What’s New? Takeaways from the 2019 NCEA Expo


In case you missed the NCEA Expo: 6 new services that caught our eye 

By Barb Szyszkiewicz

A stroll around the expo hall at the 2019 NCEA Convention

NCEA’s own virtual professional development

For teachers who want (or need) to do their PD on their own, the NCEA, Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU), and Virtual Education Software (VESi) have partnered to offer NCEA members and their staff unlimited access to online graduate credit courses. You can take 4 online courses per year for an annual fee of only $125. You can even earn credit toward a degree, and the presentations are compatible on all devices. For details, visit VirtualEduc.com/NCEA.

Cover teacher’s new venture in educational technology

In 2017, Nancy Caramanico appeared on the cover of Today’s Catholic Teacher. Since that time, she’s gone from supporting teachers and students at one school in the use of technology and social media to founding a consulting company that works with schools seeking to improve their technology use. Drawing on Nancy’s experience and recognizing the often-constrained resources of elementary and secondary schools as well as dioceses, E2 Today offers schools a starting point to organize online communication and social media efforts, provides guidance in how to teach digital citizenship within the classroom and curates tiered options for administrators to implement as they work to better engage their school communities. For details, visit E2Today.com and follow @e2today on Twitter.

Learn life skills, substance-abuse prevention through music

Rock Digi offers lessons in emotional intelligence, life skills, anger management, positive self-talk, and empathy for students in grades 2 through 6. Middle-school students are offered lessons in global studies that aim to help students grow in understanding and empathy. Substance-abuse lessons are in the works and will include units in alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention for grades 2 through 4 and grades 5 and 6; students in grade 7 through 12 can learn about opioid, heroin, and fentanyl prevention. Free trial lessons are available at RockDigi.org and RockInPrevention.org, and you can stream their songs free on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon, and Google Play (search under @Pat McManus on all platforms).

Pair acts of kindness with fundraising

Fundraising technology makes it possible to raise funds for your school while your students participate in memorable acts of kindness. Students can take part in self-run events such as fun runs, and can videoconference with children in developing countries in Africa through the help of a social worker. Children learn about life in different countries and work together to aid orphaned and disabled children while raising money for their school. Learn about this program at ChildrenOfCompassion.org.

Cook up some fun after school

Bring a hands-on after-school cooking program to your elementary school — all you need is a room with a sink! iCook After School brings everything (including the oven) to help kids prepare and experience a variety of healthy foods and yummy treats made from mostly fresh ingredients. Students will develop culinary skills in a safe, supervised environment, as well as gain practice measuring ingredients and reading recipes. This program encourages children to try new foods and bring their knowledge (and recipes) home to share with their families. Find out more at iCookAfterSchool.com.

Car line solutions

I’ve experienced the struggles with student pickup as a teacher and as a parent, so a new service that promises to facilitate after-school traffic flow caught my eye. If you’ve ever used Lyft or Uber, you’ve seen your ride approach the location where you’re waiting; FetchKids works the same way. The program predicts vehicles’ arrival time using GPS technology, then generates an ordered list of arriving vehicles, allowing schools to dismiss students as their rides arrive and eliminate wait times in the pickup line. Safety features confirm driver and vehicle identification before students are released, and notifications are sent to both the parents and the school. This service can be used on desktop computers, tablets, and iOS and Android phones. For details, visit FetchKids.com.

Barb Szyszkiewicz is editor at CatholicMom.com and managing editor of Today’s Catholic Teacher.

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