The Every Student Succeeds Act and why it's it's critical for our education system and ELL's

Today we had the great pleasure to hear the incoming US Secretary of Education, John King, Jr. (@JohnKingatEd), speak at the IES meetings we are attending in Washington, DC. During his speech, he discussed the importance of embracing the challenge of closing the achievement gap that exists in our public schools and between our students. While No Child Left Behind had noble goals and intentions to 'level the playing field', it actually caused achievement to fall and pressure to mount at all levels of our education system. Not a good recipe for anybody. One of the (general) changes in the Every Student Succeeds Act is that the States will have more flexibility AND responsibility in setting and implementing their education goals. This is (IMO) good because State Education Agencies (SEA's) are closer to the unique challenges that exist in their classrooms. 

Lingo Jingo is very glad to be supporting the Every Student Succeeds Act and its focus on making accountability for the success of English Language Learner students a priority. Also, as most of us in Lingo Jingo are from deep IT backgrounds, the use of more "evidence based" methods that are to be used to drive decisions at every level of for education, really resonates with us. 

John King, Jr., our next Secretary of Education, speaking aout future of education. 

John King, Jr., our next Secretary of Education, speaking aout future of education. 

To get a GREAT overview of the Every Student Succeeds Act, read the article The Every Student Succeeds Act: Explained from Education Week. It's excellent and provides information on what the Act means for not just ELL's but for SEA's, teachers, administrators, special needs students, funding, and more.

The future is bright!

We're Excited to be Attending the Ed Games Expo on Dec 9!

The Lingo Jingo team will be attending a conference in Washington, DC next week held by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and we could not be more excited. As winners of the Small Business Innovation Research grant program provided by IES and the Department of Education, we are required to attend and share our findings and planning. The theme of this years conference is "Collaborations to Bridge High-Quality Education Research and Practice", and reflects the importance of bringing together people with diverse interests and perspectives to design and execute high-quality, scientific research that leads to improved student outcomes. Our specific focus is going to be learning as much as possible about how to better the experience and outcomes of students who are English Language Learners (ELL's), and we couldn't be more excited. The specific objectives of this years conference are:

   Discuss IES and the U.S. Department of Education priorities and programs
   Address challenges and solutions in the field of education research and practice
   Spotlight new research findings and methodological approaches from IES-funded projects
   Offer professional development on a range of substantive and methodological topics
   Provide time for PIs to meet with their NCER (National Center for Education Research)  and NCSER (National Center for Special Education Research) program officers and other researchers working on similar problems or issues
   Foster connections between IES fellows and others who may be seeking new research or career opportunities, and individuals who want to build new partnerships or fill open positions

Another of our scheduled activities while at the conference is to attend the Ed Games Expo on December 9. The Expo is intended to showcase games for learning through SBIR - and while we're not a game, per se, we do "gamify" some of our Lessons by way of word searches, image matching and other fun and interactive content. We'll be sharing this all at the Expo and can't wait to see what other companies are doing in this area of Ed.

It's going to be a full three days and during the time we will be blogging from the event as best we can. This way we can share our experiences!

Study finds English to be the most influential language on Earth

A recent study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was published in the National Academy of Sciences found that English is the most influential language on Earth. Many of you may say "Well, duh…", but it's important to look at the factors that were taken into account for such a distinction. While most of us tend to consider the language of business, or the language with the most economic impact (not always the same as 'business'), it's easy to NOT take into consideration what languages are most often used most in mediums of communication such as media (in this case books) and on the global Internet. The study analyzed data from books, Wikipedia and Twitter (this surprised me as I'm not a huge user of Twitter…does that make me out of touch?). Anyway, as specified in the research, over 2.2 million books were taken into account representing over 1,000 languages, as well as articles on Wikipedia and tweets sent on Twitter sent by 17 million (!) users and in over 73 languages. I'd say that's pretty representative of not only what people are saying but in what way they are saying it. 

If English is the prevailing language of the internet and the internet is the way that most people are communicating now, that speaks to the ability of English to connect people across all languages.

The results are quite interesting in that they clearly point out that English is the most influential language in use today and is over 50% of the communications analyzed in the study. This is incredible because in all of human history only a few languages have held the distinction of being a global language. 

For Lingo Jingo, this supports the importance of getting more and more people to be better communicators in the language. As we view English language educators in the United States to be the most critical link in the chain of English acquisition, we strive to make sure these important folks are supported to the best of our ability! 

If you'd like to learn more about this research, you can find it here on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences website.

There's also a really cool interactive 'language map' that's available on the MIT website that offers a deeper look into not only the dominance and interconnectedness of all of the world languages, but also shows population and economic data.  Take a look, it's worth a few minutes of your time.

Helping English Language Learners with Math education

If there is one thing that language educators - strike that - all educators are focusing on it's helping kids with the STEM subjects. With the move of focus, whether it be a Common Core initiative or simply the seismic shift in education goals for K-12, it's for kids to become better educated in the STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. This move is of great importance regardless of students primary language, but it becomes a greater challenge for educators who are working with kids who are ELL's. There are many strategies for these educators to use to help English learners to improve their capability to understand and articulate what they are learning but I happened to find a great article that offers up a 'top 10' list for helping ELL's to succeed in Math. Titled "10 ways to help ELL's succeed in Math", Scholastic had a panel of experts provide their top tips for effective education of Math and math concepts to ELL students (you can read about who these experts are and their individual positions in education at the end of the article). They even use the following - IMO very clever -  term to introduce their tips for "ways to teach ELL's their ABC's and 123's". The bonus is that there are distinctions between tips for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced ELL's. 

Lingo Jingo offers lesson and course content that supports the objectives of educators who are responsible for working with ELL students to both comprehend and become more articulate with the many Math concepts they will need to master in order to be comfortable and succeed in "mainstream" classrooms. The content needs to be more than just instructional - it needs to be interactive and engaging using pictorial and video techniques to build vocabulary and reinforce understanding of key concepts. Some of these include courses and lessons that echo the tips in the above article and focus on the following topics:

We feel strongly about the goals of ELL educators across the board and want these kids to strengthen their English skills while also ensuring they're acquiring the STEM skills they will need to put themselves in the best position possible to ensure a better and more equitable education. We can all do this!