The Maver Movement Features on Edutopia

Edutopia News. What Works in Education.

Making the Future

A Maker Values the Process as well as the Product

Project-Based Learning Through a Maker’s LensSee how making can create life-long learners through exciting, real-world projects.

6 Strategies for Funding a Makerspace

Discover some clever ways of creating a space without breaking the bank.

Top Tools for the Maker Classroom

So you’ve got a makerspace — now what tools should you include?


Watch this VideoHow the Maker Movement Connects Students to Engineering and TechEighth-grader Quin created a makerspace at his school, using his passion for electronics to teach fellow students. (6:29 mins.)


Myth-Busting Differentiated Instruction: 3 Myths and 3 Truths


Coding for Kindergarteners


Using Humor in the Classroom


Teaching Adolescents How to Evaluate the Quality of Online Information


The Importance of Asking Questions to Promote Higher-Order Competencies


Improve Your SkillsetCan you be a storyteller and a teacher? See why 350,000 people have engaged with this inspiring (and practical!) blog post.Like This


Who's That Teacher that Kid Remembers Forever?How passionate are you about your work? See how you can up your game with some new habits.


I'm One Great Summer Getaway!Prize: $300 Corwin Gift CertificateDeadline:  July 27, 2014

Enter the Giveaway


Summer of Service: Service-Learning Grants from YSA

The awards provide project grants for youth-led, ongoing service projects that are being conducted through a school or community organization. Grants are for K-12 student leaders and already established projects.

Prize: Grants are available up to $1,000

Deadline: July 31, 2014

Check out the big list of Educational Grants and Resources, updated weekly.


 WEBINAR  Summer Boot Camp: Digital Learning Strategies

Hosted by: ASCD

Date: July 31, 2014, 12:00 p.m. PDT / 3:00 p.m. EDT

See more Educational Webinars, Unconferences, and Conferences, also updated weekly.


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Edutopia is produced by The George Lucas Educational Foundation, a nonprofit operating foundation established in 1991 by filmmaker George Lucas. Edutopia is dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process by documenting, disseminating, and advocating innovative, replicable, and evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their future education, careers, and adult lives. This free e-newsletter is published weekly and available to anyone interested in improving education. If you received this message from ET News, you can sign up for the e-newsletter here.


© 2014 The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Edutopia®, Schools That Work™, Lucas Learning™, and Lucas Education Research™

are trademarks or registered trademarks of
The George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries.
PO Box 3494, San Rafael, CA 94912

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More than 1M comments on net neutrality debate so far

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. companies, consumer advocates and citizens submitted more than 1 million comments to the Federal Communications Commission, drawing contentious divisions on the issue of net neutrality as the first deadline to comment approached Friday.

The FCC will continue collecting comments, made in response to these first submissions, until Sept. 10 as it weighs how best to regulate the way Internet service providers (ISPs) manage web traffic crossing their networks. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new rules in April after a federal court struck down the FCC’s previous version of such rules in January.

The FCC’s draft rules propose banning ISPs from blocking users’ access to websites or applications but allowing some “commercially reasonable” deals between content providers and ISPs to prioritize delivery of some web traffic.

Though Wheeler has insisted the FCC would carefully guard against abuse of the rules to hurt competition or consumers, the proposal drew ire from public interest groups and large web companies that say it would result in faster download speeds for some content at the expense of other content, which would inevitably be relegated to “slow lanes.”

As the push against paid-prioritization spread across the web, thousands wrote to the FCC and the proposal has now attracted one of the biggest responses in the FCC’s history, nearing the record 1.4 million comments the regulators received after the 2004 Super Bowl broadcast that exposed viewers to a glimpse of singer Janet Jackson’s breast.

“Dear FCC,” read numerous comments filed using a template created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation group.

“Net neutrality, the principle that (ISPs) treat all data that travels over their networks equally, is important to me because without it ISPs could have too much power to determine my Internet experience by providing better access to some services but not others.”

Consumer advocates and some web companies, including online video services Netflix Inc and Vimeo, want to reclassify ISPs as telecommunications services and regulate them more like public utilities – an idea rejected by the ISPs and by Republicans both in Congress and at the FCC.

Experts disagree on whether or how reclassification would effectively prevent pay-for-priority deals. Wheeler has not proposed reclassification as the solution, but has not taken it off the table as a potential route.

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp wrote to the FCC in opposition of reclassification, saying the “radical” move would impose arcane rules on the quickly changing marketplace and may raise costs for supporting already expensive network infrastructure. They say they have no plans to create any “slow lanes.”

AT&T, though, said the FCC could ban paid prioritization without reclassifying ISPs. It is unclear how the approach would stand up in court. Verizon and Comcast supported the “commercially reasonable” standard.

Cable trade group came out in support of setting the same net neutrality rules for wireless and fixed broadband, something long urged by consumer advocates and recently also backed by large web companies.

