Teachers all over the country are sharing ideas about how to help their students identify news that is made-up, unsubstantiated, or just plain false. Now Google has added a feature that identifies false information that comes up on user searches. An April 7, 2017 article at the Pointer Journalism site describes Google’s new fact check in detail and explains how the company went about developing its new feature. You can also read the CNET article about Google.
After serving at a school for 33 years, more than 25 or them as an educational technology faculty member, I am departing in a few weeks and moving on to new experiences. This year I’ve had plenty of time to think about my service on an edtech faculty team, ruminating on my rich experiences. I’ve helped teachers and students use technology in ways that help them grow into more effective and reflective learners, though in truth, I’ve probably learned far more than I’ve helped others learn.
While I will miss the daily joys and the challenges of 21st Century school life, I expect to continue supporting people — students, parents, family, friends, and anyone else — as they discover more about living and learning in a digital world with social media, apps, the latest devices, and whatever else that appears on the edtech horizon. Of course, I’ll keep blogging right here at MediaTechParenting.net.
So below are 25 observations (lessons learned) that grow out of my 25 years of teaching and learning with educational technology.
1. The curriculum and student learning are at the core of our work. The mission is to figure out how to help teachers learn new skills so they can help students learn more effectively and productively.
2. Collaborating with teachers on new technology projects in their classrooms is essential and best way to help them learn. Communicating with those teachers is paramount.
3. We need administrators to evaluate faculty members regularly, assessing how teachers infuse technology into the curriculum and how these teachers expand their skills over time.
Years ago as a beginning teacher, I asked one of my University of Chicago professors how it was that my mentoring teacher seemed to do everything at once — teaching one group, keeping an eye on other parts of the classroom, and continuously but quietly communicating with everyone in the room — all at the same time. She even knew when a student some distance behind her was not completing the assigned task.
“She acquired those skills step-by-step,” my professor replied.
Today as we cope with the challenge of transforming our teaching skills to make what goes on in our classrooms applicable to the ever-changing world of digital information (a.k.a. innovation or 21st Century learning), many of us are renewing our commitment to lifelong learning as we explore and acquire a range of new skills and behaviors. We are learning, step-by-step, how to teach differently and stretch ourselves in ways that help students access, process, and use information in innovative but sensible ways. Continue reading “Innovative Teaching: How on Earth Do We Get Started?”→
Pew researchers asked educators about the effect of digital tools on their students’ writing skills. They also wanted to gather more information about the digital tools that teachers use in their classrooms and find out whether these tools help students become better writers. Survey participants were also asked to share their views about the skills their 21st Century students’ will need to be successful in their future lives.
A Few of the Pew Findings
Many teachers believe that the increasing digital world audience for writers encourages students of all ages to taking writing more seriously.
Seventy-nine percent of the educators surveyed agree or strongly agree that digital tools encourage students to collaborate with one another.
Technology reporter Matt Richtel shares information about two recent studies that examine, on the basis of educator surveys, how today’s digital children may be learning differently than in the past. Although individual responses are subjective, the results of the surveys “are considered significant because of the vantage points of teachers who spend hours a day observing students.”
It all comes down to attention span. In both surveys, teachers expressed concern that students, used to fast-paced, always changing activities, are less able to focus on an academic task for a prolonged period.
Another school year started this week, right after a relaxed three-day Labor Day weekend. But my three-days were more special than most, because I spent the time with my thirty-something daughter. As I thought about beginning the school year my mind kept wandering back to the years the two of us started school together, she as a student and me as a teacher.
I listened to my daughter, now a physician, talk about her work and her life, marveling at her competence, eagerness to learn, empathy, discipline, and, yes, her sense of fun. More than once during our conversations I thought about the teachers who helped her develop and strengthen these skills, people who took her interests into consideration — as well as the required topics.
A preschool teacher encouraged my daughter to get up and keep going after a fall or a spat, and her kindergarten teacher recognized her love of books but also reminded her to relax and play. In second grade her teacher came to the rescue when my daughter wanted to bring a book to read at recess, and this same gifted educator suggested that she “become an author” and write her own books.
Once a week in second grade each child was encouraged think of a hard word and learn how to spell it. Boy was my husband surprised one day, as he worked on his public health policy dissertation, when our daughter, age seven, came up to his desk and happily spelled epidemiology. She told him that she liked the way the word looked when she saw it on his pages and asked to know more about what it meant. I just know that teacher suggested that she ask her dad for more information. Continue reading “Teachers Helped My Daughter Become Who She Is Today”→