Digital Generation

Uncertainty and Technology Integration

Written by Tim Pope

This entry is Part 3 in a three-part series. See Part 1: Too Much Uncertainty in Math Education is Cause for Concern and Part 2:  Uncertainty and the Common Core.

The education community in general, from educators to policy makers to materials providers, has been declaring that paper in schools is dying and computers will become the primary learning tool for students.  In the last ten years, technology has begun to emerge as a stronger supplemental tool in most schools (and a primary tool in a few).  The majority of teachers are perfectly comfortable, if not preferring, to access their instructional materials digitally.  If the schools I spend time in are any indication, LCD projectors have become as ubiquitous as overhead projectors were fifteen years ago.  Interactive whiteboards, graphing technology, “clicker” assessment systems, and other technologies are becoming more prevalent in our classrooms.  However, most schools still rely on paper as the primary tool for communicating with students both in terms of instructional materials and receiving work products.  Uncertainty here?  Let me count the ways:

  • Will technology lead to truly individualized learning or will technology be used to improve the communal classroom experience?
     
  • Is the one-to-one student tool a laptop, netbook, or tablet?  iPad or Android? 
     
  • Will instructional materials all be open-sourced, non-curated content from which teachers select or will teachers still use publisher-provided complete programs?
     
  • What is the true cost for technology?  Hardware, software, web tools, technology support, professional development are all costs that need to be considered.

There is uncertainty.  There are also resources that will help convert uncertainty to risk.  Along with professional organizations such as ISTE, web searches will turn up phenomenal educators such as Dan Meyer who are leading the way to help teachers use technology to improve instruction and learning.   Through (name your social media tool of choice here), vibrant communities have grown to help teachers implement incredible strategies for using technology to increase student learning.

I could continue to write of other uncertainties in math education.  School funding, changes in teacher and school evaluation systems, changes in student demographics and many other issues also lead to uncertainty.  It seems the best advice is to make sure we are embracing the first mathematical practice standard of the Common Core: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

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Support STEM learning with Technology in Practice

As a long-time member of the Hands-On Science Partnership, which is comprised of industry leaders who are deeply passionate about providing quality instruction in science, technology, engineering and math through the use of hands-on materials, tools, and programs, Kendall Hunt has had a strong interest in developing educational solutions that support STEM goals. That's why we're excited to let you know about our newest program -- Technology in Practice: Applications and Innovations.

Technology in Practice is a flexible and supplemental digital science curriculum for students in grades 6-9 that is available in Flourish, Kendall Hunt's digital learning network. It  consists of three online modules that can be taught in any order to address the importance of technology and innovation in daily life. Developed by BSCS, the nation's premier science study and developer of research-based curriculum, the online program is based upon the BSCS 5E model and supports STEM goals, the National Research Council's Framework for K-12 Science Education, and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Program modules can be purchased individually or as a complete curriculum. Each module comes with an introductory chapter called Doing Technology that addresses the importance of technology in daily life and illustrates the process of how technology is used to solve problems that occur in daily life. The chapter sets the stage for future learning as students progress through other modules.

All modules contain interactive digital learning resources at point-of-use that help students gain an understanding of technology design, engineering, and testing concepts. Additional hands-on activities are provided to further support classroom learning.

Try a Technology in Practice chapter for yourself! To register, go to kendallhunt.com/sneakpeek

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Focus, Focus…uh, what?

Well, here’s one of my “mom’s perspective” blog entries. My son is now finishing the 6th grade, my how time flies, and with any luck he’ll make it to 7th grade. Just kidding, he’s still a good student, but something seems to happen to sixth grade boys’ brains about midway through the year…they fall out. Anyone else experienced that? I know I’m not alone. They lose focus, they look at you like you’re speaking a foreign language, etc. I know, it’s normal, they all go through it to some extent, but still there is plenty of focus for some things that he deems important, Xbox being chief among them. I’m thinking that an educational publishing company, like my very own employer, Kendall Hunt, might have a great new digital delivery mechanism for all sorts of eLearning products…if we could just make them all into video games, which is already being done, but feed them through those portals they think are “cool.” 

