Education-badge-blue2The goal of maker education is not college and career preparation.

The goals are deeper learning and authentic engagement, with an emphasis on turning learning over to the learner.

However, making is the best college and career preparation that I have encountered, in part because it isn’t the core goal. Through making, students build their agency and find new passions.

Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, Calif., where I work, serves students from low-income communities. Five years ago, if you asked seniors about their visions of themselves as adults, they would have envisioned themselves as doctors, teachers or in a vocational job — the careers they encountered in their everyday lives.

It’s hard to imagine yourself doing something when you haven’t seen or experienced it. But now students are engaged in becoming designers, artists, auto-mechanics, engineers, software developers, scientists and teachers through their involvement in making — in core classes, electives, and after school. (read more…)

Education-badge-blue2The New America Foundation today hosted a lively panel discussion on education and training from a global perspective. SmartBrief Education was onsite to learn how education, business and government stakeholders are working to prepare today’s students for the 21st-century global economy. We’ve curated social media shares from the event. Stay tuned to our Path to Workforce content channel on SmartBlog on Education for a deeper dive into lessons learned from the event. (read more…)

textbooksWelcome to SmartBrief Education’s original content series about the unique stories of teacherpreneurs. These are the innovative individuals confronting challenges, creating solutions and bringing them to market. In this blog post, Robert Ahdoot, a high-school math teacher and founder of, offers tips to develop “teacherpreneur flow.”

In March, I shared my interview with lifelong teacherpreneur, Bruce Powell. He spoke of the sacredness that is essential for success in both education and business.

Today, I’m going to dive into a framework for how to effectively bridge the gap between the role of teacher and that of teacherpreneur. These concepts have taken me years to develop, implement, and hone on the fly. Their usage has lead to massively positive results within my contributions as a teacherpreneur. It’s an honor to share them with you, in the hopes that your overall practice and approach are enhanced as well.

Rule #1: People only do business with people they like. (read more…)

Getting teachers to buy in to new technology requires a hook. Too often, though, we emphasize the technology’s bells and whistles over its ability to help make meaningful gains in student learning. How can we avoid this mistake and secure the strongest buy-in possible?

One place to start is with formative assessment. While these tools are less glitz and glamour than other classroom apps, teachers appreciate knowing that their efforts — and professional development time — are geared toward useful, proven practices that will help them to work at their passion more effectively and efficiently.

We found success with Socrative, a formative assessment tool that runs on laptops and mobile devices. Socrative allows teachers to create and distribute assessments to students then immediately collect and synthesize their responses. Our teachers are using it to differentiate instruction and provide meaningful feedback to students.

Aim for a solution that is simple to learn and use. (read more…)

digital literacySmartBlog on Education is shining a light on education technology innovations during May, exploring the latest products and tools and the hottest trends in ed-tech. 

Ironically, nothing feels worse than a day when the Wi-Fi is down or our dedicated laptop cart hasn’t been charged over night. A decade ago, I worked without technology completely and now I can’t live without it.

Technology has become an integral part of learning in our shared spaces and despite early adoption challenges, progress has been exponential like the technology itself.

I’m not a “digital native” as many have suggested my students are, but I’ve fearlessly jumped into the pool of possibility and refuse to get out.

Here are some ways that tech has forever changed the way learning happens in my spaces:

Google Educational Suite: Being a Google school has its perks. Every child has his or her own email address associated with a Google Drive, which provides access to an amazing world of collaboration. (read more…)