Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Free Agent Learners, EdTech 50 Best Blogs, Google Education Online and Dallas Makerspace

Posted by Dr. Faustina DuVall 

Free Agent Learners - Students creating opportunities to learn for themselves
Project Tomorrow, SpeakUP 2015

Does this sound like the students in your class or your children at home?

“I have many apps on my phone that help me at school a lot. I have a homework app that organizes all of my homework and reminds me when something is due. Also, I have another app where it is like an online note card and it’s easier for me to test myself on a subject outside of school instead of bringing my papers where I go. On my tablet, there are applications that have almost every subject and teach you lessons for instance, a lesson in algebra 2 or how to balance an equation for chemistry. I find all of these apps very helpful because of technology.” Female student, Kennedy HS, Guam (SpeakUp2015)

Understanding technology and the effect it has on teaching and learning in the lives of today's students is on the minds of every teacher, principal and parent.

Julie Evans, is the CEO at Project Tomorrow, a national educational organization, which has surveyed 4 million parents, students and teachers since 2003 about STEM education and digital learning.  (jevans@tomorrow.org).

Evans points to the key trends and data from the 2014 Speak Up data:

  • Increased urgency around digital learning
  • Interest in new models - mobile, blended and flipped learning
  • Usage of digital content in classroom on the rise
  • Recognition that teachers are pivotal to adoption
  • New approaches to measuring impact
  • Focus on using technology to personalize learning

The Project Tomorrow survey data shows that students are using a wide range of technology tools outside of the classroom and school to:

  • Reinforce learning concepts at their own pace best suited to individual learning styles
  • Explore related academic topics and ideas to a deeper level and challenge the learner with new ideas and different perspectives
  • Develop college and career 21st century skills (critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration). 

As educators implement blended, virtual, STEM and mobile learning environments for digital natives, Evans and the Project Tomorrow SpeakUp challenges us to address two big questions:

1. Are we ready to support a new kind of educational ecosystem that acknowledges learning as 24/7 enterprise?

2. What do we need to do today to enable and empower these kinds of student-centric digital learning experiences for all students?

Educator Learning Opportunities and Resources: 

1. Blogs: One way educators can get ready for the 24-7 learning enterprise and and provide student-centric digital learning experiences is to follow EdTech's 50 Must Read Blogs for 2015. This year's list highlights blogs from innovative teachers, technology directors and educational technology experts.

These expert blogs cover STEM classroom resources, student engagement and digital leadership, new channels of communication, student led education resources, Google education solutions, video and learning platforms and empowering teachers to transform traditional teaching with technology and thousands of other educational technology topics.

2. Google Education on Air - a free, interactive online conference that will take place Friday, May 8 from 10am-3pm EDT and throughout the day Saturday May 9.
Topics include inspirinig learners with the power of storytelling, the skills of the future, tools for creative problem solving and 100 other topics and sessions.
To register go to: https://educationonair.withgoogle.com/live/2015-may

3.The Dallas Makerspace is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, shared community workshop and laboratory. An organized group of local artists, engineers, makers and thinkers work together to provide tools and learning resources to the public. These resources promote science, technology and art and encourage learning within the community.









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