Transforming the World of Education with Technology.. Starting Points and Resources

Future  Learning

Wireless shows the way to the future ways of learning
if we can conquer the digital divide.

My friend Mano works in areas of need in rural Virginia. There are lots of us who have the aptitude to teach students. Permission is something else.

My friend Mano works in areas of need in rural Virginia. There are lots of us who have the aptitude to teach students. Permission is something else.

Tpack-contexts

There is the content divide, teachers can learn to master information on the web. Here is where to start. You will love learning the Tpack Framework. It seems complicated? Not. It is an ideational scaffolding for teaching and learning. It works and , it is free. Tpack.

http://tpack.org/

A problem that is a dividing factor for many people is the lack of access. Broadband access is a problem and the tools to use technology are a problem.

All classrooms do not look like the schema above. For one thing teachers using technology often are in an active classroom. Not a lot of sitting down happens.

Or the classroom may be a flipped classroom. In case you need a good example here is one from Edutopia.http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flip-stem-classroom-ainissa-ramirez and all flipped classrooms do not look alike.

To see how technology transforms or changes view some of the projects in the Digital Generation. The digital generation has a great introduction and then it broadens engagement from gamers to students interested in making change in their community. I love the story of Luiz.

           Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say

Nancy Palmieri for The New York Times

Lisa Baldwin, a chemistry teacher, works with her students to fight through academic challenges.

By 

There is a widespread belief among some  teachers that students’ constant use of digital technology is hampering their attention spans and ability to persevere in the face of challenging tasks, according to two surveys of teachers released in November and confirmed in December reports. But then there is this. Digital Generation

Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Hope Molina-Porter, an English teacher in Fullerton, Calif., worries that technology is deeply altering how students learn.

The researchers note that their findings represent the subjective views of teachers and should not be seen as definitive proof that widespread use of computers, phones and video games affects students’ capability to focus.

Even so, the researchers who performed the studies, as well as scholars who study technology’s impact on behavior and the brain, say the studies are significant because of the vantage points of teachers, who spend hours a day observing students.

The timing of the studies, from two well-regarded research organizations, appears to be coincidental.

You can find the rest of the article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/education/technology-is-changing-how-students-learn-teachers-say.html?smid=fb-share

Broadband? Here is a perspective on broadband from the FCC

Where are you on the map?

                       THE CONSENSUS UNDERSTANDING OF THE FCC’S ROLE WITH RESPECT TO BROADBAND

A challenge for the FCC in recent years has been how to apply the time-honored purposes of the Communications Act to our 21st Century communications platform—broadband Internet—access to which is generally provided by the same companies that provide telephone and cable television services.

Broadband is increasingly essential to the daily life of every American. It is fast becoming the primary way we as Americans connect with one another, do business, educate ourselves and our children, receive health care information and services, and express our opinions. As a unanimous FCC said a few weeks ago in our Joint Statement on Broadband, “Working to make sure that America has world-leading high-speed broadband networks—both wired and wireless—lies at the very core of the FCC’s mission in the 21st Century.”

Over the past decade and a half, a broad consensus in the public and private sectors has developed about the proper role and authority for the FCC regarding broadband communications. This bipartisan consensus, which I support, holds that the FCC should adopt a restrained approach to broadband communications, one carefully balanced to unleash investment and innovation while also protecting and empowering consumers.

It is widely understood—and I am of the view—that the extreme alternatives to this light-touch approach are unacceptable. Heavy-handed prescriptive regulation can chill investment and innovation, and a do-nothing approach can leave consumers unprotected and competition unpromoted, which itself would ultimately lead to reduced investment and innovation.

The consensus view reflects the nature of the Internet itself as well as the market for access to our broadband networks. One of the Internet’s greatest strengths—its unprecedented power to foster technological, economic, and social innovation—stems in significant part from the absence of any central controlling authority, either public or private. The FCC’s role, therefore should not involve regulating the Internet itself.

Want to measure your broadband   http://www.speedtest.net. it is easy..

