Category Archives: Toddlers and Tablets

New Media Journalism Technology Toddlers and Tablets

Your Thoughts on Digital Learning in Early Education

Children utilizing a digital device in the classroom at Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, GA. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
Children utilizing a digital device in a 2nd Grade classroom at Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, GA. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

In response to the video and audio sample done in a previously written article, Profile: Educators Leading the Path to the Digital Future I did not receive too many responses. In fact, the one response I received was from one of the educators that I interviewed.  Going forward, to improve upon the amount of response I receive on video clips I produce, I will ask harder questions. The questions that I ask in the future will evoke a response from readers; whether it be a “hot topic” that parents may have very different views on or by using a broader topic with more in depth answers.

Pre-K Student using tablet at Nolan Elementary School. Photo credit: Amanda Golden
Pre-K Student using tablet at Nolan Elementary School. Photo credit: Amanda Golden

As a result of the surveys and polls conducted last week, I received 8 responses total.  As shown in the survey summary, there were several parents whose child attended a school with a Bring Your Own Device Program in place. Of these parents, many of them purchased their child a digital device between the ages of 3 to 5. It also was concluded almost unanimously that many parents see the use of digital technology continuing to grow over the next few years especially in regards to the school system.

During the previous week of the Social Media and Online Community Engagement Class I also published a discussion post to Reddit. This discussion titled “Digital Learning in GA Early Learning Schools: Good or Bad” yielded 25 Reddit “up-votes” and 5 very thought provoking responses.

I will share the response from one Reddit user: /r/jesusapproves below because this users’ comment accurately sums up what a lot of parents (that responded to the post) feel about the good and bad of digital learning.

Screen Capture of a comment from a reddit user in response to my discussion post in the subreddit of Praenting. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
Screen Capture of a comment from a Reddit user in response to my discussion post in the sub-reddit of Parenting. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

This response, in my opinion, pulls together the other points that parents gave on this discussion after his response.

Some of the major points that I took away from his response are:

* There are many advantages as well as disadvantages as to why one would want digital learning to be (or not be) involved in the educational system.

*   We are still living in a time where not everyone can afford to purchase these devices for their child; so in the event that schools do not provide a class set it would allow more chance for issues to arise.

*   There is still a need for the actual teacher to lecture in a traditional method as well as allow time for the use of devices in learning new concepts.

Overall, I would say that my audience responses were very informative. The responses allowed to me hear viewpoints that I had not considered. Some of the comments from the Reddit post even provided me with articles to use as a resource for further research. I would also like to thank the people who have responded to my articles, surveys and discussion posts for helping me gather data for further research on my Capstone Topic.

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New Media Journalism Technology Toddlers and Tablets

Survey: Digital Technology in GA Schools

The topic of Textbooks vs. Tablets in Georgia Schools is steadily on the rise; and we would like to know how you feel on the subject. Many schools in Georgia, as well as around the United States, have recently adopted the Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives. These programs are an effort to help raise test scores in the school system. The results of this survey are intended to analyze responses of how people really feel about this program being implemented into the schools.

This survey will be used to collect data on the thoughts of readers interested in how Digital Technology will affect Schools in Georgia. All responses to questions on the survey will remain anonymous. The survey will close on March 31, 2014.

The survey was initially sent out via email on March 17, 2014 and since then have had approximately 7 responses. Of these preliminary responses:

  • 71 percent have said “yes” their child attends a school with a BYOT/BYOD Program
  • 86 percent said that they use digital devices to help with their child’s education “daily”
  • 43 percent said their child got their first digital device between “ages 3-5”

When asked the open-ended question of where parents see the role of digital textbooks in relation to traditional textbooks in the next 3 years; the responses were very similar in nature. Responses were summarized to say the following: “the shift to full digital will happen sooner than we think. The fact that the curriculum can update more frequently beats out traditional books.”

In conclusion, the results of this survey will be used in the making of a final presentation on the data found on the topic of tablets vs. textbooks in Georgia Schools.

I would personally like to thank each and every one of my readers who took the time out to answer the survey questions.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the topic or questions on the survey please feel free to email me at amandamgolden@fullsail.edu.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

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New Media Journalism Technology Toddlers and Tablets

Discussing Tablets vs Textbooks in GA Schools

This article will serve as an introduction to my Capstone Project for the New Media Journalism Masters Program at Full Sail University.

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New Media Journalism Technology Toddlers and Tablets

iStartSmart Tablets Add New Learning Suite For iPad

Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts
Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts

Hatch: The Early Learning Experts has recently launched the newest addition to the iStartSmart Tablets, the iPad Learning Suite. Hatch is said to have broadened the horizons on how children are able to learn in the 21st century classroom.

