Wooden toy that teaches toddlers the basics of coding.

by Jaclyn Soldinger

www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/business/smallbusiness/stem-education-technology-engineering-coding-toys

This wooden toy teaches toddlers how to code in a way that they think that they are playing a game. It is made of entirely of wood and it moves around based on the code that the child created. The sole purpose of this toy is to teach young children how to code without looking at screen. This is extremely innovative since most coding programs for children require them to look at a screen.

This will affect young children because they will be comfortable with the concept of cubettocoding at a young age. This is something to consider since coding may become a part of the curriculum in an elementary school. This would affect families because this toy robot costs a ton of money. It is in the $200 range. Therefore, I could see parents wanting to donate money to a school towards the toy rather than buy one for home since the schools may be able to keep it safer.

This will influence Early childhood education because the educator should incorporate this toy in the pre-kindergarten classroom to teach their students about coding without a screen. This would be effective for this especially, since many schools are using computers in elementary schools so it would be a useful skill. However, it costs a lot of money therefore, it is not ideal for a pre-kindergarten classroom because children could break it unless the school has a safe place to store the toy.

Today’s guest blogger is Jaclyn Soldinger

Early Childhood Education major who is interested in English Language Learning and Special Education.

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The Future of Preschool

by Katie Kojan

http://www.educationdive.com/news/indiana-weighs-virtual-preschool-program/440139/

The article is about how legislators in Indiana are considering an investment in early education software that would be free to families in the state. The software is dedicated to kindergarten prep that uses technology to ensure free access to early childhood education to every student in the state.

This software would be a huge benefit for low-income families who can’t afford preschool. It will give students ahead start right before entering kindergarten. This software can eliminate the achievement gap between students who went to preschool and those who didn’t.junk

If this investment is fulfilled and is successful it will be a huge step forward in terms of early childhood education. If this were to be implemented in every state children coming into kindergarten will be entering close to the same education level. Preschool is currently a privilege for children as they have an advantage when they come into kindergarten. This software can boost a child’s cognitive development before they enter grade school.

Today’s guest blogger is Katie Kojan

I’m in my third year at Towson University pursuing Early Childhood Education.”

 

Make STEM Social to Motivate Preschoolers

by Victoria Mosley

http://www.naeyc.org/blogs/make-stem-social

This news article discussed the importance of STEM activities for young students. There was a description of a case study of two sets of preschoolers who work on two different STEM activities in different environments. One group was told to work independently and the other was assigned to a  color group and were placed in a social environment. The students were observed while doing the math and puzzle activity. They concluded that the students who were socializing during the activity developed a better understanding and were more interested in this STEM assignment. The article also gave some tips for teachers to use when encouraging STEM use. Teachers should use social language when talking about STEM activities. For example,teachers should use words such as “us”, “together”, and“group” to make all the students feel equal and confident int heir learning. Overall, this article explains the importance of early STEM use in a classroom.

This news, hopefully, will positively affect young children and their families. It gives information about the importance of early STEM learning through social interactions. Families can work on these types of activities at home so the student can become fluent in STEM. This article also discusses the stereotypes of STEM such as the idea that boys are better at STEM than IMG_9351girls are. Then the article states ways to ignore the stereotype and negative opinions by using social language. If parents and teachers use this social language it can help students feel confident in their work and confident in STEM.

This article will influence Early Childhood Education greatly. The more teachers and caregivers expose STEM to young children, the better the child will understand these categories. This article and others related to STEM could create a huge impact on education. For example, in the future classroom there could be a block of time during the day for students to work on STEM work. This should be implemented in young grades as well as older grades. If STEM does eventually receive its own block for younger students, it will give them a great amount of time to work at this area and become fluent as they advance by grade.

Today’s guest blogger is Victoria Mosley

Using Timely Text Messages To Curb Missed Assignments and Class

by Abbey Groft

https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/03/03/using-timely-text-messages-to-curb-missed-assignments-and-class/

This news article was about sending text messages to parents when children were to miss class or miss an assignment. The statistics from the article stated that this strategy reduced course failure by 39% and increased class attendance by 17%. Because the parents were getting involved in their child’s education, the children are more likely to want to do better. The message consists of what that child missed and a link to log online for more information.They were able to do this by building software that communicated with the teacher’s electronic grade book. For a parent to receive one of these texts it is just a fraction of a cent per text message. However, the author feels that the text message is a solution, but that it is a huge piece of the puzzle. This technology will help improve school performance in the future.

This strategy will affect young children and their families in a positive way. For example, having text messages sent out to the parents about their child’s academic standing will help to keep the parents involved. The article states, “students succeed when parents get involved.” Therefore, children are going to be more likely to have academic success. This will also help the children because it will help to keep them motivated to do assignments and go to school so that their parents do not have to get text messages.text-helper

This will influence Early Childhood Education because this could create a new system in which teachers communicate assignment or news to parents. Children come home with folders and paper or news can get lost in translation, so having a text message sent to the parents could be more beneficial. This strategy will also help to keep young children on track and motivated to work hard especially later in their education. For example, when children get older they may tend to lose the motivation to do well in school, so having this system start out while they are younger could really help.

 

Today’s guest blogger is Abbey Groft

“I am a junior at Towson University in the Early Childhood Education program pursuing my dream of becoming a teacher. Growing up I always knew that teaching was the job for me, so being able to live my dream out would be so fulfilling. I enjoy helping people out and making an impact in peoples lives.”

