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Is Ed Tech Really Working? 5 Core Tenets to Rethink How We Buy, Use, and Measure New Tools

The 74 Million – Todd Bloom, David Deschryver, Pam Moran, Chrisandra Richardson, Joseph South and Katrina Stevens

“Education technology plays an essential role in our schools today. Whether the technology supports instructional intervention, personalized learning, or school administration, the successful application of that technology can dramatically improve productivity and student learning.”(more)

Is classroom technology good for learning or wasting time?

The Dallas Morning News – Joan E. Hughes

“Can tablets teach children basic math and reading skills? As a professor who studies technology integration in K-12 schools, I can say the answer is yes, but there are some critical caveats. Computers running instructional software have been used to teach basic mathematics and reading since the 1960s. This software shows the student content on a certain topic. The student practices by answering one or more questions, and the computer evaluates the answer and provides feedback. Then the process is repeated with a new topic. Present-day instructional software uses more sophisticated data analytics and algorithms to adapt the instructional content to each student.”(more)

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

Medical X-Press – Scott Canon

“Things that make life easier also change it. When you see somebody arguing on Reddit until 3 a.m. about the logic of Game of Thrones, that technology comes with a downside. Now we have the smartphone, an addictive device that makes junkies out of almost anybody who can afford one. The older we are, the more prone we are to trot out the kids-these-days worries about faces buried in screens. Yet something very real – and in ways unsettling – comes with all the iPhones and Androids. In an Atlantic article last week adapted from an upcoming book, psychologist Jean M. Twenge argues that growing up with smartphones and social media coincides with “abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states.” What she calls “iGen” – those born between 1995 and 2012 and raised with screens in their pockets – looks worse off than the generations that came before. She paints, at times with a particularly broad brush, a picture of lonely teenagers curled up in their beds obsessed with social media feeds that keep them awake at night and foster a sense of hopelessness. Yes, they’re less likely to drink, to get in car accidents and to have sex at an early age. But it’s because they just don’t get out much. They leave the house without their parents far less than kids who preceded them by just a few years.”(more)

College reality

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

In a few weeks tens of thousands of young Americans will leave home and begin the “college experience”. As they descend on campuses across the country, they will be greeted by impressive buildings, acclaimed alumni, elaborate social functions, and luxury hotel-like accommodations. In addition to getting used to their new “homes”, these newly minted adults will be asked to select majors that prepare them for post college employment.

Interestingly, the university structure and incentives may not always be aligned with what is best for students.

Universities are broken into departments. Each department is responsible for running a profitable business or demonstrating that there is enough demand for its offerings that it would be foolish for the university to close the department. Departments like engineering generally have large research budgets, so they are less concerned about student enrollment than departments like the humanities and social sciences that have fewer research dollars.

As might be expected, the departments with fewest research dollars generally work hardest to convince students to select majors within their purview. Until 15-20 years ago, this model worked well, because it was possible to obtain high quality employment with a wide variety of university degrees.

Technology has improved access to information so much that many jobs related to compiling, organizing, and disseminating information have already been or are being eliminated. Careers that have been hardest hit are law, social sciences, and the humanities.

Since there are fewer job opportunities for people with these degrees, many college graduates find it difficult to procure jobs that pay a premium over what was available to them before they attended college.

This shift creates a dilemma for the parents of a child who did not develop a proclivity for math in high school. Does the parent have the resources to send the child to college so he/she can graduate without debt and go on to a job that he/she most likely could have obtained without attending college? Is it better to consider a high paying trade like plumbing or electricity, rather than expending money on college? Or is it wiser to encourage the child to go to a community college and learn math, so he/she has the skills to obtain a college degree with higher earning potential?

It is a tough decision, but is something that should be discussed before a family blindly spends large sums of money on a college education that does little to improve a child’s long term earning potential.

Give Teachers Credit: They Know Learning Is Social

Ed Surge – Brad Spirrison

” The enthusiasm shared by educators who understand that social media will forever impact their lives and practice is very reminiscent of the vibe expressed by dot-commers two decades ago during the first wave of the Internet boom—this is a very good thing. I’ve served as both a journalist and participant within each movement. My job is to interview and survey the pioneers, investors and stakeholders who drive technological change, share their stories, and collaborate with very smart people to build and distribute tools that help everyone else get involved.”(more)

Can parents’ tech obsessions contribute to a child’s bad behavior?

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Fatigue. Hunger. Boredom. Those are often on the list of reasons parents mention if their child whines, has tantrums or acts out. Researchers are now asking if such negative behaviors could be related to something else: parents spending too much time on their smartphones or tablets. A small study from University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Illinois State University found that heavy digital technology use by parents could be associated with child behavior issues. The findings were published in the May 2017 online issue of Child Development.”(more)