There’s a problem with how we teach kids in public school. Content is often broken up into little pieces, scattered, and taught in isolation. Ideas aren’t connected. Kids don’t have the luxury to follow one idea to the next in a natural way.
For teachers, it’s the same. Schools have teacher institutes during the year to do in-staff training. What happens? They introduce some exciting new idea, which is then never talked about again. Even teachers who genuinely want to try new methods aren’t supported in any way over the following months. It’s a one-shot deal. Read More
Dawson Riverman’s parents tried to help him make the best of it.
Born without fingers on his left hand, Dawson struggled to perform even the simplest tasks, like tying his shoes or holding a ball. “God made you special in this way,” his parents told him. But by age 5, Dawson was demanding tearfully to know why.
The Rivermans, of Forest Grove, Ore., could not afford a high-tech prosthetic hand for their son, and in any event they are rarely made for children. Then help arrived in the guise of a stranger with a three-dimensional printer. Read More
Silicon Valley’s festival of fascination celebrates its 10th anniversary with a bang as the Maker Movement gives rise to a new generation of technology tinkerers.
It became clear during the third weekend in May just how widespread the Maker ethos has become. At the 10th annual Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif., the birthplace of the techno-mechanical carnival, the do-it-yourself craze stretched to the edges of the earth, sea, sky and space, driven by curiosity, ingenuity and the availability of easy-to-use yet powerful computing technologies.
Featuring everything from home-brewed Kombucha to battling robot cars and the ubiquitous soldering workshop, Maker Faire is equal parts inspiring and awesome. It brings out the wonder in anyone who ever dreamed of cooking up their own gizmos, gadgets and rocket ships. Watch the Video
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Often these days, we worry about our children on the internet. We teach them a long list of dos and don’ts and hope they turn out to be effective communicators and responsible digital citizens. Is this the best approach? In a world where the internet permeates our lives, how do we keep our children from being too connected or not connected enough? What can we do to create a new digital citizenry that safely and effectively rules the internet?
Dr. Devorah Heitner is the founder and director of Raising Digital Natives, a resource for parents and schools seeking advice on how help children thrive in a world of digital connectedness. An experienced speaker, workshop leader, and consultant, Dr. Heitner serves as a professional development resource for schools wishing to cultivate a culture of responsible digital citizenship. She works directly with parents and families, and is currently writing a handbook for parents, tentatively titled, “Raising Your Digital Native.” Dr. Heitner has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology and Society from Northwestern University and has published and spoken in the field of media studies for the past ten years. She has taught at DePaul University, Street Level Youth Media, and Northwestern University. Watch the Video
Public education and creative programs are inspiring girls and minorities to dive into computer science like never before.
When we turn on a faucet to wash our dishes, we generally don’t think about the engineers who make dams or the hydrologists who ensure our water is clean and clear. Water flows freely from the spout then down the drain. Most of us are oblivious to the science of it all.
The same could be said for our technology, which enriches our lives through everything from entertainment and education to health care and economics. Read More
Whenever a college student asks me, a veteran high-school English educator, about the prospects of becoming a public-school teacher, I never think it’s enough to say that the role is shifting from "content expert" to "curriculum facilitator." Instead, I describe what I think the public-school classroom will look like in 20 years, with a large, fantastic computer screen at the front, streaming one of the nation’s most engaging, informative lessons available on a particular topic.
The "virtual class" will be introduced, guided, and curated by one of the country’s best teachers (a.k.a. a "super-teacher"), and it will include professionally produced footage of current events, relevant excerpts from powerful TedTalks, interactive games students can play against other students nationwide, and a formal assessment that the computer will immediately score and record. Read More
James Alex Bonus and Alanna Peebles have spent hours watching and analyzing children’s TV shows.
Graduate students in communication science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Bonus and Peebles are interested in how children ages 3 to 5 understand narrative.
“When we make these shows for kids, there’s a lot of mental obstacles for them that we might not recognize,” Bonus said. Research finds that kids often miss major prosocial lessons in TV shows because they struggle to recognize characters’ emotions and draw connections between fiction and reality.
Bonus and Peebles, who were recently named early career fellows at the Fred Rogers Center, have developed an inventive tablet app to help children identify such emotions in TV narratives. Read More
I grew up hearing my mother say in Italian, "Soltanto la tua madre ti dir? di mettere il rossetto in modo che tu possa essere pi? graziosa di lei" -- which roughly translates into: "Only your mother will tell you to go put lipstick on so that you can be prettier than she is." This was her way of saying, "Trust me. I know what's best for you."
Other lasting advice: "Wipe front to back" and, whenever she was at a loss for words, "Get a grip." "Wipe front to back" was obvious, but "get a grip?" Get a grip on what? I was a literal kid, and her words didn't calm me down -- they just made me hold on to banisters very tightly. Read More
Can students really focus on schoolwork when the whole internet’s out there waiting for them?
Greater connectivity and access to tablets, computers and other devices certainly have their advantages for teaching: collaboration from anywhere, visual, interactive learning, and personal pace-setting all offer the opportunity to change the fundamental building blocks of education, and help students learn more smartly.
With all the advances, it can be hard to cut through the noise to maximize technology’s benefits — but implementing these tools in a meaningful way can be an even greater challenge.
There are three main things teachers should avoid when implementing new technology into their classes for the first time. Read More
The benefits and risks of using the internet as a learning and teaching tool
More and more teachers are using technology in the classroom – from computers, interactive whiteboards and tablets, to mobile phones and game consoles. These devices are often most effective when connected to the internet, which offers a vast amount of resources that cannot be found in traditional resource books.
Up-to-the-minute videos, songs, and educational games provide authentic language models and make classes more varied, relevant and attractive to younger learners. The internet also offers learners the opportunity to practise their language skills on their own devices, encouraging learner autonomy. Read More