Google’s Coolest Project? Broadband

By QUENTIN HARDY
A sign in Kansas City encouraged residents to pre-register for Google Fiber.Steve Hebert for The New York TimesA sign in Kansas City encouraged residents to pre-register for Google Fiber.
  • FACEBOOKAccording to Eric Schmidt, Google‘s executive chairman, the most interesting project going on at the search giant is its high-speed broadband trials in Kansas City. (Missouri and Kansas versions)

The business, called Google Fiber, promises speeds 100 times faster than conventional high-speed Internet services. Mr. Schmidt, who was speaking at a New York Times Dealbook conference in New York, said Google was delivering 760 megabits per second to the customer, and taking 720 megabits a second from customers.

Some of our have robust broadband and others of us do not. There are tools that are used to measure broadband, that are national , and some are international.

You can measure broadband  in your community and then go raise a ruckus if it is not adequate with this tool.

     I Like this quote I dislike this quote“For the last decade, we have been amazed and delighted by what we can do online. And yet people feel increasingly powerless to stop unscrupulous individuals and companies from infecting their computers with programs that they didn’t request. The providers of Internet services and software simply must get this problem under control so the users can realize the full potential of their access to the Internet.”
 Vint Cerf quote

The use of broadband in the area of education is deep and wide, but still in its earliest stages of development. In the pre-broadband era – about 15 years ago – “distance learning” was generally conducted on a set schedule in a professional facility with the capability of satellite video to a small group able to pay a high fee.

With the wide availability of broadband this definition has been turned 180 degrees. Today an individual student can see a lecture at a time and place which best fits his or her schedule at little or no cost. Not only does broadband provide better access to coursework, but students taking those courses appear to do better than those sitting in a traditional classroom.

Broadband permits a wide variety of online learning experiences. Students can be directed to websites different from the course website. There they can stream a video or examine a famous painting; they can have an online chat with their teacher or professor; or students studying the same coursework can come together in learning communities in real time without regard to their physical geographic location. These “virtual study groups” have not been possible before the general availability of broadband.

Of greatest interest is the acceptance of adults to taking courses on-line. According to Philip R. Regier, the dean of Arizona State University’s Online and Extended Campus program, growth will be in continuing education programs In three to five years, he estimates, the current census of 5,000 continuing education students “could triple, with nearly all the growth coming online.” The use of broadband as students’ “in-home tutor” is well-documented. The ability to search the world’s libraries from a student’s home has had an enormous impact on the quality and depth of the educational experience for serious students.

Teachers who have had to use the traditional red pen to correct and edit papers and reports, can now use their computers to “track changes” and send the work back to students (and their parents) via e-mail for their review.

If education is the foundation of society, then broadband is quickly becoming the mortar which binds and strengthens that foundation.

Got Milk? Got Broadband? Then you can learn to transform using whatever tools that are  available to you with also some really good face to face , or mentoring examples.

In many urban, distant and rural communities there is a lack of the technology tools, broadband and teachers who know how to use the technology, but once we get connectivity many free resources, ideas, and projects are on line. You need the time to explore, examine, extricate the ideas for your use, learn to evaluate and to engage using your ideas and the prescribed curriculum that you deal with. There are many , many teacher groups that provide lesson plan examples and ideas.

Fixing the STEM Problem by Asking the Right Questions-Don’t ask “Who, What, When, Where”; ask, “Why, and How?”

Fixing the STEM Problem by Asking the Right Questions 

Essay by

Allan C. Jones, President

Emaginos Inc.- Engaging Every Child Through Customized Education

Don’t ask “Who, What, When, Where”; ask, “Why, and How?”

Education in the No Child Left Behind era is all about answering “who, what, when and where” (4W) questions. But the questions that really matter are why and how. In a European history class, students are asked, “Who fought at the battle of Hastings?”, “What armies fought in the battle?”, “When was it fought?”, and “Where is Hastings?”. I can still remember that the English fought the Normans led by William the Conqueror in 1066. I don’t remember where Hastings is, if I ever did know it. What I don’t know is why it was fought and how it affected history. In considering what I know and don’t know, it seems like the stuff I know doesn’t matter and the stuff I don’t know does matter. In general, what matters is the stuff you learn by asking why and how.

