Educational Psychology & Technology
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Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections - A Course for K-12 Teachers // Annenberg

Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections - A Course for K-12 Teachers // Annenberg | Educational Psychology & Technology |

"Insights drawn from neuroscience not only provide educators with a scientific basis for understanding some of the best practices in teaching, but also offer a new lens through which to look at the problems teachers grapple with every day. By gaining insights into how the brain works—and how students actually learn—teachers will be able to create their own solutions to the classroom challenges they face and improve their practice." 



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Educational Psychology & Technology
This curated collection includes news, resources, and research related to Educational Psychology and Technology. The page also serves as a research tool to organize online content. The grey funnel shaped icon at the top allows for searching by keyword. For research more specific to tech and screen time, please see: For additional Educator Resources, please visit [links to an external site].
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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us // Dan Pink, RSA Animate

"This lively RSAnimate, adapted from Dan Pink's talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace."

Mark Venters's comment, November 24, 2012 7:58 AM
A true paradigm shift in motivating people.
Sonia Thomas's curator insight, March 29, 2015 12:30 PM

Reducing control over employee work can lead to better outcomes

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Children Prefer To Read Books On Paper Rather Than On Screens // The Conversation

Children Prefer To Read Books On Paper Rather Than On Screens // The Conversation | Educational Psychology & Technology |

"There is a common perception that children are more likely to read if it is on a device such as an iPad or Kindles. But new research shows that this is not necessarily the case.


In a study of children in Year 4 and 6, those who had regular access to devices with eReading capability (such as Kindles, iPads and mobile phones) did not tend to use their devices for reading - and this was the case even when they were daily book readers. Research also found that the more devices a child had access to, the less they read in general.

It suggests that providing children with eReading devices can actually inhibit their reading, and that paper books are often still preferred by young people.


These findings match previous research which looked at how teenagers prefer to read. This research found that while some students enjoyed reading books on devices, the majority of students with access to these technologies did not use them regularly for this purpose. Importantly, the most avid book readers did not frequently read books on screens."...


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In Apple’s Backyard, iPads Ignite Furor In Schools // S. Noguchi, San Jose Mercury News

In Apple’s Backyard, iPads Ignite Furor In Schools // S. Noguchi, San Jose Mercury News | Educational Psychology & Technology |

"An experiment providing middle schoolers with iPads 24/7 has evolved into a bitter battle pitting educators against parents worried about unfettered access to the Web and addiction to video games."


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DARPA Uses Preteen Gamers to Beta Test Tomorrow's Military Software // MotherBoard 

DARPA Uses Preteen Gamers to Beta Test Tomorrow's Military Software // MotherBoard  | Educational Psychology & Technology |

By Jagger Gravning


"Sieg Hall doesn't look like much from the outside. Located at the University of Washington, the building was constructed in the 1960s, when it was  a focal point for Vietnam-era antiwar protests. Before renovations were carried out it had become so dilapidated that students had a tradition of taking home chunks of rock off its façade. If I didn't know better, Sieg is just another nondescript computer science building, not a front line in military research and development. 

But it's here, tucked away on the third floor, that you'll find precisely that: the Center for Game Science, a research lab that makes educational video games for children, and that received the bulk of its funding from the  Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the wing of the US Department of Defense that supports research into experimental military technology.


Why is DARPA the original primary funder of the CGS? According to written and recorded statements from current and former DARPA program managers, as well as other government documents, the DARPA-funded educational video games developed at the CGS have a purpose beyond the pretense of teaching elementary school children STEM skills. 


Instead, the games developed at CGS have had the primary purpose of using grade-school children as test subjects to develop and improve “adaptive learning” training technology for the military.


It's one node in a network of programs originally created with the intent to build better counterinsurgency simulations for American warfighters operating in countries occupied by US forces. In short, DARPA is militarizing academia"...


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Attention Students: Put Your Laptops Away // NPR

Attention Students: Put Your Laptops Away // NPR | Educational Psychology & Technology |

By James Doubek

"As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there's a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.

For one thing, research shows that laptops and tablets have a tendency to be distracting — it's so easy to click over to Facebook in that dull lecture. And a study has shown that the fact that you have to be slower when you take notes by hand is what makes it more useful in the long run.

In the study published in Psychological Science, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles sought to test how notetaking by hand or by computer affects learning.

"When people type their notes they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can," Mueller tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can't write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them."

Mueller and Oppenheimer cited that notetaking can be categorized two ways: generative and nongenerative. Generative notetaking pertains to "summarizing, paraphrasing, concept mapping," while nongenerative notetaking involves copying something verbatim.

And there are two hypotheses to why notetaking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, "the processing that occurs" will improve "learning and retention." The second, called the external-storage hypothesis, is that you learn by being able to look back at your notes, or even the notes of other people.

Because people can type faster than they write, using a laptop will make people more likely to try to transcribe everything they're hearing. So on the one hand, Mueller and Oppenheimer were faced with the question of whether the benefits of being able to look at your more complete, transcribed notes on a laptop outweighs the drawbacks of not processing that information. On the other hand, when writing longhand, you process the information better but have less to look back at.


