In the midst of this digital hype and the ubiquity of technology, one should pause for an instant and reflect deeply on the implications of being constantly connected. More specifically, the implications of connectivity on our social, cultural, intellectual and emotional well-being. Important as it is but the question here is not about how much time we spend interacting with technology but rather how are we using it and to what benefits? Asking questions such as these is supposed to trigger your critical awareness regarding the different ways you use your time and consequently enable you to make the best of your time.
In the process of our interaction with technology, we get to develop a set of habits that we keep doing almost every day (e.g checking emails, social media websites…etc); however some of these habits get so grounded in our daily practice that they become addictive.This is especially the case with those who spend tremendous amount of time playing online games or those who are obsessed with sharing with others on social media every bit of their lived experiences. This visual from StudyWeb features some examples of bad digital habits created by Internet. Apart from number 5 which we think does not apply to us as educators and teachers, all of the other habits are really worth some serious meditation.
Google’s conference “Education on Air” is around the corner (May 8-9). The conference schedule is now out and you can register for free to attend virtually from the comforts of your place. Some of the interesting panels and keynotes that stood out from the schedule include:
- What are the skills of the future? In this panel, the Economist Intelligence Unit “will share findings from their ‘Skills of the Future’ report where they surveyed business leaders, teachers and students to examine how skills taught in education systems around the world are changing and evolving”.
- Inspiring learners with the power of storytelling. This is a keynote by actor, director and author Levar Burton in which he will “discuss the influence of storytelling on his personal life and explain how storytelling engages those around us and impacts learning”.
- Making change happens. In this keynote, Lisa bell, founder and CEO of FutureThink, will “provide three practical, actionable suggestions you can try at school or any work place” to start an innovation revolution.
- Transforming learning with technology. In this panel, several high-tech district leaders will get to share with you their approaches to improving teaching and learning using technology.
You can check the rest of the schedule from this page. Enjoy
Digital Compass is a new tool released by Common Sense Media to help kids learn the fundamentals of digital citizenship and digital literacy through playing interactive games designed specifically for grades 6-9. The games came in the form of a simulation of the digital world we live in and provides kids with an informed understanding of the implications involved in creating digital identities.
Digital Compass is available as a web-based tool to be played online, the iOS and Android app is expected to be released soon. The game starts with a short introductory video about the game after which kids are prompted to select a character and dive in with it in its digital world. While creating a story for the selected character, students will engage with a variety of thinking and conceptual skills. They have to think strategically about how to create a good digital path for their character, the decisions to take to solve unexpected problems and how to anticipate potential risks. All of this takes place within an immersive game-based environment that students will definitely enjoy.
Watch this video to learn more about Digital Compass
Here is an interesting infographic from university of Phoenix featuring 10 essential skills for the successful worker.Going through the list we remarked that these skills are important not only for a successful work for successful learners as well. In fact, these skills represent the ethos of the 21st century epoch, an era where knowledge economy and the social capital are so interdependently connected that it becomes extremely hard to decipher the dividing line between the two.
The top 10 skills for the 21st century worker, according this visual, include:
- Critical thinking
- Global citizenship
- Productivity and accountability
- Accessing and synthesizing information
Evaluation is a central component of the learning process without which we would not be able to gauge learning objectives and identify learning needs. The instructional process as a whole is informed and guided (at least that’s how it should be) by results gleaned from evaluative procedures. There are actually different evaluation models out there, the infographic below, features 4 of the most popular among them. The one that stands out to us from the list is Kirkpatrick’s model of training and education. This model is composed of four major levels:
- Level Four - Results: To what degree targeted outcomes occur, as a result of learning event(s) and subsequent reinforcement.
- Level Three - Behaviour: To what degree participants apply what they learned during training when they are back on the job and attitudes based on their participation in the learning event.
- Level Two - Learning: To what degree participants acquire the intended knowledge, skills.
- Level One - Reaction: To what degree participants react favourably to the learning event.
