How does educational media impact children?

Educational “screen media” time, while considered beneficial by parents, drops sharply after age 4

educational-mediaWhile 78 percent of screen media consumed by children ages 2-4 is educational, that figure drops drastically as children age, down to 39 percent among 5- to 7-year-olds and 27 percent in children ages 8-10, according to a national survey released on Jan. 24.

Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America” analyzes parents’ experiences and opinions of the educational media their children use. The survey aims to identify the subjects parents think their children learned most about from educational media, what platforms they think are most effective, and what are some obstacles to more widespread use of educational media.

Lower pricepoints have enabled lower-income and minority families to increase device ownership and “catch up” to their middle-class and white peers, notes Victoria Rideout, the report’s author.

But also the access gap is smaller, “there is evidence of an emerging ‘participation gap’ demarcating more and less enriching users of media. Studies have shown that children who use educational media learn more in the short term and do better in school later on compared to children who do not. Research has also demonstrated that using educational media with adult guidance leads to greater learning than if used alone.”

(Next page: How parents view educational media’s benefits)


3 edupreneurs to watch in 2014

eSchool News staff recommends three edupreneurs to watch in 2014 who are transforming how technology can deliver instruction more effectively and enhance the student experience.


In October 2013, The Atlantic highlighted three “edupreneurs,” or innovators, who work tirelessly to not only advance math and science education in the U.S., but to energize attitudes toward science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning.

The list included Vince Bertram, president and chief executive officer of Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a provider of STEM programs. Under his leadership, PLTW has expanded in more than 5,000 schools, reaching more than 600,000 students each year.

Linda Kekelis, executive director at Techbridge Girls, made the list for inspiring girls to pursue STEM careers. Linda has helped create after school and summer programs for mentoring 4,000 girls in science and math. Cordelia Ontiveros, associate dean of the College of Engineering at California State Polytechnic University, is also recognized for advocating STEM education and encouraging Hispanic females to pursue engineering degrees.

To remain competitive in the global economy, educators in the United States are examining other novel approaches on ways technology and innovation can deliver instruction more effectively and enhance the student experience.

(Next page: See which edupreneurs you should watch in 2014)


This hybrid innovation is about to change your school forever

Online learning experts say hybrids are changing classrooms across the country; here’s how to spot them and implement them successfully

hybrid-innovation-schools Hybrid innovations are technologies that bridge tradition to the future, fundamentally changing how an entire industry performs, and according to education experts, K-12 is experiencing one hybrid technology that will reshape classrooms for the future. The hybrid’s name? Blended learning.

“There are two kids of innovation: sustaining and disruptive,” said Heather Staker, senior research fellow of education at the Clayton Christensen Institute, during a recent Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) webinar. “Sustaining innovation makes the traditional model, like a classroom, better almost immediately, but the impact is small. Disruptive innovation has a low impact at first, but slowly begins to change the status quo over time.”


(Next page: Hybrids and classrooms)


App of the week: Atomsmith Molecule Lab Middle School

atomsmithName: Atomsmith Molecule Lab Middle School

What is it? Hold molecules in your hands. Spin them around. Zoom in for a closer look. Put them in a box and see them move and interact with other molecules. Then, change the temperature and see them transform from solids to liquids to gases—and back again. Explore how atoms in molecules rearrange during chemical reactions.

Best for: Middle school students. Atomsmith is available for older students here:

Price: $4.99

Rated: 4+

Requirements: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.


  • A Molecule Library of 3D models of molecules representing a wide variety of substances found in the everyday world. The Molecule Library also contains numerous links to detailed information about each molecule on the Web (e.g., Wikipedia and YouTube).
  • A Live Lab that allows users to place molecules in a virtual box, make them move and interact with each other. Then perform experiments on the molecules by changing variables such as temperature and pressure.
  • A Reaction Library containing detailed, interactive models that allow users to follow rearrangements of atoms as reactants turn into products.
  • A library of onscreen Tutorials.
  • A detailed Glossary of scientific terms related to the structure and energy of atoms and molecules.
  • A News feature links to current news articles about molecules in everyday society and commerce. Read the news, then examine models of the featured molecules in the Molecule Lab.
  • Aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Middle School Applications