These are students at Love T. Nolan Elementary School who are using the iStartSmart Tablet in a small group. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
These are students at Love T. Nolan Elementary School who are using the iStartSmart Tablet in a small group. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

The iStartSmart iPad Learning Suite is available in the Apple Store for free and includes all of the popular “Shell Squad Games” that teachers currently utilize in classrooms around the world.

In a previous article entitled “How iStartSmart Tablets Help Child Development,” you were told about the iStartSmart Tablet. This tablet, according to Hatch: The Early Learning Experts, “is the learning tablet that fascinates and engages” and is now a learning system that can be downloaded to a device other than the Hatch Tablets to help more students improve in the classroom.

Teacher assisting a child with the iStartSmart Tablet.  Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts
Teacher assisting a child with the iStartSmart Tablet.
Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts

Keenya Glover, a parent of a special-needs student in first grade says, “I think it’s a necessity! Due to the technology evolving at a rapid rate, children need to get ahead of the game.” With this program, children are taught the skills needed to prepare them for the next level.  Glover continued by saying, “using digital technology ASAP enhances the brain” so when her son began using the program at age three, she was very encouraged at the rate of his educational advancement.

The iStartSmart iPad Learning Suite still contains the same features as mentioned in my previous article; however, it is reported only available on the “Apple iPad Generation 2 or later.”  This makes it easier on many schools who have already integrated the iPad into their schools to incorporate Hatch Technology.

This is a child holding the iPad on the main student screen. Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts
This is a child holding the iPad on the main student screen. Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts

Hatch’s article followed up by saying that before the system rewards the child with more advanced activities, it wants to make sure that the skill has been demonstrated correctly. This is what separates the iStartSmart Learning System from other educational applications on digital devices. The program is designed so that “if a child struggles with an activity, the system will automatically intervene to help them move forward, or to refocus them on other skill levels necessary to master increasingly difficult concepts.”

These are the main characters of The Shell Squad Games  Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts
These are the main characters of The Shell Squad Games
Photo Credit: Hatch: The Early Learning Experts

 

 

 

Let’s meet the stars of this award-winning educational learning suite: Cami the Cameleon, Henry the Duck, and Platty the Platypus. According to the Hatch website, these characters “guide the child-directed play.” The characters guide the children on many adventures to enhance the typical lesson taught in the classroom. 

Original Infographic created by: Amanda Golden  Information was gathered from research by Hatch: The Early Learning Experts
Original Infographic created by: Amanda Golden
Information was gathered from research by Hatch: The Early Learning Experts

 

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New Media Journalism Toddlers and Tablets

Digital Learning to Improve Early Education

Love T. Nolan Elementary School is located in South Fulton County (College Park, GA). Majority of the students come from low-income families and have not had the same advantage to technology (pre-entering school) that other children may have had. Hatch Technology Services in their background research showed that “Compared to their middle-income peers, young low-income children display poorer language/literacy and mathematics skills, putting them at high risk for school failure.” So by putting programs that scaffold learning into these schools one can possibly help them to beat the odds.

students at LTN MARCH 2013
Infographic created by: Amanda Golden

Love T. Nolan has approximately 300 students in grade PK-2ND grade according to the March 2013 FTE numbers. Fulton County Schools Tech Specialist, Carl Golden, “feel[s] that introducing students to technology at an early age is very beneficial to their educational growth and development.”

In the school there are 42 classrooms, continues Golden, “including art, music, and P.E. use digital technology during instruction.” Of these 42 there are 6 that we will focus on. There are 6 teachers who are utilizing the Hatch Technology Tablets in their classroom at Love T. Nolan all in the Pre- Kindergarten arena. Golden stated that of these teachers “One class has 4 students; 1 class has 10 students; the remaining classes have at least 15 students but all students are exposed to the Hatch Tablet for learning.”  These tablets are said to have significant success in improving the readiness for the student to go to the next grade level according to Hatch: The Early Learning Experts.

Infographic Created by: Amanda Golden
Infographic Created by: Amanda Golden

Nolan Elementary School Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Alicia Prather uses the Hatch tablet in her classroom for literacy.  Prather says, “Letter recognition and phonic recognition are the types of activities that are used most often” in her classroom. The students seem to enjoy the tablet use and she has seen “some growth” in many of her students though she cannot be “to positive that the growth is contributed to the use of the tablet or other techniques used in class.” This is true of many teachers using the product. Hatch: The Early Learning Experts founder, Ginny Norton explained that the tablets are “not talking about having technology replace the teacher” they (teachers) are to “consistently incorporate them into the daily routine to impact school readiness.” So it is together with the techniques used already in the classroom that technology is “appropriately used” to enhance school readiness in students.

