Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Who’s keeping the longitudinal data on schools’ outcomes?

I’m sorry to admit that a post on TE from just about 10 years ago has almost exclusively dead links. Now, link rot (as it’s called) is common on the Internet, but one still feels some responsibility for it.

Tonight I wanted to find data about how individual schools were doing historically and compare those data to how the schools are doing today. I remembered—good that I can still remember this—that I’d posted a note about sources for examining scores some time ago (actually 2005). So, I go and check it…all those organizations that were then so hot on the trail of tracking schools’ outcomes have fallen by the wayside. Bummer.

The good news is that Pal of TE Dave Malouf added a comment pointing us to the National Longitudinal School-Level State Assessment Score Database (NLSLSASD) and that source appears to be functional (at least for some years). Time to go mining!

Do you know of other sources? Please log them in the comments.

Teaching computer coding

A well-resourced effort to promote instruction in coding has been underway since about 2011 or so (my guess about when I first heard of it?). In December 2013 it’s slated to hit a big crescendo, the hour of coding. The effort is founded on the growing importance of computer science in contemporary science, and it features many recognizable people from many different walks of life in the pitch. Check it out.

Now, however, help me with this question, please. What do we know about effective instruction in teaching students about technology? Much? How about the relative effectiveness of different ways of teaching coding (i.e., programming)? I’ve not researched the literature on this matter. I hope the folks at have.

I like the idea of helping students become proficient users and producers of technology…a lot…a heckuva lot! Let’s do it effectively.

Free DI reading program downloads!

As noted in a post a couple of weeks ago (“Free Funnix returns!”), the folks at Royal Limited Partnership are giving away free copies of Funnix, a beginning reading program. Funnix is a sequence of instructional lessons that shows young children the basics of early decoding as well as the fundamentals of comprehension. They are packaged as computer programs (note bene: Because they are Flash-based, they only work on some operating systems) with all the necessary accompanying worksheets and such. Learn more about this opportunity to receive a copy of the program by visiting this special page of the Funnix Web site. Go there during the month of February 2012.

These programs are built on Direct Instruction principles, so they have the entire line of research associated with those principles standing behind them. They require that an informed adult guide the student (checking answers, providing feedback) either in tutorial or small-group situations.

Read Free Funnix returns!, if you wish.

Free Funnix returns!

Loyal readers of TE will recall that the folks at Royal Limited Partnership gave away copies of the Funnix Beginning Reading program in 2011. Welp, it’s going to happen again! Yes indeedy! Quoting from a page on the Funnix Web site:

From February 1 through 16th, the Funnix Beginning Reading program will be free for download–no strings, no hidden costs.

The Funnix sequence teaches 2 year’s worth of reading skills. During last year’s promotion, more than 40,000 people received the Funnix Beginning Reading program free. Even higher numbers are anticipated for this year.

If you’re in the market for an excellent beginning reading program, sign up for your free download of Funnix Beginning Reading. The program has been offered for $25 during most of 2011; however, the price will rise to $38 following the giveaway in February.

Funnix is a computer-based early reading program that delivers the essential components for decoding instruction. A teacher, parent, teaching assistant, or other competent reader can work with an individual child or small group and provide the guidance needed by the student or students as they go through the instructional activities provided via the computer. It’s predicated on all the principles of Direct Instruction (its authors are Zig and Owen Engelmann). The lessons are lively and fun. There’s plenty of monitoring and opportunities for individualization.

Now, you can’t register early for this giveaway. You have to arrive after 1 February 2012. But, you can go to the Funnix giveaway announcement and look at the various offerings now, and you can become familiar with the products in advance, and you can be prepared (i.e., bookmark the site, put a reminder in your calendar, and so forth).

More free Funnix! It’s math this time.

The folks who brought us the give-away of Funnix Beginning Reading are doing it again! They’re giving away Funnix Beginning Math for free throughout the month of June 2011. Funnix Beginning Math is a 100-lesson computer program designed for children who have not learned beginning math operations. One can download the program from the Funnix site (see link at the end of this post). All of the components of Funnix Beginning Math are included in the download—100 animated, computer-based lessons; workbook materials; a teaching guide, including explicit directions for the teacher; and a placement test for assessing and placing the student.
Continue reading ‘More free Funnix! It’s math this time.’

Funnix is free for a few more days

Until 31 January 2011, one can download a copy of Funnix a tutorial program for teaching beginning reading skills just for the asking. Yes, you have to submit a name and an e-mail address, that’s the catch.

Funnix, authored by Siegfied Engelmann, Owen Engelmann, and Karen Davis, is composed of 120 30-minute lessons delivered via compact disk on a computer. An adult coaches the child as she learns fundamentals of decoding (e.g., letter-sound correspondences, blending), practices reading words (lists, sentences, and passages), and develops basic comprehension skills (e.g., literal connections). Children answer some questions verbally, click answers to others directly on the computer, and write responses to others in workbooks. The adult monitors and provides feedback. (The package includes materials guiding the adult’s support.)
Continue reading ‘Funnix is free for a few more days’

Tech talk

I usually leave the technology cheering up to colleagues who know better than I about the topic, but this piece from the mainstream press is too good to let pass without amplification. In the Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries reported about children using contemporary devices as assistive technologies to their great benefit. Under the headline “Using the iPad to Connect: Parents, Therapists Use Apple Tablet to Communicate With Special Needs Kids,” she reported about the popular tablet device allowing a young child with disabilities to communicate.

Before she got an iPad at age two, Caleigh Gray couldn’t respond to yes-or-no questions. Now Caleigh, who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, uses a $190 software application that speaks the words associated with pictures she touches on Apple Inc.’s device.

Continue reading ‘Tech talk’

US ED Secy Duncan: Effectiveness data should drive reforms

Speaking to researchers attending a conference sponsored by the US Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that educational reforms should be be predicated on research about effectiveness.

“Education reform is not about sweeping mandates or grand gestures,” Duncan told the group of researchers who conduct research for IES, which is an independent section of the Education Department. “It’s about systematically examining and learning, building on what we’ve done right, and scrapping what hasn’t worked for kids.”

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