Sam Morris

Students at the STEM High School in the Lake Washington school district outside Seattle via Nick Adams at Education Week

Students at the STEM High School in the Lake Washington school district outside Seattle via Nick Adams at Education Week

Engagement is not a goal, it’s an outcome of students (or anyone) doing meaningful work. - Sylvia Martinez via Scott McLeod In today’s education speak, engagement is too often cited for purposes that are not ideal.  As one reads the reports of schools implementing technology in their classrooms, undoubtedly someone will cite technology as a means to increase student engagement. However, not all engagement is equal, and in deed some engagement may not even be desirable.  In particular, I believe we need to ask are the students engaged in the learning or in the medium and/or process. Prior to the advent of today’s digital tools, this was not a real concern as most of the learning tools were not likely to be independently engaging.  As a result of the ongoing digital transformation, it is critical to define the engagement we seek as part of the learning outcomes and then identify technology tools that support this engagement.  To that end, here are some of the key identifiers I use to assess the nature of the engagement. Collaborative Does the tool drive collaboration amongst students, teachers, and a broader community of learners?  Conversely, does the tool tend to isolate people within their own world?  While there can be benefit to the latter, as a metric...

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We’re excited to share the amazing and impressive work done by Grover Cleveland High School seniors from Queens, New York. This week they showcased more than 40 apps they developed as part of a mobile application development curriculum pilot program and competition by Lenovo and the National Academy Foundation (NAF).  The students used our ThinkPad laptops and Android-based tablets to put their creativity and programming skills to the test, creating a tremendous range of apps. The results were astounding: Apps to help people with disabilities store their personal information, remember their medication schedule, exercise their memory, and even to more easily navigate public transit systems Educational apps including fun and easy-to-use ways to remember math equations, make your own learning flashcards, and children’s learning such as matching sounds to animals and countries to their shapes Apps focused on health and exercise including gauging BMI level, tracking exercise time, and learning new abdominal exercises, complete with pictures and levels of difficulty Game apps, including “Space Battle,” “Gnome Bridge,” “Balloon Popper,” “Catch the Manana,” “Squirrels vs. Chipmunks,” and “Samurai Sword,” which is a movement-based app that creates different sword...

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Photo by Judy Baxter (cc)

Photo by Judy Baxter (cc)

Well it's happened again.  A couple of recent tweets have me thinking about my days in the classroom and my role as a mathematics teacher.  In this tweet Karl Fisch is looking for advice to help his students overcome some challenges in their math class. Frustrated. I'm not being successful helping my students when they don't immediately get something. They just stop and give up. — Karl Fisch (@karlfisch) April 3, 2012 In particular he is struggling with creating a culture or a mindset for his students of determination. It also reminds me of the theme from yesterday’s #mathchat. The topic is: "How do/should we measure success in mathematics, and in schools?"#mathchat — Colin Graham (@ColinTGraham) April 2, 2012 In my days at Cary Academy I remember a conversation the math department had about what were the specific characteristics we wanted our students to develop through their experiences at Cary Academy. I have always felt that one of the most important skills (if it is even a skill) that we could encourage our students to develop is a sense of determination, a...

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Khan Academy

Khan Academy

While the trending topics on Twitter over the past 48 hours have revolved around The Bachelor, March Madness, and NFL free agency, most of the people in my timeline, who tend to focus on education and technology, have been tweeting about Khan Academy and the recently announced TED-Ed video series. Last night I was caught up in a conversation among a few of my favorite math educators (Dan Meyer and Karl Fisch) and a supehero.  Without doing the conversation justice, I’ll simply summarize it as a debate about the merits of online video lectures. Dan and the EdTech Hulk’s perceptions are that TED-Ed and Khan Academy are emphasizing lecturing as the fundamental purpose of educators. On the other hand, Karl was suggesting that it was a bit early to prejudge, especially in the case of Ted-Ed. If you haven't had a chance to visit the blogs of Dan and Karl, I strongly suggest that you do. Over the past several years I have followed the work of both men as they relate their...

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Working in an industry that provides goods or services to education can be a bit tricky. Obviously companies must operate in a manner which ultimately supports the financial well-being of the organizations, its shareholders and its employees. However, when working with schools we must also remember that it is important to keep in mind the significance and magnitude of the work being done by educators.  As the #1 PC manufacturer in education, Lenovo has a responsibility to build hardware appropriate for education that enhances the learning environment and enables educators to improve learning outcomes. Recently we announced two new product lines that do just that. In January at BETT Lenovo showcased, its second offering of Classmate Plus. Based on the Intel Learning Series, we are offering a clamshell version as well as a Lenovo-enhanced convertible Tablet PC.  Both systems are built on Intel's Atom Processor technology and both are ruggedized to meet the demanding needs of classrooms. In addition, the classmates have a full suite of education optimized applications, including classroom management tools, creativity applications, and e-reader.  Also for those schools looking for more computing power, Lenovo has released an 11.6” notebook, the

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