Education Resources Blog

VariQuest Blog

The VariQuest Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools Blog contains resources on classroom ideas, lesson plans, industry news, events, and offers throughout education.

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Academic Subject: STEM | Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Academic Subject: Science | Academic Subject: Mathematics

STEM vs. STEAM—Which One is it?

By: Geena Maharaj
January 9th, 2017

16. 17. 25. What do these numbers mean to America? Federal reports show only 16% of high school seniors in the US are interested in pursuing a career in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). Our students rank 17th in science achievement and 25th in math ability among industrialized nations. Couple that with the fact that “the demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase at four times the rate for all other occupations,” and it’s no wonder why the topic of STEM is the talk of town. America’s face palm can be heard internationally, but its sting hits close to home, starting with schools. But are four letters enough to encapsulate the issue?

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Education Policy | Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Education Policy

Every Student Succeeds Act: What We Know Today

By: Geena Maharaj
February 23rd, 2016

The whole one-size-fits-all (OSFA) notion has never been my cup of tea. It's a rare occurence, but coming across the seemingly perfect maxi dress that turns out to be OSFA is a day-ruiner when you're barely tall enough to go on big kid roller coasters. Now take this cookie-cutter attempt to K12 education heights, and that's school years worth of day-ruiners for principals, educators, parents, students, the like.

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How to Write a Grant eBook

How to Write a Grant eBook

This helpful guide includes an explanation of the grant process, including a checklist (with samples!), and useful links and resources to find funding!

Blog Feature

Academic Subject: STEM | Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Differentiated Instruction | Academic Subject: Career & Technical Education

Maker Movement Gains Traction in the Midwest with NSF Funding

By: Margo Ensz
September 28th, 2015

Earlier this month, two Indiana University researchers received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the successes of the Maker Movement in China and cultivate the movement in the United States Midwest. This grant and new study focuses not only on the academic importance of the movement, but the economic importance as well. So, why the Midwest? 

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Grade Level: Primary (PK-2) | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Differentiated Instruction | Featured Topics: Education Policy | Featured Topics: Professional Development

NAESP 2015 Focus Track: Student Achievement Gaps

By: Margo Ensz
June 16th, 2015

The National Association for Elementary School Principals (NAESP)'s annual conference kicks off in two weeks in Long Beach, CA (June 30-July 2). Each year the conference, designed for educators on the "front lines," challenges leaders to think, what's next? Attendees can choose their conference focus from several tracks:

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Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Student Engagement | Academic Subject: Interdisciplinary | Featured Topics: Professional Development

The Importance of Kinesthetic Learning

By: Geena Maharaj
May 13th, 2015

Imagine if educators were required by law to hand out straitjackets to students before school started. There's no filibuster long enough that could save any lawmaker from the angry mob of parents and teachers that would follow. But where's the public outcry when that immobilizing jacket is invisible? Students' ears are constantly being fed with information, and their eyes are getting their fill, too. But without the use of kinesthetic tactics in teaching, retention rates among students plummet.

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Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Classroom Celebrations/Holidays

How Will you #ThankATeacher This Week?

By: Margo Ensz
May 5th, 2015

If you can read this, #ThankATeacher. If you can calculate a tip, #ThankATeacher. If you learned  a second language, #ThankATeacher. What do you thank a teacher for? It's National Teacher Appreciation Week!

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Academic Subject: STEM | Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Differentiated Instruction | Featured Topics: Student Engagement

Makerspaces: High and Low Tech

By: Geena Maharaj
April 9th, 2015

If you've been keeping up on education trends lately, chances are you’re familiar with the recent emphasis on doing, creating, crafting, constructing, designing, building…essentially, making! From using laser cutters to building a house of LEGO® bricks, the goal is to make. The importance of this multidisciplinary hands-on learning has been sweeping the nation, one makerspace at a time.

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Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Differentiated Instruction | Academic Subject: Special Education

Response: Where Ed Tech is Failing Special Education

By: Margo Ensz
March 12th, 2015

EdSurge recently published an opinion article titled: "Where Edtech is Failing Special Education." Kara Brooks-Odom, a teacher of 16 years, outlines her experiences with the education technology industry in how it meets, or, in this case, doesn't meet, the needs of her students and her classroom.

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Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Professional Development

Why OERs Matter

By: Margo Ensz
January 26th, 2015

Open Educational Resources, or OERs, have been around since the 1990s, however current technology has propelled OERs to the mainstream. Because the structure of the educational system is by nature exclusive, the ultimate goal of open educational resources is to make high-quality education available for any person to access at no cost. Because of revolutionary technologies of knowledge delivery, the world is closer to this point than at any other time. 

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Featured Topics: Industry News and Trends | Featured Topics: Professional Development

5 Ways to Improve Teaching with Brain-Based Research

By: Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.
January 6th, 2015

Republished with permission from Melissa Hughes, Ph.D. Original article posted on December 2, 2014 There has been a lot of buzz lately around the maker movement. Recent brain-based research support the notion that hands-on making, building, and creating not only nurture creativity, but also impact cognition, working memory, and innovative problem solving. While we don’t have to have the working knowledge of neuroscientists, if we're going to improve our practice of teaching it's important to understand how the brain learns. 

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