I have prepared some posters including educational quotes. I want to share the first part. I’m still working for the second part. If you want to use any of them just drop me an email and I can send you the original with a better resolution.

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Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 23.49.14I guess you find the topic interesting. Instant messaging services require internet connection but with this app you don’t need it anymore. Moreover you don’t need to login or use a special hashtag to see messages of other people about the topic. FireChat enables users to instantly chat or share photos with anyone around (within 9 meters). You can download this free app for iOS devices at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/firechat/id719829352?mt=8 and for Android devices at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.opengarden.firechat Now, the question is what can you do with such an app?

FireChat doesn’t record your history or you can not search your friends or you can not get likes etc. so I can say it is like a scratch paper you use for a specific activity. When you are done, you get rid of it without leaving any trace behind. While writing this article I remembered a similar tool; Todaysmeet. If you follow this link you will find information about it but Todaysmeet requires internet connection so in that sense FireChat can be used in situations where internet connection gets lost. Also it can be used as a feedback tool. Your students can remain anonymous and can share any feedback freely. This activity might end up with inconvenient cases sometimes but giving constructive feedback is an important skill we need to teach our students.

Other places where we can use this app are school events. For instance, let’s consider a debate tournament. Although the audience (your students) remain silent this doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to say or share. They can open FireChat and meet at one single place automatically. After that they can make comments about the ongoing discussions. They don’t need an internet connection and you don’t need to assign a hashtag.

What about field trips? Assume that you go to a museum with your class. You ask your students to try to stay as close as possible and you warn them to be quiet. This way they won’t disturb other people but also it won’t be easy for them to share anything with each other since they can’t talk. If they are all in the range of FireChat they (and you) can send messages through the app. You can send a picture of something you find interesting and invite them to check it out. By the way you can check if your students are nearby or not by asking for a HERE message from each of them at regular intervals :)

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Hi. My name is Ceren Ozbay. I’m currently a student in Bilkent University Graduate School of Education. I’ll get my masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a teaching certificate by the end of 2013-2014 academic year. This program provides a two-week long internship opportunity at American Robert College which is a pioneer high school in Turkey in terms of using technology in lessons. As a student teacher I observed many things and among them the first thing that attracted my attention was the use of interactive white boards.

In Robert College teachers use Smartboard. Based on my first lesson observations, I thought there is no significant difference between interactive white boards and ordinary white boards because some teachers were using Smartboard just to write down their notes onto it (and they use eraser of course). In other words, some teachers were using just the “board” part of the interactive white board. Since this device is called “interactive white board” I thought there should be something beyond being a white board and that was the interactive and smart part.

Some teachers on the other hand use Smartboard in an innovative and effective way. They merge pictures of problems and answers quickly and group, resize, move those grouped objects in Smart Notebook Software. They create interactive materials so that when a student comes on board they don’t simply write down their answers but interact with the content. I saw that teachers can attract students’ attention in the class with these methods. Although this observation might be usual and simple for teachers who use interactive white boards actively in their lesson, it was the first time I encountered such features of them.

I’d like to give an example from Mr. Emre Fırat’s class related to use of interactive white boards. The topic was circular permutation. The question was about seating four people around a circular table. As expected students were confused because they were used to calculate linear permutations. In order to present the tricky part Mr. Fırat drew a circular table and 4 seated people.

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Then he rotated the picture and asked the students to tell him how the order changes. As you see Smartboard helped him and the students by making the learning process easier.

As a teacher candidate I can say that interactive white board will be an important tool in my future classes.

Ceren Ozbay
[email protected]

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Google has launched add-ons for Google Docs which will bring more features to documents and spreadsheets. When you open a Google Doc you’ll see the following;


Click on “Get add-ons” and a whole new world will be in your service. When you install an add-on, it will be installed for all documents and spreadsheets so you don’t need to install for each single document but before talking about this new great update let me give you a quick information about what an add-on is.

