I was a bit reluctant to do this course but was looking forward to being under the tutorage of my supervisor, Mr. Steve— the course lecturer. I have worked with him for almost two years now and value him as an amazing preschool teacher. I wanted to see how he would tackle a master’s class.
I can say that I successfully did many tasks that mostly consisted of things I did not think I would ever do given that I am not the biggest fan of using technology. I was initially afraid of recording a podcast and screencast but in the end found it to be fulfilling in certain aspects. I never thought I would have a blog but now I do.
Being the overachieving perfectionist that I am, I immersed myself in research and feel I grew as an educator and overall digital citizen. Having goals to achieve and assessments to finish, drives me and even if I am having to balance other studies and working full-time, it was a nice opportunity to open my mind towards technology and learn new things.
Thank you to my teacher, Mr. Steve, for a memorable learning experience!
Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them. — Steve Jobs
Inner peace. A concept most individuals tend to simply joke about or brush off as unattainable mumbo jumbo. No, this is not a how-to-achieve-inner-peace entry. It is about the paradoxical nature of meditation apps like Headspace and Insight Timer to name a few.
My sister, who is a substitute Absolute Hot Yoga instructor but a management engineer by profession, has recently been raving about Calm. She shares that although the use of technology has recently been perceived as destructive (causing us to form bad habits), these apps have managed to help users get back to the original purpose of technology i.e. to be more productive.
Often we think that technology and mindfulness are opposites. We think they are at odds. When we think about practicing mindfulness or meditation, we think about putting away our phones. We think about turning off the television. We think about shutting down all our devices. We think about digital detoxes. Now it seems technology and mindfulness are not actually so incompatible. In this day and age, we can use technology to help us practice mindfulness— particularly through apps like the ones I linked above.
The purpose of these apps is to make meditation easier for us and even to help build a daily mindfulness practice. Some offer tutorials and techniques, whereas others create a meditative ambiance through music or binaural beats. Using apps that create sounds or give instructions helps us focus our attention and remove distractions from our consciousness in an effective manner.
The countless benefits of meditation and mindfulness have recently come to light in the scientific world. Do not even get me started on the soccer team of twelve young boys and their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who were trapped in a cave in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province. It has been said that meditation played a part in helping them survive— mentally, emotionally and even physically. You can read all about that here.
My TA partner at work, who is a certified kids yoga teacher, uses recordings on Spotify during her kids yoga sessions. I have a few favorites and have incorporated them into my dance classes for kindergarteners. It helps center the children and calm them down. It is usually the first thing I play to get their attention.
Kira Willey is the name of the songwriter I follow on Spotify. She is also a children’s music performer and kids’ yoga and mindfulness expert. Her TEDx talk is something I find all educators (and parents) can benefit from. So I leave you with this:
Videos that help your kids learn and have fun, too!
As I have mentioned in a previous post , my godson is a tad iPad obsessed (understatement of the year). Given that, I am always on the lookout for awesome, educational YouTube channels he can follow. As detrimental as technology can be, there is the possibility of using it wisely i.e. making his time online worthwhile and productive. After I got past all the redundantly incessant ads, I found difficulty in discovering channels without the annoying audio and/or sound effects most content creators seem to think ideal for children’s online videos.
Having looked through recommended lists, visiting various kiddie channels and watching multiple videos, I would recommend the following YouTube channels. The content on these channels are specifically curated for kids so that adults are assured they are child-friendly and appropriate.
Whether your child wants to learn about venomous animals or try out an experiment involving baking soda, you are likely to find something on National Geographic Kids’ YouTube Channel. I ♥ ice cream and this video piqued my interest:
National Geographic Kids is best for Kindergarten to fifth grade, though some older and younger kids will also enjoy many of their videos. Since the videos are made by National Geographic, they are well produced and contain awesome footage.
Subscribe to SciShow and give your child the ability to “explore the unexpected.” What is gluten? Why do cats purr? What really killed the dinosaurs? Why can’t dogs eat chocolate? You and your kids can explore these fascinating questions and many more!
This YouTube channel makes FUN, free and educational videos, nursery rhymes and songs for babies, toddlers and children. Parents and their kids, educators and their students, can sing along to the channel’s songs, or watch and learn with their informational videos.
Here you will find videos of notable actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations, helping to inspire a love of reading in children so they can experience the magic of books.
For each book, supplemental curriculum developed by a literacy specialist is provided, aiming to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners worldwide.
I ADORE Oprah Winfrey and am so happy I get to share this!
Sesame Street has its own YouTube channel, featuring all of your child’s favorite characters! These videos really excel at making learning entertaining for young children. I chose this clip because I ♥ angel hair pasta:
I needed to delete a YouTube video the other week and struggled to figure it out on my own. After researching the steps, I was inspired to create a screencast to help anyone else who might be finding themselves in the same position that I was in.
