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Tagged With: stringer

The Impact of VR on Student Education

Virtual Reality–VR–is the 2018 buzzword among students, teachers, and even parents. And rightfully deserved, VR has the ability to recreate so many of the rules that used to shape education. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Sara Stringer, shares her opinion on the key factors that could affect the importance of VR to education:

Opinion: How VR Will Impact Student Education

Virtual reality (VR) is an exciting new concept that continues to shape how users see the world around them. It’s one of the few technologies that inspires students who have never known life without smartphones and the internet.virtual reality

The learning potential of VR is incredible. It offers new ways to inspire and engage students and will undoubtedly have a greater presence in education as the technology becomes more available. In particular, students who are enrolled in online charter schools can greatly benefit from these technological advances. However, to really predict the prevalence of virtual reality in the future of education, we have to take a look at three key factors.

Age Usage

One of the things that makes VR so universal is its ease of use for students of all ages.

Younger students—preschool to early elementary—typically learn through experience. Putting them into immersive environments can complement the learning they’re doing at home or in the classroom and extend their understanding of new concepts and ideas. Through VR, they can visit far-off places, see dinosaurs walk the earth, and observe wildlife in their natural habitats.

VR gives students more contextual information to what they’re learning. Reading or watching videos about the tides is one thing; being submerged in the ocean to witness the influence they have on sea life is another. It can also unlock students’ potential and keep them engaged no matter what subject they’re learning. They can gain new perspectives on the people, places, cultures, and subjects they’re studying. More complex subjects, like anatomy, can come to life for older students. Not only can they virtually visit a lab, but they can hold a heart in their hand.

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Categories: Guest post, Teaching | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Top 10 Study Group Forums and Websites for High School Students

Sara Stringer, Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, has a list of great websites for high school students. I don’t post enough about high school so I’m thrilled with her article:

high school studentSome students study more productively in groups, working with their peers. Online groups and forums allow them to ask questions and learn from each other outside the traditional classroom in a space where they typically turn to for studying anyway. Some of these tools give them the chance to share their own knowledge, while others let them search through published questions and answers to help them find the information they’re looking for.

Because there are so many study guides and websites available to students, we’ve asked the teachers and staff at CalPac to share their favorite online collaborative resources for high schoolers. Here are 10 of the most helpful forums and study group websites that encourage students to work and learn together.

Subject Focused

  1. Physics Forums

Physics Forum began as a high school extra credit assignment in 2001, and since then, it’s developed into one of the most popular and helpful science forums on the web. The site provides a community for students and professionals to discuss all areas of science, although it does primarily focus on physics, as the name suggests.

  1. World Literature Forum

World Literature Forum is an online discussion board that examines all forms of literature and literary news. It’s a place to discuss specific books (fiction and non-fiction) and discover new authors. Categories include general discussions, literature by continent, literary translation, and literary prizes.

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Categories: High School | Tags: , | 2 Comments

How Tech Teachers Can Benefit From Historical Research Tools

Teaching technology is a difficult profession because people learn in different ways and at different rates. However, one thing that can make it easier for students to learn is for teachers to include instructions on basic academic skills like vocabulary, keyboarding, digital citizenship, and research.

The better a student’s vocabulary, the easier it is for them to improve their comprehension and express themselves in oral and written form. The better a student learns how to use a keyboard, the faster and more accurately, they can work with a computer. The better a student’s digital citizenship, the more safely they can navigate the Internet websites, staying away from scammy links. Finally, the better a student’s research skills, the easier it will be for them to sort out the true from the false.

Technology has made it easier than ever before to do research. Besides an abundance of sources, the Internet provides ways to sift and sort through massive amounts of information through the use of search engines and advanced filters. Compare this to the old school way of doing research: spending hours in a large library and slowly filling out flash cards. Now research is as efficient as doing a Google search to find relevant websites and then bookmarking the site for later reference.

