dy/dan » Blog Archive » What Students Do (And Don’t Do) In Khan Academy

December 5, 2014

Khan Academy claims alignment with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) but an analysis of their eighth-grade year indicates that alignment is loose. 40% of Khan Academy exercises assessed the acts of calculating and solving whereas the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s assessment of the CCSS emphasized those acts in only 25% of their released items. 74% of Khan Academy’s exercises resulted in the production of either a number or a multiple-choice response, whereas those outputs accounted for only 25% of the SBAC assessment.

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Educational Technology Guy: Evernote gets lots of upgrades and new features

December 4, 2014

Evernote, my go to app for notes, materials, project management, and so much more, has gotten some great new updates recently. I have been a long time user, using it first for notes, lesson plans, collecting resources and research, contacts, project management, a digital file cabinet, and more. I continue to use it that way, but these new updates and features have made it even more useful and powerful. It is especially powerful for teachers, students and administrators – lesson plans, lesson resources, lesson materials, class notes, notes on students, class work, schedules, teacher evals, etc. All in one place, accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device.

via Educational Technology Guy: Evernote gets lots of upgrades and new features.


Technology skills only scratch the surface of the digital divide | The Hechinger Report

November 19, 2014

The realities of the “digital divide” are increasingly apparent. In a consumer culture that equates status with early adoption of the newest iPhone, access to new technology necessarily splits pretty clearly along socio-economic class lines. According to U.S. census data, for example, more than 30 million homes have no broadband access, most of them concentrated in some of the poorest parts of the country.

Even in schools, technological innovation tends to trickle down from the affluent to the disadvantaged. Only 54 percent of middle school and high school teachers surveyed thought their students “have sufficient access to digital tools at school,” according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, and 84 percent said that “today’s digital technologies are leading to greater disparities between affluent and disadvantaged schools and school districts.”

via Technology skills only scratch the surface of the digital divide | The Hechinger Report.


The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning | MindShift

November 19, 2014

How can games unlock a rich world of learning? This is the big question at the heart of the growing games and learning movement that’s gaining momentum in education. The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning [PDF] explains key ideas in game-based learning, pedagogy, implementation, and assessment. This guide makes sense of the available research and provides suggestions for practical use.

The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning started as a series of blog posts written by Jordan Shapiro with support from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and the Games and Learning Publishing Council. We’ve brought together what we felt would be the most relevant highlights of Jordan’s reporting to create a dynamic, in-depth guide that answers many of the most pressing questions that educators, parents, and life-long learners have raised around using digital games for learning. While we had educators in mind when developing this guide, any lifelong learner can use it to develop a sense of how to navigate the games space in an informed and meaningful way.

via The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning | MindShift.


K-8 Hour of Code Suggestions by Grade Level | Ask a Tech Teacher

November 18, 2014

Here are ideas of apps and websites that teachers in my PLN used successfully in the past during Hour of Code:


Start kindergartners with problem solving. If they love Legos, they’ll love coding

BotLogic–great for Kindergarten and youngers

Code–learn to code, for students

Daisy the Dinosaur—intro to programming via iPad

How to train your robot–a lesson plan from Dr. Techniko

Kindergarten coding

Kodable–great for youngers–learn to code before you can read

Move the Turtle–programming via iPad for middle school

Primo–a wooden game, for ages 4-7

Program a human robot (unplugged)

Scratch Jr.

via K-8 Hour of Code Suggestions by Grade Level | Ask a Tech Teacher.


The Difference Between Search And Inquiry

November 18, 2014

While other ways of finding information exist (bing) and new ways are surfacing (social search, Quora, etc.) by far the most popular is the noun that has become a verb. “Googling” (Google’ing?) the lyrics from a song, a retailer’s reputation, or the author of a text is often the fastest way to find information.

In fact, I’ll often back out of a website to Google something I’m looking for rather than use built-in search mechanics and navigation. If you can learn the art of the keyword search, along with a handful of other Google tricks and tips you usually can find what you need, or at least where to look next. But the whole “universe at your fingertips” is unhelpful in the sense that what you’ll actually find when you look is strangely limited.

The way Google retrieves information encourages web content creators to use SEO techniques. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s not necessarily as nefarious as it sound. We imagine a world where only the very best information and ideas are found. SEO techniques make it easy to find information of limited value, or commercial intent, but there’s a difference between the internet and a library. In open digital spaces, traffic, not knowledge, trumps content goals.

via The Difference Between Search And Inquiry.


School Districts Are Really Bad At Buying Technology

November 18, 2014

School districts that spend billions of dollars every year on the latest educational technology are using antiquated buying processes that shut out teachers and leave tech companies frustrated, according to a new report by the national nonprofit Digital Promise and the Johns Hopkins School of Education.

The education technology industry is booming, buoyed by nationwide pushes such as “one-to-one” initiatives, which aim to give one device, such as an iPod or Chromebook, to every student. Venture funds pumped $452 million into ed-tech startups in 2013, according to data from the New Schools Venture Fund. Last year, school districts spent almost $10 billion on education technology.

via School Districts Are Really Bad At Buying Technology.


More than half of America’s poorest households still don’t get the Internet at home – The Washington Post

November 15, 2014

Internet use is so ubiquitous that many Americans take it for granted. But a shockingly large number of America’s poorest households live without it.

More than 80 percent of American households owned a computer and just shy of 75 percent had an Internet subscription in 2013, according to a new report by  the U.S. Census Bureau based on the American Community Survey.

There are some pretty clear demographic trends among who is most up to speed with the digital times, the Census Bureau found.

via More than half of America’s poorest households still don’t get the Internet at home – The Washington Post.


Making The Shift To Mobile-First Teaching

November 15, 2014

When smartphones first became popular, the struggle was to shrink Internet Explorer to the size of a playing card. The internet browser was the de facto app installed on every computer—it allowed you to browse the web. For many, the web browser is a computer. (See Google Chromebooks.)

It quickly became clear that squeezing desktop actions on handheld technology was backwards. Mobile-first thinking changed things. Facebook became mobile-first—which meant that it’s designed to not just be accessed on your phone, but work better on your phone. Websites are often now responsive, scaling to the size of your screen.

But more importantly, the software and the hardware are increasingly parallel, with apps working together–iOS’s Neato feeding Evernote, for example, location-based alerts, smarter notifications, simpler multitasking, improved voice recognition, fingerprint sensors, predictive notifications based on usage, and more.

via Making The Shift To Mobile-First Teaching.


Methods: Tradition vs. Relevance | My Island View

November 13, 2014

This morning I read a post from a higher education educator about the negative effects of Tech in lectures. The author was perplexed when he realized a great many students in his lecture hall were paying attention to Facebook, or attending to email during the course of a two-hour lecture. His school chose to ban tech devices from the lecture hall. Additionally, students were required to use nametags, so that the lecturer could address individual students with questions during the lecture. This was to be a spot check to insure people were paying attention.

The author said that grades increased as a result of the changes. It seemed to be implied that the positive effect came from the banning of devices. Of course my perspective on the incident led me to believe that the banning of the devices had less to do with the increased attention on the part of the students, but rather a greater impact was caused by the involvement in more of a discussion with the name-tagged students in the lecture.

via Methods: Tradition vs. Relevance | My Island View.