Blogs on Classroom Technology

Blogs on Classroom TechnologyRSS
Beth HollandJanuary 27, 2014

Think back 20 years. Pay phones still worked, and only doctors carried pagers. Laptops weighed as much as bowling balls, and few of us had Internet access. In fact, much of what we now consider commonplace -- Google, email, WiFi, texting -- was not even possible. If that was 20 years ago, where are we going in the next 20?

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Of the many ways that technology enhances our lives, one compelling example is assistive technology (AT) -- tools to help people with learning or motor disabilities complete everyday tasks. In schools, assistive tech can mean the difference between a student falling behind or being able to successfully work alongside other kids in an inclusion model. Check out Edutopia curator Ashley Cronin's new roundup on assistive technology for a comprehensive list of resources; to accompany that, I wanted to share some amazing videos I've found about how technology can empower kids with special needs.

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Tom WhitbyJanuary 16, 2014

About three years ago, while I was teaching education at a local college, I was attempting to do an observation of one of my students at her student teaching assignment. It was my first time visiting that high school, so I found myself running late in traffic. I attempted to call my student on her cellphone to let her know that I might be a little late, but she never answered. I texted her, but she never responded. This forced me to try to make it on time.

As I entered the high school lobby I found a structure inside that resembled Dr. Who's Tardis with a SECURITY sign prominently displayed atop. I approached it and told the uniformed guard why I was there, and that I'd attempted to call my student's phone to no avail. He informed me that it should be no surprise since cellphone use was banned for everyone in the school. However, that did surprise me. What baffled me even more was what I saw when I turned the corner from the Tardis structure -- a gaggle of students texting on their cellphones. It would appear that only the adults were adhering to the cellphone ban.

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Andrew MarcinekJanuary 3, 2014

For the past few years, Apple has enjoyed a stranglehold on the education tablet market. With the launch of the iPad 2 several years ago, Apple swooped into the education arena, leaving everyone else behind. Its app store boasts thousands of educational titles across the content area, and the platform has integrated iTunesU and iBooks Author as a digital academic content creation tools. However, the tide is starting to turn. The tablet market is now flooded with devices comparable to the iPad, and the Chromebook, in its many forms, has become a serious contender to Apple's reign.

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Suzie BossDecember 26, 2013

Samantha Shires, a middle-school social studies teacher in Guilford County, North Carolina, wants her students to understand that history doesn't unfold in a series of unrelated events. "History is messy and chaotic," she says. "Students need to see how events are connected and interrelated."

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Beth HollandDecember 16, 2013

On a given day, how much time do your students spend working on their fluency? At the elementary level, hours are devoted to reading and speaking fluency. In middle and high school, students read aloud, deliver oral presentations, and write in a variety of formats to improve upon their language fluency. And yet, while we devote a significant portion of every school day to a student's reading, writing and language fluency, how much time is devoted to the development of their technology fluency?

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Andrew MarcinekDecember 11, 2013

I was recently asked, "Why are you giving the teachers choice of a laptop? Why not just go all in with one device?" My answer, simply stated, is that homogenization of any tool is never a good idea in a context that is intended to foster creativity.

The same argument is underway with the Common Core. Many fear that we are homogenizing educational standards and limiting opportunity for creativity, hacking and boundless exploration. That explains the viral popularity of Ethan Young, a Tennessee student who, at a school board meeting, provided an eloquent breakdown of what the Common Core really is and how it is affecting teachers. His points are valid, but the same points have been raised for years in education only to fall upon the deaf ears of bureaucrats.

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Dan BloomDecember 10, 2013

Minecraft, the popular sandbox game, is beloved by educators for its use as a learning tool. It enables students to explore, create and imagine in a completely different way than they could ever do in a traditional classroom. The beauty of the game is in the way it unleashes the creativity of both students and teachers.

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Monica BurnsDecember 9, 2013

New Year's Day is traditionally the time when we look back on the past 12 months and make resolutions for the next 12. If you're looking to set a goal for yourself professionally, why not focus on technology integration? This year, think of an area where you can grow!

Here are a few ideas of where to concentrate your energy as you make technology goals for the upcoming year.

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Beth HollandDecember 9, 2013

I'll admit it. At the end of the day, I like to read books -- the paper kind. Twitter alerts and email don't randomly pop up when I read a hardcover book, nor does the lure of checking "one more thing" tempt me from the pages of a paperback. I have a singular focus, unfettered by a device -- or the tools behind it.

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