Pre-K Student using tablet at Nolan Elementary School. Photo credit: Amanda Golden
Pre-K Student using tablet at Nolan Elementary School. Photo credit: Amanda Golden

As written in the School Systems Strategic Plan 2017  their community has “clearly demonstrated their demand and desire for more integration of technology through the renewal of  [their] sales tax for capital improvements, which will be heavily invested in technology.” These projections have been made true to reflect the Fulton County School System FY2014 Budget , there will be $100,000.00 in the budget to fund “computers and iPad’s for new staff for all Learning and Teaching Offices. There will be an additional $250,000.00 in the Instructional Media Technology Category of the budget to “To provide district level electronic books, available for use by all students, teachers and parents (K-12). These Electronic books will support Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS).”

As a result of an increased budget for Integrating Technology into their school system they are ensuring that their teacher, parents and students will have “the tools and information necessary to accelerate learning.”

However, there are other programs that are not as lucky. In an article published by the Harvard International Review (B. PELHAM, 2009) “the assumption that wealthy countries tend to have better education systems than poorer countries is correct.” Not everyone has access to computers and tablet devices unless a sponsoring program steps in. The article shows “evidence indicates that the level of computer propagation in a country is strongly associated with its students’ scores” on standardized test a lot like the ones in the states.  There is a program called One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) that helped students in Abuja, Nigeria to advance educationally.  They also help other countries that are in lower wealth states to advance. Advocates of the OLPC Program suggest, “computers are powerf[ul] learning tools, bringing information to students’ fingertips and allowing them to interact with it and synthesize it in ways that would be impossible otherwise.”

According to Hatch: The Early Learning Experts Study on the iStartSmart Learning System, “Preliminary results of a scientific research study on the iStartSmart software showed children had significant gains on standardized tests in comparison to control group children who had not used iStartSmart software.”

 

Bibliography

B. PELHAM, S. C. (2009, July 01). Technology and Education: The Power of the Personal Computer. Harvard International Review , 74-76.

 

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New Media Journalism Toddlers and Tablets

How iStartSmart Tablets Help Child Development

iStartSmart Tablets 

According to Hatch: The Early Learning Experts, the “iStartSmart Mobile is the learning tablets that fascinates and engages” children as they learn throughout the day based on research proven applications and software that monitor the progress as they go. If a student is struggling with a concept, the program allows for the teacher to go in and “refocus” by using the Progress Monitoring Reports incorporated into the system for more efficient learning.

Research shows that the iStartSmart program was created to help aid the key components that “promote positive experiences and school readiness.” Among these components are:

  1. Child Development
  2. Effective Early Childhood Education Practices

  3. Critical Content for School Readiness
  4. Developmentally Appropriate Educational Technology

diagram-istartsmart-300

One of the most innovative things about the iStartSmart Learning System (app suite and the tablet) “is that teachers can monitor the progress of each student in real time!” The progress monitoring of the iStartSmart System allows for teachers to take “snapshots of a child’s progress throughout the year”, exclaimed Brent. Instead of teachers having to remember which child did what at the end of the day the “unbiased data” from the program is right there to show when needed.

Hatch: Early Learning Experts concluded that, “for technology to be meaningful in early education, it must provide opportunities for children to gain the essential skills that prepare them for school.”

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Toddlers and Tablets

How iPads Impact Child Development

In a world where technology is rapidly advancing many are beginning to “plug in” to the Smart Technology sooner than ever. “Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were the fabric that held families together”, stated Cris Rowan, contributing writer for Huffington Post.

LeapPad 2 Explorer by Leap Frog Tablet for ages 3-9. Photo Taken in Wal-Mart Shopping Center. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
LeapPad 2 Explorer by Leap Frog Tablet for ages 3-9. Photo Taken in Wal-Mart Shopping Center. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

According to pbs.org, “for school-age children, a smartphone or tablet can give them an additional learning layer, beyond the traditional classroom or book.” Fulton County Schools Kindergarten Teacher, Paula Gehring says she uses the iPad in conjunction with her normal lesson plans daily to “motivate the children.” Gehring continues by saying, “many parents park their children in front of TV, computer, Kindle/Nook/ iPad instead of interacting with the children and their social skills are suffering.” This makes it harder to get the children to “share” the devices when used for learning in the school.

Cris Rowan, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, contributing writer for Huffington Post, and Author of “Virtual Child – The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children”, says that she “unplugged” her “son Matt when he was 12…threw out his TV, cancelled cable, tossed the Commodore 64 and Atari.” Rowan also tells other “parents that ANY exposure to technology is detrimental to cognitive, physical, mental and social development.”