Seriously, what about tying digital mathematics programs into Call of Duty where you have to find the solution to math problems to advance in the game, or to even start the game?  Put the high school chemistry textbook, in ebook format, into Xbox and maybe they’ll read it with their friends…?  That’s it!! Make it so I can program the video game console to only let him through to his games after he’s done math and science!!  I know, I’m grasping at straws here, but with this digital generation, with whom we seem to need to speak only in 11 second sound bites, can learning materials within the PlayStation/Xbox/Wii platforms be far behind?  Is anyone doing it already?

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Do College Students Learn Better with Tablets?

We all know that digital content delivery in the form of digital coursepacks and online course materials are finally storming the college publishing world, including the Kendall Hunt world of custom college publishing. But how do students want to get this content? According to a recent article on mashable.com (you can find it here: http://mashable.com/2012/01/06/tablet-publishing-education/) they want it to be available on their tablets. That’s because 86% of tablet-owning students in a recent survey said the tablet helps them study more efficiently, and 76% said they perform better in class as a result. Pretty impressive figures, no?

But what’s the reality? Well, we’ve always known that interactive learning boosts retention. We know that from our experience with inquiry based science products. But now we’re finding out that digital learning environments take students who were usually passive learners and turn them into active learners. And when you can carry everything you need to learn about your school subjects on a small, thin, tablet…wow, I wish I’d had that in college, it would have made studying so much easier in any location. Today’s college students are the first real digital generation, a generation whose learning environments can take them all over the world. Makes me wonder, where will they take our world?

How do you like to learn? Do you want everything on a tablet? In one place? Would you study more or better if that's how your learning materials came to you?

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Technology in the FYE Seminar

So, how do you connect with the digital generation that will be entering college as freshman this fall?

FYE SymposiumEngaging students "where they are" is important in connecting with college students.  Tim Vick, Director of First-Year Experience at Macon State University, has joined us as a speaker this fall for "Promoting First-Year Student Success in College & Beyond Symposium" Oct. 14-16 in San Antonio.

Vick will provide strategies to help First-Year Experience instuctors successfully integrate technology into the FYE seminar classroom.  He will examine a wide range of free and easy-to-use productivity tools to engage student and enhance teaching.

Other workshops at this fall's symposium will include:
- Assessing the First-Year Seminar
- Creating a Comprehensive First-Year Course for 4-year, 2-year, and Private Sector schools
- Academic Advising
- Instutional Advancement
- and much more.

Early Registration and Group Discounts Available!

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Getting Hired!

Have you Googled your name lately?  Back in the olden days of 1994 when my husband was a student teacher, the word "Google" wasn't even in his vocabulary, let alone a worry for his job search.

Today's digital generation of student teachers have a whole new set of rules to follow. Finding the jobs and getting the interview are only a part of the process. They also have to worry about their "web presence." 

Rebecca Anthony and Williams Coghill-Behrends work with the student teaching program at the University of Iowa.  They have dedicated a whole section in their college textbook Getting Hired to creating a Professional Web Presence.  The section, as well as the rest of the book, includes information, to do lists, and activities for students to learn about what it takes to become a professional educator.

Not only do they address photos, but also appropriate relationships and the non-professional implications of socializing online with students and parents.

getting hiredThe book, along with digital learning resources helps student teachers build their portfolio, job seek, get an interview, and then land the job.

Find out more at www.kendallhunt.com/getttinghired

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Kendall Hunt Custom Publishing for Higher Education

Kendall Hunt Custom PublishingWe spend a great deal of time here on the KH blog talking about our outstanding PreK-12 curricula. But there’s a whole other side to our business that I’d like to share with you:  our custom publishing for higher education. No, not vanity press, but true custom publishing. We’ve been doing this longer and better than anyone else. Ever have a professor in one of your higher education courses who gave you the book list, but then supplemented with all kinds of material and research of his own? Those are the professors who have discovered the value of custom publishing with KH.

We got started in the business back in 1944, when our founder, William C. Brown, bought the rights to 26 workbooks and lab manuals written and used by Midwestern professors. These titles, therefore, had guaranteed sales in those authors’ schools.  Kendall Hunt’s story is unique in today’s publishing industry full of mergers and acquisitions. You can read the rest of our story here.

