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Posts tagged ‘technology’

Channel 3 Featuring Teachers, Public Schools This Week

Every night on the 11 p.m. news this week WFSB Channel 3 is putting a spotlight on what’s going on in our public schools. The stories feature the results of a survey of CEA and AFT Connecticut members.

In the first spot, which aired last night, teachers share the positive and negative effects of technology in their classrooms. The majority of teachers surveyed said they find technology to be a double-edged sword.

Watch last night’s story about technology in the classroom.

Manchester Education Association President Kate Dias, a math teacher at Manchester High School, told Channel 3 about the effects of constant cell phone use on adolescents.

“There is no question if something goes on, it can throw a kid off all day, and follows them via Instagram, and Snapchat and they are constantly messaging,” she said.

Kindergarten teacher and CREC Education Association President Lisa Cordova told Channel 3 that there are interactive iPad apps she finds useful for helping her students learn but added, “I think there is a fine line between using just enough technology and too much. It’s not a babysitter for the classroom. They need to be engaged, they need to be problem solving and not just looking at a screen.”

Computer Science Education in the Spotlight at State Capitol


Avon High School students Jaya and Dheepa Hari demonstrate their latest app, MyMedWallet, alongside their mentor and computer science teacher Jeanine LaBrosse.

Connecticut high school students showed off their computing chops at a legislative reception honoring the winners of the Congressional App Challenge. The event—in which winners from each of the state’s five congressional districts exhibited their work at the State Capitol and demonstrated for legislative leaders what’s happening with computer science education in their schools—was hosted by the Connecticut Chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association, whose goal is to increase computer science education in public schools and help level the playing field for students.

Fear of the subject, a lack of interest, and busy schedules are typically the top reasons students shy away from computer science, says Connecticut CSTA member Patrice Gans, who helped organize the event. She adds that computer science educators are helping break down some of those barriers. Read more

Wallingford Teacher’s STEM Enrichment Program Receives $100,000 Grant

NEA Foundation President and CEO Harriet Sanford, Wallingford Education Association President Louis Faiella, CEA President Sheila Cohen, and Wallingford teacher Christopher Stone.

When Pond Hill Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Christopher Stone founded the CT STEM Academy in Wallingford in 2012, he got a big assist from his state teachers union. The Connecticut Education Association provided a two-year, $10,000 grant to launch his after-school enrichment program, which, over the last five years, has opened the eyes of more than 15,000 students and their families to STEM skills and careers.

Recently, Stone and his colleagues scored another big win for their students when AT&T made a $100,000 contribution to the NEA Foundation to continue supporting the STEM Academy.

“CEA gave us funding to really build our base,” said Stone, thanking CEA President Sheila Cohen and Wallingford Education Association President Louis Faiella for “entertaining my ideas that were really outside the box.” Read more

The High Cost of Digital Distraction

girl textingAdults, teenagers—and even many elementary school students—are spending more and more time with smart phones and tablets. These devices that we carry around in our pockets, purses, or backpacks certainly add convenience to our lives, but do they come with a cost?

“Yes, they do,” said Dr. David Greenfield, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction. “When we over use our devices, we lose track of time and space.”

He said that research shows 80 percent of an average person’s time in front of a smart phone, tablet, or computer is not productive time. Read more

Survey Reveals Another Technology Gap

Creative commons licensed photo from Flickr by Old Shoe Woman.

Creative commons licensed photo from Flickr by Old Shoe Woman.

Teachers in high-poverty schools report fewer computers and less training on how to use technology with students compared to their colleagues in wealthier districts—leading to decreased confidence for these teachers when it comes to using educational technology.

The Education Week Research Center surveyed approximately 700 teachers on their use of technology and released an analysis of the survey results at the annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education this week. Read more

New International Report on Students and Computer Use

What impact does students’ use of computers at home and at school have on their learning? A new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) looks into questions about students’ technology use that are on the minds of many parents and teachers and comes up with some surprising findings.

The report looked at 15-year-olds’ computer use across 31 nations and regions in 2012 and suggests that the promises of new technology have so far not been achieved.

In one particularly surprising finding, students’ moderate computer use at school was somewhat positively correlated with their scores on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), however very frequent computer use at school was negatively correlated with PISA scores.

After adjusting for variation in per capita income, the report also found that countries that spent less on equipping schools with computers increased PISA scores faster than countries that spent more.

