Archive for March 1, 2012

Scratch Jr: Introducing Programming to Preschoolers

How cool!  I’m interested in the changes that they’re recommending for Scratch Jr and the rationale that they’re offering.

In focus groups with teachers and children, the Scratch Jr research team has also noticed that younger children struggle with the number of blocks needed to create a program. “The relationship between cause and effect needs to be clearer for this age group,” Bers said. The idea is to reorganize the program so kids can focus on only one thing at a time.

Younger children also have trouble distinguishing between the colors in Scratch, (Scratch Jr will be redone in bright, primary colors), and they struggle with how Scratch moves from top to bottom (Scratch Jr will move from side to side.)

via Introducing Programming to Preschoolers | MindShift.

March 1, 2012 at 7:26 am 5 comments

Should anyone write an iBooks textbook?

This essay is another take on Alfred Thompson’s comment in my blog post on iBooks Author — is it a good thing that iBooks Author makes it possible for anyone to write a textbook?  This essayist is pointing out that a good textbook requires drawing upon principles of instructional design that few people learn.  It may be that few textbook authors know those principles or use them, so the technology isn’t making things worse or better.

The idea that instructors are somehow incapable of violating basic instructional design principles is naive.  What percentage of our nationwide faculty has heard of the split-attention effect, redundancy principle, contiguity principle, cognitive flexibility, or even cognitive load?  Now, instructors are expected to be subject matter experts and instructional designers. The two are not synonymous, and the results can be detrimental to learning. iBooks Author is giving creative license to everyone, with or without instructional design experience.

via Essay: Do Apple’s design tools make it too easy to create textbooks and courses? | Inside Higher Ed.

March 1, 2012 at 7:23 am 4 comments


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