We Should Be A Nation of Digital Opportunity for All

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ISTE has a wonderful template of the digital age learner. It works for those students lucky enough to be in the right environment, the right school, and with a teacher who is looking toward the future with academic support of new technology.

standards-poster-500full Here is the template. It is gorgeous. Get it for your school, for your community and for those who are interested in helping to create digital age learners.
The 2016 ISTE Standards for Students emphasize the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world. The standards are designed for use by educators across the curriculum, with every age student, with a goal of cultivating these skills throughout a student’s academic career. Both students and teachers will be responsible for achieving foundational technology skills to fully apply the standards. The reward, however, will be educators who skillfully mentor and inspire students to amplify learning with technology and challenge them to be agents of their own learning.

This is an amazing document that should be shared and given to school boards, community activist, informal education teachers, and parents. I have a powerpoint that explains all of these. How do we make the change to help “all students ” to have these skills and qualities?

Many schools and communities are  in denial about their state of technology . I live in Washington DC, and I heard the CTO of the city say that all of our students are being well served. This was at an IoT conference with global citizens. I didn’t know what to do or say. I assume that what she said , is what she was told by the school system in DC.

We the people, we the public, we the teachers need to be confrontational about the lack of those who are digitally denied.

We the teachers ,need to be educated toward the transformative policies that ISTE has shared. There are too many people who misunderstand. They think that all students are being well served.

On December 13, Free Press published Digital Denied: The Impact of Systemic Racial Discrimination on Home-Internet Adoption. The report, written by Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner, examines the racial divide in home-internet adoption and exposes how structural racial discrimination contributes to it. Below is an edited summary of the report written by Dana Floberg — Free Press’ C. Edwin Baker fellow — and reprinted with permission.

Internet access is a necessity for engaging in our communities, searching for employment and seeking out educational opportunities — but too many people are still stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. And that divide disproportionately impacts people of color.

Indeed, the racial divide in home-internet adoption — including both wired and wireless service — leaves people of color behind the digital curve. People of color comprise 32 million of the 69 million people in the United States who lack any form of home-internet access. Free Press research exposes this undeniable gap and explains how structural racial discrimination contributes to it.

Systemic discrimination creates serious income inequality in this country. Whites have far higher average incomes than Blacks or Latinos. Low-income families are less able and willing to buy internet subscriptions. And many families who are willing to pay for service find they can’t due to racially biased barriers like credit scoring. Given how stark racial and ethnic income discrepancies are, it’s no surprise that people of color lag behind in internet adoption.

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Income differences explain some of the racial divide, but not all of it.

U.S. Census data on income and internet adoption paint a clear picture:

  • 49 percent of households with incomes below $20,000 have wired or wireless internet, but nearly 90 percent of households with incomes above $100,000 do.
  • 81 percent of Whites have home-internet access, compared to 70 percent of Hispanics and 68 percent of Blacks.

Free Press’ report demonstrates that the racial-adoption gap persists even after we account for differences in income and a host of other demographic factors. For example, there is a divide between people who are in the same income brackets but in different racial or ethnic groups. The gap is widest for people earning less than $20,000: Fifty-eight percent of Whites in this group have some form of home internet, compared to just 51 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of Blacks.web_header_3

There is research that tells us how to reach and teach the students. It is here.

There are students who are of tribal, rural, distant and urban areas who are affected. They are all kinds and all colors. Years ago, when the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council formed policy ( Kickstart) we acknowledged these areas of difficulty and sought to solve the problems. Politics has gotten in the way sometimes.

There are other sources , such as that of the George Lucas Educational Foundation that give examples of what helps and what hinders. Here is a special set of blogs on the topic.

Research and templates inform. We the public need to hold the school systems and communities to the standards so that all children benefit from the uses and skills enabling them to be digital citizens . But parents may not know or understand the uses of technology well.

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Common Sense Education
Common Sense Education provides digital literacy and citizenship programs to school communities to empower students to harness technology for learning and life.They just published a report “The Digital Lives of Minority Youth”. But this report, The Common Sense Census Plugged in Parents of Tweens and Teens 2016 matches nicely with the ISTE report.
Plan of Action?
Print out the template and take it to the next PTA meeting. Share copies of it with parents and have a speaker to access it online. Have a discussion about it and plan action for your school and community.
See if your school has an ISTE member. ISTE has a conference where these types of action and study of the topic is a part of how they serve their members. Hopefully, the school will sponsor a teacher to attend and be a part of ISTE and other technology minded groups. There are also state groups and regional groups that help in outreach.
Is there a low-cost provider who serves your community? If so get some community people working to help them with outreach. Make sure that the provider meets the needs of the community. There are many ways to do this.
 Query the school board and if possible involve people in a presentation about this topic. Use resources that fit your community.

Field Trips, Flights of Fancy, VR and Reality for the Holidays

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There are many new ways to take field trips and many new ways to enrich the learning that takes place in the classroom or at home. There is a world of opportunity at your finger tips.No matter which holidays you celebrate there are resources on line.iuri

hol. In a round table discussion with people who are in charge of learning places, museums and outreach at the Center for Cyberlearning  Conference a remarkable thing happened . We broke down the silos and talked face to face about how to involve students in learning in places that are not school. Transportation and time are issues. Teachers do not often know the offerings of the local museums nor interact with the people who staff workshops and outreach.

