Connected Learning: Learning that Is Powerful, Relevant, and Engaging

Connected Learnnig

What is connected learning?

 

Connected Learning Infographic

Credit: Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub. This Connected Learning infographic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Technology is moving education into a new phase that is defined by connections. In today’s small world, everyone and everything is connected! This makes sharing information and collaborating with others easier than ever.

Connected learning is an approach to learning that is designed to meet today’s demands and opportunities: it’s designed to be relevant and engaging. This new approach was developed by the Connected Learning Research Network. Read More

Giving an “A” to STEM

Giving an “A” to STEM

Towards the end of the previous century, there was a new movement in the world of education focused on integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It was determined that twenty-first century workers required skills and more in-depth knowledge of math and science.

Today’s graduates need the ability to integrate and apply knowledge of STEM topics to determine solutions to challenges that face our nation.

Today’s graduates need the ability to integrate and apply knowledge of STEM topics to determine solutions to challenges that face our nation. After studying STEM, children develop a higher level of critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and innovation skills than they would have acquired had  they been taught only mathematics and science – as has historically been done in our nation’s schools.

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What’s Being Done to Protect Student Privacy?

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Since President Barak Obama’s announcement on January 12 that he would propose legislation aimed at protecting student privacy, the issue of how student information is being used outside of the classroom has taken center stage in a national discussion about data and technology. But what makes this issue so important? And what, if anything, is being done to protect student privacy in the meantime?

The answers aren’t so simple. Data mining for personal information has become so prevalent that even K–12 students have become targets of behavioral marketing. This kind of commercialization of personal information has raised serious concerns about how and when student data is being collected, what information is collected, how it’s being used and stored, and whether its collection and use serves an educational purpose.

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The primary federal protections aimed at addressing student information are the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). FERPA gives parents the right to see their child’s education records and correct mistakes if any are found. It also provides some protection of personally identifiable student information. PPRA mainly provides protection of student data acquired through federal surveys, requiring parental consent for the collection of certain kinds of data. It also limits the use of information collected for marketing purposes.

However, both of these provisions include exceptions. In certain circumstances, FERPA does not require parental consent for school officials to access personally identifiable student data or for schools to publish student information in school directories. And PPRA makes exceptions for educational products and services, allowing schools to provide student information to third party providers under certain conditions.

Another federal regulation that provides some measure of protection to students is the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), which ensures that children don’t share their personal information on the Internet without parental consent. But the protections provided by COPPA only apply to children under the age of thirteen.  

Some states have already taken the initiative to introduce statewide legislation, like California’s Student Online Personal Information Protection Act. But the Student Digital Privacy Act, modeled on the California law, could extend those kinds of protections to students across the nation. For now, any future legislation pertaining to digital student data will remain an important topic for educators and parents as well as ed tech companies nationwide.

Math Remediation or Math Education?

Math Remediation or Math Education?

Remediation is the administration of below grade level instruction in an effort to teach information required to understand grade level content. However, this instruction often lacks the depth and explicit connections between the old content and the new content to support student achievement. Concepts and procedures in mathematics build upon each other. And as such, teaching and learning mathematics have this characteristic. This building in the subject of mathematics is often mistaken to be a linear process.

To understand or work on practically any math problem requires the use of supporting content, some of which may be considered “old” content. Resources used to teach old content relatively close to the current topic are built into school programs, but when the supportive content needed is something seen as “something the student should have learned years ago” the required remediation becomes stigmatized. In this sense, the teaching of mathematics is linear. Once a student has moved past a grade, the curriculum assumes the content knowledge of the previous grade and is increasingly unprepared to remediate gaps of understanding further and further behind the current grade level.

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