To create my screencast, I used QuickTime Player on an Apple Mac. I found that having a finalized script takes a load off the recording process, since it’s inevitable to avoid technical hitches when making a screencast. For instance, living in the Philippines posed the challenge of having to deal with an unreliable internet connection. It took me a few takes before I was happy with the screencast as a particular page took a significantly longer time to load and I was not about to allow there to be an awkward lull in my recording.
Overall, I had a great experience creating my first screencast. This tool/method can come in handy at work when you need to share online tips and tricks with your colleagues or as an instructional video for students.
I am not particularly a fan of technology and the idea of needing an online presence. I did not particularly fancy the shift because I believe handwritten letters and snail mail possess a certain charm that emails and instant messages do not. I have always been a private person and chose to nurture close and deep relationships without having to broadcast it online and consequently to the world.
But I know I have been left behind because… As we sail through the 21st century, technology in the classroom is becoming more and more predominant. Tablets are replacing our textbooks, and we can research just about anything that we want to on our smartphones. Social media has become commonplace, and the way we use technology has completely transformed the way we live our lives.
When technology, along with the proliferation of education apps, first started to make its way into the classroom and the home, parents and educators voiced equal parts caution and enthusiasm.
The impact that technology has had on today’s schools has been quite significant. This widespread adoption of technology has completely changed how teachers teach and students learn. Teachers are learning how to teach with emerging technologies (tablets, iPads, Smart Boards, digital cameras, computers), while students are using advanced technology to shape how they learn. By embracing and integrating technology in the classroom, we are setting our students up for a successful life outside of school. Here are a few advantages of using technology at home and at school — particularly during the early preschool and primary years.
Digital literacy matters
Today’s emerging professionals — Millennials and the younger Generation Z (people born in the mid-1990s to the early 2000s) — are tomorrow’s CEOs. These groups grew up as digital natives — using devices and social media during their adolescence and apps and devices when they emerged. To them, exposure to technology is not a debate. Digital literacy is a requirement. And today’s younger children have already grown accustomed to iPads, apps, and smart boards in the classroom, at least in more affluent areas.
The debate has shifted from “should we” to “how should we?” So, at the most basic level, today’s young children need to understand how to use devices, how to safely search online, and how to be critical thinkers of what they see and hear online. As a recent article on digital literacy points out, “No longer is technology use limited to the home, but has quickly morphed into an always-connected mindset. What’s more, kids will be using technology, the Internet and social media in college and later in their careers. For this reason, kids need to become digitally literate.”
Educators also recognize the importance of developing these technological skills in students so they will be prepared to enter the workforce once they complete their schooling.
Increased engagement to accommodate different learning styles
Why is engagement for different types of learning styles so important? Simply put, it makes lessons and learning “stick” — retention. Dr. Howard Gardner developed the theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. As teachers integrate technology into their lesson plans, they can use various technological tools to reach all types of students. Creating different paths and experiences to learning is precisely what technology can bring to both the classroom and the home. Some online activities or tablet apps often use a combination of visuals, sounds, and interactive objectives which engage visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.
It is important to note that “engagement” is key in using tech, both at school and at home. Passive use of technology — having children simply “sit” with technology and passively observe without actually interacting with a device to make things happen — is little more than a digital babysitter. Using tech to ensure that it actually adds something unique and meaningful to the child’s learning or play experience is what matters.
Sparking creativity and breaking new ground
When I was researching material for this blog, I found it interesting that experts citing benefits of tech for children did not usually cite creativity at the top of their list. I believe it belongs there. Research shows us that creativity is a cornerstone of learning and innovation, particularly for children — tomorrow’s leaders. I came across a blog post on creativity and the author, Liane Gabora, an Associate Professor of Psychology and Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia, wrote “The pace of cultural change is accelerating more quickly than ever before… [W]e need to bump up creativity levels — to generate the innovative ideas that will keep us afloat.”
What does this mean for parents and teachers of young children today?
Parents can focus on creating great, immersive digital experiences for their children at home. There are interactive books like Sesame Street’s The Monster at the End of This Book to quality, educator-created early learning apps like Papumba Academy, that encourage parents and children to engage with technology in a unique way. It may be a good idea to give your children a digital head start.
As for teachers, ensuring that technology offers experiences that complement offline play and learning is key to ensuring that all young learners in the classroom are engaged, creative, and prepared to navigate the changing world of technology that awaits them.
