Education and Technology #140edu Conference Day 2

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From BrainRacer

Last week I attended the first #140edu conference held in NYC in which educators, parents, students, administrators and anyone with a vested interest in education was given a platform to be heard and share their ideas on education and the Internet. For more on the conference in general and highlights of the first day see Lessons From a Tech Savvy Education Conference 140edu Day 1.

Day 2 had many fantastic speakers also. And I want to make clear that I am only covering select speakers due to time and space constraints. All had very useful information which you can find more about from the links at the bottom of the post.

Lynn Langit – Teaching Kids to Program around the World
Lynn Langit is the co-founder of Teaching Kids Programming, a new way to teach kids, 10 and up, to program using rapid feedback and intentional techniques. Lynn was always concerned with girls getting into Math and Programming fields because growing up she was always told, “girls don’t do math”. She refused to conform to the stereotype and began teaching programming to girls early on. She would give students a query and instead of using a search engine, she would have them write a program to find the answer. Then to create an animation, instead of buying an animation program, they made one.

Our kids need to be ready for the jobs that will be there when they are grown. Langit now works for Microsoft. They saw that school classes are more focused on consumption of technology than creating it so they gave Langit the job of Information Technology and Services Consultant to work on changing this. She was very passionate about kids and programming and especially not leaving girls behind. Her own daughter, a 6th grader, spoke to us about YouTube.

Eric Sheninger – School Improvement One Character at a Time
The principal of New Milford High School spoke about the benefits to schools of administrators and teachers using social media. Some of these benefits are:

  • The principal must communicate effectively. Using Twitter, Facebook and blogs allows them to connect in real time and is free.
  • Social media gives schools the power to brand themselves.
  • Teachers have access to professional growth, knowledge acquisition, shared resources and discussions.
  • Through social media opportunities can be found to help the school and the students such as trying out new products for free.

Kyra D. Gaunt, Ph.D – Do Professors Cheat Students by not Listening to Them
Gaunt is a TED Fellow who voices the unspoken thru song, scholarship and social media. Her talk was fascinating and a topic not often spoken about. College students are adults but few people acknowledge that. (I know that most parents don’t, but that is an entirely different blog post). Because professors think of their students as kids, they don’t listen to them the way they would listen to other adults. Because of this, students are being cheated of their humanity.

Mahipal Raythattha – Using Games to Deliver Motivation for Learning
The founder of Brain Racer, math educational games, spoke about using game mechanics in education. Game mechanics are the tools that game makers use that keep the audiences engaged. Gamification, which has become a big topic in business lately, is not just about giving badges. It is a design tool or pattern to give an experience to an audience. In education it is give the proper experience to students.

To incorporate Gamification into education, start with game design principles. We need to get the student’s attention and have their attention engaged at higher and deeper levels. We also need to maximize their discretionary time. It is also important to look at what motivates people to engage with content. There are four different core motivators:

  1. Socialize
  2. Explore – curiosity
  3. Social competition – achievements – rewards
  4. Social competition – fun of competition

Teachers are used to thinking about teaching to different learning styles. It might be a good idea to add in motivational styles also. And something for parents to keep in mind. When there is discretionary time, we will engage in activities that are the most rewarding. Therefor if we want to get our kids to spend time on educational pursuits outside of school, the more fun and engaging they are, the more likely our kids will chose to use them. Fun and education should not be mutually exclusive.

Michael Kelly Sutton – Students Using Social Media To Hack Their Education
Sutton is the Founder of Hack College, and a software engineer at blip.tv. Sutton had a few very good pieces of advice for students. Bogs are the best resume you can have. Students should be prolific while still in school. Publish everything that you write online. College is still the number one opportunity for students to earn credentials for a job.

Additional Resources
7 Innovator’s Views on Education from Skillshare’s Penny Conference
Best Interests of the Students
140edu Conference schedule
140edu Ustream – watch videos from conference
Search Twitter with #140edu

See also:
Video Games in Education Slideshare
Game Design Programs for Teens Create Innovative Learning Experiences

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