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Fame-Magazine Articles New Media Journalism Technology

Profile: Work Ready Grad is Closing the Gap In Education

According to Katie Pfledderer, in an article entitled 3 Way Social Media Can Help You Land Your Dream Job, “Social media can also boost your job search through networking, researching and marketing yourself.”

Photo Courtesy: workreadygrad.com
Photo Courtesy: workreadygrad.com

Brian Srikanchana, Founder of Work Ready Grad, says their purpose is to “provide a platform where companies can engage students as they try to figure out what they want to do in a career.” Schools are focusing more on career development in recent years. As early as middle school, they are trying to get students to begin thinking about what they want to do for a future career. Srikanchana continued by saying, they don’t necessarily want students to know their exact career choice, but more so to “connect the dots regarding what you are doing in school to your long-term career goal–whatever that might be.” WorkReadyGrad is a social networking platform that allows students and professionals the opportunity to interact and plan their path to a successful future. Srikanchana stated that, “a lot of students are graduating from school, but they are not getting jobs because the schools have not been preparing them to actually be ready for the work force.”

Photo Courtesy: google.com
Photo Courtesy: google.com

Srikanchana continues with, “the top two reasons students drop out of school, is because of the difficulty in connecting the relevance to long-term careers, and second, because of the lack of a strong support system.” When schools systems and professionals begin to include the Work Ready Grad Program into their daily lesson plans it will eliminate a students’ need to blame their circumstance or environment for what they do not have. This program allows them to take their future into their own hands, thus, paving the way to a successful career.

Photo Courtesy: workreadygrad.com
Photo Courtesy: workreadygrad.com

According to Georgia’s Path to Personalized learning, Schools have already begun adding technology into the curriculum to increase test scores; but a student should be more than just a number on a data sheet. Work Ready Grad allows them to showcase skills, awards, and other job related experience to showcase themselves as a person rather than just another number. The Work Ready Grad Challenges section is another program that are in place to help close this gap in the educational system. The “challenges” can be related to “virtual internships” that allow students to complete problem solving skills and various presentations for different companies worldwide. These virtual internships not only provide students with “real life” work experience for their resume, but also allow for more frequent higher-level conversations between students and employers.

The main point of the platform is creating the professional level interactions and providing students with the motivation and strong support system to foster a brighter-more prepared youth for the future. Work Ready Grad is the answer to what happens in the space between Facebook and LinkedIn. A social platform that promotes friendly competition while motivating students to plan for the future they desire. All roads lead to great jobs for work ready graduates.

photo courtesy: work ready grad.com
photo courtesy: workreadygrad.com

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Srikanchana, B. (2014, June 6). Founder of Work Ready Grad. (A. Golden, Interviewer)

Pfledderer, K. (2014). 3 Ways Social Media Can Help You Land Your Dream Job. Diversity Employers, 45(1), 38-39.

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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

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 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 Technology

Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT)

BYOT with 2nd Grade at Fayette Elementary School from Amanda Golden on Vimeo.

Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) is a program that is taking education to the next level. This program allows students to bring their own devices to school to use as a part of their educational journey. Fayette Elementary School in Fayetteville, Georgia has just officially launched the BYOT Program this past Monday, November 11, 2013. So, the technology specialist Regina Yeargin has her hands full going around to all of the classrooms to ensure they have the understanding needed before bringing their device to school. For example, students must fill out a form with their parents for permission to use the devices at school. But the next step is crucial for those who will eventually bring their own device to school. They must have their parents go to the school website to "register"the device by serial number and type. The final step is on the teacher; teachers must give the students the final word on when they can bring the device into the classroom. This multimedia story shows a quick lesson in BYOT with a 2nd grade class on what to and not to do with their devices.

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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

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

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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