The authors acknowledge that the report leaves many questions unanswered. They write,

One interpretation of all this is that building deep, conceptual understanding and higher-order thinking requires intensive teacher-student interactions, and technology sometimes distracts from this valuable human engagement. Another interpretation is that we have not yet become good enough at the kind of pedagogies that make the most of technology; that adding 21st century technologies to 20th century teaching practices will just dilute the effectiveness of teaching.

Read the entire report here.

Schools and Technology: Questions to Ask

Students need to be adept with technology in order to succeed in the 21st century, but how do schools judge which technology initiatives are appropriate for students and worth the investment?

WNYC came up with a list of questions for parents to ask about technology use in their children’s schools — and the questions are equally useful for educators. For example,

‘We’re raising money so we can put a tablet in the hands of every kid.’

Think about asking questions like…

  • What training and development resources are you providing to teachers so they can use the devices effectively?
  • Where are you getting the curriculum?
  • What do we know about how successful this curriculum has been in the past?
  • Who’s reading the privacy policies on the apps my kids will be using?
  • What percentage of the money you’re raising will go toward evaluating the outcomes of the new systems?

Read the entire article and list of questions here.

Region 6 Recognized for Teacher-Driven Technology Innovation

during a Robotics build session

Wamogo Regional High School technology teacher Lori Dight during a Robotics building session at her school.

The benefits of digital learning and innovations in teaching technology in Regional School District 6 were recently recognized by President Obama in Washington, D.C. Ed Drapp, superintendent of schools in District 6, was chosen to participate in a White House summit on technology in the classroom. Drapp, the only administrator from Connecticut, joined more than 100 school superintendents from across the country to discuss the importance of technology in the classroom.

Teachers in the rural district, which includes, Goshen, Morris, and Warren, said the school system is a leader in the use of technology and digital content to enhance education and prepare students for the 21st-century skills they need to be successful.

“The administration allows and encourages teachers in the district to explore and experiment with technology,” said Region 6 teacher and Local President Lori Pepler. Read more

Technology in the Classroom – How Has It Impacted Your Teaching?

Creative commons licensed photo from Flickr by Old Shoe Woman.

The New York Times ran a piece Sunday titled Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.  The article discusses the challenges and opportunities new technologies provide for students and educators.

Students are frequently distracted from their school work by texting, gaming, and websites such as Facebook and YouTube.  Yet technology also opens up new ways of learning and offers exposure to ideas and possibilities students would not otherwise encounter.

The article follows one student in particular, Vishal Singh, a senior at Woodside High School in Redwood City, California.  Despite being a bright student, Singh’s grades have dropped recently due to his tendency to procrastinate on Facebook and YouTube. He sums up the dilemma facing both students and teachers.

“If it weren’t for the Internet, I’d focus more on school and be doing better academically,” he says. But thanks to the Internet, he says, he has discovered and pursued his passion: filmmaking. Without the Internet, “I also wouldn’t know what I want to do with my life.”

The principal at Woodside High, David Reilly, chooses to see technology as a way to reach out to and engage with students.  He has introduced popular classes such as an audio class where students use digital tools to compose and record music.

Some disagree with Reilly’s approach and advocate strict prohibitions on cell phones and other technologies at schools, but more and more educators are realizing it’s more practical to use students’ natural affinity for technology to enhance learning.

Recently The New York Times and its Learning Network requested that teachers “submit videos on how the use of technology has changed the way they teach.”  Many educators submitted videos.  You can watch the  Times’ top picks: Teachers’ Views on Technology in the Classroom.

Two of the chosen videos come from Mumbai, India and Morristown, New Jersey.

The American School of Bombay, Mumbai, India
Last year a class at the school used Skype video conferencing to link up with a school in Australia to discuss the global implications of racism.  After the video conference, students met up using Google Docs and its instant messaging feature to answer questions and converse with one another.  (Both Skype and Google Docs are free services you can you use in your classroom.)

Morristown High School, New Jersey
At Morristown High an American Studies class is using iPads to read, highlight, and annotate Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.  The teacher, Katy Barnicle, says, “Over the years I’ve realized that I don’t necessarily need to know all the outcomes. I can have the kids teach me and we can learn alongside of each other.”  One eleventh grader comments that his iPad helps him stay organized because he can access everything he needs on one device instead of carrying a backpack with a planner and multiple binders and text books.

How has technology impacted how you teach?  Share in the comments.