As you continue using a tool constantly you begin to customize it to fit your needs. Take a look at your daily things carefully and you will see how you personalized some of those. For example, suppose that you and I bought the same coat and on the same day both of us will take a walk outside. You wear the coat and it is warm enough for you whereas I wear the coat and still feel cold so I wear a scarf. In this example coat is a common tool for both of us and scarf is just an add-on I chose to add to my tool. It made my tool function better for me. According to Wikipedia an add-on is a “plug-in which is a piece of software which enhances another software application and usually cannot be run independently.” What does this mean to us? You will be able to search and add new features to your Docs and Spreadsheets whenever you want to provided that it is in the list of add-ons.

This new update will make our lives easier because in time there will be lots of add-ons which will make document preparation easier both for students and teachers. As a mathematics teacher I always wish for additional features in the documents because what we write on paper is not just English words. They are symbols, formulas, images, etc. and it is not very easy (sometimes impossible) to do this with a keyboard.

I haven’t checked all the add-ons yet but at a first glance I can say EasyBib will be a life saver. With this add-on you can “search for books, journals, and websites and format citations using MLA, APA and Chicago styles, and create your Work Cited page all within your document.” Although the Research tool helps a lot this new add-on will make things easier. You can get more information about EasyBib from here.

Another remarkable add-on is Merge by Mailchimp which helps you to send your Doc or Spreadsheet as an email. You need to identify the emails in a separate spreadsheet though.

The list goes on and it seems that it will get longer and longer so if you don’t want to fall behind you should start digging today.

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Blended Learning has always been a very popular topic in education. After having high-tech devices in the classroom it became more popular than ever. You can find many useful resources about Blended Learning when you make a simple Google search. Online resources about BL include some examples but they are detailed enough for a teacher who wants to implement the idea in his/her teaching methods so the aim of this article is not providing basic information about B.L. but instead giving a detailed example.

My example is from a Pre-Calculus math class. The topic was “Sums of Infinite Geometric Series” which was planned to be introduced right after “Sums of Finite Geometric Series”. The reason I’m sharing the topic is to emphasize that students were already familiar with the idea. This is a small(!) detail you need to be careful about. Although we are dealing with 21st century students sometimes they are resistant to changes in traditional education. They accept and follow the changes only if they feel comfortable and confident. I think this makes sense so if you want to apply BL or any other method in your lessons be sure that your students feel ok with the content.

Another detail I’d like to share before giving details of this lesson is the idea of preparing the students for the future applications, trials and changes. Whenever I apply a new method people think that I plan it in a week and just do it. In reality things don’t work like that. The change in the method also requires change in the behaviour of the students. If you want the new method to be successful you need to create a mind shift in your students as well and this requires time and planning. I met with these students in the beginning of the semester. I didn’t know any of them so I couldn’t apply any new method suddenly. The most important concept I tried to teach them was “becoming a learner” which involves taking responsibility for their own learning. I’d like to talk about this more but let’s get back to the lesson.

The first thing that I did was the change of the learning environment. I took my class to the library. The idea came strange to students because they are not used to go to library for a math class. I chose the library for a couple of reasons. First of all there are additional physical and electronic resources there. Secondly the environment motivates students to study and stay calm and silent. Thirdly I wanted to observe how students behave when they don’t have an instructor right next to them. Besides everything, there exists a traditional classroom in the library. I planned to use that room in case things go sideways. This was my plan B.

I prepared a document which includes instructions for the whole lesson. I shared this document beforehand and asked my students to read it before they come to lesson. When it comes to following instructions these young people easily become bewildered :) and here is the reason via Sarah-Jayne BlakemoreThe mysterious workings of the adolescent brain


My lesson was 80 minutes long. I divided this 80 minute into 4 parts. In the first part I gave them a Google Form in which there were 4 review questions. In each question they got a feedback. You can check the document from here http://goo.gl/T5v3IA By the way I need to say that Google Apps was my main tool to create this lesson.

