It’s a blizzard out there – and I’m not referring to this week’s return of the polar vortex! I’m referring to the astounding number of new eBooks, apps and websites now available for young children.
Experts estimate that there are hundreds of eBooks, story apps and learning games for children released every week. With such a deluge of digital content, it can be difficult to distinguish what is truly educational and developmentally appropriate.
Whether we're talking about preschool, elementary through secondary school, college, or even adult learners, I have serious objections to the idea that learning supposedly only comes via the eyes, the ears, and the seat of the pants. Schools -- and policymakers -- have for too long accepted the belief that learning best occurs while students are seated (and quiet, of course). The theory may have been understandable back when they didn't have the research to prove otherwise. But today we do.
There is on one way to make a classroom work best for students. We know they're individuals, and the "moving around part" would seem to offer great opportunities for engaging them with learning, not just sitting their passively.
A recent New York Times article points to a glaring inconsistency between the amount of “screen time” toddlers have using tablets, phones and computers – and the advice of many early years specialists.
In fact, there are several apps specifically developed for (and enjoyed by) two-year-olds and even one-year-olds, yet the official guidance from the American Paediatric Association states that:
“Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age two.”
So why is the age of two a milestone that matters?
A new study from the Pew Research Center found that more than two-thirds of Americans are actively engaged with public libraries. The report examines the relationship Americans have with their libraries and technology. Dusty, worn books versus sleek new computers, tablets or smartphones may seem like unlikely companions, but it’s really all about information. Continue reading →
These teachers see the internet and digital technologies such as social networking sites, cell phones and texting, generally facilitating teens’ personal expression and creativity, broadening the audience for their written material, and encouraging teens to write more often in more formats than may have been the case in prior generations. At the same time, they describe the unique challenges of teaching writing in the digital age, including the “creep” of informal style into formal writing assignments and the need to better educate students about issues such as plagiarism and fair use.
For the past 18 months, I’ve had the opportunity to edit a new book, “Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning.”
Its authors were inspired by the legacy of Fred Rogers and his approach to the technology of his day. As he wrote in 1994,
"No matter how helpful computers are as tools (and of course they can be very helpful tools), they don’t begin to compare in significance to the teacher-child relationship, which is human and mutual. A computer can help you learn to spell HUG, but it can never know the risk or the joy of actually giving or receiving one."
Like Fred, the authors consider what is best for the child’s development and learning. And like Fred they share a commitment to using technology as a tool to support relationships, social-emotional development, and prosocial behaviors.
From Babysitter to Teacher: Setup Your Kids' Tablets for Creative Learning Huffington Post Educators around the world are embracing mobile learning in what is considered a relentless and inevitable march towards the 'flipped' classroom.
"A group of Harvard researchers is teaming up with schools in Oakland, Calif. to explore how kids learn through making. Through an initiative called Project Zero, they’re investigating the theory that kids learn best when they’re actively engaged in designing and creating projects to explore concepts. It’s closely aligned with the idea of design thinking and the Maker Movement that’s quickly taking shape in progressive education circles.
Though it’s still in very early stages — just launched at the beginning of this school year — researchers and educators at the school want to know how kids learn by tinkering – fooling around with something until one understands how it works. They want to know what happens cognitively – how this learning process helps form habits of mind, builds character and how it affects the individual."
A survey of data shows a marked drop in teenagers reading for pleasure. Researchers are trying to figure out whether the explosion of e-reading and digital diversions is behind the decline.
Terry Doherty's insight:
"The digital revolution means there are more platforms than ever to read on. And yet, the number of American teens reading for pleasure has dropped dramatically. Researchers are asking if there's a link."