Aug 132012

Educational Technology: Getting Schooled by a Third Grader

educational technology

What Kids’ Gaming, Tweeting, Streaming and Sharing Tells us About the Future of Elementary Education

Kids love video games. And iPads. And even Twitter. But what can they learn from high-tech tools—and, perhaps more importantly, can the ways they use technology give us insight as to how they learn?

Those were the guiding questions at this Future Tense event on technology in early education. During the introduction, New America Foundation fellow Lisa Guernsey, author of Screen Time: How Electronic Media—From Baby Videos to Educational Software—Affects Your Child, noted that we frequently think of educational technology as the realm of middle or high school. But research currently suggests that children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years spend an average of 120 minutes a day with screens. Meanwhile, teachers—and companies producing educational software and games—are increasingly bringing technology into the classroom to appeal to kids who enter kindergarten already familiar with iPads, smartphones, and Microsoft Kinect.

Guernsey was joined by the Joel Levin, a private school teacher from New York City who is creating educational versions of the blockbuster game Minecraft; Alice Wilder, co-creator and head of research and education for Super Why! on PBS; and Annie Murphy Paul, another New America fellow and author of Origins and the forthcoming Brilliant. Scott Traylor, founder of 360Kid, joined us via a prerecorded Skype interview.

Initial Article:

To continue reading the entire report from this event by Future Tense Editor Torie Bosch, please click here.

Tom McDonald’s Comments:

The primary, leading elements, in any long term learning, of critical must know information, should be brain based, research driven, classroom proven, learning methodologies.

I see much, much, too often, where popularity overrides solid research based, pedagogy.

The overriding consequence, of this reversed approach to learning, by putting popular technology first, is that we are leaving individual, advanced, learning outcomes to chance (trial and error).

If we benchmark the popular technology, against brain based, research proven, classroom proven, learning methodology we can easily differentiate those that have a right to win in delivering  advanced learning outcomes and those that most likely will not deliver advanced individual learning outcomes.

educational technology

Plus the learning research shows that:

(1) Teachers, students and game makers are traditionally not experts in learning

(2) Whats popular, does not ensure advanced individual learning outcomes

(3) What students think is effective and efficient learning is not

Once we properly integrate, research proven, learning methodologies, into the classroom and into instructional design and delivery, how then do we measure advanced individual learning outcomes?

We should see/expect brain based, research driven, classroom proven, advanced individual learning outcomes measured and delivered like this:

  • More Stimulation per Minute of Study
  • 300% Improvement in Retained Learning per Hour of Study
  • 11% less study time, 22% less test time, and 95% higher test scores

and these:

Turnkey eLearning application for California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE); Advanced English Learners pass rates up to 78%;
Advanced Special Education learners pass rates up to 50%;
Advanced Traditional education learners pass rates up to 100%.
Customized, annualized, CAHSEE, Return on Investment (ROI), economic validations, have ranged between 800% and 4,000%+

In summary, we must FIRST follow/understand the learning research, solidly integrate it into instruction and THEN deliver it over cool technology. We can then ensure that individual learning outcomes are advanced, consistent with individual and organization strategic outcomes, which is really what it’s all about.

Where individual, long term, critical must know learning, = Appropriate, Professionally Facilitated: initial understanding, ongoing reinforcement, fluency/mastery, recall (eliminating forgetting), application, stick/behavior change, adaptive reasoning skills, in the most effective and most efficient way possible

The new learning model:

“ Instructor facilitated, truly personalized learning, over time, with Instructor facilitated, truly personalized reinforcement, over time, in an Instructor facilitated, truly personalized, blended learning environment, over time”.



To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

educational technology, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC