Sheryl-3908-WebRes-1Today marks the first day of Connected Educator Month. SmartBlog on Education will be bringing you content throughout the month to celebrate CEM. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, a member of the CEM leadership team, is helping us kick off the celebration with an overview of the event and a look at free resources for connected educators.

What is Connected Educator Month?

Connected Educator Month was started in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education as a way to get educators proficient with social media to improve their practice, help schools integrate connected learning into their formal professional development efforts and stimulate and support innovation in the field of education. Last year, more than 300 educational organizations, schools and school districts participated in Connected Educator Month, and more than 600 free, national professional learning events and activities happened around connected education.

But as successful as Connected Educator Month 2013 was, there are still educators who are not connected, and many more who are not yet taking full advantage of the opportunities connected education affords. (read more…)

badgeSmartBlog on Education’s monthly content award recognizes content written by educators, for educators that inspires readers to engage, innovate and discuss.

SmartBrief Education editors and writers sift through thousands of sources each day, reading a variety of content, including blogs and commentaries written by you and your peers.

In an effort to recognize some of the innovative voices in the field, we’ve asked our team to nominate their favorite content each month from which we’ll choose two winners for the Editor’s Choice Content Award.

This month’s winners inspired us by shining a light on creative ways to tap into student engagement and motivation:

Meet this month’s winners:

August winners:

An emphasis on preparing students for college and the workforce has put a spotlight on skills in computer science and programming as well as other topics in science, technology engineering and mathematics. For some schools or districts, these skills are integrated into the traditional curriculum, while others are teaching them through electives or extracurricular programs and courses. SmartBrief on EdTech recently polled readers to gain some insight on how such topics are being addressed in today’s schools and school districts.

According to our poll, 20% of respondents said STEM skills are an important focus in their school or district, while a solid majority — nearly 67% — said STEM skills are somewhat important. Another 13.33% said STEM skills are not an important focus for their schools.

Slightly more than 11% of respondents reported that courses in computer science and/or programming are now being required for students in their schools or districts, while nearly 42% of respondents reported that such courses are offered as electives. (read more…)

textbooksI recently had the pleasure of going fishing with three of my children on Lake Michigan. We chartered a fishing vessel and set sail from the dock with a captain and first mate at 5 a.m. for a five hour trip. This was our first such fishing charter and it turned out to be a great experience all around.

As an educator and educational coach, I am always looking for insights to bring back to my colleagues and the classroom. The following represents a partial list of lessons I gleaned from our time out on the water, a trip that we are sure to remember for quite some time.

  1. Adjust your paradigm. As I noted above, we left early that morning. To get to the dock on time, I had to awaken at just after 3 a.m. Two of my boys were already up, making it easier, but the abrupt change in my nocturnal habits made for some tough sledding at first.
  2. (read more…)

This post is sponsored by the Council for Economic Education.

Financial literacy isn’t just teaching kids about money, according to Nan Morrison, president and chief executive officer at the Council for Economic Education. Children need to learn how to make smart decisions in addition to understanding money. SmartBrief talked with Morrison about her organization’s plans and resources for shaping the way kids learn.

Question: You’ve said that the “language and tools of economics give our kids the ability to recognize and understand the nature of choice in their lives.” What do you mean by this?

Answer: Economics teaches decision making. When you take away the charts and graphs and complicated math and numerical analysis that you see in The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, learning economics is basically understanding that you have choices, understanding that choices involve trade-offs, opportunity costs and risks.

A good example is a second grade teacher that we work with who lets her students earn money called “Dragon Dollars” by setting goals and achieving them such as doing their homework, helping with tasks in the classroom and so forth. (read more…)