Tag Archives: Ed Tech

The Privacy Paradox

I have written a great deal about the importance of privacy for ourselves and our students. How much data corporations and the government gather about us, our families, and especially our children should be an important topic for educators and parents alike. This week, the Note to Self Podcast began their quest to investigate how we can take hold of our digital world and privacy. Check out the first episode of their series the Privacy Paradox.

privacy-paradox

WNYC Privacy Paradox

Americans have struggled with their views on privacy, security, and convenience since the dawn of the internet; PEW Research center has published numerous polls and studies on just this topic. These problems have exploded with the advent of social media, smart tools (thanks Waze for getting me around that traffic), and now the internet of things (do you own a Nest Thermostat or an Amazon Echo?).

Check out this evocative series on privacy and your digital self.

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Interactive Maps out Life of Former Presidents

Today, President Obama and his family will leave the White House as the 45th President takes the oath of office. President Obama is the 44th person to embark on a post-Presidential journey. This Smithsonian Interactive maps out the lives of Former Presidents.

Lifelong Learning is a Life Skill not a Buzz Word

Working in education, I have seen my share of buzz words (and concepts) come and go. Often they are rebrandings of past, failed initiatives or great ideas that simply don’t work among the established cogs of the modern educational machine. However, one “buzzword” that I believe has been unfairly branded as such is “lifelong learning.” Lifelong learning is “the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.” In other words, it’s a self-driven desire to continue to learn and grown in all areas of our lives well after we leave a classroom. I have attended numerous educational conferences and events that highlight the need for educators to inspire “lifelong learning” in their students. In the world of educational buzzwords, it’s easy to roll one’s eyes and get back to the classroom. However, what I have learned in my world of education and technology is that lifelong learning is not the latest flash in the pan. Rather, it is now a necessary life and career skill.

In the past, job changes were few and far between and career changes (barring going back to school for a degree) were practically unheard of. Now, with automation and technology putting more people out of work and a shifting landscape in the economy, job-hopping and career shifts are becoming more prevalent. Forbes highlights that job hopping (moving to a new job every 2-4 years) is becoming a career necessity, often leading to higher salaries, more opportunity for advancement, and a better “cultural fit” at your place of employment.

But besides the fact that job hopping can lead to better opportunity, the reality is that job hopping and career shifts is not just an “acceptable practice” but becoming a necessary one, thus the need for self motivated learning. In his almost dystopian non-fiction work Rise of Robots, Martin Ford argues convincingly that automation and technology will not only be displacing factory workers and manual laborers, but traditionally “safe” jobs that require high levels of (often expensive) education–think lawyers, doctors, and even writers. If the trends that Ford highlights continue, unemployment and (more commonly) under-employment by even the highly educated will persist and grow. The Economist made a similar argument, stating that the solution to these trends is continued education throughout the life of one’s career (whether it stays within a single trajectory or takes a radical shift):

A college degree at the start of a working career does not answer the need for the continuous acquisition of new skills, especially as career spans are lengthening. Vocational training is good at giving people job-specific skills, but those, too, will need to be updated over and over again during a career lasting decades.

In their article “School and the Economy,” economists Murnane and Levy argued that the answer to helping students (and adults) be prepared for the new, shifting economy is to emphasize softer skills: expert thinking and complex communication, primarily “…the ability to solve new problems that cannot be solved by applying rules. (If the problem could be solved by rules, a computer could do it.)”

Lifelong learning empowers individuals to adapt to a variety of new jobs and career paths in the unforeseeable future. Levy and Murnane have a less apocalyptic view of future employment. While they argue that many traditional careers will shrink and even disappear, they view this shifting landscape as one that will open up new avenues and jobs. However, preparing for those jobs requires greater emotional and intellectual agility; a desire and passion to learn new skills and information.

Whatever the future holds for careers, lifelong learning is now a critical component for success. Your current job or position may downsize or all together disappear. New opportunities may be a better fit for your skill set and passions. Whatever the the future holds, being prepared and skilled at adapting to it through continuous learning is vital for success.

New Google Classroom Tools Feature Differentiated Learning

hero_logoGoogle just announced several key new features for Google Classroom that allow teachers to differentiate work for their students. Teachers can now assign work to students or groups of students.

With this feature, students can also discreetly receive extra practice if they’re struggling with a new subject.

They have also announced new notification methods for when students submit work late or resubmit. Check out the latest updates on Google’s blog here.

Google Arts & Culture for Android & iOS

google-arts-cultureI have long been a fan of Google Arts & Culture (previously Google Art Project). It allows individuals to explore museums, exhibits, and historical topics around the world. For example, you can tour the works of Vincent Vangogh, explore Ancient Kyoto, or wander around the Lincoln Home (to name a few).

Previously, the robust features of Google Arts & Culture was reserved for computers. Now, however, you can download the free pap for your iOS or Android device. This is a great way to let students explore the different tools and features available via Google Arts & Culture on your classroom tablets or even on student smartphones!

Effective Ways for Educators to Use Twitter

I am a big fan of using Twitter to share, collaborate, and learn. This infographic highlights many ways that educators can use Twitter in their practice.

infographic26 Effective Ways to use Twitter for Teachers and Educators Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

KidzType: Free & Fun Online Typing Tutorial

This post is sponsored by KidzType

Even as technology has become ubiquitous in schools, keyboarding classes are quickly disappearing. As a result, parents, students, and teachers are often looking for resources to help students learn touch typing. KidzType is a free online resource to help kids learn how to type using different types of activities and games.

Typing Lessons

Students are presented a variety of typing lessons to help familiarize them with the fundamentals of keyboarding. These are organized into groups that gradually increase in complexity. For example, the first series of lessons focus on learning the home-row of keys. Students then move on to upper and lower rows. Students gradually work through each of the groups of lessons as they master the entire keyboard. During the lesson, students are shown a series of keystrokes on a screen and are prompted to enter the directed keys without looking down at the keyboard. While they do this, the program measures accuracy and speed.

Typing Practice

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-2-36-49-pmStudents can practice current and past lessons using a series of typing practices. Similar to the typing lessons, students are prompted to enter a series of keystrokes that are displayed on the screen. The program then records their speed and error rates. Practices are more complex than lessons; they combine previous exercises and become more complicated. Higher level practice exercises include typing paragraphs and incorporating various key rows, numbers, and special characters.

Typing Games

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-2-44-22-pmKidzType isn’t a standard typing tutor; it uses a variety of Typing Games to keep students engaged with the material. For example, the Typeroids Home Mission is an alien shooting game. By typing the designated letters or words, students shoot the alien invaders to ward off the invasion. There are several other games that students can play to help them hone and build their typing skills.

Whatever your student’s skill level or aspirations, KidzType is great way for them to become skilled, touch typists.