(Class)Room with a view: Last week's SF Edu Tech Innovators MeetUp, hosted by LearnBoost at the chic pariSoma loft space, featured drinks, snacks, a mingling crowd of more than 100 and a panel of five Bay Area teachers (all grades and several math gurus) who shared their edtech needs & wants. Highlights:
Lack of info: There's been no easy way for teachers to find out about emerging tech products. Proactive teachers may follow up on what they hear (yah! read EdSurge!), but more typically teachers simply get something from administrators and "pray it works."
Challenges in making stuff work: Public schools in fiscally strapped districts are plagued with defunct equipment. Others may be blessed with the latest gadgets "but there is little know-how from teachers on how to use them."
Picking games: "Gaming is a great model for learning," but finding the right level of challenge for students is tricky. (That's stoking enthusiasm for "adaptive" systems.) The teachers said they'd like to see more games that spur social interaction among students, whether through collaboration or competition. Badges work, especially to signal students are working toward a bigger goal.
Clickers: One panelist found clickers particular handy in algebra class. Students became more engaged; the teacher got a real-time pulse check of whether the lesson was connecting. Big shout-out to ExitTicket, a clicker app for smartphones and tablets.
An opportunity: California students are tested on their writing abilities in 7th grade (and in past years, in 4th as well). One panelist would like to see someone develop an effective program to do these assessments more frequently, to save teachers both time and the headaches of grading.
With great thanks to EdSurge friend and entrepreneur, Tony Wan of Luckybird Games, for providing this account.