Technology News Blog (68)
Like many teens, Brianna Lockett sends text messages on her cell phone when she should be paying attention to her teachers or parents.
But unlike most teens, Brianna, 16, decided to conduct an experiment for her high school science fair, testing whether it's possible to learn while texting.
Today, the Robeson High School sophomore will be one of 300 students from grades 7 through 12 competing in the Chicago Public Schools' City-Wide Science Fair at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Continue reading at www.suntimes.com.
High schools are changing the way they teach, knowing their “digital native” students have unprecedented access to Internet use and have acquired a host of related skills. Schools are buying or building their own curriculum programs and using the connectedness of the digital age to try to reach — and graduate — more students than ever.
“This isn’t traffic school, it’s truly instructional,” said Randy Ward, San Diego County superintendent of schools. “We’ve got a lot going on and we’re taking steps to make sure we can do more.”
Online education used to be, as Ward recalls, a kind of game that saved students from the harder work of actually learning something. But that has changed. The programs have changed, becoming more challenging and more easily monitored and measured. And the world has changed so that technology skills are vital, not just useful, in life and in the workplace.
Continue reading at www.sdbj.com.
It's pricey and of unknown value in boosting achievement, but local districts say this: It gets kids interested and involved.
When Elizabeth Bare's third-grade students study mapping and Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, they reference the fraying paper map tacked up at the rear of the classroom.
The Buff Elementary students also spend quite a bit of time studying directions and map coordinates with the help of a software program called Kidspiration. Their fingers tap persistently on laptops and their eyes rest on the classroom's SMART board, which Bare operates with a wireless mouse and slate from the rear of the room.
This is a 21st-century classroom.
Teachers and administrators hope students will become as proficient in technology as they do in reading, writing and arithmetic. It's not cheap, and there's no proof that having the latest gadgets available will increase student achievement or help them pass state tests. In fact, districts are beginning to conduct their own research on whether the millions of dollars being spent on technology will help students learn. But anecdotal evidence from area districts indicates the addition of computers, iPods and other technology does what sometimes no standard lesson plan can: get kids engaged and interested.
“Technology doesn't teach,” said Sue Taylor, the Jefferson County School District instructional technology coach. “It's just another tool in a teacher's bag of tricks. But it might help reach kids who weren't being impacted.” Continue reading at www.bendbulletin.com.
A survey of educators attending a national conference here shows they believe printed textbooks will soon be obsolete but few feel prepared for a shift to digital learning.
The survey asked educators questions about social networking, digital textbooks and district spending on interactive learning methods. Sixty-five percent said they believe textbooks are going away. Just 19 percent said their school or district is “totally prepared” for the digital age.
“We touch a lot of schools on a regular basis, and most are not ready,” said Eric Loeffel, CEO of CompassLearning, an Austin-based educational software company that paid for the survey. “I think that what it says is we need to take a long, hard look at how are we going to get ready. But there are some pockets of innovation in America, and we need to find them and begin to replicate them.”
Some local districts are already experimenting with digital learning tools, though traditional textbooks remain the norm.
Continue reading at www.sanantonio.com.
Today we meet the team of trainers implementing WaytogoRI’s career-exploration software at Westerly Middle School. Anthony, Kyle, Taylor, Justin, Jana and other eighth graders join me in a conference room. Except for a couple of prim girls, the kids all but melt with nonchalance into the furniture, and squirm discreetly as we talk, per the habits of their age group.
However casual they seem, they LOVE Waytogo.
They tell stories about their e-wanderings in W2G’s rich world of future possibilities. They report losing themselves in its hundreds of surveys, activities and avenues for career and college searches.
Kevin says, “If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, it helps you figure that out. I said in surveys that I wanted to work outside and reduce pollution. Since I was little, I wanted to play baseball, but now I want to be an engineer. I’m ‘hands-active,’ ” a term he presumably learned from W2G.
Mackenzie says, “Now I’m really into what I want to do in the future. I know exactly what’s in front of me.” OK, an eighth-grader might change her mind a hundred times before choosing a college major. But she and the group totally get that if they examine themselves and what they want, their odds of achieving big goals go way up.
Continue reading at www.projo.com.