T.H.E. Journal recently invited Carolina Nugent, education director of startup app finder KinderTown, to review a few of her favorite apps geared for the K-1 set.
- By Carolina Nugent
It's difficult to have a conversation about using cell phones for learning without someone complaining that the phones will be a distraction. These complaints are presumably made by those who have never been in schools where cell phones are used as learning tools. Those who have know that not only do teachers find distraction is not an issue, they also find students are more engaged and excited about learning.
Students can have a range of physical, cognitive, sensory, and learning disabilities that affect their entire lives. Any of these might pose unique academic challenges, particularly when learning mathematics. The good news is that technology is removing barriers for the education of students with disabilities in regular classrooms. Unfortunately, not all software is based on principles of universal design.
In the second installment of their monthly column, blended learning experts Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker address the issue of blended learning costs.
- By Michael Horn, Heather Staker
Unless you are directly involved with teaching online, have students taking courses online, or have taken an online course yourself, chances are that you find the concept of online education quite nebulous. You might not have any interest in it. Terms like distance education, fully online, blended courses, virtual courses, e-learning, hybrid courses, mixed-mode, asynchronous learning, distributed learning, Web-facilitated, and Web-enhanced learning add to the confusion. However, online learning is on the rise in K-12 education, and you should know some of the basics and issues surrounding it. It is adding flexibility to the traditional school experience, meeting the needs of specific groups of students, and increasing course offerings. If it has not already done so, it probably will affect your teaching scenario before too long. So, what's online education all about? Well ... it's all in who you ask or what resources you consult.
- By Patricia Deubel
Learning to communicate clearly, work collaboratively, network efficiently, manage and organize information and tasks, think critically, and develop new knowledge is increasingly required across all working areas because expectations are changing and because budgets and organizational planning demand more efficiency in the workforce. So more exploration should be made as to how these kinds of skills, often referred to as "transferrable" skills, are developed, and technology can play a crucial role in this.
Biometrics are among the latest implementations for school security. There are many issues to consider, which have been voiced by parents, students, and civil liberties groups. It's an international issue. Just look at LeaveThemKidsAlone.com, and you will see the extent of the uproar raised in the United Kingdom regarding fingerprinting of children in schools. For the most part, questions are the same ones being posed in our own country. Blogs are in use to discuss the issue in the United States and abroad, such as Pippa King's Biometrics in Schools.
- By Patricia Deubel
As social media becomes ubiquitous, schools and districts should shift from trying to control its use and toward teaching faculty and students how to build successful learning communities.
Sometimes I wonder if we (educators) will ever really use technology for what it should be used for. Yes, I know there are great examples of schools and teachers doing wonderful things. But I contend that when we take a broad view of how technology is being used, we see a lot of PowerPoint and electronic textbooks. Ouch!
The issue of assigning homework is controversial in terms of its purpose, what to assign, the amount of time needed to complete it, parental involvement, its actual affect on learning and achievement, and impact on family life and other valuable activities that occur outside of school hours. I have encountered all of those controversies in my years of teaching mathematics. Math homework is usually a daily event. Unfortunately, many teachers assign most homework from problem sets following the section of the text that was addressed that day. There is little differentiation. For the most part the entire class gets the same assignment. (In fairness, teachers do take into consideration the nature of those problems, which are often grouped by difficulty, deciding which to assign based on the general ability level of students in the class: below average, average, above average, or mixed.)
- By Patricia Deubel