As we continue to fight to keep the arts in education, it is time to realize that the real fight is keeping the art in education. When I first started teaching many years ago, teaching was primarily seen as an art — an innate ability to use creative skill and imagination to communicate and build relationships that facilitate learning. The curriculum guide was a small gray book covering all subjects. Now, teaching is seen primarily as a science. Attention is paid to specific teaching techniques, core curriculum, testing and narrowly-focused results. Data is collected, analyzed and used more for accountability than to personalize student programs.
We need to create a balance of art and science as we nurture the students in our care. Granted, research over the past few decades has provided us with evidence of how the brain functions, how students learn in different ways and that they have multiple intelligences. (read more…)
SmartBrief on EdTech recently polled readers about the types of resources they find useful in developing curriculum for their students. Online resources were a top choice for educators involved in curriculum development, with more than 80% of respondents saying they find these the most helpful. The poll results also showed that online resources are being used to develop curriculum for students fairly equally across core subjects with just over 5% of respondents saying they use them for developing noncore-subject curricula.
Despite these findings, when it comes to sharing curriculum resources with their fellow educators, a majority of respondents reported most often using in-person meetings over both professional learning networks or social media.
Here is an overview of the results.
Which type of resources do you find most helpful in developing curriculum for students?
- Online resources — 81.13%
- Textbooks — 15.09%
- Software programs — 3.77%
Online resources are most helpful when developing curricula for which subject? (read more…)
Everywhere you look, kids are playing digital games. Whether it’s a game on a parent’s mobile phone or a student’s personal Minecraft account, many youngsters are engaging with games on a daily basis. These experiences have become an important thread within the fabric of youth culture.
However, many educators are still skeptical about the power of games for learning. In fact, many believe that time spent playing games is “wasted time.” However, such narrowly focused mindsets miss the enormous opportunities games offer. Well-designed educational games can hold incredible possibilities for teaching and learning. You just have to know what you’re looking for.
Over the past few months, Gayle Allen and I had the pleasure of teaming up with Zynga’s Co.Lab, a non-profit organization designed to assist educational game designers. I’ve met game designers, culled all of the current research on gaming and asked a lot of questions.
Our collaborative work and research addressed in a recent whitepaper has identified that many games offer opportunities for engagement, real-time data and persistence in ways that can’t be replicated in analog environments. (read more…)
In collaboration with Brain Parade, SmartBrief Media Services produced “Leveraging the Latest Tools for Special Education,” a white paper highlighting the features of See.Touch.Learn.
Learning solutions developer Brain Parade has combined the importance of connected education and customizable lesson planning into a new mobile application. The See.Touch.Learn. app provides parents, teachers, therapists and students access to thousands of images that can be used to design unique learning experiences for students with special needs.
- Teacher-centric model: See.Touch.Learn.. is easy to use, flexible and content-rich, providing access to a wealth of ready-to-use resources that have been field-tested and shared by special education professionals around the world.
- Pedagogical efficiency: See.Touch.Learn. lets teachers easily create custom instruction, addressing an unlimited number of instructional objects. It makes it easy to locate, assemble, reassemble and reuse that instruction for other students.
- Individuated teaching: See.Touch.Learn. was designed to provide the teacher with all the tools she would need to create tailored lessons for each and every student.
I’m a library junkie, and lately I’ve been spending time exploring all the items available on the Digital Public Library of America.
The DPLA is a content portal offering millions of free resources from the nation’s libraries, archives and museums in a variety of searchable formats – timeline, map and topic.
Click on 1990 on the timeline, and you’ll find about 24,000 archived items. Want to know which state has contributed the most items? The map reveals Texas as the frontrunner with 252,000. A quick topic search for “education” yields more than 173,000 results.
This resource brings to mind many ideas for lesson planning, but here’s one that seemed relevant given educators’ growing interest in real-world learning.
One thing that caught my attention on the website is that the DPLA allows independent developers to use the aggregated metadata to create new apps. Can you say online makerspace for student app developers? (read more…)