DEN Trend Report: 4/26/2017

Looking to learn more about what’s trending in education?!? Here’s a recap of this week’s news. Let us know what you think about this week’s news in the comments below.

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5 technologies to avoid in the classroom-and what to use instead
(eSchool News)
By Meris Stansbury
One of the most popular articles on eSchool Media is a surprising one to the editors: “6 apps that block social media distractions.” This story, which seemed  a bit counter-intuitive for us to write (being a tech-cheerleading publication in nature), has held the top spot by a massive margin for almost three years now; which had the editors considering the question, “Are there technologies that should simply be avoided in the classroom?”

The opposite of boredom is not entertainment
(EdTech Update)
By Scott McLeod

George Couros recently wrote about an article in the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Ed. Magazine titled Bored Out of Their Minds. He included a quote but I would have picked a different one:

But the biggest shift we need,” Rose believes, is much more elemental. “We need to get away from thinking that the opposite of ‘bored’ is ‘entertained.’ It’s ‘engaged.’” It’s not about pumping cartoons and virtual reality games into the classroom, it’s about finding ways to make curriculum more resonant, personalized, and meaningful for every student. “Engagement is very meaningful at a neurological level, at a learning level, and a behavioral level. When kids are engaged, life is so much easier.”

Phenomena-Based Learning and Digital Content

By Matthew Cwalina
I have always loved chemistry. To me, chemistry is the perfect science. It is not only hands-on, but also theoretical. It is, in many ways, mysterious, but it also explains the world around us. Finally, chemistry makes our lives better while simultaneously providing a whiff of danger.

When I entered the classroom with my chemistry degree 17 years ago, as a rookie teacher, I dreamed of passing my love of chemistry onto my students.   However, a few short weeks into my teaching career, I was faced with the cold reality that in fact, my students did not love chemistry at all, in large part, due to my teaching style.

Finding the Ed-Tech Tipping Point
(Indie Sources)
By Leo Doran
Despite some high profile false-starts, education technology, or ed-tech, has been in vogue in education circles for years. Many educators have high hopes for ed-tech’s potential to be a game-changer in how students at all levels are taught.

A daylong event last week hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, or J-PAL, took a hard look at the research illuminating the current state of ed-tech efficacy. While ed-tech’s potential to reshape education delivery models feels intuitive to many of the trend’s proponents, demonstrating results in high-quality controlled studies, and in the real world, has proven to be tricky in some cases.

Throughout the conference, speakers noted that ed-tech on its own is not a “silver bullet” to fix shortcomings in parts of the nation’s education sector. Underpinning the discussions were the numerous cautionary talesillustrating that unless ed-tech solutions are implemented strategically, school districts and universities have at times spent large amounts of time and money to tread water.

Research: Let’s Move STEM Learning Earlier
(THE Journal)
By Dian Schaffhauser
All children are born scientists. Just watch very young children plan and plant a community garden, discussing how much watering it needs, what roots are for and how a plant’s growth shifts with the seasons. Yet the public perception appears to be that only some children have scientific inclinations, based in many cases on their family cultures.

According to a new research project, children who engage in scientific activities at an early age (between birth and age 8) develop positive attitudes toward science, build up their STEM “vocabularies” and do better at problem solving, meeting challenges and acquiring new skills.

The 3 Education Trends Preparing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
(Entrepreneur )
By Jon Phillips
Educators are tasked with the necessary burden of preparing today’s students to shape tomorrow’s world as our next generation of thinkers, leaders and entrepreneurs — the tireless creators who are at the forefront of innovation and driving the world’s economy. Recently, we’ve seen the traditional learning models begin to evolve with the meaningful incorporation of technology, as we try to equip students with the digital literacy required of today’s employees. But, with technology constantly changing, can we actually predict what skills and knowledge today’s students will need to lead the future workforce?

 Proposed Law Puts Professors in the K-12 Classroom
(THE Journal)
By Dian Schaffhauser

 Between 2010 and 2015, the enrollment of education majors in 15 University of North Carolina institutions with schools of education dropped from 15,000 to 10,454, a 30 percent reduction. According to the university system, a quarter of the state’s public school teachers leave the job in their first five years. While teacher recruitment and retention appears to be a nationwide problem, North Carolina is tackling the situation by proposing legislation that would allow faculty from higher education to work as adjunct instructors within K-12 schools in core academic subjects without a teaching license.

Greatest lesson: Teacher buy-in is overrated
(eSchool News)
By Karen Beerer
While consensus and collaborative decision-making is important, waiting for full teacher buy-in can also be paralyzing to innovation.

One of the greatest lessons my 30 years of experience in education has taught me is that teacher buy-in is, sometimes, overrated.

There, I said it.

Now, before you stop reading, note my use of the word “sometimes.”  As a former school administrator, I realize there is a time and place for buy-in.  However, as one of my mentors, a seasoned middle school principal once explained to me, while consensus and collaborative decision-making is important, it can also be paralyzing to innovation.  Understanding the balance between growing buy-in and launching innovation has never been more important than in today’s era.

Teachers Explain Why VR is More Than Just a Buzzword
By Kerri Gallagher

When I wrote about my high hopes for edtech back in August, student-created virtual reality was near the top of my list. I envisioned students incorporating guided VR into presentations, and creating augmented reality-triggered videos to explain their learning. Since then, VR has taken off in popularity, but there are still plenty of critics who wonder if the hype is worth the investment.

To find out, I spoke to educators from across grade levels and content areas who are actually using VR with their students. Based on their experiences, it appears VR has plenty of potential—especially when it comes to engagement. Here’s a run-down on the perks from some of America’s early-adopters.

Redefining Accountability to Treat Teachers
By Brian Gill
For the last two decades, policymakers have understood “accountability” in K-12 education to mean something very specific: formal consequences for schools and/or educators based on student outcomes (typically test scores). Outcome-based accountability in the form of high-stakes testing has been the primary policy lever used to promote school performance. The Every Student Succeeds Act creates opportunities for policymakers to re-imagine accountability in schools—and not only by incorporating additional measures of student success into outcome-based accountability regimes.



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