Children of the Code: Big Data, Little Kids

Children of the Code: Big Data, Little Kids

Truthout - Adam Bessie and Dan Carino

In the era of Big Data, children are tracked, analyzed and evaluated from birth - not only by corporations, but now, by the school system, as one father and educator illustrates in this graphic essay. Read More

Are We There Yet? The Forever-ness of Parenting

Are We There Yet? The Forever-ness of Parenting

The Huffington Post - Jason Graham-Nye

If you chopped life into three segments, this is how it would go.

The first 33.3% is basically a long period of knowledge acquisition. From Day One, questions arise. From the basics like, "How the hell do I feed myself, crawl, walk, tell Mum I'm tired?" to, "Why is the sky blue?", "Why do we have to go to school?", "When will I ever use algebra in 'real' life'?" Once school is done there may be more learning to come. An apprenticeship, Community College, University and some post-graduate work after that given the current crappy state of the job market. Heck, you may be a student until you're 30.

And then you hit the next 33.3%. The years of applying that "learning," unless you're like me with a liberal arts degree. So much interesting stuff learned, but not anything especially related to my current job of diaper executive. The learning ends and the application of that learning happens. In the middle of this 33.3% there is an inevitable mid-life crisis that often ushers in a new car, husband, wife and career. Read More

U.S. Teens’ Social Media Activity Is Diversifying

U.S. Teens’ Social Media Activity Is Diversifying

TechCrunch - Natasha Lomas

Anyone in tech can tell you that Actual Teens are hallowed ground. Where teens’ tastes wander, the industry froths itself into a frenzy attempting to follow. For teens are a bellwether of dollar valuations to come. So what are American teens keen on right now? A new report by the Pew Research Center delves into the tech that matters to the kids that matter.

First startling stat: access to mobile devices is enabling a nearly quarter (24%) of teens to be online “almost constantly”. Which does rather underline why Actual Teens are so beloved by the tech industry. These eyeballs are oh-so-hungry for content to consume. Read More

Robot Bug Teaches Kids to Code

Robot Bug Teaches Kids to Code

VentureBeat - Ruth Reader

Dash Robotics makes small bio-inspired robots that teach kids how to program while they play.

The bots are $50 apiece and come as a sheet of parts that you have to pop out and build yourself, like a model plane. The result is a six-legged plastic and fabric bug that you can program to run towards light sources or go through a maze. Read More

The iPad as a Tool for Creation to Strengthen Learning

The iPad as a Tool for Creation to Strengthen Learning

MindShift - Justin Reich

Imagine walking up to a stream. On the far side lies our ideal learning environment — student-centric, inquiry-based, resource-rich — our Someday. A series of stepping stones indicates a way across. These are our Mondays; achievable objectives interspersed across a torrent of new technologies, practices, and theories. This Someday/Monday dichotomy captures one of the core challenges in teacher professional development around educational technology.

As we look across to the opposite bank, we can see that the deep integration of new learning technologies into classrooms requires substantially rethinking pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, and teacher practice (Someday). However, as teachers, we need stepping stones (Mondays), and one of the easiest ways to gain experience with emerging tools is through individual projects or units. Teachers recognize the need to imagine a new future, to move towards the creation of innovative learning environments that provide our students with the best possible experience (Someday). In the meantime, we seek out a path of connected Mondays. Read More

Teaching Autistic Kids To Code

CNN Money - Lisa Hope King

The software development company has a goal to raise $350,000 through a 45-day crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. The money will pay for 3,000 young autistic adults to take a six-month online training course.

The program is a modified version of LiveCode's Create It product, which teaches people with no coding experience how to create basic apps like messaging, calculators, and clocks. LiveCode says the goal is to give people on the autism spectrum an opportunity to develop job skills.

Autism is a developmental disability caused by a neurological disorder that affects a person's social and communication skills. But most people with autism are highly skilled in other ways. Many are particularly adept at recognizing patterns and paying close attention to detail. Read More

Dungeons & Dragons Now Available on Steam

The Verge - James Vincent

Dungeons & Dragons is coming to a computer near you — as an actual, proper RPG complete with a dungeon master, your friends, and official content. Virtual tabletop software Fantasy Grounds now offers licensed content from Wizards of the Coast, with official packs of monsters, maps, and classes allowing you to bring the experience of D&D's fifth edition to your desktop Mac or PC.

It's best not to think of Fantasy Grounds as a game itself — instead, it's a tool that allows you to migrate the world of tabletop roleplaying to your computer, offering digital substitutes for everything from stat sheets to dice rolls. It doesn't have the same intimacy as playing in person of course, but if you're desperate for a D&D fix it's the next best thing. Read More

5 Reasons Not to Worry About Kids and Social Media

5 Reasons Not to Worry About Kids and Social Media

Common Sense Media - Caroline Knorr

It seems like every day there's another story about kids sexting, cyberbullying, or suffering from acute FOMO (fear of missing out). Yes, the risks of social media are real. But there's a lot about the way kids use and think about apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Kik Messenger and even YouTube that we don't understand. With millions of kids using these programs and only a fraction misusing them, they can't be all bad, right?

New research is shedding light on the good things that can happen when kids connect, share, and learn online. As a parent, you can help nurture the positive aspects simply by accepting how important social media is for kids and helping them find ways for it to add real value to their lives. Read More

Leaders Gather to Chart Future for Games in Education

Leaders Gather to Chart Future for Games in Education

EdTech - D. Frank Smith

With technology in classrooms more pervasive than ever, what's the future for games in education?

To help decipher that riddle, game developers, public officials and education leaders gathered Tuesday for the Games for Learning Summit, a one-day event during the 12th annual Games for Change Festival.

The event, organized by members of Games for Change, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), featured two keynotes and several sessions, allowing attendees to gain insight and learn strategies for developing video games for educational settings. Read More

The Benefits of Gaming & What Research Shows

The Benefits of Gaming & What Research Shows

MindShift - Jordan Shapiro

Games and learning advocates often come up against the video game stigma. Despite the fact that we’ve now seen decades of game play, and that a generation of gamers has grown up without a civilization collapsing, the bad reputation persists — and it’s mostly based around fear.

News stories abound: games make kids hyper, violent, stupid, anti-social. It’s not only that people are generally wary of the unfamiliar, we also live in a culture of heroism and progress that casts every innovation as a revolution. Rather than celebrating modification and iteration, we divide the world into what’s cutting-edge and what’s obsolete. We’re always afraid that the new school will completely displace an old school that we’re not quite ready to abandon. Read More

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