Flipped Courses: A Few Concerns about the Rush to Flip | Faculty Focus

October 31, 2014

I have some concerns about flipping courses. Maybe I’m just hung up on the name—flipping is what we do with pancakes. It’s a quick, fluid motion and looks easy to those of us waiting at the breakfast table. I’m not sure those connotations are good when associated with courses and that leads to what centers my concerns. I keep hearing what sounds to me like “flippant” attitudes about what’s involved.

In theory, I couldn’t be more supportive of the idea—it’s learner-centered from the inside out. And I believe those who are flipping courses are doing so for the right reasons: spending time in class problem solving, analyzing, discussing, and asking questions is good active learning pedagogy. But when students are responsible for learning material outside of class, their success depends on their abilities as independent, self-directed learners and that’s what concerns me.

via Flipped Courses: A Few Concerns about the Rush to Flip | Faculty Focus.


The Difference Between Technology Use And Technology Integration

October 30, 2014

Using technology for learning makes sense. Technology creates access, transparency, and opportunity. Any smartphone or tablet is media incarnate–video, animation, eBooks, essays, blog posts, messages, music, games. The modalities of light, color, and sound all arranged just so to communicate a message or create an experience.But there is a difference, claims this graphic from teachbytes, between using technology and integrating it deeply into the learning experiences of students. This is, of course, what models like the SAMR model are based on–that idea of mere use to automate, to redefining what’s possible.

via The Difference Between Technology Use And Technology Integration.


Inquiry Learning Ideas for Math and Science With iPads | MindShift

October 21, 2014

We tend to split science and humanities as though they were separate branches of life. But no matter what profession we choose — artist, plumber, historian, or salesman — we all use some form of scientific inquiry in our daily lives. We learn about the world around us through the same vehicles of experimentation, trial, error, and experience. We use scientific inquiry to learn about the world around us.

Today’s interconnected world demands that the doctor, engineer, pharmacist, and scientist increasingly master skills that used to be classified within the domain of the arts. Skills such as communication, presentation, effective writing, among others, are now vital to all walks of life. In addition, scientific inquiry, critical thinking, exploration, and experimentation have never been more important skills than they are today. If we expect to produce independent learners who can thrive in a society that’s constantly changing, it’s vital that we educators search for opportunities to hone those skills in our students at every turn.

via Inquiry Learning Ideas for Math and Science With iPads | MindShift.


Is This All There Is? An EdTech Rant of Sorts

October 21, 2014

Yesterday, I taught one of our Google Drive trainings for school paraprofessionals and I left feeling something that I haven’t felt in a very long time…pure joy and bliss. It was a feeling that I haven’t experienced since I taught my own math class. It wasn’t about the teaching of anything related to Drive. It was purely about knowing that we were empowering these ladies in a training that is often not available to paraprofessionals in many districts which makes zero sense. I am so proud of my district for valuing the growth of our entire community because in addition to these “during the day” trainings, we also provide 24/7 virtual learning access to every person…the kind that can be career changing or even affirming if a person desires it.

via Is This All There Is? An EdTech Rant of Sorts.


How Videogames Like Minecraft Actually Help Kids Learn to Read | WIRED

October 11, 2014

Minecraft is the hot new videogame among teachers and parents. It’s considered genuinely educational: Like an infinite set of programmable Lego blocks, it’s a way to instill spatial reasoning, math, and logic—the skills beloved by science and technology educators. But from what I’ve seen, it also teaches something else: good old-fashioned reading and writing.

via How Videogames Like Minecraft Actually Help Kids Learn to Read | WIRED.


Video Games, Henry Ford, And The Problems Of Modern Education

October 11, 2014

The piecemeal work of the assembly line model intentionally separates the labor from its context. It mechanizes the practical and the concrete. It understands that humans are more efficient when we ignore the conceptual and theoretical foundation of our own actions. It is good for business, but it robs humans of their dignity; they no longer participate in their own world. Like horses wearing blinders, or Uber drivers chasing the next fare, content without context allows us to see only the objective immediately ahead.

