iPads and YouTube: Are digital tools in classrooms a student asset or distraction?
Tablets and cell phones in the classroom could be changing students' attention spans, but long-term studies have yet to prove the two are linked.
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Anne Collier is editor of NetFamilyNews.org and co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a Web-based interactive forum and information site for teens, parents, educators, and everybody interested in the impact of the social Web on youth and vice versa. She lives in Northern California and has two sons.
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- Another expert calling on schools to change: In PsychologyToday.com, California State University psychology professor Larry Rosen wrote that “the new, realistic technologies and how they lead to a strong sense of ‘presence’ which can be used to engage young learners. It is not a coincidence that most children’s movies are being shown in 3-D. iGeners are the most technologically immersed generation and just watching the intense look on their faces as they play video games, text all day long, Skype, Facebook, watch YouTube videos, and juggle a dozen websites at a time, it is clear that they are engaged. Now, we need to rewire education to take the home iGen lifestyle and transfer it into the classroom.”
- And in this blog post, teacher Ben Grey asks, “Why does there remain such a fascination with teaching kids very specific technology skills in our schools today?” That would be the new “shop class,” right, Ben?
- “An open letter to tech-fearing teachers everywhere” indicates that some teachers have the misconception that they’re under pressure to teach students technology. That’s not it at all. Students use technology to discuss, present, collaborate on, summarize, do research for, get quizzed on what they’re learning, and that’s only a small sampler of tech’s uses in classrooms.
- “WoWing Language Arts” in The Journal about the breadth of learning students are experiencing in World of Warcraft in school – learning folklore through literature (e.g., Beowulf), vocabulary, socialization, time management, leadership and digital literacy – facilitated by teacher Peggy Sheehy at Suffern Middle School in New York (she elaborates in a video on page 26 of the article).
- The Australia-based Massively Minecraft Guild: “a learning community for kids and their parents [that's] exploring how to live, work and play in Minecraft,” a digital environment game where people individually or collaboratively use LEGO-like virtual blocks to build just about anything they can imagine. It can be either a creative or a survival game with monsters that come out at night. As of this writing, its makers say that “so far 42,098,3157 people have registered and 7,531,314 people bought the game,” with someone new registering about every second, apparently.
- A collective of educators – “GAME” (for Gamers Advancing Meaningful Education) – talk about their work in a new series of Webinars on YouTube, “It Takes a Guild,” starting here. Part two of the series, with teacher Marianne Malmstrom in New Jersey, is here.
- How BYOT (or BYOD), as in technology in the service of learning, works in a Georgia school district.
- Minecraft in School – a video of students’ work from a class developed by instructional technology coordinator Lucas Gillispie and teacher Craig Lawson in North Carolina, who have been collaborating with teacher Peggy Sheehy in New York on creating spaces in Minecraft and World of Warcraft for students to experience both so-called formal learning and informal learning (including social literacy).
- About a highly publicized 2010 study of children’s media use.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Anne Collier is editor of NetFamilyNews.org, a blog, RSS feed, and e-mail newsletter that focuses on "kid-tech news for parents.”