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Is the internet killing our brains?

The Guardian – Dean Burnett

“Throughout history, people have always worried about new technologies. The fear that the human brain cannot cope with the onslaught of information made possible by the latest development was first voiced in response to the printing press, back in the sixteenth century. Swap “printing press” for “internet” and you have the exact same concerns today, regularly voiced in the mainstream media, and usually focused on children. But is there any legitimacy to these claims? Or are they just needless scaremongering? There are several things to bear in mind when considering how our brains deal with the internet.”(more)

Inspiring Math Learning Through Coding

The Huffington Post – Kara Mulder

“For too many teachers and parents, computer coding may be the equivalent to Klingon; a complex language in which only the bravest (which in this context means ‘nerdiest’) among us know. However, for those bold enough to go where the majority of instructors and students circumvent, coding can be a great vehicle for inspiring a greater degree of learning within the study of mathematics and beyond.”(more)

Caution Flags For Tech In Classrooms

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“A group of recent studies on technology in education, across a wide range of real-world settings, have come up far short of a ringing endorsement. The studies include research on K-12 schools and higher ed, both blended learning and online, and show results ranging from mixed to negative. A deeper look into these reports gives a sense that, even as computers become ubiquitous in classrooms, there’s a lot we still don’t know — or at least that we’re not doing to make them effective tools for learning. First, a quick overview of the studies and their results: Last fall, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development published its first-ever, and one of the largest-ever, international analyses of student access to computers and how that relates to student learning. (The OECD administers the PISA test, the world-famous international academic ranking.) For this report, the researchers asked millions of high school students in dozens of countries about their access to computers both in the classroom and at home, and compared their answers to scores on the 2012 PISA.”(more)

Ensuring our nation’s security: The case for computer science education

Fox News – Hadi Partovi and Erin Seifring

“Last month, state, industry and education leaders in the United States injected a breath of fresh air into our political system. Amid escalating polarization between presidential candidates, 28 bipartisan governors and 77 leading CEOs and educators from across the country asked Congress to fund K-12 computer science education. And now bipartisan congressional leaders are getting behind this issue with over 135 Republican and Democrats coming together to ask the Appropriations Committee to prioritize K-12 computer science education funding.”(more)

Online schooling wave of the future or failed experiment?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


“You have probably heard the claim, “If you choose to educate your child online, he/she will be a social misfit.” To analyze this assertion, it is important to understand online education.

There are two basic types of online education: real-time and self-paced. In real-time online courses, students attend class on a computer. Classes are held at specified times and students participate in discussions during class periods. Each real-time online class is slightly different, because students participate in the instruction.

Self-paced courses are prepared in advance. Students progress through the material at their own pace. There is no real-time class interaction. Proficiency is sometimes tested with quizzes or tests that are integrated into the learning material. In this case, students must pass a quiz/test before they move on to future lessons. In other cases, students are required to go to proctored test centers to take exams.

In general, self-paced courses work well for material that requires little discussion. Real-time classes are more effective when most of the student learning occurs during classroom dialog.

Online education is appealing, because there is less wasted time. There is no need to drive to a physical location, worry about disruptions that occur in physical classrooms, or waste time dressing for school. In addition, students and parents have the ability to work school around other things in their lives.

Self-paced instruction is more cost effective than traditional classroom teaching, because lectures are prepared in advance and are used many times. In addition, this type of course delivery can be of higher quality than traditional classroom instruction, because the best teachers can present the content and there are no interruptions.

Some students find self-paced online instruction challenging, because they can procrastinate to the point that it is nearly impossible to learn the material. As a result, there is a reasonable argument that self-paced instruction is only appropriate for highly motivated and disciplined university and high school students.

Also, it is possible for students to succeed in an online environment without learning how to interact with others. As a result, it is imperative that online students have other avenues for developing social, leadership, and team skills.

Online education is not for everyone, but is an attractive alternative for motivated, self-disciplined students who have a strong social network and opportunities to build leadership skills and learn how to work on a team outside of school.


How every school can promote safety in a digital world

E-School News – Harold Reaves

“Keeping students safe in the digital era — with its myriad dangers — means a proactive IT strategy. Technology has become a mainstay within the walls of today’s schools. One-to-one computing is enhancing and enriching the student experience, transforming the way we teach and the way we learn. K-12 schools were expected to spend approximately $4.7 billion on technology this past year, according to IDC, with no sign of a plateau. But as rapid technology adoption continues unabated, the safety of the students who are meant to benefit from these advances is frequently overlooked.”(more)