For their first study, they took university students (the standard guinea pig of psychology) and showed them TED talks about various topics. Afterward, they found that the students who used laptops wrote significantly more words than those who took notes by hand. When testing how well the students remembered information, the researchers found a key point of divergence in the type of question. For questions that asked students to simply remember facts, like dates, both groups did equally well. But for "conceptual-application" questions, such as, "How do Japan and Sweden differ in their approaches to equality within their societies?" the laptop users did "significantly worse."

The same thing happened in the second study, even when they specifically told students using laptops to try to avoid writing things down verbatim. "Even when we told people they shouldn't be taking these verbatim notes, they were not able to overcome that instinct," Mueller says. The more words the students copied verbatim, the worse they performed on recall tests.

And to test the external-storage hypothesis, for the third study they gave students the opportunity to review their notes in between the lecture and test. The thinking is, if students have time to study their notes from their laptops, the fact that they wrote down more extensive notes than their longhand-writing peers could possibly help them perform better.

But the students taking notes by hand still performed better. "This is suggestive evidence that longhand notes may have superior external storage as well as superior encoding functions," Mueller and Oppenheimer write.

Do studies like these mean wise college students will start migrating back to notebooks?

"I think it is a hard sell to get people to go back to pen and paper," Mueller says. "But they are developing lots of technologies now like Livescribe and various stylus and tablet technologies that are getting better and better. And I think that will be sort of an easier sell to college students and people of that generation."...


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Parents Up In Arms Over Digital Math Program // Mountain View Voice 

Parents Up In Arms Over Digital Math Program // Mountain View Voice  | Educational Psychology & Technology |

By Kevin Forestrieri


"It sounds like a perfect fit for a school district based in the heart of Silicon Valley: a "smart" math curriculum -- administered almost entirely on computers -- that uses algorithms to tailor lessons to individual students. But for the Mountain View Whisman School District, taking a deep dive into so-called blended learning for math this school year has become a hotly contested decision, with more than a hundred parents calling for dismantling the program as soon as possible.


The program, called Teach to One, is an all-encompassing digital math platform with lessons, exercises and assessments designed to adjust to a student's performance. The company that created it, New Classrooms, touts the program as an "adapted personalized curriculum" that enables students who quickly master math concepts to go above and beyond without having to sit through remedial lessons, while struggling students have more time to catch up.


A 2014 study from Columbia University found some promising signs for the Teach to One model, noting that students performing well below the national average saw major improvements in the first two years of using the program, ultimately exceeding the national averages by roughly 47 percent by the end of the second year. After taking a field trip to Oakland schools to see the program in action last year, district officials agreed to pilot the program in sixth grade at both Graham and Crittenden middle schools for the 2016-17 school year.


Since the program's launch, however, parents at both schools have voiced major concerns that the curriculum is a haphazard mess, jumping between remedial math and overly challenging course content, and that the primary role of the math teacher has been relegated to managing the program rather than to providing direct instruction. Worse yet, some parents say their sixth-grade children have become frustrated and unhappy with math under Teach to One, and are turned off to the subject entirely because of the pilot program.


Under Teach to One, students use two of three teaching styles -- teacher instruction, group activities and independent work -- and end math class with what's called an "exit ticket," or daily quiz, to see how well they understood the day's lessons. The quiz results determine what lessons each student will get the next day. But when parents started reviewing daily lessons to see what their kids were learning, many were troubled by what they called incoherent, poorly constructed content.


On Dec. 7, 180 parents of fifth- and sixth-grade children -- most of them from Graham -- signed a letter calling on Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph and Assistant Superintendent Cathy Baur to discontinue Teach to One before spring, calling it a fundamentally flawed program that should not have been piloted on such a large scale in the first place. Among the criticisms, parents noted that the program's topics are taught in an incoherent order, and are riddled with mistakes and incorrect answers, illogical questions and link errors."... [Emphasis added]


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Updated Map of the Human Brain Hailed as a Scientific Tour de Force // The Guardian

Updated Map of the Human Brain Hailed as a Scientific Tour de Force // The Guardian | Educational Psychology & Technology |

"Researchers reveal that human brain has at least 180 different regions, confirming the existence of 83 known regions and adding 97 new ones"


"When the German neurologist Korbinian Brodmann first sliced and mapped the human brain more than a century ago he identified 50 distinct regions in the crinkly surface called the cerebral cortex that governs much of what makes us human.


Now researchers have updated the 100-year-old map in a scientific tour de force which reveals that the human brain has at least 180 different regions that are important for language, perception, consciousness, thought, attention and sensation.

The landmark achievement hands neuroscientists their most comprehensive map of the cortex so far, one that is expected to supersede Brodmann’s as the standard researchers use to talk about the various areas of the brain.

