Computer Science, Programming, and Coding Standards by Grade Level

By: Tony DePrato | Follow me on Twitter @tdeprato

A while back I took the ISTE NETS Standards and decided to create a grade level based layout for what students should be able to do at different grade levels.

As the students continue to progress through their education, the grade level view expands gradually. The idea is that they keep repeating activities and meeting these standards.

Here is what the current design looks like:

Years  3 & 4:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.

Year 5:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments

Year 6:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of operating systems and networking in a structured computer system

Year 7:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of operating systems and networking in a structured computer system
  • Using a modern, high-level programming language, construct correctly functioning programs involving simple and structured data types; compound boolean expressions; and sequential, conditional, and iterative control structures

Year 8:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of operating systems and networking in a structured computer system
  • Using a modern, high-level programming language, construct correctly functioning programs involving simple and structured data types; compound boolean expressions; and sequential, conditional, and iterative control structures
  • Design and test algorithms and programming solutions to problems in different contexts (textual, numeric, graphic,
    etc.) using advanced data structures

Years 9 & 10:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain
    various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of operating systems and networking in a structured computer system
  • Using a modern, high-level programming language, construct correctly functioning programs involving simple and structured data types; compound boolean expressions; and sequential, conditional, and iterative control structures
  • Design and test algorithms and programming solutions to problems in different contexts (textual, numeric, graphic, etc.) using advanced data structures
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the operation of computer networks and mobile computing devices
  • Demonstrate knowledge of two or more programming paradigms

Years 11 & 12:

  • Effectively use primitive data types
  • Effectively use, manipulate, and explain
    various external data types (text, images, sound, etc.), various locations (local, server, cloud), etc.
  • Effectively use modeling and simulation to solve real-world problems
  • Effectively use two or more development environments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of operating systems and networking in a structured computer system
  • Using a modern, high-level programming language, construct correctly functioning programs involving simple and structured data types; compound boolean expressions; and sequential, conditional, and iterative control structures
  • Design and test algorithms and programming solutions to problems in different contexts (textual, numeric, graphic, etc.) using advanced data structures
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the operation of computer networks and mobile computing devices
  • Demonstrate knowledge of two or more programming paradigms
  • Analyze algorithms by considering complexity, efficiency, aesthetics, and correctness
  • Demonstrate an understanding of static and dynamic data structures

Over the next few weeks, I will be connecting the standards at each grade level to the types of activities and lessons that facilitate them.

Posted in Educational Technology, programming, STEM/STEAM, Tech Integration, Tony DePrato | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

iPads vs Chromebooks: Part 1 – 2018

I thought I would put the year on the title of this post just to give it some search relevance. I don’t know how many posts I’ve seen that are 3–4 years old and while some of the arguments are still relevant others are not. This short series will detail this school’s thinking, surveys, conversations and decisions. This is not an article that is saying one device over another … period! No, that kind of simplistic thinking usually does not benefit schools. Instead we will go through the process of how we evaluate the effectiveness of our devices and what decisions we make based on data and anecdotal observations.

Let’s start with some background information. If someone ever asks you what your school uses or what another school should use – get some information first. Fit for a device is important. The school I work for is a small private school that has around 400 students. We are preschool through grade 8 and are broken into 3 divisions.
* Early childhood (preschool, prekindergarten, kindergarten)
* Lower school (grades 1–4)
* Middle school (grades 5–8)

We currently have 1 computer lab with about thirty 21.5″ iMacs. They are older (about 5 years old) but still functioning well despite some expected slow downs. We have three MacBook Air carts for teachers in lower school and middle school to check out. We also have an iPad cart. Each cart has about 22–24 devices respectively.

Each lower school classroom has 7 iPads for student use. The classes are about 20 students each, give or take 1–2. The middle school is 1:1 iPads. Depending on the grade level determines which iPad they have. The older the student, the older the iPad. Students keep their iPads through all four years and at the end of the 8th grade we give it to them as their own personal iPad. This is subsidized by a technology fee that families pay each year. That’s the background info. If you have questions put them in the comments below.