New technologies change what and how people learn. Informed by learning science, cyberlearning is the use of new technology to create effective new learning experiences that were never possible or practical before. The cyberlearning movement advances learning of important content by:

  • Applying scientific insights about how people learn
  • Leveraging emerging technologies
  • Designing transformative learning activities
  • Engaging teachers and other practitioners
  • Measuring deeper learning outcomes
  • Emphasizing continuous improvement

Sadly, lots of people are still mired in the difficulty of getting access, and the tools to use technology. We can’t allow people to stand still in technology as it advances on. We must broaden engagement by involving as many people as possible in the sciences of deeper learning and the technologies of the future. Museums, AI, VR and other tools help us to do this. Watch “What is CyberLearning?” to get an idea of what they are doing at the Center for Cyberlearning. And you can go to their website to learn more or to get engaged in Cyberlearning.

For another perspective on Cyberlearning go here.

We need to be Futuring..

I am writing about the future while many go into the past to teach students what we learned 20 years or more ago. That is why I have picked this topic on field trips to show the differences that technology can make and why we must equalize the opportunities for all.

At an ISTE conference we were introduced to Google Cardboard.

You can use Google Cardboard to take a virtual field trip. Say, to New York during the Holiday Season. MASHABLE shares this possibility with us .

“New York’s annual tradition of rolling out incredibly elaborate holiday-themed store window displays in December is as much a part of the city’s seasonal tourism as the Thanksgiving Day parade or celebrate Winter Holidays. “ Christmas in New York?

3D Panoramic Views

The experience is called Window Wonderland, with most of the displays offering an audio narrative from the window’s creative director. Along with narration, the windows offer 360-degree panoramic images as well as high-resolution galleries that essentially allow you to “walk” past the windows in much the same way as you might if you were actually in New York.

You won’t get to buy a NY hotdog, or a pretzel, or roasted Chestnuts, or feel the cold wind on your face.

SANTA?

For 12 years now, an entire generation of excited kids have spent Christmas Eve with their eyes glued to the computer watching Santa Claus circle the globe. Over the past few holiday seasons, Google has pulled out all the stops for an interactive holiday experience that runs from the start of the month until Christmas Eve. Google Santa Tracker is fun.It is a much better experience than the quick hit on the news that most people miss.

The Field Trip? Discovery shares regularly scheduled field trips here.

That is one kind of a field trip. Drones have also let us explore real places. Drones also change the Christmas experience in some places.nintchdbpict000282857405

Drones? Here is information if you need it. click here

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Virtual Christmas GIPHY’s? They are here. A lot of people share a lot of ideas that are virtual.  http://blog.giphy.com/post/70205764276/holiday-gift-guide-giphys-picks-for-the-best

One of my unexpected Christmas gifts was that a child I taught made , actually drew her own card and printed it out to take home. Her mother shared it with her employer , a national hotel chain, and it was used as the card that the hotel mailed that year. Sometimes taking the time to introduce a child or adult to progtams that let them express their creativity brings wonderful rewards.

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What is CyberLearning?

I live in Washington , DC near the mall, and am steps away from many learning opportunities. So are many students but when I briefly taught in Washington in my own neighborhood there were children who had never , ever been to a museum or a zoo or a learning place. All school systems have rules and management for actual field trips.When they match it is wonderful. Who goes to museums and why? Sometimes the cost, and the time of transport are a problem. But there are many new ways to access museums.p011nryz

Here is a favorite of mine. It has actually been around for a while.

The Smithsonian  http://3d.si.edu

They welcome educators with this message

Welcome educators to SIx3D! We are excited about the possibilities of using 3D objects—and the data sets that make them possible—for K-12 learning and believe that they offer an excellent opportunity to excite and engage students in a valuable, interdisciplinary education experience.

The SIx3D viewer offers students the ability to explore some of the Smithsonian’s most treasured objects with a level of control that has never been possible until now. We hope this revolutionary level of access to the Smithsonian collections will spark your students’ curiosity and that the exploration of these objects will enable them to build lifelong observation and critical thinking skills.

With few exceptions, SIx3D also offers access to these data sets. Hailed by many as the third industrial revolution, 3D technology is molding a new K-12 STEM model. Students can use the same tools as professionals to become creators themselves. Whether students are printing invaluable museum objects or inventions of their own design, we hope the chance to bring objects to life will give students the opportunity to create imaginative and innovative work.

To help you introduce 3D and its possibilities to your students, Smithsonian educators are working on new resources for K-12 classrooms. Click here to be kept up to date about new 3D related education resources. To access the page for educators and the places to sign in use this http://3d.si.edu/article/educators http://3d.si.edu/article/educators

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You can connect to learning places, and museums in many different ways. There is also the Google Cultural Institute. It offers daily news, and a guide to cultural things around the world.

The Kennedy Center does programs for families, and for some families the most important thing is to know the possibilities. Nutcracker? Do you know the background of it/ and the music. It is here.

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In Arlington , Virginia  I was able to manage field trips, walks and use the Metro to extend my student’s learning in the real world. I had a principal who felt that museums were for all children and she created possibilities for teachers to take workshops, for parents to go on school busses on Saturdays. We did a community grant to do this. Parents and teachers volunteered to participate. It was a great success. Arlington has an outdoor lab facility. Teachers are and were trained to use it for class trips. You can be a community activist for the real field trips while arranging online resources as well.

When teaching in overseas schools, it depended on the location of the school and transportation. So virtual field trips work too, if they are managed correctly in that the content has meaning.

Ok, I cheat. I live near the Smithsonian Mall and love the real museum interaction. But the online is great.  One last goody.. the Chemistry advent calendar for last year. It is awesome.