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The Power of Screen Time! Reading, Writing, & Devices

The next session I’m attending is “The Power of Screen Time! Reading, Writing, & Devices” by Beth Holland. I’m excited for this presentation because I helped Beth edit and revise her Edutopia piece, “The 4Ss of Notetaking with Technology.”

There is a common theme in research, articles, and newspapers on “devices” being bad for “x activity.” However, as Beth says, it’s not the device! It’s what we or are students are doing. She also said that we’re not going to talk about “going paperless” because, as Shawn McCusker says, “Paperless is a bureaucratic preference, not a learning objective!” This is how we justify costs to our bureaucrats.

Beth now tells us her story (telling your story is a theme today). When she was a college student, she was trying to write a paper on a Mac. Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.41.26 AMHowever, the Mac wasn’t cooperating with her and she wasn’t getting her assignment done. However, in the bathroom, she came across a roll of paper towels. She then rolled it out and used it to write out her work. It was the right tool for her at the right time.

So the technology that she had to build her project (paper towels and markers), but had to complete the process in the Mac. The moral behind this is that we are not going to put our technology on a pedestal. So many people claim that the tools are “interactive,” but it’s really electronic whac-a-mole. It has no objective.

Beth says that we need to focus on process vs. product. She shows us a clip from the film Finding Forrester

So what part of that scene was writing? The punching of the keys or the process of getting content out of your brain and onto the paper.

Start thinking about the process of writing! Let’s start with

Writing 1.0

Students organize and draft on paper, submit it to the teacher, the teacher annotates the paper, then students get it back and may or may not keep that paper. This is a straight forward and one dimensional process.

Writing 2.0

Writing went digital! Students can draft digitally. You can even draft in a non-linear pattern, using mind-mapping tools, create a storyboard, etc. Students and teachers can collaborate and incorporate tools. You can use multimodal feedback (audio, video, etc). The final product can even be shared or published!

Writing 3.0

Now we have a mobile devices. Beth asks us, who writes on their smart phone? The small screen is problematic as we have to slow down. However, we have this everywhere. Students can organize and draft (using multi-model tools) from anywhere. Students and teachers can then collaborate and incorporate multimodal feedback across devices. The final product can be shared, published, or modified. Beth likes to use Penultimate to draft both physically and electronically. She then shares it with Evernote and then puts it in Google Drive to share and collaborate (sometimes with me).

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.49.30 AMIn addition to typing, she can talk into the device. For students with learning differences, you can speak into the tool. This is also a great way to get students to think about formation of words and sentences; like with formal poetry.

Because students all have devices, we have a ubiquitous opportunity of screens. We can see what our students are doing outside of the classroom. It doesn’t matter what the tool is, it’s that we’re starting to bring up this opportunity.

Beth now references this famous New York Times Piece, “Is E-Reading to your toddler story time, or simply screen time?” They argued:

“Parents and children using an electronic device spent more time focusing on the device itself than on the story.”

What does this mean about impact on childhood literacy? Beth argues that when we’re talking about eReading, we need to look at the behavior of reading. So “what could reading look like?” In the New York Times, what they argued was that the value of reading should look like this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.54.53 AMSo if we’re looking at multi-media eBooks, the issue isn’t the device, it’s the behavior. Perhaps not look at multi-media eBooks as a “book” but as something else. Students can read a text on a digitized device. So think about how students are reading, not the device. Start to bring together the digital and the analogue.

Beth now highlights TodaysMeet, a tool for backchanneling. This a tool that allows students to collaborate behind the scenes. In a class where students were reading about the Holocaust, the teacher asked students write down questions as they popped up in the reading on the Today’s Meet.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.58.18 AM

By setting up the Today’s Meet, he got input from students who were normally silent during class. He gave students a voice, even in a quiet room. Using the screen in a meaningful and powerful way. These tools can give students a voice and extend the experience to outside of the classroom. These are not possible without paper.

Asymmetric Impact

When thinking about screens and process, realize that it’s not the same thing with every person and every child. Start thinking about different students and their individual needs. You may have a student that needs to look up every word in a story. With a built in dictionary, you can “tap Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.05.24 AMand know” (Shawn McCusker). You can even manage dictionaries. On a web browser, you can clean up the view and remove the ads or increase the font size. You can also “find” on the screen to look up the information that you’re looking for on a page. So if you want the population of Liberia in 2010, you can go to the website and search using “find” for the population. This allows students to focus their reading. Students can even look up words in context. Technology allows for differentiation at a higher level. Anything that is text can be heard by students. This is a great way to improve learning outcomes for younger students that are struggling with literacy.

Pen or Keyboard?

There was a prominent article called “The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard.” After having students listen to a lecture-based class and take notes via hand and keyboard. After the lecture, students took a test and they found that those with handwritten notes did better. However, they did not do an assessment later. What would have happened if students were assessed at a later date? Is it the keyboard’s fault or another example of the right tool for the write task? This is similar to the debate over quill pens and ink pens.

Beth highlights the fact that we have a lot of choice and variety. The reality is that it depends on the student, learning style, and task. Beth references her article in Edutopia (link at the top). Digitized notes allow you to save, archive, curate, and reference it easily later (via search tools). How often have we had a student put their English notes in their Science notebook? If that student could search his notes would that help him? Would that facilitate that asymmetric impact? We need to empower our learners. Can you save, search, and share your work?

Beth finishes up with the point that we need to find balance with using screens. There is a book called Screen Time by Lisa Guernsey. She argues that it’s about balance. Do we want kids watching 5 hours of Scoobie Doo every day? Probably not. However, it’s balance. The questions you should ask are: is it appropriate, meaningful, and empowering?