Discussing Chromebooks

When I started this position, Chromebooks was a discussion that came up quite frequently. While clearing out an old IT closet the IT team and myself found 2 older but totally working Acer Chromebooks. We spoke with the lower school principal and asked if she thought that this would be a good addition to the third and fourth grade team. We only had two mind you but she agreed. She thought it would be a good way to allow students to try them out and to get some authentic feedback.

That was back in September of 2017. The third grade team didn’t really use it too much for whatever reason. The fourth grade team reported back that students choose the Chromebook first before an iPad. I pressed them for a reason and they had not inquired. Their thoughts was that they do a lot of work in Google Docs and the addition of a keyboard and trackpad makes working in that environment much easier than a touch screen.

Also during budget time (October-November) the lower school principal asked if we could have 20 Chromebooks for the third and fourth grade classes. When I asked why she said it gives the students choices and increase more technology opportunities for more students. If a student wants to record video, than the iPad is the clear choice. If a person wants to type a report, then the Chromebook is the clear choice. These choices give the class flexibility and having more devices can allow more opportunities for these students.

We had room in the budget and so it was added. These classrooms will not be relinquishing their iPads, the Chromebooks will be added to their classroom’s technology offerings.

Chromebooks in 1:1 environments

As I mentioned earlier, this has been a question. In fact the division head in middle school wanted to evaluate the program itself. Well myself and another teacher put together a short survey and I’ll share some of the results with you. Keep in mind we are a small school and we only have 17 total respondents for the survey.

The survey itself was broken into 4 parts:
1. The effectiveness of the 1:1 program
2. iPad Use and Management
3. Chromebooks
4. Final section with over arching questions

Here are the questions for each (I would embed the form but WordPress.com will not allow it). When the question references a scale – 1 is the worse and 4 is the best.

Section 1 – Effectiveness of the 1:1 Program

  • On a scale of 1–4 – Do you feel the 1:1 program is effective?
  • (Optional) – Can you give an example that supports your answer above?
  • On a scale of 1–4 – Does students having a device enhance the teaching and learning process?
  • (Optional) – Can you give an example that supports your answer above?
  • On a scale of 1–4 – Do you think the iPad is the most effective device for our middle school students?
  • (Optional) – Can you give an example that further explains your answer above?

Section 2 – iPad Use and Management

  • On a scale of 1–4 – Does the iPad do everything you need it to do?
  • Can you give examples that support your answer above?
  • How often do your students use the iPad in your class for educational purposes?
    • Every day
    • Every week
    • Every month
    • Couple of times a trimeseter
    • Few times throughout the year
    • Rarely or never
  • On a scale of 1–4 – Do you feel that it is easy to plan lessons that utilize the iPad?
  • How do you and/or your students utilize the iPad in your class?
  • On a scale of 1–4 – When it comes to classroom management, how easy is it to manage what students do on an iPad
  • What general apps do you commonly use with your students? (Tick all that apply)
    • Evernote
    • Flipgrid
    • Google Drive
    • Google Docs
    • Google Sheets
    • Google Slides
    • Gmail
    • Kahoot!
    • Keynote
    • Notability
    • Numbers
    • Prezi
  • What other apps do you use in your classroom that may be more specific to your subject? (Please just list them, no need for a description)

Section 3 – Chromebooks

  • On a scale of 1–4 – How familiar are you with Chromebooks?
  • On a scale of 1–4 – Do you think Chromebooks would be a more effective device than an iPad for our middle school students?
  • Please explain your answer above with some details.
  • Yes/No – Do you know of any Chromebook Apps that you and/or your students could use in your class?
  • (Optional question) – If you know of these apps or extensions could you please list them below? Again, no need for a description just their name.

Section 4 – Final section

  • Yes/No – Should we continue the 1:1 program in the middle school?
  • What device would be best for the 1:1 program?
    • iPads
    • Chromebooks
    • Windows S
    • We should not have a 1:1 program in middle school
  • (Optional question) – Is there anything else that you would like to share or have an issue or concerning the 1:1 program?

