The advanced Google searches every student should know

“Did he seriously just ask that? How old is this guy?” Well yes, I recently seriously just asked a group of students if they knew how to search Google. And yes, the students got a good laugh from my question.

“Of course I know how to use Google,” I have been told by every student to whom I have asked the question.

“Really? Let’s see. This won’t take long,” I promise.…Read More

Research: Digital media could aid early math skills

Study of early learners reveals media content from the show PEG + CAT could help improve children’s critical math skills

math-skillsChildren who used media content from PBS KIDS’ series PEG + CAT showed improvement in critical math areas involving ordinal numbers, spatial relationships, and 3-D shapes, according to researchers at EDC and SRI International.

Parents and caregivers also showed greater comfort and confidence in supporting their children with math concepts and problem-solving strategies.

The randomized Ready To Learn study was based on a sample of 197 children ages 4 to 5 years old, primarily from low-income families, in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area.…Read More

Kickstarter campaign funds new programmable robots

Programmable robots for kids exceed Kickstarter goal

cannybot-programmingA new Kickstarter campaign has already exceeded its funding goal to produce programmable robots that can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet.

Similar to Spheros, Cannybots, as the robots are known, help teach kids about robotics, programming, design, and 3D printing while they are playing.

The robots look like toy cars and can be programmed to move around a track and in a number of play scenarios such as high speed racing, time trials, sumo-wrestling, jousting and puzzle-solving. Students can also design new car bodies and use a 3D printer to realize their designs.…Read More

These amazing kits make electronics simple and fun for every student

One tool erases frustration and boredom and makes electronics fun for students

littlebits-stemVery young students often have a hard time engaging meaningfully in electronics projects. Sure, most middle school kids can learn the function of basic electronic components and follow a set of instructions to create a basic circuit on a breadboard. Often, however, their work suffers from the mistakes, short-circuits, and sloppiness that plague any novice.

More limiting than the struggle to keep bare wires from accidentally brushing each other, is the wall that most students hit after they create the alarm circuit or lie detector that they built from the schematic in the textbook.

While their imaginations are ripe with ideas of things they might like to build, most young students lack the fundamental knowledge to push beyond the canned circuits provided by their teacher and to create something original.…Read More

Apple settles with FTC after kids blow millions on the app store

Apple agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday after a formal complaint said the company was billing customers for millions of dollars worth of App Store purchases made by children without their parents’ consent, readwrite reports. The initial complaint, filed January 15, alleged Apple was in violation of the FTC Act by not informing parents that once they initially entered their Apple ID username and password combination to purchase an app or an in-app item, their iOS device would approve any further purchases for the next 15 minutes without asking for further authorization…

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Raising kids in a digital age

Last week, the NPR tech team reported a series on kids and digital media, including school-issued iPads, stories about babies and screen time, teens and social media, the science behind video games and more, Mind/Shift reports. Bay Area correspondents Steve Henn, Laura Sydell and Eric Westervelt will take you through the week of stories in this 23-minute recording.

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School encourages homophobic humiliation as student punishment

Two Arizona high school students who were caught fighting faced a controversial punishment concocted by their principal: Either endure a suspension, or sit in the school courtyard holding hands while other students shout and throw homophobic slurs at you, Takepart.com reports. The message here seems to be that there’s nothing more horrific than being perceived as gay. Student Brittney Smyers told ABC 15, “Kids were laughing at them and calling them names asking, ‘Are you gay?’” Pictures of the boys holding hands surfaced online with some singing the principal’s praises, while others denounced his tactics as shortsighted and discriminatory…

 

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Opinion: How schools (even great ones) fail kids with ADHD

There’s a group of students struggling through school rd to navigate that gets little attention in the media or in the debate about how to fix schools: Children with ADHD, the Washington Post reports. ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a brain condition that makes it especially hard for children to focus and concentrate in school and has a number of other symptoms. It is too often misunderstood by teachers, parents and even the students themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 9.5% or 5.4 million children 4-17 years of age, had been diagnosed with ADHD, as of 2007. Many others who have the disorder haven’t had the benefit of a diagnosis. Here is a powerful post by David Bernstein, a nonprofit executive who lives in Gaithersburg, Md., writing about the difficulties that his two sons, ages 7 and 15, have confronted in school as a result of ADHD…

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