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Principals Believe in the Power of Technology, but Schools Face Challenges Ahead

Ed Tech Magazine – Meghan Bogardus Cortez

“Now, more than ever, school leaders believe in the power of technology to transform learning. A whopping 90 percent of principals surveyed in a recent MDR EdNET Insight report say they believe that technology is integral to student learning. In terms of learning transformation, the principals indicate that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), personalized learning and project-based learning were their highest instructional priorities. Improving student outcomes, instruction and parental engagement were the biggest challenges.” (more)

Smartphone Detox: How Teens Can Power Down In A Wired World

KQED News Mind/Shift – Allison Aubrey

“If the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov were alive today, what would he say about smartphones? He might not think of them as phones at all, but instead as remarkable tools for understanding how technology can manipulate our brains. Pavlov’s own findings — from experiments he did more than a century ago, involving food, buzzers and slobbering dogs — offer key insights into why our phones have become almost an extension of our bodies, modern researchers say. The findings also provide clues to how we can break our dependence.” (more)

Need to Go on a ‘Tech Diet’? Current Ways to Fight Your Device Addiction

Ed Surge – Tina Nazerian

“Screen time has been occupying headlines in recent weeks. Last month, two Apple shareholders wrote a letter to the company voicing concerns that technology might be hurting children. This past Sunday, the New York Times reported that former Facebook and Google employees are teaming up with Common Sense Media for a campaign to inform people about the dangers of technology. And on Monday, Bloomberg reported that some people in Silicon Valley are attempting to limit their use of devices via “tech diets.”.” (more)

Changing our Paradigm

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Technology is changing so fast, it is impossible to know what the world will be like in a year, much less four or five. Just 25 years ago, the Internet was still in its infancy, mobile phones were just gaining popularity, and genetically modified foods were not yet on the market. Now we are worried about biological computers, electronic currencies, and the health impacts of genetically modified foods.

For decades, education experts encouraged schools to track kids into narrow areas like molecular biology, medieval history, copyright law, or Fortran programming. As technology advanced, the lines between disciplines began to disappear and some areas vanished.

Now a person’s long-term employment prospects are based on his/her ability to quickly learn new things, interact with others, and change. This means everyone needs a strong understanding of all the disciplines including the arts, math, history, science, languages, etc. In addition, employers need people who can communicate, listen, and empathize with others; have a strong work ethic; and possess good character. This means our kids need a completely different type of education than we did when we were growing up.

Here is a list of the skill gaps that exist in our education system and parenting approaches.


1. Ability to think critically and assess and analyze information
The problem often develops in elementary school. Primary school teachers need strong proficiency in this area.
2. Collaborative/Influential
Students need practice working with others. Schools are not structured to provide exposure to different ages.
3. Agile/Adaptable
Schools/parents want stability. Students need exposure to change.
4. Initiative
Students need opportunities to start new programs, etc.
5. Effective Written and Oral Communication
Schools need step by step teaching approaches and effective ways to assess proficiency.
6. Curious, Imaginative, Creative
Schools should foster these abilities with short creative blocks during the teaching day.
7. Ethical
Parents need to demonstrate acceptable behavior.
8. Polished and Courteous
Parents need to teach their children basic life skills – allow others to finish speaking before you begin, chew with your mouth closed, etc.
9. Well-read
Parents should discuss world affairs and technological advances with their kids.
10. Strong work ethic
Parents need to teach their children about self-discipline, punctuality, follow-through, etc. and then allow them to experience consequences when they do not deliver.

Once we realize what worked in the 1900s no longer makes sense today, we can work together to make sure our kids are ready for life on their own.

Training in media literacy is in order

E-School News – Larry Atkins

“When I ask my students whether they’ve received training in media literacy, they respond with shrugs and blank stares. Freshmen frequently cite obscure websites as sources in their papers instead of government documents or respected news sources. Try MayoClinic.org and CDC.gov on the legalization of medical marijuana, I tell them, not “Joe’s Weed page.” A 2016 Stanford University study showed that middle school, high school, and college students have difficulty judging the credibility of online information and are frequently duped by fake news, biased sources, and sponsored content.” (more)

Learning happens on multiple platforms these days

The Toronto Star – Uzma Jalaluddin

“A recent study reported a decrease in overall human attention span since 2000. Apparently, we now have a shorter attention span than goldfish. The culprit? Smartphones, collectively glued to our hands. I know the siren call of technology all too well. It’s something I deal with in the classroom and at home with my sons, every day. I was interviewed by two students working on a school project on this topic. “As a teacher, what do you think about technology in schools?” they asked.” (more)