The impact of Google on our memory

What is the last time you memorized  something? do you still retain it in your memory or has it faded away? Memorization, though severely undermined  in progressivists works, is an important mechanism by which our brains keep their alertness and readability to quickly take in and absorb new information, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning reports. This intricate relationship between memorization and  brain powers is clearly documented in cognitive science and while the scope of this short post does not permit to go over some of the scientific studies in favor of this claim, I would  recommend for those of you keen on learning more about this to read Michael E Reese wonderful book Improve Memory: Boost Your Brain Power…

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Md. schools need $100 million in technology upgrades for new testing

Maryland schools will be scrambling to make $100 million in technological and other upgrades to give new state tests aligned with the Common Core standards next year, according to a report to the legislature by the Maryland State Department of Education, The Baltimore Sun reports. Some local school systems would need to shut down some of the normal uses of the computers, including sending email, to give the online standardized tests, the report said. Some districts reported that they need to buy thousands of new computers for the tests, which are required by the spring of 2015; others said they had nowhere to put the computers that they need to buy. Lawmakers said the magnitude of the hurdles that school districts face — and the price tags — are concerning…

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Chromebooks take other mobile devices to school

Chromebooks have come from nowhere to grab nearly a fifth of U.S. school purchases of mobile computers, posing problems for Microsoft Corp. and possibly even Apple Inc., the Wall Street Journal reports.

The inexpensive laptops, which run Google Inc. software but are mostly sold by other companies, accounted for 19% of the K-12 market for mobile computers in the U.S. in 2013, according to a preliminary estimate by Futuresource Consulting. In 2012, Chromebooks represented less than 1% of the market, according to the research firm, whose estimate includes both tablets and notebook PCs but excludes desktop computers.

Mobile computers running Microsoft Windows slid from 47.5% of that market in 2012 to 28% in last year’s third quarter, said Futuresource, which isn’t yet providing comparisons for all of 2013…

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Erased answers on tests in Philadelphia lead to a three-year cheating scandal

The first sign that something was wrong appeared more than two years ago when a company grading student tests from Philadelphia noticed that erasures from wrong to right answers showed what investigators delicately called “statistical evidence of improbable results,” The New York Times reports. Pennsylvania began an investigation, eventually instructing the school district to look into improprieties at 19 schools. Over the course of a year, the district found disturbing patterns in parts of the system that resulted in three principals being fired last week for test cheating in one of the largest such scandals in the country…

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Ohio’s move toward embedded assessments

State officials say curriculum-embedded performance assessments help improve teaching and learning outcomes

curriculum-assessmentThe state of Ohio is taking steps to ensure that students enter college and the workforce with the ability to apply critical skills to real-world problems.

Through the Ohio Performance Assessment Pilot Project (OPAPP), Ohio educators are using curriculum-embedded performance assessments to help students learn and demonstrate deeper learning competencies.

State education leaders hope that this deeper understanding of content will give students the ability to use that knowledge to think critically and solve problems, said Mariana Haynes, a senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education, during a webinar that spotlighted Ohio’s latest efforts.

“Ohio has taken a unique approach to piloting curriculum embedded performance assessment,” Haynes said. “This includes a system of learning tasks for formative purposes, and assessment tasks.” The tasks are aligned with the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, and sustained, collaborative professional learning.

(Next page: More on OPAPP and embedded assessments)


Schools prep for Digital Learning Day

Digital Learning Day will inspire, encourage educators

digital-learningOn Feb. 5, 2014, teachers, library media specialists, and students across the nation will celebrate Digital Learning Day as they strive to incorporate digital learning into their classrooms and libraries.

The day is intended to help educators learn how they can inject more of a digital emphasis into their instruction, and is part of a larger movement to make digital learning more of a mainstay in U.S. classrooms and libraries.

The Alliance for Excellent Education is hosting a live celebration that includes talks and commentary from policy makers and education leaders, hands-on lessons and activities to demonstrate digital learning in action, and advice from district-level experts who are successfully navigating the digital transition.

Those interested can register for the virtual conference, which includes a kickoff session at 11 a.m. EST and a National Digital Learning Policy panel discussion at 2:30 p.m. EST.

(Next page: Links to resources and activities)