Pokemon Go or Gone?

by Beth Knittle on July 31, 2016

As many of you know Pokemon Go was all the rage the last few weeks.  I don’t normally play games but thought I would give it a try and was enjoying playing with my young adult children.  It got us out of the house and doing something together, it was more a side note to our family outings. Steve Dembo has a good post summing up initial thoughts on Pokemon go.  It was fun. Today as a result of the update many users are all back to zero.  Twitter and  Facebook are full of people complaining about the reset and loss of items and money.

It will be interesting to see how Niantic responds to this. So far no word on the issue, if they made $35 million the first two weeks, and about $1.6 million a day from iPhone users how will they handle all the money and items people lost if the issue is not resolved? Do they refund people? Do they just figure people will start again?

As noted in the article about Pokemon revenue the game was beginning to lose players. How many more will it now loose as a result of this issue, even if it was not intended and the issue resolved?  As a watcher and teacher of technology what lessons might the consumer learn or other game companies from this “glitch.”  It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few days.

UPDATE:  Pokemongo support has posted a fix for some users, though not sure how this helps those who only have one gmail account and still have issues.

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Adding Computer Science into the Curriculum

by Beth Knittle on July 26, 2016

This June the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education formally adopted new Digital Literacy and Computer Science Curriculum Frameworks.  A good portion of the digital literacy frameworks overlap with the literacy standards regarding research, analysis of information, collaboration and presentations.  These standards place added emphasis on these skills and the tech tools needed to meet them. What is significantly different is the much needed addition of computer science; computing and society, digital tools and collaboration, computing systems and, computational thinking. These have not been a part of the general k-12 curriculum in the past and it will take some creative planning to work these standards into an already full learning day.  The goal is that these frameworks should be integrated in the core subjects and not stand alone classes, though at the high school level subject specific classes should also be added as learning options.

I have had fun exploring a variety of tools and websites geared toward K-5 students.  We already use the code.org curriculum courses 1-3 but have been seeking out short, quick side trips into the world of computer science to provide to teachers who are not computer science aficionados.  Here are a few of the resources I have been exploring.

  • Made with Code, a Google Project, is directed at young girls to expose them to the world of coding.
  • Google also has free resources for teachers and clubs at CS-First.
  • Code.org has many options at Code Studio.
  • Computer Science Unplugged has a large number of activities for computational thinking that do not require the use of a computer.
  • Mozilla has mini project to learn HTML at Thimble.
  • Scratch has a wide variety of options for learning basic coding principles.

Other resources? Please add them to the comments below.

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Learning, Schools and a Great Big World

by Beth Knittle on July 13, 2016

For those of you who have been regular readers you know I struggle with traditional schooling and how it confines and limits learning. I have raised two children who were interested in computers, gaming, digital art, ancient languages, ancient arts and mythologies, topics not part of most school curriculum.  A good deal of their learning took place outside of traditional schooling, some times instead of it.  I know schools can’t be all things to all people, nor should they.  But sometimes the ridged adherence to an ever increasing set of standards that everyone must master leaves little room for the creative arts, deeper development of knowledge in a particular field or exploration of areas out side the 4 cores. There is only so much time in the school day, money in a budget, rooms and teachers to meet the standards and core graduation requirements. Though with the advent of the digital literacy and computer science standards in Massachusetts and new ISTE standards for students there is hope that in the future more computer science will be entering the curriculum in every school.

One of the ways I had been able to supplement my children’s education was through Lynda where they could learn the skills they needed, buy lots of books, visit museums, take classes, attend conferences and workshops that fuel their interests.  My dining room table was often the site of many game nights, what I would not have given for a local game cafe.  Learning is a constant process that is not set to a particular time or place, learning is irregular.  There is a great big world out there with lots to learn. There must be a better way to connect the learning that takes place in school, with the learning that takes place outside of school and a way to recognize the learning outside of school as valuable and important. My children were often discouraged by teachers for pursing outside interest as it took away from homework and study time. If they did this they would not have acquired the skills need to apply for the college programs they were interested in and and pursue their dreams.  Schools that do not offer computer sciences, programing, digital arts and media are doing a disservice to their students as they do not prepare them for college and careers in these fields, these are some of the fastest growing job markets in the US. How can schools that are limited in space, time and money support students who wish to pursue these fields? How can student bring their interests into schools to bridge what must be taught with what students want to learn?

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School is Out, Time to Play

June 21, 2016

School is out for the summer and now it is time to play. For me it is time to finally give this blog an overhaul.  I will be switching themes to Divi and creating from the ground up.  Change is never smooth for me so the site might go back and forth in styles and […]

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Summer Break?

May 31, 2016

When I was a classroom teacher I looked forward to summer break.  I was able to close out one school year, leave myself a ton of reminders for the start of the next and was ready to turn my mind and body to other pursuits. I could come back fresh, excited and eager to dive […]

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Data and Innovation

April 14, 2016

Repeatedly we hear the call to base everything on data driven research, not a bad idea in itself but when you live in the world of technology and innovation then it possess quite a stumbling block. How can you collect data on the future? It takes years to develop a good research plan, carry it out […]

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Google Training

March 5, 2016

I have been quite busy preparing for a major PD initiative in supporting an ever expanding number of Chromebooks and more innovated use of Google Tools.  I have to say Google has created a large number of pathways to learn it’s apps and to test ones knowledge.  I like the idea of tests and certification […]

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