Textbook publisher Pearson is going digital. Here’s why that’s a bad move.

study international | August 16, 2019

In July, textbook publisher Pearson announced its “digital first” strategy for publishing new materials. As a result, alll 1,500 US textbooks will transition to digital, and it’s unclear how often print materials will be published and revised. In some ways, this is a sensible move. Textbook authors can update materials as and when required, and the process for doing so will become much simpler and less costly. Fair enough. Dig a little deeper, however, and the motivation for the transition seems somewhat sinister. In 2016, Pearson decided to cut an astounding ten percent of its staff by 2019 due to a loss of £2.6 billion. What caused the reduction in revenue? Students buying second-hand textbooks, apparently. To add insult to injury,  more than US$10 billion is spent each year at American university bookstores, an unfathomable amount that earns the average bookstore a profit of 21 percent. “We want students to have the best and most up-to-date content for the best price,” Pearson CEO John Fallon told Inside Higher Ed.

Spotlight

This month’s What’s New in EDU episode focuses on topics educators said they wanted to learn more about! We’ll be sharing tips and resources to help get you started in strengthening STEM instruction and developing future-ready skills in students.

Spotlight

This month’s What’s New in EDU episode focuses on topics educators said they wanted to learn more about! We’ll be sharing tips and resources to help get you started in strengthening STEM instruction and developing future-ready skills in students.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

Scantron Launches Snapshot for Easy, Fast, and Reliable Digital Classroom Testing

Scantron | August 19, 2021

Scantron, a global leader in assessment, analytics, and data capture for the Education, Certification, and Workforce markets today announced the launch of Scantron® Snapshot™, an innovative, cloud-based, K-12 classroom testing solution designed to pinpoint unfinished learning, empower students to be invested in their progress, and give teachers on-the-spot information regarding student understanding of lesson concepts. Following a year of educational disruption brought on by the pandemic, many educators are facing the challenge of efficiently assessing student academic progress and supporting differentiation. The need for real-time assessment is now more important than ever before. With Snapshot, teachers have a powerful tool to easily and instantly assess student progress and help students grow on their educational journeys. It can be used to deliver end-of-chapter tests, pop quizzes, or even quick-question check-ins on difficult concepts. The true value of the solution lies in giving teachers simple, easily deployable options for immediate intervention opportunities letting them decide how and when to test. Students then receive timely feedback on their progress, rather than wait for end of unit, interim or semester tests—giving them more insight on which concepts need attention and confidence during the learning process. "Scantron Snapshot provides a new opportunity for K-12 educators to measure current learning comprehension while enabling accelerated student growth through real-time knowledge and understanding checks," said Jay Whitchurch, President, Scantron. "We have spent decades laying the groundwork and investing in technology to deliver the most reliable assessment solutions built to meet educator needs. This easy-to-use, teacher-driven classroom assessment is a game changer and one that will enable teachers to create individual plans and next steps relevant to each student based on immediate results." Scantron Snapshot provides a quick, flexible, and easy-to-use K-12 evaluation solution that can be created with customized or state standard-aligned items to show progress in crucial areas of learning. It syncs with district Student Information Systems making it simple and fast to deploy. Classroom tests, quizzes, and concept checks can be created as needed and delivered online, by paper, or both. Teachers can build these using item banks containing more than 300,000 items, collaborate with teachers in their departments or schools to develop common assessments, and easily digitize existing paper forms using a simple upload process saving time and energy. The solution offers a modern interface, enabling the use of screen readers for students with visual impairments and supports multiple languages via Google Translate™. "We're excited to launch this new, digital offering for classroom educators," said Mary Michael Pontzer, VP Portfolio Management for Scantron. "Educators have trusted our scanning solutions and online interim assessments for decades—now, with Scantron Snapshot, we offer a truly innovative solution that can raise the bar for equitable student engagement and personalization. This solution is timely as we head back to school, empowering educators to efficiently identify and address learning progress right in their classroom." ABOUT SCANTRON Scantron provides solutions that help organizations around the globe turn data into insights. These include assessment development and psychometric services from a deeply experienced and tenured team, state-of-the-art, proprietary assessment technology platforms, a full suite of survey services, as well as dynamic reporting and analytics tools that enable clients to make timely, accurate decisions for any industry. It is part of a global, diversified company that develops and delivers millions of digital education assessments and certification tests, prints & delivers hundreds of millions of high-precision, scannable answer sheets, and supports leading educational institutions, certifying bodies, small-to-large businesses, and government agencies. Scantron is headquartered in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, with other locations in the Research Triangle of North Carolina; Omaha, Nebraska, and Columbia, Pennsylvania.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Skyward Helps Districts Leverage Edtech as Digital Transformation Accelerates

Skyward | September 30, 2021

As district leaders have accelerated their reliance on technology and digital skills, it has become clear that some of the strategies and tools put in place during the last 18 months will remain in the post-COVID-19 education world. For many school districts, leveraging their use of existing technology allowed them to make digital transformation a much less stressful experience. One such district, Consolidated High School District 230 (D230) in Illinois, integrated their SIS (Skyward) with their LMS (Canvas) to help them transition to a successful virtual learning environment. While D230 already had plans in place for eLearning to be used for inclement weather days prior to the pandemic, the district had to speed up their plans when the pandemic hit. Luckily, the district's SIS easily integrates with many third-party solutions, so they were able to get their virtual learning environment up and running quickly. "The integration [of Skyward] with Canvas has made it much easier to manage changes with courses, teachers, student rosters, team teaching, and more," stated John Connolly, chief technology officer at the district. "Our teachers especially love the gradebook passback feature." Another district in Texas, Grand Prairie Independent School District, used Skyward to offer online enrollment amid the pandemic. With a student count of over 29,000, Grand Prairie ISD needed a way to enroll all students without in-person visits. Enter Skyward's New Student Online Enrollment (NSOE). According to Bill Young, the district's director of student information systems, implementing the NSOE feature created convenience and peace of mind for both district administrators and district families. "NSOE has been a great way to receive information from parents, process the information to get students enrolled, and communicate back to the parents, all with no face-to-face contact," said Young. Finally, Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indiana, used Skyward to move their parent-teacher conferences online. The results surpassed expectations, with one elementary school reporting 100% participation. "A silver lining to all the negatives of the pandemic is the move of parent-teacher conferences online," said chief operations and technology officer at the district, Pete Just. "Our participation is through the roof and teachers and parents are connecting to help students in ways they never had before. Engaging the adult in the student's life is key to student success. I think online parent teacher conferences are here to stay and that's a great thing!" For D230, Grand Prairie ISD, MSD Wayne Township, and thousands of other districts around the nation, COVID-19 caused a quick pivot to remote learning with a heavier reliance on their edtech. By using Skyward in creative and innovative ways, these three districts thrived. The pandemic created a rapid acceleration in districts' move to digital solutions,For districts, leveraging edtech they already own allows them to shift to a digital environment, without having to invest in additional software or learn new tools. Ray Ackerlund, president of Skyward. While it is impossible to know what the coming years of education will look like, these examples show how districts are using their edtech to stay future-ready as they anticipate what may happen next. About Skyward Skyward's school administrative software solutions are used by more than 2,000 public sector organizations worldwide, from small entities to statewide implementations. Since 1980, Skyward has remained committed to a better experience for every user.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

Educators Share Positive Stories of Hybrid and Virtual Learning in the Ciena Solutions Challenge Roundtable

Ciena Solutions | August 26, 2021

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