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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in educational technology

Posted by on in What If?

child and computer 1450x725

I’m not a fan of fear tactics. In fact, I often can be heard railing against them, as I believe the media’s obsession with them has made parents paranoid and forced children into a childhood that doesn’t look remotely like childhood should.

Take, for example, the belief that earlier is better. Whether we’re discussing athletics or academics, parents have come to accept as true that if they don’t get their children involved in as much as possible, as early as possible, their little ones will fall behind and never live up to their full potential. Because of this belief, far too many children are being asked to do that for which they’re not developmentally ready. The result, far too often, is frustration and failure for kids, and even an intense dislike for whatever it is they’ve been asked to master – like reading and physical activity!

Another myth under which today’s parents are laboring is that it is a dangerous, dangerous world and they must be ever-vigilant to prevent their children from being snatched, or worse. And why wouldn’t they believe such a thing, when the evidence seems to be irrefutable? Whether it’s via traditional or social media, we’re receiving constant messages about child abduction and stranger danger. But the fact remains that stranger danger is yet another falsehood and children today are no less safe than they were when I was a kid (which was a very long time ago). But how are parents to know that? How are they to believe statistics when our society has become so adept at instilling fear?

One of the consequences of this particular myth is that children aren’t being allowed to take the risks that were once a natural part of childhood – and growth. Autonomy and the ability to problem solve are among the characteristics being sacrificed at the altar of overprotection.

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Posted by on in What If?

teacher and children

Those of us with children have all been there: standing in a queue as long as the river Nile at the supermarket with a slowly unraveling toddler in the cart. You could hand her your iPhone with a colorful app that bings and boings to forestall that tantrum. Or, you could talk to her – where are those apples in the cart? Can she find the picture of the little girl on the cereal box, or find the letter “G” that her name starts with on the big sign over head?

In fact, researcher Julia Ma and her colleagues suggest that you just might want to have that conversation. At a recent Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, they reported their findings from a study of over 1000 children under the age of 2. They had asked parents to report how often their children used handheld digital devices in an average day. These same parents then responded to a questionnaire about their children’s language abilities. What did they find? Children with more screen time were more likely to be delayed in their language expression! Moreover, these researchers were careful and took many other factors into account when they did their analyses: maternal education, family income, infant temperament, and parent - child overall screen time on other than handheld devices. These precautions suggest that their finding was really about children’s handheld screen time.

Handheld devices are pervasive – found in every crevice of our lives. We check them before we go to bed and they are the first point of contact with the world when we awaken in the morning. Recent data shows high uptake by even the youngest children. Reports suggest that the 2-4 crowd goes digital for almost 2 hours a day. But the widespread use of these devices is a relatively new phenomenon. We just sang "Happy Birthday" to the 10-year-old iPhone and the tablet is just 7 years of age. Not surprisingly, research has lagged behind the rapidly changing technology. But that means that we are putting devices into the hands of our toddlers when we know very little about their possible effects.

But we do know what helps our children learn language. Decades of research tell us that language learning depends on human interaction and on what researchers call ‘contingency’ – responding to our children soon after they speak and building on what they say. Digital devices can interrupt the conversation that is so vital to language success. Research from our labs shows that children will not learn new words when their conversation with a parent is interrupted by a cell phone call.

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Posted by on in Education Technology

coding

So last year I started a Coding Club...with kindergarten students.

Oh it get's better-I haven't been a 'teacher' in over a decade!

The Woodson Coding Club started first on a personal passion - to find out more about my son's love of robotics. This passion grew into a mission to provide our youngest learners opportunity to create, design and amplify their own learning, and in turn my own.

This year we are back again, this time with a little more research and a new framework to support this learning.  We will run two 30-minute sessions during two 6-week sessions for a total of at least 60 students participating. Teachers are identifying students who might have an interest or spark in this work and like last year ensuring that the students in our club represent the diversity of  our classrooms.

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Posted by on in Blended Learning

Screen-Shot-2017-02-08-at-9.00.55-AM.png

2-4 kids and a Smartphone... Nice and easy but powerful. The ticket to awesome.

Check it out.

As teachers, we often do too much and the kids too little. We give a lot of information, but little processing time in class. Luckily, there are easy ways to change that. Check out my other posts on using tech to make instruction more student centered: School Isn't The Movies: Unlecture Video Instruction and I Stopped Lecturing, Because I Want My Students To Learn.

Today, we talk 30 second videos. The idea is to record a 30 second or shorter video explaining, or comparing, or contrasting, or giving examples of whatever it is you’re learning.

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Posted by on in Education Technology

At this point, it’s time for all educators to admit to themselves: students don’t like our old-fashioned ways of teaching. These generations need a different approach. More specifically, we need to inspire them to learn through technology. Blogging, as part of the aspiration of contemporary educators to infuse technology into their methods, is getting incredibly popular lately.             

In February 2013, PBS LearningMedia published the results from a survey that showed how the majority of teachers (74%) were confident that technology motivated students to learn.

The Edublogger surveys educators and students each year, with a specific purpose to find out how they are using blogging in the classroom. The 2015 survey came out with interesting results: Over 40 of the respondents were mainly using their blogs for class blogs, and less than 15% were specifically using them for student blogs. “Most class blogs were used for: assignments and class news (48.4%); share information with families (40.3%); share links and resources (34.2%).” It’s okay to use a blog only for sharing assignments and news, but this practice offers many more opportunities.

Reasons for Launching a Class Blog

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