 

The T in STEM: Creating Play-Based Experiences That Support Children’s Learning of Coding and Higher Order Thinking

by Megan Andersen

http://www.naeyc.org/blogs/early-coding-higher-thinking

Researchers and many others want to further develop children’s higher order thinking skills in early childhood by introducing technology tools and coding when appropriate. high-orderWith technology becoming more and more popular, even in schools, those who are knowledgeable with technology and coding are in demand and have more opportunities in their future careers. Developing higher order thinking skills in the classroom does not require much change in the classroom activities because most of the tips for developing these skills are already being implemented. These skills can be practiced through play-based experiences. Some of the tips include block play, read-alouds, storytelling, art, and game design. Game design is not a typical activity that takes place in an early childhood setting, but the other tips do. Adding game design activities is not difficult because it can be a continuation of an art activity that can be related to the development of game design. All of these activities help children reason, think critically, and problem solve which are essential skills that are needed throughout life.
This news will affect young children because they will be developing higher order thinking skills through play-based experiences in early childhood settings. Children will create meaningful experiences through coding by developing these foundational skills and have the support of their family. They will be engaging in activities that are going to deepen these skills. The children might not realize that they are building these skills or the purpose of participating in activities that help develop higher order thinking skills, but it will help children become more successful in their future. Families will become mentors and role models to support their children in developing these skills. Due to the rise in popularity and usefulness of technology families will also be learning along with their children. Families can also implement activities and purchase technology toys that are aimed at parents to help their children develop these skills.
This news will influence Early Childhood Education because developing higher order thinking skills will start in the early childhood classrooms and settings. Educators will need to introduce coding and become familiar with helping children code. They will also need to design lesson plans and activities that will help children develop the higher order thinking skills that are required for building the foundational skills for coding. Children will be building essential skills that are needed throughout their life and be a continuation of developing main skills on a deeper level that are needed to succeed in their educational careers.

Today’s guest blogger is Megan Andersen

megan

The many benefits of outside time in school

Today’s guest blogger is Mary Wright

https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/02/09/how-access-to-nature-during-the-schoolyear-can-help-students-thrive/

The article How Access to Nature During the School Year Can Help Students Thrive is about getting students outside during the school day and reconnecting them with nature. It connects the rise of obesity and the increase of psychological and academic problems with a decline in outdoor time and an increase in screen time. The article goes on to discuss the benefits of being outside some of which, according to Cathy Jordan, the research director for the Children and Nature Network, are that “Exposure to nature contributes to ‘emotional restoration, decreases stress, can decrease symptoms of anxiety, can elevate mood’”. In addition to the cognitive benefits being out in nature has physical and social benefits as well. Physically being in bright sunlight can actually prevent nearsightedness. Socially when children spend time outdoors they tend to work collaboratively and communicate more than they normally would in a classroom setting. Additionally they learn to respect the people and things around them and can relate to them better.

This article also shows how teachers can “make use of the natural surroundings for interdisciplinary projects”, connecting science to history to literature all from a lesson about trees. It discusses letting students be creative and get messy and the “controlled uncontrolled experience” that being outside can give them, but only of teachers take the initiative to get started.

 I think this news will affect young children and their families by showing parents how important it is to get their children off the screens and out in nature. I think if people realize how beneficial being outside is to children they will be more likely to take their children outside. Additionally I believe that they will find being outside not only benefits children, but adults as well. We will all be healthier and happier if we spend less time on our screens and more time connecting with the world around us.
This news will influence Early Childhood Education by getting more teachers to step up and take the initiative to start outdoor programs at their schools. Being outside will help children to be better students and give them a greater understanding of the world around them which in the long run can only be beneficial to us all.

by Mary Wright

nature

Steps Teachers Can Take to Keep Girls and Minorities in Computer Science Education

by Lauren Teeple

https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/11/17/steps-teachers-can-take-to-keep-girls-and-minorities-in-computer-science-education/

There is a large gap between the number of boys and girls and the number of minorities that take part in learning computer science. The author of this article states that getting them into the programs is easy, but convincing them to continue learning is difficult. As a minority or a female taking part in computer science classes, there aren’t enough others that look like you for you to be comfortable and confident enough to continue. They look at the group and feel that they aren’t welcome or that they don’t belong. If these students score poorly on a test or project, they take it as a personal offence and justification whereas the majority will often blame a “bad day” or “The teacher made it too hard”. Because of this issue, the article list out steps that teachers can take to help these students who are in the classroom.

The first step is “Create a warm climate that encourages a growth mindset”. This means that the teacher should let the students know that they are proud of their work and enjoy teaching their class. This also means de-stigmatizing failure. A part of computer science is troubleshooting incorrect coding; it shouldn’t be seen as failure.

Second, “Help students find meaning with the work”. As a teacher you need to let the students know that what they are doing is important. Help them understand that their work could have an impact on their lives or even their community in the future.poster_thumbnail_maddy_maxey

The third is“Examine bias and representation in class materials”. This means that the teacher needs to watch the pronouns they use and what type of graphics they use in the classroom. Find images that have girls and minorities in it, not just males.

The last step is to “Examine your own bias”. Let it show through your actions that computer science means more than what their DNA is. Watch what you say to make sure you are encouraging to everyone. Overall, just be mindful toward your students and encourage everyone to be the best that they can be.Because computer science and technology is being introduced at a younger age, the adults in the children’s lives need to be encouraging through their journey of learning.Spark their interest young and always believe they can do it. As teachers, we need to be mindful of our bias’ and make sure that we are not hindering any of our children’s interest, especially towards technology.teeple

Today’s guest blogger is Lauren Teeple

“I am a Junior at Towson University and will be starting my teaching internship as an Early Childhood Education Major in Baltimore City starting Spring 2017.”

The poster above in downloadable pdf form: code-poster