With the proliferation of mobile technology, our ability to access information has increased, dramatically changing the practice of teaching. Comparing the two scenarios, the circumstances couldn’t be more different.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment”. The honorees range from an American Indian diplomat to a civil rights attorney, and all of them have really interesting stories. You can use them to highlight stories of personal strength, historically significant events, or a particular theme such as human trafficking or GLBT rights. However you slice it, there’s something interesting to learn from these folks – so take the opportunity to incorporate them into a lesson this month!
Individualizing instruction is much easier with technology that can adapt to students’ learning needs. What’s more, there’s emerging and anecdotal evidence that tablets can increase learning. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Technology-based instruction can reduce the time students take to reach a learning objective by 30 to 80 percent.” A four-school study in California found that students given iPads did better on research and writing and had more time on task and received more individualized instruction—but not on math.
And yet, not all 1:1 tablet rollouts have gone well. Last year in Los Angeles, high school students took their new district-provided iPads and quickly hacked them so that they could access unauthorized content like Facebook and YouTube. In Guilford County, N.C, broken screens and malfunctioning cables caused a halt in the use of Google-based tablets. In Fort Bend, Texas, a tablet deployment was halted over teacher complaints about software.
Still, a relatively smooth and effective tablet deployment is attainable, say national experts and veterans of successful tablet initiatives such as those in Roslyn, Mooresville, N.C., Burlington, Mass., and McAllen, Texas.
“We spend $150B dollars trying to fill the digital divide, but we really need to be teaching the teachers how to be a 21st century teacher. Are teachers’ jobs at risk if they’re not 21st century teachers?”—Teachers Need To Embrace Technology
Classroom programs designed to improve elementary school students’ social and emotional skills can also increase reading and math achievement, according to a new study.
The research, published in the American Educational Research Journal, found that the benefit holds true for students across a range of socio-economic backgrounds. It also works even if academic improvement is not a direct goal of the program to build social and emotional skills, according to the researchers.
Millions of high school and college algebra students are united in a shared agony over solving for x and y, and for those to whom the answers don’t come easily, it gets worse: Most preschoolers and kindergarteners can do some algebra before even entering a math class. A new study finds that most preschoolers and kindergarteners, or children between 4 and 6, can do basic algebra naturally.
Learning how to write a computer program is a lot like learning a new language. There are nouns, verbs, and sentences. With far fewer words than a spoken language, it may be easier too. A student of languages can pick it up just as quickly as a student of math. To help, here are a set of tools that teach computer programming.
KineScript - Using the same visual programming metaphor as MIT’s Scratch, this app helps students craft animated stories.
Kid’s Ruby - Targeted for kids, this free desktop app teaches the popular programming language Ruby.
ScriptKit - Build a simple mobile app using the drag-and-drop code editor of this iPad app.
CodeShare - Instead of a cumbersome screen-sharing app, use this free website to share the code you type in real-time.
Hopscotch - Also inspired by the visual design of MIT’s Scratch, this colorful iPad app introduces young students to programming.
Want more? Check out these collections of tools created by members like you.
Ryan Knutson and Shalini Ramachandran on the “WifiForward” coalition:
Last year, mobile users in North America consumed an average of about 1.4 gigabytes of data a month, and that number is expected to grow to 9 gigabytes a month by 2018, according to Cisco Systems Inc.
Even more growth is expected over Wi-Fi. About 57% of all mobile data traffic in North America is currently carried by Wi-Fi, and by 2018 that figure is expected to increase to 64%, according to Cisco. All that data congests Wi-Fi networks, too, one of the reasons why WifiForward wants to free up more spectrum.
Did not realize the Wi-Fi numbers were so high — and rising.
We need news organizations to help our curiosity by signaling how their stories fit into the larger themes on which a sincere capacity for interest depends. To grow interested in any piece of information, we need somewhere to “put” it, which means some way of connecting it to an issue we already know how to care about. A section of the human brain might be pictured as a library in which information is shelved under certain fundamental categories. Most of what we hear about day to day easily signals where in the stacks it should go and gets immediately and unconsciously filed: News of an affair is put on the heavily burdened shelf dedicated to How Relationships Work, a story of the sudden sacking of a CEO slots into our evolving understanding of Work & Status.
But the stranger or the smaller stories become, the harder the shelving process grows. What we colloquially call “feeling bored” is just the mind, acting out of a self-preserving reflex, ejecting information it has despaired of knowing where to place.
These are all worthy areas, to be sure. They are what intelligent, concerned citizens ought to want to know about the world that surrounds them. Perhaps, two centuries ago, the general populace could manage without The News most of the time. But now it’s omnipresent, inescapable and, on this thesis, stuck in too many arcane ruts, pandering to fear and pessimism, relishing disappointment.
Yet you can’t make the whole journey merely by playing the dissatisfied consumer.
[…] News starts with you, your family, your interests, your street. It expands via TV, captured by the people and lives you see on screen. (It was more interested in foreign coverage when it seemed the cold war could destroy us all at the push of a button). It is a box of fragments you try to assemble for yourself, rather than a finished jigsaw. Which means that it can’t be pinned down in a handy user’s guide. But at least it’s worth thinking about constantly, fine, frisky, philosophical minds applied. For the construct is you.