Our mission is to build teachers’ capacity to engage students in high quality, technology rich, interactive curriculum in order to increase student achievement.
2015 - 2017
Seamless integration of technology and instruction that empowers all staff and students to create, communicate, collaborate, and problem-solve while providing a meaningful learning environment which prepares students for post-secondary pursuits.
SPS Ed Tech Blog
Come join in our Tools, Tips, and Tech Integration conversation via our blog below. Contact us if you have a topic that may be of interest.
Should Coding Qualify for Foreign Language Requirement?
Posted by Betsy Weigle on 12/8/2014 8:00:00 AM
In this recent Edutopia article the authors suggest that computer science could fill their state's high school foreign language requirement. Coding is technically a language that is foreign to most students.
If we think about language study and why it is a requirement for all students, we must consider the benefits of learning a foreign language:
learning signs or symbols for written communication challenges the brain to recognize different patterns
learning rules for communication forces the brain to negotiate meaning quickly
learning to multitask between language structures strengthens connections between all languages
Coding certainly involves very specific rules (if the coding is to perform correctly) and a distinct vocabulary - as does any foreign language. But, uniquely, programming or coding is a global language. According to the authors, it is more common than spoken languages.
Consider some facts:
Computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average yet less than 3% of college graduates have a degree in computer science.
Only 10% of high schools have computer programming classes.
Only 30% of states allow computer science to fulfill a math or science graduation requirement.
As we consider the importance of the language of computer programming, we should consider this:
"In the past, the digital divide described students with technology compared to those without. Today, the divide addresses students who receive instruction on how to do things with technology versus those learning how to make technology do things. Now that computer science is the highest paid career for college graduates, it is time to stop teaching students how to pushthe buttons and start teaching them how to make the buttons."
Connect to the CCSS/NGSS/Content Standards with Timely Tech Tools
Posted by Jane Miller on 10/20/2014 3:00:00 PM
Connect to the
Common Core with timely tools
We all know Common
Core Standards are all about conducting research, consuming and producing
media. These is a thread woven throughout the Standards.
As educators, we
know there are many tech tools that can enhance teaching and learning, giving
students broader access to information. These tools also engage students, and
leverage resources in a new way that is natural to young people.
Students today have
access to unlimited amounts of information. As teachers we must teach sorting
skills so students can effectively wade through vast amounts of information in
an efficient manner. The following resources give students ways to access information
about topics they want to learn about.
It isn't just funny
cat videos anymore. YouTube has become the number one learning channel for
young adults and teenagers. Educational videos are available on every topic
that might be touched upon in school. You can find everything from an
explanation on the size of the universe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U
to multiple examples for how to master multiplication facts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1Ih3-mDPUk
The sheer number of videos on a topic can be daunting, but given lessons on
discerning quality resources from those that are inferior, students can quickly
find appropriate videos applicable to their content of interest.
Wikipedia. It is written in an official tone and often appears in the top
results for a Google search. While much of the content is reliable, students
must learn to scrutinize the content and compare it to multiple sources to
illuminate biases. Wikipedia offers information in a FAQ for schools http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ/Schools
Students, when using Wikipedia, must know how to track down original sources
using links provided.
This new resource
helps students "compare the point of view of two or more authors for how
they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and
emphasize in their respective accounts" (Common Core State Standards language).
This resource allows students to explore interconnected topics and see the
relationships and connections between them. Students can begin with a
well-known topic and jump to other related topics. With this tool, students
learn to think critically by forming creative association. Once you put in a
topic, Mediander offers topics that are connected and explain the connection.
Think Six Degrees of separation. You will be surprise at how seemingly
unrelated topics have strong connections. http://www.mediander.com/#!/