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SmartBrief Education’s monthly Editor’s Choice Content Award recognizes content written by educators, for educators that inspires readers to engage, innovate and discuss. January 2016 marks the beginning of the third year of this monthly award.

Our 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 ask our team to nominate their favorite content pieces each month from which we choose two winners. The winners then are in the running for our annual Educators’ Choice Award.

Meet this month’s winners:

Meet the 2015 winners:

December winners:

November winners:

path to workforce
February is CTE month. As part of SmartBrief Education’s coverage of career and technical education and Path to Workforce, we’ve teamed with ACTE to share articles written by Educators in Action. In this blog post, Jennifer Koon, a 2015 Region IV Career Guidance Award winner, discusses the benefits of CTE and ways to celebrate the month ahead.

As a CTE counselor, it concerns me that many people do not understand how beneficial CTE is to students and to our economy. So I take action. Career and Technical Education Month is a great time to celebrate the many positive aspects of CTE. During this special month, I strive to bring to light reasons for my students and my community to celebrate CTE.

Why celebrate? CTE offers:

  • Exposure to high-wage careers
  • Opportunities to visit job sites and learn what employers expect
  • Soft skill acquisition
  • Technical skill acquisition
  • Application of knowledge and skills to work related situations
  • Practice in job acquisition skills (resumes, cover letters, interviewing)
  • Promotion of post-secondary participation and national certifications
  • Opportunities to be involved in Career and Technical Student Organizations
  • Dropout Prevention: A greater percentage of CTE students graduate from high school than those who are not involved in CTE.
  • (read more…)


SmartBlog on Education this month is exploring the science of learning. Join us for original content in which experts explore trends in learning research and highlight teaching strategies that can help improve student performance.

Dr. Atul Gawande, an acclaimed surgeon and research scientist, wrote in a 2011 New Yorker article, “Coaching done well may be the most effective intervention designed for human performance.” In contemplating his own professional development, Gawande researched instructional coaches — providers of job-embedded support — and found compelling proof of the positive impact that coaching can have on growth in any industry.

However, what is most important about Dr. Gawande’s words — and what has stuck with me in my roles as an educator, administrator, and chief academic officer — is that it is specifically coaching “done well” that really makes the difference. As findings from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project show, coaching done poorly can actually make things worse. (read more…)

What measures are schools taking to manage emergencies and ensure the safety of their students and staff? Do teachers feel prepared to handle crisis situations? We proposed these questions to SmartBrief on EdTech readers this month to get a better sense of what’s in place at their campuses.

Eighty-one percent of readers say their schools routinely conduct emergency response and lockdown drills. Among the tools used to ensure a safe environment, 54% use communication and alarm systems as well as emergency notification systems. Only 10% use in-class safety-devices, 10% have on-campus safety officers and 3% use access-control systems, weapons detectors and surveillance equipment.

Interestingly, fewer than half of respondents — 42% — say they feel properly trained to handle crisis and lockdown situations. Thirty-one percent say they feel “somewhat” trained while 26% say they don’t feel prepared.

Take a look at the full results:

Are emergency response and lockdown drills conducted regularly with students and teachers? (read more…)

This post is sponsored by NCCE.

There is no doubt that social media is changing the way we connect with information and with each other. From Twitter to YouTube, information, experts and colleagues are a mere click away and travel alongside you anywhere, anytime.

In this time of advanced technology and access, many wax poetically about the power of social media to connect. We couldn’t agree more that this toolset is powerful and connection-oriented, but even we know that social media cannot completely replace face-to-face experiences.

Our personal and professional learning networks are important to teachers and our professions, but the rich experiences that conferences and summits can provide are still unparalleled. Whether it is ISTE, CUE, META, or our favorite NCCE, connecting face to face with educators, administrators, IT directors, scholars and even students provides a much deeper learning experience than can happen in 140 characters. Don’t get us wrong. (read more…)