Posts Tagged ‘educators’

Crowdfunding for Schools

The need for classroom supplies never goes away. Unfortunately, funding for supplies is considered discretionary spending, so it is often the first area to get cut when school budgets tighten. It’s no secret that teachers spend a lot of their own money on supplies to fill the gaps. But in recent years, teachers have been relying on crowdfunding sites, which connect teachers with a large number of donors looking to help. In 2016, teachers raised over $100 million through DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding site that specifically caters to education projects.

Many school supplies purchased at the beginning of the school year need to be replenished as students return from the holiday break. If you are an educator in need of funds, consider crowdfunding. And if you are someone who wants to show your support for teachers and students, consider visiting crowdfunding sites to donate.

Are you conducting any crowdfunding campaigns for your school?

If so, tell us about them on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below.

Thank You, Teachers and Librarians


Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to reflect on what and who we are grateful for, but it also reminds us that expressing our thanks should happen year-round. Gratitude, after all, has numerous health benefits, including improved physical and psychological health. Expressing gratitude also has the ability to improve someone else’s well-being. Unfortunately, teachers and librarians rarely get the recognition they deserve.

Only 29% of teachers said that they had received recognition or praise for their work within the last seven days.

According to a Gallup employee engagement poll, only 29% of teachers said that they had received recognition or praise for their work within the last seven days. When recognition does finally arrive, it usually happens during the last days of the school year, before summer recess. Teachers and librarians work hard all year long. Recognition shouldn’t be limited to the last day of school.

At ProQuest, we recognize teachers and librarians for who they truly are: heroes. From all of us at ProQuest, thank you to teachers and librarians for your service and dedication. And Happy Thanksgiving!

How do you show gratitude? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below.

Poll: Is the Educator’s Summer Vacation a Myth?


CC0 Public Domain, via Pixabay

After they met, they sipped sangria and studied each other. He seemed to have potential.

“So, what do you do for work?” he asked.

“I’m a teacher,” she said.

“Oh, it must be so nice to have summers off!” he said.

Her sangria-spiked blood boiled. His insipid, small-talk question was forgivable; his moronic response to her answer was not.

She flung sangria into his face. Fruit and red wine ran down his head. His shirt stained. He looked wounded, bloodied. She immediately regretted her behavior: she just wasted sangria.


Sans the sangria, has this scenario ever happened to you?

Of course it has.

It seems like everyone thinks educators spend their summers sunning themselves and sipping sangria at the beach. Nice, right? If only it were true. Last summer, an article on the Atlantic.com declared that a teacher’s summer vacation is a myth. Many educators actually spend the majority of their summers writing lesson plans, attending conferences, taking continuing education classes, teaching summer school, or working second jobs. Does this sound familiar?

Is the educator’s summer vacation really just a myth? Take our poll.


An Exceptional “Unconference” Experience: EdCamp Tampa Bay

On October 10, 2015, I had the privilege of participating in the first-ever EdCamp Tampa Bay (#EdCampTB), hosted by Plato Academy Charter School in Clearwater, Florida. There were over 120 educators in attendance, representing schools from all over Florida and other states as well. Many others from around the world also virtually joined in the event.

EdCamp Tampa Bay Logo (Credit: EdCamp Tampa Bay)

Credit: EdCamp Tampa Bay

What Is EdCamp?

Since the original Edcamp in 2010 there have been over 700 conferences around the world in 25 countries. Not familiar with EdCamp? Watch a video here.

EdCamp is a free, democratic, participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators worldwide. EdCamps are:

  • free
  • non-commercial and conducted with a vendor-free presence
  • hosted by any organization interested in furthering the EdCamp mission
  • made up of sessions that are determined on the day of the event
  • events where anyone who attends can be a presenter
  • reliant on the “law of two feet” that encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs

Here’s an excerpt from an Edutopia blog post by EdCamp Co-Founder Kristen Swanson:

“The edcamp model provides educators with a sustainable model for learning, growing, connecting, and sharing. Everyone’s expertise is honored, and specific, concrete strategies are exchanged. When professional development is created ‘for teachers by teachers,’ everyone wins.”

