There’s no escaping the urgency for better science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction in the nation’s K–12 schools. If you don’t know by now that U.S. students have struggled to keep pace with their international counterparts in important core subjects, such as math and science, we’ll assume that you’ve spent the last several years teaching under a rock.
But just how bad is the problem—and what can U.S. schools do to better prepare students for the demands of an increasingly technical, STEM-intensive future?
We recently came across this interesting infographic from nonprofit Edutopia, which illustrates how a firm math and technology-based education can improve students’ long-term job and career prospects.
Should teachers use social media? What are the best practices for flipped classrooms? How are educators in other countries using computers and networks?
These were but a few of the 400 session topics at the 68th annual meeting of the ASCD this past weekend in Chicago, where technology‘s impact on teachers, students and institutions dominated much of the discussion. This year, the nonprofit’s three-day conference and exhibit drew more than 10,000 educators and administrators, as well as hundreds of vendors.
But technology isn’t a panacea, said ASCD speakers and attendees.
“We must think through how to help students use technology as a tool rather than having that tool rule our lives,” Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, declared during his keynote in the first general session Saturday. Rather than focus on tech skills per se, Hrabowski said, “the key skill every student should have coming to college, other than reading, is the ability to ask good questions.”
Technology is changing at a rapid pace, so much so that it’s challenging to grasp.
While there is little uniformity in technology, there are some trends worth noting that have spurred tangent innovation, including speed (a shift from dial-up top broad band), size (from huge computers to small handheld devices), and connectivity (through always-on apps and social media).
In fact, we have some to expect nearly instant obsolescence—smartphone contracts that last a mere 24 months seem like ages. Whether this is a matter of trend or function is a matter of perspective, but it’s true that technology is changing—and not just as a matter of power, but tone.
In 2013, technology has become not just a tool, but a standard and matter of credibility. While learning by no means requires technology, to design learning without technology is an exercise in spite—proving a point at the cost of potential. And it’s difficult to forget how new this is.
Fifteen years ago, a current high school sophomore was born.
Up until now, if you wanted to send content from a website directly to your Kindle for later reading, you had to install a browser extension. Now, however, you don’t necessarily have to if the site in question has implemented Amazon’s new “Send to Kindle” button. Made just for web publishers and WordPressbloggers, you can already see it on The Washington Post, TIME and Boing Boingwebsites. Publishers can design how they want the button to look to a certain degree via limited customization of the font, color, size and theme. Like all the other Send to Kindle shortcuts, all readers need to do is select the article they want to ship over, hit the button and they’ll see it on their favorite Kindle reader, be it the app or the device.