Learning Experience Design, EdTech, Curriculum, Assessment, E-Learning

New and Lifelong Learning

Submitted by Jennifer Livengood on Thu, 09/04/2014

I had never made a New Year’s resolution until this year. In the beginning of January 2014, I made two resolutions:

1. Learn something new
2. Do activities that help me feel empowered

I left the resolutions quite broad because I believe in lifelong learning and am continually challenging myself. I earned my PhD about seven years ago but always seek out opportunities to enrich my life. After making these resolutions, I found the perfect activity: motorcycle riding!

Read More

Checking the Next Generation Science Standards Crystal Ball

Submitted by Mark Grayson on Wed, 08/27/2014

Nearly three years ago, I presented several blog posts devoted to the potentially transformative nature of the as-of-then-still-under-development Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the possible pitfalls to the approach being taken in developing and promoting them.

Read More

Writing Your Way Out of a Box

Submitted by Cindy Kane on Fri, 08/22/2014

Writing texts for reading and language arts programs has been described as “writing your way out of a box.” How do you create a text that is just as engaging for students as a trade book or magazine article . . . and also helps them to learn and practice a targeted set of skills? Several of the editors in the Six Red Marbles Humanities Department have written books for children’s trade publishers, and that experience often helps us to get the writers we work with out of that box.

Read More

Laura Dress Judges iGEM High School Jamboree

Submitted by Maria Vivas on Tue, 08/19/2014

Motivating high school students to conduct research in the emerging field of synthetic biology is no easy feat. Yet, the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) Foundation has accomplished just that.

Read More

How PLAY can help your WORK

Submitted by Marianne Knowles on Tue, 08/12/2014

The company I work for, Six Red Marbles, develops technology-based educational materials for use in schools and other settings. Six Red Marbles has six core principles for developing materials for learners. One of these principles is “play is productive.” In a nutshell, the principle states that learning is a creative adventure, and if learners are having fun being creative then they’re more likely to explore, ask questions, and take productive risks.

Read More

The “Participation Gap” You Haven’t Heard About

Submitted by Margaret Weigel on Thu, 07/31/2014

Harvard professor and researcher Robert Putnam—renown for his ’bowling alone’ thesis of American anomie—has turned his attention in recent years to growing levels of inequality between young people. While his extensive research project on this topic continues, you can get a sense of his preliminary findings from his working paper “Growing Class Gaps in Social Connectedness among American Youth” (2012). This paper focuses on the widening gap between the experiences of middle and upper class youth and their less affluent peers since the 1990s, and how these experiences affect everything from future earnings and levels of educational attainment to social capital, civic engagement, and feelings of self-worth. Spoiler alert: lower class students are not faring so well.

Read More

Leaving Behind “No Child”?

Submitted by Mark Grayson on Mon, 07/28/2014

What is known in polite circles as No Child Left Behind has many roots in Texas. Many recall that this signature accomplishment of George W. Bush’s presidency was based on an expansion of the testing regime he’d promoted in Texas while governor there.
But the history and the connections to Texas go back further, and Texas may just be where to look for clues about the future of national education policy.

Read More

Content and Software: Partners in Education

Submitted by Marianne Knowles on Thu, 07/17/2014

Everyone at Six Red Marbles understands that you need to consider the whole user experience, including content, software, and many other factors, if you’re going to develop a curriculum that engages students and helps them to achieve mastery.

Read More

Put Us to the Test: Testing in the Time of Technology

Submitted by Amy Losi on Tue, 06/17/2014

The new assessments have been surrounded by controversy on several fronts. One has been the support and funding of the Gates foundation. Critics have pointed out that Microsoft stands to gain from the tests’ reliance on technology, a view that has angered Bill Gates. In the June 7th Washington Post, Gates has defended his support of the Common Core by saying, “Education can get better. Some people may not believe that. Education can change . . . I believe in the Common Core because of its substance and what it will do to improve education. And that’s the only reason I believe in the Common Core. . . . This is philanthropy. This is trying to make sure students have the kind of opportunity I had.”

Read More

Trends in Mobile e-Learning Market

Submitted by Nitika Bansal on Thu, 05/29/2014

The rapid growth in Internet, mobile, and cloud technologies in the past decade has touched every aspect of human life. Learning and education, thus, cannot be left behind; in fact, the global e-learning market is estimated to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23% over 2012–2017 according to GSV (Global Silicon Valley) advisors.

Read More

Illustrations: An Integral Part of a Story

Submitted by Ashish Verma on Wed, 05/21/2014

Weren’t we always told not to judge a book by its cover? Well, apparently that’s exactly what children do. At least I did. When I was growing up, illustrations played a vital role in my life and—who would’ve thought?—my career! Illustrations pushed many of us to become readers.

Read More

Learning as Pushing Boundaries

Submitted by Margaret Weigel on Thu, 03/06/2014

I watched anxiously as a young boy and girl demonstrated how to make blueberry pancakes from scratch. My anxiety morphed into a mix of incredulity and terror as the boy stuck his hand into the blender’s glass jar to dislodge some bit of batter that was gumming up the works around the blade. I slunk down in my seat, cringed, and waited for the worst to happen.

Read More

Put Us to the Test (February Edition)

Submitted by Amy Losi on Fri, 02/28/2014

Core Values: The Pushback on Accountability

A little boy was getting poor grades in school. One day he surprised the teacher and tapped her on the shoulder. “I don’t want to scare you, but my daddy says if I don’t get better grades, somebody is going to get a spanking.”

Read More

Hi! I’m a Graphic Designer!

Submitted by Jasmeen Kaur on Wed, 02/19/2014

Graphic designers . . . what do we really do? Well, we draw, color, paint, sketch, and design for a living. So, is that how we would like to define our work? What do YOU think? Well, here is my answer about this profession that sounds either too complicated or too easy.

Read More

From the Copy Desk (February Edition)

Submitted by Six Red Marbles on Wed, 02/12/2014

According to the wonderful Purdue Online Writing Labs, “Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance. This can happen at the word, phrase, or clause level.” If this is a new concept to you, it’s worth reading the page on parallel structure, which is short and full of good examples.

Read More

The Power of Play

Submitted by Margaret Weigel and Jennifer Livengood on Wed, 02/05/2014

“The power of play.” We hear a lot in educational circles about how play embodies risk-taking, experimentation, and exploration. It is a very powerful way to learn. Plus, it’s fun! Who doesn’t like play, right? But play can be tough to implement in the typical classroom tasked to raise test scores, adhere to a vetted teaching scope and sequence, and prepare learners for productive livelihoods in the context of an uncertain economy.

This is the story of two colleagues who saw a playful friendship turn into a fruitful professional collaboration.

Read More

Put Us to the Test (January Edition)

Submitted by Amy Losi on Thu, 01/23/2014

Nothing Common About the Common Core

Father: How were the exam questions?
Son: Easy.
Father: Then why do you look so unhappy?
Son: The questions didn’t give me any trouble, but the answers did!

Read More