In the second part where learning new subject happens I gave them four modules. First one is the traditional way of using textbook. I prepared a guide on how to use the textbook, which pages to study, which questions to solve etc. and asked my students to follow that document. The last activity in this module was solving book exercises so I told them to take a picture of their work and upload it to a Google Doc for future evaluation.

In the second module I wanted to use power of Khan Academy videos. I carefully chose the videos and put them in order and of course prepared a guide for students. I observed that even though I mentioned clearly which videos to watch some students started watching wrong videos. Next time I’ll embed the videos in a web page to prevent this mistake. The last activity of this module was answering the exercises in Khan Academy. I had added my students into Khan Academy in the beginning of the semester to monitor their activities and give suggestions.

Third module was a different one. I knew that some of my students are eager to learn more. This module was for them. I asked them to do a research on the topic using library database. To me this is an adventurous way of learning. Your path is not clear and you are not 100% sure about what you are doing although there are instructions for you to follow. You can find really strange and interesting things in this journey or you may get totally lost. For those who chose this module I asked them to prepare a document to make a presentation to the class.

Fourth module was for the activity people. It included activities using materials to model the idea. There were 3 different activities and a task to finish. I can say that this module was the longest to finish.

During the second part some students finished their tasks earlier than others. I asked them to volunteer for being mentors to others and all of them agreed. It was amazing to see their efforts while helping others and I was so impressed to see that struggling students were asking for help instead of chatting and wasting their time.

The third part was designed for a wrap up. Although students finished their tasks with my help (when necessary) they still feel the necessity of solving questions together. This makes them feel comfortable because that is the only way they had been taught for 8 years. This part also included a feedback session. I believe having students’ feedback is crucial. It helps you to improve your techniques and methods and also provides information which you had never thought of. I used the following form. I have modified it according to my lesson. The feedback I got for this lesson was very positive. It appears that my students want to do these kind of activities a lot.

Since in BL you blend traditional methods with new ones you might wonder where the traditional teaching happened in this lesson. Well, it did not. Not in this lesson but the next lesson was a traditional one. I met with my students in the classroom, I gave them some questions about the topic and we worked together. By the way I forgot to mention that I gave them a small quiz in the beginning of the lesson to see what they learned in the previous lesson and the class average in this quiz is 87.5% which is pretty satisfying.

One of my colleagues, Burcu Aybat was with me and she took some notes during the lesson. I believe you’ll find them useful;

1) Setting up the class in the beginning takes too much time.

2) The study area is so wide that teacher has to run from one corner to another.

3) More than half of the students chose the second module.

4) Having print outs helped students who couldn’t reach internet.

5) If a students gets lost he/she is paired with another student.

6) Identifying slow learners before the lesson keeps the teacher on guard.

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In my latest post I shared my first impressions on Google Glass and mentioned that our expectations from wearable technologies are nourished from sci-fi movies. Now it is time to make some comments on how to use it in education but since Google Glass meets only some of our expectations its use in education will also be limited.

What Google Glass does perfectly for now is creating a comfort by making it very easy for us to take pictures and videos. Without using our hands we will be able to take a pictures and videos of what our eyes can see. Google Glass’ camera can take pictures with 5 MP resolution and videos with 720p quality. These values are quite enough for documentation in education unless you are dealing with a special project. Since the camera doesn’t have a flashlight it is hard to take pictures and videos with low light. It could have a flashlight but battery life is already very short so it wouldn’t be practical. I’m pretty sure that very soon there will be additional products in the market like portable small flashlights which can be attached to the glass. Anyways, how would having camera in front of our eyes will help us? The first thing that comes to my mind is the change in preparing videos for flipped classrooms. In this blog I had shared what kind of ways can be followed in preparing videos (you can find them here) but Google Glass was not in the list. Now think about this; you are in a classroom, writing on the board or on a paper and making your explanations. In the mean time Google Glass records everything you see and you speak. You don’t need to use special effects and advanced video techniques to change the scene, attract the attention to a point etc. When you are done, it automatically uploads itself to Youtube and that’s it. There might be problems though. Moving your head too much will result in a blurred view and distraction. Also when you look at a view generated by a projector or a computer screen the camera might record it as if it is blinking or jumping. Nevertheless this is a technical issue and it will be solved in time.

