Spheros aren’t just fun; they are also an excellent teaching tool. Students have begun using them to learn everything from geometry to genetics. They can code them, too, to take a first step into computer programming. The toy’s infiltration of the classroom came about mostly by accident. Ian Bernstein and Adam Wilson, the inventors who came up with the Sphero, six years ago, were immersed in hacker culture, and they planned to disseminate portions of their code to anyone who wanted to improve on it or add to it. Eventually, they realized that if the app came with a simplified form of that code, kids would fiddle with it.
It was a fortuitous moment to create such a crossover product. The STEM movement—the effort to incorporate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into the classroom—was gaining in popularity. Educators avidly debated how to help kids transition from the analog world of early childhood to the digital world of adults. Many teachers foresaw a crisis: only sixteen per cent of high-school seniors contemplate a career in STEM fields, even though the number of STEM jobs is increasing rapidly. Sphero and similar toys like Lego Mindstorms—simple robots that you build and then code—have come to be seen as stops on the road to the well-salaried position of programmer.
"Students need to make, build, and tinker. The Global Day of Design is one-day that focuses on using the Design Thinking process in school. Our goal for the Global Day of Design is to inspire a transformation in schools around the world to incorporate design thinking into an everyday practice with our students from all levels, ages, and subjects."
"Google Cardboard is a virtual reality headset which immerses you in the video or picture so you can see a 360 degree view of an image or video. Put on the headset and you are instantly inside the media. Turn your head and look around to see in all directions."
“ Math teacher Laura Kretschmar gave students a rubric with specific goals around collaboration, communication and instructions to use various functions in the program, but not a lot else. She’s intentionally giving them a lot of freedom to play with the program, create cool designs and figure out what the functions do. “I think “y” means, like, going up,” says Juritzy Maldonado. “So to pull it up, I’m going to try to change the number.” She punches in 200 for “y” and watches the image she’s creating shift upward. Another group discovers that if they hit “repeat” multiple times, they can create a parachute-like design that they’ve figured out how to color in various ways. That wasn’t their original plan, but they’re running with it now.”
Via John Evans
Long gone are the days when it was frowned upon for students to pull out a phone or laptop in a classroom. In the US alone, according to a survey conducted in the last two months from digital education company TES Global, 84% of teachers at the K-12 level are using some form of technology in their lessons
“ Teaching kids to code offers a lot of challenges that you don’t run into when instructing adults. Kids don’t have a ton of real world experience, so a lot of analogies fly over their heads. Abstract thinking can take a lot more effort, so you need to keep things more concrete. Many kids have extremely short attention spans, especially in groups. And if there isn’t a cool payoff almost immediately, they are going to get bored and zone out. All the lecturing in the world won’t get the lesson into their heads at that point. When teaching children programming, the goal is to empower them to understand the everyday systems they already use, and to know they have the skill to pick this kind of stuff up, both now and later in life. Not everyone wants to do software development for a living, no matter how smart of a career choice it is, but programming is creeping more and more into other fields every day.”
Via John Evans
"From her years of teaching, [Mitzi] Stover knew that having students delve into their interests and personal experiences was one of the best ways to develop their passions — and in turn their public speaking. But presenting to the same classmates they saw every day was decidedly low-stakes and hardly helped her convince students they had a voice, let alone a global reach."That’s when she turned to TED, best known for a series of conferences centered around big ideas and engaging 15-minute presentations called TED Talks. Recently, TED has started an outreach of sorts to help mold the next generation of confident speakers, primarily through its education-focused arm — TED-ED — that features a lesson designer, original animated shorts inspired by teachers, and public speaking clubs."While teachers have been cribbing the TED format for years, letting students deliver fast-paced talks on big ideas, Stover took it a step further, applying to start an official TED-ED club, a process that involved an application and a live video interview. Stover has taught speaking for years, but even she came to dread the interview part with open-ended questions she couldn’t anticipate. “I try to push my students to take risks and get out there, but we teachers also have those moments of being intimidated,” she said."The interview went fine and Stover now runs TED-ED clubs in her two speech classes and an out-of-school club, where students meet during lunch or after school. The clubs give teachers like Stover access to a wealth of curricular materials, including 13 suggested lessons that cover everything from how to structure a talk to picking a good topic (although she can’t share lessons with colleagues unless they, too, complete the application process)."
If you are working in a classroom where your students have internet connected devices, either through wifi or their mobile phone, using a backchannel can have a transformative impact on the way you can use technology with your students.
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