Can Students Have Too Much Technology?

Too much tech STICKERI recently read a very interesting article about how access to technology impacts students’ success. The article, published by the New York Times, was called “Can Students Have Too Much Technology?”. It shared research findings and comments from Duke and Stanford researchers that do not support the idea that handing a kid an internet-connected laptop or device will increase their success in school. Here are some highlights from the article:

  • ” ‘Students who gain access to a home computer between the 5th and 8th grades tend to witness a persistent decline in reading and math scores,’ the economists wrote, adding that license to surf the Internet was also linked to lower grades in younger children.
  • “With no adults to supervise them, many kids used their networked devices not for schoolwork, but to play games, troll social media and download entertainment.”
  • “If children who spend more time with electronic devices are also more likely to be out of sync with their peers’ behavior and learning by the fourth grade, why would adding more viewing and clicking to their school days be considered a good idea?”
  • “Even [with highly trained teachers facilitating the use of the technology], we still have no proof that the newly acquired, tech-centric skills that students learn in the classroom transfer to novel problems that they need to solve in other areas. While we’re waiting to find out, the public money spent on wiring up classrooms should be matched by training and mentorship programs for teachers, so that a free and open Internet, reached through constantly evolving, beautifully packaged and compelling electronic tools, helps — not hampers — the progress of children who need help the most.”

What do you think? Have you seen technology help or hinder your students? Tell me what you think in the comments below! :-)

Onomatopoeia Game for K-2

Onomatopeia PreviewI’m so thrilled to be blogging over at We Are Teachers! They’ve got tons of great ideas over there. My third post was an onomatopoeia game for grades K-2. It’s a really simple idea, but your kids will love it!

Click here to view my post and get the printable!

Things Animals Need (Graphic Organizer)

Animals Need preview

Week two blogging over at We Are Teachers? Check! This time, I created a graphic organizer based on the science standard that usually appears in lower grade science standards, identifying basic things that all animals need. So what are you waiting for!? Go check it out!

Click here to view my post and get the free printable!

Graphing Balloons (K-2)

Balloons 1 previewI have an exciting announcement to make! I’ve been going nuts trying to keep it secret! I’ve been asked to blog over at the fabulous teacher site, We Are Teachers! They’ve got tons of good information for teachers and getting a hang of the teacher lifestyle. I’m still getting used to the differences between blogging platforms, but I’ve already learned a ton! My first post over there was a two page graphing activity for lower grades. It’d be perfect for K-2, depending on the students.

Click here to check out my post and get the free printable!

Chinese New Year – Animal of the Year Graphic Organizer

I like using projects year after year. It makes my life easier. This is especially true with holiday projects. There are so many other things to do and update each year, that it’s impossible to keep up. My friend, who teaches kindergarten, recently shared this idea:

Dragons - Chinese New Year

In the spirit of working smarter (not harder), I created this graphic organizer to be used year after year, no matter what animal is the animal of the year for Chinese New Year! After talking about what Chinese New Year is, have the kids draw a picture of that year’s animal, and then write ideas about what that animal can do, has and is (see my friend’s example above). Chinese New Year - Animal of the Year

Click here to download the free PDF: Chinese New Year – Animal of the Year

Is it a Sentence? Valentine Freebie

Is it a Sentence - Valentine STICKERUnderstanding what a sentence is can be difficult for young children to grasp. They speak in sentences, but it takes lots of practice to be able to recognize them in writing. Here’s a super simple, Valentine’s Day themed worksheet to help your kindergartners learn to identify complete sentences. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click here for the free PDF: Is it a Sentence – Valentine

Valentine’s Day Pattern Art Project

Heart pattern project STICKER

I recently blogged about a DIY Zentangle (patterns) art project I ran into and loved. So I made my own version using snowflake shapes. It was so fun, that I had to make another one… with hearts for Valentine’s Day!

Click here for the free printable PDF: Pattern Party- Hearts

Pattern hearts

If you have an older grade class and you’re looking for a more complex project, you could use your school’s die-cut machine to cut our a bunch of card-stock hearts of varying sizes. Then let your students create their own version of the printable I made. Just warn them not to create too many sections or too small of sections. This will help ensure that ti doesn’t take them FOREVER to complete it!

Blended Learning: The Classroom of the Future?

I recently read a fascinating NPR article called “Meet the Classroom of the Future.” It describes the experience of a sixth grade class in Brooklyn, NY as they implement blended learning in an effort to increase student scores. The article defines “blended learning” as “combination of human capital and technology” in a classroom.

Blended Learning STICKER

 

Here are three excerpts from the article I thought were interesting:

“Beneath all the human buzz, something other than humans is running the show: algorithms. The kind of complex computer calculations that drive our Google searches or select what we see on our Facebook pages. Algorithms choose which students sit together. Algorithms measure what the children know and how well they know it. They choose what problems the children should work on and provide teachers with the next lesson to teach. This combination of human capital and technology is called “blended learning.” And regardless of whether it makes you uneasy, the program, Teach to One, seems to be serving Boody Jr. High well. A recent study of the 15 schools using Teach to One, had mixed results, but showed they are outperforming their peers nationally on average.”

“When these sixth graders get to class, they either log onto their laptop or check a monitor at the front of the room. It tells each student where to go — the room is quasi-divided by book shelves and small dividers into 10 sections… The computer also tells them what kind of lesson they’ll do.”

“Whether [the students have understood the lesson] or not, the algorithm will ultimately find out. At the end of class the kids do a short quiz called an “exit slip,” which the algorithm uses to gauge what they’ve learned. In five questions, this exit slip gives the algorithm the information it uses to decide which students will be grouped together the next day, and what work each of them will do. In a sixth-grade class, in theory, students might be working on everything from 4th grade level math to 8th grade level math. Around 5 p.m. every day, teachers get an alert telling them how students will be grouped and what lessons they’ll need to teach.”

This concept of blended learning is very interesting. As the article indicates, there are many pros and cons. One of the main concerns is that these algorithms end up teaching to standardized tests. I haven’t researched the idea enough to have a solid opinion for or against. The article ends with this sentence: “What remains unclear is the point at which standardization begins to take away from those other educational hallmarks: creativity and critical thinking.”

What do you think of this idea? Let me know in the comments below! :-)