Reading a colleague’s post (shoutout to: Jackson Pearce) has inspired me to write about technology in golf. I grew up with loved ones who play the sport and I find it fascinating how the sport has evolved through the years. Since time immemorial, the sport of golf has been depicted as a sport for gentlemen of high stature or older gentlemen in country clubs. However, it seems as time has progressed, and possibly due to numerous influencers such as Tiger Woods, Rory Mcllroy, Phil Mickelson and Michelle Wie, the sport has made strides in the athletics and technology scenes. It is no longer perceived as simply a leisurely game but is now revered by many as exciting, climactic and even nerve wracking. Men and women, young and old, have worked hard and dedicated their lives to becoming professional golfers.
Something that may seem new and even a tad peculiar with this slow-paced sport is the technology behind it. However easy it may look to hit the golf ball, it has been proven that discipline, dedication, a special skill set and now even advanced technology are needed to have a powerful and consistent game.
The most basic and yet most integral part of a golf game is the golf swing, which determines where the ball is going to go and land. With the help of today’s advances in technology i.e., cameras, radars, and sensors, e.g., “Flight Scope” and “Trackman” a golfer is able to see and observe every aspect of his or her golf swing down to the degree. These machines capture the swing, the speed, the direction, the angle, the projection, and the distance of the ball. The radars, cameras, and sensors are connected to your smartphones or smart gadgets and it relays all of the information. Now, the golfer can see where errors are being made with their golf swing. Research and data show that the average scoring of golfing professionals have improved by 4.2 shots since using this type of technology.
Such gadgetry has also made instructing and teaching much easier. Coaches and instructors alike are now able to distinguish exactly where their players and students are lacking and how they can improve.
Another crucial component in having a proficient golf game is mastery of the golf course. Technology has also afforded a more precise and convenient way to plot and understand the terrain of golf courses. Now, with the use of radars with the click of a button, a player can know the exact distance of an object or of the entire hole. This has helped professionals and amateurs take their games to a higher level by understanding golf courses that they frequent and ones that are new and unfamiliar.
These are only two examples of how technology has evolved the beloved game of golf. There seems to be buzz on how technological advances have revolutionized the equipment used by golfers; including but not limited to clubs, shoes and balls.
If you are a parent or a guardian of a young child, you are probably all too familiar with this scenario:
I have a two year old godson who LOVES his iPad. He watches, what I think is nonsensical, clips on YouTube when no one can watch him and/or when he needs to sit down during meal time. The image above is a fine representation of what happens when it is time to put the iPad away.
I was inspired to find technology tips for parents and guardians of young children, hoping I could help my aunt save my godson. This is what I discovered and found to be helpful:
Use technology for communication. For example, FaceTime or Skype with Grandma.
Model using technology as a tool. Take photos with your smartphone or iPad. Watch a short video of a volcano erupting, if your child shows an interest. Use the calculator to add. Use the magnifying app to examine nature. Listen to music on an iPod. Use the online dictionary to spell or find the meaning of words. Technology is an everyday tool.
Be a good role model for using screens in a purposeful way. As this great article points out, explaining to children what you are doing when you pick up a device is a great way to show that quality interactions are purposeful, versus aimless browsing and scrolling. For example, I can say “Let’s take a picture of your structure and post it on your blog so your parents can see what you built”. Doing this lets students know that there is a purposeful reason for being online.
Be involved. Resist the temptation to routinely use technology as a babysitter, and instead use it as a way to connect with your child. If you are reading a book on an e-reader, read together. Write emails together. Play games together. Look at science video clips together.
Make sure your child is getting hands-on play experiences daily. Before you buy an iPad or other technology for your three- to five-year-old, make sure he/she already enjoys building with blocks, creating artwork, reading books, engaging in dramatic play, and playing board games. And remember to provide plenty of playtime outside. Make real-world experiences the priority.
Create boundaries. Like a previous generation’s creation of boundaries around watching television, you need to decide what is desirable for your child in terms of screen time, whether television, movies, computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Is it thirty minutes a day or a week? I came across a blog of a mother who has her children earn screen time minutes. One minute of reading a book, doing a household chore etc. equates to one minute of screen time.
Set clear, consistent limits that young children can understand. Be clear about days, limits, and situations that warrant exceptions. For example, twenty minutes of screen time on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with exceptions for family vacations, traveling, and even sick days. Stick to it and make it fun. If your kid asks for screen time on an “off” day, remind them of the next time they get screen time. Ask them to tell you what cool thing they did during their last session.
Be a critic for your child’s sake. If you decide on screen time, preview what they view and watch with your child to help him/her process what he/she sees. Consider the value of the apps you choose—are they active and do they promote creativity, innovation, and problem solving? Use the apps together so you can make a good decision. Make intentional choices.