So that’s the survey and as you can see some of the questions give teachers time to write out some of their responses. I will share a few of them but I will share all the results from the quantitative questions in graph form.

Written responses

From the data it looks like Chromebooks are the clear winner here. However it is not so black and white. When going through the written responses it is quite clear that there are some specific apps and some specific ways that teachers use the iPads in their classrooms that show that they may not be so ready to jump into Chromebooks.

One teacher wrote about whether the iPad was the right device for a 1:1 program:

I was forced to choose yes or no, but without more information on the benefits and disadvantages of other options it is really difficult to make an informed answer.

Another teacher wrote about iPads:

It doesn’t type well. It’s invaluable for my Tempest unit, where I teach using the Tempest app on their i-pad. That IS the text for that unit.

There are other responses that ring similar to the ones above, so while I feel the middle school staff is leaning towards Chromebooks more conversations with the staff, parents and students as well.

More reporting will come soon!

Posted in chromebook, iPad, Patrick Cauley | Leave a comment

Don’t buy Nintendo Labo

I’ve been meaning to write this ever since I heard about this product. First, let’s get something out of the way. I like to game. I am not a huge gamer but I really enjoy the time I get to plop down and dive headfirst into a video game. I think the idea of Nintendo Labo is awesome! If I had a Switch I may even be tempted to go ahead and purchase this.

I am talking from a school perspective. At first blush this may seem to tick a lot of boxes.
* STEAM related? CHECK
* Hands on? CHECK
* Engaging? CHECK
* Pretty darn fun? CHECK

I can see a lot of schools and outspoken teachers clamoring to purchase this. So I hate to rain on people’s parade but get your umbrellas ready.

Cost

Here is what you need and the costs associated with them:
* Nintendo Switch – $300
* Nintendo Labo Variety Kit – $70

Now consider how many game consoles you need to purchase. Now how many kits do you need to buy? That’s the big one. I picked the Variety Kit and not the Robot kit($80) because you could probably pair students up and have them build these interactive controllers. In the Variety Kit you get 5 different projects:
* RC Cars
* Fishing Rod
* House
* Motorbike
* Piano

Use

I can see groups of two tackling these projects in a class and they’re not terribly bulky, but if you do the math (and I know you did) that gives you an engaging and varied activity for 10 students. I guess you could stretch it to three but still that’s 15 students. Certainly most classes are larger than that. Then after they’re done you get to play the games.

Well with probably only one Switch in the room that means a lot of people standing around watching others explore their games and what they can do. Even if a teacher dedicates two whole classes over two days that probably gives you anywhere from 1–2.5 hours of game play with 20+ students. Then what? Do they sit on shelves and are used when students have free time? Do students get to take them home at some point?

Re-use

Now comes the real problem. Maybe your school has the money to buy enough Switches and Kits. Maybe you have small classes and can dedicate enough time to getting kids ample playtime with these tools. Maybe you can solve these problems.

The kits (to my knowledge and if I’m wrong please let me know in the comments) cannot really be unfolded and reused. I supposed you could do that but we are talking about cardboard here. Often times taking something apart carefully can even more difficult that putting it together.

At any rate that’s why schools should pass. If you have a fairly small group of students and don’t mind buying more kits every year that perhaps consider it, but it seems a pretty costly investment for a small group of students.

Posted in Opinion, Patrick Cauley | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Episode 151 – iPads are a bore

 

Tony and Patrick are back after spring break! What better way to return than with a great podcast. Check out the talking points below and be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.

  1. Apple’s education event
    1. New iPad
    2. New software
    3. Does this make the iPad relevant in education again?
    4. https://apple.slashdot.org/story/18/04/02/1825236/no-more-intel-inside-apple-plans-to-use-its-own-custom-built-chips-in-mac
  2. Kaizena Chrome extension
    1. https://kaizena.com/
    2. https://itbabble.com/2018/03/28/kaizena-update-resolve-comments/
    3. Feedback
  3. Tech Support Problems, Apathy, & Solutions by Tony DePrato
    1. https://itbabble.com/2018/04/02/tech-support-problems-apathy-solutions/
    2. What is your system?
    3. Google Script
  4. Solutions vs. Support
    1. Purchasing technology that you can service vs having to pay for service
    2. Example: Sound solutions in a classroom

As always you can download the episode here!