Read here to learn more about the other three evaluation models.
Does music education really improve kids cognitive skills? The answer, in our view, is hard to determine and it requires a series of longitudinal studies across different cultural and ethnic groups. However, certain small-scale studies such as the ones cited in the visual below do provide a preliminary evidence in favour of the correlation between taking music lessons and improvement in certain cognitive skills. For instance, in a study of 96 children aged 5-7 years old, those who received 7 months of supplementary music and arts classes earned higher mathematics scores than those with the schools’ typical music and arts training. In another collection of studies that involved a larger base of participants from high schools, researchers were able to identify a strong correlation between music instruction and higher reading test scores.
Always according to this infographic, music education was behind the blossoming of some great creative minds in the history of humankind (i.e Leonardo da Vinci, Issac Newton, Thomas Edison, Galileo Galilei and many mothers). More specifically, the visual cites six key areas positively impacted by music education: math skills, reading skills, memory, IQ, SAT scores, and planning. Read on to learn more about how music education improves human cognition.
RefME is a web tool and mobile app that you can use to automate citations, reference lists and bibliographies. RefMe also offers a bunch of powerful features that will definitely help students in their research. Some of these features include:
- Generate citations by scanning book or journal barcodes using your phone’s camera.
- No Barcode? Search by Book/Article Title, ISBN, ISSN, DOI or URL.
- Citing a website? Simply paste in the URL or use RefME.com, which syncs with the app and is perfect for websites.
- A wide variety of citation styles including APA, MLA, Chicago and AMA as well as most school/college-specific styles.
- Add notes to your citations, both in the app and at RefME.com.
- Export via Email or Evernote using the app.
- Send your work straight to MS Word, EndNote and more from RefME.com.
GoConqr is a free web service that gives students and teachers a place to organize mind maps, flashcards, quizzes, reports, class notes, and more. The service was designed for students and educators, and you can use it to store your own notes and class materials, or use it to collaborate with classmates.
GoConqr has specific templates for storing mind maps, flashcards, notes, and quizzes, so they're the easiest to add. As you upload them, you build out a collection of study data that's easy to refer back to when you need to brush up for an exam. The service's study planner also makes it easy to build a schedule for your classes and your after-class study sessions, so you can make sure you're studying the right topics at the best times. Plus, everything you post can be made public or private, and shared with friends on or off the service, so comparing notes and quizzes is a snap.
You have to be careful with a tool like GoConqr though - there are so many features and options that you may spend more time organizing information than actually reviewing and committing it to memory. However, part of the study process is getting your notes and quizzes organized, and the mind mapping tool makes it easy to connect thoughts and ideas that may have been presented verbally in class. Hit the link below to give it a try.
Here is another excellent graphic on flipped learning that we want to bring to your attention. As you see below, “Flipped Learning: The Big Picture” provides a visual illustration of the concept of flipped learning in terms of what it has to offer to students learning both in class and at home. According to this graphic, flipped learning positively impact the learning that takes place in the classroom in the sense that it:Encourages student understanding, enables differentiation, ensures access to expert support, enables student engagement, creates a supportive learning environment, and provides opportunities for collaboration. Read on to learn more about how flipped learning supports students learning. Read more here.
Math games can too often present the learning goal as an obstacle to overcome. Shooting aliens to solve fractions is an example. The result is a moment of fun punctuated by the chore of performing a task. In other words, the game actions - or core mechanics - do not match the educational goal.
The Land of Venn is an ingenious geometry game that aligns learning to fun. It smartly avoids being “edutainment” by putting play first. It is a universal mobile application in which you draw lines and shapes to learn about lines and shapes. The narrative, which is silly and amusing (as is the catchy music), is a tower defense game. By performing the actions of geometry, players internalize the concepts. It is a clear example of constructivist learning - learning by doing. For example, children connect points (each point is a different enemy) to draw an isosceles triangle. As a result, confidence in abstract mathematical concepts is built as mastery of levels is met.