Can technology help students find the “sweet spot” for learning?

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham wrote a book called Why Don’t Students Like School? The book is complex and fascinating – and 228 pages – but you can basically boil the answer down to this: Students don’t like school because school isn’t set up to help them learn very well, Mind/Shift reports. The first thing to know is that everyone likes to learn. “There is a sense of satisfaction, of fulfillment, in successful thinking,” writes Willingham. But it’s not fun to try to learn something that’s too hard. “Working on a problem with no sense that you’re making progress is not pleasurable,” writes Willingham. “In fact, it’s frustrating.” Working on a problem that’s too easy is no fun either. It’s boring. What people enjoy is working on problems that are the right level of difficulty…

Read the full story

…Read More

Students dependent on technology—for better or worse

Many students surveyed focused on the limits of popular social media sites.
A survey of student technology use focused on the limits of popular social media sites.

Technology has become so entwined with college students’ often frantic lives that most in a new survey of student technology use say they’d be more frazzled without it.

Yet the Associated Press-mtvU poll, released Oct. 7 , also found that being perpetually connected comes at a cost. While 57 percent of students said life without computers and cell phones would make them more stressed, a significant number—25 percent—said it would be a relief.

A big majority feel pressured to instantly answer texts or voice mail messages, most get nervous if someone doesn’t immediately reply to a message, and nearly half worry whether messages they get are jokes.…Read More

TCEA sessions focus on tech for all ages, online learning

Online learning programs are most successful when they are well-structured.
Online learning programs are most successful when they are well-structured.

The second day of the Texas Computer Education Association’s 30th annual conference was filled with sessions focusing on STEM education, online learning, and iPods in classrooms, as well as a keynote speech from author and journalist David Kushner that focused on what makes today’s tech-savvy generation tick.

One session focused on how kindergarten through second-grade educators can incorporate technology into their classrooms and give young students a chance to experiment with technology. Alyssa Isam, Raschel Wagstaff, and Kristyn Marek, all teachers at Buda Elementary in Buda, Texas, led attendees through easy technology solutions for young children.

Some educators maintain blogs to keep parents updated on class progress, the presenters said. Special at-home activities are posted on the blogs so that students can print the activities from home or print them at school if at-home internet access is problematic. For completing and returning these activities to the teacher, students can choose a prize or special activity in the classroom.…Read More