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Tech Support Problems, Apathy, & Solutions

By: Tony DePrato | Follow me on Twitter @tdeprato

Recently I was reading a Technology Directors’ forum, and noticed that a few very well established schools were explicitly looking for people to assist them in improving their technology support system (Help Desk, Help Tickets, etc.)

Reflecting on how I design and implement such systems, I began to wonder if these schools have looked at the core foundation issues that cause problems in systems that support a variety of tech-ecosystems and networks.

Why Does Anyone Need Tech Support in 2018?

The question may seem obvious, but this question should be asked every year: Who actually needs support and why?

Why do teachers need someone to come to the classroom to help them? Is the equipment old and/or inconsistent? Is the classroom design too complicated? Does the classroom equipment not work well with the teacher’s issued device(s)? Are students unable to use or manage their devices? Are the deployed software and services too difficult to master?

For example, if a school is running Google Apps for Education or Office 365 for Education, is the school running these newer solutions using and old model? That would cause many problems for end users. End users would be trying to follow an internal plan, that conflicts with the external supplier’s solution. Google and Microsoft are external suppliers, and they do have  recommended implementation plans. In this case, the school has created a problem that will now need support.

The truth is, tech support and training are not the same thing. Asking support staff to execute tasks that an employee is required to do is a massive use of support time. The support staff is not the end user. Meaning, the support staff person is not a teacher. This means they will be very mechanical about explaining how things work, but possibly not very practical. Many issues are strictly job related, and require training from peers, not IT support staff.

The goal of anyone who is planning technology support, or facilities support, should be to eliminate the need for support. Expanding support around problems, will simply make those problems worse. Problems need to be eliminated to reduce the need for regular support.

 

Read More at The International Educator

Posted in Google Apps, Helpful Tips, TIEONLINE, Tony DePrato | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Use Drupal? Patch it now

Use Drupal? Patch it now

Drupal is a popular and free open source CMS that a number of schools use. For the average person it is not too difficult to set up and run and since you can assign roles and permissions to different people you can allow for a bunch of people to contribute to the school website without them accidentally tripping, changing or deleting each other’s content.

That being said there are times when immediate action must be taken to secure the Drupal site and that is happening now. I saw this on Slashdot yesterday and it says there is an exploit.

Patching Drupal is usually pretty easy and there are a bunch of websites out there to help you. In fact from Drupal’s homepage you can read the details about it, which Drupal versions have the vulnerability, the file to patch it and how to patch it.

You can read that here.

I like Drupal and have used it in the past. It’s nowhere as pretty or easy to use as FinalSite but it is pretty impressive with what functionality you can get out of it with a little bit of work.

Drupal on my friends!

Posted in Helpful Tips, Patrick Cauley | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Kaizena update – Resolve comments

I posted my review less than a week ago and already there is an update! One item I did take notice of but forgot to mention in my post was the fact that Kaizena cannot Resolve comments like the standard commenting system in Google Docs offers. If you are unfamiliar with this feature it allows a person to add a comment and once the comment has been acted upon the comment can be Resolved and the comment then disappears. Check out the GIF below.

Now Kaizena can do this. When you see a comment that another person has left you, if you move your mouse to the upper right hand corner of the comment you will see three dots.

When you click those dots a new window will replace the comment with two options as you can see below.

When you click the Resolve button the comment will disappear. I am sure some of you out there are concerned that this good feedback should not be discarded. Kaizena agress with you. At the top of the Kaizena side window is a drop down menu that is kind of hard to see.

By default it shows all Open or unresolved comments. If you click it you can chose between View all, Open and Resolved. You got it. It will show you just those comments.

Another neat feature is the ability to turn a comment into a Lesson. I probably would have liked to save it as a Skill as well but this is pretty nice. The catch here is that you can only save those comments that you have added as a lesson. You cannot save another person’s comments.

