Touch technology has been a tremendous development for the field of special education, giving students a wonderful new learning medium that enables them to experience and engage as never before. Additionally, educators now have more options for curriculum preparation, visual aid development and data tracking — options that save time and allow them to spend more time and energy actually teaching. However, several challenges accompanying the deployment of this new technology must be addressed.
As educators plan and accommodate for diverse learning styles, tablets and educational apps provide a plethora of new opportunities. Special educators often experience additional obligations and responsibilities beyond those of general education. These obligations include creative program planning and adapting lesson development to meet the needs of a learner with unique abilities or limitations.
For example, the careful selection of unambiguous instructional materials is key when working with children with autism. Helping these children to understand concepts using salient cues and limiting unnecessary distractions can take extra time and effort. (read more…)
“Hello Games-Based Learning; this is Problem-Based Learning.”
Like two pandas in a zoo, we need to do all we can to ensure that these two find a soul mate in the other.
Games, by definition, are meant to be fun. But, in the race to transform schools, we’re missing out if the goal of games-based learning is to help us run that race faster or provide students with more fun while they run. We’re running towards the wrong finish line.
Games transform education and learning. The question is: transform “towards what end?”
If our goal for games is to take traditional school content — multiplication tables — and spice it up as more fun for students, then we are missing a golden opportunity.
In the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s recent research on short-form games — quick tools for practice — versus long-form games — higher-order thinking skills better aligned to the common core –, they rightly advocate that there is significant potential for these long-form games to transform education. (read more…)
More schools are adopting bring-your-own-device initiatives, and the trend is expected to grow during the next five years, according to a survey conducted by the Software & Information Industry Association.
Results of the annual online SIIA Vision: K-20 Survey were released in June and for the first time, the survey asked participants about BYOD policies. Responses were collected from about 1,500 educators working in K-20.
The use of student-owned devices varied by education level with two- and four-year postsecondary institutions allowing the devices most often — 83% and 95%, respectively. Only 20% of respondents from the elementary sector said they allow students to use their own devices, 48% of secondary-school participants and 46% of K-12 district respondents said they allow BYOD.
“BYOD is definitely gaining ground,” said Susan Meell, CEO of MMS Education, during a recent webinar. MMS Education provided data analysis for the final report. “Postsecondary is way ahead, but K-12 will be catching up quickly if you look at what they’ve planned over the next five years,” she added. (read more…)
The topic of the “bring your own technology” movement seems to be an affordable and flexible solution to the issue of bringing expensive technology into our districts. Funds are tight. Boards don’t always see the connection between technology and test scores. So administrators across the country are trying to find real ways to meet their students’ 21st-century needs. According to the latest trend, schools are adopting BYOT policies and allowing students to bring in smartphones, iPod Touches, tablet computers and laptops to school. While there are many mobile and Web-integrated technologies that can support this kind of initiative, the real issue lies in the socioeconomic status of the students. This simple act of bringing your own technology to school may also widen the achievement gap, and more importantly impose a new type of technology segregation. There is much more at stake with a BYOT policy than meets the eye.
The three most-pressing socioeconomic issues are: 1) integrating devices in an appropriate manner, 2) the availability of equitable devices and services, and 3) the social impact of technology segregation in the classroom. (read more…)
I am a gadget geek. And I love my iPad. However, there are plenty of other choices on the market today, and I have come to realize that a mix of devices may be a better choice in the educational setting.
The Apple App Store is full of well-vetted and useful software. When you hear “there is an app for that,” it seems to be true! From content-based applications that can be used for everything from remediation to enrichment, and apps that let students create videos, audios, simulations, infographics and more, the use of the iPad to support teaching and learning is truly remarkable!
However, the iPad really shines as a one-to-one device. Personalization, choice of apps and work that lives locally on the device makes you feel connected with your iPad. A shared cart of iPads, although something that is affordable for schools, is probably not the best choice. Taking care of the installation of apps and maintenance of the devices, as well as providing a positive experience for each shared user, is not easy. (read more…)