However, besides these online tools, tech teachers can also benefit by borrowing research tools used by historians.

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Categories: History, Research | Tags: | 3 Comments

Why Teaching Children To Read And Write Should Be Fun

orton-gillinghamAsk a Tech Teacher contributor, Sara Stringer, has a good article this month on literacy among children and how to improve the dismal statistics:

In the Middle Ages, literacy was highly valued. People yearned for literacy then, the way an average American might yearn to win the lottery today. For instance, Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor crowned in 800 AD, was admired as much for his ability to read as for his military victories. However, he never did learn how to write, claiming that he never quite got the hang of it, and he left that to the monastic scribes.

In the Middle Ages, literacy was highly valued. People yearned for literacy then, the way an average American might yearn to win the lottery today. For instance, Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor crowned in 800 AD, was admired as much for his ability to read as for his military victories. However, he never did learn how to write, claiming that he never quite got the hang of it, and he left that to the monastic scribes.

The opportunity to read is no longer only something that kings and monks can do. The rare and valuable skills of reading and writing now available to almost everyone in the US can improve a person’s life in many ways. A literate person can reap the fruits of a rational life, earn more, and enjoy a higher standard of living.

Unfortunately, we have now come to take the opportunity to read and write for granted. In fact, the decline in reading ability alone in the US is alarming. Education Dive, quoting a Renaissance Learning’s 2016 report, said: “high school seniors are reading at a 6th-grade level, and only 9% of students in high school read texts above a middle school complexity level of 8, leaving students ill-prepared for college-level reading at about 13.”

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Categories: Reading | Tags: , | 2 Comments

How to Use Tech to Help Graduating Students Find Jobs

graduationThe end of the school year means graduation for seniors. If they aren’t going to college, they’re job hunting. Sara Stringer, Ask a Tech Teacher guest blogger, has several ideas on how to make that more efficient:

As a teacher, you’re fully aware of how much the world is advancing through technology. Undoubtedly, innovation has touched many aspects of how you teach. The Internet has made it easier to gather, evaluate, summarize and disseminate information. If for example, you’re a math teacher, you may refer students struggling to grasp the Pythagorean Theorem to view Khan Academy videos so that they can catch up with the rest of the class.

Since you have probably used the Internet to post your own resume, you know how powerful it can be and how important it is to make your online presence as professional as possible. You can also use your knowledge and experience in job hunting to guide those students who don’t plan on going on to college on how to get internships and entry-level jobs after graduation. Job searching has changed remarkably over the past few years, and if your students are to succeed in the real world, they will have to take a very different approach than your previous graduating classes.

Here are 3 tech tips you can use to point your graduating class in the right direction:

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Categories: Guest post, High School | Tags: , | 2 Comments

How Parents Can Protect Their Children Online

family at home using tablet computerA common and recurring question from parents is how to keep their children safe while using the internet. I haven’t covered this topic in a while, but Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Sara Stringer, came to the rescue with this great article on How parents can protect their children online:

One of the best things about the internet is that it brings the world to you. That is also one of the worst things about it. The struggle for parents is always to keep from limiting the beneficial information available to our children while we keep them away from the harmful influences in cyberspace.

Despite the high stakes, many parents prefer to bury their heads in the sand. But the news is littered with so many tragic stories of kids victimized through contacts made online that parents have no choice in the matter. They have to watch for exploitation in the middle of education. This vigilance has led to the development of systems such as WebSafety that permit simple, detailed monitoring of what your kids are doing. 

Here are the things you need to be doing:

Know Who Is Out There

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Categories: Parents | Tags: | 2 Comments

Why Teachers Are So Influential in the Choices Young People Make

teacherWe take for granted the massive impact teachers have on students–but we shouldn’t. Now and then, we need to consider exactly what it is that teachers do so well that changes the lives of learners young and old.

AATT contributor, Sara Stringer, has written a great article that summarizes five of the most important reasons:

Teachers play a critical role in the lives of the students they teach. It’s one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, jobs because of the profound impact teachers can have on students.