The First EdCamp Tampa Bay

"Building the Board" (Credit: Becky Beville)

“Building the Board” (Credit: Becky Beville)

At registration, all participants were asked to write on two post-it notes one thing they wanted to learn, and one that they wanted to share. These ideas were used to “build the board” of topics to be covered in each of the 45-minute sessions. There were 27 sessions available that covered a wide variety of educational trends and topics. Examples include educational technology and apps (augmented reality, robotics and coding, podcasts), classroom management (flipped classrooms, Mindset), MakerSpaces, gifted education, book clubs, ways to use play and games in the classroom, and many more. A Google document was also created for each session to facilitate posting and sharing by participants.

The event coincided with Global Cardboard Challenge Day http://cardboardchallenge.com/, and Plato Academy students presented their projects in the #cardboardchallenge. Other highlights of the day were an interactive MakerSpace session, more student demonstrations of new educational products and technologies, and the “App Smackdown”–a kind of ‘lightning round’ where educators were allowed 2 minutes to share their favorite tool or app. Generous donations by the event’s many sponsors provided free breakfast, lunch and snacks to the attendees, as well as many valuable raffle prizes and other free goodies.

Not being an educator myself, I’m grateful to the event organizers who graciously allowed me to attend. I was absolutely blown away by the caring, creative, inspiring, brilliant, dedicated, and enthusiastic educators who gave up a Saturday to learn new ways to reach students and share their knowledge, experience and expertise with others. If you are a K-12 teacher or administrator, a school district leader, a staff member at a public or private school, or even a post-secondary educator, and are looking for a meaningful professional development opportunity, I would highly recommend attending an upcoming EdCamp near you!

Teacher-Media Specialist Collaboration Is Recipe for Student Success


As editors, we are privileged at times to get out of the office and visit schools and libraries to witness how librarians, media specialists, teachers and students use ProQuest resources at their points of need. We visited Palm Beach Gardens Community High School in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, and observed a recipe for student engagement: the collaboration of a media specialist and teacher.

Deb Svec, media specialist, collaborates with as many teachers as she can who are willing to join her on fun, innovative projects for high school students. Knowing this, we were very excited when Deb welcomed us to her media center to consult on use of our resources and observe her current project in partnership with 10th grade English teacher Julie Mooney. Deb and Julie joined forces for a lesson centered on the book Escape from Camp 14, the story “of the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped.” Nonfiction was selected due to Language Arts Florida Standards’ emphasis on nonfiction proficiency.

ProQuest provides content-based reading and research for nonfiction units.

The nine-week lesson starts with pre-research to learn about the contextual themes of the book including North Korea, human rights, genocide, torture, and historical comparison to the holocaust. Deb demonstrates three ProQuest resources in the media center: CultureGrams for country research, eLibrary for in-depth current and historical reference and SIRS Issues Researcher to delve into the ethical angles. Then with Julie’s guidance, students team up in the computer lab to research ProQuest resources and gather as many facts as they can. In another class, they produce poster boards illustrating their research, which are posted in the classroom for reference.

Collaborators in Education: Julie Mooney and Deb Svec
Palm Beach Gardens Community High School (Photo by Christie Riegelhaupt)

Next, the students are immersed in the story of Shin Dong-hyuk through reading and discussion of the book. As their understanding is enlightened through the narrative of Escape from Camp 14, students return to the media center to dig deeper into thematic research in ProQuest resources including eLibrary Research Topics specially created by editors for this topic. In subsequent class activities to engage in critical thinking, students answer questions through Cranium Core games to prompt in-depth discussion and promote comprehension.

In their final project, the students collaborate and produce public service announcements (PSAs) on the horrors of North Korean internment camps. These PSAs are broadcast via the school media network.

At the end of other book units, Deb and her collaborative teachers often invite authors for Skype or in-person visits with the students. Students are inspired by the experience of interacting with authors who often have experiences similar to their own.

Collaborative lessons like Escape from Camp 14 don’t just promote rote knowledge but build college-ready skills through collaboration,  reading comprehension, technology use, information literacy, critical thinking, and oral presentation. Educators like Deb and Julie are an example of how collaborative teaching and use of media center resources provide dynamic immersive learning.

Research Topic

Shin Dong-hyuk, one of several ProQuest eLibrary Research Topics
created specially by editors for the Escape from Camp 14 unit.


Originally published November 12, 2014.

Increase Student Engagement:
Help Launch the #AskAStudent Movement

Although national- and state-level issues like the Common Core testing debate dominate U.S. education policy discussions, micro-level issues like student engagement often get overlooked. According to the 2014 Gallup Student Poll, 53 percent of public school students in grades 5–12 are engaged at school; almost half of all students are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.” Gallup’s poll defines student engagement as “the involvement in and enthusiasm for school, [which] reflects how well students are known and how often they get to do what they do best.” So how do we improve student engagement? One way is to foster more communication between you—the educator—and your students.

