring, make for easy student assessment and quality classroom interactions. As students code their way through a series of activities, they receive feedback on the spot, which allows them to customize the program to fit their specific learning needs and demonstrate proficiency.

EasyCode Pillars aligns with’s pledge to support Computer Science for All (CSforAll), the Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Education’s call-to-action for more computer science opportunities for all K-12 schools. CSforAll empowers K-12 students to learn computer science and develop the computational thinking skills necessary to spur the transition from consumer to creator in today’s digital economy. Codesters is a founding content partner of CSForAll Consortium, which supports the mission of expanding access to computer science education.


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CoSN Launches New Peer-to-Peer Resource for District Leaders

CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) has announced the development of its Peer Review service – a program that leverages CoSN’s National Framework for School System Technology Success.

District leaders who participate in the program will work closely with and receive feedback from an experienced team of education technology professionals. Leveraging the Framework, the Peer Review Team will visit a school system to identify what the district is doing well as well as the areas for improvement to move their technology efforts forward. CoSN unveiled the new service at its 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago.

The Peer Review process will include the following phases:

  • Advanced Preparation. Ahead of the site visit, the CoSN team leader will work with a district representative to collect information, schedule interviews, set up meeting facilities and address preliminary questions pertinent to the review for analysis. The full team will develop an agenda that maximizes their time onsite.

  • Site Visit: Fieldwork. A Peer Review Team comprising two-to-three experienced education technology leaders will visit a district to assess the school system’s operations.

  • Site Visit: Days One and Two. The Peer Review Team will spend the first meeting confirming priorities with the lead sponsor, followed by interviews with key district leaders. This information will then be evaluated against the Framework.

  • Day Three. The Peer Review Team will provide a verbal assessment of their findings to the district senior leader and discuss initial feedback.

  • Post Consultancy Report. A full written report summarizing observations and detailing the team assessment evaluation will then be prepared by the group leader and submitted to the participating district within two weeks.

“Moving through a digital conversion is a complex process across an entire school system,” said Steve Langford, Chief Information Officer, Beaverton School District, OR. “The CoSN Peer Review offering will support school technology leaders with the resources and information they need to succeed. Experienced leaders will apply their combined knowledge and background to assist school districts in assessing their capabilities and advancing a digital conversion successfully.”

To learn more about the new program, please visit

Source: CoSN,

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Smithsonian and Lenovo Collaborate to Advance STEAM Learning

The Smithsonian has announced a joint effort with Lenovo to foster STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) learning in school and after-school programs using the Smithsonian Learning Lab, a free online toolkit to find, customize and share digital museum resources with others. Lenovo is a leading provider of innovative consumer, commercial and enterprise technology.

Lenovo is funding the development of six STEAM activities that combine resources in the Smithsonian Learning Lab with hands-on projects for educators and Lenovo employee volunteers to facilitate with students. The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access is designing the activities and a step-by-step facilitator’s guide to accompany each one to support implementation in the classroom and after-school programs. The center will also create two virtual-reality education experiences for teachers to embed into their curriculum.

The collaboration kicks off Lenovo’s first annual Global Week of Service project April 3-6, where more than 2,000 Lenovo employees in nearly 30 countries will participate in local community outreach efforts. In three North Carolina Research Triangle-region schools located near Lenovo’s U.S.-based global headquarters in Morrisville, more than 130 Lenovo volunteers will lead the Smithsonian’s STEAM activities. On Monday, April 3 and Thursday, April 6, more than 1,500 students ranging from elementary through middle school will participate in engaging Smithsonian Learning Lab projects that include:

  • Sculptris: creating a 3-D model of an insect based on specimens from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

  • E-textiles: combining circuitry and fabric to create wearable tech

  • Wright Flight: learning the basic engineering skills used by the Wright brothers, followed by a digital test flight of a 3-D model of the original Wright Flyer from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

  • ArtBots: constructing an art-making robot using motors, batteries and whimsy

  • Botany Field Book: learning techniques inspired by a National Museum of Natural History botanical illustrator

  • CURIO: a trading-card game that challenges students to discover patterns and connections that inspire their own Smithsonian collection.

The North Carolina events follow a successful pilot earlier this year in which the center and Lenovo hosted a STEAM workshop featuring the Smithsonian Learning Lab for students served by the Marjorie S. Fisher Boys & Girls Club of West Palm Beach County in Florida, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The STEAM activities and facilitators’ guides are available in the Smithsonian Learning Lab for anyone interested in replicating or adapting the lessons in their own school or in an after-school program.

Source: Smithsonian Institution,

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ASCD Introduces ASCD Student Growth Center and the Center’s First Product, GoalWorks

ASCD has announced the launch of ASCD Student Growth Center, a joint venture between ASCD and Lee Ann Jung and Rich Ord, the former partners of Student Growth Works. ASCD Student Growth Center, which focuses on innovative and practical supports for students with learning differences, is based on Jung’s highly respected research, recommended practices, and in-school work. The Center will provide professional learning services and products, including software that supports goal setting, intervention design, and progress monitoring.

ASCD Student Growth Center’s new product, GoalWorks, was developed in response to schools’ need for meaningful goal setting to support student growth. Developed by Jung and based on more than 15 years of research and on-the-ground work in schools and classrooms, GoalWorks brings special educators and parents together as a cohesive team to write goals, develop plans of action, and monitor progress. It is a crucial, research-based support system for implementing the practices taught in Jung’s highly regarded professional learning services.

GoalWorks provides an accessible, intuitive, and smart online space for educators to use knowledge gained in professional learning to establish sustainable practices that help bridge the gap between IEPs and how students are supported every day in general education classrooms.

Built on a cloud-based platform, GoalWorks allows teams to set meaningful, measurable, and individualized goals; enter data anywhere, anytime, and from any device; monitor progress in real time; and easily interpret data, which is displayed on a color-coded map. This FERPA-compliant solution also helps improve communication among team members and parents.

For more information on ASCD Student Growth Center and GoalWorks, visit

Source: ASCD,

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