Scientists at Washington University in St Louis created the map by combining highly-detailed MRI scans from 210 healthy young adults who had agreed to take part in the Human Connectome Project, a massive effort that aims to understand how neurons in the brain are connected."...


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Connectivism: Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology // Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Batement, University of Georgia

Connectivism: Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology // Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Batement, University of Georgia | Educational Psychology & Technology |

"Just like anything else that involves human experience or interaction, the act of learning does not happen in a vacuum. It is at the intersection of prior knowledge, experience, perception, reality, comprehension, and flexibility that learning occurs. In years past, the traditional learning paradigms of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism have been the benchmarks against which the learning process has been measured. What happens, though, when you throw into the mix all the technological advancements that have come about over the last 40-50 years? These theories certainly do not become obsolete by any means, but they do need to be used in a very different way to be able to incorporate the attributes of a 21st century learning environment. In today’s technology-rich society, it has become increasingly important to learn how to learn. Vail put it simply by declaring that learning must be a way of being (1996)."... 

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Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, August 1, 2016 9:21 PM
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Isabellefr10's curator insight, August 2, 2016 1:29 PM
definition and principles

Rachel groff's curator insight, September 17, 2016 10:11 AM

Behaviorism plays a role in learning how to use technology today.  It must be altered slightly to help us adapt to the increasing changes.

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How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist //  The Startup,  Medium

How Technology Hijacks People's Minds - from a Magician and Google's Design Ethicist - The Startup - Medium
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they’ve been fooled.” — Unknown.


I’m an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities. That’s why I spent the last three years as a Design Ethicist at Google caring about how to design things in a way that defends a billion people’s minds from getting hijacked.

When using technology, we often focus optimistically on all the things it does for us. But I want to show you where it might do the opposite.

Where does technology exploit our minds’ weaknesses?

I learned to think this way when I was a magician. Magicians start by looking for blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception, so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it. Once you know how to push people’s buttons, you can play them like a piano.

And this is exactly what product designers do to your mind. They play your psychological vulnerabilities (consciously and unconsciously) against you in the race to grab your attention.

I want to show you how they do it.

Hijack #1: If You Control the Menu, You Control the Choices


Western Culture is built around ideals of individual choice and freedom. Millions of us fiercely defend our right to make “free” choices, while we ignore how those choices are manipulated upstream by menus we didn’t choose in the first place.


This is exactly what magicians do. They give people the illusion of free choice while architecting the menu so that they win, no matter what you choose. I can’t emphasize enough how deep this insight is."...

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Simply Psychology //

Simply Psychology // | Educational Psychology & Technology |

"Complete Guide to Psychology for Students, Educators & Enthusiasts. Find psychology articles, student resources and learn about the theories and perspectives that have shaped the discipline." 

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They'll Have to Rewrite the Textbooks // University of Virginia Today

They'll Have to Rewrite the Textbooks // University of Virginia Today | Educational Psychology & Technology |
Overturning decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. 

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Column: Hey Teachers, Please Stop Using Behavior Charts. Here's Why // PBS

Column: Hey Teachers, Please Stop Using Behavior Charts. Here's Why // PBS | Educational Psychology & Technology | 

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The Child Predator We Invite into Our Schools (DataMining) // by Steven Singer 

The Child Predator We Invite into Our Schools (DataMining) // by Steven Singer  | Educational Psychology & Technology | 

Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, September 21, 2016 5:19 AM
Data mining is an issue we should all follow and address.
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'Red Flags' to Look for When Evaluating Personalized Learning Products // EdWeek

'Red Flags' to Look for When Evaluating Personalized Learning Products // EdWeek | Educational Psychology & Technology |

"Personalized learning: Is it an educational imperative, a marketing strategy for an ed-tech product, or both?

Too often, teachers and administrators say, they find that personalized learning is used by companies as mere buzzwords to promote a run-of-the-mill digital tool.

"In the marketing literature, this term is overused," said Devin Vodicka, the superintendent of the Vista, Calif., school district. "Many products that someone claims are personalized are actually just a series of digital worksheets."

But educators are finding ways to sort the real personalized potential from the empty promises of some ed-tech products.

For instance, Vista uses its own Personal Learning Pathway framework to evaluate products, said Vodicka.


Some of the key questions educators in his district ask:

• Is this product based on a student profile?

• Is there an integrated technology component that includes two-way communication?

• Does the product include student choice and pathways?

• How does it fit with the learning environment, and more broadly, is it connected with real-world opportunities?

• Does it use a competency-based model, in which students move at their own pace as they master academic content?

Last month, Vista hosted 42 superintendents from across the country, who discussed that and other approaches as part of an ongoing cohort studying personalized learning through AASA, The Superintendent's Association.

The most important starting point to vet a product, for Barton Dassinger, the principal of Chavez Elementary in Chicago, is this query: Does this product improve student learning better than the alternative to using it? And does the company generate reports in such a way to allow for an analysis that will answer that question?