The country’s leaders constantly complain about today’s students not learning enough about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). STEM topics are boring if you focus on the 4W questions.  But if you focus on “why and how” they come to life. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in the southern US before the civil war. Boring! Why did he invent it? How did it work. How was it powered? Why was it important? What recent inventions have had a similar impact on a nation’s economy? The last is a “What” question, but not a recall question. These are the interesting questions about the cotton gin – and they lead to a rich discussion of STEM.

Let’s make the issue more contemporary.

We tell children to use soap when they wash their hands. When they ask why they need the soap, the typical response is that soap gets the hands cleaner. This is usually where inquiry stops and authority takes over – just do it! But any healthy, curious child is thinking, “How does soap work?” The answer is, “Soap makes water wetter.” What does that mean? Soap breaks down the surface tension bonds between the water molecules. So the next obvious question is, “Why does that matter?” Because it allows the water to penetrate the dirt better to float it away. It also emulsified the grease molecules; allowing them to detach from the object and rinse away. I like to give the students another use for this piece of knowledge so I tell them that the next time they find a tick and are trying to kill it, the easiest way is to drop the tick into a cup of tap water. Initially, the tick will appear to float. (The little suckers are really hard to kill.) But ticks are not buoyant. They are not floating. They are standing on the surface tension. Add a drop of dishwashing liquid to the water and the tick will sink like a stone and drown.

We were recently at yet another STEM meeting where the people were all excited about an excellent robotics activity that they were proposing to engage more girls and minorities in STEM. Robots are cool; and designing and playing with them can be engaging and instructional. But why go the expense of creating an artificial world for STEM learning? Students are surrounded by STEM every minute of their lives. Some questions they might enjoy answering could include:

  • How do they get stone-washed denim to look that way? Do they really stone-wash it?
  • Why do the tires on a mountain bike look so different from the tires on a racing bike? Do car and truck tires have the same or different tread designs? How do they decide what is the best tread design for different uses? How does changing the amount of air pressure affect the performance of the tires? When do you use low tire pressure and when do you use high pressure and why?
  • Why does it get easier or harder to pedal a 12-speed bike when you shift the gears? How does the Derailleur work? How is the Derailleur different from a manual transmission on a car? Why does a manual transmission need a clutch and an automatic transmission does not? How does the clutch work? Why does a clutch burn out?
  • How do iPods store all that music? What other options are available to store it? Why was the one they use chosen? What may be the next better storage mechanism?

If you want to tie it into history, ask how people 200, 400, 600, 800, and 1,000 years ago did what we do routinely today. What did tires and treads look like at those different time periods? How were vehicles propelled? How was music stored and enjoyed? How does communications technology affect social unrest? Which technologies that were originally invented for military uses have become everyday household products? Did you know that microwave ovens came from radar technologies developed for guiding missiles?

The list of fascinating STEM topics is endless. More importantly, they are an integral part of everybody’s world. All of the inventions and the underlying technologies were designed and built by engineers and technologists based on work by scientists and mathematicians. STEM is not some remote esoteric set of knowledge reserved for nerds. It’s a fascinating set of knowledge and skills that make up the world we live in. The 4W questions are only interesting if they are used in the context of why and how.

Dropout prevention is another big issue in education. Because understanding why and how something happened are much more interesting than the 4W questions, students get more engaged in their learning when seeking answers to why and how. We need to get away from the model where the teacher asks the 4W questions and students answer them. We need to pose problems that require the students to determine what the questions are that they need answered in order to solve the problem. If you put the students in small ability-level based groups and frame the questions as problems to be solved, every student is actively engaged in learning. This student-centered learning environment also allows the teachers to work individually with every student and customize the learning for each of them.

Going back to the battle of Hastings, knowing why and how it was fought and how the result of the battle impacted the subsequent history of England might be of use in looking at the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Can we learn any lessons from Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq that will enable us to make better decisions about the value of those strategies?

We need to change the questions we ask our students and the way we pose them, not only in class, but also on assessments. There is an old axiom that applies; “You get what you pay for.” Since educational institutions get ‘paid’ for good assessments, they will structure the teaching and learning activities to produce what is assessed. So we need to do less assessing of who, what, when, and where; and start doing a better job of assessing students’ mastery of why and how.