During the lesson you can use Google Glass as a tool for sharing. When you see or hear something worth sharing with everyone else just record it and share it on Google+ easily. This is something you can do with your mobile device but it is much more easier with a camera on your glass.

Sometimes I put a camera at the back of the classroom to record the lesson for students who will be away for 1-2 weeks from school. Although the idea is good it is not enough in most cases. The angle of view of the camera and sound is always a problem but with Google Glass it’s not necessary to try to set up a perfect stage for the show. When you start your lesson start Glass’ video recording and everything you see and hear will be transferred to Youtube for absent students.

You can also arrange a Hangout session with absent students who have the chance to attend class virtually using Google Glass. This way they will not be distracted with cacophony and will be able to hear you clearly and speak to you directly.

What about field trips? Let me share a video about this;

As you see Google Glass makes documentation very easy. Additional to that I believe using handwriting to take notes is becoming obsolete (you might not like the idea but this is slowly happening). By using Google Glass, you can take a picture of anything or you can record it. With the help of different apps you can convert these documents into different formats. If you want to add an additional information you can use your voice unless you are in a meeting. During a meeting you can use your tablet device to take additional notes and insert your Glass documents into those notes easily.

In this article I could only share how to use only one feature (the camera) of Google Glass in education as a teacher. As you see I should write another article on how students can use this camera in their education life as well. And I should continue doing this for every feature Google Glass has and will have in the future… I think I am in trouble :)

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Finally I had the chance to test Google Glass personally. Our school had visitors from a company called Monitise (formerly Pozitron) who brought us three Google Glasses. Before I start sharing my experiences I’d like to send my special thanks to Monitise since they spent a whole day in the school introducing Google Glass to teachers and students although education is not their core business.

Until today I only had an idea of what Google Glass looks like and how it functions. I have read lots of articles regarding use of Google Glass but most of these articles were mainly about future possibilities and written in a futuristic way. Instead of talking about current capabilities of this technology they were focusing on future. So in this article I will try to avoid this and will try to draw a picture of what we have for today. In my next article I will share some ideas on how we can use Google Glass in education. So, let’s start.

When I first took it I felt the unbalanced weight. Since the hardware is located on the right side I thought it won’t feel nice when you wear it. To my surprise it didn’t matter much. The frame was designed in a way where you don’t feel like someone is pulling your right ear down. By the way I was informed that this frame is a new one but there are more options in frame choices.

Starting the Google Glass is easy. You can lift your head up to a certain degree (which you can change its setting later) or you can simply tap on the right side. When they told me to tap it I searched for a button :) but the right side of the G. Glass was a touch pad. With this pad you can swipe left, right and down in the menu. Swiping left and right makes you move on to next item and swiping down works like a back key. Here is the main menu;


It looks very simple right? Well, actually it is. I mean I was expecting a much more complicated home screen but before I continue with the menu let me finish physical appearance. The screen is carefully located so that it does not interfere with your sight. Its location is a little bit above your eyesight so you need to look up to see the screen. This is totally an intentional design. Google doesn’t want to add a virtual layer to what our eyes can see.

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Google Glass screen occupies only a very small proportion of your right eyesight which makes some actions like taking photos easy but some actions like reading websites hard, almost impossible. I believe this is one of the most important principle in the development of this device. In the discussions I see that people assume it works like Terminator or a Robocop screen. The trend might be going to that way or maybe it is an expectation for some people today it’s not the case.