The starting points of "what is our need?" and "what is our goal?" are important for Théa Williams, who is both a technology teacher for pre-K-5 and the technology coordinator for Brooklyn Arbor Elementary School in New York City. As an iZone pilot-team leader through the city's department of education, she said she has learned to move beyond the catchphrases for products to identify the data needed.


Red flags about the "personalized learning" label abound, according to Amy Nowell, the director of research for LEAP Innovations, a Chicago-based nonprofit that works to build educational innovations by connecting schools and businesses. From her experience testing ed-tech products with evidence-based research methods, Nowell, and other experts have identified several red flags educators should watch for:

Questionable Student Agency

This is a fundamental element of personalization. Can the students take ownership of their own learning by setting their own goals? Can they track their own progress?   Nowell recommends that teachers "test drive" products as though they are students and make sure they understand what the data mean.

For instance, if students aim to learn a particular unit within a specified period of time, and the product provides feedback that "you have only completed one activity" in that time frame, what, she asked, does that mean to a student trying to complete and comprehend the full unit?

Inadequate Content

By definition, personalized learning allows students to move at their own pace through material. "There's never a classroom where every student is average," said Nowell. "We've had a number of teachers who were really disappointed when they dug in, and two months into the year, their brighter kids are looking for material that wasn't there."

While ed-tech products can often be retrofitted to accommodate material for advanced or struggling students, that's often a "clunky" solution, she said. A digital resource with "only 130 lessons" is unlikely to have enough content to go up or down two grade levels.

Useless Data

Products for personalized learning generally produce a lot of data. Williams recommends educators first ask: "How do I make sense of this data?"

In theory, experts say a data dashboard should help students and teachers understand what the metrics are, how a certain metric was arrived at, and what it means for student learning. But that is not always the case.

For example, one product reported to teachers the percent of total lessons each student completed in the 4th grade curriculum. "Johnny has completed 4 percent of the lessons has no actual meaning to anybody," Nowell said. "It's not tied to what students are learning. It's not tied to learning standards or mastery of content. Johnny could have clicked through, 'completed' them, and gotten them all wrong."

Lacking Recommendations

"I need the data to help make instructional decisions," said Williams.

The problem is that automating the process of using data to inform educators' decisionmaking is still largely an unmet need. "I don't feel personalized ed-tech products have mastered that yet," she said. "I'd like to see more automation, providing data to teachers to make instructional interventions in the learning path."

Poorly Aligned Assessments

Generally, the embedded assessment questions in personalized-learning products have had no external validation, Nowell said. When piloting their products, companies want to know what assessments students will take, whether it's from one of the common-core-aligned testing consortia or another well-known test. But because educational technology generally doesn't have the resources for rigorous assessment design and validation, the assessment data that are generated from the trials might not align with the tests that eventually will be given to students, she said.


Classroom-Integration Problems

A company should be able to inform teachers how to best integrate their products into the classroom structure. Does the product work best in classrooms where groups of students rotate from one station to another, while the teacher instructs another small group? Can students work on it together, or solo?

"We've had teachers who started with the station-rotation model but had to revert to the typical classroom model," said Nowell, "and it was really about the way the technology was set up, not about the kids not being mature enough to work that way."

Another question is, "Who assigns the next piece of content? The teacher or the software?" Teachers want both options, she said.

Little Evidence It Works

Nowell cautions teachers not to put too much stock in testimonials from other users of a product, five-star ratings on websites, or anecdotes about how a product is used. "Press companies for hard data about documented outcomes," she advised.

"Ask them for any studies done on how well their products impact student outcomes," she said. For instance, companies should be able to provide empirical data on product effectiveness as it relates to student achievement. "Even case studies, if done well and based on a similar context to your classroom, can provide a powerful indication of how a product could potentially work for you."

Measures of student learning can include nationally standardized test scores, as well as more timely measures of student engagement and motivation for learning, she added.

Lacking the Personal Perspective

Personalized learning means taking each child's uniqueness into account.

"There are all these factors you have to consider: culture, family background, interests, learning strengths, social-emotional development. We could go on and on," said Williams, of Brooklyn Arbor in New York. "We're talking about a human being."


Teachers would like to see products that provide them with more in-depth insights into their students. Williams said she sees educators' excitement about the prospect of personalization. But personalized-learning experts generally agree that most ed-tech products are not geared toward students' individual backgrounds and interests.

"When they do find products that really work for them, and respond to how students answer questions then make adjustments accordingly, teachers can be so much more effective," she said. "Then they can do the things that the personalized learning tool can't do and focus their time and energy on that."...


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American Academy of Pediatrics Issues New Recommendations On #ScreenTime and Exposure to Cell Phones // EduResearcher

American Academy of Pediatrics Issues New Recommendations On #ScreenTime and Exposure to Cell Phones // EduResearcher | Educational Psychology & Technology |

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently issued two new sets of recommendations on media use for children.  At first glance, popular news headlines suggest elimination of the previous “no screens before age two” recommendations (see NPR’s American Academy of Pediatrics Lifts ‘No Screens Under 2’ Rule and KQED’s American Academy of Pediatrics Says Some Screen Time is Okay for Kids Under Two). However, close examination of the new guidelines reveal nuanced suggestions that maintain a primary focus on limiting tech usage. What appear to be obscured in public discussions are the same AAP organization’s recommendations issued just months earlier, specifically encouraging parents to reduce children’s exposures to cell phone radiation.

