SyncUp With StudySync
For this episode of the SyncUp podcast we interview Jim Shea, creator of the national VOTES project, a program that brings together more than 100 public and private schools nationwide to give students a voice in our national Presidential elections.
StudySync is kicking off the new school year with a major expansion of our outreach to educators. At EdNet 2012, we were pleased to announce that StudySync is now live on the Learning.com Marketplace.
For the first episode of the SyncUp podcast we bring you a discussion on the Common Core State Standards with our guest Carrie Heath Phillips, who is the program director of The Council of Chief State School Officers.
On March 10th, StudySync participated in The New England 1:1 Summit, a conference right in my backyard, at Burlington High School, in Burlington, MA. Walk through the doors and Burlington looks like your typical suburban public high school, with familiar cement facade, huge double-entry doors, wide hallways, and Formica floors. But this is no typical high school. Burlington High is a 1:1 computing school, a term that means every student has or is issued some technical device, such as a netbook, a laptop, or, as in Burlington's case, an iPad.
StudySync is proud to announce that we are a finalist for the 2012 CODiE Award for Best K-12 Instructional Solution! This category recognizes the best broad-based, multi-disciplinary teaching application or solution for curricula and content that is specifically targeted toward students in K-12 learning environments. Finalists include products that offer online curriculum, assessments, and reporting, integrated with tools for classroom management, planning, and collaboration. Products nominated here are also eligible for the Best K-12 Education Solution Award.
We ask our students to be good observers, consider the world carefully and to analyze the implications of what they see. As educators, it’s time we do the same.
Our classrooms may appear as we experienced them — a row of windows, a blackboard (OK, maybe they’re white now), inspirational posters. But the kids looking back from those same uncomfortable chairs are fundamentally different. They are like a Bronze Age tribe being asked to use stone axes. It’s time to put down the stone.
It’s true, no matter what we do, our kids will leave us behind — it’s the natural way. But we must provide them with the knowledge they need to improve the world. Our generation is the one developing all the new tools that offer limitless access to knowledge. So, why wouldn’t we offer these advantages — the ones kids can’t keep their fingers off of, even during class — and help kids acquire the skills they need to survive in a connected world?
This is an excerpt from an original piece I wrote for Mashable on November 09, 2011.
It’s hard to argue against the unique and special brilliance of inventor, author, and futurist, Ray Kurzweil. He has been labeled by many highly respected sources as, “revolutionary,” a “genius,” and the “heir to Thomas Edison.” Bill Gates said that “Kurzweil is the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.”
In his highly successful 2005 book, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Kurzweil predicts how our bodies will eventually merge with technology. He points out that technology in general, and artificial intelligence specifically, has been and is continuing to grow at an exponential rate. Human intelligence is not. Hence, according to Kurzweil, machine intelligence will someday surpass human intelligence, and he thinks that this will happen by the year 2045. He calls that moment in time the Singularity, and he believes that it will fundamentally change life on Earth. The implications of his theory are numerous, fundamental, and controversial.
This is precisely why this groundbreaking work was perfect for StudySync. Kurzweil’s writing exists simultaneously in the worlds of science, science fiction, philosophy, and history, and raises fundamental questions of what it means to be a human in a human-dominated world. How better to model vital critical reading and thinking skills in our student users than by introducing them to such cutting edge content?
StudySync CEO Robert Romano took the stage to a sold out crowd. In addition to demonstrating the product, he shared his vision, along with a bit of history behind the company's founding.
[My] first company I founded with James Moffett, who is a renowned educator from Harvard, one of the preeminent educators in language. He passed away during that project, but his inspiration carried over to my second project which is founded in the ideas that fill our books and our libraries, our personal libraries and our public libraries.
It's the idea that getting students today, at any level, to read is very difficult. Even a presenter earlier said it's a challenge to even read text for ourselves. So, how do you do that? Those ideas in those books are the cornerstones of our culture, our own source code of the people that we are. It's important to know that the kids that are now in schools really have an interest in learning those ideas.
When I first heard about the video out and mirroring capabilities of the iPad2, I quickly found myself in the Apple store and asking, “What about Apple TV? Can I buy the Apple TV instead of the $39 adapter and mirror my display without the cable?"
Although the answer was "No," it was followed by a “but...” and a hint that it probably wouldn’t be too long before the capability of mirroring the iPad display would be available via Wi-Fi connection.
At the latest WWDC conference, Apple made it official. With the release of iOS5 this fall, users will be able to wirelessly mirror their iPad display onto an HDTV with an Apple TV attached. That means for the price of an iPad, Apple TV, and a flat screen monitor (total cost: under $1,000), a teacher could be anywhere in class with the iPad and manipulating their program, platform, or app of choice—StudySync included—on the display. It means teachers can do a lot of other things as well.
In a report from CNN's Dan Simon yesterday, we learn how one Los Angeles teacher has transformed his classroom by encouraging his students to Tweet.
Enrique Legaspi once faced a scenario that many of his peers struggle with every day: a classroom full of distracted students constantly connected to their mobile devices — texting, Tweeting or IMing.
Legaspi wasn't against technology, and like many teachers, he wondered if there might be a way to turn the reality of those technological distractions into a learning opportunity. After attending a seminar in San Francisco on incorporating Twitter into the classroom, he had an epiphany:
I had an 'Aha! moment' then. I said to myself, 'Wow. This is what's going to really engage my students.'
Rather than telling his students to turn their devices off, he set a BYOT, or Bring Your Own Technology, policy. If the students were not equipped, they were able to use one of the classroom computers. Either way, they would be Tweeting. But not just to their friends. They would be Tweeting about World War I, then watching the responses in real-time as Legaspi highlights some of the answers.