SmartBrief Readers Select the National Certificate for STEM Teaching as a Co-Winner in the 2022 EdTech Readers’ Choice Awards

NISE | June 23, 2022

SmartBrief Readers news
The National Certificate for STEM Teaching (NCST) from the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE) has been selected as a winner in SmartBrief’s EdTech Readers’ Choice Awards for 2022. The NCST is one of three co-winners in the professional development category. SmartBrief readers nominated the solutions and platforms they find most effective, and selected their favorite edtech programs in several categories.

The National Certificate for STEM Teaching is an online, competency-based professional development program for preK-12 teachers. It focuses on high-impact STEM instructional strategies that work synergistically across content areas. Designed with working educators in mind, the NCST is personalized, job-embedded, standards-focused, and convenient. Participants can start the 100% online, self-paced program at any time, with support from a virtual STEM coach.

The NCST is part of a unique, stackable professional development solution. NISE’s “STEM Essentials” Micro Certificate online courses can be applied to the NCST, and the NCST can be applied to American College of Education’s (ACE) STEM-focused graduate programs. ACE provides six hours of graduate credit to NCST graduates who enroll in its online STEM Master’s or Doctoral programs. Through this continuum of solutions, NISE provides the only comprehensive, 100% online professional learning path focused on improving and increasing STEM instruction across all preK-12 classrooms.

NISE is more than a certifying body. It is a research-based support system for campuses and teachers seeking to strengthen STEM instruction and outcomes. Based on 15 STEM Teacher Actions that evolved from STEM professional development originally created at Rice University, NISE’s Campus and Teacher Certificates help school leaders and teachers understand and apply research and best practices in STEM, 21st-century learning, and professional development.


Giving students randomly assigned roles in their group work helps ensure that they all participate.The offer sounded too good to pass up—a paid year off from teaching to create a new public school with a mission to “change the way we do school.” To 26-year teaching veteran Tom Downs and the others who applied, the sabbatical promised the opportunity to build the school they had always dreamed of, working alongside educators who shared a commitment to innovation.

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Gateway to Internet Governance Community, ICANN Fellowship Program Turns 15

ICANN | June 13, 2022

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) marks the 15th anniversary of its flagship ICANN Fellowship Program, which has served as a gateway to participation in the Internet governance community for more than 800 fellows from 160 countries/territories. Launched in 2007 by ICANN, the international nonprofit that coordinates the Domain Name System and plays a key role in ensuring a global, interoperable, and secure Internet, the Fellowship introduces individuals from underserved and underrepresented communities from around the world to ICANN and the Internet governance community. Fifteen years after its launch, the numbers highlight the enduring success of the ICANN Fellowship Program: More than 100 former fellows currently hold positions across the ICANN community and many more remain engaged within the broader Internet governance space. The goal of the program is for fellows to become active members of the ICANN community, thereby strengthening the diversity of the multistakeholder model that forms the bedrock of ICANN's technical Internet governance approach. It ensures that all relevant actors, from business, government, civil society, and other areas, work together in ICANN's consensus-driven policy-making process to maintain an open, secure, and resilient Internet. Through personal mentors and trainings fellows get acquainted with ICANN's multistakeholder model enabling them to participate in the technical Internet governance community. "That many former fellows, all across the world, remain active members of the ICANN community speaks to the success of the Fellowship Program, Their dedication to ICANN's mission of preserving an Internet that is stable, secure, and global invigorates the ICANN community." -Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO. ICANN Fellowships are awarded to selected applicants in conjunction with the three annual public meetings hosted by ICANN in different locations around the world. Fellows come from diverse backgrounds but have a shared interest in learning about Internet governance and ICANN's multistakeholder model. "As the ICANN Fellowship Program turns 15, I am delighted that it has achieved the goals set a decade and a half ago, As it continues to evolve to meet future needs, I am confident that the program will keep providing opportunities for individuals from underserved and underrepresented communities to join the ICANN community and contribute meaningfully to the future of the Internet." -Maarten Botterman, ICANN Board Chair. About ICANN ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you have to type an address - a name or a number - into your computer or other device. That address must be unique, so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation and a community with participants from all over the world.

