15 Feb

Kids and Tablets: The reason we tech in Elementary School

Tech has been taking up a more significant role in our lives. While the technology used to be something for adults, now children as young as three years old come in contact with it. This is not a bad thing, as these children will learn the skills that they need in their further careers. Most jobs in the future will involve tech up to some level. Therefore we need to teach our children these skills. Let’s dive into the reasons for educating our children tech.

Children will be better prepared for their future careers
I’ve already mentioned this, but shortly, most jobs will involve tech to some level. Thus, it’s essential that children learn how to use this technology from an early age onwards. It will make them a lot more capable of functioning in the ever-changing job market. The transition from elementary school to higher education is also a lot easier when you already possess technical skills.

Technology encourages collaboration
This might sound a little counterintuitive, but hear me out. You may be thinking that technology makes you work on your own and forget about your classmates, but how does this go with regular schoolwork? When you’re working from a book, you’re not connecting with your classmates either. Technology can encourage collaboration by giving them the opportunity to communicate via their devices and also giving them the chance to help each other when you have trouble with your technology.

Children will be more interested in learning
Learning dry matter from books is not interesting for most children. When using technology, you can make the lesson a lot more interactive. More interactive education isn’t only fun for the children; they will also pick up the matter sooner. Tons of studies have proven that matter is better learned when you must work with it compared to when you merely study it. Plus, students who love what they’re doing, are a lot more likely to make an effort and thus learn more.

They learn how to get the information they need
Getting information in our society is done the quickest through the use of technology, but this doesn’t mean it’s easy to find quality information. The internet is so big, and it can be hard to see the information you need when you haven’t learned how to. Thus, we should teach these children, as there are methods of finding the right kind of information.

Digital citizenship skills
Using the internet has become a lot more complicated the last years, you have an entirely new identity on the world wide web, and you need to know how to handle this responsibly. Children should be taught that you can’t just say everything via the internet, as words can hurt as much via the web as offline. On top of this, children need to learn how to handle their online information, as you need to know what is smart to share with the world and what is better kept private. Living in a digital world isn’t easy and online etiquette is more complicated then you’d think.

Technology teaches responsibility
When you’re dealing with an expensive device that is either your own or the school’s you need to be responsible for handling it well. When you’re controlling your devices irresponsibly problems will start to occur very soon, which will teach the children how important responsibility is.

All in all, we can tell that using technology in elementary school comes with a lot of benefits and is inevitable in today’s world. Technology plays a massive part in all of our lives, so we shouldn’t leave the children out of it. It’s better to teach them the right way to handle technology now so they can benefit from this as they get older in the future. Technology will only start to play a more significant role in our lives, so it’s just right to prepare the younger generation for this shift.

15 Jan

Enhance your Tablet: Accessories you Need to Get the Most Out Of Your Device

Zagg book rugged
For iPad Air owners who are among you, the Rugged Book is the “most powerful and versatile wireless Bluetooth tablet keyboard” on the market. Are you ready to be the Bear Grylls of the tablet world? Is it a thing? Do not despair if you have another type of iPad: Zagg sells hard shell cases for the most part.
The fantastic magnetic hinge makes this tablet accessory able to act as a box, a keyboard, a movie theater and a book. It can be chargeable for up to two years (assuming one hour per day). With a backlit keyboard function, you probably will not need another case while your tablet is still active. Given the battery life of the Rugged Book, I was able to survive it well.

Tablet support
If you need to hold your tablet anywhere, it can be tedious for your weak little arms and lean against various household items as you try to stuff yourself – it’s impractical to see House of Cards. The Plinth Tablet Stand solves these annoying problems and also fits in your back pocket, so your tablet stays mobile. Designed and made in the UK, it’s done at the touch of a button and even appeared (pretty impressive) in Dragon’s Den last year.
It is versatile, adjustable and serves as a support for iPhone 7 Samsung S8, tablet (has an iPhone and iPad Pro 6+ above) or even your Nintendo switch, cell phone or tablet (with or without case). Did we mention that this is also a lifetime warranty?

Riva S
The Riva S is a high-quality Bluetooth speaker designed for music, movies, and large volumes of Netflix (now that Go Binge lets you see what you want) through your tablet.
With 13 hours of battery life, it’s perfect and a multi-party mode, the days with a small, small speaker, while you and a group of friends hear the terrible sound (which makes it shocking) have already left behind.
With water-resistance and the ability to sync two left and right channel speakers, you’ll enjoy it. You can even begin to believe that you are strange in all things.

Zendure A5 portable charger
The exhaustion of the battery is the bane of our lives. And one of the top five stress factors facing Millennials in 2017 (it’s a joke). Whether you are away from home and just need to make a call to go home, or if you are an expert in preparation, you want your tablet to work with enough energy.

