Archives For Reviews

mobile-handKids today live in an extremely connected world and they crave the instant gratification that can come with that level of connectivity.  They think so differently than generations of children before them.  They shift gears and thoughts before any adult can even blink an eye.  And this can lead to carelessness.  They post without thinking and that could come back to haunt them later.

Lisa Nielson suggests one reason to allow smartphones because we should be educating students with the tools they will use when they get to their professional life.  The idea of allowing cell phones in class on the premise that kids will be using smartphones in real life doesn’t work for me.  It’s one thing to argue on the basis of connectivity, collaboration, access to Blackboard, etc., but to suggest that we have an obligation to help students become proficient in their smartphone use is just silly in my honest opinion. Continue Reading…

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one sizeDigital native?  Digital immigrant?  Are these things even real?  Depends on who you ask.  I do think some people take to technology more quickly than others.  If they didn’t, why would marketers have coined the term early adopters?  But are these labels enough to understand the ever-evolving world of tech, and more importantly, how can they, if at all, help us understand how this rollercoaster of buttons and apps applies, or should apply to education?

Speak Up is this great initiative to gain insight into student brains by Project Tomorrow, a non-profit that is “dedicated to the empowerment of student voices in education.”   Their annual report is full of facts and figures related to when, how, why, and where kids are using, or want to be using, technology in their learning.  So how does Speak Up get into these students’ thoughts?  Wait for it…THEY ASK THEM!  Such a novel idea, really.  They outline their findings in The New Digital Learning Playbook:  Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations. Continue Reading…

Patience is a Virtue

June 28, 2014 — 2 Comments

mathI have long known math needed a makeover.  I knew this as a teenager when I tutored my classmates through algebra 2.  I knew it again in college when I had to put forth a ton of effort to find a calculus 2 or 3 class that did NOT require a graphing calculator (because I didn’t know how to use the darn things!).  I knew this, and it is what drove me (eventually) to the field of education.  Now, many years have passed – remember, not your typical grad student here – and I still think this. Continue Reading…

I love the concept of flipped learning.  I am so hopeful that I will be able to implement this in my classroom at some point.  But as cool as I think the idea of flipped learning is, I have a lot of concerns related to the digital divide.  What if I am in a school where financial situations prevent access for many children?  What if my school doesn’t have the resources available to allow for this on a full-class scale? Continue Reading…

yellow brick roadParents expend so much time and energy worrying about screen addiction and whether or not the relationships kids form online will have the same value we as adults place on our person to person interactions that they may be missing the here and now with their own kids.  We have already had the conversation regarding technology and its permanence in our lives, let’s not waste another minute missing out on what our kids are doing.

Douglas Rushkoff makes a wonderful point in the FRONTLINE episode, Generation Like.    “We are asking the wrong questions” (when it comes to digital and social media).  He worries, “ What are companies doing to our kids through technology?”  And this really is the bigger question, the more important question we need to be asking. Continue Reading…

Sign Me Up!

May 25, 2014 — 5 Comments

So is technology bad for kids?  Are video games evil?  Do these things deter from kids’ abilities to learn?  No way!  According to Dr. John Gee, video games are just a set of problems you have to solve to move on.  Isn’t that the basis for learning in general?  We learn one thing, we build on it, and then we are able to move on to the next thing.  Gee thinks learning in the gaming environment is very complex.  He used his own gaming experiences as example.  I believe him.  I play video games with my kids.  Not overly complicated ones – I don’t have the patience to learn all the complexities involved with those.  (But give me a Lego video game and we are on!)

Just as in a video game, if you don’t learn/complete one section you don’t go on to the next level, learning systems are the same.  A well-designed, successful learning system cannot be completed without guaranteed learning.  You don’t move forward without learning.

So many parents get wound up about video games and the amount of time kids are playing them.  We hear concerns about kids being overly competitive.  We hear about fears of gaming addiction.  Dr. Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication addresses the use of the term addiction in relation to gaming.  He considers it a cultural policing term and we need to be careful when we use it.   He offers the question, “Why is it when a kid stays up all night to finish a book he is driven, but the kid who stays up all night to beat a video game is an addict?”  It would seem that this term is sort of a double standard in that adults use it in reference to something they don’t like, or is not a priority to them, without taking into account what value kids place on gaming. Continue Reading…

PBS is awesome.  This is a truth I have known my entire life.  I grew up watching fabulous programming like Sesame Street, Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact.  Later, when I deigned to hang out with my parents, it was brilliant British comedies like Are You Being Served, Keeping Up Appearances, and Waiting for God.  And now I am a parent myself, and when my kids were little tykes, guess what they watched?  Yep.  PBS.  Sesame Street is still around, surround by more great content (except Caillou – Caillou is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me).  So the idea that Digital Media* New Learners of the 21st Century was amazing was not really a surprise.

The assignment here was to share my reaction to one of the programs highlighted in this video, and I will get to that eventually.  But what I really found more interesting and useful was the wonderful insight from experts that was interspersed in the vignettes. So much so that I was inclined to go view each of the in-depth interviews with those people to hear more of what they had to say.  And THAT is really where the awesome content in this video is.

The other day I was scanning Facebook and came across this:

tech bikes

It’s totally how it worked for me.  Yes, we had phones – landlines, mind you – but we didn’t really use them.  We went out and banged on doors to see if our friends were home.  Clearly I lived in a different world than today’s kids. Continue Reading…

Being asked to pick one great blog from a list of great blogs was an incredibly difficult request to fulfill.  I found myself reading and reading through A LOT of blogs before settling with with one.  (Sort of – I did read a few others, but baby steps.)  I finally spent a chunk of time on the TeachThought blog.

I found this blog appealing for many reasons, the least of which is the appearance.  After living in the web world organizing, laying out and managing site content, this is a big deal to me.  There is nothing worse than badly designed navigation and poorly organized content.  (And no, that is not redundant – I promise!)  And while the site has a fair amount of advertising on board, it is not obtrusive. Continue Reading…