Three Video Games That Teach Programming Through Play | MindShift

The push to get kids to code has been such a hot topic these past few years you might be sick of hearing about it. There are those that see code as a critical skill — like learning a second language – which all kids need to learn. Others question whether programming is as important as critical thinking, or if code literacy is more or less important than traditional textual/numerical literacy. While this controversy continues to circulate, most people can agree that a basic understanding of code and coders is an increasingly important part of being a critical thinker in a world that’s full of screens and data.Since digital games are both coded objects and systems that can be critiqued and better understood, they sit nicely between the evangelistic and tempered supporters of code literacy. Games build critical thinking skills and teach code literacy, offering authentic experiences that let kids experiment with how code works. They’re solid platforms to begin exploring programming.

via Three Video Games That Teach Programming Through Play | MindShift.

Can University Professors Benefit from K-12 Progressive Teaching Tactics? | MindShift

Some university teaching practices are held sacred, but perhaps college professors can learn from progressive teaching tactics of K-12 classrooms.Case in point: Joshua Spodek who attended EduCon, a conference designed for K-12 educators mostly out of curiosity, left the weekend committed to revamping a New York University graduate level business course using what he learned about the tenets of inquiry-based learning. Educators at the conference helped him think through how it would work and pointed out how well suited his class would be for inquiry — for one primary reason: His students pay money to take courses they have already expressed interest in learning.

via Can University Professors Benefit from K-12 Progressive Teaching Tactics? | MindShift.

Need Help Picking the Right Learning Game? Some Things to Consider | MindShift

What criteria matter when considering learning games? First, ask the broad questions: How and when a game can be used? Then, be more specific: What kind of game is best suited to particular learning objectives?

via Need Help Picking the Right Learning Game? Some Things to Consider | MindShift.

Are You Ready to Join the Slow Education Movement?

Slow. I love this word, and yet it tends to have many negative connotations in education. Which is too bad because it’s the very philosophy we need to save our education system, and give kids the time and space necessary to grow into the thoughtful, articulate citizens we desperately need them to become.

But the thing that stands out most vividly to me about the 20th Century is the emergence of what Canadian journalist Carl Honoré describes as “the cult of speed.” As speed has become an absolute good in the eyes of many, slow ways of life have largely disappeared. Many see them as ancient, naive, or largely impractical.

via Are You Ready to Join the Slow Education Movement?.

A Surprising New Study On How Video Games Impact Children

Is gaming healthy? It depends on how we collectively define ‘health.’ Dr. Przybylski’s study uses a widely accepted SDQ strength and difficulty questionnaire method of measuring “internalizing and externalizing problems,” “prosocial behavior,” and “life satisfaction.” He found that in some cases, gaming is beneficial. “Compared with non-players, children who typically invest less than one-third of their daily free time showed higher levels of prosocial behavior and life satisfaction and lower levels of conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems, and emotional symptoms.”

via A Surprising New Study On How Video Games Impact Children.

To Keep Poor Students in School, Provide Social Services – NYTimes.com

ARLINGTON, Va. — FOR the 16 million American children living below the federal poverty line, the start of a new school year should be reason to celebrate. Summer is no vacation when your parents are working multiple jobs or looking for one. Many kids are left to fend for themselves in neighborhoods full of gangs, drugs and despair. Given the hardships at home, poor kids might be expected to have the best attendance records, if only for the promise of a hot meal and an orderly classroom.

via To Keep Poor Students in School, Provide Social Services – NYTimes.com.

Informal education: What students are learning outside the classroom | The Hechinger Report

Parents, teachers, and education writers, myself included, think a lot about what our students are taught in school, the debate over the Common Core being just the latest example. But we think very little about what they’re taught in the blue glow of their screens. In fact, we likely assume they’re not learning much at all from their video games and their social networks and their celebrity news websites. Patricia Greenfield, a developmental psychologist at UCLA and a longtime observer of the relationship between children and technology, begs to differ. There is the formal education that young people receive in school, she maintains, and the “informal education” they receive through their devices.

via Informal education: What students are learning outside the classroom | The Hechinger Report.

The Privatizing Agenda of Survey-producing Education Next

Originally posted on @ THE CHALK FACE:

In August 2014, Education Next released the results of its annual education poll.

In a post on August 20, 2014, I wrote briefly on the EdNext survey findings specific to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  I plan to examine the entire survey more closely in a future post. However, in this post, I will examine the folks behind the survey:

I call them the EdNextians.

They are the privatization slant behind the EdNext post.

Education Next is a journal that promotes “choice,” and what that means is the privatization of public education, including the defunding of traditional public schools in the form of vouchers and charters. This defunding is accomplished via the grading of schools, and the grading of schools depends upon placing standardized testing as front and center in determining educational “value.” Many of the EdNextians also promotes CCSS, which have also been fused with high-stakes testing…

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The business of: Equipment leasing and rental | District Administration Magazine

As the economy continues its slow crawl out of the recession, school districts that had put off capital purchases are now replacing outdated equipment and buying new technology.However, administrators are still considering large-scale acquisitions with caution, says Michael Lockwood, president of TEQlease Education Finance, a company that helps schools and other industries finance equipment leases.A particular concern for district leaders is technology. Desktops, laptops and tablets change so rapidly that staying current can be challenging and somewhat cost-prohibitive, especially if the technology is widely used throughout schools, says Mike Rangos, vice president of contracts for E&I Cooperative Services, a member-owned, nonprofit co-op that helps educators connect with suppliers.

via The business of: Equipment leasing and rental | District Administration Magazine.

How Kids Are Learning to Code While Playing Minecraft | MindShift

Teachers are already capitalizing on their students’ fascination with the computer game Minecraft to teach everything from math to history. Now, a new add-on teaches kids to code their own modifications to the game. In his Wired article, Klint Finley explains how the creators of the add-on called LearnToMod hope their tool could be a gateway for students to discover a love of computer programming.

via How Kids Are Learning to Code While Playing Minecraft | MindShift.

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