Read the entire article by Alina Selyukh, with Andrea Ricci, on 790 KGMI News Talk at

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How Tests Make us Smarter

TESTS have a bad reputation in education circles these days: They take time, the critics say, put students under pressure and, in the case of standardized testing, crowd out other educational priorities. But the truth is that, used properly, testing as part of an educational routine provides an important tool not just to measure learning, but to promote it.

What’s at work here? When students are tested, they are required to retrieve knowledge from memory. Much educational activity, such as lectures and textbook readings, is aimed at helping students acquire and store knowledge. Various kinds of testing, though, when used appropriately, encourage students to practice the valuable skill of retrieving and using knowledge. The fact of improved retention after a quiz — called the testing effect or the retrieval practice effect — makes the learning stronger and embeds it more securely in memory.

This is vital, because many studies reveal that much of what we learn is quickly forgotten. Thus a central challenge to learning is finding a way to stem forgetting.

The question is how to structure and use tests effectively. One insight that we and other researchers have uncovered is that tests serve students best when they’re integrated into the regular business of learning and the stakes are not make-or-break, as in standardized testing. That means, among other things, testing new learning within the context of regular classes and study routines.

This isn’t just a matter of teaching students to be better test takers. As learners encounter increasingly complex ideas, a regimen of retrieval practice helps them to form more sophisticated mental structures that can be applied later in different circumstances. Think of the jet pilot in the flight simulator, training to handle midair emergencies. Just as it is with the multiplication tables, so it is with complex concepts and skills: effortful, varied practice builds mastery.

We need to change the way we think about testing. It shouldn’t be a white-knuckle finale to a semester’s work, but the means by which students progress from the start of a semester to its finish, locking in learning along the way and redirecting their effort to areas of weakness where more work is needed to achieve proficiency.

Standardized testing is in some respects a quest for more rigor in public education. We can achieve rigor in a different way. We can instruct teachers on the use of low-stakes quizzing in class. We can teach students the benefits of retrieval practice and how to use it in their studying outside class. These steps cost little and cultivate habits of successful learning that will serve students throughout their lives.

Read the entire article by Henry L. Roediger in the New York Times at

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How to Protect Student Data in Education

The issue of data privacy touches a nerve for many, triggering visions of an internet-era Big Brother beyond Orwell’s wildest predictions. And no privacy issue raises an emotional response—or requires a thoughtful approach—more than the sensitive information compiled about America’s kids.

Hearing the school district perspective was especially valuable. “We wanted the tech industry to hear from the districts about where their pressure points are, in a very unfiltered way,” explained Marsali Hancock, founding president of iKeepSafe. And, according to her, some of those unfiltered thoughts were surprising to the industry.

“Educators want an increased voice in innovation, and increased transparency about who has access to the data,” said Hancock. Districts called for more ways to easily communicate with companies and with parents. “They’re looking for good ways to explain to parents what they’re doing with student data, and why they’re doing it.”

All four districts also spoke to the challenges posed by increased technology use in the classroom. “One of the districts has 150 different apps used in their district,” explained Bosmeny. “That’s 150 privacy policies to review, 150 integrations to test, 150 security reviews to be done.” Bosmeny sees this as a chance for industry to directly engage with the concerns of districts. “There’s no universal set of regulations, so there’s a big opportunity for people in the industry to step up and work with schools to create solutions.”

In recent months, student data privacy has become an increasingly hot-button issue. Aimee Guidera is the Executive Director of Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a nonpartisan national advocacy nonprofit represented at the roundtable. DQC aims to build productive conversations around how data is used in education to improve student achievement. As she sees it, the recent focus on student data privacy largely is due to more technology use and data in the classroom.

To learn more about student data privacy, check out the resources section of DQC’s website, including a roadmap to safeguarding student data and suggestions of what every parent should be asking about data in education.

Read the entire article by Charley Locke on edSurge at

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FCC Adopts Landmark E-Rate Modernization Order on July 11


Today, the Federal Communications Commission adopted an E-rate Modernization Order that will expand Wi-Fi networks in schools and libraries across America. The new rules are the next major step in a comprehensive modernization of E-rate, the first such effort since the program’s creation 18 years ago. The program increases focus on the largest and most urgent need—closing the Wi-Fi gap—while transitioning support away from legacy technologies to 21st Century broadband connectivity, ensuring E-rate money is spent smartly, and improving program administration. The reform will expand Wi-Fi to more than 10 million students in 2015 alone.

The Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) adopted by the FCC accomplishes three major goals:

Closes the Wi-Fi Gap

  • Sets an annual funding target of $1 billion for Wi-Fi while ensuring support continues to be available for broadband connectivity to schools and libraries.
  • Directs at least $1 billion in support for Wi-Fi for Funding Years 2015 and 2016 to connect over 10 million students and thousands of libraries each year by establishing reasonable budgets for applicants.
  • Allows support for Wi-Fi purchased as a managed service and caching servers through the new internal connections funding mechanism.
  • Continued use of new Wi-Fi funding methodology after Funding Year 2016 will be evaluated as part of a review of the long-term funding needs of the program.
  • Increases support targeted for Wi-Fi in rural school districts substantially – a nearly 75 percent increase; and targets a nearly 60 percent increase in urban and suburban districts.
  • Begins a multi-year transition of all program funding to broadband, by gradually phasing down support for non-broadband services.
  • Adopts clear broadband goals to measure overall program success, while maintaining local flexibility to determine the needs of individual schools and libraries.

Maximizes E-rate Spending

  • Incentivizes consortia and bulk purchasing.
  • Increases transparency on how E-rate dollars are spent and on prices charged for E-rate services.

Makes the E-rate Administration and Application Processes Faster, Simpler, More Efficient.

  • Streamlines the process for multi-year applications.
  • Expedites process for small dollar, cost-effective applications.
  • Speeds review of all applications.
  • Moves to electronic filing of all documents.
  • Simplifies discount calculations.
  • Strengthens efforts to combat waste, fraud and abuse by toughening document retention and site inspection rules.

By taking action today, the Commission has ensured that the new E-rate rules will be in place in time to support Wi-Fi upgrades across the country beginning in the 2015-2016 school year.

The FNPRM Seeks Comment on:

  • Long-term program funding needs necessary to meet goals and funding targets established in the Order.
  • Further steps to facilitate the use of cost-effective consortium-based purchasing.
  • Alternative methodologies for allocating support for library Wi-Fi connectivity.

Building on Success

Today’s Order builds on the top-to-bottom administrative review of the E-rate program that was the first stage of Chairman Wheeler’s comprehensive approach to modernization.

This administrative review is already delivering huge dividends

Brings E-rate into the 21st Century

New digital learning technologies are opening new opportunities for students, teachers and library patrons.

  • In schools, emerging educational technology allows an increasingly interactive and individualized learning environment and expands school boundaries through distance learning applications.
  • In libraries, high-speed broadband access provides patrons the ability to apply for jobs; interact with federal,state, local, and Tribal government agencies; engage in life-long learning; and stay in touch with friends and family.
  • The plummeting costs of tablets and netbooks, increasing Wi-Fi speeds, and innovative cloud-based software are allowing this technological transformation of learning, much of which would have been impossible five years ago.

But too many U.S. schools and libraries lack the infrastructure necessary to fully utilize today’s learning technologies—particularly when it comes to Wi-Fi in the classroom.

  • Three out of five schools in America lack the Wi-Fi needed to deploy 21st Century educational tools.
  • Half of school buildings have older, slower internal wiring that won’t carry data at today’s broadband speeds.

Download a copy at

Statements from some of the Commissioners are available on the FCC website at

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New Searchable, Free Teaching Resources on Climate and Energy in the CLEAN Collection Grades K-16

Looking for well-vetted resources on climate and energy literacy for the classroom?CLEAN has just launched a brand new, searchable portal of online learning activities, videos and visualizations on climate and energy.

The Brand New CLEAN Portal offers the following resources and support:

1. The CLEAN search engine directs you to online activities, videos, and visualizations on climate and energy that are searchable by grade level, topic, and resource type. These resources have been reviewed by scientists and educators for accuracy and classroom effectiveness and provide additional insight and guidance on using the materials.

2. Join the vibrant CLEAN Network email list for updates on educational policies and science, discussions with experts, conference & workshop announcements, and weekly telecons (Tuesdays at 1 pm ET). Join the CLEAN Network email list by contacting

3. Follow the CLEAN team on facebook or twitter to see featured resources from the CLEAN Portal as well as climate extensions to help you stay up-to-date on the latest climate and energy literacy news!

4. CLEAN’s guidance on teaching climate and energy science provides a set of essential principles to frame the science and inform your teaching strategies. Learn more about these scientific principles, why they are important and challenging to learn, strategies for teaching age groups, and get directed to relevant activities, videos, and visualizations for each principle.

CLEAN Principal Investigators:
Dr. Tamara S. Ledley, TERC, Cambridge, MA
Dr. Susan B. Sullivan, University of Colorado, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), Boulder, CO
Dr. Cathy Manduca, Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College, Northfield, MN

Find out more at

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NHSTE Announces Chris Nelson Memorial Grant Winners!

Congratulations to the 2014 
Chris Nelson Memorial Grant winners:
Cloud Connected Geospatial Mapping 
Team Leader Robert Woolner and Hopkinton Middle High School
Data Collectors with Raspberry Pi
Team Leader Holly Doe and Pelham High School and Elementary School
To Learn more about the NHSTE grant program, visit the Chris Nelson Memorial Grant Page
Take a look at the first grant recipients, HHES,  and learn about their 

Flipped Classroom Project

Stay tuned to for more information about the projects, blog postings and pictures starting in September.

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