InnoTab 2 Display at Wal-Mart in Fayetteville. They are marketing tablet learning to children at an early age. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
InnoTab 2 Display at Wal-Mart in Fayetteville. They are marketing tablet learning to help with child development. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

Movement, touch, human connection and exposure to nature are four very critical components that are “necessary to achieve healthy child development” Rowan mentions in her article. And by choosing to “unplug” her children at an early age, as adults, they both feel “technology is largely a waste of time”. When technology is involved the skills needed for a child to develop are “grossly limited”.

However, South Carolina Parent, Keenya Glover, says that her 7-year-old son’s “iPad is considered his voice.” He began using it 2 years ago and she has seen a “tremendous boost in his level of communication.” Glover goes on to say that because her son is special needs, he is not able to communicate so the program he was able to use at school at an early age “enables him to communicate at school and home.” She continues by saying that if her son had not been introduced to the iPad at an early age; he would not be as far as he is now with his communication skills.

Nyjel Glover outside in South Carolina. Photo Credit Amanda Golden
Nyjel Glover a special needs child who uses the iPad to communicate with his friends, outside in South Carolina. Photo Credit Amanda Golden

According to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation, “The world for an autistic child is full of imagery, rather than words. On an iPad, an autistic child can create a sentence or even story using a series of images. By doing so, the child can communicate with parents, caretakers, and instructors without frustration. Since the iPad is mobile, children with autism can take this communication tool wherever they go.” Since the iPad is a portable device that they can take wherever they go; the autistic child will constantly “have ways to calm, focus, and learn while on-the-go.

 

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New Media Journalism Toddlers and Tablets

Children and Smart Technology: The Way of the Future

  6-year-old student using technology to learn letters. Photo By: Amanda Golden

6-year-old student using technology to learn letters. Photo By: Amanda Golden

The question isn’t whether technology is the way of the future, but *what* technology will best serve us; and least harm us – Matt Peckham, writer for Time.com

Peckham states in his article, “the jury on tablet and smartphone use by young children was out 1½ years ago; it’s still out in early 2013, the consensus currently being that these devices work best when they’re employed as complementary to parental interaction, say, as conversation starters (as opposed to conversation enders, or simply babysitters).” According to his article this has become a concern for many parents both new and seasoned over the past few years.

Many schools (and even daycares) around the world have begun to incorporate technology in some way or another into their daily instructional time to help better serve children. The most popular technological device added being the iPad. Teachers have used them to teach patterns, letters and even mathematics to their students; and children as young as 18 months old have even been observed using these devices to their advantage.

Peckham mentioned that the use of Smart technology “probably doesn’t matter in the very early years, when the most important thing for the still-developing child brain is coming to grips with reality itself.” But he and his family have been having conversations about school systems integrating technology earlier and earlier in the lessons and he says, “in short, I feel good about any school system that implements research-supported technological tools.”

Sample Math App for Kids on the iPad. Photo by: Amanda Golden
Sample Math App for Kids on the iPad. Photo by: Amanda Golden

Fulton County Schools Kindergarten teacher, Michaela Boggs, states that even though they do use Smart Devices in her classroom that, “they need to have a teacher teaching them still, an iPad should never replace a teacher in the classroom.” Boggs allows her kindergarten students to use the iPad “at stations, for listening in reading, or for counting or using strategies in math. They love it and they truly learn from USING a skill, rather than just hearing about it.” The students seem  “to catch on quickly while using technology!” exclaims Boggs.

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New Media Journalism Technology Toddlers and Tablets

Privacy Settings on Facebook: Protect Yourself by Thinking Twice

Photo Taken By Amanda Golden
Photo Taken By Amanda Golden

Former student of Fayette County School District, Chelsea Chaney, is currently suing the school system for 2 million dollars.

Chaney reports on WBSTV that she “didn’t give permission for her photo to be used.” Her attorney, Peter Wellborn stated “their idea that putting something on Facebook gives them a license to steal it and Carte blanche to do with it what they did is wrong ethically, it’s wrong morally and it’s absolutely wrong legally.”

When one signs up for social media networking sites like Facebook they are, according to Facebook Privacy Settings, granting them the permission to use any and all information posted publicly to the website. Though you will still own all of the photos and information posted it is suggested on Facebook that one must, “always think before you post. Just like anything else you post on the web or send in an email, information you share on Facebook can be copied or re-shared by anyone who can see it.”