Model healthy behaviors yourself. It is time to look in the mirror. Do you watch hours of television or movies each night? Is the television turned on in the background, even when no one is watching? Do you have your mobile phone at the dinner table? Do you play games online in the middle of the night? Consider what your technology use models for your child. Your child learns from you.
The key to finding time for yourself while your child engages in fun and productive ways online is common sense and balance.
DON’T Engage with a device while you engage with your family.Another tip? Avoid engaging with your device while your child is engaging with you. Instead, put your phone down and purposefully say, “Let me put my phone down so that I can pay attention to what you are saying.’ It might sound a little contrived but it works. You are signaling to your child that the device does not compete for their attention and that people are more important than phones, no matter how enticing. If you do that when they are young, you may not have to fight for their attention when they are older and have devices of their own.
DON’T Let technology get in the way. Family meals are a great time for conversation, catching up on the day, and developing relationships. Car rides are a great time for talking, singing, and playing games like I Spy. Cooking together not only supports relationships but also engages your child in using math and literacy skills. Consider whether technology is getting in the way of precious family time together.
DON’T use screens as an “emotional pacifier”. Young children need to learn how to deal with frustration, failure and conflict. Unfortunately, these three things are incredibly hard to deal with for parents. It is incredibly tempting to shove the screen in front of your kids to prevent them from whining, fighting, or to soothe them. While understandable, try to avoid this. Giving your kids screens in this way deprives them of learning important socio-emotional skills.
DO your homework. Not all apps are created equal. There are apps by Papumba and Toca Boca that make sure everything they create is research-based and educator-approved. They believe in creating the best, most developmentally appropriate education apps to help kids thrive and learn. There are lots of high-quality apps out there (and some that are not so good, unfortunately). So before you set the screen in front of your child, make sure you research the apps they are using to make sure their digital experience is safe, high-quality, and age-appropriate.
Do your children love stories? Do you love stories? I certainly do! I have fond memories, from my childhood, of being read to, of snuggling up and enjoying a favorite story with people who love me. I was fortunate to have parents who had the time and resources to read to me daily. Reading aloud is a great way to engage with young children and promote language development and early literacy skills. Despite all of the benefits of reading aloud, many young children still do not get read to. I was so thrilled to come across the app called Circle Round, a storytelling podcast for young children ages four to ten that tells fascinating fables and folktales that were carefully-selected from around the world. It is created and produced by parents of young children. Circle Round stories are adapted for today’s families into ten to twenty minute diverse episodes that emphasize values such as kindness, being a good friend, persistence, courage and generosity. The stories are perfect for boys and girls and are the right length to listen to in the car, while eating a snack or a meal, or at bedtime. Circle Round makes for an enriching alternative to screen time, too.
Each story is narrated by theatre, film, and TV actors who do an amazing job of creating unique voices for the different parts. An immersive listening experience is what you will get as original music and sound effects are produced for each story. You are probably like me and read out loud to children, hoping to change the voices of the characters to make things interesting.
Global Perspectives, Traditions and Culture
I notice both the differences and similarities between cultures when I listen to the stories. You can do this too. Listen with a curious mind and see what you notice.
You might notice similarities in the stories like magic and good vs. evil. You will also hear different names, places, everyday objects, and food depending on where the story is from.
I enjoy learning about world cultures and hearing the stories has taught me something new in each episode.
A STORYTELLING PODCAST FOR KIDS AND THE YOUNG AT HEART
The introduction will ask listeners to consider a question that sets the stage for the folktale’s big lesson. In the story, “The Queen’s Gift,”the podcast hosts ask children, “What’s something you like to make?”
There’s a short break in the middle of the story. I think this is a nice wake-up moment to keep children’s attention.
The stories end with a “your turn” question — something to think about that relates to the story. “Think about a skill you’d like to learn.” This gives you an opportunity to reflect and explore the lessons from the story.
Each podcast episode includes a free printable coloring page for kids to do while listening. Other ideas to keep your ears listening and hands busy include drawing or working on a puzzle.
How to Listen to the Circle Round Podcast
You can listen to the show on the website here. But, podcasts can be organized and downloaded on apps too (Overcast app, Kids Listen,Stitcher,iTunes). I was so thrilled to see it on Spotify where I am a subscriber.
Simply add the podcast app to your device, search for Circle Round, subscribe, and get started listening.
To investigate and demonstrate the use of technology resources to support instructional strategies that address the multiple learning styles of my students and engage them in cooperative learning activities
To learn and practice technology skills and ethical use of technologies that will prepare me for the 21st century classroom and workplace
To use technology to enhance my skills for working both independently and in collaborative groups
To use technology to enhance my presentation and productivity skills
To discover ways technology can help me think critically and solve complex problems
To utilize a diverse array of developmentally appropriate instructional technologies to improve my students’ reading, writing, and communication skills