According to the website eSchoolnews, this is the editor’s pick of the week for an app to teach children. eSchoolnews is a marketing company that covers educational technology.  It’s Common Core aligned and targets specific language and appropriate language responses.:

 

social quest

 

Is such an app a good idea or not?  I suppose it depends on how much time is spent online with such apps vs actual teaching and human interaction with students.  You can read a detailed app review here.  As noted in the description, students will pick an avatar and navigate their way through a virtual landscape complete with instant feedback.  There are no teacher reviews as of yet, but we would love to hear from teachers who have used similar apps to teach receptive and expressive language with their experiences with this type of app.

There are some screenshots of what the app looks like to a teacher and student.  What is your reaction to this window that comes up on the app?

 

deeds are engraved in stone

 

 

Your deeds are engraved in stone seems rather harsh to me as a parent.  I wonder how a child will react to that phrase.  Will it make them more intentional in their answer or will it create apprehension in even answering questions for fear of answering incorrectly?  If your deeds are engraved in stone, who will venture to answer if he/she is not certain of the correct answer?  Could the virtual quest for data backfire and create students who won’t take risk for fear of their data trail following them from cradle to grave?  Did you notice the Share with the World graphic?  Is that the goal of gathering this data?  What if you don’t want your data shared with the world? 

Do you believe an app will create the same reaction as this human interaction between a beloved teacher and a retired soccer star?  His teacher, Mr. Pigden, was the first person to teach him how to kick a soccer ball, but he learned much more from his teacher:

 

From the video description:

Ian Wright is a soccer legend in England. The 51-year-old played professionally between 1985 and 2000, including a seven year stretch with the world-famous Arsenal Football Club in London as well as with the English national team. Wright scored 185 goals in 288 games for Arsenal and another 9 goals in 33 games with the national squad. He held the club record for most goals scored until somewhat recently, when he was beaten out by superstar Thierry Henry. In 2008, he was listed fourth in a list of the top 50 players to have ever played for Arsenal.

Growing up, Wright had an unfortunate childhood with a stepfather he describes as a bully and an abusive, distant mother who often tried to discourage his love of soccer by saying “many are called but few are chosen.” He was fortunate to have a very supportive teacher, Mr. Pigden, who helped him overcome the behavioral issues resulting from his troubled home life as well as encouraged him to train with more dedication towards becoming a professional athlete. Wright often says that this positive male authority figure at a critical time in his life was a major factor in his eventual success. In this video, Wright visits his old stomping grounds but is in for a heartwarming surprise when Mr. Pigden pays a surprise visit.

 

Mr. Pigden told Wright:  I’m so glad that you’ve done so well for yourself.  That’s the ultimate goal of a good teacher.  It’s not to engrave on stone every ‘deed’ a child does or doesn’t perform correctly that ultimately figures into a teacher’s evaluation.  Wright says: Now I know how important he was in my life.  He was the main male imposing figure in my life who was trying to guide me in my ability.

Maybe app engineers will create an educational teacher avatar that makes a child thinks the avatar really cares about that child and his/her individual talents and abilities.  I just don’t know how it will capture the essence of this teacher/student exchange.  The data that you just can’t capture in a hug and tears and actual caring about another human being may actually be the most important factors in a student’s education.

 

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