The Zendure A5 will charge your device four or five times before it runs out of energy (we discovered that fact even more) and it works with a variety of USB devices. Unlike most portable chargers, they can charge you one of the most useful features we’ve seen so far. So you can charge your phone and the A5 at the same time. This smart charger can even go to sleep when not in use. It’s small, durable and we would not go anywhere without one.

 

Jive Soundproof Helmets
A beautiful pair of headphones that isolate the sound and do not break the shore, for all the time you want to watch programs and listen to tunes without being disturbed or disturbed by the outside world. It’s mostly loud in high fidelity voices and comes with all the sounds you expect from a brand like Brainwavz.
Stylish, with foam tips, they are probably the most comfortable headphones we’ve ever tried. The three-button remote control is as easy to use as the others, and the microphone means you’ll never have to remove it again.

BioliteCampstove 2
For eco-conscious campers and the greediest among you, this is one of the most innovative tablet accessories (seriously, who invented this, is that great?!) that we’ve seen so far.
Not only does this campfire burn a non-smoking conventional biofuel fires (sticks, wood, embarrassing pictures, cards/gifts from your ex) to boil water, it will also use this excess energy to generate electricity and charge your tablet
BioliteCampstove 2 is one of those futuristic accessories that can revolutionize the most traditional activities: camping outdoors. Who has the marshmallows now?

Brush and brush Sensu
We have to confess. Most of us have big fingers. Like great sausages for everyday tasks, such as the cleaning of tears and the use of our hands as utensils for eating, but for the most complex things, it is the use of tablets, we prefer the brush and brush Sensu.
Your tablet is more than just a big phone or a small laptop: it’s the screen you’ve always dreamed of. But what is a painting without a brush? (Note: it is a blank canvas). The Sensu can be a useful tool for writing and drawing, or it can be used as a universal pen. It does not hurt that it’s so lovely to see a calligraphic brush.

15 Dec

Does Price Matter When Buying the Latest Portable Computer?

Android Tablet: Who should buy?

If you want to buy an Android tablet, you are probably in one of two main categories: (1) those who want to use the device to watch movies, read books, listen to music, and play casual games; or they want to change their device to make the most of it.
Android tablets will appeal to those who primarily want to consume entertainment since the starting price can be significantly lower. That means more money forever, and cheaper 7-inch tablets like Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire are more than capable of playing Netflix, Hulu Plus, music, and reading books.And just as the iPad can interact with other Apple devices, Android tablets can be a great companion to those who already own an Android smartphone.

iPad: Who should buy?
The iPad is an excellent tablet for those who want to experience beyond media consumption. While the iPad is excellent for watching movies, listening to music, and reading books, it can also be used to make movies, make music, and write books. Apple’s suite of software and desktop applications, such as iMovie and Garage Band, make this solution possible, and an increasing number of third-party applications lend substance to the App Store.

The iPad is also the perfect tablet for those who are a little intimidated by technology. Apple has opted for a more straightforward design, which means fewer adjustments, but also involves more comfortable handling. The simple design means you enjoy using a tablet with less time learning to use it.

After all, the iPad is an excellent companion for those who already own Apple products. iPhone users will love the iCloud Photo Library, which lets you share photos between devices, and Apple TV owners love to be able to send the iPad screen to their widescreen TV wirelessly.

Tablets work in the price range, so the purchase decision is a last-minute investment. For example, the Amazon Fire is perfect for a high-tech multimedia toy on a budget, while the iPad Pro is more suitable for someone who can use it as a stand-alone productivity tool.
Remember that you can buy accessories for the keyboard or the stylus, which improves the usefulness of your device, but increases your overhead spending.

Is it the right price?
You can pay a lot for a tablet, but it is not necessary. Tablets range from over $1,000 at the high end to under $50 at the low end, so you have many options, no matter how much or how little you want to spend.

Less than $100
You can find many low-cost Android tablets for less than $100 and Amazon’s 7-inch Fire tablet, a small, reliable device that costs around $50. However, at these prices, it is limited to tablets with low memory and low-resolution displays, and you will not find many that have screens larger than 7 inches. You will need to do your homework before buying to make sure you get a decent device.

$100 to $200
If you have a tight budget but you do not want to dunk in the basement, choosing under $ 200 is a great place to look. Most tablets in this price range are between 7 and 8 inches and run on Android, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7 inches. Storage capacities are still limited, with 8 or 16 GB being the norm, but you’ll occasionally find a tablet with 32 GB of storage on board.

