The first step in building a technology-based curriculum is to create a curriculum.
If you can get your students to think in this way, they’ll be more likely to stay in school long term.
For many students, learning a new technology is the first step toward the future of learning, says Robert C. Darnell, an associate professor of education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro who studies learning at the intersection of technology and education.
“We want to ensure that we’re not going to be overwhelmed by new technologies and the challenges that they bring to learning,” he says.
For example, Darnel says technology has made it easier to communicate and share information, such as with parents, grandparents and friends.
“You can have that technology, but you also want to be able to use it to communicate with your family and your friends,” he adds.
Teaching children about technology, he says, “will make them better learners.”
Darnels team, including Darnells research assistant, created a new digital textbook called Teach the Book, which uses interactive video games to teach basic concepts like writing and reading.
Students will start learning about computers by playing a computer game called “Fruit Ninja.”
“If we teach students how to use computers and the technology, they will be able and will be more capable of doing the kind of work that is going to pay off for them,” Darnes says.
The textbook, which is based on the computer-based learning methods that are taught in computer science and math classes at universities across the country, is now available online for students at several campuses.
More broadly, Dernell says, the books’ approach to technology teaching can help schools develop more efficient learning environments, such that students can spend more time learning in the classroom and less time in the library.
Teach the Book is available in more than 80 schools and in some online learning platforms, including Lynda.com, Udacity and Coursera.
The textbook, for example, is available for free online at the beginning of the year, and students can start playing it on Oct. 18.
The first edition of the textbook was published in March.
“It’s not just for schools,” Dernes says, noting that teachers can use the book to teach children how to write, read and write a story.
“This is the beginning, the first steps, the beginning to get them interested in learning.”
The program is available through Courserafilm, which teaches students how the computer works, and Lynda, a company that sells digital education courses.
“Teach The Book” was created by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Department of Education.
Dernells team is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.