Asking students questions about their interests and their lives can improve student-educator relations and academic outcomes. In a recent post, Gallup education research specialist Mark Reckmeyer tells the story of how a simple question—What do you like to do at home?—transformed a disengaged student into an engaged one. When this student revealed his passion for cooking, his teacher used this knowledge by aligning the curriculum to help him become more actively engaged.

Last spring, third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz tried to get to know her students better by assigning them a writing prompt called “I wish my teacher knew.” Schwartz—along with the rest of the nation—was blown away by her students’ responses, many of which were posted on Twitter under the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew. Students revealed poignant details about their lives, such as not having enough pencils, not having any friends to play with, and having parents who were deported. This assignment gave students the ability to voice their biggest challenges. It also gave Schwartz the opportunity to understand those challenges and adjust her teaching accordingly.

Both anecdotes demonstrate the power of communicating with students. Students are people, too. They have hobbies, talents, worries, and challenges—just like the rest of us. The more you know about your students, the better equipped you will be to improve student engagement and, in turn, academic outcomes. So #AskAStudent. Ask about their likes and dislikes. Ask about their challenges. Ask about their strengths. Ask their opinion. Asking questions will let students know that they are valued. It will also help you understand your students’ interests and needs.

There are many ways to ask students questions. Reckmeyer’s student was asked in person. Schwartz assigned her students a writing prompt, allowing them to remain anonymous—although many chose to include their names and share with the class. How you choose to approach #AskAStudent will likely depend on your students’ grade level: younger students, after all, might be more willing participants than older students. Use your best judgment. If one tactic doesn’t work, find another. Ultimately, the goal is to build student engagement from the ground up.

Below is a collage of students who were asked, “What do you like to do when you are not in school?” Help launch the #AskAStudent movement by sharing your assignments and responses with us on Twitter @ProQuest.

The STEAM Movement and the Future

Fractal Art by werner22brigitte [Public Domain] via Pixabay


STEAM is a movement that integrates an A for the arts into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiative from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.  STEAM education was created in 2006 by former teacher Georgette Yakman.

The Creative Component

Advocates of STEAM contend that there should not be a dichotomy between science and art. Instead, art should be seen as a driver of creativity that can foster innovation and spark engagement and learning in science education.

“Engineers, inventors, and designers produce drawings as part of their creative process. They draw to work out and refine concepts and details. They draw to persuade. They draw to give direction. And they draw to record their ideas and to learn from others.”–Doodles, Drafts, and Designs, Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian

Pathway to Economic Growth

John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, sees STEAM as a pathway to fostering U.S. economic growth. Maeda, writing in Edutopia, has said that “[d]esign creates the innovative products and solutions that will propel our economy forward, and artists ask the deep questions about humanity that reveal which way forward actually is.” He cites Apple as a well-known example of a company in which design is crucial to the success of technology.

Tried and True

The idea of integrating the arts and sciences in education is nothing new. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was not only a famous Renaissance artist but was also a scientist, engineer, and inventor. In fact, he used his skills as an artist to draw his mechanical ideas.

“If someone had told Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, or Galileo that the study of science in the 21st century would be separated from the creativity of the arts or the social, cultural, and historical insights into human behavior offered by the humanities, they would have wondered what scientists had done to make the world disrespect them so much.  It’s an odd idea to separate out different kinds of knowledge that inspire and enrich one another in the real world and the virtual too.” – Duke Professor Cathy Davidson

Future of STEAM

Mathematic and scientific knowledge fuel the mechanics of invention, but what fuels the innovative aspect, the design, and uniqueness? Imagination. And imagination comes with a love for the arts. As long as there is a need for invention and innovation, there will be a need for the arts.

A recent Washington Post article on arts inclusion in the STEM program argues this point well. Even with reports of the U.S. economy in need of more scientists and the like, it’s important to remember that the arts are a fundamental piece of what makes scientific advances as a whole.

Without the arts, the STEM program remains stagnant. Tomorrow’s innovators deserve the chance to innovate.

Links for Teachers and Librarians

Over the past several years, more and more schools have begun integrating the arts into their STEM curricula. Below are six links you can use to incorporate STEAM into your classroom or library:

Websites for Students

Are your students working on a STEAM project and need a little inspiration? Below are five editorially selected websites from ProQuest’s SIRS Issues Researcher.