$200 to $300
Pay a little more and get a bit more power and more details, such as higher resolution screens. At $ 269, the Apple iPad mini 2 low-end offers a display of 7.9 inches by 2048 by 1536 pixels, but its storage capacity is limited to 16 GB. In this area, you will also see larger 9 and 10-inch tablets.

$300 to $400
Here you will see more of the most important tablets of the highest quality. Here are the high-end tablets of 7 and 8 inches, as well as the low-end tablets of 9 and 10 inches. For $319 you get a 32GB iPad Mini 2, while for $399 you get a 16GB iPad Air or a 16GB iPad Mini, or the Google Nexus 9 Tablet for $ 399 and a wide selection of Samsung Galaxy Tablets.
$400 and more

The upper segment of the tablet market is a reasonably large segment, but here, tablets from secondary devices become legitimate substitutes for laptops. You get faster processors, bigger screens, more features, and more storage space (though you’ll always find some 16GB models here and there). You will also see tablets with integrated mobile broadband here. Tablets in this area include the iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, high-end Android tablets, and Surface Pro 4.

15 Nov

Which states are currently still pushing against Common Core?

Regular Core keeps on being the best worry in the states, with Mississippi and Wisconsin being merely the most recent states finding a way to separate themselves from the dubious standards. Mississippi is thinking about the full cancellation of the Common Core norms. State representatives Michael Watson and Angela Burks acquainted enactment with nullifying the models a month ago, with Watson revealing to GulfLive.com Mississippi “will wind up with our guidelines that are better, higher and cleaner than Common Core.” Wisconsin is likewise moving far from Common Core gauges. Pulling back from the Smarter Balanced consortium gives Wisconsin the chance to utilize another test—maybe affirmed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison—that could reflect state and local-driven guidelines

As of now, 38 schools statewide are in danger of being shut because of reliably low scores on government-sanctioned testing. In West Michigan, Washington Writers’ Academy and the Woodward School for Technology and Research in Kalamazoo and Muskegon Heights Academy in Muskegon Heights are in danger of being shut. As you read this, no less than five of the 45 states that marked on to receive the new Common Core State Standards have selected not to offer the online appraisals intended to gauge understudy results against the benchmarks. Over the mid-year, various states hurled their hands and said they couldn’t manage the cost of the appraisal sticker price. Also, in two bellwether states—Indiana and Florida—­legislators are getting an earful from grassroots pundits who see Common Core as a government takeover of state instruction strategy. Some have even named it “Obamacore.”

Texas

Texas never left much uncertainty about where it stands. In 2010, Gov. Rick Perry composed the White House and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to state that Texas drives the path in instruction change and would not squander additional dollars on “the appropriation of problematic, cost-restrictive national guidelines and tests. “Perry evaluated selection and execution of the Common Core at $3 billion in course books, preparing and testing materials for Texas. He additionally dropped references to “state power” and “undesirable government interruption.”

Alaska

The Alaska at first repelled Common Core norms, settling on its own. However, there have been late signs that Alaska is reconsidering that choice. This spring the state joined the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which is dealing with tests that line up with the Common Core. “The Smarter Balanced appraisal will enable us to contrast our understudies more intently and those around the nation and affirm the meticulousness of Alaska’s guidelines contrasted with the Common Core,” said Education Department Commissioner Mike Hanley prior this year. Critics in Alaska have gone online as of late to blame the state for slipping Common Core-adjusted benchmarks through the indirect access. “They are the very guidelines Governor Sarah Palin cautioned about,” understands one late post on a blog called Stop Alaska Common Core.

Minnesota

Minnesota confounds national records. The state embraced the Common Core, yet just most of the way. Minnesota in 2010 consented to the models for English. Be that as it may, Minnesota instructors and lawmakers preferred their math benchmarks better. Minnesota has helped lead the route on testing, this year utilizing a government-sanctioned test lined up with the English guidelines. The subsequent low checks, connected to more difficult principles, didn’t look impressive.

Virginia

In 2010, the Virginia state board doubtlessly questioned: “The Board of Education is focused on the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) program and restricted to the appropriation of the recently created Common Core State Standards as an essential for cooperation in government aggressive allow and qualification programs.” But the express’s own one next to the other assessment of English benchmarks finds the state for the most part lines up with the Common Core at any rate: “While the association and learning movements are not indistinguishable, the general substance from both is by and large adjusted.”

Nebraska

Nebraska hasn’t embraced Common Core; however, state authorities have said the schools cover most a similar material, precisely under various circumstances. Instruction authorities have scrutinized the national gauges. Deb Romanek, chief of math for the state instruction division in Nebraska, told the Lincoln Journal Star a month ago that there was no verification that Common Core was an ideal approach to educate math. “The jury’s still out.”