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CompTIA Spark helps young people unlock their potential and imagine new possibilities through technology

CompTIA Spark | August 08, 2022

With a new, exclusive focus on youth programming and a single-purpose commitment to helping young people unlock their potential through technology, Creating IT Futures has changed its name to CompTIA Spark, the social impact nonprofit organization announced today. CompTIA Spark will focus on delivering high-quality tech education and resources to middle schoolers through an innovative online learning hub. Building on the success of TechGirlz, a program that provides tech-centered learning opportunities for girls ages 11-14, CompTIA Spark aims to make technology engaging, accessible and inclusive for middle school students who are at a critical age to explore their interests. "Our mission is to spark an interest in tech because in today's digitally driven world, tech fluency is just as important to future success as reading, writing, and math, Young people have their sights set on big and varied dreams, but what's clear is that whatever path or passion a young person chooses, technology education will play a critical part in their journey." -Charles Eaton, chief executive officer of CompTIA Spark The CompTIA Spark middle school program, scheduled to be piloted during the 2022-23 school year, will be delivered through an online learning hub that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. The hub is designed as a one-stop shop for students and teachers to access a range of fun, inspiring tech-related courses and resources, spanning topics from artificial intelligence and cybersecurity to mobile app development, podcasting, graphic design and more. Programs serve a diverse range of learning preferences and interests and can be taught by any adult who wants to bring high-quality tech education to their students or community, whether they have tech experience or not. A unique feature of the learning hub allows content to be mapped to students' existing interests and curated across different "careers clusters" — from finance to manufacturing and marketing to the arts. Students can discover career paths and future learning opportunities that align with their passions, strengths, and growing capabilities and confidence. Nearly every career is a tech career in today's digital world. There are so many great job opportunities out there that require tech knowledge and not enough skilled people to fill those roles. Thousands of rewarding, well-paying jobs will go unfilled unless an expanded pipeline of new, diverse talent is created, That's why CompTIA Spark's middle school programming will have a big impact on thousands of young people's lives regardless of whether they ultimately choose a career in the tech industry. We want to show students that tech is for everyone — and about so much more than just coding or computer engineering,said Eaton. Alongside the middle school program, CompTIA Spark will continue to support other programs with a focus on youth, including TechGirlz, acquired by CompTIA in 2019, CyberPrep Explore and CyberPrep ITF+. While an independent nonprofit, CompTIA Spark operates as the social innovation and impact arm of CompTIA — the leading nonprofit association for the IT industry and workforce— which founded the organization. This unique connection to CompTIA means CompTIA Spark is plugged in to developments in the industry, keeping pace with its constant evolution. Additionally, its curriculum has ties to real certifications, helping to provide clear future pathways for students who want to take their interest to the next level. About CompTIA Spark CompTIA Spark is a social impact organization that works to unlock people's potential though technology. It aims to bringing high quality tech education to youth — whatever their background — making tech exciting, accessible and inclusive, and building skills and confidence for life. The organization was founded in 1998 by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry and workforce. Formerly known as Creating IT Futures, CompTIA Spark is a registered 501 (c)(3) nonprofit.

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Level Access Launches Accessibility Education Platform to Deliver Self-Sufficient Compliance to Businesses

Level Access | May 25, 2022

Level Access, the global leader in digital accessibility, today announced the launch of its all-new learning platform, Access Academy. The Access Academy platform serves to help organizations improve accessibility processes without disrupting product roadmaps. Users learn the skills they need, in a non-disruptive manner, to solve their real-world accessibility problems. The integrated training platform includes advanced features like weekly live training sessions, role-based learning paths, and tailored learning. Level Access emphasizes the importance and advantage of creating and expanding equitable digital experiences from the inside out. Access Academy is positioned to be the industry's most engaging platform to deliver digital accessibility training with demonstrable learning retention to organizations and businesses. The platform also seamlessly integrates with accessibility auditing and monitoring tools, empowering teams of all sizes to address shortcomings while building the knowledge and skills required to create truly inclusive experiences. "Our mission is to support the accessibility initiatives of organizations and ultimately create a world where digital systems can be made readily accessible to users with disabilities, Level Access guides organizations to attain compliance while bolstering equity. Accessibility is complicated and can be difficult to learn and apply to practice. Access Academy makes accessibility topics approachable, using proven training and learning practices to ensure retention and applicability to users' day-to-day jobs. With Access Academy, businesses can become self-sufficient, achieving mastery of their own digital accessibility efforts. We are thrilled for the launch of our new training offering and what it means for creating all-inclusive digital experiences." -Tim Springer, CEO of Level Access. From the initial steps of web and mobile app development, the guided planning and self-paced training courses available across Access Academy will help all members of an organization, from designers and developers to product owners and marketing professionals, organically identify what aspects of their digital interface need immediate attention, create a training roadmap, and inevitably develop a workforce confident in their knowledge and skills. Access Academy provides comprehensive training tools and programs that empower accessibility experts, product owners, and development leads in organizations of all sizes to improve accessibility processes and meet compliance, including: Self-paced training courses covering a broad range of topics, including laws and regulations, mobile accessibility, testing tools, and assistive technologies. Guided planning and development of your training road map to build the most impactful training program for your organization's credentials and certifications. Role-based learning paths for all members of an organization, from product managers and developers to designers and marketers. Microlearning modules present key concepts as bite-sized content that keeps learners engaged and reinforces training from full-length courses. Tailored learning credits that can be purchased in advance and redeemed to customize your training and meet your organization's needs. Weekly live training and Q&A opportunities on a broad range of accessibility topics. Opportunity to avail of tailored live training sessions for your organization. Reporting and alerts provide insight into how individuals and teams are progressing in their skill development. Review program performance, gather feedback, optimize, and automatically alert users of completion. Badges and certification for LinkedIn profiles and certification exams for professional development. About Level Access Level Access provides industry-leading and award-winning digital accessibility solutions to over 2,000 corporations, government agencies, and educational institutions. Level Access's mission is to achieve digital equality for all users by ensuring technology is accessible to people with disabilities and the growing aging population. Founded in 1997, Level Access has an unparalleled history in helping customers achieve and maintain compliance with the full scope of accessible technology regulations and standards including the ADA, WCAG, CVAA, AODA, EN 301 549, and Section 508. Delivered through a comprehensive suite of software, consulting services, and training solutions, the company's solutions ensure customer's web, desktop, mobile, and electronic document systems are accessible to everyone. Level Access is endorsed by the American Banking Association, named a White House "Champion of Change" in 2014, and multi-year repeat winners on the Inc. 5000 list of fast-growing companies.

