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Google Feature Now Checks for Plagiarism

Google for Education has introduced a feature called Originality Reports that allows teachers and students to scan their work for plagiarism. As the feature scans work for commonalities among billions of webpages and millions of books, it highlights text that may need additional sourcing.

Screen Time Studies Remain Inconclusive

Research remains inconclusive on whether all screen time - and in all quantities - is harmful to children. Nick Allen, director of the Center for Digital Mental Health at the University of Oregon, points out that digital technology actually has "significant benefits, " such as connecting people of like interests and outlooks.

For parents struggling with how much screen time is OK for their children, try asking your kids: ‘What are you doing on there? What makes you feel good? What makes you feel bad?’ ” says Michaeline Jensen, of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She was an author of a study in August that showed on days when teenagers use more technology, they were no more likely to report problems like depressive symptoms or inattention than on days when they used less. The study concludes, “Findings from this EMA study do not support the narrative that young adolescents’ digital technology usage is associated with elevated mental-health symptoms.”

Google Earth Tools for Geography and History Projects

Does your child have a geography or history project involving maps? With Google Earth’s new tools, users can affix place markers, lines and shapes over a map template, and then attach custom text, images and videos to those locations. For school projects, the tools can also organize multiple maps or Google Earth camera shots into a narrative that can be shared and presented in class. Social studies teacher Josh Williams, who writes about using the tools with students on a migration project, says the tools help engage students in active learning rather than being passive in the classroom.

Online Tools Used To Counter White Nationalism in Schools

Oregon high-school social studies teacher Patrick Griffin uses Western States Center's ‘Confronting White Nationalism in Schools’, an online tool kit to help counter white nationalism, offensive stereotypes and racist messages from hate groups. In an interview transcript from NPR, Lindsay Schubiner, one of the kit's co-authors, says the need for this type of material is growing, as neo-Nazi websites are targeting children as young as 11. The toolkit helps teachers discuss different scenarios and provide greater context, while helping students feel safe to engage in these conversations.

Educational Technology Being Used in Physical Education

A middle-school physical education teacher in Illinois has adopted Otus, a data management and communication platform, to transform his physical education teaching and learning. Jon Szychlinski says students record their peers performing activities, just like professional athletes, and those recordings are uploaded to the platform. Students can then study their footage to improve their performance. The data tracking also has another practical side. It has eliminated dead time in Szychlinski’s small gym, where there’s not enough space for every student to participate at the same time. Now, even when kids are waiting to play, they can reflect on how to improve their form, their performance and ultimately, their overall health.

Twitter Releases a Handbook for Parents and Teachers on Media Literacy

Twitter recently released a handbook to help educators and parents teach media literacy, help adults and teens analyze information they see online, deal with cyberbullying, control one’s digital footprint, and more. The Teaching and Learning With Twitter handbook also includes tips to help teachers use the social media platform in lessons and assignments.

Paper Textbooks Could Be a Thing of the Past, Even in Elementary School

The decision by textbook publisher Pearson to adopt a digital-first strategy for its textbooks business could affect K-12 schools because of the fact that many of these schools are not only not completely fully digital, but many still have yet to step into that space. Jay Diskey, a consultant and former executive director of the Association of American Publishers' PreK-12 Learning Group, says the move is likely to have an greater effect in secondary schools, where some educators already are using a blend of traditional and digital texts, but is certain to spill over into elementary schools as well.

Online Course Teaches Math of Hockey

Nearly 30,000 K-12 students, including many in Chicago Public Schools, are learning math by studying angles and other concepts used by professional hockey players. Students are taking an online course called Future Goals-Hockey Scholar, created by the National Hockey League and tech startup EverFi. The course helps students see the real-world applications of math and helps bring STEM to life.

Esports Curriculum Offered

As you have probably read and heard, many schools are beginning to form their own e-sports teams for students who prefer their playing fields to be digital. The High School Esports league has released a new and free esports curriculum supported by Microsoft. It includes an overview of esports gaming, full lesson plans, and exploration of careers in the gaming field. It is a resource that could be good for schools interested in getting involved.

Students Benefit From Large Print Books

According to a survey of students, teachers and librarians, large-print books, in print or on digital devices, may aid students' reading comprehension. Project Tomorrow CEO Julie Evans said large-print books were found to improve reading abilities and students' attitudes about reading. The survey, conducted by Project Tomorrow on behalf of Gale's Thorndike Press, also found that middle school students reported a 43% reduction in feelings of anxiety about reading when using the large print format. 67% of teachers noted that large print text reduced stress and anxiety in students reading below grade level and at grade level, and 80% teachers said large print would benefit their students who have trouble tracking when reading or lack self-confidence in their reading abilities.

Have a child you think larger print books would help? Don’t forget you can easily change the font size on most tablets, iPads, eReaders, and even on computer screens.