15 Oct

What states are Currently Dominating with Common Core?

At the outset, 46 states, embraced the Common Core State Standards, although execution has not been uniform. No less than 12 states have acquainted enactment with pull back the gauges through and through, and Indiana has since calm from the norms. Alongside the domains of the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the American Samoa Islands have embraced the norms while Puerto Rico has not received the guidelines. Out of 46 states and regions that at first embraced Common Core norms, just eight have entirely canceled the models, however more have adjusted them.  January 17, 2017, By Jill Norton, Jennifer Ash, and Sarah Ballinger appears to confirm that despite a few withdrawals and amendments, the more significant part of states is utilizing CCSS. As per a current Abt Associates examination — distributed as a component of a more considerable report — of the 46 states that initially embraced CCSS, eight states have authoritatively revoked or pulled back, 21 states have settled updates or have modification forms in progress, and 17 states have not yet rolled out any improvements. A standout amongst the most tireless inquiries in Common Core discuss is about updates made to CCSS. Did the modifications considerably upgrade the measures, the same number of CCSS faultfinders called for, or would they say they were more unobtrusive and minor, leaving CCSS for the most part in place? Addressing this inquiry, the Abt group directed an extensive output to distinguish any principles survey forms that had happened over the 46 states that initially received CCSS. We at last distinguished nine states – Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, and Utah – that had changed, or proposed to update, CCSS, however, had not revoked or pulled back from CCSS. We found an extensive variety of amendments in these nine states. Some were wording or arranging changes, while others added new aptitudes to existing principles or required new measures at various review levels. We understood that with a specific end goal to completely comprehend the corrections, we expected an outline of the sorts of updates made rather than just the quantity of amendments.

An investigation Sept. 21, 2017, Amelia Harper appears to check that Common Core has been questionable since the start. While a few people hailed it as an essential instructive change that would redress value issues and enhance training in a global society, others considered it to be an encroachment on state’s rights issues, particularly considering the way it was attached to government subsidizing. Instructors differ on the specifics of the principles, while guardians were baffled at the way the math gauges mainly made assisting with homework troublesome.

Two facts have risen over the most recent couple of years: Common Core has not satisfied its underlying guarantee, and it has been an impetus in driving states to investigate the meticulousness and pertinence of current instructive gauges. Many states have reexamined their criteria accordingly. In the modest bunch of years since the Common Core State Standards were revealed and immediately received by 45 states, the activity — setting benchmarks that spell out what understudies need to realize at each review level, over the states — has turned out to be uncontrollably disputable. As Education Next announced in an examination co-composed by Harvard Graduate School of Education Associate Professor Martin West, bolster for the Common Core declined discernibly near 2013 and 2014, debilitating to undermine the gauge reason of the task — that mutual scholastic guidelines crosswise over states are a smart thought, an idea that still wins full help on a fundamental level. As the issue debilitates to end up plainly more polarizing, administrative and campaigning endeavors are in progress in states the nation over to respite, audit, or cancellation the guidelines, and they’re going with evaluations or both.

A recent report by William Schmidt and Richard Houang, training scientists at Michigan State University, appears to check this. It found that the Common Core math principles have been exceedingly connected with those of high-performing nations. As in these states, the Common Core incorporates fewer themes for understudies to ace every year. The review levels for given points likewise tended to coordinate, as indicated by the examination.

An earlier examination drove by University of Pennsylvania preparing school dignitary Andrew Porter, found less consistency between the Common Core and the standards in three unique countries (Finland, New Zealand, and Sweden). Direction observers and several experts have reproached this examination; nonetheless, Porter hasn’t been isolated from every other person in his stress that the Common Core measures are less exhaustive than they could have been, particularly in math.

15 Sep

Who is helping Common Core succeed?

Through his exceedingly well off establishment, Bill Gates has burned through a massive number of dollars to make and advance the Common Core State Standards throughout the years. At the point when the activity kept running into resistance from commentators over the political range, Gates stayed enduring. Not exclusively did he keep on pouring cash into Core execution and advancement, at the same time, as indicated by another article in Fortune; he feasted with traditionalist wealthy person Charles Koch in February 2014 to endeavor to convince him to quit subsidizing casual get-together gatherings that were battling the Core. Koch didn’t move. However, Gates has kept up his help, and in 2015, he gave more than $42 million to a few dozen associations to help the Core.

