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Category Archives: Technology in Education

Does all the technological wizardry of the latest gadgets, games and applications inhibit our ability to concentrate? Does all this magical media provide a constant source of distraction that conditions our brains for short attention spans?

Some scholars believe that the ability to focus and concentrate is a strong predictor of success. The ability to attend to a problem, think about complexity, wrestle with potential solutions is fundamental to writing, science, mathematics and life in general.

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In November, a Tennessee elementary school counselor decided to give her students a real-life demonstration of how fast things can spread on the Internet. She got more than she bargained for.

Julie Culp posted a photo on her Facebook, asking people to “like” it to show “how quickly a photo can be seen by lots of people.” It went viral soon after, being reposted by radio personalities and getting press coverage around the world. And it garnered more than 4 million “likes.”

Culp certainly succeeded in illustrating how quickly images can spread.

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Today’s Google Doodle was in recognition of Jane Addams’ birthday. Addams (1860-1935) was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for women’s suffrage and world peace. She was most known for establishing Hull House, the first Settlement House in the US, providing a residence for woman, adult education classes, Kindergarten, and more.

In Addams’ time, information and training were scarce commodities, available in libraries, newspapers, schools and places like Hull House.

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Today in Washington DC, traffic is snarled, the Metro is crowded, and the mood is festive. We get a lot of demonstrations and commemorations here in the Nation’s Capital. We natives like to think we’re above it all, going about our business as busloads of ardent citizens sally forth for this or that cause.

Today, however, is different. We mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, of the “I have a dream” speech. That day and that march changed America.

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What objects, once common place in education, are now obsolete? The smell of a freshly printed mimeograph worksheet? A filmstrip machine?

Technology advances make some new things possible and make some old things useless. In our personal and professional lives, we’ve seen this over and over.

Business Insider ran a list of 21 things that became obsolete during the first decade of the 21st Century. The list included video rental stores (like Blockbuster), PDAs (replace by smart phones), road maps (replace by GPS devices and Google Maps on smart phones).

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Page Harrington, Executive Director of the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum, home of the historic National Woman’s Party, reflects on Women’s History Month, the 100th anniversary of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913 and how sufffragists used a sort of social media of their own.

There have been great articles celebrating, remembering and raising awareness of women’s issues as part of Women’s History month. Whether 100 years ago or today, the disenfranchised still struggle to break-through and have their voices heard amongst the hyper-chatter inside the Beltway, Washington, DC.

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What do Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have in common with entertainer will.i.am, actor Ashton Kutcher, and NBA all-star Chris Bosh? It’s not the ability to dunk a basketball. Nope. These very different celebrities share an appreciation for coding, the ability to write the code that lets computers and digital devices do the extraordinary things we often take for granted. And that’s why they’ve gotten together at code.org to emphasize the importance of learning to code.

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A few years ago, there was a major focus on Internet safety education, as if protecting kids from online predators and pornography were all that was needed for children to safely and effectively surf the Web. Today, much more attention is being paid to other areas of digital citizenship, for example responsible, ethical behavior and digital literacy. That is reflected in the results of two polls Cable in the Classroom released today.

We think of digital citizenship as a positive and proactive approach to helping children use digital tools safely and effectively, bringing together Internet safety and security with digital literacy, responsible, ethical behavior and civic engagement.

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Over at edSurge comes word of a project to craft a “Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age.” The current version is a work in progress, with thoughts and contributions actively sought. The document currently focuses on what students should expect from others. It would be nice to detail what others should expect from students. Maybe it should be about rights, principles and responsibilities.

One of the things I like about digital citizenship, and a reason we at Cable in the Classroom support digital citizenship education, is its focus on rights and responsibilities.

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“Are kids technology’s new early adopters?” That provocative question was posed by Dominic Basulto on Big Think.

His curiosity was piqued by innovations in augmented reality created by Disney and Sesame Street that debuted at the International Consumer Electronic Show.

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