Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hour Of Code: You May not be Steve Wozniak, but you can sure try!

As many of you may have heard, this week is the Hour of Code! And by hour, I mean however long you want! And by this week, I mean whenever!

Hour of Code is a grassroots campaign designed to give teachers the tools to give students the tools to make computer coding possible. In a world where robots are on the rise, computers are on a crescendo and automation is (fancy adjective or verb that also means 'rise' to fit the alliteration) advancing, learning how to tell those machines how to do those things is where coding comes in. The best thing we can do as teachers is have our students learn a thing or two about coding. The Hour of Code movement is organized by Code.org and is held during Computer Science Education Week.

In related news, this week is Computer Science Education Week!

And Hour of Code is looking to do just that: with free lessons and tutorials for students and teachers, this movement is strong: according to their website, there are over 191,000 events being held around the world, which is great! Some more fast facts from their website:

And if our students do nothing with coding, great! One of my favorite teaching moments, and one of the reasons why I decided to be a teacher, happened in a high school biology class where my biology teacher was asked why anyone would ever have to know this 'stuff'. He swiftly responded to this student by asking, "Why do you do pushups? Tonight at wrestling practice when you do 250 extra pushups, what are you doing?" Sidenote: He always had some SICK burns and comebacks up his sleeve, ready for any moment. "I dunno," the confused wrestler said as the classed laughed in jest. "You are pushing yourself off the world. What does that accomplish? Other than gaining ab strength, forcing your core to hold up your entire body and pushing your entire body to hold yourself off of planet Earth, what is it doing?"

"Biology is like pushups for your brain. You are strengthening the muscles of your brain."

You couldn't hear my mind exploding over the sound of pins dropping, but it was there. In summary, coding and similar exercise, if nothing else, are great ways to strengthen your student's minds as they prepare to take on the world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A sixth sense? Pattie Maes + Technology = The Future!

What happens when you want to know something? Whip out your nearest device of some sort and boom! Google it, find out which dinosaur is the one that spits poison on Dennis Nedry in the jeep, and there you go. But what if you didn't have to pull out your phone? What if you could just know?

Boom again! Pattie Maes is a professor at MIT in the Media Arts and Sciences program and was previously a visiting professor in MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab. Needless to say, she knows her stuff.

In this TED talk from 2009, shown below as well as in the hyperlink, Maes describes  technology that she helped develop which is largely powered by your smartphone that allows you to gain information about the world around you quite rapidly.

The system works using a camera that takes in the world around you, which is processed through your smartphone, connected to the internet, and then the projector displays whatever it finds on the world around you. The video has many great examples, but none as great as the guy looking at an airline ticket to have it display that his flight was 20 minutes delayed.

Have a look for yourself at this technology that is putting the world somehow closer than your fingertips:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rise of the iPad - Apps for Toddlers

Four score and seven (minus four score and three... so, four) years ago, I was a young and stupid Freshman who found what he wanted to do with his life one September day. I had just heard a lecture about how by 2020, half of all high school students would be taught online, having heard some sort of "Technology is great because X, Y, and Z" moments earlier. I shipped out of there quicker than a greased jackrabbit and cut the Ed major, opting for a Spanish major instead, sure that I would get hired as a white Spanish translator in a market dominated by native speakers. (HA!)

But here I am, an Elementary Education major, writing a blog post for a class called Ed. Tech and Design. Well folks, hindsight is 20/20, or something greater, in my case... a microscope. Hindsight is like two Transmission Electron Microscopes. As for all of the in between, I will simply give you my heartiest laugh that goes on just a bit too long, a "Maybe next time," and a wink.

Right, iPads. From that lecture that one day in September of my Freshmen year, I vowed never to touch education again simply because I never believed in the iPad hype and that the answer to life could be found inside of an iPad. But I also realized that the status quo will never change if nobody wants to change it. I've also come around to realize as well that I need to teach my students about technology to prepare them for the future. And so, I've grappled with it ever since, losing to the side of technology after finding sites like this one on gizmag.

Essentially, it is an article on Gizmag, a website devoted to teaching us about the most current pieces of tech, educational or not. The article I linked to above features all kinds of apps- wait, what, for TODDLERS?!

Calm down, Freshman-year-self. Apps like these are gaining traction in the United States simply because they are awesome. For instance, take the Endless Alphabet app: rather than teaching your children how to spell cat and dog, this app has letters scattered about the page which your students then drag to place on the word. Great and dandy, until you realize the learning potential this has: the word in the demo picture is "Gargantuan", a word students might not know until they hear of the ancient dinosaur "Giganatosaurus" (either that, or they skip the childhood fascination of Dinosaurs and they might read it in a book or something).

Apps like this are really neat for students and teachers, and I think that apps like this are extremely helpful for educators, and prove to this old-fashioned soul that maybe there is hope for this iPad after all.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Goodreads: Helping me find great books since, like, 20 minutes ago.

As you will likely come to know in reading this blog and in future posts, I am a procrastinator to the highest degree, and I usually do homework on the weekend. Combining both of these award winning traits of mine, I started on a project for class where I have to find 30 different books and complete book reviews for all of them. A daunting task, especially when you don't know where to start.

However, I have an ace in my pocket. I'm not sure if that's a term, but I'm rolling with it. This ace is Goodreads.com, a website that functions a lot like a wiki for books. I found it after googling "fantasy elementary books" to find a list of 547 books, 543 more than I needed.

I then signed up with Facebook to discover the social media aspect of it. As soon as I logged in, I saw everything about their reading preferences, book reviews, books they want to read, all of it organized with elements reminiscent of Facebook including likes, comments, and profile pages.

A brief snippet of my page in Goodreads

All in all, this website has been very helpful and for an avid reader such as myself, this site will become invaluable in my educational and person life.

Image taken by the author as a screenshot, 12/7/15



My name is Karl Kramer and this is the first post I've ever written! Kinda! Sorta! I actually wrote one for my other blog but have since decided to go with this one. Such Technology Much Education is going to be a blog about (you guessed it) education, technology and also just education sometimes. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to read the bio which I have yet to figure out how to change.