The most devastating impact of this industrial epistêmê has happened in our schools. It has infected our schools (public, private, and charter) with the viral high-stakes testing and comparative grading that contextualizes knowledge as piecemeal facts that make us more “solution oriented.”

That’s supposed to be a good thing, being “solution-oriented.” Our employers tell us all the time, “come to me with solutions, not problems!” But they’re wrong. They’re asking us to be piecemeal thinkers. On the contrary, problems and questions are precisely what drive human creativity. When Henry Ford said, “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses,’” he was telling us that the skill was in identifying the problem, not the solution. A faster horse was an appropriate solution to their familiar problem. The issue was that they hadn’t identified new questions yet; they had only a piecemeal approach to an established paradigm–they couldn’t see the larger context.

Ford presumably believed “the masses” weren’t capable of contextualized thinking; and he built a manufacturing system that kept individuals in their place: isolated, divided, solution-oriented. His thinking soon permeated our schools, designed to train piecemeal industrial employees. So much so that our current way of thinking about education, with its regurgitation, examination, and multiple choice questions, still only reinforces a non-creative, solution-only, piecemeal mentality.

via Video Games, Henry Ford, And The Problems Of Modern Education.


The Helpful Use of Digital Tools in 21st Century Classrooms | LFA: Join The Conversation – Public School Insights

October 10, 2014

I have witnessed exciting applications of technology that enable collaboration and communication between educators and students from across the desk to across the world. The possibilities abound for today’s mobile technologies to jumpstart innovative new models and pedagogies, such as project-based learning and project management, while engaging students in the acquisition of the 4Cs.

Technology in the hands of well-prepared, skillful educators can be a significant accelerant for transforming the classroom into a high-quality and relevant 21st century learning environment in which student capacity to critically think, collaborate, innovate and communicate can become deeper, broader and more connected to the real world.

via The Helpful Use of Digital Tools in 21st Century Classrooms | LFA: Join The Conversation – Public School Insights.


Build with Chrome

October 9, 2014
Think back: you’ve just dumped a bin of LEGO® bricks onto the floor with a satisfying crash, and you have the whole day ahead of you to build whatever you want. There’s something pretty amazing about being able to piece together your ideas with just a collection of colorful bricks. 

Well, we think the creative freedom of LEGO bricks shouldn’t be limited to plastic bins—which is the idea behindBuild with Chrome, a collaboration between Chrome and the LEGO Group that brought these colorful bricks to the web using WebGL, a 3D graphics technology. It was originally built by a team in Australia as an experiment, and now we’re opening it up to everybody. So now you can publish your wacky creations to any plot of land in the world. 

Build with Chrome.


A Snapshot of Kids’ Language and Literacy Apps Part 2 | EdCentral

October 7, 2014

About a month ago, we released a sneak preview of the literacy app analysis that we’re conducting with New America to discover more about the apps that families and educators are using to help children learn to read and communicate. As part of this preview, we provided a quick summary of our approach to this analysis of language- and literacy-focused apps for children ages birth to eight.

via A Snapshot of Kids’ Language and Literacy Apps Part 2 | EdCentral.


How Ammunition Helped Polaroid Design An Action Cam For Everyone | Co.Design | business + design

October 1, 2014

So how does a dedicated camera even fit into people’s lives anymore? It fits in by doing things your smartphone can’t easily do. A camera you don’t mind throwing to your toddler and letting him use, because it’s cushioned in soft rubber and nigh indestructible. A waterproof camera that you take to the water-slide park. A magnetic camera you slap onto your bicycle’s handle bars on your ride home without a mount. These are the things the Polaroid Cube aspires to be, and the major way Polaroid hopes to differentiate the product from the incumbent, GoPro.

via How Ammunition Helped Polaroid Design An Action Cam For Everyone | Co.Design | business + design.