The Weekly Education News Update!

This past Monday at the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference, Google launched Google Voyager, a new Google Earth feature designed for educational purposes. TechCrunch examined how this new component will allow users to explore the world through guided tours in order to discover the many wonders in this world.

These tours will be guided by scientists, nonprofits, and other storytellers through 360-degree videos, photos, and Google Maps. Specifically BBC Earth, Jane Goodall, Sesame Street, and NASA will be available to users for a guided tour. This new aspect of Google Earth will allow students to see more of the world while sitting in their classroom. Google is also introducing lesson plans and other engaging activities for educators to help guide their classroom use.

Wisconsin Public Radio stated that Wisconsin and many other states have recently implemented the Seal of Biliteracy. This seal is a badge given out to high school graduates, which recognizes students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages. “It’s a public recognition for both the purposes of college admissions, as well as possible job opportunities, which is very, very important in today’s economy,” said Silvia Romero-Johnson, Global Education director at Madison Metropolitan School District.

This school district was the first in the city to incorporate a dual-immersion program. The goal of this program was to bring together students who spoke English at home with those who regularly spoke Spanish in their home.

 “Receiving a bilingual education really immerses you in an environment that appreciates diversity and values all kinds of walks of life,” Liliana Teniente, a recent graduate of Madison’s dual-language immersion program stated. “I’ve learned from both school and social everyday interactions that being bilingual is an extremely valuable tool that helps prepare students for participation in our modern, interconnected world.”

In New Zealand, there has been a major shift in utilizing technology in the classroom. Discussed in an article by Newshub, there is more importance now being placed on technology benefiting education, because knowing how to properly use technology is becoming vital in today’s society. “Digital fluency is now an essential life skill for our young people, so we must ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need to engage in an increasingly digital world.”

The new program will include the practice of learning through video and audio content available on mobile apps. New Zealand’s new education program will also allow 12,500 students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access digital learning opportunities.

Recently discussed in THE Journal, a survey of more than 38,000 teachers, 29,000 parents, and 4,500 administrators found that technology in the classroom is becoming more supported. For instance, 68% of teachers in blended classrooms said technology helps them to better differentiate instruction. Teachers in blended or virtual classrooms were more likely to rate technology as important in numerous ways, including the improvement of differentiation in the lessons, and being able to more easily incorporate student creativity.

One of the biggest challenges this study discovered was: how do we motivate teachers to change their instructional practices and start to implement digital learning in the classroom?  Online education programs need to be engaging for the children, while also being able to properly educate the students.  

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