The Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) was founded in 1886 to provide an education for the state’s blind and hearing-impaired students. But it wasn’t until 2010 that the mission truly became a reality. That’s when mathematics teacher Robin Lowell, along with her peers, began using Microsoft Lync and Yammer for distance learning to ensure that visually impaired students, wherever they happened to live, had access to a quality education.
Mobile technology continues to play a huge part in our daily lives, it has become one of the most rapidly evolving and adapted technologies among a variety of industries – from government to education.
As a result, mobile technology has been highly influential on public schools – so much that 83% of K-12 schools plan on allowing mobile or tablet devices in the classroom within the next 5 years. As the influence of mobile tech extends to parents, many believe that it helps to promote curiosity, makes learning fun and teaches kids about different events around the world.
Back-to-school time used to mean an abrupt – and sometimes difficult – shift from the freedom and fresh air of summertime to long days in the classroom. For today’s students, learning takes place not only in the classroom, but also at home, outside, in libraries, and any place with an Internet connection. Effective learning technology needs to be as smart, flexible and hardworking as today’s students and teachers.
For one UK school, anywhere, anytime learning plays a critical role in transforming their approach to 21st century learning, resulting in more engaged students and better student outcomes. Watch more on how Broadclyst is using anytime anywhere learning to engage students in and out of the classroom
A familiar theme that has accompanied the growing number of kids using the internet in relation to educational research, is that it could be harmful to their mental capacity and development.
This infographic puts forward four specific reasons why the internet is far from detrimental to our children and is in fact, helping making kids smarter.
“I want my students to be the type of people who won’t quit. Instead of them saying ‘I can’t get an A on my history test because I’m bad at history,’ I want them to think ‘How can I get an A on my history test, even though I am bad at history?’ When students think ‘HOW?’ instead of taking the easy way out and giving up, it leads to more critical thinking and persistence.” – Jane Cui, USA
Bill Gates and Daily Edventures alumni Katie Brown, recently sat down and discussed the importance of professional development, leadership, and the culture within schools that enable teachers to succeed. The also covered hot topics like teacher-to-teacher collaboration, standardized tests, and Common Core State Standards.
“You can see how many different projects can join together for the same cause.” – Team I Copy You, Qatar
Some of the most exciting projects at the Imagine Cup World Finals competition are the ones that aim to break down barriers and make learning more accessible for all. For Qatar’s I Copy You team, participants in the World Citizenship category, the focus was on children diagnosed with autism – a large and growing community that is often underserved in traditional classrooms.
The team of two recent Qatar University computer science graduates presented a low-cost educational software that uses the Kinect camera to detect a child’s motion. The software then provides feedback to a RoboSapien (a low-cost humanoid robot) that mimics the child’s movement. Because children on the autism spectrum have difficulties with typical human interaction, this friendly robotic learning tool can make an important difference in the learning process.
I Copy You teammates Nour Musa and Wa’ed Hakouz, along with their mentor, took a few minutes to talk to me about their project, and I was impressed with not only their innovation, but the passion behind it. “We’ve tested it in schools, we’ve tested it with teachers, and with children,” Wa’ed told me. And because kids with autism have very different sets of strengths and challenges, they’ve customized the app based on the unique needs of students they were working with. “We worked with a child named Mohammed,” Wa’ed explained. “We talked to his parents, his teachers, his nurse, and we took into account his skills to create customized games.”
The idea came from their college supervisor, who brought a robot into class. According to Nour, “One of the children we worked with wanted to dress up the robot as a princess,” and that immediate connection between child and robot inspired I Copy You.
This was the team’s first Imagine Cup experience (here’s more from their win at the 2014 Pan-Arab competition), and they were clearly thrilled with the opportunity to interact with other teams at the competition, young people who share their love for technology, and their belief that it can make a difference in the world. As Nour says, “You can see how many different projects can join together for the same cause.” And it’s that potential – a combination of global collaboration and inspired projects like I Copy You – that perfectly illustrates the power of the Imagine Cup. Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with I Copy You.
“The speaker asked, ‘Are there any Kiwis in the house?’ and our entire team just blanked out.” -Team Estimeet, New Zealand
If there’s anyone who can tell you what it feels like to have months of hard work pay off and culminate in a single moment of euphoria, it’s Jason Wei and his teammates Hayden Do, Chris Duan, and Derek Zhu from Team Estimeet. This is the story of four amazing students from the University of Auckland who, powered by a brilliant idea, passion for what they do, and a relentless work ethic, won the Innovation category at the 2014 Imagine Cup Finals in Seattle, Washington.
“It took us a moment to process that and it was only when he said ‘Estimeet from New Zealand!’ that we leaped from our seats,” Jason describes. It’s a special feeling, indeed, to not only be judged but recognized by the likes of Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and Erik Martin, founder of Reddit, carrying a huge New Zealand flag up proudly to the world stage and shining amongst peers representing the cream of the crop of their respective countries. We had a chance to speak with Jason when the Imagine Cup finalists were presenting their projects at Microsoft’s Redmond campus, and were immediately wowed by the functionality, polish, and usability of the app.
Estimeet is an app that solves a real social dilemma by saving a lot of headaches when meeting up with friends. By allowing you to easily create an event and add your friends, you can see their real-time location and estimated time of arrival so there’s less guessing and waiting (see video for a quick demo from Jason).
“Friends being late and not letting you know is such a big issue that we just accept as part of our daily lives. Being able to step up and come up with an idea that solves this widespread problem (which affects everyone!) and developing the actual app is definitely the most rewarding thing,” says Jason.
The very intuitive nature of the app, however, is perhaps what makes it so innovative and what landed the team the top prize in this category. As Steve Guggenheimer (Chief Evangelist for Microsoft) put it prior to announcing Estimeet as this year’s winners, “with innovation, you don’t always know what you’re looking for, but when you see it, you’ve found it.” And while combining a real world problem with creative thinking and technical prowess may give you a great idea for an app, it’s hard work that’s the real catalyst behind success on such a huge stage.
“We’ve really put everything into Estimeet as a project- six months of constant hard work and refining the app and presentation- to be recognized and rewarded is really satisfying and motivates us further to move ahead as a start-up. Hard work really pays off.” It’s difficult to summarize the blood, sweat, and tears of half a year in a single sentence, but for Team Estimeet, all that hard work took them to the moment they stood up on that Imagine Cup Finals stage on August 1st.
“It’s hard to describe what went through our minds that exact moment but it would’ve been something along the lines of ‘Wow. We just WON at the World Stage!’”