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Category Archives: Ed-Tech

Coding and Digital Learning Day, today

It’s Digital learning day across the country, today. Salt River High School is hosting Code Night, a community event to showcase week-long Hour of Code activities.

Last week, at the elementary school we focused on Digital Learning, beginning with a kick-off event featuring speakers who talked to students about social media, and coding. It’s interesting how much has changed –and how much more scrutiny we give to digital learning –since last year. Parents and educators have to deal with much more than memes, and cyber-bullying. Social media viral stunts for instance.

Coding is somehow more than a passing fad. It’s more about problem-solving than learning a new ‘language.’ Much thanks to Synapse Studios, Mel Adamaitis, Danielle Benally, and Stephanie Schull.

 

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Spotlight on Social Media Awareness, Coding for Digital Learning Days

Next week, we kick off a week of coding, and also a time to talk about the good, the bad and ugly about social media.

Coding is something that could be exciting for every age group – from simple problem-solving skills, to what-if scenarios. Students will log-into places such as Code.org, Khan Academy, Scratch, and Blockly.  I like how Scratch is positioned as a way to “Create stories, games, and animations.”

Two speakers will kick off the week:

Mel Adamaitis – Synapse Studios
“Why Coding Matters”

Dr. Stephanie Schull – Matter Mission
“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Social Media.”

 

While we are at it, here are some good resources:

 

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2018 in Ed-Tech, Education, Events, Social Media

 

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Filters needed now, says Isura Silva!

My friend Isura Silva, writes about topics similar to what you find here. One of his recent posts touches on the death of attention, as a result of our proximity to screens. You should read his post to get his slant on it.

The issues we face as parents and teachers is not just screen addiction, but device distraction. Attention spans are in a serious free-fall. I flippantly wrote about this in an article on ‘FOMO’ (for LMD magazine). But it’s a lot more serious than this.

Which brings me back to Isura. He was on a UNICEF panel on Tuesday, discussing child safety online. The panel discussed the study just released, on how adolescents in Sri Lanka use the Internet. To give you a snapshot of it, the press release states that:

“While digital access exposes children to a wealth of benefits and opportunities, it can also unlock a host of risks including the misuse of their private information, access to harmful content, and cyberbullying …whilst children and adolescents are increasingly going online, they are doing so without adult oversight or supervision.”

Next week is Digital Learning Day across the world. Here at my school, I’m bringing in two speakers to address this dire need for digital literacy. Different cultures, different demographics, all feeling the same need.

 

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What 1st Graders can do with Microsoft Word. Who would have thought!

It’s always a surprise when you introduce a tool, and watch where it takes students. First Graders, in this case! (Just a few months ago they were learning how to use the left- and right-mouse buttons.)  Here are two examples of what they did, using the Shapes menu.

Next week, upper grades will work on other tools and effects, as 4th graders did last year. (Watch video)

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2018 in Ed-Tech, Education, Technology

 

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Making Coding relevant

We’re building up to a week of Coding in a few weeks; this will dovetail with Digital Learning Day. So I’m kicking off the new year with an introduction to the different kinds of ‘codes’ in use, some of which we take for granted: Morse, Braille, even the simple icons we used to call ‘highway code.’ And of course, HTML.

This week I’m focusing on QR Codes, and how we barely notice them. On ID cards, and even at checkouta – the Walmart pay feature, for instance. IKEA too has been testing something similar.

So as we lead up to several  events in Jan and Feb my students will create and test QR Codes – embedding them in a report. Perhaps work on a design for a T-Shirt for Martin Luther King Jr. day next week, and Digital Learning Day in February.

Meanwhile, this use of a code to demonstrate the connection between analog content and digital is very interesting.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2018 in Ed-Tech, Education, Technology

 

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‘Hour of Code’ and Digital Natives

During Hour of Codea global event to promote coding skills this week, we strive to ramp up digital literacy.

But what constitutes digital literacy? There are many definitions.

Microsoft looks at it through an ICT lens – where ICT means ‘Information Communication Technology.’ But evidently there is much more it encompasses. How about building ‘digitally inclusive communities’ as is defined by the Institute of Museum and Library Services?

It goes beyond simply learning how to be safe online, or managing one’s Instagram page. It’s about teaching young people, beginning in elementary school, the ‘literacy’ for being successful in civic or economic spaces. It’s a mistake to assume that ‘Digital Natives’ are automatically, or inherently competent in these areas.

I have previously cited Common Sense Media writer, Jessica Laura who makes the point that just as anyone who has grown up speaking English, still takes English classes, those growing up digital, still need to learn about digital literacy.

The folks behind Hour of Code often talk about the need for foundation skills related to problem-solving, logic and creativity. Similar to how all students learn about photosynthesis, they ought to also understand how algorithms and coding underpins how their world works – or does not. There are 500,000 current job openings in the US that require computer skills, they say.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2017 in Arizona, Ed-Tech, Education, Technology

 

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Google’s drag-and-drop ‘Scratch’ doodle

As Google doodles become more interactive it’s fitting to see it launch Hour of Code with a drag-and-drop doodle. It’s their first Coding-based doodle. Have you tried it? It’s on today’s Google landing page.

Worth reading: A description by MIT’s Champika Fernando, who was on one of the 3 teams that built this doodle.

Hour of Code runs through this week, which is also Computer Science Education week, and the anniversary of 50 years of programming languages. Scratch was developed at MIT.

 
 

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