It’s back-to-school time! Educators were busy this month getting back to the business of the classroom. Ed-tech providers were also in full swing, releasing a slew of new solutions for learning and instruction, from a new Web site that offers Open Education Resource materials, to a donor-matching program for teachers wanting to purchase programmable robots, to new 3D-printing curriculum that supports math, science and English language arts.

Take a look at this month’s releases from SmartBrief on EdTech’s Product Showcase:

Free platform lets teachers create, share CCSS-aligned assessments

Edulastic is a free online platform designed to help teachers prepare students for Common Core assessments. Teachers can create and share assessments, aligned with curriculum, and get scores in real time. The device-agnostic platform integrates with student information systems and supports single sign-on through Clever and Google Apps for Education.

Web site offers Open Education Resources, online community for educators

Educators have a new way to access Open Education Resources. (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. These award winners are then in the running for our annual Educators’ Choice Award.

Meet this month’s winners:

July winners:

June winners:

Teacher in classroom397x265This story appears in SmartBrief’s digital publication, SmartReport on ISTE 2015. To see more features, tips and our Tech Showcase, download it now.

In a recent lively chat about problems in education, a colleague suggested that teachers want quick fixes — the kind of solutions, she suggests, that do not exist. Upon careful consideration, I decided that my esteemed colleague couldn’t be more wrong.

In fact, I talk to teachers daily in the field and on social networks, and most of them say there are very few fixes at all, quick or otherwise. Almost every solution to any education problem is something that is sent to a committee, then to senior administrators, before being relegated to some five-year plan, etched in a 20-page mission statement that most will only skim.

The problem with five-year plans is that technology evolves at staggering speeds and our students change from week to week. Most five-year plans are obsolete long before the plan comes to fruition. (read more…)

Veteran journalist and documentary filmmaker Soledad O’Brien tells how technology can help overcome barriers and close achievement gaps.

This story appears in SmartBrief’s digital publication, SmartReport on ISTE 2015. To see more features, tips and our Tech Showcase, download it now.

Seventeen-year-old Maria Castro had a dream: to attend Stanford University and study solar engineering. The sixth of seven children in a working-class immigrant family, Maria was a standout honors student at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix. Maria was in her sophomore year when she discovered that her school did not offer calculus, a class she needed to be considered for admission to Stanford.

Determined, Maria set out to get the course she needed. She wrote up a proposal for the class, persuaded 31 of her peers to take it with her and pleaded with the administration to get a teacher and funding. It worked. The school added the two-semester course, and Maria and her classmates attended it every day after school. (read more…)

Welcome to SmartBrief Education’s original content series about the unique stories of teacherpreneurs. These are the innovative individuals confronting challenges, creating solutions and challenging the traditional definition of “educator.”

Those advocating for teacher leadership roles often face daunting obstacles: lack of funding or trust, resistance to power-sharing or change and the inability of others to see beyond what currently exists. With tight budgets and a traditional hierarchy of leadership, how can teachers build authentic leadership positions within their schools and districts? How can they gain agency within the system, without relinquishing their important work with students in the classroom? These continue to be my burning questions.

As a Center for Teaching Quality teacherpreneur during the 2014-15 school year, I was given a half day of release time to work on my passions beyond the classroom. Charged with a national scope of action, I supported teacher leaders across the country to participate in large movements and ignite small revolutions — it was difficult and inspiring work. (read more…)