For ease of access, both sets of recommendations are provided in this post. American Academy of Pediatrics Issues New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use

“Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers
Media in all forms, including TV, computers, and smartphones can affect how children feel, learn, think, and behave. However, parents (you) are still the most important influence.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages you to help your children develop healthy media use habits early on. Read on to learn more.”…

“What About Apps and Digital Books?

Most apps advertised as “educational” aren’t proven to be effective and they don’t encourage co-viewing or co-play that help young children learn. Also, most educational apps target rote skills, such as ABCs and shapes. These skills are only one part of school readiness. The skills young children need to learn for success in school (and life) such as impulse control, managing emotions, and creative, flexible thinking, are best learned through unstructured and social play with family and friends in the real world.

Digital books (“eBooks”) that have lots of sound and visual effects can sometimes distract children, who then “miss the story” and don’t learn as well as they would from a print book.

If you plan to read e-books to your children:

  • Choose e-books that don’t have too many “bells and whistles.”
  • Read e-books with your children (parent-child interaction around books is one of the most important factors to a child’s success at reading and literacy).

Why Limit Media Use?
Overuse of digital media may place your child at risk of:

  • Not enough sleep. Young children with more media exposure or who have a TV,computer, or mobile device in their bedrooms sleep less and fall asleep later at night. Even babies can be overstimulated by screens and miss the sleep they need to grow.
  • Delays in learning and social skills. Children who watch too much TV in infancy and preschool years can show delays in attention, thinking, language, and social skills. One of the reasons for the delays could be because they interact less with parents and family. Parents who keep the TV on or focus on their own digital media miss precious opportunities to interact with their children and help them learn. See Parents of Young Children: Put Down Your Smartphones.
  • Obesity. Heavy media use during preschool years is linked to weight gain and risk of childhood obesity. Food advertising and snacking while watching TV can promote obesity. Also, children who overuse media are less apt to be active with healthy, physical play.
  • Behavior problems. Violent content on TV and screens can contribute to behavior problems in children, either because they are scared and confused by what they see, or they try to mimic on-screen characters.

Other Tips for Parents, Families, and Caregivers

  • Do not feel pressured to introduce technology early. Media interfaces are intuitive and children can learn quickly.
  • Monitor children’s media. For example, know what apps are used or downloaded.Test apps before your child uses them, play together, and ask your child what he or she thinks about the app.
  • Turn off TVs and other devices when not in use. Background media can distract from parent-child interaction and child play, which are both very important in child language and social-emotional development.
  • Keep bedrooms, mealtimes, and parent-child playtimes screen free and unplugged for children and parents. Turn off phones or set to “do not disturb”during these times.
  • Avoid exposure to devices or screens 1 hour before bedtime. Remove devices from bedrooms before bed.
  • Avoid using media as the only way to calm your children. Although media maybe used to soothe children, such as during a medical procedure or airplane flight,using media as a strategy to calm could lead to problems with a child’s own ability with limit setting and managing emotions. Ask your child’s doctor for help if needed.
  • Develop a Family Media Use plan for you and your family.
  • Remember that your opinion counts. TV, video-game, and other media producers, and sponsors pay attention to the views of the public. Let a TV station know if you like a program, or contact video game companies if the content is too violent. For more information, visit the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) website.
  • Encourage your school and community to advocate for better media programs and for healthier habits. For example, organize a “Screen-Free Week” in your town with other parents, teachers, and neighbors.

Additional Information from (American Academy of Pediatrics)

The related recommendations below on cell phone use were issued by the same American Academy of Pediatrics, yet appear to be receiving much less media attention.  American Academy of Pediatrics Issues New Recommendations to “Reduce Exposure to Cell Phones”: Nation’s largest group of children’s doctors responds to new government study linking cell phone radiation to cancer.

“In response to the U.S. National Toxicology Program study results finding exposure to wireless radiation significantly increased the prevalence of highly malignant heart and brain cancers in rodents, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued specific recommendations to reduce wireless cell phone exposure and updated their online resources for parents concerning cell phones and wireless devices.

“They’re not toys. They have radiation that is emitted from them and the more we can keep it off the body and use (the phone) in other ways, it will be safer,” said Jennifer A. Lowry, M.D., FAACT, FAAP, chair of the AAP Council on Environmental Health Executive Committee in the AAPs press release on the NTP Study Results.

