Students Want More Alignment of Tech In and Out of School | MindShift

April 9, 2014

Project Tomorrow’s 2013 Speak Up survey of more than 325,000 students and 75,000 parents, teachers and administrators digs into how students and teachers are using technology in school and for learning outside of school, and comes up with some interesting insights about the pervasiveness of tech use.A quarter of students in grades 3-5 and a third of students in grades 6-12 report using a mobile device provided by their school in class. This trend is more pronounced in Title I schools. Still, as tech use proliferates, digital equity has risen to the top as a concern for district leaders. Forty-six percent of district technology leaders say student access to the internet outside of school is one of the most challenging issues they face.The report also highlighted the popularity of digital learning games among both teachers and students. A quarter of teachers surveyed said they’re integrating digital games into their teaching. Twenty-five percent of students report playing an online game outside of school specifically to learn something. And contrary to the stereotype, girls love video games too, with 37 percent of middle school girls reporting they play games regularly on tablets. The number of girls equals boys in mobile game play as well. The differences lie in the kinds of games each gender favors, with boys still dominating massively multi-player online games.

via Students Want More Alignment of Tech In and Out of School | MindShift.


Can Minecraft Foster a Growth Mindset?

April 2, 2014

Understanding motivation

Always a teacher, I am continuously thinking about how we can guide our students toward producing authentic examples of what they are learning through this game. Our state department of education, which provided the funding for our club, would like some data to show the level of effectiveness of our activities in terms of student learning.

It is also important that we assess the potential these activities have for integration within our general instruction. We have been assigning badges for certain types of accomplishments within Edmodo, such as “Star Performer” if they uploaded a video of themselves giving a book talk. Our thinking is that these types of motivators will encourage our students to produce more tangible, project-like results.

But some students just aren’t motivated by badges. Even though we have taken time each week to recognize our most active students within Edmodo, some students are very content with playing Minecraft with their friends. Is this okay too? When we try to insert “school” into our computer club, are we also potentially sucking the passion out of this experience in the process?

via Can Minecraft Foster a Growth Mindset?.


Passion-Based Learning, Week 4: How to Do One Thing Really Well

April 2, 2014

Since our kickoff, my teaching partner and I have liked what the kids were doing. But we also felt the need to push the envelope a little bit more. Now that they have had time to explore several of the digital tools available, was there a particular one that could have a profound impact on many other areas?

They liked Minecraft (of course). They also liked exploring YouTube for tutorials and music videos. What if we taught them how to create a screencast? This tool, used to record visuals and audio for the purpose of teaching someone something, is very easy to grasp. It can apply to just about any area of interest, and it’s great for quick sharing.

While the two of us were becoming more learners than teachers, we also wanted to move our students to become teachers for each other. Our learning environment needed more balance. We kicked off our new week by showing students how to create tutorials using Screencast-o-matic, a free web-based tool.

via Passion-Based Learning, Week 4: How to Do One Thing Really Well.


Passion-Based Learning Week 3: Creativity Loves Constraints

April 2, 2014

Can you pick out the principal in this back-and-forth digital conversation?

Message 1: “So, do you think we should purchase the Minecraft EDU package for the iMacs? With the Pocket Edition on the 20 iPads, students are only getting to play it once per week.”

Message 2: “I agree, in that it would be nice to have more access. But I also like that they have to consider other digital tools to explore and create with. Maybe we could provide some quick mini-lessons on how to use these different tools? I don’t know, it’s up to you.”

Message 3: “You know, maybe you’re right. Let’s hold off on purchasing anything.”

Typically, in an email exchange between teacher and principal, it is the teacher asking the principal for more resources. But this isn’t your typical learning experience. With almost 50 students participating in an after school computer club twice a week, my teaching partner and I were seeing some shifting roles, both among our 3rd-5th graders and with ourselves.

via Passion-Based Learning Week 3: Creativity Loves Constraints.


Passion-Based Learning, Day 2: Passion Meets Frustration

April 2, 2014

After our first day, it was apparent that Minecraft was the main draw to our after-school enrichment club. But this digital tool wasn’t the only game in town. Several students expressed interest in drawing; others wanted to know how to share their writing online.

With these interests in mind, we ordered copies of Minecraft Pocket Edition for our 20 iPads. For the other 30 iMacs, several activities were suggested, such as learning sign language via YouTube and trying out Build with Chrome, a possible Minecraft alternative.

One thing I’m learning quickly: access alone is not enough. When handed technology with little guidance or supervision, students tend to use it at the lowest common denominator, cognitively speaking. Maybe this tendency was related to the fact that my observations took place in school, where expected outcomes are, well, expected. Would posting goals that connected their interests and relevant projects to specific digital tools be the answer to unleashing the students’ passions?

via Passion-Based Learning, Day 2: Passion Meets Frustration.


