The Huffington Post reports that Thomas Edison once said, “Books will soon be obsolete in the public schools… our school system will be completely changed inside of ten years.” Amazingly enough, however, one of our nation’s most important inventors was proven quite wrong. The American education system has a remarkable resistance to innovation and the classroom experience has changed very little in the 100 years since Edison’s prediction. Advances in information technology have revolutionized how people communicate and learn in nearly every aspect of modern life except for education. The education system operates under the antiquated needs of an agrarian and industrial America…
One of the fastest ways to get breaking news, and one of the best platforms for instant networking, is Twitter. Twitter is replete with people who love to discuss education, technology, and current events.
From education experts to ed-tech industry leaders, and from teachers to those with simply a passion for education, these 15 education Tweeters are worth a follow!
Know of any education Tweeters you’d like to see on the list? Be sure to leave your suggestion in the comment section below.
(Next page: Some of the top Tweeters)
On the photo-sharing app Instagram, search the keywords #Fairfax, #Rockville or #DC and up pops hundreds of photos from children, The Washington Post reports. Among them, until recently, were many from Kyle, a 12-year-old. His full name, Gaithersburg middle school and favorite Montgomery County hangouts were on public display before his parents put a stop to it. Technically, Kyle was not supposed to be on Instagram, the mobile app owned by Facebook. The company’s policy sets the minimum age at 13. But Kyle said he was able to join easily, no questions asked. Within minutes of setting up his account this past fall, he was uploading “selfies” of his cherubic face and blond mop top and tagging photos of friends with their names…
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill opening the door for schools across the state to count Advanced Placement (AP) computer science as a math or science credit. The law’s goal is to improve and expand access to computer science education, a high demand skill in Washington’s technology-fueled economy.
Prior to the law, AP computer science, often one of the most difficult classes offered, did not count as a math or science credit. Instead it counted as an elective. By granting the course academic credit, the bill aims to encourage more students to take the course and many more schools to offer it.
Currently, only 35 of the state’s 622 high schools offer AP computer science. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen, Rep. Cyrus Habib, Rep. Roger Freeman, and Rep. Chad Magendanz, passed the Legislature with nearly unanimous support.
(Next page: Reaction to the new law, and what a report says about computer science education)
Take a moment to think about it, ReadWriteWeb reports. The mobile market – hardware, software, apps, services, infrastructure – is expanding to just about every corner of the wold. And as mobile connects the entire planet – linking billions of people in real-time from almost any place you can imagine – it is re-constructing how people everywhere engage in shopping, banking, entertainment, work, healthcare and learning…
Long a favorite among craft enthusiasts, the popular DIY site Pinterest, in which users “pin” online images to virtual pin boards for later reference, is gaining ground in education. Educators using Pinterest in the classroom have access to professional development resources, lesson plans, curriculum ideas, and more.
Locating online educational resources can put even more demands on teachers’ time, which is often already stretched to the limit. Pinterest lets users organize resources and ideas in one central location, as opposed to bookmarking sites and then visiting those sites multiple times in order to remember what each site contains.
Each “pin” is taken from an image on a website, so that teachers can immediately see what idea or resource each site contains. Users create different boards and pin items into various categories—for instance, a teacher may have one board for English, another for professional development, and a third for math tips.
(Next page: How a first grade teacher uses Pinterest)
A high school student in Wichita, Kansas, was suspended for the rest of the school year after tweeting a mild criticism of the school sports programs, reports The Daily Caller. Senior Wesley Teague was president of his class and an athlete himself. In his view, the various sports teams at Wichita Heights High School had a tough year, which led him to tweet, “‘Heights U’ is equivalent to WSU’s football.” The tweet referenced “Heights U” — the nickname that other students use to refer to sports teams at Wichita Heights — and Wichita State University football, which was disbanded in 1986…
An online simulation in which students create their own company, then compete with each other by buying and selling shares of stock, and an iPad app for visual learning and assessment of special-needs students are two of the products from participants in the Software and Information Industry Association’s 2013 Innovation Incubator program, which raises the profile of fledgling ed-tech companies and helps them succeed.
Ten ed-tech companies and one alternate took part in SIIA’s Innovation Incubator program at the organization’s Ed Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco last week.
