LeVar Burton Wants to Bring Reading Rainbow Back

From 1983 to 2006, PBS aired Reading Rainbow, a LeVar Burton-hosted series designed to encourage children to read. For the past two years, Burton has been delivering new Reading Rainbow installments via a tablet app — but a new Kickstarter campaign aims to greatly enhance the program’s reach. The expansion would revive Reading Rainbow on the internet, and develop a specialized classroom version of the series that would be delivered to schools in need for free. If the program meets its minimum funding goal, they’ll be able to distribute Reading Rainbow to more than 1,500 classrooms.


‘Chuck’ and Bert Tell Kids to Put Down the Gadgets and Go Outside

From Mashable:

Zachary Levi and Sesame Street‘s Bert know that a day in the park doesn’t need a filter. The quirky pair combined their mutual fondness of pigeons and song ‘n dance numbers to collaborate on “Lovely Sunny Day,” a tune all about turning off your gadgets, muting social media and soaking in the sunshine.

Click here for the video.

Both Sides of the Baby Tech Battle

From Pat Kiernan:  Technology is taking over the crib.  And that’s a good think or a bad thing depending on who you ask.  While pediatricians and others have debated how much television children should be exposed to, new devices like a onesie with built-in sensors to monitor the baby, are opening up debate over how much is too much technology.

Check out this article from the San Jose Mercury News for more.

A Math App with a Human Touch

From the NY Times article:

Tabtor is an expensive iPad math-teaching app for kindergartners through sixth graders. Although free to download and try for two weeks, thereafter it costs $50 a month per child.

At first glance, Tabtor — the name is “tablet tutor” mashed together — does not look particularly different from the hundreds of other math offerings in Apple’s app store and the gazillion math-drill software programs on personal computers.

For each problem, there is space on the touch screen to scribble calculations with a finger or a stylus before punching in the answer on an on-screen keypad. A green check mark and a pleasing clanging sword sound greet a correct answer; a wrong one gets a red “X” and a less pleasing clang. There is a second chance to get the problem right.

So what does the $50 a month buy? Unlike any other math teaching app I’ve encountered, it comes with a human being.

An instructor assigned to your child reviews the completed worksheets. The app captures all of the calculating scribbles and how much time was spent on each problem, so the instructor can see not only the wrong answers, but also how the mistakes were made. The instructor offers notes and encouraging voice memos and assigns new worksheets. The instructor also checks in via weekly video conference calls. The company says the program follows the Common Core math standards that have been adopted by most states.

In a sense, then, Tabtor, based in Kendall Park, N.J., is a tutoring service delivered via iPad. An Android version is planned for this summer.



Tablets Proliferate in Nation’s Classrooms

One-to-one computing — in which each student receives a computer for Internet access and digital learning — took root with laptops in schools well over a decade ago, but it has gotten a huge boost in recent years with the advent of lower-cost tablet computers. U.S. schools are expected to purchase 3.5 million tablets by the end of the year, according to industry analysts, giving students access to an array of modern educational opportunities that come with the technology. Worldwide, K-12 spending on tablets has increased 60 percent over last year.

Check out this Washington Post article for more