A Story About Drage

"What did you learn at school today?" It's a common question asked over dinner tables all over the country. Too often, the typical response is "nothin". 

Our goal in every SmartLab program is to foster engaged, motivated learners who can't wait to tell their parents what they're learning! 

This story came to us in an email from Bradford PA parent and District-Wide Principal for Curriculum and Assessment, Kelly Compton:

Thank you!  

I am not sure how to describe this....but.... yesterday immediately after my son got off the school bus he called my cell phone and asked if he could buy something online for his Xbox.  Of course, I asked him what it was.  He said, Mr. McGinnis told him about this program where you can program your own video game... KODU!  

Not really knowing what he was purchasing I gave him the approval.  After two professional development blocks and soccer practice, I arrived home at 8:30 PM.  My mother was quite beside herself.  She had been trying to get Drage (my son) to come down to eat for about 1.5 hours.  He responded to her prompting (yelling) by yelling down from his bedroom.... "Gram, I am doing something important.  I will be down in a little bit."  

Of course, she wanted to know what was so important.  He responded, "I am doing something for Mom" knowing that she would leave him alone...at least for a little bit. 

After hearing this, I immediately went upstairs, prepared to confiscate the HDMI cord for his rudeness. 

I walked in to see an 11 year old boy beaming from ear to ear...proud as a peacock.  He says, "Wait till you see this!" I designed my own video game.  Mr. McGinnis taught me how....  Sure enough, he had!!!!  AMAZING. 

At about 9:30, after all the other children were in bed... I joined him in his room so he could show me how to do it.  Finally, about 11:00 PM...I told him we had to go to bed.  He asked if he could sleep in my room.  I asked why.

His response...so we can talk about our design ideas.  He continues, "we can do this as a family... we can be a family of game designers...how cool would that be!" He then began listing all the additional equipment we would need to purchase in order to be efficient.   

Needless to say, once I was able to get him to settle....I slept very soundly....good stuff! 

I just had to share!


Thank you Kelly for taking the time to tell us your story and allowing us to share it with the SmartLab family!

Study Finds Scarce Use of Technology for Learning in U.S. Classrooms

A new study released by AdvancEd found that, despite the rapid proliferation of technology tools and digital content, examples of technology being used to enhance student learning are barely evident in American classrooms.

The study by AdvancED, the country’s largest accrediting and school improvement organization, included over 140,000 direct classroom observations over three years. According to the report, while the use of technology is pervasive in almost all walks of life, “in the classroom, students are not actively using these technologies for learning.” AdvancED’s research found that “there are still relatively few classrooms in which the use of digital tools and technology is a regular part of a student’s school experience.” 

“AdvancED research has found that examples of technology being put to use by students to strengthen learning are barely evident in classrooms today” 

Among the troubling observations were that in only 20.1% of classrooms was the use of technology to gather, evaluate and/or use information for learning very evident. In fact, in over half of all classrooms observed, there was no evidence at all of technology being used in this manner. Moreover, in only 16% of classrooms was use of technology to conduct research, solve problems and/or create original works for learning very evident; in only 13.9% of classrooms was use of technology to communicate and work collaboratively for learning very evident.

These findings are troubling indeed. Consider the profound gap between students’ use of technology in and out of the classroom. According to the report, “Given that students are constantly using technology to communicate through chatting, blogging, emailing, texting and gaming, it is surprising that this routine part of students’ daily lives is not being leveraged for learning in their K-12 classrooms.” 

The AdvancED research shines new light on the widely-held view that integration of technology is becoming prevalent in the classroom. “While numerous surveys suggest that the pervasive use of tablets, smartphones, laptops and digital education content in the classroom is expanding and changing the role of teachers, the AdvancED study found little evidence of technology being used by students to strengthen learning in classrooms today.” The report notes that most prior analysis was based on teacher surveys rather than the comprehensive classroom observations on which this study was based. 

”Students thrive when the teacher requires technology use not only for researching and writing but also to solve problems, work collaboratively and develop creativity.” 

At Creative Learning Systems, we are dedicated to closing this technology gap in the classroom. Our SmartLab programs put technology directly in the hands of students through personalized, project-based learning. SmartLabs engage all learners with hands-on, minds-on applied technology and promote problem-solving, collaboration, communication and creativity. Learn more about SmartLabs at: http://www.creativelearningsystems.com/ 

Source: The Paradox of Classroom Technology: Despite Proliferation and Access, Students Not Using Technology for Learning – AdvancED research by Ludwig van Broekhuizen, Ph. D. Download the full AdvancED report here: http://www.advanc-ed.org/sites/default/files/AdvancED_eleot_Classroom_Tech_Report.pdf


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