Tag Archives: child development

New Media Journalism Technology

Profile: Educators Leading the Path to the Digital Future

Connie D. Perkins is currently a first grade teacher in Fayette County Schools and has been teaching for over 26 years. Perkins has a Reading Specialist Degree that has allowed her to teach one-on-one reading with students who needed the help. She also taught Early Intervention Program (EIP) curriculum for reading two years, and Perkins mentioned that she “has worked a lot with children who struggle in reading.”

With the many years of teaching experience in early education, Perkins stated that she has seen a major difference in the way that children grasp reading and math skills over the years. She remembers when they would use flash cards to learn new concepts and how it would take weeks for them to master the concepts, and now those same skills when applied from the iPad or the computer are learned “just like that,” she continued. Perkins stated that the children “love iPads in their classroom!” She utilizes the iPad to introduce and reinforce the lessons they will be doing throughout the week. “The children now have access to the reading book and all the skills we do in class. They can go home and do it online,” says Perkins. “They think it’s a big deal to be able to go ahead of us or read extra books related to the class lessons while at home.”

Perkins finished by saying that she could see the schools “doing away with textbooks and going digital someday,” believing that students will think “outside the box when manipulating tools on digital technology.”

1st Grade Teacher Discusses Digital Technology from Amanda Golden on Vimeo.

 

Heather Cox has been a fourth grade teacher and leader of technology in Fulton County Schools for the past 10 years. Upon gaining employment with Fulton Schools, Cox said that she became a “leadership member and any other kind of committee member that had anything to do with technology.” This included the Inaugural Technology Leadership Forum for Fulton County Schools where she helped to launch the Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) Pilot Program in her school. Though she initially met resistance, she eventually helped everyone to understand what the program was really about.

Cox stated that last year while on her professional Twitter page, she saw an article that was linked to the nomination form for the White House Champions of Change Program for ConnectEd Leaders. After she read over the description, she sent an email to her students’ parents to see if they would nominate her. To her surprise, Cox heard back from the White House a few months later saying that she had “like 20 nominations,” so they wanted to get a little more information about her. From there, Cox was chosen to be 1 of the 10 people who would be honored as a ConnectEd Leader in the White House Champions of Change Program. Cox said that it was incredible to go and get to meet other ConnectEd Educators and it happened “all through the power of Twitter.”

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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

Integrating Technology in the Classroom Past to Present

Student at Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, GA using the iPad for a math lesson. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
Student at Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, GA using the iPad for a math lesson.
Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

Technology has vastly changed over the past 40 years, especially in the classroom.  Teachers no longer use typewriters, abacus’, pencil and paper as a main classroom tool. Instead we find tools like computers, tablets and styluses to complete assignments.

  

Scholastic Reading Test Module on a student computer at Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, GA. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
Scholastic Reading Test Module on a student computer at Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, GA.
Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

“Educators can leverage new educational tools to personalize learning, encourage collaboration, and prepare students for the future,” according to author Susie Boss in an article at edutopia.org.

 

Mr. Carl Golden, Sr. a Fulton County Schools Technology Specialist in College Park, GA. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
Mr. Carl Golden, Sr. a Fulton County Schools Technology Specialist in College Park, GA. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

Mr. Carl Golden, Sr. a Fulton County Schools Technology Specialist (in College Park, GA) recalled memories from 1970, when he began in the school system, where they basically only had “typewriters, calculators, paper and pens” to be considered a form of technology.

 

A set of 6 student computer for use with students at Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, GA. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
A set of 6 student computer for use with students at Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, GA.
Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

Golden went on to discuss how in the 1980’s the first computer he was exposed to in education was the “Apple One” and the “Apple Two” computers that had a floppy disk drive with drills to help students improve in the classroom.

Golden also shared his memories of being one of the “first teachers during that time” in 1995 to be trained in technology for the schools. Let’s listen:

Mrs. Gwendolyn Golden, Second Grade teacher at Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, GA doing a math lesson on the iPad.  Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
Mrs. Gwendolyn Golden, Second Grade teacher at Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, GA doing a math lesson on the iPad.
Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

Mrs. Gwendolyn Golden, a second grade teacher in Fayette County Schools, also noted that during her tenure in school she had to use a typewriter in class- not a computer. This is very different from today she continued saying, “today in my second grade classroom where I teach, we have 6 student computers, a mobile iPad lab, and we also have responders for the students to interact with answering question during lessons.”

