SyncUp With StudySync
StudySync has received 5-star ratings from Common Sense Media's Graphite.org. Graphite is a free service from nonprofit Common Sense Media designed to help preK-12 educators identify the best apps, games, websites, and digital curricula for their students by providing unbiased, rigorous ratings, as well as practical insights from a community of teachers.
StudySync has just published our first Listen Edition Blast, in partnership with Monica Brady-Myerov, CEO and Founder of Listen Edition, who compliments this new series with her award-winning public radio reporter experience and voiceover introductions. Explore our first audio-enhanced Blast about the proposed eleven-mile road through The Izembek Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
NO WAY HOME! BLAST PROMPT:
How can we balance the needs of people and the environment?
BLAST AUDIO PREVIEW:
Are you interested in hearing first hand about how StudySync teachers use our engaging multi-media lessons in their classroom?
Register for one of our new "Featured Teacher" webinars and connect directly with StudySync educators to learn how they improve reading and writing skills with our robust digital library of texts, writing prompts, and multi-media lessons that meet state and national standards.
It’s almost September and we are pleased to see a flurry of activity in the StudySync community: teachers are joining training webinars, setting up assignments, and helping their new students log in for the very first time!
In light of this, we would like to highlight the introduction of the latest useful tool created for teachers and students -- The StudySync Student User Guide.
This spring StudySync had the opportunity to interview some of the amazing teachers who use our critical reading and writing program, to see what works for their students and how StudySync is helping them overcome the hurdles of today's classroom and transition to the Common Core. We are excited to share the first of these Case Studies with you, in which we spoke with Colleen Carbone, a Language Arts teacher at Jim C. Bailey Middle School in Pensacola, Florida.
Colleen Carbone uses StudySync to help her students develop the critical writing skills necessary for the upcoming Common Core assessments and to differentiate instruction within her classroom to meet and engage all learning levels. And she does it all within a school system that does not have 1:1 technology access. Read on to hear why Carbone finds StudySync to be "better than a textbook" and the best tech solution for her.
StudySync is kicking off the new school year with a major expansion of our outreach to educators. At EdNet 2012, we were pleased to announce that StudySync is now live on the Learning.com Marketplace.
I remember being taught in school not to write in books, particularly because most books being used in my junior high and high school were school property. To write in them would be a defacement of that property, and probably give away a few answers to future users. Then, when I got to college, I entered a brave new world. Not only was annotation allowed, it was encouraged. Buying schoolbooks for myself meant that they were mine to do with as I pleased – I could highlight and scribble on their pages to my heart’s content.
I’ve done a lot of presentations over the years on education and technology but as a fan of “TED Talks” I felt some pressure to say something profound. When I sat down in my office to write something for today, I realized there was very little chance of that actually happening. And, I’m okay with that, because there’s a freedom in not having to get it exactly right, to float ideas out there, to be able to promote thought, to let ideas evolve in this social setting.
In part, I owe this humble insight to a mystic I’ve followed, someone that I think you’ll recognize…
Clearly, the world is full of great ideas and you’ve heard a number of them tonight. But what’s equally important as those ideas is the questions they raise, how it challenges your thinking! That’s the way the knowledge has evolved over the centuries, that’s the evolution of thought.
Consider this clip from MGM’s Love and Death between Diane Keaton and Woody Allen:
Clarissa Romano is the Lead Writer for StudySync.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, I wrote screenplays before heading south to pursue an MFA in fiction writing at the University of Mississippi. I spent four years in the classroom at Ole Miss, teaching Freshman writing and English Literature, and then, after receiving my degree, as a creative writing instructor to upperclassmen. I’ve returned home to LA, but I still miss standing before a class of open, curious, sleepy faces. I’m not going to pretend my students hung on my every word. Far from it. But the challenge of engaging teenage minds fired my imagination.
Just as good fiction rides on conflict, the best academic discussions sparkle with opposing viewpoints. In this era of bloated classrooms and test-driven curricula, students often miss out on hearty academic debates. SyncTV models the drama of a lively classroom discussion in a condensed and casual format. We strive to present students as they are—full of questions, doubts, and humor. The actors and writers collaborate to create characters that feel and sound real. In each episode, our characters demonstrate both a willingness to be swayed as well as steadfast convictions. Our goal is to impress on viewers that an academic debate is a safe space: here we are allowed to disagree. Here, our contrasting viewpoints aren’t personal, but intellectual. Here, we can influence and change our resolve without compromising our identity or integrity.
$37,000 according to the University of Iowa. Students interested in receiving the Tippie scholarship are prompted to tweet “What makes you an exceptional Tippie MBA candidate and full-time MBA hire? Creativity encouraged!" Wow! $264 dollars per character? Having been a starving college student some years back, it’s hard for me to imagine receiving that amount of money for 140 characters, no matter how well-chosen. But if you think about it, there is artistic beauty in being able to convey ideas succinctly, effectively, and creatively. And we can all appreciate the qualities of brevity, right?
For me, John Steinbeck comes to mind when thinking about simple, powerful language. In fact, I distinctly remember my high school English teacher wanting us to understand how what often appears to be simple in the art of writing can often be the most memorable, powerful storytelling. A lesson plan on TeacherVision describes Steinbeck’s The Pearl in the following way. “The story is simple but exciting. However, within its simplicity is the great complexity of a tale filled with imagery, symbolism, and thematic significance.”
Students can experience – and practice – this same to-the-point powerful approach to writing with StudySync, whether through student essays or StudySync Blast responses on current events. While the perfect 140-character Blast response may not garner students a $37,000 reward, it does allow them to express themselves quickly, concisely, and thoughtfully – from any device, anytime, anywhere. And that can be an even greater reward than the money – well, almost.
Excerpts from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl, and Travels with Charley can also be found in the StudySync Digital Library.