ISTE 2017 Coverage

Newsela Unveils Units, Vocabulary Instruction, Increased Elementary Content


Newsela, an instructional content platform, has announced three new features to be released in the fall of 2017. The announcement was made at the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference in San Antonio, TX.

The new features include Newsela Units, Power Words and Elementary Content. According to the company, it introduced these features in an effort "to help bridge the gap between how kids engage with modern digital content and how they engage with academic technology at school."

Newsela Units organizes Newsela articles by topic and sequences the articles within each topic. Each unit includes three sub-topics and a high-level guiding question. Each sub-topic is further broken down into "PRO Text Sets," which pair specific articles with classroom-ready teaching ideas. The first Newsela Units rolling out in fall 2017 will cover United States History.

Power Words is a vocabulary instruction feature. Newsela articles highlight high-frequency and high-utility words and allow students to read child-friendly definitions of those words as they are used in the article. At the end of each article, students can practice the words in a series of low-stakes activities. They can also add words and points to their personal Word Wall, and teachers can monitor individual and class progress toward goals.

Finally, Newsela plans to significantly expand its selection of content for elementary students, bringing the total number of new elementary articles per day to more than 10.

"We want to go beyond the textbook and help create an instructional content experience for the digital classroom era,” said Matthew Gross, founder and CEO of Newsela, in a prepared statement. “You’re also going to see a lot of new features layered on the texts themselves, making them more interactive… all beginning this fall."

Further information about Newsela is available on the company's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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