April 20, 2021
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Spotlight on Languages
Radio helps students in Panama learn, boost languages
Panama's flag (Unsplash)
Some 4- and 5-year-old students in Panama City, Panama, are listening to public radio's AM and FM stations to learn core subjects in Dulegaya, the language of the Guna ethnic group. The broadcasts are replayed on social media, offering another opportunity for learning by the students, who are also learning Spanish in lessons taught in their native language while at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Full Story: La Prensa Latina (Memphis, Tenn.) (4/20) 
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A Pandemic-Fueled Digital Transformation
COVID-19 has forced many US public schools to embrace remote learning. As such, schools, and educational institutions in general, have been forced to engage in some type of digital transformation. This SmartFocus explores the technological changes and advancements that have taken place in the educational space. Download Now!
Technology & Trends
Zoom sets new academic freedom policy
(Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
Colleges and universities will now have more control over the speakers and content on Zoom meetings under new guidelines issued by the videoconferencing platform. Zoom will defer to the meeting host or account administrators except in cases where Zoom is at regulatory or legal risk, anyone is in physical danger or the meeting is unrelated to the school's operations.
Full Story: Inside Higher Ed (4/19) 
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How Should K-12 Schools Use Their COVID-19 Relief Funds?
As US public schools begin to receive billions of dollars in aid, many educational leaders are now faced with the difficult decision of how to utilize these funds. Read this SmartFocus to learn more about how these leaders can best fill education gaps while adhering to funding guidelines.
Policy Watch
Access to after-school programs declines
About half as many students have access to after-school programs than before the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by Afterschool Alliance. Data shows that students from low-income families are less likely to have access to in-person programs at a time when after-school programs face challenges.
Full Story: The Hechinger Report (4/19) 
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Global Competence
This interactive article takes a look at some of the 20% of the world's more than 7,000 languages that are expected to disappear or become dormant before the year 2100. Scientists say complete worldviews -- many of which offer solutions to big, global problems -- are lost when languages disappear from the planet.
Full Story: CNN (4/16) 
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A photo of a youth group's life-size, climate-change science experiment, and another of twin boys dressed as furry, mythical swamp creatures, are among eight winners of the World Press Photo Contest. The winners were chosen from nearly 75,000 photographs that were submitted by 4,315 photographers spread across 130 countries.
Full Story: The Atlantic (tiered subscription model) (4/15) 
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Research Notes
Study: Gifted programs not beneficial
A study of 1,300 elementary students across the US raises questions about whether gifted programs improve outcomes for students. The study, to be published next month in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, finds small gains in reading, smaller gains in math, no improvement in motivation and no gains at all among Black students and children from low-income families.
Full Story: The Hechinger Report (4/19) 
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ACTFL 2022 Board of Directors now accepting self-nominations
After careful deliberation by the ACTFL Leadership Development Committee and input from the ACTFL Board of Directors, the Board nomination process has been revised to make it more transparent and aligned with the organization's strategic plan. There are five (5) positions up for election this year: President-Elect (K-12), two (2) at-large K-12 Board positions, and two (2) at-large Higher Ed positions. ACTFL members who wish to serve on the ACTFL Board are encouraged to self-nominate by May 28.
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Enhance your career with ACTFL's Summer Virtual Proficiency Institute
Join us this summer to unpack ACTFL's Proficiency Guidelines and apply techniques to help learners achieve higher levels of proficiency. Participants will attend virtual modules, participate in a small cohort in facilitated discussion sessions, and conduct live practice interviews. The workshop is the first step to enter ACTFL's certification process for Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI/MOPI) testers/raters. Register for the OPI Assessment Workshop (Online) and the Modified OPI (MOPI) Assessment Workshop (Online) before April 30 for early-bird rates.
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April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.
Christopher Morley,
writer, editor, journalist
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The news reported in SmartBrief is a collection of articles originating from news outlets in the U.S. and around the world, and does not necessarily reflect the official position of ACTFL.

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