One element of a Defamation claim in Georgia according to Digital Media Law Project is “a false statement about the plaintiff.” Chaney also reported that next to the photo was the title “Once it’s there, it’s there to stay” during a district wide seminar that was dedicated to informing people of the risks of social media. This was “embarrassing” to Chaney according to the report made on WSBTV this past June.

Another former Fayette County School District student, Justin M., feels that “it doesn’t matter, as soon as she put it on the Internet it became free game for anybody”; including employers. Mr. M. also mentioned that people should read the privacy settings of these social media settings, people can see your information whether you give them permission or not because “you put it out there for them to see.”

His advice to youth of today is to “Be informed. Understand what you are doing when you put that information, that picture or you’re putting that video or whatever post up. What ever you say can be used against you, not only in the court of law but for getting a job, losing a job, losing a friend, or even a family member; because it is in the free market, in the middle of the internet, anybody can access it.”

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New Media Journalism Technology Toddlers and Tablets

iPad Training 101

Getting to know your iPad made easy; an hour long hands-on teaching experiences with your new Apple devices found at PeachMac- Peachtree City for Free.

Peachtree City, Georgia- Getting to know your iPad event was held Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 10:00 am in The Avenue of Peachtree City. The event was hosted at the PeachMac store by trainers, Emily Anderson and Andrew Gruner.

Anderson states this is an introductory course that goes over the “basic navigation of the device” as well as the “terminology” used with the device. She explains what each term means in normal terms. She goes on to say that “equating it to something familiar is the one thing I know our customers love about our store.” To ensure everyone gets adequate training, there is only a limited amount of people in each training class. This class had eight attendees; which is the maximum for the workshop.

PeachMac hosts several other trainings throughout the week. These free workshops may be found on their webpage.

Andrew Gruner going through the basic steps of how to use your iPad in the Getting to know your iPad Training. Saturday, August 31, 2013 at PeachMac in Peachtree City, GA Photo by: Amanda Golden/Full Sail University
Andrew Gruner going through the basic steps of how to use your iPad in the Getting to know your iPad Training.
Saturday, August 31, 2013 at PeachMac in Peachtree City, GA
Photo by: Amanda Golden/Full Sail University

Gruner prefaced the class by saying, “this workshop never takes the full hour because it is a lot more straightforward than using a Mac.” The iPad is more “user-friendly” stated Gruner this is why it usually only takes about thirty minutes to complete the training. The class ranged from ages 14-73 this Saturday so trainer, Andrew Gruner continuously reassured the attendees that no one would be left behind with his explanations. This course differed from the previous Introduction to iPad classes by lasting the full hour allotted for the course.

Tom and Sylvia Morrison recently brought an iPad for their 73-year-old mother, Victoria, so that she may be able to stay in contact with them when they aren’t around. Also, “the iPad will let her watch the videos her granddaughter is producing as well”, added Tom. Throughout the course several basic questions were answered on how to use the iPad, including the definition of an “app”. The Apple App Store is where customers would purchase applications according to their liking so Gruner was sure to show step-by-step how to access it to get the most from the store. Sylvia noted that since they had just introduced the iPad to her mother, to be able to communicate with them mostly, “we still need to teach her the definition of free vs. paid in the app store.” Tom went on to joke that their daughter, a 7th grader in Fulton County Schools, was going to teach her everything there was to know about texting and using her new iPad later this evening since they were using them in her school she was now almost an expert.

Andrew Gruner going through each step of how to use your iPad with Ms. Victoria in the Getting to know your iPad training. Saturday, August 31, 2013 at PeachMac in Peachtree City, GA Photo by: Amanda Golden/Full Sail University
Andrew Gruner going through each step of how to use your iPad with Ms. Victoria in the Getting to know your iPad training.
Saturday, August 31, 2013 at PeachMac in Peachtree City, GA
Photo by: Amanda Golden/Full Sail University

The B.Y.O.T Initiatives have begun to spread throughout the country. According to the article written in the PeachMac blog, “the program has proven to engage students and encourage them to participate more in class.” Anderson says, “very few have come to a workshop for their child. Those that do, generally want to have the knowledge to help their children navigate the device should the need arise.” She recommends one of the most used apps available in store for parents who do bring children to be called “Lunchbox”. This app uses a monkey character to teach shapes to the younger children. Though there are many other educational apps such as MathBoard and her personal favorites NASA and iTunes U she explains. Several more awesome apps can be found for new parents on the PeachMac Blog.

PeachMac offers a variety of resources and product trainings that are open for anyone who would like to attend, from the free workshops to the PeachPlus Memberships and One-on-One support. For more information on PeachMac and what it has to offer contact your local PeachMac Store.

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