There is a built in microphone and speaker. I won’t give details about technical specs but you might want to get more info on how speaker works because it has a strange technology. The only problem is it doesn’t have a voice recognition feature yet. In a crowded place your Google Glass might suddenly work with another person’s command.

Ok, let’s get back to the menu. I shared the main menu above. You can see a “ok glass” message. This is your trigger to start Google Glass. When you say “ok glass” it acts like a soldier who stands at attention and ready to take orders. After “ok glass” you give a voice command like “take a picture”. The commands are limited. The system doesn’t work like Siri and it is not an advanced artificial intelligence… yet.


Although the voice commands are limited it is obvious that more are coming. By swiping left-right, down and by tapping the right side of the Google Glass you can reach other features such as weather forecast, system status, settings etc. Moreover you can reach applications like facebook or twitter. Google Glass has the Android operating system but the interface is different. This means you can make the Andorid apps work in Google Glass. Of course these apps are not the ones in Google Play Store but you got the idea. You might want to check the following website http://glass-apps.org/google-glass-application-list as an example.

Since our expectations from wearable technologies are nourished from sci-fi movies Google Glass is a little bit far away from fulfilling those but this is a start and I believe a good one. I hope it will be in the market soon and even if Google doesn’t make any improvements I will be one of the first owners because I see a great potential in this device.

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Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 20.49.51

Recently I have attended Technology and Society Conference organized by Technology, Knowledge and Society Community in Madrid on 5-7 February 2014. Although the conference was designed for people in higher education I found the topics very interesting and decided to attend. When I went there I saw that I was the only high school teacher. This frightened me a little bit because I thought the conference would be a waste of time but it was quite the contrary so let me give you some details.

The conference was organized in both traditional and non-traditional ways. This was one of the reasons I wanted to attend. Along with parallel sessions there were talking sessions, garden sessions, poster sessions and focused discussions sessions. If you are planning to organize a conference I suggest you check this page first where you can get more information about these sessions. The presentations were grouped under four different topics; Tech. for Human Use, Tech. in Community, Tech. for Learning and Tech. for Common Knowledge. I chose the ones under Technology For Learning of course.

I attended many sessions. Some of these sessions were unfortunately not very productive and some of them were about things that I am already aware of. The ones that helped me to take away useful ideas are listed below.

  • Plenary session with Rafael Capurro – “IT and Privacy from an Ethical Perspective”

During his speech Mr. Capurro asked some questions and brought some ideas to the audience and wanted us to think about them. Some of these ideas and questions were;

- How can you build a culture of trust in cyber world?

- The person on the other side of the screen may not have a real identity so which is the correct phrase; Who are you? or What are you?

- In cyber world who you are means what your data is.

- Are privacy and secrecy mean same?

- Having a common internet law is hard to construct due to strength of internet itself and cultural differences but there at least can be a common foundation.

He also mentioned the wrong use of words cyber-space and cyber-world. He said in the beginning we had a cyber-space because it was an empty place but today we have (almost literally) a world inside there so using cyber-world makes much more sense.

  • I attended two Talking Circles each of them were 45 minute long. During these talking sessions all the participants introduced themselves and explained why they attended the conference. At first I thought we were wasting our time by introducing ourselves but our chairman used this information to create small discussions by asking how we are experience technology in our schools etc. By the end of the session we saw that we had talked about lots of things in tiny proportions.
  • Focused sessions and parallel sessions;

- A Self-Study Using Technology to Support and Transform Teachers’ Classroom Practice – Rabab Abi-Hanna, Montclair State University, USA

This presentation was about using technology to create a collaborative dialogue among two teachers who intend to refine their classroom experience.

- Teachers’ Role in the Technological Era of the 21st Century – Dr. Tsafi Timor, The Kibbutzim College of Education, Israel

This was about student-teachers’ perceptions about teachers’ role in 21st century. She says in a world of technological changes they tend to incorporate the old and the new methods rather than abandoning old for the sake of new.