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New Media Journalism

Book Character Parade Not a Halloween Parade: Promoting Literacy at all Ages

Fayetteville, GA- Fayette Elementary School is a Pre-Kindergarten to Fifth Grade school this year. A combination of Hood Avenue Primary (Pre-k to 2nd) and Fayette Intermediate School (3rd to 5th) due to budget cuts in the school system; this new school still continued tradition of the Annual Book Character Parade this year. In previous years’ Pre-School to grades 2 were able to participate in the alternate Halloween Costume Parade; however this year it was limited to the lower grades up to 1st grade. Students were encouraged to do a “Story web” of their favorite book and come in on October 31, 2013 wearing original costumes of their favorite character from that book to parade around the school that morning. The upper grades completed their “story webs” and could only bring in a pumpkin decorated from their favorite book character. Students from all grades, Parents, Teachers and Administrators gathered in the halls on October 31, 2013 after the morning announcements to watch the highly anticipated Book Character Parade pass by!

Fayetteville, GA- Pre Kindergarten students at Fayette Elementary School prepare for the Annual Book Character Parade. Held every year for grades Pre-K through 1st grade on October 31st. In the place of celebrating Halloween at school they celebrate a safe alternative that promotes reading at an early age.
Fayetteville, GA- Pre Kindergarten students at Fayette Elementary School prepare for the Annual Book Character Parade. Held every year for grades Pre-K through 1st grade on October 31st. In the place of celebrating Halloween at school they celebrate a safe alternative that promotes reading at an early age.
Fayetteville, GA- Teachers and Students from Kindergarten and 1st Grade at Fayette Elementary School showcase their favorite book character in the Annual Book Character Parade. Held every year for grades Pre-K through 1st grade on October 31st in the place of celebrating Halloween at school they celebrate a safe alternative that promotes reading at an early age.
Fayetteville, GA- Teachers and Students from Kindergarten and 1st Grade at Fayette Elementary School showcase their favorite book character in the Annual Book Character Parade. Held every year for grades Pre-K through 1st grade on October 31st in the place of celebrating Halloween at school they celebrate a safe alternative that promotes reading at an early age.
Fayetteville, GA- Students at Fayette Elementary School in grades 2-5 watch with anticipation the Annual Book Character Parade. Held every year for grades Pre-K through 1st grade on October 31st. In the place of celebrating Halloween at school they celebrate a safe alternative that promotes reading at an early age.
Fayetteville, GA- Students at Fayette Elementary School in grades 2-5 watch with anticipation the Annual Book Character Parade. Held every year for grades Pre-K through 1st grade on October 31st. In the place of celebrating Halloween at school they celebrate a safe alternative that promotes reading at an early age. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
Fayetteville, GA- Fayette Elementary School student dressed as Cruella Deville from Disney's "101 Dalmations" proudly walks at the Annual Book Character Parade. Held every year for grades Pre-K through 1st grade on October 31st in the place of celebrating Halloween at school they celebrate a safe alternative that promotes reading at an early age.
Fayetteville, GA- Fayette Elementary School student dressed as Cruella Deville from Disney’s “101 Dalmations” proudly walks at the Annual Book Character Parade. Held every year for grades Pre-K through 1st grade on October 31st in the place of celebrating Halloween at school they celebrate a safe alternative that promotes reading at an early age. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
Fayetteville, GA- Student at Fayette Elementary School who chose the book "Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs" showcases his homemade costume for the Annual Book Character Parade. Held every year for grades Pre-K through 1st grade on October 31st in the place of celebrating Halloween at school they celebrate a safe alternative that promotes reading at an early age.
Fayetteville, GA- Student at Fayette Elementary School who chose the book “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs” showcases his homemade costume for the Annual Book Character Parade. Held every year for grades Pre-K through 1st grade on October 31st in the place of celebrating Halloween at school they celebrate a safe alternative that promotes reading at an early age. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

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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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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

Children are Obsessed with Technology at an early age Worldwide

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New Media Journalism

Profile: Rachel Brent of Hatch Early Childhood

Social Media Specialist, Hatch Early Childhood
Rachel Brent-Social Media Specialist, Hatch Early Childhood

“I’ve always had a knack for talking to everyone so being in charge of social media and community management for a company just made sense.”- Rachel Brent

Born to an Elementary School Speech Pathologist, Rachel Brent has always taken interest to the education field. Spending the vast majority of her life around teachers, one would say it is in her blood to in this field.

When asked what made her want to get into the social media field she stated, “I’ve always had a knack for talking to everyone so being in charge of social media and community management for a company just made sense.”

Rachel has her undergraduate degree in Advertising from the University of Georgia and her master’s in Interactive Media from Elon University. Upon finishing her degrees she found her job at Hatch when it showed up as a suggested job on LinkedIn. This was the first  interview she ever had where she knew all of her hard work in school had paid off. She would be getting a job that she was not only qualified for but that she actually desired to do. This is one of the best feelings in the world when the American Dream, your dream is actually going to come true.