In October 2015, Gates made a discourse in which he said he was pushing on with his suspicious training activities, on which he has spent a few billions of dollars since 1999. He has financed various endeavors, including a little school’s activity in New York City that he relinquished in the wake of choosing it wasn’t working, dubious instructor assessment frameworks that utilization understudy state-administered test scores to decide the “viability” of teachers, and the Core. As the world’s greatest humanitarian, Gates has been at the focal point of a national open deliberation about whether majority rule government is very much served when private people subsidize pet ventures with so much money that clear strategy is influenced — without genuine open information. The Core gauges were at first affirmed in full by 45 states. However, a modest bunch of states have dropped out and received new principles, some of them like the Core. The following are the 37 stipends that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave in 2015 to endeavors including the usage and advancement of Common Core, totaling simply finished $42 million. The scope of beneficiaries is wide, including not-for-profit associations, colleges, and writers. For instance, the not-for-profit distributor of Education Week — Editorial Projects in Education — got a $750,000 give “to help giving an account of issues identified with the usage of the Common Core, cutting-edge appraisals, customized learning, and school and profession preparation in Education Week.” (Gates has upheld Ed Week for quite a while.) The National Congress of Parents and Teachers won $999,276 in October to “bolster the preparation and engagement of parent volunteers around Common Core appraisals and anticipated evaluation comes about.” So, the PTA got almost $1 million to help with Common Core tests. In the wake of having spent some $3.4 billion on government-funded training in the United States – quite a bit of it coordinated toward the advancement and execution of the very disputable Common Core State Standards. Bill Gates says that 60 percent of his new venture will go to state-funded schools and around 15 percent to the improvement of contract schools. In a keynote deliver to authorities at the Council of Great City Schools meeting in Cleveland Thursday, Gates said a significant part of the financing would be to help systems of government-funded schools and areas that have shown advancement and utilize information gathering to enhance understudy execution.

In the wake of spending a few billion dollars endeavoring to change government funded instruction over almost 20 years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is stating that the activity is more laborious than its pioneers had thought. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the establishment CEO, composed this in a recently discharged yearly letter: “We are firm adherents that training is an extension to the circumstance in America. My partner, Allan Golston, talked energetically about this at a social affair of training specialists a year ago. In any case, we’re confronting the way that it is a genuine battle to roll out framework broad improvement. What’s more, she composed this about the establishment’s interest in making, executing and advancing the Common Core State Standards: Shockingly, the facility disparaged the level of assets and bolstered required for our state-funded training frameworks to be all around prepared to actualize the measures. We missed an early chance to connect with instructors – especially educators adequately – yet additionally guardians and groups so the advantages of the rules could take off from the most initial starting point.”

Here are Gates’ total CC grant expenditures by year and including the number of grants:

$269,998.00

$10,100,849.00

$25,442,639.00

$74,636,679.00

$30,129,285.00

$64,247,151.00

$41,216,092.00

$45,506,299.00

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

2013

 

2014

 

2015

1 grant

 

7 grants

 

22 grants

 

30 grants

 

18 grants

 

83 grants

 

45 grants

 

40 grants

Total grants

$291,548,992.00

2008-15 245 grants
15 Aug

Do Tablet and Computer use help Common Core Studies?

The Common Core studies standard (CCSS) is a hot debate, but despite its mixed opinions about the program, it has been implemented across 42 states and U.S. territories. The objective of Core Standard is to ensure each student graduating from High School’s college or career readiness. It is a systematic standard set from Kindergarten to 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and Mathematics. The implementation of CCSS rests on teachers with the help of technological resources available to them. Teachers have a crucial role in the development of the Core Standard and application in the classroom.

Common Core Studies sets high excellence constant across states issuing teachers, parents, and students with a clear set of calculations ensuring that all students have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in life. This estimate includes tertiary level education, career, and living once they’ve graduated from High School regardless of location. The Standards are aligned with expectations of colleges/universities, training programs within the labor force and employers. CCSS advocates value by giving students security in preparedness to cooperate, collaborate and compete with their contemporary in the United States and abroad. Technology plays a major role in the implementation of the Core Standards in application and benefit of students.

As technology and innovations move to create disruptions across all industries, education sector must cope with these disruptions and changes by implementing technological applications utilizing gadgets such as tablets and computers.

Here are five principles where the use of technology via the utilization of computers and tablets help teachers implement CCSS as well as efficiently raise student readiness.

1. The use of technology via tablets and computers enables teachers to do more with less time and resources. Tablet and computer social media applications equip teachers to create a dynamic network of communications with student including Twitter, Facebook, and Tumbler. Mobile apps allow for automatic grading of students’ written work as well as for teachers to choose from available lesson plans from databases.

2. Policies change as district leadership change; these create drawbacks in teaching students the fundamentals of different subjects. Teachers can utilize tablets and computers to access online educational resources to remedy the lack of substantial content for fundamentals as well as of various subjects and topics that are hit by policy changes.

