This week in “What You Missed in Education,” we remember the famous children’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…

Do you know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie? The classic children’s book claims, “If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s gonna want a glass of milk.” However, what about technology? What happens when we provide our students with the information and technology they need to become better at learning? This week we take a glimpse at some studies, stories and reports which attempt to answer that question.

1. Schools Starting to Allow Use of Digital Devices

by Amy B. Wang, The Arizona Republic

Cell phones: teachers have tried banning them, restricting their usage, and punishing students who use them during school time, but now some savvy educators are embracing them in their classroom. While some educational professionals may see mobile devices as a source for distraction for students and a tool that encourages cheating, others are attempting to harness it as a teaching tool.

Amy Wang of the Arizona Republic, examines what some teachers are doing to incorporate cellphones into their lesson plans.

2. Think You Know How to Study? Think Again

by Benedict Cary, NPR

What are the tenets for a healthy study session? In this NPR report, Neal Conan speaks with Benedict Cary and Rebecca Roberts in an attempt to put to rest the misconception that an all-night cramming session in the library makes for healthy study-habits. According to Cary, if you really want to obtain deep understanding of a topic, it’s better to change scenery so that what you learn isn’t conditional on a particular time and place. It’s also healthier to run drills where you focus on different areas of a subject matter for short and varying intervals. These intervals should also be spaced apart to give you opportunity to let the material “sink in” between sessions.

Self-given tests remain as very powerful and often under utilized learning tools. Cary explains, testing oneself “slows down the forgetting of material you’ve studied…you do better than if you studied two times.”

3. Study: Nine Factors linked to Improve Education

by Tech and Learning

Tech and Learning provides a short synopsis and link to a recently released Project Red study which details 9 key factors in improving graduation rates and test scores. The sheer scope of the study is to be commended; it surveys 997 schools on issues about several topics including finances, leadership, instruction, and technology.

4. British Kids Log On and Learn Math–in Punjab

by Julia Werdigier, New York Times

In this New York Times article, Julia Werdigier reviews a new online learning service called Brightspark Education and takes a hard look at how virtual tutoring services are disrupting the traditional brick and mortar tutoring businesses in local towns around the world.

Every week, 6 British students from a private school in Britain log-on and learn to do math from a tutor located half a world away, in India. Though students are thriving in the online environment and the service itself is beneficial to parents who say it has better hours and is about half the cost of hiring a private British tutor, educators and teacher’s unions are concerned that the service will disrupt student-teacher relationships. As Britain faces the challenge of spending cuts which could affect educator’s jobs, a low-cost tutoring service such as BrightSpark Education magnifies fears that education jobs are at risk.

5. Astronaut Checks in to Foursquare from Outer Space

by Adam Ostrow, Mashable

Everything is just better when it’s in outerspace, including checking into location-based gaming network FourSquare.

The Foursquare team and NASA have entered a partnership that they hope will capture the imagination of a generation of teenagers and adults who rely on their cell phones more and more for entertainment, education, and distraction. Though Astronaut Doug Wheelock was the first to gain the coveted NASA explorer badge when he checked into an international space station last week, students and teachers won’t have to go out of this world for their badge. Instead, they can check into any of the NASA selected venues in this list to unlock it!

What exciting new technologies are changing your classroom or tutoring interactions? Have you attempted to provide new ways to communicate and learn to your pupils?


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