Why we all need time to tinker with tech

Tinkering rolls personalized learning and critical thinking into one powerful package

Picture this: a grandparent working on a car in the garage or a kid figuring out the inner workings of a clock. A group of students with screwdrivers in hand taking apart old desktop computers to learn about circuits. Or a parent encouraging their child to invent contraptions for feeding pets or taking apart everyday objects such as old clocks and doorknobs to figure out how things work.

Tinkering in the modern context is a process of trying something to figure out what works or doesn’t to find your way to the best solution, often going through many iterations, or changes, along the way. Tinkering is more a philosophy than a single practice and thus can be applied to many forms of learning for all learners.

In a blog post discussing their work, authors Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien discuss the science behind making mistakes and becoming experts. Experts are not made by practice alone, instead they deliberately tinker to determine which strategies are working or not working, and strategically develop areas that need improvement.…Read More

Think big: How to jumpstart tech use in low-income schools

The challenges of rural schools are many of the same (though not all) that low-income public schools face across the country: inadequate access to technology and broadband, tight budgets, and educators who have not been trained in using technology in meaningful ways, Mind/Shift reports. But these hurdles did not deter Daisy Dyer Duerr, Prek-12 Principal of St. Paul Public Schools in St. Paul, Arkansas. “Every child deserves an amazing education no matter who they are, no matter where they come from,” said Duerr, who was recently named National Digital Principal. She’s been working hard to bring new devices and related pedagogy around technology use to teachers. “If you don’t have relationships you can have every bit of tech in the world and it won’t matter,” Duerr said…

Read more

…Read More

An uptick in the hiring of women for tech jobs

There are signs that tech companies are hiring more women, but women still appear to make up far less than half of all new hires in the industry, The New York Times reports. In the year ending in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the net change in the number of employees in the computer industry was 60,000. The net change in the number of female employees was 36,000 — or 60 percent of the net change, according to the bureau’s data. Yet it does not necessarily mean that the tech industry hired more women than men. The bureau’s figure is a net change, meaning the numbers reflect new employees and those who left. More men than women probably left their jobs — because there are so many more men working in the tech industry…

Read more

…Read More

New MOOC helps with ed-tech planning

Two ed-tech organizations are repeating their MOOC for educators.

ed-tech-MOOCLast spring, the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation teamed up to offer a Massive Open Online Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed), a free online course designed to help school and district leaders plan for effective ed-tech use.

The course proved so popular that the organizations have decided to offer it again this fall.

Called “Digital Learning Transition,” the MOOC-Ed aims to help participants understand digital learning’s potential in K-12 education, assess progress and set goals for their schools or districts, and develop a plan to achieve those goals.…Read More