Just about everyone has a story of their favorite teacher. That one educator that they really clicked with and that had a lasting influence even years later. Teachers are entrusted with helping to guide children and teens down the right paths for this very reason.

They sway the choices that young people make and not just because they are an authority figure. Often times it’s actually because of the traits that they possess and the unique position that their job affords them.

Teachers Are in a Position to Catch Problems Early On

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Categories: Teaching | Tags: , | 2 Comments

How to Interest the Next Generation of Great Minds to Work in STEM Fields

STEMI’ve had a lot of questions in the last few months about STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) in the classroom. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Sara Stringer, has a great article that will help demystify this topic: 

STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and covers an immense range of subject areas. Across the nation, STEM is of the greatest significance due to the function these particular topic areas perform along with the extraordinary influence they possess at many levels of society. 

Scientific research thrives off the exploration of chemistry and biology, in addition to climatic initiatives such as sustainable and nuclear power. It is hard to come across an area of contemporary society not connected to these themes in some way.

Labs Lost to Educational Rigidity

Businesses such as Pacific BioStorage specialize in providing support to pharmaceutical companies, universities, federal research labs, and hospitals across the nation. The niche has grown in response to the needs of the laboratory industry.

Redefining the lab tasks that high schoolers conduct can be a significantly helpful response to the lack of interest in science in some schools. Revamping lab work can raise the affinity for scientific investigation and learning.

High school lab studies typically concentrate on solely the scientific method. A scientific, logical progression of procedures brings the student to the findings and engages them. Illustrating the complexities and logistics of science and research is a stronger approach to bringing students into the scientific community.

Given that a great many of these STEM business sectors link themselves to our federal and state governments to some degree, it is safe to assert that our country depends on them to keep running.  Schools across the nation are making an effort to develop a more robust curriculum based in these subject areas.

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Categories: Math, Science | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

How TV Can Help In The Classroom And On The Field

educational tvWell-used, television has traditionally been important in the classroom. It informs students in emergencies, updates them on historic events, and now–with extensions like Apple TV–connects them on a granular level to what they learn in their textbooks.

I haven’t written about this learning tool in a long time so I was excited when AATT contributor, Sara Stringer, came up with this great article:

Even though some people feel that there is too much on TV that does nothing to educate people, or children, for that matter, there is actually plenty on television to help with education. Educational shows can be a great asset to a classroom, no matter what age the children are.

Educational Shows For Elementary

Television in the classroom is a great help for younger students. It can help them find more interest and fun in learning. One reason schools should have televisions in each room, and a great satellite or cable package, is that it can be a great tool for teaching. Those teaching elementary age children can find a lot of shows that teach everything from math to vocabulary, and even health topics. These shows make learning fun and entertain children. While kids two and under aren’t recommended to watch TV, once your child is in preschool, TV can be an excellent learning tool. Nick Jr and Disney Junior are two great outlets for educational kids shows that can work well within the classroom. Base some curriculum around what happens in the shows. Have discussions about the shows topics. Children are more likely to remember what they learn when learning is fun.

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Categories: Digital Devices, Guest post | Tags: | 4 Comments

Learn How to Play a Musical Instrument on Your Smart Phone

digital musicAATT contributer, Sara Stringer, is looking at digital music tools this month. This is a topic I don’t say enough about so I’m thrilled Sara’s sharing her thoughts with you. There are at least three tools below I’ve never tried. After you read this, I’d love to hear your thoughts on her choices and any she didn’t mention you love.
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Do you want to learn how to play an instrument or sing? Your smartphone or tablet is your gateway to the world of music. There are plenty of apps that can help you get started, and help progress your musical interest and talent. In addition to the apps listed below, you could also find a music teacher to help advance your artistic abilities.

Pro Metronome

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Categories: Guest post, Music | Tags: , | 2 Comments