Moving Ahead in 2017


New Year, New Technology

A new year always welcomes us with the promise of new opportunities, a chance for change, and the ability to begin anew.

Teachers beginning a new year might begin with reflection. What is working with students, or what could be changed to engage students more? These are common questions that  teachers ponder continuously as well as at the beginning of a new year or semester. A teacher might discover that the answer doesn't lie in her methodology but in the tools available.  

 

So, what if the barrier is lack of technology?

Technology has been infused into almost every aspect of our lives. However, many classrooms lack the technology that is commonly available in our homes and on our phones.  Students are accustomed to interacting with technology. In fact, a recent study by Kelly Wallace of CNN, found that young people ages 8 to 18 spend almost nine hours per day engaging with media technology for their enjoyment. 

 

Understanding that these age groups are drawn to and enjoy interacting with this medium should give us better insight into engaging the Generation Z student.  However, most schools are not equipped with the training or technology to implement programs that promote learning in a way that appeals to this generation. 

 

The challenge for schools is to find the right technology, software, and professional development to propel learning beyond the school day that is meaningful to students. Students should be engaged with learning continuously not just in the classroom.

 

At Thrivist, we want to help schools reach the goal of lifelong actively, engaged  learning.  That's why we created platforms that work for the students of today, and partnered with companies that understand the importance of this work as well.

When planning your next technological move, consider the following:

 

  • Blended Practice Profile
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Cool Toys That Make You Think


Not done with your holiday shopping list? 

 

Not sure what to get your children? You might want to consider some cool toys that promote curiosity and creativity.  Toys that promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) not only help children achieve academically but also help them achieve in life. Exposing children to STEM through toys cultivates interest in these subjects in school.

In addition to STEM products, children should be exposed to the Arts.  There is evidence that children involved in the Arts experience both social and academic benefits.  Children tend to have better critical and creative skills and are better at independent learning when the Arts are part of their lives.

So, whether you choose to buy some gifts focused on STEM, the Arts, or better yet, both, your child will benefit from your thoughtful gift choice.

 

Here are some examples of some cool STEM or Arts related gift ideas:

  • ThinkFun
    • From the Escape Game puzzle phenomena to circuit board building games, your child will learn valuable STEM skills sparking an interest in these critical subject areas.
  • Color Alive
    • Color Alive combines art and technology. Design a character with color, then capture the figure on the app and see the character in full animation — lots of popular characters to choose from for boys and girls!
  • Fat Brain Toys
    • A variety of active learning toys including the Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity.  With this toay, children "can build a maze, and then use the coding cards to create a step-by-step path for the programmable robot mouse. Create endless maze path possibilities, and then watch the mouse race to find the cheese."
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Holiday Shopping Ideas Promoting STEM


Looking for gift ideas that support education?

The holidays are here which means a lot of you are looking for gift giving ideas.

Items that inspire education and promote STEM can make great gifts. Unfortunately, these gifts might not get the same attention as the 'hot' trending items do.

Below are a few companies that are making toys that are not only fun but build imaginations!

  • Goldie Blox
    • GoldieBlox is the award-winning children’s multimedia company disrupting the pink aisle in toy stores globally and challenging gender stereotypes with the world’s first girl engineer character. Through the integration of storytelling and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) principles, GoldieBlox creates toys, books, apps, videos, animation and merchandise; the tools that empower girls to build their confidence, dreams and ultimately, their futures.
  • K'nex
    • Founded in 1992, K’NEX, a division of Smart Brands International Co., LLC, was established to make and sell what has become one of the world’s leading integrated construction systems for children, and is America’s STEM building solution. Winner of over 370 international awards and recognitions, K’NEX is focused on Building Worlds Kids Love® and encourages youngsters to “imagine, build and play.”
  • Snap Circuits
    • Snap Circuits® makes learning electronics easy and fun! Just follow the colorful pictures in our manual and build exciting projects, such as FM radios, digital voice recorders, AM radios, burglar alarms, doorbells, and much
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What Gen Z learners expect from education

What do the learners of Generation Z demand of their education experince?

When school leaders and administrators begin to think about the needs of their students it's helpful to consider kind of experience your students will expect. 

The students of today, Generation Z, have vastly different expectations of their education than generations past. Different than the Millenials, their immediate predecessors. 

Let's look at some facts about Gen Z students and how you can use those facts as a filter to select the proper learning management system (LMS) for your school that best meets your students expectations.

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Interoperability in an LMS is more crucial than ever before

Learning management system (LMS) must be interoperable with third party tools and apps

With the ever increasing amount of digital learning tools available to our teachers and administrators it has becomes more unlikely that one single vendor will supply all the needs of one school or district. 

This should not be read as a slight against edtech vendors. It is the reality we live in. There are simply too many useful and effective tools out there. 

This current environment then, necessitates the need for the learning management systems of today and tomorrow to be able to work with myriad third party tools, platforms and applications.

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5 facts about Gen Z learners that educators need to know

Meet Generation Z students where they are, not where you think they should be

If we, as educators, are not adapting our curriculum and instruction to be in step with what our students expect, then we are performing a gross disservice to them.

In this post we'll look at 5 facts about Generation Z students and what they mean for teachers, administrators and other educational leaders.

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