Today, our Higher Education division offers you the opportunity to custom publish a title for your class with all your own, original material. Or, you can use some of your material, and some of the vast library of material Kendall Hunt has available to custom publish one of our existing titles for your specific school and course. You can use digital content delivery exclusively, or you can combine a traditional textbook with online course materials to create a hybrid product that will work for the digital generation as well as returning students. Check out our custom publishing options and solutions today!


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Geology for Communication/Journalism Students???

As a geology professor, how exactly do you capture the interest of non-major students who are taking the class just as a requirement?   Current events is a good place to start.

Better yet, what about tailoring a section of the course specifically to communication or journalism students.  That's right -- if a student is going to be reporting on or writing about geological disasters at some point in their career, they will be better prepared if they have some knowledge about it.  Which, in this digital generation, is highly likely.

Earth's HazardsDavid Best, the author of Earth's Natural Hazards did just that at Northern Arizona University.  The special section taught geology from the aspect of natural geologic disasters and catastrophes that the earth is capable of.  Students are engaged, because they recognized many of the events. They learn the geologic background of these events, and as part of this section -- they write about them as if they were already in their journalism careers.

If you are looking for engaging geology books for college students, this is the one for your course.  Earth's Natural Hazards studies the geological occurrences behind many of the natural disasters that most students already know about.  The book also uses digital learning resources to enhance the textbook materials and keep up with events which may happen during the course.



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Students + Strengths = Motivation

In a digital generation where college eBooks and digital delivery are becoming the norm, do students really understand their strengths?

One of the new strategies in First-Year Experience (FYE) programs is "Strengths-Based".

Dr. Marsha Fralick now focuses on this strategy in the new edition of her textbook "College & Career Success," 5th ed.

Instead of assessing a students weakness and helping them to overcome those, instructors help students focus on their strengths, which then helps to motivate students.  This motivation helps in selecting a major, learning the best study strategies, and being overall excited about college.

Learn more about the new features and chapters of "College and Career Success," 5th ed. at www.kendallhunt.com/fralick.




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Promoting College Student Success

How are we preparing this digital generation for eLearning in college?

Luckily more and more First-Year Experience (FYE) courses are including digital learning resources as part of their program.   Teaching students how to be successful during their first year of college gives students confidence, and sets a good foundation for them to really thrive during college. 

The authors of "Thriving in College & Beyond" understand that when students learn valuable personal development skills in the first year of college, and have a plan for their college career, they not only are more likely to stay in college through graduation, but also succeed in their career and life.

Learn more about FYE programs and strategies from Drs. Joe Cuseo, Aaron Thompson, and Michele Campagna at the Symposium on "Promoting First Year Student Success in College & Beyond" March 17-19 in Rosemont, IL (near Chicago)

Visit www.thrivingincollege.com/symposium.html for more information

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New Webinar Series - Take an Inside Look!

Lots of teachers tell us that they sometimes feel overwhelmed when it comes to choosing a new elementary, middle school, or high school curriculum -- especially now, when advances in technology have resulted in more new products than ever before, including a variety of products designed specifically for the digital generation. Since technology Inside Look logoshould make things easier, not more difficult, Kendall Hunt created the Inside Look Webinar Series for educators who want to learn more about our traditional and digital publishing solutions, but in a way that fits their specific interests and busy schedules. 

Inside Look Webinars are conducted live by Kendall Hunt curriculum experts and provide an interactive, in depth way to learn more about the many ways our hands-on, inquiry-based science and mathematics programs can help educators address, meet, and exceed their learning objectives. Each Webinar includes ample time for questions and answers, as well as demonstrations of curriculum features and activities. 

All Inside Look Webinars are free of charge and can be accessed from any Internet-ready computer, so there's no need to search out a meeting room or travel to another location. They're also offered at a variety of convenient dates and times, and there is no limit on the number you can attend. 

We hope you'll use this great new eLearning tool to get the information you need in the way you want to receive it -- register for an Inside Look Webinar today!
 

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