- What Are Pre-service Teachers’ Perceptions about Designing STEM/STEAM Unit in Early Childhood Education? – Dr. Wei-Ying Hsiao, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA

This was also about a study on student-teachers’ perceptions. Contrary to previous item student-teachers believe that these new methods are very productive and efficient and they would prefer to apply it if possible.

- Social Media and the Transformation of Brand Communication in #highereducation – Adam Peruta, Ithaca College, USA

This presentation was about how higher education brands communicate via social media. During the presentation I saw that active social media pages bring lots of opportunity to the institutions. It widens the communication among all members of the system and contributes to becoming a brand in the field.

- Open Educational Resources Workshop: UNESCO/Commonwealth of Learning – Prof. Rory McGreal, UNESCO Chair Programme, Canada

I believe this one was the most important presentation. It was about Open Educational Recources and Prof.McGreal convinced me about using OERs instead of copyrighted materials.

- Computer Instruction: A Place in Piaget’s and Vgotsky’s Worlds? – Dr. Tami James Moore, University of Nebraska, USA

This presentation attracted quite attention. As educators we always wonder what Piaget or Vgotsky would say about recent technological changes and their impact on education. Mrs.Moore from University of Nebraska searched for an answer by following the theories of Piaget and Vgotsky. Although it was not possible to come up with a certain idea discussing and digging for a clue in the theories was exciting. Her conclusion was Vgotsky would probably be more supportive whereas Piaget would probably not denounce it, however, be spinning out research about effective computer education design.

I tried to keep this article as short as possible and tried to give you a brief information about the conference. I gave you the names of the presenters so that if you are interested in any of the topics and want to get more information you can find their contact info via Google.

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How My 2-year Old Son Uses an iPad / Android Device?

- In this article I’ll use the word “touch screen” instead of iPad or Android device.

There are lots of discussions going on among teachers about how touch screens revolutionized the way we live and the way we teach. We also discuss how these devices affected our students’ and our children’s lives. In this blog I had shared some of my teaching experiences with you and this time I’d like to share my experiences as a father.

babyipadI see lots of kids (even newborns) around me who play with touch screens as if they are professional gamers. I find this quite interesting because I also see many parents who complain about their kids’ addiction to these devices. I know that addiction is a very strong word but usually when parents use this word they don’t mean clinical cases. I don’t intend to give any advice about clinical situations since I’m not an expert. Instead I’ll try to share how me and my wife have designed our kid’s interaction with these devices so that they won’t bring any harm to his development. But before doing that let me share a video you can find in Youtube.

This video actually summarizes the idea but let me give you a list of ideas and thoughts on this subject. By the way you might find my words a little bit rude or maybe didactic but I can assure you that that’s not my intention. This is a very delicate topic for me so sometimes I find it hard to express myself.

1) Since touch screens are very new there is no significant data about their effects on child development. This means none of the ideas (including the ones here) can be considered as solid scientific facts. We have to find a way to analyze the few information we have. This task requires a lot of observation and interviews with other parents whose kids are older than ours.

2) As teachers we need to go through the learning-teaching theories, child development theories etc. we had learnt in university. (If you are not a teacher and haven’t studied these theories you may try to find resources from a bookstore.)

3) Every child’s development is different than others so comparison of two kids is the most dangerous and harmful thing we can do to our kids. Some people claim that touch screens help their kid’s development in a positive way. They simply compare the kids and try show a proof for their claim by asking their kid to do something unexpected in that age. They miss the point that the reason their kid can do it might not be related to touch screen. Maybe he/she is having a faster development in that area compared to others. We can not know that.

