Students Who Use Paper and Pencil for Common Core Test Scored Higher Than Those Who Used Computers

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“Though only one in five students used the old-fashion pencil and paper method to take the PARCC last year, those students seemed to have better odds to perform better than those who used computers. Education Week “reported that in some cases the differences were substantial enough to raise concerns about whether scores on the exam — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test — are valid and reliable enough to be used for teacher evaluations or school accountability decisions,” said The Washington Post. Experts who have looked at the percentage of students who scored proficient in the pencil and paper test versus the online test have concluded the advantage is significant.”(more)

Computer coding valuable but not a foreign language

The Tallahassee Democrat – Johanne Deremble

“You probably heard about implementing coding classes at schools as an alternative to a foreign language class. Until last week, I did not believe it was a serious possibility. The bill is now going to be on the Senate floor and seems likely to pass – this is happening. Belonging to a family of scientists, it does make sense to me to implement coding classes in our schools. I do think it is an interesting idea that will give students more opportunities to engage in tomorrow’s world market. I do not understand, though, why it is associated with foreign languages. It is true that the word “language” describes a variety of things. A language gives you the ability to engage in a dialogue. Math is a form of language. With coding, you can communicate with computers. It is a technical skill that may be useful in numerous professions. But how is that comparable with learning a foreign language? I wonder about the message we are sending to students: Communicating with machines is as valuable as communicating with other human beings.”(more)

Why Education Without Creativity Isn’t Enough

FAST COMPANY – Anya Kamenetz

“Last April, when sharing a stage at Facebook with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, President Obama summed up the conventional wisdom on what’s needed to shape American minds for the global marketplace. “We’ve got to do such a better job when it comes to STEM education,” he said. “That’s how we’re going to stay competitive for the future. If we could just tighten standards and lean harder on the STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering, mathematics—we’d better our rigorous rivals in India and China, and get our economy firing on all cylinders.” As with much conventional wisdom, this is conventional in the worst sense of that word.”(more)

Child education expert Professor Carla Rinaldi warns apps can kill creativity Editor

“HOMEWORK overload and classroom rivalry are “ruining” Australian children, an international education leader warned yesterday. Professor Carla Rinaldi – president of the global Reggio Children movement, based in Italy – said children were relying too much on technological “apps” instead of their own ingenuity and imagination.And she urged parents and teachers to give children the “greatest gift” – time.”There is this obsession to pass from one activity to another,” she said during a visit to Australia sponsored by the nation’s biggest childcare chain, Goodstart Early Learning.”(more)

Using computers widens the achievement gap in writing, a federal study finds

The Hechinger Report – Jill Barshay

“Can elementary-school children show off their best writing on a computer? The research arm of the U.S. Department of Education was curious to learn just that. In 2012 it handed out laptop computers to more than 10,000 fourth-graders and asked them to complete two 30-minute writing assignments. Initial results from the study were positive: most of the young students were able complete the writing assignments and use the editing tools. Soon after, states began rolling out new Common Core-aligned tests that included online writing components. Last year, more than half of U.S. states gave computer-based writing tests to children as young as third-graders. Some wrote their paragraphs with a pencil and paper; the majority used a computer.”(more)

Increased Screen Time Can Increase Nearsightedness Risk for Kids

Education News – Grace Smith

“A panel of US ophthalmology experts has suggested that too much time in front of a computer screen, a lack of time outside, and the use of other technological devices may be raising children’s risk for nearsightedness, also known as myopia. The prevalence of myopia in Americans has almost doubled over the last 50 years, noted the ophthalmologists. They feel this is because of focusing on something that is close and not spending enough time outdoors in sunlight…The experts agreed that although reading should be encouraged in children, too many hours of straight reading without looking up from the page can be harmful to the eyes. They suggested that kids take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and use that time to look at something far away…”(more)