It works the same way as resolving. Move your mouse to the upper right hand corner of the comment and click on the three dots. You will then see a menu with four options.

That’s the update I hope you try Kaizena out if you and your school use G Suite.

Kaizena

Posted in Helpful Tips, Patrick Cauley | Tagged | 1 Comment

Kaizena – A review

Kaizena is an Add-on for Google Docs. What it does is allow a teacher or another person to give audio feedback for a Google Doc that has been shared to them. The owner of the doc can then listen to that feedback and improve their document further. Sounds pretty sweet right? Well, let’s check it out and see if it is as good as it sounds.

Getting the Add-on

In order to use Kaizena you must be using Google Docs. It will not matter if your school is using G-Suite or not, but you and the other person must be using a Google Doc in order to install and use the Add-on. To actually install it open up the Google Doc you want to use it with and click on Add-ons from the menu at the top of the document.

A drop down menu will appear. Click on Get add-ons. From here a window will pop up that lets you browse or search a large variety of add-ons that you can install to enhance your Google Doc experience.

Since we know what we are looking for I will just search for Kaizena in the search window near the top right hand corner.

You will see your result and all you have to do now is click the Free button to start the installation.

NOTE: I HAD POP UP BLOCKS AND HAD TO CLICK THE FREE BUTTON A SECOND TIME TO ACTUALLY START THIS PROCESS. I WAS AND AM USING CHROME

Once it starts Google will ask you which account you would like to use. Pick your account or sign into Google to start this process. It will ask you to Allow certain permissions that Kaizena wants to do. Go ahead and click Allow.

It will go ahead and install it. Something to know is that Kaizena will be available for all of your Google Docs not just this particular document. When it loads you will be taken back to your document and you should see this little notification letting you know that it has been installed.

Using Kaizena

Now that it is installed let’s launch it. Go to Add-ons in the menu bar and then select Kaizena (Voice Comments) and finally select Open Kaizena.

When you open Kaizena a window will slide out of the far right side of the document. Your first time it will want you to Complete your profile which means selecting your name from a school list. If your school isn’t there you will need to add your school. Basically there is no way that I can see getting past this part which stinks a little but you have to keep in mind that this is a free service.

Once you add your school and the subject and grade level that you teach it will bring up a quick tutorial.

As you can see you have four options. You can:
– leave a voice message
– track a skill
– attach a lesson
– text message

Let’s take a look at the most powerful of its features – the Voice Message. When you click the Voice Message option a little box will appear with a Record button. I like that. It gives you a little more notice and time to compose your thoughts.

When you finally hit the Record button you will be prompted to allow Kaizena to use your mic. I don’t seem to find a way to use a USB mic or a headset. The voice message itself sounds OK though and I was surprised and how quickly it actually posted. I could listen to it almost immediately after I recorded it.

Since I have a free account I can only record 30 second messages but I think I can do unlimited voice messages so that is OK.

A really nice feature is the highlighting. At first I was a little unsure how this worked but after playing around with it for a few minutes I now get it. You highlight some text you would like to comment on. Then you chose whether you want to use a voice comment, skill, lesson or text message. Select one of those and then add your comment. It will then leave it highlighted in the document (even if Kaizena is not opened) making it easy to give the comment more context. Very nice.

So let’s take a look at the other options. Text is just what you would expect. This is actually built into Google Docs anyway, so it is a bit redundant but I get it. You want all your comments in one place. The other two are interesting.

The Skill feature lets you rate a particular skill. For example lets you rate a very particular skill. Kaizena has some preloaded basic skills but you can also make your own by heading to app.kaizena.com.

For this example I am going to rate my title. So, I highlight it, select the Skill button and then chose the Title skill. Now Kaizena asks me to rate it out of four. I’ll give it three for whatever reason. You can add more levels and add descriptions about what each level means. It’s nice – it is like a rubric that for you. I can see a number of teachers using and liking this feature. It is pretty simple and very visual. I can see some people wanting to type in a comment along with the rating, but Kaizena does not allow this and I think it is a good thing. You could go and leave a voice message in addition to it, but this feature is just to give the author and the teacher some quick visual feedback.

