Education

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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Matthew Simpson, Intern for North America Field Technical Sales Support (FTSS) team

Matthew Simpson, Intern for North America Field Technical Sales Support (FTSS) team

Summertime for a teenager often means sleeping in late, spending days at the pool and maybe a summer job or two.  For Matthew Simpson, 16, of Durham, NC this summer has been spent working on two projects at Lenovo: a Stoneware WebNetwork portal and a benchmarking and configuration effort with the ThinkStation development engineers. Matt presents the WebNetwork architecture. Simpson, who will soon begin his senior year at the NC School of Science and Math in Durham, joined Lenovo’s North America Field Technical Sales Support (FTSS) team in June as part of a collaborative effort between Lenovo and the NCSSM. “We started a partnership with Science and Math consisting of several initiatives, from technology to HR to PR.  We want to engage young people in Lenovo as a career opportunity and took this first opportunity to introduce them to our PC+ strategy,” said Dave Buchanan, Director of the NA FTSS team. A tech wizard even at 16, prior to his time with Lenovo, Matt focused primarily on software. “In middle school, I started picking up software development,” he stated. “My floor was literally covered with computer science books, but I never really explored hardware until coming here.” “Matt’s work on ThinkStation this summer will prove to be invaluable as we challenge the competition going forward,” said Bryan Young, a software architect for the ThinkStation Business Unit.  “He...

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Can you imagine being in high school and getting invited to be special guest at a real rocket launch? That's exactly what happened to Sara Ma and Dorothy Chen, Michigan natives and winners of the YouTube Space Lab competition. As part of their prize package, the teenage friends got to travel to Japan, where they watched up close and personal as their very own experiments were shot up by rocket to the International Space Station. On the eve of the Space Lab finale, we asked them about this incredible experience.   How long was your flight from Michigan to Japan? Did you have any interesting layovers? The flight was 13-14 hours long. We had no layovers. I couldn’t sleep on the plane at all, so the flight felt extremely long.   What cities in Japan did you get to see? Any significant landmarks? I just saw Tokyo and Tanegashima on my Japan trip. I was most impressed with the different landscapes of Tokyo: you can see the old classic side in the Asakusa district, the modern electric city in the Akihabara district, and the fashion-forward/young-teen scene in the Shibuya district. Tanegashima was relatively isolated from modern activity, and I really was able to enjoy the amazing nature and calmness that you can’t get in the bustling city.     Describe the overall experience, and emotions you felt, while watching your experiment launch on the JAXA rocket heading to the ISS.  I was just drowning in...

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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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