3. Open source technologies keep certain resources at low cost. Teachers can use open source technologies as alternative tools from proprietary products. Open source technologies are stable, secure and compatible with different platforms. These are used by organizations and businesses for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Open source has significant communities that allow for excellent customer support. Teachers can utilize open source technologies as learning tools in keeping with CCSS at low cost.

4. Tablets and computers allow for paperless student portfolios – a source for evaluating students on how they deal with different subjects. Portfolios enable students to showcase their creativity for difficult issues or topics. Online portfolio providers give teachers a choice on how these are applied and needed in their classroom. One benefit of online collections over paper-based ones is the variety of options with regards to formats and medium – video, music and other interactive formats and features.

5. Tablets and computers are CCSS supported and facilitated for education technologies innovations and developments. Embracing the Common Core Standards simplifies core values for teachers as guidelines are streamlined. CCSS eliminates redundancies and conflicts that existed in previous district/statewide guidelines. Core Standards enables innovators to focus on developing tools benefiting students more instead of solving challenges of complying with multiple sets of standards.

Students benefit from using tablets and computers. These exceptionally change the learning environment of students in school and at home. Students have greater access to educational resources even outside the school. Teacher-student communication made easier even outside the school. These devices are creatively used to engage students more in the learning process. Contrary to expectations, students do not use these tools for a misdemeanor.

Tablets and computers enable teachers to source out different educational materials that weren’t accessible to them before that are at par with CCSS. Explainer videos are good examples of educational materials that benefit students in retaining more information and knowledge.

Common Core Studies Standards and technologies including tablets, computers and educational applications work hand in hand with teachers to improve the quality of education in and outside the classroom. Engaging students move through different mediums and sources as well as improving knowledge retention. The school system is the last bastion of the industrial era that’s little by little being overtaken by technology. CCSS is paving the way in equipping students for higher learning and success in life but also to prepare them for the current disruptive and innovative world of technologies.

15 Jul

Is there enough research that Common Core is working?

Common core is now being widely adopted and used for the creation of curriculum for Kindergarten through Grade 12 particularly in 2 basic college and career areas namely: English Language Arts and Mathematics. In the District of Colombia, 42 states have adopted Common Core Standards into their curriculum ensuring therefore that their graduates become prepared for 2 or 4-year college courses for those who intend to continue their studies or for those who prefer to become part of the workforce, to ensure that these standards fit local industry standards.

In addition to acquiring feedback from educators, Common Core was also developed by observing worldwide performers – outstanding schools in other highly developed or top-performing countries including their methods of instruction, goals adopted by them and instructional tools. These days, many techniques are being developed in classroom instruction, and it is the view of the developers of Common Core standards that everyone must keep abreast with the latest, most realistic and practical methods of instructions for K1 to 12.

The development of the standards is based on high-quality research taking into account the ability of the student to acquire language and mathematical skills. It also took into account career development requirements as well as international trends in Mathematics, Science, and Language; with continuous monitoring of student, improvement is focusing on coherence and achievement.

There are no actual statistics to prove that Common Core is working, but we have data like the ones mentioned above that Common Core is a collaboration of schools, educators/teachers and governors and education chiefs. There was also in-depth reliance on representatives of higher education and the experts who were tasked to gather public opinion. These were reduced into writing for submittal to a final review committee. After standards have been developed, these were published in June 2010 and made available for voluntary adoption.

Now since Common Core is not enforced, it must be expected that during the first years of its implementation, schools would try to avoid it as most people shun change. But as news about its benefits spread wide, more schools and more states have begun adopting it.
The Common Core Standards were based on the feedbacks obtained from teachers and standard experts across the U.S. Thus, the NEA (National Education Association), AFT (American Federation of Teachers), NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English). The goal is to provide students with enough preparation whether they proceed to College or choose to work and raise families. The Standard developers want to assure Parents that these standards meet college and workforce and employment standards.

Why Common Core? Common was the word chosen to make consistent the application of standards wherever the student goes. The goal was to put him on equal footing with his contemporaries. Before the passing of these Common Core Standards, standards varied widely from state to state.

Common Core values will gradually replace existing systems. Textbooks, teaching methods, and materials as well as digital study aids, are now being updated, replaced or improved. Teacher feedbacks are continuously being ascertained and student performance continuously being monitored to ensure that Common Core Standards are working. The Common Core effort will be continuous, and new common core values will be adopted – this will include making available updates and guidance to educators and implementors like teachers, authors, and students.

Common Core State Standards will emphasize on the clarity of goals and expectations, particularly in language arts and mathematics. Common Core Standards do not intend to write the lesson plan for teachers as lesson plans are based not only on the curriculum but also on the circumstances of the student, and the locality, and therefore best when written by the teacher himself. Teachers and states can tailor fit these standards depending on prevailing circumstances.

