Small steps, Big moves

As of late, it seems many teachers are vouching for a technology-centric classroom – allowing their students to work in group laptop sessions, blogging about an article they’ve read, or inserting new and interesting ways to bolster academic development, such as rap renditions (as mentioned a recent ClassLink blog, Alternative Teaching Methods).

It’s no surprise that 7th grade English students are studying Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” in a non-traditional way at Kyrene School District. This particular district in Arizona strongly vouches for a tech-driven education environment as seen inside of their classrooms – most of which are overflowing with interactive big screens, lesson-driven software, and an overwhelming number of laptops. After investing $33 million in technologies, they’ve transformed their classrooms and altered their teacher’s impact in said classrooms, from addressing students with lessons to now acting as a guide of sorts directing students as they utilize their various computing devices.  

Interestingly enough, this New York Times writer points out that while excitement at this school is on the up and up, test scores are not. Providing that since 2005, both math and reading scores here are idling, while as a whole statewide score have increased. This leaves some asking, is going high-tech a gamble? Overall, there are schools out there spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, without testing this technology wave and its effects to launch basic learning skills.

In spite of the varied opinions, it’s important to note the Kyrene School District has captured endless attention and was even praised by the National School Boards Association as a model of success, receiving visits from 100 educators across 17 states that came to witness the innovations of this particular district.

ClassLink was intrigued by this article but thinks it is important to note that TNYT points out – standardized tests can’t be compared to student performance measures that computers are capable of producing. We have witnessed small steps being taken to shift the future of education, and today, it’s having a big impact across our nation’s schools. It’s exciting to be a part of!

To be continued…

Stay tuned! When we return, ClassLink will further dissect this approach with an interesting view from a proponent of next-generation technologies from a value perspective for students everywhere.

Have you witnessed the positive results of technology throughout schools and classrooms? Do you think there is any validity to technology as a tool being immeasurable? Stop by our page on Facebook and let us know!

Interested in reading the full article? View it here, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/technology/technology-in-schools-faces-questions-on-value.html?_r=3&ref=education 

 

Source: In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores by Matt Richtel. New York Times, online. September 3, 2011.

 

 

Today’s Multi-viewing Generation

ClassLink was intrigued by this article about multi-screen viewing among students. Generally, multi-tasking is something to be praised, as most parents can attest to – our society often beckons us to be doing three things at once, but what about where our children are concerned? Some are raising their hand to say that maybe children should stay away from the overwhelming heap of technology mutli-tasking, also referenced as multi-viewing.

Today, its commonplace for children to use a laptop while watching TV or for them to use an iPad while viewing their mobile device. This generation is growing up on interactive auto-pilot and researchers are concerned that while utilizing four devices at once might seems skillful, in actuality its concerning and can effect mental health as well as physical wellbeing.

A recent study showed 10- and 11-year olds who were found ‘multi-screen viewing’ as they focused on the TV, an iPad, a Smartphone, a laptop, or hand-held gaming computers – often times in conjunction with one another. Children in this study had open access to at least five portable devices at once.

Dr. Russ Jago of Bristol University commented, “TV programs are watched on computers, games consoles can be used to surf the internet, smartphones, tablet computers and hand-held games play music, video games provide internet access, and laptop computers can do all of the above.”

What do you think…are kids overloaded? Or should everyone further acclimate to this multi-interactive way of life? Meet with us on Facebook and join in on the discussion!

To read more click here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2021722/Health-fears-children-watch-TV-using-iPads-phones-laptops.html

Source: Multi-screen generation: Health fears for children who watch TV while using iPads, phones and laptops. Daily Mail Reporter, UK, online. August 3, 2011.

Alternative Teaching Methods

Conveying important learning concepts to students can be challenging. In recent years, a number of teachers have gone above and beyond creatively taking what would be considered boring learning methods and turning them into fun, creative concepts for their students. One such example, Mr. Duey, a middle school math teacher who’s academic rap song has gone viral. He takes the subject of fractions and breaks it down to a simpler “tune” for students.  

 This well-intentioned rap video teaches students to resolve improper fractions and percentages. Entertaining – yes! Purposeful – definitely.

Check out the below youtube video by clicking link and then go to the Classlink Facebook page to join in on the discussion. 

 Mr. Duey’s Official Fractions video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V96_PjlrVQc