The Lesson feature is also created at app.kaizena.com. This … needs a little work. A lesson is just that. You can type instructions in or you can embed a YouTube video into the lesson. For example if you want your students to practice using a semicolon. A lesson may help remind them. I see the idea here and written instructions are definitely the way to go. YouTube videos are soooo small and tiny it seems kind of silly if you ask me. I think this is an OK idea but I just don’t love the way it is implemented.

Student view

This is something I really like about Kaizena. The student view is basically the same as the teacher view. Students can view all the comments left by the teacher and reply to each and every one of them if he/she chooses.

I think students could really leverage Kaizena by highlighting passages and start asking questions before the teacher gets their eyeballs on it. This is good.

Conclusion

Should you use Kaizena? Yes – definitely. It is an effective and efficient way to give meaningful feedback to your students. If you’re a teacher then you know how valuable and important feedback is to the learning process period. If your school has G Suite and you use Google Apps in your class you then Kaizena is a great improvement over the standard commenting built into Google Docs.

Kaizena is also free too – definitely check it out.

Kaizena

Posted in Patrick Cauley, Review | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Episode 150

Episode 150 is HERE! For the special occasion we have brought back Mr. Omar Ghosn (cofounder of IT Babble) to talk ed tech once again. The episode is a little longer than normal but certainly a great one.

As always you can find our podcast on iTunes (please subscribe) or on your favorite podcasting app.

  1. Welcome to 150! – What’s everyone been up to?
  2. Social media in schools
    1. Should it be used at all?
    2. Instant messaging vs Social media
    3. If yes, how should it be used?
    4. Etiquette vs Ethics?
    5. FOMO vs JOMO?
      1. My 9 year old and her relationship with social media (Seesaw, Whatsapp, Musically)
      2. The Man Who Knew Too Littleby Sam Dolnick of the NY Times – https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/10/style/the-man-who-knew-too-little.html
    6. Eduro Learning Discussion about social media – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzCUtMDKhSY
    7. Tony’s post – https://itbabble.com/2018/03/18/its-time-to-regulate-social-media-in-schools/  
    8. https://gizmodo.com/study-being-a-teen-sucks-now-1822305426
  3. 1:1 Programs in schools – Mobile Devices vs Laptop
    1. Is a Chromebook a mobile device or a laptop
    2. Remix OS – http://www.jide.com/remixos-for-mobile
    3. Samsung DEX – http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/apps/samsung-dex/
    4. Omar’s prediction – modular design
  4. Eye strain because we are so connected
    1. Kids are being given iPads and numerous tasks on devices (screen time)
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_blue_light_technology
    3. F.Lux – https://justgetflux.com/
    4. Reading mode on mobile device
  5. Handwriting
    1. Should we continue to focus on it?
    2. Studies show a link between writing on paper and stronger “connections”
      1. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/were-only-human/ink-on-paper-some-notes-on-note-taking.html
    3. And if students are to type…how can we “control” their devices in a BYOD setting? Most testing software does not lock you in – MAP testing software does

You can download this episode here!

 

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It’s Time to Regulate Social Media in Schools

By: Tony DePrato | Follow me on Twitter @tdeprato

It is spring time, and once again I am planning a new network security plan for a school. The same issues as always, and the same questions.

All questions usually have answers with a price tag attached. Value in such planning is very subjective. After all, we spend money every year managing free apps on iPads, how does that make financial sense?

One question cannot be answered. Regardless of my due diligence and the school’s willingness to fund a comprehensive plan, students will still have phones. Those phones will have data plans. Those data plans circumvent all the work we do. Parents do not seem to care, because they are worried about having that device for logistics and emergencies.

These devices are addictive, and the applications are purely for entertainment and dopamine-driven feedback loops.

Yes, the network can manage the problem when students are on Wifi; but not when the students are on their own network.

Jamming signals is not legal in most countries, and localized jamming seems to cover very large spaces. Even if it was legal, it would impact other services.

