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Education and EdTech News You might have missed this week. (Ending April 28, 2017)

Education and EdTech News You might have missed this week.
We know that being a teacher doesn't end in the classroom, and you stay busy throughout the entire week. So we've put together a short list of education/edtech news articles that we believe you will find interesting a useful. Links to the full articles are provided.
“Google Pledges $50 Million to Close Education Gaps Worldwide"
In a recent stride toward closing the education gap, Google's pledge of $50 million over the next two years will aid students who need improved access to technology, as well as vital nonprofits around the world working towards this goal. Grants will be distributed to nine nonprofits internationally and here in the U.S., with each organization receiving tech support from Google volunteers. Google's pledge is noteworthy because it stresses the importance of access to technology for students of all backgrounds and the global nature of learning.
“Can Early Experiences with Computers, Robots Increase STEM Interest Among Young Girls?”
A new study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) has found that exposing young girls to technology improved their interest and confidence in using it when compared to girls who did not participate in the activity. This suggests a need for earlier introductions to computer science for girls, as well as opportunities to see women in STEM careers. In order to bridge the gender gap in math and the sciences, it’s essential that educators encourage girls to explore technology as early as possible.
“This Program Could Skyrocket AP Scores”
For teachers looking to boost their students' testing scores, the National Math and Science Initiative’s College Readiness Program (NMSI) is worth exploring based on the numbers alone. Schools implementing the program have seen a dramatic rise in AP scores; four schools in particular are used here to illustrate the breadth of success. NMSI is actively working to expand access to the program for underrepresented communities and prepare students for college across 34 states.
“Khan Academy’s New ‘Teacher Aid’ Tool Goes for a Test Drive in Southern California”
The education non-profit Khan Academy has announced it will be integrating its newest product, a "teacher aid" designed to give educators the ability to assign work from the wide range of Khan Academy materials, with five county offices of education in Southern California. Khan Academy will provide training for educators on using the teacher aid in exchange for feedback on what can be improved before the product is available to the public. Teachers will have access to students' individual progress reports and can measure learning gaps more effectively, assigning Common Core-aligned assignments and quizzes to improve those skills.
“Lessons for Improving School Choice from Other Policy Areas”
School choice is a growing issue that parents and students often face with limited help, particularly low-income families who might be struggling with very specific challenges, such as lack of transportation or unstable employment. By looking at strategies currently being utilized in other policy arenas like housing and childcare, this article offers suggestions for improving systems of choice in education for low-income families. Drawing from multiple policy issues offers a fresh perspective on how practitioners can provide guidance to parents and help students make the best decision for their needs.
-Kelsey Erwin