What Is It About Anonymous Apps That Kids Love?

What Is It About Anonymous Apps That Kids Love?

The Huffington Post - Diana Graber

You'd think with all the bad press anonymous apps like Yik Yak, Secret,, and Whisper get, we'd have heard the last of them, right?

Yet last week I learned of another a new anonymous app, this one called Unseen. Co-founder Michael Schramm (who, by the way, has been quoted saying, "I hate anonymous apps, I think they're garbage") was unabashedly enthusiastic about his new startup when we spoke.

"It's important that apps like this exist," claims Schramm, "because privacy is a human right." The anonymity and privacy that apps like Unseen provide, argues Schramm, encourages users (in the case of Unseen, users are primarily college students) to have open and transparent "conversations" (Unseen is a photo-sharing app), sometimes surrounding sensitive issues and events. Take recent events in Ferguson, for example. College kids were "seen" on Unseen posting images, making controversial statements, and (mostly) asking one another questions, in an effort to understand events as they transpired. Read More

Adaptive Learning: Are We There Yet?

Adaptive Learning: Are We There Yet?

The Journal - John K. Waters

For more than a decade, K-12 educators have been hearing about the potential of adaptive learning, an approach to instruction and remediation that uses technology and accumulated data to provide customized program adjustments based on an individual student's level of demonstrated mastery.

But interest in adaptive learning has been heating up in the last couple of years, thanks to new attention from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, new partnerships among education publishers and adaptive platform providers, and a growing list of product vendors. Along with that increasing interest and expanding vendor landscape has come a fair bit of confusion about exactly what the term "adaptive learning" means. In conversation, it's almost synonymous with "personalized learning," but in practice, these are different concepts, and K-12 districts investigating systems that promise to deliver adaptive learning should understand that difference. Read More

STEM Contest Transforms Players into Creators

EdTech - D. Frank Smith

Middle and high school students are bringing their video-game development dreams to life through a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) contest.

The 2014–2015 National STEM Video Game Challenge kicked off in October. Now in its fourth year, the challenge is presented by the Smithsonian Institution, in partnership with E-Line Media and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

Gaming has become a familiar pathway for educators to engage students by speaking a language kids already are comfortable with and associate with fun. The challenge is designed to spur students' interest in STEM subjects "by tapping into their passions for playing and making video games," according to the news release. Read More

The Surprising Uses of Games Controllers

The Surprising Uses of Games Controllers

BBC - Peter Ray Allison

Games controllers can end up in the strangest places. Just this week, the US Navy announced it had approved a laser weapon to be deployed on an amphibious vessel serving in the Persian Gulf. The weapon is essentially the kind of death ray that science fiction has been promising for decades. And, as the demonstration showed, this space age weapon is guided by something every self-respecting 14-year-old is familiar with: a controller just like those used to play video games.

They used to be such simple devices. A single control stick and a few buttons were all a gamer needed to blast aliens or score a winning goal on the primitive, pioneering games consoles. Read More

How Wireless Technology Is Empowering Parents, Teachers & Students

How Wireless Technology Is Empowering Parents, Teachers & Students

TechFaster - Molly McCarrick

Technology is pushing the world forward at an accelerated rate. In the workplace, it’s a given that technology is essential for processing workflow, improving productivity, reducing overheads, and stimulating profits. However, in schools, it’s still considered something of a revolutionary concept. Critics, usually an older generation of educators who remember their own distant childhood, claim it’s a distraction and books and mobile devices don’t play well together.

However, Mobile Future Chair Jonathan Spalter, has beautifully summarized the argument for wireless technology in the classroom: “Wireless technologies are offering students, along with their parents, caregivers and the teachers who instruct them, fresh, engaging and constantly evolving ways of learning about, and examining, the world around them. With continued investment and innovation in wireless, mobile will continue to transform American education and help ensure all of our young people have the tools they need to succeed in today’s and tomorrow’s wireless world.” Read More

Meshing GBL With PBL: Can It Work?

Meshing GBL With PBL: Can It Work?

Edutopia - Andrew Miller

Project-based learning has essential components that make it unique to other models of instruction, such as public audience, voice and choice, driving questions, and teaching and assessing 21st-century skills. PBL requires that all of these components be present in a truly great "main-course project."

Similarly, game-based learning has elements that make it unique, even in its many implementation methods. GBL can look like gamification, where game elements such as quests and incentives are used to make the unit of instruction into a game of sorts. GBL can also look like using games for instructional purposes, such as the popular Minecraft or even Angry Birds, to support student learning. Many educators may wonder how they can leverage GBL practices within a PBL project and combine them to form a powerful learning experience. It is possible, but only with careful combination and intentional implementation. Read More

Mobile Apps Still Collect Information On Kids

Mobile Apps Still Collect Information On Kids

Associated Press - Anne Flaherty

Worried that toy stores, fast food chains, and other retailers are tracking your kids online this holiday season? A landmark 2013 law aimed at protecting the privacy of America's youngest mobile consumers hasn't stopped app developers from collecting vast amounts of data, including a person's location and even recordings of their voice, according to privacy researchers and consumer advocates.

Whether mobile app developers seek parental consent first — as required by law — or pass the information on to advertisers isn't entirely clear. But if you prefer to stay anonymous, your options are limited: Wade through each mobile app's privacy policies to make sure you are OK with the terms, or stick the phone on "airplane mode" to shut off the wireless connection and risk losing functionality. Read More

Programming, Robotics & Math for Kids


We created the SPRK program because we believe play is a powerful teacher. Whether you're an educator or a parent, SPRK lessons will teach kids the basic concepts of programming, robotics, and math using Sphero. Read More

The Top 10 Reasons to Switch to Serious Games

The Top 10 Reasons to Switch to Serious Games

eLearning Infographics

If you are in Learning and Development and considering using serious games, this infographic will give you all the arguments you need to get buy-in from stakeholders.

  1. They are Engaging
  2. They are a Safe Environment
  3. They work according to the Laws Of Learning
  4. They are Re-Usable
  5. Roll specialist knowledge out to a Wider Audience
  6. They are Cost Effective
  7. You can Capture Data
  8. They are Expected
  9. They complement other Forms Of Learning
  10. They Work

Read More

Check out this infographic by TOTEM Learning on The Top 10 Reasons to Switch to Serious Games

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

TED - Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. Watch the Video

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