As the Social Media Specialist for Hatch, Rachel wears a lot of hats! She manages the social media, interacts with the online community, creates editorial calendars, writes engaging content, as well as builds relationships with industry leaders. On top of everything else Rachel is tasked with, she also runs the Expert Series webinars, ghost write blog posts, educate the rest of the company on social best practices, write e-books and do a little bit of coding, copywriting, and graphic design on the side. She is a woman of many talents that deserves to be highlighted. It was very interesting to find out this information about all that she does and still is able to find a little time for herself at the end of the day.

Coworker Johnathan Russell (Online Marketer + Developer + Designer) praised the work of Rachel in a recommendation on her LinkedIn page by stating that, “Rachel brings the highest level of creativity and energy to every project she is involved in. She is an asset to the team and pure joy to work with. Her out-of-the-box thinking is taking Hatch Online Marketing to a new level. She possesses a wide range of talents and skills sets that are rare coming right out of college. She has a bright future ahead of her.”

Rachel truly does have a very bright future ahead of her, very efficient, knowledgeable and is always willing to lend a helping hand. It is no surprise that Hatch Early Childhood snatched her up back in May to work for their company!

Hatch is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and targets the younger aged children but is also of a lot of help in its focus on teacher frustration points.  During the interview, Rachel mentioned that these universal points were things like: shrinking budgets, more paperwork, teaching to tests (less curriculum flexibility), more trouble with parents, and increased work for less pay. By having an understanding of all of those on top of what a child needs to grow and develop you have the company by the name of Hatch Early Learning!

Rachel also gave a lot of insight on whether or not technology would one day replace the need for basic skills like going outside to play. Hatch has just launched a product line called Hatch Outdoor, which ironically has nothing to do with technology. This product re-enforces the point of view that learning takes on a deeper meaning when it goes outdoors. Hatch is a strong advocate of technology being used in a structured manner where it is a part of the learning style not the entire way of teaching.

“Technology will NEVER replace the value of face-to-face interaction and the power of play, it can only help it.”- Rachel Brent

This quote was a very powerful statement that all should remember. Technology is introduced as a helpmate to the other learning styles not as a replacement. Rachel feels that when technology is used as part of a curriculum, not as a baby sitter, technology can only enhance the excellent, traditional methods of teaching that educators have been using for years.

Two fun facts about Rachel Brent and Hatch Early Learning

  • One of Rachel’s favorite topics to discuss is Social Emotional Learning, which coincidentally was the topic of her first e-book.
  • Her favorite gadget(s) that the company has developed are the iStartSmart Table and the tablet bumper.

Many happy users have left testimonials on the Hatch Webpage confirming this viewpoint. Jennifer CihakKindergarten Educator stated,  “iStartSmart computers are the best investment you can make! Computers are finally easy to use & with iStartSmart I can easily monitor each child’s overall progress.” This is just one example of a teacher incorporating the technology into her daily lesson plans and monitoring the progress of her students.

Rachel closed the interview by leaving 5 pieces of advice for people who are aspiring to one day be in her position:

  1. Be flexible but be firm about boundaries. I work hard while I’m at work, but when I leave, I put my phone away and don’t check my email. I’m lucky in that aspect, and I’m lucky that my manager respects that. Most community managers have a 25/7/365 job.
  2. Always be willing to listen and learn, you’ll find tips in very unexpected places.
  3. Be patient. This type of job is new, a lot of people don’t understand what a community manager does and thinks it’s just about playing on Facebook all day. It’s some of that, but what makes me different than their child, or nephew, or any other young person that you can pull off the street is that I have the communication theory from my education that informs my decisions on social. Before I started my job Hatch had three interns running their social who were in the business school at Wake Forest. They did a great job getting everything set up, building our audience, and maintaining a consistent presence on social media, but I would argue that the conversation was one sided on our part.
  4. Be as kind as possible and LISTEN. Even if someone frustrates the heck out of you, read their email with a smile, try to find the constructive criticism in the rant, and let it go. I struggle with this the most. Listen first and give every idea consideration, usually people are just trying to help even if it’s the worst idea you’ve ever heard. There still might be a good nugget in that terrible idea. If you have a great attitude and do your best, your team will be much more forgiving on that day when you do make a mistake (and that day will come!) It doesn’t matter if you’re brilliant at your job if no one likes you.
  5. Last bit of advice—if you don’t like coffee, you better learn to love it!

You may contact Rachel via email at rbrent@hatchearlychildhood.com for any further questions or information on the research done by Hatch and she will get it to the right place to answer you if she can’t answer it herself.

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New Media Journalism Technology Toddlers and Tablets

(Not) Playing Well With Others

Going outside for fresh air, making friends, or even talking as a family may be falling behind as a result of early technological use for toddlers. Children are just not as apt to playing well with others when too immersed in technology at an early age.

children tech

Photo Courtesy: google.com

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