I believe all problems can be solved, and I believe I have a solution for this one. Generically, I like to call it Social Media for Education.

Social Media for Education Explained

The core concept is simple. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., would offer an educational package. I firmly believe this should be a paid service for schools that can afford it, and free for schools that can demonstrate hardship. If you consider the cost of properly  blocking Apps on Wifi ($10-50 USD per student per year), this service would be viable if priced appropriately.

The social media companies would follow a Google Apps or O365 model for schools to join. They would require any person under the age of 18 to register as a student connected to a school.

For example, schools who sign-up would be given a school code, and could provide a student ID based roster for cross-referencing. Any person under 18 would be required to connect their profile to a school or education program of some sort(some students are home schooled or have other types of educational plans).

Unless they are connected to some type of educational plan, they simply cannot use social media until they are 18 years of age.

Schools who join would receive these benefits:

  1. Social media profiles are deactivated from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm everyday, in the timezone set by the school. This prevents VPN access from spoofing the clock.
  2. Schools could centralized a two steps homework system. Teachers would use Social media to circulate messages related to the school, and unless students confirmed all messages have been received (read), their profiles would not be activated. Although confirming a message has been seen does not equal work completed, it does mean the student acknowledged receiving the message. Blocking all other activities until all messages are cleared would prioritize the school’s notifications.
  3. Since all students can be identified and connected to a school or program, cyber-bullying would be easier to manage. Schools would need to make a request for data, but that data would connect to a student ID (most likely), and a verified location.

I have thought of more options, but, I would consider the above a tier one solution.

It Cannot Work Unless There is Regulation

It is clear from current practices, such as not enforcing the age restrictions for users, that social media companies will not offer services to schools that help disconnect students during their academic day.

In places like France, the government is physically banning phones from campuses. Other schools follow strict device confiscation policies. These measures only create a black market for phones, theft among students, and a burden on families who are victims of theft.

Trying to regulate property, and potentially facing liability issues related to property, is not the path to follow to solve this problem.

Governments need to simply require social media companies, or any company making a communications product, to provide the an identity and connection management system for those under the age of 18.

Those over 18 already have to use multiple methods to verify themselves when making new accounts. However, students seem to be able to join social media using devices and phone numbers that are not even legally in their own name. Think about that? I give my child a phone and number, they use it to join Facebook? How is that legal or even verified?

Not Enrolled in School = No Social Media

Compulsory Education around the world varies. Very few countries report having no compulsory education requirements.

No Requirement Based on Previous Data
Oman 0 2007
Solomon Islands 0 2002
Cambodia 0 2008
Holy See (Vatican City) 0 2007
Tokelau 0 2007
Bhutan 0 2008

The world-wide impact of adopting social media regulation of this caliber would equate to those under 18 not being allowed on social media, if they could not demonstrate they were enrolled in some type of educational program.

Likely, many countries would not participate in such regulation at all. However, it really only has to be country by country. As international as these platforms seem to be, connections students have are usually very local. Most students have their primary social network within the school they attend. That means their social media time is literally just interacting with people they could easily look at and speak with.

If Facebook in India were not participating, that would not impact a school in Korea. If students were to move from country to country (or school to school), they would have to re-register. The meta data from that behavior alone would help confirm drop-out rates, possible issues within school districts, etc. I believe the unknown benefits of the data would be substantial. Observer effect issues and data manipulation by school administration would be reduced.

I have been working with teenagers since 2005. I have worked with students from over 100 countries. I have been a technology disruptor, more times than I have supported the status quo. I believe in BYOD programs, and any students I have worked with will confirm I empower them to lead and make decisions. I know when I see a problem in the plan and the patterns. I know when students are not engaged, and when they are not learning. Mobile devices with addictive applications are a real problem. The design is an addictive design, and the effects are powerful. I hate regulation, but unfortunately, I think we are there.

 

Posted in cyber awareness, eductainment, entertainment, facebook, Google Apps, iPhone, Opinion, social network, Tony DePrato | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments