Technology Trends in Education


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Sending children to school is an act of faith. How can you be sure they will learn what they need to know, especially in a world where technology is so important and changes so quickly? Parents want to feel confident the school is up to speed, but it's difficult to be certain when the education your children get is so different from the one you remember.

Fortunately, parents now have a crib sheet from the International Society of Technology in Education. The group's recently released Horizon Report identifies six technology trends reshaping education today, tomorrow and in the future. Just knowing the jargon for these innovations may give you more insight into what's happening at your child's school. Here's an overview.

What's happening now

Cloud computing sounds mysterious, but it simply refers to software you can access online that is not stored on your computer. If you use Facebook, Google Docs, Flickr and many other popular sites, you've cloud-computed. School administrators realize that instead of purchasing expensive software that quickly goes out of date, they can offer students better access to up-to-the-minute tools via cloud computing.

Kerpoof (www.kerpoof.com), for example, introduces young learners to powerful creativity apps that allow them to tell stories, draw pictures and produce videos they can easily share with classmates. At www.ilabcentral.org, students can do virtual science experiments using equipment that might be unavailable at school.

Mobile devices allow computing on the go. Many educators are excited about tablet computers, such Apple's iPad. These devices give students and teachers flexibility in when and how they use technology. Some high schools provide incoming freshmen with a tablet that stores every book the student uses, as well as classroom presentations and assignments. Mobile devices can also be used in laboratories, on field trips, in performance spaces and during community service projects. If you want to turn your mobile device into an educational tool, check out the app reviews at the International Educational Apps Review at www.iear.org.

What's coming soon

Game-based learning has come a long way. Early educational games like Math Blaster and Reader Rabbit were dull drill-and-practice exercises that peppered students with right/wrong questions. Now educators offer games that simulate complex environments ranging from cells (Immune Attack) to disaster relief (Evoke). Although some teachers aren't comfortable with the games' open-ended nature, many find a well-chosen game engages and motivates young learners in ways other instructional methods can't. Young people can become deeply immersed in games and, as a result, master content, sharpen problem-solving skills and develop collaborative strategies that mirror the skills they will need in the workplace.

Open content got going a decade ago when Massachusetts Institute of Technology put all of its courses online. Now K-12 educators see advantages in sharing classroom materials at sites like Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.com), which includes thousands of free lesson plans, or CK-12.org, a site allowing teachers to customize textbooks by picking and choosing science materials. Students also have access to open content at websites like NeoK12 (www.neoK12.com).

Open content makes learning available regardless of location, so it's ideal for students who are home-schooled or unable to attend school because of travel or illness. It also helps students master essential skills related to finding, evaluating and using new information. Perhaps, most important, it encourages students to take more responsibility for when and how they learn.

In three to five years

Learning analytics provides teachers with more precise information about what and how children learn. Unlike high-stakes tests, which give an annual snapshot of what a child has mastered, analytic tools allow teachers to evaluate as they go.

For example, the School of One program uses data about what children have learned to create customized daily schedules. Each student receives math instruction that matches his or her learning style and focuses on what he or she needs to know next. Although critics worry data mining can be misused, supporters of learning analytics believe it can help teachers and students improve performance.

Personal learning environments are based on the knowledge that every student learns differently. One child absorbs new ideas by listening. Another grasps information presented in a chart or graph. A third does best with a captioned video. Personal learning environments encourage students to engage with learning materials that work best for them. Educators point to the materials a child needs. To see how this works, watch a YouTube video at http://go.nmc.org/oltyt made by a seventh-grade student who uses Symbaloo to organize her learning.

Schools and teachers vary in their willingness and ability to adopt new technologies. Still, knowing about them may help you make sense of what's happening - or not happening - in your child's classroom. At the very least, you'll be more knowledgeable at the next parent-teacher conference. To learn more, download the entire ISTE report at www.iste.org/learn/horizon-report.aspx.

Carolyn Jabs has been writing about families and the Internet for more than 15 years. She is the mother of three computer-savvy kids.

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September 2019

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: 24.00

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

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Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: 24.00

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Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Celebrate Latino culture in Durham.

Cost: Free

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Compare Foods Parking Lot
2000 Avondale Dr.
Durham, NC
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Enjoy sweets from over 20 vendors for humans and pets.

Cost: Free

Where:
City Market
214 E. Martin Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Jay's Italian Ice
Telephone: 919-780-4169
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Discover Historic Yates Mill—a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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See Peppa Pig and her friends embark on a new adventure in this live stage show. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $29.50 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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See Peppa Pig and her friends embark on a new adventure in this live stage show. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $29.50 and up

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Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: Free

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Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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These programs are open to students 6–12 years old. Parent/guardians are welcome to stay for the program or drop-off. Preregistration is required. Discover the amazing world of mushrooms and...

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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Bring your own poles or borrow one of ours through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction are provided. All...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Robert Gibbs discusses his latest book, "Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation." Ages 8-12. Purchase the book from Quail Ridge to reserve two seats for the event and a...

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Quail Ridge Books
4209 Lassister Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Join us to make moveable miniature skating figures that light up!  Space is limited. To register, call 919-245-2532. Grades 3-5.

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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We are Voted BEST consignment sale in the Triangle and TOP 10 in the NATION!! Our sale features Children's Clothing including a wonderful boutique section, costume section, and coats section,...

Cost: Free

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Cary Towne Centre
1105 Walnut St
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
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Enjoy a free sunset movie by the picturesque Lake Raleigh. Take a picnic blanket, lawn chairs and a non-perishable food donations (human and pet) on Fridays in September to NC State's...

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Lake Raleigh Meadows
Campus Shore Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Telephone: 704-651-3179
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Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to BugFest to experience over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. This year's theme is beetles. Interact with entomologists and other scientists...

Cost: Free

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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919.707.9800
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Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to BugFest to experience over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. This year's theme is beetles. Interact with entomologists and other...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919.707.9800
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Cost: $5

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Piney Wood Park
400 E. Woodcroft Pkwy
Durham, NC  27713
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Telephone: 984-329-5970
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Cost: Free

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Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Please join us for our 27th annual Triangle Festival of Hope & Walk to De-feet Dementia at Knightdale Station Park. The 1-mile walk through the park, or 1/4 mile shorter version, will begin...

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Knightdale Station Park
810 N First Ave
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street Creedmoor
301 N. Main St.
Creedmoor, NC  27522
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Sponsor: City of Creedmoor
Telephone: 919-764-1013
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We are Voted BEST consignment sale in the Triangle and TOP 10 in the NATION!! Our sale features Children's Clothing including a wonderful boutique section, costume section, and coats section,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Towne Centre
1105 Walnut St
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
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Cost: $5 suggested donation; free for children under 12

Where:
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris Street
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2719
Contact Name: Susan Tierney
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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Enjoy local bands, arts and crafts vendors, car show, kids' area, fun contests and games, plus a barbecue cook-off contest featuring veteran cooking teams.

Cost: Free

Where:
River Park
114 E. Margaret Ln.
Hillsborouh, NC  27278
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This family-oriented event includes corn milling demonstrations and costumed tours of Yates Mill, and other event activities including a fun children’s scavenger hunt activity, live music and...

Cost: Free, though there is a $3-5 fee for mill tours

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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For almost 200 years, farmers brought their wheat and corn to what is now Yates Mill to have their grains ground into flour and meal. Today, you can stop by the Yates Mill visitor center to see a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Take the family for Caribbean food, live music, a Kids Zone, bounce house, face painter and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
West Point on the Eno
5101 N. Roxboro St.
Durham, NC  27704
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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Celebrate diversity in Wake Forest with live performances, traditional cuisine and family entertainment. 

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Live bands showcase this event that also features a kids zone, vendor village and food trucks.

Cost: $11.25 – $20

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre's Rose Garden and Stephenson Amphitheatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Live bands showcase this event that also features a kids zone, vendor village and food trucks.

Cost: $15 advance tickets, $20 at the door. Free for ages 5 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre's Rose Garden and Stephenson Amphitheatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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The Teen Advisory Board invites you to meet up with other gamers to mingle, snack, and test your skills for prizes! Guests are welcome to bring their own controllers/fightsticks. Register by...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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East Cloud Kungfu hosts a Parent's Night Out event, featuring a safe environment for kids as they about the wide world of kungfu.   Check it out!...

Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
5655-A Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
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The Clayton Center presents country crooner Billy "Crash" Craddock in concert. Sing along with Crash as he belts out his biggest hits, including Knock Three Times, Rub It In, Ruby Baby, Broken...

Cost: $25 plus taxes & fees

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second Street
Clayton, NC  27520
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Sponsor: The Clayton Center
Telephone: 919-553-1737
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