4) Thanks to studies on child development we know what our kids should be able to do by the age of 1,1 and a half, 2, … In every parental book you can find a list showing what your kid can or can’t do at that age. But every one of these books warn the parents that time intervals for skills are different according to every child. These lists can help parents to choose proper apps for their kids. If a kid is in a language development phase then an app which focuses on vocabulary skills might ease the kid’s job. This also means that if a kid is in a physical development phase then you should get rid of touch screens and go to a park. By the way development doesn’t happen in a sequential order but sometimes one item becomes more important than others and I call this situation a particular development phase.

5) “Never leave your kids with touch screens alone.” This may sound like an annoying order but this is our motto. Whenever my son starts playing with a touch screen his mother or I stay with him and interact as much as possible. Basically we don’t let him isolate himself from the environment. Also we don’t let him control the device. All control is on us. We open Guided Access so that he cannot quit or change app.

6) The most important thing about touch screens is that they have an interactive content (mostly). This is the feature that makes them so desirable. This feature also brings the opportunity of learning in high motivation. That’s basically what happens when kids start using them. In that sense, parents can use touch screens as enriched teaching materials as long as they observe their kids carefully and follow development phases correctly. Let me give you an example. My son likes peekaboo activities very much. Playing peekaboo games is very important not just because he is having fun and he is happy, it is because his object permanence skills are developing. In order to support this phase I have downloaded only two peekaboo games. Actually one of them is a flashcard game. There are 9 reversed cards on the screen and he has to find the matches. The reason I don’t use real cards is this app can present more data to the senses of my kid. When he turns a card by tapping on it the image starts animating and makes real sounds. Although this can not happen with physical cards we don’t fully eliminate them. We play this game using real cards as well, especially when we go out. In the second app there is a barn and it’s door is closed. My son hears the sound of an animal and when he touches the screen the door opens and the animal appears. In the meantime we hear another kid’s voice saying the name of the animal. While playing this app we imitate the sounds and act like that animal which makes our son laugh a lot. Besides digital activities we also play peekaboo games with real life objects. For example I bring two cups to the table and hide a dried nut under one. After shuffling I ask my son to find the toy. He really enjoys this game because at the end there is a tasty reward.

7) I believe that using a touch screen to calm down a child (in a restaurant, at home, while chatting with other people etc.) is one of the biggest mistake a parent can do. If our son becomes restless then we try to understand the reason. Is he hungry? Is he having a pain? Or is he just bored? When we understand the reason we solve this problem without using an electronic device. By the way in the above video they mention that being able to calm down is a skill that kids should develop themselves but if you do it with a touch screen every single time then they can’t develop this skill.

8) My son doesn’t know how to make drawings on a touch screen. I hear many people saying that there are amazing drawing apps. I ask them what kind of tools these apps use which do not exist in real life. Well, the answer is none. Drawing apps for kids do not have special tools but even if they have it why do we offer a touch screen instead of paper and crayons? Because it gets messy? Drawing and painting activities play a major role in a child’s development. Here is an excerpt from babycenter.com “Drawing with a crayon involves fine motor skills such as grasping and holding, for instance, as well as boosting your child’s visual acumen and tapping her imagination.” You can read the whole article from here.

9) This item will be a little bit fuzzy and maybe not logical but I have to share this. We all know that excessive practice of any sports activity harms the muscles and the body. The same thing happens with our brain. Exhaustion from overwork sometimes happens to all of us. Also we see or hear people who lose their mind health due to many reasons so we have to be careful about keeping our mind healthy. In the sixth item I mentioned that touch screen devices have an interactive content. With a proper guidance these interactive apps can help kids develop some skills which they should have at a later age. The question in my mind is; aren’t we forcing our kids’ brain a little bit too much? Since kids have an enormous energy we don’t easily observe exhaustion but we observe addictive behaviours instead. Some kids can not leave their devices and these kids have something in common; they are very good at on a particular app or skill which their peers are not.

Bottom line is; I’m not against giving these devices to kids. I’m saying that parents should utilize these devices consciously so that they will not harm their kids’ development. Also I’d like to add that I’m totally against the following product “apptivity chair” produced by Fisher Price. I’m planning to write an article for it later.