 

 

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Why the Facebook Messenger app is not the privacy nightmare people think it is

Jennifer Carey:

There’s a lot of hysteria going around, ironically on Facebook, about it’s new messenger app. Here’s some sober information.

Originally posted on Naked Security:

Facebook MessengerThere’s good reason to be skeptical of Facebook when it comes to privacy, but the Facebook Messenger app isn’t the privacy nightmare that some people think it is.

Facebook is gradually forcing users of its mobile app to download the Facebook Messenger app to their smartphones and tablets in order to continue using the chat feature.

This move has led to a backlash against the social media giant, and it’s not just because Messenger is a separate app that takes up a lot of extra device memory.

Messenger offers much more than the traditional chat available on Facebook.com, including the ability to place calls, send videos, and send messages from the home screen without opening the app.

Although the Messenger app is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry, the main source of user angst comes from the lengthy list of app permissions you have to approve before you can download the…

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Educators to Follow on Twitter this Year!

It’s already time to set up your classes and start planning lessons. If you are looking for some good ideas, check out these great teachers on Twitter! This list is by no means exhaustive. Just some great educators that inspire me every day!

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@Sarahdateechur – Sarah Thomas serves as a teacher and technology liaison at the John Hanson French Immersion School in Maryland.

@JediKermit – Quinn Rollins is a Social Studies teacher in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a brilliant LEGO enthusiast!

@KVroomEDU – Kelsey is the Director of Educational Technology at the Urban School in San Francisco, California. She is an emerging ISTE Leader and a superstar in the Independent School World.

@DigitalTeacher – Cheryl Davis regularly posts tools related to Apple and Google.

@iamDrWill – Will Deyamport wrote his dissertation on using Twitter for Professional Development! So, he is the literal expert on the topic!

@DevorahHeitner – Devorah is one of the best resources out there on Digital Citizenship and navigating a world of Digital Natives.

@DrTonyWagner – Wagner’s groundbreaking work “Creating Innovators” has been the talk of education. He regularly tweets out articles and thoughts on “breaking” education.

@TheTechRabbi – Talk about an avid online learner. The Tech Rabbi is one of the few educators I know who devours technology literature faster than I do!

@AmyBurvall – Amy is a History Teacher and maker of creative music videos.

@THEJLV – Jose Vilson is a math teacher and education advocate. His posts have made me think more about disparity in education than any other.

@TomWhitby – Tom is a veteran teacher of more than 34 years and regular contributor to Edutopia as well as founder of #edchat.

@iPadWells – I met Richard Wells at an iPad Summit. His work in New Zealand with iPads and Social Media is inspiring!

@ShawnMcCusker – A Social Studies Teacher and Tech Director in Illinois, you will learn something new form Shawn every day!

@MossPike – Moss Pike is an inspiration education technology enthusiast. You will learn about tablets, google, MOOCs, social media, and more on his posts!

Courtesy: mediabistro.com

Social Media & The Quest For Connection

Jennifer Carey:

Some great reflections on the role of social media in education.

Originally posted on The Tech Rabbi:

Courtesy: mediabistro.com

Courtesy: mediabistro.com

Humankind loves information. Its the strongest stimulant in the world, 100% legal, and has no known cure for addiction. Since the dawn of civilization we have been on a quest fill the capacity of our mind, yet science finds that even the things we “forget” don’t actually leave our brain. (Article)

Fast forward a few millennia and in comes the industrial revolution, where humanity is rocketed forward in  productivity and efficiency. These innovative breakthroughs left the world with a lot of time to think. This thinking developed into structured pursuits of learning, notability the Industrialization of Education. (You can watch an amazing video about this from Ken Robinson who is not only more qualified to talk about the subject, but more witty as well.)

Fast forward to the 21st century, and we see that technology has once again revolutionized our lives. Twenty years ago you graduated high…

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MappingWorlds and looking at the world differently

Jennifer Carey:

What a cool resource!!

Originally posted on History Tech:

I’ve been on a map kick recently.

Recently might be a bit relative. Recently and maps for me means since sometime during the early 1970s. But over the last few week, I have perhaps can a little past the normal map crazy.

And thanks to Lisa and her recent comment, I’ve gotten hooked on a whole new set of tools. Called MappingWorlds, the site offers users a new way to look at the world by resizing countries on the map in relation to a series of global issues. For examples, you can view which states have the most Big Foot sightings (Kansas – 26) or which states have the largest budget shortfalls (Kansas – $137 million). Users can then download data sets, maps and animations which can be shared across the Internet through websites, blogs, and email.

Created by a Dutch group, MappingWorlds provides a great way for kids…

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 87,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Learn the Address: Ken Burns and Lincoln at Gettysburg

Jennifer Carey:

My favorite is Stephen Colbert’s rendition of the Gettysburg Address…

Originally posted on History Tech:

I’ve always loved the Gettysburg Address.

And not just because of the content and Lincoln’s message but how it sounds. If you’ve ever had the chance to hear the speech delivered by a skilled orator, you know what I’m talking about. It flows. There are rhythms.

Delivered well, the Gettysburg Address provides not just an amazing picture of what America can and should look like but an incredible example of an expository speech. It’s the kind of content that you can design an entire unit around.

And you have another tool in your tool belt. Ken Burns and PBS are currently working on a film focused on the Address scheduled for airing next spring. There will be lessons, resources, and other teaching materials. But there are some cool things going on right now that you and your kids can be a part of.

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