“The findings of brain tumors (gliomas) and malignant schwann cell tumors of the heart in the NTP study, as well as DNA damage in brain cells, present a major public health concern because these occurred in the same types of cells that have been reported to develop into tumors in epidemiological studies of adult cell phone users,” stated Ronald L. Melnick, PhD, the National Institutes of Health toxicologist who lead the NTP study design and senior advisor to the Environmental Health Trust. “For children the cancer risks may be greater than that for adults because of greater penetration and absorption of cell phone radiation in the brains of children and because the developing nervous system of children is more susceptible to tissue-damaging agents. Based on this new information, regulatory agencies need to make strong recommendations for consumers to take precautionary measures and avoid close contact with their cell phones, and especially limit or avoid use of cell phones by children.”

The AAP has updated their Healthy Children Webpage on Cell Phones entitled Cell Phone Radiation & Children’s Health: What Parents Need to Know. The webpage reiterated children’s unique vulnerability to cell phone radiation stating, “Another problem is that the cell phone radiation test used by the FCC is based on the devices’ possible effect on large adults—not children. Children’s skulls are thinner and can absorb more radiation.”

The AAP issued the following cell phone safety tips specifically to reduce exposure to wireless radiation:

  • “Use text messaging when possible, and use cell phones in speaker mode or with the use of hands-free kits.
  • When talking on the cell phone, try holding it an inch or more away from your head.
  • Make only short or essential calls on cell phones.
  • Avoid carrying your phone against the body like in a pocket, sock, or bra. Cell phone manufacturers can’t guarantee that the amount of radiation you’re absorbing will be at a safe level.
  • Do not talk on the phone or text while driving. This increases the risk of automobile crashes.
  • Exercise caution when using a phone or texting while walking or performing other activities. “Distracted walking” injuries are also on the rise.
  • If you plan to watch a movie on your device, download it first, then switch to airplane mode while you watch in order to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
  • Keep an eye on your signal strength (i.e. how many bars you have). The weaker your cell signal, the harder your phone has to work and the more radiation it gives off. It’s better to wait until you have a stronger signal before using your device.
  • Avoid making calls in cars, elevators, trains, and buses. The cell phone works harder to get a signal through metal, so the power level increases.
  • Remember that cell phones are not toys or teething items.

Even though the cell phone manual contains specific instructions that say do not carry the phone next to the body, the US government does not publicize this information nor mandate companies inform the public, leaving most people unaware of potential hazards, unwittingly allowing their young children to play with them like toys,” stated Devra Davis MPH, PhD, president of the Environmental Health Trust pointing to the Berkeley Cell Phone Right To Know Ordinance being challenged in court this month.

In 2012, the AAP published Pediatric Environmental Health, 3rd Edition recommending, “exposures can be reduced by encouraging children to use text messaging when possible, make only short and essential calls on cellular phones, use hands free kits and wired headsets and maintain the cellular phone an inch or more away from the head.”

Since 2012, the AAP has supported the Federal Cell Phone Right to Know Legislation and has written letters to the FCC calling on the federal government to review and strengthen radiation standards for wireless devices in an effort to protect children’s health.

AAP Healthy Cell Phone Radiation & Children’s Health: What Parents Need to Know

AAP responds to study showing link between cell phone radiation, tumors in rats May 27, 2016

2012 AAP Letter in Support of the Cell Phone Right to Know Act

2013 AAP Letter to the FCC calling for a review of RF guidelines



For readers interested in additional updates and research on screen time, development, learning, and health, see here.



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Cupertino Union School District Ipad Petition 


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Who Are You, Really? The Puzzle of Personality // Dr. Brian Little 

Who Are You, Really? The Puzzle of Personality // Dr. Brian Little  | Educational Psychology & Technology |

Cambridge research professor Brian Little analyzes and redefines the threads of our personalities — and suggests ways we can transform ourselves.


"What makes you, you? Psychologists like to talk about our traits, or defined characteristics that make us who we are. But Brian Little is more interested in moments when we transcend those traits -- sometimes because our culture demands it of us, and sometimes because we demand it of ourselves. Join Little as he dissects the surprising differences between introverts and extroverts and explains why your personality may be more malleable than you think."


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How Companies Learn What Children Secretly Want // The Conversation

How Companies Learn What Children Secretly Want // The Conversation | Educational Psychology & Technology |

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"If you have children, you are likely to worry about their safety – you show them safe places in your neighborhood and you teach them to watch out for lurking dangers.  But you may not be aware of some online dangers to which they are exposed through their schools.


There is a good chance that people and organizations you don’t know are collecting information about them while they are doing their schoolwork. And they may be using this information for purposes that you know nothing about.


In the U.S. and around the world, millions of digital data points are collected daily from children by private companies that provide educational technologies to teachers and schools. Once data are collected, there is little in law or policy that prevents companies from using the information for almost any purpose they wish.


Our research explores how corporate entities use their involvement with schools to gather and use data about students. We find that often these companies use the data they collect to market products, such as junk food, to children.


Here’s how student data are being collected


Almost all U.S. middle and high school students use mobile devices. A third of such devices are issued by their schools. Even when using their own devices for their schoolwork, students are being encouraged to use applications and software, such as those with which they can create multimedia presentations, do research, learn to type or communicate with each other and with their teachers.