Jetlag Learning, whose SimCEO creates online learning simulations in which students compete and interact with each other instead of a computer program, was voted “Most Innovative,” and Brain Parade, whose See.Touch.Learn. app provides a personalized picture card learning tool for iPad users, was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”
Here are the other participants:
Most educators are familiar with the adventures of Ms. Frizzle’s Magic School Bus and the incredible journeys students take while riding it to explore the solar system, inside the earth, and even inside the human body.
The students at Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C. have a “magic school bus” of their own, but this one is tasked with a different kind of journey—one that will make attending college a reality.
Every Wednesday, the Verizon Wireless Mobile Learning Lab—dubbed the magic school by students—rolls into the school parking lot. Instead of being adorned with that distinctive school-bus yellow, however, it’s wrapped in bold graphics showing enthusiastic students using wireless devices to reflect what actually goes on inside this unique vehicle.
The retrofitted school bus is equipped with its own generator, air-conditioner and wireless 4G internet connectivity. And it also comes with tutors from nearby Howard University who pair up with students at individual workstations to use the latest tablets to work through the arduous college essay process.
(Next page: How the bus works; video)
Gone are the days of traditional school pen pals and classrooms mailing packages back and forth—today’s students and teachers are using ed-tech to have virtual conversations with classrooms across their states and throughout the nation using a phenomenon known as geoconferencing.
Geoconferencing marries two well-known concepts: video conferencing and geocaching—an outdoor scavenger hunt in which students use GPS devices and mobile devices to travel to specific coordinates in order to locate hidden items known as travel bugs. Travel bugs have unique codes that owners and participants can use to track a bug’s movement on geocaching.com.
The travel bugs are accompanied by log books to record who discovers their hidden locations. Students may find that a travel bug originating in California has made its way to Ohio. Travel bugs resemble military dog tags and are usually hidden in small waterproof containers. Sometimes, they are accompanied by small items that are up for grabs—but if an item is taken, another item of similar value must be left in its place.
(Next page: How can educators start and use geoconferencing activities?)
We don’t know about you, but sometimes the eSchool News editors are amazed to hear about the ed-tech students use to learn in schools these days: mobile gaming apps, 3D printing, and robots? Many of the editors still remember the prestige of walking to the front of the class and writing on the chalkboard with colored chalk.
To celebrate technologies of the past, the editors of eSchool News have compiled a list of the education technologies we and our teachers used back in the day–you know, before the internet even existed.
Can you think of an ed-tech tool not on the list? What was your favorite classroom tool when you were in school?
(Next page: Ed-tech of the 70s, 80s, and 90s)
Creating social networks to help kids share books. Data-mining to pinpoint potential dropouts from online courses. Sending digital “nudges” about good study habits to the smartphones of college students. These days, it seems everyone is an ed-tech entrepreneur, The Notebook Blog reports. “I think educational technology is going to transform education,” said Bobbi Kurshan, executive director of academic innovation at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education…
Some of the world’s biggest handset makers and telecom carriers are embracing alternative mobile operating systems this year in a quest to become credible challengers to smartphones run by Apple Inc. and Google Inc., the Wall Street Journal reports. These companies are hoping they can outgun attempts by Microsoft Corp. and Research In Motion Ltd. to emerge as a third alternative platform to the iPhone and Android devices, which have a virtual stranglehold on the market…
Zynga wants kids to play more games in class, the Wall Street Journal reports. The San Francisco-game company’s non-profit, Zynga.org, plans to announce Wednesday that it is investing $1 million in a new program to help technology startups build games to help children learn. It has selected an initial handful of startups to join an accelerator this summer at its offices and will supply Zynga employees to help improve their products. Zynga’s non-profit is partnering with NewSchools Venture Fund, an Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit that has invested $250 million in early-stage education programs, including startups and charter schools…
Anyone who grew up with a Nintendo more than likely has memories of their parents telling them to stop playing before it rots your brain, the Vancouver Sun reports. We’re swapping stories at the table about what it was like as a kid growing up with video games, and everyone on the team has an experience that is similar to that old catechism. In the early days of gaming it was hard to see the potential for teaching games had, and they were certainly not associated with Early Childhood Education…
While some argue that a truly ubiquitous, digital currency is many years from becoming a reality, behaviorally, we’re already well down money’s evolutionary path: credit cards, direct deposits, e-transfers, micro-donations, mobile payments, Wired.com reports. And now there’s decentralized “cryptocurrency.” Bitcoin has been generating buzz — some would say hype — for a while; in the last few months alone there’s been talk about Bitcoin ATMs, bubbles, ecosystems, miners, and more…