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About IQ, EQ and ITQ

January 10, 2014 | Fundamentals  |  1 Comment


Although there is not a single definition for intelligence we all have a sense of it. We all know that intelligence is related to learning and it has been divided into categories and can be assessed by means of different tools.

Determining a person’s Intelligence Quotient – IQ is one of them. IQ is a score you can get from a standardized test. Although it sounds a very simple process creating that test is not a piece of cake. It is a very complicated process and there are many different psychological theories behind it. I’m not going to argue about if IQ tests are effective to measure a person’s intelligence or not. Recently I talked to some of my friends and they told me that they don’t know the theories behind this measurement but they expect a student with the highest IQ grade to be the most successful student (academically). They basically think that if your math is bad then so is your IQ level but this doesn’t mean that you are not intelligent.

There is another tool to measure intelligence; Emotional Quotient – EQ. This tool measures your emotional intelligence. It has complicated theories behind it of course and there are many arguments which support or rise up against the theory. High emotional intelligence means interpreting, understanding and acting upon emotions. Dealing with social or emotional conflicts, expressing feelings, and dealing with emotional situations are the key skills a person with high EQ can develop. As you see IQ and EQ are two very important concepts in our lives. We work hard to improve our kids’ and our students’ IQ and EQ scores.

Head Filled with CircuitryBut nowadays IQ and EQ are not enough to define a new type of intelligence; Information Technology Intelligence. So I say it is time to define a new term IT Quotient – ITQ. I am not a psychologist so I don’t have the necessary skills to create a new theory but I am a teacher and I can observation my students while they are on a task which requires use of technology. By the way I don’t know if this term has already been created and being used because I didn’t make any research about it. The only reason I decided to write this article is my class observations. When I assign a task, which requires using laptops, my students come up with some problems. These problems can be classified in two parts.

In the first part there are technical problems. Some of these problems happen due to lack of technical information, some of them are due to having high level of technical information. Some of them are related to bugs in specific softwares etc. Whenever a student lives a problem with his/her laptop another student runs for a help. I have realized that these helpful students are very eager to learn technology related stuff. Their interest in technology is not based on consuming. They enjoy fixing, manipulating, editing, creating, redefining… and moreover while they are doing that they learn very fast.

The academic and emotional background of these students is very different from each other. There are boys and girls, there are math students and art students etc. It is hard to find a common intelligence type among them. They don’t form a stereotype. This fact guided me to use a new term for these students.

In the second part of the problems there are behavioural issues towards technology. In different ways when I ask my students to grade how well do they feel using technology in the classroom I see interesting but common results. Approximately 20% is very negative. While all adults think that our kids can not live without technology the fact is there are kids who don’t like or let’s say who don’t use technology very often. Approximately 50% feel alright and the rest is highly satisfied and enjoy it. I again look at the profiles of the students in each group and it is very hard to find common points. So what type of intelligence drives students to these behaviours? IQ? EQ? or ITQ?

Some part of my observations are based on daily usage of technology. I don’t mean the amount of time students spend with their high tech devices. I mean how they use it to leverage their studies, organize their lives, be more creative and so on. I see that some students use WhatsApp to create a study group whereas some use it to chat about latest TV shows only. When I tell my students to open their laptops and check for a document I find some of them checking something else in internet. This is not a proper use of technology but the problem is they can’t stop themselves. Someone has to keep an eye on them and interestingly that’s what they ask for. When I talk to these students they say technology is a distraction for them. These students have problems in implementing technology in their lives wisely. Others need to be guided as well but they learn quickly. Some of them on the other hand are natural born technology users. They are aware of the effects of misusage of technology. They somehow know when and how they should use technology to entertain themselves or study for a lesson.

Now, would it be wrong to say that determining how to use technology is related to ITQ?



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