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Chegg, the Leading Online Learning Platform, Launches the Center for Digital Learning

Chegg | May 23, 2022

Chegg, Inc. (NYSE: CHGG), the leading student-first connected learning platform, announced the launch of the Center for Digital Learning, which aims to support educators and drive excellence across online, in-person, and hybrid learning modalities. The Center will provide educators with relevant content, tools, and resources to help them navigate the intersection of technology and higher education, including best practices for engaging students in online learning environments, strategies for effective assessments, and professional development resources for educators. It also will commission original research designed to deepen the education community’s understanding of the opportunities, challenges, and impact of digital tools and online support services. “The higher education landscape is transforming, driven by the evolving needs of the modern student and advances in technology and innovations. Together, these are opening exciting new avenues to serve students and advance learning, But in order to meet this moment, the academic and edtech communities must work together to share knowledge and ideas in support of students. Through the Center, we hope to make a meaningful contribution to the future of lifelong learning both inside and outside the classroom.” -Candace Sue, Head of Academic Relations at Chegg Chegg’s Academic Advisory Board, a group of senior academic leaders, will support the Center’s work by providing critical perspectives on how universities and Chegg can partner to serve today’s students. The board recently welcomed its first student advisor, Ranen Miao, a student leader at Washington University. As part of Chegg’s commitment to the Center, Chegg will contribute to the discourse around the future of higher education through the sponsorship of a new podcast series, Higher Ed Spotlight. Hosted by veteran journalist and higher education policy expert Ben Wildavsky, the series features conversations with the visionaries, academics, and innovators on the frontlines shaping the future of learning. Guests will share their provocative perspectives on what is, and is not, working in higher education today and discuss some of the sector’s most pressing questions, including why students’ needs are changing, how technology is reinventing learning, and what institutions need to do to respond. Episodes feature discussions with: Dr. Paul LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University, who discusses the challenges facing non-traditional students, including who is being failed by the status quo in education and why the sector struggles to drive social mobility. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal discusses how the Biden administration aims to make college more accessible. Dr. Mildred Garcia, President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, reveals her experiences as a first-generation college student, the value of state schools vis-a-vis the Ivy League and how universities can embrace online learning. Dr. Charles Isbell, Dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, addresses how the university experience is changing for both students and professors, how technology is reinventing student services and why computer science needs diversity if it is to solve the problems of tomorrow. Dr. Ann Kirschner, digital media pioneer, author, university professor at CUNY and former Dean of Macaulay Honors College, explores the relevance of liberal arts to working life, what the public and private sectors can learn from each other, and whether long-established universities have the ability and incentive to change. The podcast is produced by Antica Productions. The first five episodes of Higher Ed Spotlight are available on iTunes, Spotify and other podcast streaming services. About Chegg: Millions of people all around the world Learn with Chegg. Our mission is to improve learning and learning outcomes by putting students first. We support life-long learners starting with their academic journey and extending into their careers. The Chegg platform provides products and services to support learners to help them better understand their academic course materials, and also provides personal and professional development skills training, to help them achieve their learning goals. Chegg is a publicly held company based in Santa Clara, California and trades on the NYSE under the symbol CHGG. For more information, visit

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Giving students randomly assigned roles in their group work helps ensure that they all participate.The offer sounded too good to pass up—a paid year off from teaching to create a new public school with a mission to “change the way we do school.” To 26-year teaching veteran Tom Downs and the others who applied, the sabbatical promised the opportunity to build the school they had always dreamed of, working alongside educators who shared a commitment to innovation.