Blog: Common Sense News

How Common Sense Is Helping NYC Welcome Cell Phones into Schools

Today’s students are hyper-connected multitaskers who operate in the state of now. But opportunities for connected learning aren't always available at school, where students are often asked to disconnect and power down. As a result, students can feel the world of school isn't relevant to their outside lives. Fortunately, an increasing number of districts across the country recognize that for student success, we must allow them to learn with the tools they love. The New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) is one of them. On March 2nd, 2015, they are lifting their cell phone ban and empowering schools to make instructional decisions regarding the use of personal devices for learning. Lifting the cell phone ban mean....read more


Raising the Bar for EdTech

#EdTechBridge weekly Twitter chat inspires collaboration between developers and educators.

EdTechBridge was born out of the observation of many that there can be a cultural gap between entrepreneurs and educators, despite our shared goal of serving students with high-quality edtech. South by Southwest EDU (SXSWedu) started a few years ago, and many noted that it was an entrepreneur-heavy conference, where the teacher voice was missing. Over the past two years, that has certainly changed. I commend SXSWedu for their commitment to this concern. Last year at SXSWedu, Katya Hott (@katyamuses) and I offered a "problem solving" session (a new format for SXSWedu). Our topic, "Bridging the Teacher-Entrepreneur Divide," was meant to spark a discussion that could continue after the conference ende....read more


Teacher PD for the Digital Classroom: 6 Bold Ideas to Empower Educators

Training and support for teachers on the effective use of educational technology is the key to enhancing learning in the connected classroom. That was the clear message from a recent one-day working summit in Washington, D.C., where some of the nation's top educators, edtech advocates, and policy makers met to discuss the professional development that teachers need to maximize the potential of emerging digital-learning technologies. The summit was co-hosted by Common Sense, the LEAD (Leading Education by Advancing Digital) Commission, and the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands. Panelists included U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton, President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, National Te....read more


Act Fast: How to Make an Awesome Digital Life

Be a Part of Digital Citizenship Week 2014, October 19-25

I take that back. An unkind statement, said aloud, only heard by those within earshot can be softened with a quick apology. But the realities of life online are such that all expressions -- cruel, kind, and every sort imaginable -- have a longer shelf life when emailed, posted, recorded, and texted. The action of sharing intensifies the impact. Sometimes it seems as if keeping up with the ever-evolving digital landscape is like tracking a shape-shifter. Kids are quick to adapt, and we need to be on pace, too. We launched Digital Citizenship Week in 2013 to shine a spotlight on the importance of helping kids learn how to create a safe, responsible digital life. The purpose of Digital Citizenship Week is to build awareness of the import....read more


Ready for the School Year? We're Here to Help!

Common Sense Education rolls out new videos, curriculum, and more.

It's an exciting, frenetic, encouraging time of year for teachers and students alike. And we at Common Sense Education are right there with you! Over the summer, we've been hard at work putting the finishing touches on a host of new initiatives. Keep an eye out for what's new here on our blog. Read on for sneak peek: Videos: The latest student-facing video, Oversharing: Think Before You Post, created with our partner Flocabulary, is already a tween and teacher sensation. Check out a refresh of the style and content of our most popular existing videos, too: Digital Footprint, Copyright and Fair Use, and Digital Life 101. iBooks: We released our K-12 digital literacy and citizenship curriculum as iBooks textbooks for FR....read more


Announcing Our GoPro Pilot Video Contest Winners

This year, Common Sense Media and GoPro embarked on a project together to put GoPros into the hands of teachers passionate about helping students use video as a learning tool. The goal of the project was both to test the performance of the GoPro cameras in a range of K-12 educational settings and to create a set of exemplary projects to inspire and inform other teachers interested in trying out video with students. Each school that was accepted into the program was provided with a GoPro Hero3+ edition and a full complement of accessories, like chest harnesses and the remote control. They were tasked with creating an 8-minute final project video that had educational value for the students involved and was innovative as well. Twenty-two pi....read more


Bringing Reading Rainbow Where Kids Need It Most—To Tablets, Classrooms, And Every Child, Everywhere

It’s no secret that I recently launched a Kickstarter to bring Reading Rainbow back to tablets, on the web, and especially to classrooms. We’ve had an overwhelming initial response, and I am filled with gratitude for the passion and generosity I’ve seen from our initial backers. But things have been slowing down the past few days and that worries me, because our fight is just beginning. It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I believe the gift of literacy is the most important gift we give our children. Reading is our birthright as humans. Literature is one of the very first ways in which we learn to observe and interact with the world.  Literature is a springboard for experience. A great book is a....read more


#TeachersWin During Teacher Appreciation Month

As our Teacher Appreciation Month comes to a close here at Common Sense Media, we would like to thank all the educators who entered our month-long giveaway. We partnered with Motion Math Games and LaunchPad Toys, both of which are On For Learning Award Winners, to bring free educational apps to the mix of prizes. This spring, we've been working with GoPro to pilot the Hero3+ in classrooms, and they sent over some cool GoPro hats. Yesterday, we hosted a webinar on edWeb with Emily Bazelon called "Defeating a Culture of Bullying in an Age of Social Media." She generously donated a signed copy of her book, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy,&....read more


California State Senate Passes “Fair Start” Bill

As you may have seen today, the California State Senate has passed a proposal to renew high-quality pre-kindergarten opportunities for all of the state's children born into low-income families. Common Sense Media Founder and CEO Jim Steyer has released a statement in support of "Fair Start," or SB 837, authored by California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). "California has an enormous opportunity to make a smart and reasonable investment in its youngest children by providing funding that would make quality preschool opportunities open to all California families, starting with those families who have the least access to quality preschool," said James P. Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media.&nb....read more


Teacher Appreciation Month at Common Sense Media

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Day! We are gearing up for a month-long celebration of all that you do! We are working with our partners to bring together a lineup of fun prizes that we will be awarding throughout the month. We'll be giving away free apps, books signed by the author, fun swag (t-shirts, hats, and water bottles), gift cards, and tech. Check back here throughout the month for more details and submit your name today to enter to win in May! Fill out this brief entry form to enter! Tweet out this blog post using the hashtag #teacherswin and including @CommonSenseEdu and @graphite for an extra entry! And follow us on social to stay up to date on all of this month's activities! Facebook |&nb....read more


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