Kids and coding: What might Seymour Papert say?

(Updated August 2016, May 2017) I am very pleased that there is a growing sense in the education world of the connection between coding and cognition and learning. There is a mountain of research examining the various beneficial cognitive effects of learning computer programming. Great! But, I believe Seymour Papert would say that students learning... Continue Reading →

The SAMR model was not created to classify apps

The SAMR model was not invented as a way to classify apps.  This poster continues to be circulated widely among educators over the past few years. Unfortunately, it also continues to perpetuate a misunderstanding of the SAMR model. I use this poster and others regularly in professional learning workshops as a provocation. Discussion about the possible merits... Continue Reading →

10 Good Things

Thanks to a challenge from Tina and Jay, two of my #peel21st colleagues, I wrote a list of ten good things about my professional practice right now. As Jay noted, it's always tempting to be critical but it always helps to consciously reflect on the good things that are happening. So, here is my list of ten... Continue Reading →

Learning in the 21st century: What does it mean to you?

Every day I read or hear about a new tool, app, web site, kit, toy, or device that is reported to have a significant impact on student learning. Actually... none do. The way they are used... might. So-called "21st century skills" (such as collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking) have been arbitrarily chosen... and they existed... Continue Reading →

Introduction to ScratchJr

[Note: Updated, April 22, 2015] App Name - ScratchJr Cost - Free Website -  Tablets - iOS and Android Developed by - Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University iOS Download - Android Download - What is ScratchJr? ScratchJr is a tablet app that young children can use to create simple programs such as stories, games and... Continue Reading →

Coding in the service of learning

In a recent blog post by @MatthewOldridge, he questions the 'whys' of learning to code. And rightly so, I think. If you are at all following educational trends, you are probably aware that people are seriously discussing the merits of coding/programming in terms of a new literacy. For example, you have probably seen all or part of this... Continue Reading →

Flow as an antidote to disengagement

As much as the “discovery” mode of learning in schools has been bashed by various education critics, I believe that the most powerful, memorable, impactful and longest lasting experiences in our lives arise from those periods in which we are completely immersed in a self-driven deep exploration of something or an equally self-driven need to... Continue Reading →

Why integrate technology in the classroom?

There are many benefits to taking time and energy to effectively integrate technology into learning tasks, which already will include knowledge/skills/values from the curriculum and various pedagogical strategies. There is a very useful model, called the TPACK framework, and it can help educators visualize the overlap of each these areas of knowledge that are used when designing learning tasks.  In... Continue Reading →

What predicts BYOD / BYOT Success?

Our board is making its way through the first year of a standing, open-invitation to all students and teachers to BYOD--bring your own device--to school and use it for teaching and learning (also known as BYOT--bring your own technology).  Schools are very complex environments and it will take time for personal device use to become... Continue Reading →

Digital native/immigrant notion can be misleading

Prensky's 'digital natives' and 'digital immigrants' dichotomy is just one current incarnation of the old "generation gap" cliché. Yes, I do concede that there might be a gap in the general knowledge and skills of what is happening in youth culture and what is happening in the culture of the parents of today's youth. I... Continue Reading →

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