Common Core’s gentle approach does not force institutions to adapt to it right away. Schools are given time to adjust to cutting-edge learning and teaching techniques. Thus those who decide to accept it do so when they are ready financially and professionally. Professional Development will be essential in the development of teachers and methods, tools, training materials, instruction materials such as textbooks and digital aids. Thus adopting Common Core standards in classroom instructions will cost the school. With the use of online methods nowadays, however, Common Core methods become more available and inexpensive.

It will be hard to measure and determine whether Common Core Standards are being adopted and applied when schools are encouraged to tailor fit it. So as of this writing, Common Core Standards still vary from state to state depending on prevailing circumstances.

15 Jun

What is the PARCC Test for?

PARCC, which stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career, is a relatively new type of state exam that was initiated in 2010. The idea behind the introduction of PARCC standardized testing was to ensure that the education system of each state was complying with the guidelines dictated by the Common Core. In other words, the aim of PARCC testing is to ensure that each student who graduates, regardless of the state he or she is obtaining education from, graduates with a defined set of skill and knowledge that will enable them to join the professional world fully prepared. As the acronym suggests, PARCC testing checks whether a student is ready to pursue a career or enter college and if not, then what areas need more work and focus.

Common Core
To ensure consistency in the level and standard of education being provided in each state, the Common Core was introduced in 2010. The Common Core set guidelines and reference points for instructors, schools, and students of all levels between kindergarten and the 12th grade.
As the Common Core is relatively new, there is still a lot of debate about the effectiveness of the initiative.
When the program was launched, 46 states adopted it, but six states out of these 46 repealed their participation, bringing down the number of actively participating states to 40.

Targeted Students
The PARCC standardized tests are designed for students enrolled in grades 3 to 11. The test questions are formed in such a way to completely integrate the level of education that the student should ideally possess after a year of schooling, with real world problems to gauge how ready the student is to set foot in the real world.

Member States
When the PARCC testing was initiated in 2010, 24 states joined hands and implemented this standardized tests in their states. Unfortunately, due to controversies and lack of research on the effectiveness of the tests, the hesitation displayed by many students and their parents, most of the states have repealed their memberships and have returned to the previous forms of standardized testing.
Currently, the following are active members of PARCC:
District of Colombia
Illinois
Louisiana
Maryland
Massachusetts
New Jersey
New Mexico
Ohio
Out of these, Illinois implements the PARCC tests only up till the 8th grade and continues to use SATs for grades 9-11.

Contents of the PARCC Test
In the short time since their launch, the contents of the PARCC tests have been modified several times to accommodate more and more students and to maximize state participation. Regardless of these efforts, PARCC tests still have not gained much popularity in most states, and even in states where it is enforced, parents and students have repeatedly voiced their concerns or boycotted the tests.
The PARCC test is divided into two main modules- Mathematics and English/Language Arts. The exam questions are modeled to promote critical thinking, analytic power of students and their problem-solving skills.
Anyone with a little bit of experience in the world of academia, e it as a student, parent of a student or as an instructor, would know that when it comes to any test or exam, the way a question is asked is just as important as what is being asked. The PAARC tests aim to integrate both aspects and come up with a comprehensive testing strategy to gauge a student’s standing and his readiness for college and career.

Preparing for the PARCC Tests
Experts and test makers state that if students are provided with an education that is compliant with the guidelines set up by the PARCC and the Common Core, then students do not need any extra preparation for the PARCC tests.
Sample papers and past PARCC tests are available online to facilitate students who are preparing for the tests.

PARCC Scores and What They Imply
Instead of being rewarded or penalized by a student’s PARCC tests, these tests aim to provide an efficient evaluation of a student’s performance and knowledge. The test results are shared with the students, teachers, administrators, and parents so that they can reevaluate their education strategies with the aim of bringing up the test scores of the students in that school and state.

As noted before, the effectiveness of the PARCC tests as a measure of a student’s performance or readiness for college and career is not an established notion. A lot of debate and conflict still clouds the tests and is because the tests are relatively new and not enough research has been conducted. As well, not enough statistics are provided to demonstrate a relationship between PARCC test scores and success in the career or college life of the student.

The PARCC tests have a performance level based scoring system. In other words, in addition to providing the students with a numerical representation of their performance in the test, the PARCC tests also place them on a spectrum divided into performance levels. There are five different levels, with level one and two implying the student needs significant improvement to meet the standards set by the PARCC and Common Core. Meanwhile, level 3 signifies a good performance by the student with some room for improvement. O the other hand, a level 4 or 5 imply that the student has met or exceeded the expectations set by the PARCC and the Common Core.