When children work on their assignments, unknown to them, the software and sites they use are busy collecting data.


For example, “Adaptive learning” technologies record students' keystrokes, answers and response times. On-line surveys collect information about students' personalities. Communication software stores the communications between students, parents and teachers; and presentation software stores students' work and their communications about it.


In addition, teachers and schools may direct children to work on branded apps or websites that may collect, or allow third parties to collect, IP addresses and other information from students. This could include the ads children click on, what they download, what games they play, and so on.

How student data are used

When “screen time” is required for school, parents cannot limit or control it. Companies use this time to find out more about children’s preferences, so they they can target children with advertising and other content with a personalized appeal.


Children might see ads while they are working in educational apps. In other cases, data might be collected while students complete their assignments. Information might also be stored and used to better target them later.

For instance, a website might allow a third party to collect information, including the type of browser used, the time and date, and the subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over by a child. The third party could then use that information to target the child with advertisements later.


We have found that companies use the data to serve ads (for food, clothing, games, etc.) to the children via their computers. This repeated, personalized advertising is designed specifically to manipulate children to want and buy more things.


Indeed, over time this kind of advertising can threaten children’s physical and psychological well-being.


Consequences of targeted advertising

Food is the most heavily advertised class of products to children. The heavy digital promotion of “junk” food is associated with negative health outcomes such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Additionally, advertising, regardless of the particular product it may sell, also “sells” to children the idea that products can make them happy.


Research shows that children who buy into this materialist worldview are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and other psychological distress.

Teenagers who adopt this worldview are more likely to smoke, drink and skip school. One set of studies showed that advertising makes children feel far from their ideals for themselves in terms of how good a life they lead and what their bodies look like.


The insecurity and dissatisfaction may lead to negative behaviors such as compulsive buying and disordered eating.


Aren’t there laws to protect children’s privacy?


Many bills bearing on student privacy have been introduced in the past several years in Congress and state legislatures. Several of them have been enacted into laws.


Additionally, nearly 300 software companies signed a self-regulatory Student Privacy Pledge to safeguard student privacy regarding the collection, maintenance and use of student personal information. However, they aren’t sufficient. And here’s why:


First of all, most laws, including the Student Privacy Pledge, focus on Personally Identifiable Information (PII). PII includes information that can be used to determine a person’s identity, such as that person’s name, social security number or biometric information.

Companies can address privacy concerns by making digital data anonymous (i.e., not including PII in the data that are collected, stored or shared). However, data can easily be “de-anonymized.” And, children don’t need to be identified with PII in order for their online behavior to be tracked.


Second, bills designed to protect student privacy sometimes expressly preserve the ability of an operator to use student information for adaptive or personalized learning purposes. In order to personalize the assignments that a program gives a student, it must by necessity track that student’s behavior.


This weakens the privacy protections the bills otherwise offer. Although it protects companies that collect data for adaptive learning purposes only, it also provides a loophole that enables data collection.

Finally, the Student Privacy Pledge has no real enforcement mechanism. As it is a voluntary pledge, many companies may scrupulously abide by the promises in the pledge, but many others may not."...


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Multi-Tasking and How Split Attention Impairs Learning 

Multi-Tasking and How Split Attention Impairs Learning  | Educational Psychology & Technology | 

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From Mozart To Mr. Rogers: Literacy, Music And The Brain // Booker & Kamenetz, NPR 

From Mozart To Mr. Rogers: Literacy, Music And The Brain // Booker & Kamenetz, NPR  | Educational Psychology & Technology |

By Cory Booker and Anya Kamenetz [Image credit: LA Johnson/NPR]

"Welcome to our sand box.

For months now, the NPR Ed Team has been playing with what we like to call "long listen" ideas — worthy stories that we can't tell in three or four minutes.

Some ideas don't hold up. The ones that do make it here, including this little adventure to a one-room schoolhouse in the Colombian Andes and this strange tale of two men, separated by an ocean and united by a stolen laptop.

For this week's long listen, I sat down with my Ed Team co-conspirator, Anya Kamenetz, to talk about one of my favorite subjects: brains. Specifically, how children learn to read and what can be done to help struggling readers.

It turns out, two of my all-time favorite literacy stories (at least from the past two years) began with the work of one researcher: Northwestern University neurobiologist Nina Kraus.

First, Kraus found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn't just get better at playing the trombone or violin; playing music also helped their brains process language. Consonants and vowels became clearer, allowing the brain to make sense of them more quickly."...


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Competence-based education and educational effectiveness: A critical review of the research literature on outcome-oriented policy making in education // Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna Austria

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Daniel Willingham: The False Promise of Tech in Schools

Daniel Willingham: The False Promise of Tech in Schools | Educational Psychology & Technology |

By Daniel Willingham
"It’s time to admit we don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to educational technology.


