I am learning how to code, and right now it’s hard. With all of the talk about teaching children to code — I agree, but sometimes the world of education goes overboard on our newly recognized philosophies — I decided to organize a small before-school activity using MIT’s Scratch coding site. There was only one problem with my program idea. I only knew a little bit about Scratch.
So I started the morning activity during the second week of school and by day two, a few of the 10-15 attendees (children in grades 3-5) were ahead of me. “What’s a variable?” one of them asked. “Do you know how to make a game where the sprite (the little person on the screen who carries out the coding commands) bumps into a ball?” asked another. My answer in both cases was no. Sure I knew how to do many beginning tasks in Scratch, but not what these children wanted to know.
Now those of you readers who are educators and parents know that kids often take care of things like this by figuring out things for themselves — and my students did just that, experimenting and trying things out — but I wondered, “If these questions were coming up on the second day, what would the second week be like?” I needed to master some new Scratch skills and fast. Continue reading “Learning How to Code: Relearning How to Learn – Report #1”→
Identifying relevant TED Talks on various subjects just got easier.
Parents, teachers, lifelong learners: these talks contain wide-ranging information, ideas, and lots of content that 21st-century learners be used in reports, presentations, and other learning activities.
According to the e-mail with the graphic below, TED Talks will now be posted on iTunesorganized by curated collections students, educators, families, and, of course, lifelong learners. Click on the image to visit iTunes, choose a collection, and download the lectures that interest you. The link may be slow, but you can always go directly to iTunes.
How would digital literacy and behavior improve if more families saw blogging as a way to communicate, connect with extended family members, and teach their children the basics about global communication? Would they be thrilled that their children had a big head start developing digital citizenship skills? Would they be delighted at all of the writing taking place and take pride as they watched children develop stronger writing skills?
Blogging is safe and easily managed. While we’ve all heard the scary stories, such as people going online and writing mean comments or nasty rumors that go public or even viral — in truth just about all blogging is safe and fun. Blogging teaches people to write, revise, write more, and publish for a community of readers.
Imagine, for a moment, if a family with two children, age five and seven, along with a bunch of relatives, starts a blog.
Family members, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins write, post, and comment. Parents are editors and managers, at least at the beginning, modeling and demonstrating how to use technology (social media) appropriately. Gradually family members share responsibilities. Continue reading “If Every Family Had a Blog…”→
If you haven’t read the article, GWU Launches Online Prep School, appearing in the January 22, 2011 Washington Post, check it out. The piece, by reporter Daniel de Vise describes the digital school, but he also explains how a dramatic shift — toward digital learning — is occurring world of education as more and more people take computer-based online learning courses. The article also examines whether online learning is a good learning tool in the world of adolescents. The jury is still out on this question, because of the strong organizational skills that are required to complete an online course. You can visit the GWU Online High School website and also the Stanford University Online High School website.