Education innovation continues to emerge from North Texas, with new headlines today impacting both learning and teaching.
Today Dallas-based AT&T launched The Achievery, a free digital learning platform that aims to make distance learning more engaging, entertaining, and inspiring for K-12 students. Created in collaboration with WarnerMedia, The Achievery helps connect students to “a new world of digital learning through stories that spark curiosity, and learning content that entertains as well as teaches.”
The platform features clips from kid-friendly WarnerMedia films, TV shows, and animated series paired with lessons and learning activities that students can engage with whether at home, in the classroom, or in the community. Here are three ways The Achievery plans to grab kids’ attention:
• “Wonder Woman” movie clips paired with lessons on reading and writing.
• “Aquaman” movie clips paired with lessons that teach responsible decision-making.
• “Craig of the Creek” animated clips paired with lessons teaching social awareness and language skills.
Through kid-engaging learning content like this, AT&T hopes to make distance learning more effective as it seeks to bridge the digital divide—the gap between those who have quality access to online resources and those who don’t.
“A student needs more than a reliable broadband connection and a computer to learn at home,” said Charlene Lake (above), chief sustainability officer, SVP, AT&T corporate responsibility, ESG, in a statement. “They need educational content that helps them get the most out of their broadband connection. That’s why we created a platform that connects familiar faces from WarnerMedia with engaging lessons and learning activities from leading education experts.”
Solution to “boring” online learning?
According to a 2021 survey, parents and teachers believe that one of students’ biggest frustrations with online learning is that it’s “boring.” Nearly 80% of both parents and teachers think that their kids or students would be more interested in learning tools that include popular entertainment.
“Free digital learning tools like The Achievery, created by AT&T, are an important part of making sure students have equal opportunity to learn,” said Dennis Williams, WarnerMedia’s SVP of corporate social responsibility in the statement. “We hope that by pairing clips from our world-class entertainment content with high-quality educational lessons and activities, that students will get inspired to learn new skills and stay excited about learning now and into the future.”
AT&T Connected Learning initiative
The Achievery is the latest thing to come out of the AT&T Connected Learning initiative, created in 2021 as part of AT&T’s $2 billion, 3-year commitment to address the digital divide “through investments in digital literacy tools, education resources, broadband technology, low-cost internet service, and computers, to help today’s learners succeed inside and outside of the classroom.”
AT&T says every lesson and learning activity on The Achievery is developed by leading education organizations, aligned to academic standards and reviewed by education experts from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Subjects on the platform include Social-Emotional Learning, The Arts, English Language Arts, and Technology and Engineering—with Science, Social Studies, Math, and Digital Literacy coming soon.
The Achievery is being designed with feedback from parents and educators in collaboration with National PTA and ASCD, with learning units provided by organizations including Khan Academy, Young Storytellers, Scratch, Weird Enough Productions, and 826 National. Additional providers who’ll soon be adding to the platform include Girls Who Code, Code.org, Urban Arts, Quest for Excellence, Boddle and others.
Istation launches new educator hub
Dallas-based education tech leader Istation says it’s “reimagining education” with the launch of its new educator hub.
The company says it designed its new platform alongside educators, to offer “a sleek new look with improved data reporting.” Istation’s new educator experience aims to empower teachers and administrators with “advanced filtering, sorting, and customization of student data and a clear path to relevant teaching resources so educators can quickly determine what’s next for their students to achieve meaningful growth.”
Giving educators ‘more time’ by helping them navigate data faster
When Istation gathered feedback from educators nationwide, it learned and the most common need was “more time.” So its new educator experience offers what it calls a “novel” way for educators and administrators to navigate data and access the most vital information.
The platform’s new “weekly recommendations” feature directly pushes info to educators upon logging in, turning data insights into “actionable next steps” tailored specifically to their role. Educators at the district, campus, and classroom levels will get “personalized data dashboards” to help them meet the needs of all learners.
“The future of education is here, and we’re very excited to launch the new educator experience platform to meet the evolving needs of teachers and administrators,” said Istation President and COO Ossa Fisher, in a statement. “The educator experience platform is built on top of years of comprehensive research, mounds of insightful feedback from our customers, and world-class design principles.”
Founded in 1998 Istation—short for Imagination Station—has become one of the nation’s leading providers of animated, game-like educational technology, and has won several national edtech awards,
Toyota’s ‘virtual education hub’ for students and teachers
Unlike the two items above, this program didn’t drop today—it’s been around for awhile with a goal “to help inspire the next generation for a career in STEM-based fields, including mobility.”
Plano-based Toyota North America’s virtual education hub offers an immersive experience through virtual tours of many of Toyota’s U.S. manufacturing plants.
The hub also includes a series of free STEM-based lessons and curriculum through Toyota USAFoundation partners, virtual field trips, and more.
Toyota partners with Discovery Education
Another Toyota educational endeavor was launched last September: an initiative it developed with Discovery Education to inspire student innovation in STEM.
Called “Keys to Connect,” it features a variety of free, standards-aligned digital resources that immerse learners at all levels “to address transportation challenges and imagine the future of mobility.”
“The aim of ‘Keys to Connect’ is to encourage students to explore what Mobility for All is about,” said Sean Suggs, group VP of Toyota Social Innovation, in a statement. “Through exploring transportation challenges in their communities and creating potential solutions, students apply critical thinking skills to improve access to opportunities, connect people in new ways and build a more inclusive society.”
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