Design Thinking for Classroom Furniture
In this episode, Ricky and Kristy discuss how design thinking should be a part of classroom furniture purchases and other ed tech news stories of the week.
Ed Tech News RunDown
Using Design Thinking
An Ed Surge article talks about using a design thinking approach when deciding what classrooms should look like. The article asserts that most classroom furniture decisions are made by browsing through a catalog and deciding based on how good or cool something seems to be. Rebecca Hare, an art and design teacher and a education consultant has a better solution. She believes “Teachers can start simply, with the overall goals they have for their classrooms, the types of projects they want to do and the mindset they want to instill in students.” From there? Well, that is when you start deciding what the space should look like. One of the biggest concepts she suggests is for a classroom to be agile. This way students can be a part of the process as the year goes on and the space can be improved. Too many classroom furniture decisions are being made by admins that may rarely, if at all, set foot in classrooms that they are buying furniture and I think we can all agree that isn’t the best way to do this. Definitely an article to checkout if you are making upgrades to your classroom furniture.
Robots Teaching Kindness?
Another Ed Surge article, this one is titled, “When robots teach kids computational thinking and kindness”. That title is a little deceiving as this article is more about how kids working together to accomplish programming and robotics projects can help lead them to better soft skills. Whether we want to accept it or not, robotics and programming is going to be a huge part of the future. With that future comes a lot of speculation about robots replacing teachers or other humans and it is easy to see it as a bad thing for human connections. But, if we look at computer science like a tool that can be used to solve many problems, and make sure we incorporate group projects involving computer science, we can make sure human connections remain strong. So, at the end of the day, if we allow computer science projects to be strongly rooted in collaboration we can hopefully continue to build connections and humanity even in a robot infused world.
Another Ed Surge story… I’m sensing a trend here… and this one is about alternative assignments and how they can effectively assess student learning. This article came as a result of a twitter chat called #DLNchat. The chat was intended to be a conversation about assessments and if standardized testing and assignments can be replaced and if so, how? One of the biggest challenges to using alternative assessments is grades. Standardized tests and other basic assignments are easy to grade and that grade means the same thing to anyone who takes that particular test. Rubrics are definitely a way to combat that but even a great rubric has a lot of subjectivity when it comes to create or demonstrate types of assignments. In my Opinion, this is where ed tech can save the day. Creating the opportunity for shareable rubrics that universally “mean something” to higher ed or companies looking at transcripts.
Be Aware of Your Kid’s Apps and Their Safety
And you guessed it, an Ed Surge story, Why some children’s apps might not be as safe as you think. A recent study looked at whether apps certified compliant with child privacy law did a better job safeguarding privacy than non-certified apps. Spoiler alert… they did not. One of the large problems is that the organizations who try to make sure these apps are safe simply do not have the technological capabilities to get in the code and really see what’s happening. They rely on terms of service and self-reported data and questionnaires to rate and certify these apps. One of the problems is many apps use some degree of ‘third party’ code and may not know exactly what that code is doing with data. With Facebook’s data mismanagement issues in the news recently, it is important that parents take the time to research apps and what information they are asking of your children. Data breaches are real and protection of children is extremely important. Take the time to check what your kids apps are accessing on mobile devices, location would be a primary concern but try to know as much as possible. I don’t think we can take the “I didn’t know” argument anymore.
Check out Episode 78 Where we talk more about successful A.I. and Mabot.
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