Final Verdict
Although a lot of research and statistics are required to prove or disprove the effectiveness of the PARCC standardized tests, that requires time and patience. Unless a significant number of graduates who have undertaken the PARCC tests enter the professional world or colleges, there can’t be enough relevant data for a proper conclusion. For now, it should suffice for schools nationwide to maximize their efforts to ensure that every student who graduates does so equip with the necessary tools and skills required for him or her to survive in college and career.

15 May

What are the Technology Hurdles that New Students Face?

Despite the increasingly widespread use of technology in education, there have been misgivings whether its introduction has done more harm than good. As recently as a couple of decades ago, merging technology with education was a newfound concept. Student rushed to libraries to write papers and essays. They poured over mounds of books to get the required data. Preparing for an exam meant spending a night in the libraries over reference books. But the introduction of technological devices, especially the World Wide Web has made the life of students easier by providing everything a click of a button away. Those reference textbooks are now stored in tablets and material for essays is one Google search away. Despite all the advancement in this field, there are many obstacles students face daily. Some of these problematic issues are:

Resources:

Not every classroom and school can be updated with latest technologies. It is particularly the case for developing countries. Providing your school with the latest technologies requires ample resources. Introducing the internet to a class of 20 students need a significant amount of bandwidth. Moreover, you will also need an IT professional to deal with all the glitches in the system. Requiring students to do their homework on tablets might also mean that they might not be able to get the help of their parents if the parents are not technology oriented. Schools will also have to hire trained instructors that can manage the system and give practical training to students as well which will increase final expenses considerably.

Using technology as a crutch:

In one way, technology has proved itself to be an obstacle for students. They now rely too much on help and are less willing to exercise their minds. The introduction of calculators in classrooms was questioned as it was an easy solution for students who struggled with math. They are quick to turn Google to find their answers and as a result, critical thinking has gone down the drain. Many students these days do not bother to learn the spellings as everything can be auto-corrected now.

 Resistance to change:

Public schools in the US provide at least one computer for every five students. But studies have shown that the teachers are less willing to adapt to new teaching methods. With the influx of new technology, teachers are playing catch up and learning how to incorporate new tools into their curriculum. With the introduction of tablets and laptops in the classroom, training sessions should be specially arranged for the educators if we want to get the maximum output from the teachers as well as students.

Unreliable device/software options:

One of the greatest hurdles that new students are facing is the unreliable software and devices. The excuse ‘dog ate the homework’ has been replaced with ‘my computer crashed’ and might be more valid than the former one. Students have faced massive loss of data and their research work each year just because the hard disk decides to crash at the wrong time. There is also much-unregistered software lurking out on the Internet which makes the system unstable and pose a potential threat to the safety of students and their work.

Distractions:

Where technology has helped students make their job easier, it has also provided them a straightforward source of distractions as well. Despite the strict rules, students admit to using their smart phones during the lessons whenever their attention wanders or vice versa. It’s hard for the teacher to keep an eye of each student to check whether they are using laptops for educational apps or to just log on to some messenger. Many schools have blocked social media websites in schools, but the students have found a way around that as well. Even if the school does manage to block such distractions, they are accessible in their home environments. The homework that is to be done in half an hour now takes almost half as long because of the short attention span of students.

Gaming:

There are some excellent applications available that have a great educational value and applications are particularly useful for teaching a lesson which might prove to be monotonous for students otherwise. But on the other hand, there are tons of free gaming apps available online that have no educational value whatsoever. These games can be quite addicting and take away the productivity value of the classroom environment. Instead, more focus needs to be placed on physical exertion.

Plagiarism:

Where the Internet has made research easy for students, copy paste trend has also been noted to increase. Students take the Wikipedia word for the law and deem further research unnecessary. Separating the facts from fiction has become an unheard of the job. Studies have shown a decline in critical thinking ability of students. They are more willing to accept whatever data has been presented to them instead of questioning its credibility. Though credit must be given where it is due, students have more creative to dodge the plagiarism checking software.

Different Social Dynamics:

There has been a noted trend of parents’ home schooling their children in recent years. Online schools have been on the rise. Although this is an efficient system, online schooling does not provide the same social benefits as a regular school. Without any teacher to guide and keep an eye on them, they might be inclined to take their lessons less seriously. Also without any social interaction with the peers of the same age, such students do not learn the social cues and are less inclined towards forming new friendships and relationships.

One thing is for sure; all the gadgets in the world will have zero impact on learning until and unless the teachers are professionally trained to help them evolve from conventional teaching practices. They require motivation and incentives to help them transfer to modern teaching methods gradually.  Moreover, students are required to be motivated not to use technology and gadgets for shortcuts.