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The Spark News Roundup: Ideas Worth Sharing

Spark Roundup

In this edition of The Spark News Roundup, we highlight a California early learning campaign to shrink language disparities by installing conversation prompts into playgrounds, an innovative scaffolding technique for teaching English-language learners, how America’s academic approaches differ from the rest of the world, and more.  

Zeroes and (Young)Ones: The Future of Technology in the Classroom

With the new year underway, Huffington Post contributor Claire Stead predicts what edtech trends will come along with it, from digital teaching assistants to virtual and augmented reality to more robust built-in security technology, it seems the sky is the limit.

Real Parents, Real Talk About Kids and Screens

We were intrigued by this NPR article in which reporters Elissa Nadworny and Anya Kamenetz talk with parents about their thoughts on screen time, social media, online safety, and more. For example, on the topic of digital media use in the classroom, parent Jessica Millstone says, “There is this atmosphere [in schools] of a kind of lockdown against electronics… I do wish more schools had a sort of intentional balance [around digital media].”       

The Playground Where Babies Learn to Talk

At HMH, we’re big believers in the importance of early language and brain development, so we were excited to read this Atlantic story highlighting an early learning campaign recently launched at Officer Willie Wilkins Park in Oakland, Calif. to shrink language disparities and provide parents with tools to engage meaningfully with their children. Mixed in among the park’s brightly colored structures are illustrated panels containing conversation prompts, like “let’s talk about the sunshine,” for caregivers to discuss with their playing children.

What the International Test Gap Looks Like in the Classroom

When it comes to the education of America’s youth, we know there are always opportunities for improvement. PBS Newshour reminds us of the value in looking outside of the US for inspiration by speaking with foreign exchange students living in the US about how America’s academic approaches differ from the rest of the world.

Modeling Strategy: “I Do, We Do, You Do’ (Video)

We love hearing about innovative, new ways that educators are engaging English-language learners (ELL) in the classroom and were particularly jazzed about this Education Week video highlighting a California high school teacher’s scaffolding instruction technique, “I do, we do, you do.” By gradually releasing assignment responsibility, she is meeting the needs of her diverse learners and setting them up for success.    

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