If you’ve implemented a STEAM curriculum in your classroom or library, let us know what you’re doing in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest.


ProQuest Joins Edmodo Community!

We have an Edmodo community page!


For educators not yet using Edmodo in the classroom, it’s a free and secure social learning network for teachers, students, and schools. On Edmodo, teachers and students can collaborate, share content, and use educational apps to augment classroom learning with fun and engaging technology. To get started, see this great blog post from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning: All the Resources Teachers Need to Start Using Edmodo in Class.

For those of you already using Edmodo in the classroom, this community provides a seamless way for you to integrate ProQuest content directly into your classroom or library activities, saving you time searching for relevant materials. In our Edmodo collection, we are offering training resources, curriculum guides, free CultureGrams PDF reports and more directly based on your feedback.

We’re excited about our community to connect and collaborate with educators. Visit us at https://www.edmodo.com/publisher/ProQuest today and browse our collection for materials you can use in your classroom or library tomorrow!

7 Reasons Why Librarians Matter


Film-makers Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks have created a compelling short documentary on why libraries matter. Libraries, of course, serve many purposes, but librarians are the ones who make it all possible. They offer a human element that is becoming all too rare in our high-tech world. I collaborated with my fellow ProQuest editors to discuss the importance of librarians.

Here are 7 reasons why librarians matter to us:

  1. Caring Mentors: Walking into a library can be overwhelming. Greetings from friendly librarians make the experience more welcoming and a lot less scary.
  2. Equal Opportunity Advocates: No matter who you are, librarians are there to help you access all of the services a library has to offer.
  3. Captain Curators: Librarians select and organize the very best resources, saving us from wasting time and suffering from information overload.
  4. Digital Dynamos: Librarians help us navigate seemingly endless digital tools and resources.
  5. Information Ninjas: Information is everywhere, but not all of it is useful. Librarians promote information literacy by helping us hack through the bad sources to find the good ones.
  6. Community Ambassadors: Librarians not only stay on top of community happenings, they also orchestrate many of them. They strengthen our community ties.
  7. Jacks of All Trades, Masters of Everything: Questions librarians face range from “Where’s the bathroom?” to “Where can I find information about existentialism in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis?” Whatever the question, librarians draw from an impressive breadth of knowledge to serve the needs of their patrons.

Let us know why librarians matter to you in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

6 Helpful Resources for the Educator Twitter Newbie


Me: A Twitter Newbie

Twitter serves as one of the best places to stay connected to educators because educators dominate the Twitter-sphere. But as I learned this summer at the 2nd Annual FAME Unconference, many educators are just like me–they are new to the Twitter world and want to learn how to tap into its professional development goodness for the sake of connection, community and learning.

During my recent adventures in Twitter, I have come across some super helpful tools and sites that have enabled me organize and focus. So from one Twitter newbie to another, I offer you these resources to make your Twitter life easier:

1. The SkittleFall: Sparky Teaching provides the cutest and most useful information on the basics of Twitter.

2. Kathy Schrock’s Twitter for Teachers: For a 101 on all things Twitter in education, this site is awesome. One of my favorite cheat sheets I accessed from this site: Dr. Kimberly Tyson’s Cheet Sheet for Educators. In this helpful reference sheet, Tyson offers Twitter basics, key terms and hashtags for education.

3. Hootsuite: After you set up your Twitter world and are following many people, this tool helps prevent Twitter overload. Hootsuite is where I organize and focus my Twitter learning and interaction through tabs where I follow particular people, lists and #hashtags. #edchat and #tlchat are two of my favorite #hashtags.

4. Buffer: Like you, my time is limited for social media. That’s why I love Buffer. I use Buffer to schedule my posts throughout the day so my feed has activity even after I have moved on to other tasks.

5. SumAll: How am I doing? SumAll answers this question with weekly statistics about my Twitter activity. Also, it thanks those who retweet my posts on my behalf–a neat bonus.

6. ManageFlitter: If you are like me, you start Twitter a bit overeager and follow way too many people from just about anywhere. I use ManageFlitter and its helpful organizational tools to assist with following those who focus solely on education. Quality is better than quantity.

If you are an educator Twitter newbie, I encourage you to start small and build from there. Twitter is a useful way to gain feedback from other educators on best practices, lesson plans and to build connections with teachers, librarians or even an editor like me. And you never know, you just might find your educational soulmate.

You can find me on Twitter as Christie_Editor.