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Nintendo Labo Develops Pilot Program in New York

Nintendo and The Institute of Play, a nonprofit, are conducting a pilot program with schools in the greater New York City area to help develop a Nintendo Labo Teacher Guide that will enable other educators to implement Nintendo Labo in the classroom.

Nintendo Labo promotes the development of skills such as creative problem-solving and collaboration, according to the company. The Nintendo Labo Teacher Guide will include sample lesson plans and learning modules dedicated to basic elements of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, as well as the “Make, Play, and Discover” components of Nintendo Labo.

The Institute of Play is soliciting classrooms across the United States to participate in a special program once the pilot in New York is completed. Nintendo will provide about 100 schools with Switch systems and Labo Variety Kits, as well as the teacher guide. The program will be open to schools in the United States and Canada. The guide will be available for free later this fall to anyone who wants to incorporate Nintendo Labo into their classrooms or homes.

New Study Sheds Light on ‘Homework Gap’

The lack of access to technology and internet connectivity at home is especially severe among poor, rural, and minority students, according to a new survey from ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning—a nonprofit organization committed to narrowing the achievement and equity gap.

According to the survey released in August of 2018, 14 percent of students have access to only one device at home, and 85 percent of those students are classified as “underserved”—defined in the report as economically disadvantaged, first-generation college students, and/or people of color.

The report sheds new light on what is now being called the “homework gap” that exists between students who have devices and internet connectivity at home to complete tech-based assignments and those who don’t. “Taking a deeper dive into the data on students with access to only one device is important because these students may face challenges not faced by students with access to two or more devices,” the report says.

GED Diplomas on Decline, Researcher Says

The number of test takers who completed one of the three GED exams has fallen more than 45 percent—from more than 570,000 in 2012 to about 310,000 in 2016. The number passing the exam and earning a diploma has decreased more than 40 percent from almost 400,000 in 2012 to just over 225,000 in 2016.

“It’s a clear trend,” says Tom Hilliard, a senior fellow at the Center for an Urban Future in New York City, which studies economic growth. “Every state has fewer people obtaining high school equivalencies. We need to have alternative routes for people who don’t graduate from high school. Communities and states that have large populations of people who lack a high school credential are places that will have heavy users of public services, whether welfare or Medicaid.”

Tennessee District Promotes Turnaround Guru

Educators who are turnaround experts are highly valued in school districts—for good reason. That was evident recently in the thinking of Shelby County Schools in Tennessee. The school district, which had been operating for nearly two years without an academic leader, promoted Antonio Burt, a seasoned professional in improving low-performing schools, to the position of assistant superintendent.

In his new position as chief academic officer, Burt is responsible for creating goals for schools, training and recruiting teachers and principals, and overseeing academic strategy to meet state academic requirements. The chief academic officer reports directly to the superintendent.

“Throughout his tenure as a transformational school leader, Burt has shown tenacity in removing educational barriers for all children, and a deep understanding of teaching and learning,” says Superintendent Dorsey Hopson.