We’ve already had one round of chagrined admissions. About 10 years ago, the common practice was buying hardware and dropping it into schools: Every student got a laptop, perhaps, or every classroom got a computer-driven whiteboard. Policymakers finally realized that such purchases don’t boost student achievement or create a new generation of programmers.


Better planning is now more common, but it’s time for chagrined admission 2.0.


The problem is that tech purchasing decisions are usually not much better informed than your decision about whether or not to buy a smartwatch. History shows that perfectly sensible intuitions about how devices ought to work in classrooms often prove wrong.


Consider Amazon’s recent $30 million contract to sell e-books to New York City schools over a three-year period.  Reading on a screen would seem to be little different than reading on paper. Maybe even better: They can integrate video and audio, for example, and content can be updated easily. But in study after study, reading comprehension is actually a little worse on screens. That’s why even younger readers with lots of screen-based experience say they prefer paper."...


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Study Finds Adaptive Learning Education Software Often Doesn't Help Students Learn More // The Hechinger Report

Study Finds Adaptive Learning Education Software Often Doesn't Help Students Learn More // The Hechinger Report | Educational Psychology & Technology |

By Jill Barshay

"Even proponents of educational technology admit that a lot of software sold to schools isn’t very good. But they often highlight the promise of so-called “adaptive learning” software, in which complex algorithms react to how a student answers questions, and tailor instruction to each student. The computer recommends different lessons to different students, based upon what they already know and what they still need to work on.

Wonderful in theory, but does it work in practice?

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sought to find out, and gave money to 14 colleges and universities to test some of the most popular  “adaptive learning” software in the marketplace, including products from a Pearson-Knewton joint venture, from a unit of McGraw-Hill Education called ALEKS and from the Open Learning Initiative. Most of the universities combined the software with human instruction, but a few courses were delivered entirely online. Almost 20,000 college students and 300 instructors participated in the experiment over the course of three terms between 2013 and 2015. It’s probably the largest and most rigorous study of adaptive learning to date. Then Gates hired SRI International, a nonprofit research institute, to analyze the data. (The Gates Foundation is among the funders of the  Hechinger Report.) This story also appeared in U.S. News & World Report.


What SRI found was sobering. In most cases, students didn’t get higher grades from using adaptive-learning software, nor were they more likely to pass a course than in a traditional face-to-face class. In some courses the researchers found that students were learning more from adaptive-learning software, but even in those cases, the positive impact tended to be “modest”. The report is here.


“I wouldn’t characterize our report as cynical, just cautious,” said Barbara Means, director of the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International and one of three authors of the report."...


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The MOOCing Machine // CogDogBlog


"From Sydney Pressey to MOOCs to Teaching Machines.
The video from Sydney Pressey's Teaching "Machines" (1964) remixed with audio from Anant Agarwal's "Why Massively Open Online Courses (Still) Matter (2014)
Inspired by Audrey Watters "The Automatic Teacher" (2015) 


Read about the Making of this un-epic"



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Popularity of Ed Tech Not Necessarily Linked to Products' Impact // EdWeek

Popularity of Ed Tech Not Necessarily Linked to Products' Impact // EdWeek | Educational Psychology & Technology |

"Digital learning tools that fit well within existing classrooms and don't disrupt the educational status quo tend to be the most widely adopted, despite their limited impact on student learning, an analysis of ed-tech products designed for higher education concludes.


Experts say that pattern is also reflected in K-12, raising tough questions about whether many ed-tech vendors' emphasis on quickly bringing their products to scale is actually hampering the larger goal of improving schools.


"There is a lot of research showing that more comprehensive technology interventions tend to have more positive results in both sectors," said Barbara Means, the director of the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International, the nonprofit research center that conducted the new analysis. "To create an education technology tool that can have an impact, but also be adopted in many classrooms, requires thinking about supports for teachers, resources for instruction, and rethinking the way time is used within schools."

Those conclusions are drawn from a fresh analysis of data SRI gleaned while evaluating the effectiveness and growth curves of 29 digital learning tools funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2010. The products included complete online courses, peer-support platforms, and predictive analytics tools. Most had no statistically significant impact on student outcomes. But the number of users that each product attracted varied widely, from as few as 181 to as many as 130,000.


The SRI researchers found some evidence that when it comes to ed tech, effectiveness and scale may actually be inversely related: The more effective the tool, the smaller the scale at which it was adopted, and vice versa.


They also identified three common factors among those products that scaled most rapidly: a promise of cost savings for schools, no requirements for face-to-face training, and an ability to be easily integrated into existing teaching and learning practices.


Those traits reflect the dominant Silicon Valley business approach of seeking to quickly gain as many users as possible—a strategy that Means described as particularly ill-suited for schools."...


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Future Ready Schools: What Silicon Valley Has Planned for Public Eduction // Wrench In The Gears

Version above is adapted slightly from original at To download, visit link or click title above. 


For full video of Alison McDowell's talk from March 25th in Seattle, Washington accompanying these slides, see here: 


For Wrench In the Gears blog, see 

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