education & tech

Teacher, Blogger, eLearning, Social Media

Education + Tech

Education & Tech, was created to build hope that education based on social technologies, can transform the new century, and enable abundance not only spiritually but economically. Milton Ramirez, Ed.D. - @tonnet is the founder & editor. He is a teacher, tech blogger, writes on education, and hails this blog from Union, NJ. For further questions, tips or concerns please e-mail him to:miltonramirez [at] educationandtech [dot] com

Teacher + Blogger

If you are a regular to Blog Education & Tech, you shall remember that I am a blogger and I'd written a post about education almost everyday since 2003. Education & Tech provides you with education news, expert tech advice, classroom management ideas, and social media tools for educators, administrators, parents and k-12 students.

Welcome Twitterer! Why not like our site for more updates?

Testing as an Enemy of Learning

Kaitlin Shiner, Port Orchard's Star Student
Classes are about to begin for freshman and I want to share some thoughts, as always arbitrary, on topics that I have observed in my experience in education, which could be useful for those who have kids going to college.

Before delving into this matter, I want you to understand my perception about learning. I don't see learning as going about satisfying curiosity or memorizing names, dates and formulas, but as the ability to do something that previously could not be done. That is, knowledge is know-how.

In this context, learning is the capability to incorporate a chance. When I can perform something new, it opens a series of alternatives that I did not have before, for example, if a kid learns how to swim, now he can go to the beach, party in houses with a pool, go swimming, and so on. Learning is about change; and if one changes, the world and its possibilities also change.

From this perspective, I think there are barriers to learning, and the most important is the test. Although its function is to show evidence of an educational progress, the test by itself has gained significance, powerful, and disturbing social relevance.

For example, when a kid comes back home from school after taking a test, parents ask: what grade did you get?, if he says "100" it's all happiness and reward. The message we send is that his acceptance, in this context, is determined by the grade obtained. But tests are designed to measure learning out of the context for which that learning needs to be used.

What happens if we change the question? Instead of asking, what grade did you get? We ask, what did you learn today? Then we enjoy a moment of happiness from what was learned that day, then the kid will understand that his acceptance comes through what he learned rather than the grade marked on his paper.

As teacher Michael Soskil states, "people always say, 'We need tests because life is full of tests.' That's nonsense. Life isn't full of tests. It's full of assessments."

That small change in our perception of learning modifies the position from where the student is looking up at learning. If recognition comes a grade, he will do everything necessary to obtain it, but grades as an end goal are short-term, fragmented, and subject to comparison and competitiveness; on the contrary, if the focus is on knowledge, this leads to value learning as a continuous and long-term process.

A grade may be valid as long as priority is given to the student's image of himself as an outcome generator and not the grade by itself. The individual's results are achieved based on his potential, and not in comparison with the rest of his classmates.

Education demands urgent reflections, we must educate for a society of uncertainty where production and knowledge management begins to be out of formal logic, we must educate to face the complexity of a democratic society and its diversity, educating for innovation in contexts of high social complexity.

So I think we need to change the discussion of learning from the quantitative to the qualitative scenario.

As teachers we have a challenge and a big responsibility, today more than ever we must be teaching to think, to ask new questions and mainly to teach our kids that they are not simply a grade on a paper.

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments, subscribe in a reader or send an email to the author at miltonramirez@educationandtech.com . You can share ideas for stories on the Education & Tech.

Milton Ramirez

Education & Tech: News for Educators

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Education & Tech: News for Educators

The rest of my favorite links are here.

The Intersection of Mobile Gaming and Education

By Jennifer Thayer

Worlds of their own - Photo by Simon Blackley
Anyone who owns a smartphone or tablet knows that the mobile game industry is a juggernaut. The amount of titles is seemingly endless, and most people seem to have five, 10, or even 20 games downloaded onto their devices.

The genres that these games cover are just as diverse and prevalent as the titles themselves. This breadth in mobile titles has opened up the gaming community to entirely new demographics.

One area of gaming, though, manages to put up a fight with little fanfare or public adoration. In fact, this one genre that many give so little thought to happens to be one of the industry's most popular – the educational mobile game.

Educational Titles Are Taking Off Like Rocket Ships

Market data shows that the popularity of educational game titles continues to rise with each passing year. Currently a $1.5B market, some experts believe that educational titles will account for approximately $2.3B in revenue by 2017. Mind you, 2017 isn't in some far-off future; quite the contrary, it's right around the corner. That a market could enjoy roughly 60 percent growth in just two years is nothing short of staggering.

But why this surge in popularity? Well, there's no one answer, but two things that helped pave the way: There were the greater accessibility that mobile devices users were able to afford, and the leap in technology that made it possible to put the world at your fingertips.

Smarter Processors Help Drive Smarter Games

Whereas traditional gaming consoles limited access to video games – partly by design, but partly as a result of cost considerations – mobile devices like smartphones and tablets make it possible for anyone and everyone to play video games.

The incredible gaming performance applied to processors of mobile manufacturers is helping drive the development of new games (and yes, this includes educational games). There are literally hundreds and hundreds of educational titles to choose from, and that only counts the games that you have to pay for! In truth, there's no shortage of options for parents and schools who are interested in game-based learning.

Is This Really a Good Thing? Educational Titles Being So Popular?

Inevitably, the question will be asked, Are these games actually effective educational tools? Or are they just wolves in sheep's clothing? In other words, are they educational on the surface, but mindless at their core? Well, to provide a blanket answer to that question would probably be a bit disingenuous – after all, there's bound to be some stinkers in the bunch, right? – but it has been shown conclusively that games can positively affect and benefit learning.

Cognitive games can help improve memory and brain function, and beyond that, games with an educational bent can actually teach. It's important to remember that educational games don't have to be limited to puzzles, math problems, and memory tests.

Education & Tech

Gal(xyz) to Allow Kids Learn Science While They Play

Surely this is not the very first note about games in the classroom you are reading about. As you know, many of the so called learning games are technically sound, but visually unappealing.

Galxyz (Beta) is an intergalactic science adventure free iPad game. The game is based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), currently being widely adopted across the United States, as well as a deep partnership with the New York Academy of Sciences.

The World Economic Forum has ranked the United States 52nd in quality of science education, and 5th (and declining) in overall global competitiveness. Yet, as we all know the 21st century will require a workforce with a firm grounding in science thinking and practices.

Storytelling has always been the main vehicle for the transmission of information at all times. Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, a cognitive neuroscientist and the author of Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain(2011) asserts that narrative gives our memories context and cohesion.

And science is not other thing than facts connected by a context we all share.

Beginning as an alien child from an abandoned, icy planet, students will rise to become intergalactic space adventurers on a quest to defy the wicked King Dullard.

Students start by learning about Science Practices, then go on to Properties of Matter; Chemical Reactions; Interdependencies in Ecosystems, and beyond. They'll be able to discover another 100+ particles, released one by one. Kids can create up to three different users, so everyone gets to play at their own pace!

Digital mobile media is everywhere and students around the world are using it more and more everyday. From smartphones to tablets, from computers to video games, digital media is an ever-present, fully integrated part of our academic lives.

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments, subscribe in a reader or send an email to the author at miltonramirez@educationandtech.com . You can share ideas for stories on the Education & Tech.

Milton Ramirez

Education & Tech: News for Educators

The rest of my favorite links are here.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
 
Copyright © 2013 Milton Ramirez, Blogger, Teacher, Writer - . Powered by Blogger.