Passion-Based Learning, Day 1: Probing Minecraft’s Appeal

April 2, 2014

This is the first of several reflections from Wisconsin elementary principal Matt Renwick on digital and passion-based learning in a new afterschool program.Seventy students signed up to attend an afterschool computer club that a teacher and I are facilitating. Given that only 2nd through 5th graders could join, it means 30% of our school’s eligible students elected for this program.We had so many kids, we ended up moving the 2nd graders in with the K-1 students for the Get Active club in the gymnasium. A few may not have been happy with this move, but we literally did not have enough devices!

via Passion-Based Learning, Day 1: Probing Minecraft’s Appeal.


7 Ways Teaching Has Changed

March 26, 2014

This Is The World Teachers Must Adapt To: 7 Ways Teaching Has Changed

by Terry Heick

Teachers are the arbitrators of knowledge and culture.

Knowledge and culture are each dynamic, endlessly crashing and churning.

This makes teaching significantly important and difficult work, and can leave teaching—as a craft—wide-eyed and nonplussed in response.

Worse, those outside the bubble of education can understandably struggle to understand the problem.

What are the teaching in those schools anyway? How is it any different from when I was in school?

Well, as it turns out, much of it is different from even five years ago.

Starting with literacy.

This Is The World Teachers Must Adapt To: 7 Ways Teaching Has Changed

via 7 Ways Teaching Has Changed.


Beyond Blocking: Social Media Schools – Edudemic

March 26, 2014

Social media pervades all aspects of modern society, particularly with the rapid influx of mobile devices. If used in meaningful and appropriate ways, it can transform a student’s learning experience, improve communication with parents and community members, as well as support professional growth. However, teachers and administrators also confront the realities of opening up students to a global audience, and address real concerns about security, screentime, inappropriate behavior, and acceptable use. While the first instinct in schools and districts is often to block services such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even some blogging platforms, the positives of these tools often outweigh the negatives.

When used well, social media tools connect all stakeholders in a school community in a ways that have never before been possible. In the past, the only real way to get a good grasp on what was happening on a daily basis was to physically spend time in the building – which, of course, is not a possibility unless you are a student or employee in the school. But now, if the educators in a school are savvy about sharing what is happening, amazing connections can be made by those both inside and outside of the learning community.

via Beyond Blocking: Social Media Schools – Edudemic.


TPACK Case Studies | NTLC

March 26, 2014


Three essential types of knowledge—technological knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge—emerged as a framework for collaborative work across associations. The framework of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK; Mishra & Koehler, 2006) builds upon Shulman’s (1986) notion of pedagogical content knowledge. Pedagogical knowledge goes beyond knowledge of subject matter, involving understanding of effective strategies for teaching a subject in ways that make it comprehensible.

TPACK involves an interaction among all three forms of knowledge—technological knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge. In other words, the most effective uses of technology also require a deep understanding of content and related pedagogical strategies. Teacher educators comprising these content associations are, therefore, best positioned to understand how technology may be best employed within their specific disciplines. Hence the National Technology Leadership Coalition (NTLC) is organized around this framework.

The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge proved to be a foundational reference for this area. Since publication of the AACTE TPACK Handbook in 2008, more than 200 related articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals and the topic has been addressed by more than a dozen doctoral dissertations to date.

The AACTE TPACK Handbook was designed as a scholarly document to establish theoretical foundations. The Practitioners’ Guide to TPACK is intended to serve as practical guide for teachers and educational leaders, illustrating implementation of TPACK through the lens of video-based teaching case. Each teaching case provides a window on the classroom, with associated reflections by teachers, samples of student work, related commentaries, and accompanying exercises. These teaching cases are intended illustrative rather than an prescriptive. There are dozens of ways in which technology might be effectively used in each content area. The teaching cases showcased in the Practitioner’s Guide to TPACK will provide an introduction only to a handful of these approaches.

The CITE Journal and other journals published by NTLC associations welcome additional examples to provide additional diversity of perspective on the ways in which TPACK is advancing teaching and learning in K-12 classrooms.

via TPACK Case Studies | NTLC.


How Digital Learning Devices Are Being Used In Education – Edudemic

March 26, 2014

Classrooms going digital bring both the good and the bad. Smaller mounds of paperwork and easy document storage (no more ‘dog ate my homework!’ or equally ridiculous excuses) fall on the good side of things. The necessity of teaching things like digital citizenship, the plethora of distractions online or the expense of digital devices might fall on the other side of things. But all of this is moot if your students don’t have access to the digital devices you’d like to employ in your classroom.

The handy infographic below takes a look at the current state of access, and some examples of different options to improve access. Which model does your school use? Do you think it was/is the right choice? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

via How Digital Learning Devices Are Being Used In Education – Edudemic.