Face Stand Kids Used When Doing Online Learning

FaceStand Kids use for teaching about how to safely and confidently navigate the real world.

Face Stand Kids Used When Doing Online Learning

The internet doesn’t have to be a frat house.

To give technology’s increasing powers a less negative spin, you could almost call internet learning a vocation. Letting kids learn the basics of apps and machines via their computers, apps on their phones, and devices in their hands could help build language and literacy skills and open them up to stories, games, and endless possibilities.

“That really affords a child or a young adult the capacity to learn and deal with the peer pressure that face online from other people and their peers,” said Tim Logan, director of concept development for Booklovers, the media and learning company behind the new curriculum.

That means face-to-face, in-person learning. Not on Facebook or YouTube. Don’t hand a student a phone when he or she enters a classroom, and don’t expect a child to open a laptop.

The school and app are called Face. Try it out.

For 16 educators who received $50,000 from NASA to use Face. Try it out. for a class on literacy, cognitive science, and game design, the challenge was to figure out a way to improve language and literacy in online learning environments, Logan said. “It wasn’t about teaching that kids can talk about this stuff on YouTube. It was about creating an environment where they can talk about it in the classroom.”

Logan spent three years working with Google on TEDx programs — after school sessions similar to TED Talks. With those conversations he learned that some people don’t just use the internet to learn, they use it as entertainment or distraction. They go on YouTube and wind up watching longer videos than they plan. They take photos on Instagram. They often spend a lot of time looking at their screens, which leaves less room for reading or writing.

That needs to change.

Elements of it are readily available online. Stem focused websites are readily available. Smartphones can have apps and tutorials to help students master things like programming, web design, and Photoshop.

Lego Boooks teach basic coding to kids in first grade and beyond. Hello Board, offered at some local libraries, teaches kids how to make animations and photos from a free app that kids can use to create a website. Team Paws, available at Google Play and on Kongregate, teaches kids to create a Minecraft game of their own creation.

But kids need a built-in target.

The face-to-face online course designed to solve some of these challenges was developed with help from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Scott Educational Labs, and the New England Cooperative Extension. The program will be distributed by New England Cooperative Extension’s 10 centers from Portland, Maine to Miami, Florida.

Many schools are already trying to add face-to-face interactions to their online programs. In Massachusetts, the K through 12 Massachusetts Opt-Out Network has piloted a class of English Language Learners taught by English as a Second Language teacher Lainey Swados. While they share information over text messages, they meet and interact in person during an in-person class. “It empowers teachers to maintain that human connection and quality education in the digital world,” said Jennifer Radden, director of Massachusetts Opt-Out.

The face-to-face approach to learning as teachers has another big advantage: It closes the gender gap. Right now, when kids are going through their studies at their online schools, 57 percent of students are girls, while 32 percent are boys.

With a face-to-face environment, that gap closes to 26 percent for girls and 57 percent for boys.

Maybe that will convince some of those kids not to enroll in an online school.

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