Article: Raising 21st century learners using STEAM in Boston & Giveaway

Article: Raising 21st century learners using STEAM in Boston & Giveaway

 

Helping our children be 21st century learners is no easy task as a parent. I know for me, so much has changed since I was in school. My older son has a #STEAM themed curriculum at school where they try to infuse as much as they can into everyday learning. This can be anything from using manipulative to school to using Ozobots or Lego’s to allow them to code and create without realizing they are learning!   I like this because I hope it will help my son to become more flexible and collaborative as he gets older since the key learning skills are currently being built at an early age.  I also like to try to carry over these skills at home!

Legos and robotics

Beyond the classroom

In some classrooms before the advent of #STEAM students would watch a video or passively hear a lesson taught. As time has evolved, instead of just hearing the lesson the students are learning multiple ways to tackle the problem and solve it. This can lead to some challenges for kids at times, who may become overwhelmed with all of the ways to solve the problem without truly understanding the core concept or skill. Children with special needs also may struggle with the new concepts of #STEAM learning because being presented so many different ways to solve a problem can at the very least be overwhelming. One of the great things about STEAM learning is that the classes provide hands on engagement to solve real world problems – instead of just having to do a math page or read a chapter from a history book. One of the other great benefits is that children work together collaboratively to solve a problem or challenge rather than struggling to complete it on their own. This encourages team work, collaboration and reasoning which are all great skills to apply later in life.

Snapology is a company that wants to help children with STEAM and problem solving skills using their creative thinking and imagination. As part of their program offerings, they offer camps, field trips, birthday parties for kids three and over, scout adventures and more. Topics range from game design, building, coding, animation and more. Perhaps my son will learn how to code an iOS app to help me in the future!

teamwork and collaboration

Building and creating

As a parent, I am always thinking of ways that I can help to enrich my children outside of school. We regularly try to help our kids get hands on learning beyond the textbook or classroom. That means, I’m working on helping him learn more about STEAM via the use of our iPad, doing some simple programming and helping him experiment to solve problems  We also pull out our Lego’s and create and build as well.  We have even experimented a little bit with Scratch programming which is a visual programming language designed to give kids their first experience with coding.  :Looking for more great tech enabled STEAM ideas?  Check out our STEAM and STEM gift guide which has some great suggestions!

This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal.  Thank you so much for supplying a Lego set for our readers!

Giveaway

Want a chance to win a  LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot Sebastian Gator?  You can enter via a comment on this post.  The comment must say where you are from and why you want to win the prize.    Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is to those that live in the United States and have a valid United States mailing address.  A valid legal name and address are required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

 

 

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 Boys Only Reading Comprehension by Reinvent Recess Digital, LLC – Review

Boys Only Reading Comprehension by Reinvent Recess Digital, LLC – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

great boy themed reading content that has questions where kids demonstrate comprehension and mastery along with a scorecard

What we’d love to see…

more chapters for kids to read, my son loved the sports ones and kept asking for more

Summary

Overall, this is a great reading app that has a lot of potential for kids who may struggle with reading.  For my son one of the biggest challenges to reading is finding a topic that he likes along with being able to understand it.  He is now able to do both with this app!

Our Rating

Boys Only Reading ComprehensionBoys Only Reading Comprehension by Reinvent Recess Digital is a universal app for iOS that features 15 chapters or passages for kids to read and then take a short test on to determine if they comprehended what they read.  The multi-user app has topics which range from sports, to science and history with both fiction and non-fiction choices.  Upon opening the app and adding the admin and first user, the child can pick ten chapters to read which will be sent to their scorecard.  Users are tested on a summary of the text, identifying items in sequence via  timeline of events (first, second, third), finding an unknown word, problem/solution.

Getting my son to understand what he is reading has always been a challenge for me.  He loves anything sports related so when I had him test the app he picked out all of the sports related chapters along with a few others.  I then had him sit down and read a story to see what he did.  He used an iPad for reading the story and doing the questions.  One of the first comments he made was that the stories were “real” and that he could actually identify with some of them.  As he carefully read the passages – he got better at this as time went on he started getting more of the questions right.  As part of his daily homework, my son can read for 15 minutes and then have a discussion about what he has read.  We used the app multiple times for him to read and then take the test to demonstrate what he learned.  After completing the passage, you are given real time feedback on any answers that were right or wrong and if they were wrong what the correct answer was.  Using a timeline was one of the most challenging things for my son, because although he remembered the events in the story at times it was hard for him to sequence them.  Using the app definitely helped him with that as well as helping him to really take the time to understand what he was reading.  At times when he struggled we also worked on having him tell me the story then going back to answer the questions.

iPad Screenshot 2

As a mom, I really liked that the app encouraged my son to read and comprehend what he was reading.  I also liked that the questions were multiple choice so my son could pick from a field of correct answers similar to tests he takes at school.  The topics were very relevant and interesting to him especially the sports related ones – and had him wanting to use the app for homework — which I call a huge win! I also liked that some passages were shorter or longer – this helped me with having my son pick and choose which one to complete based on the time we had available.  Currently longer passages are marked with a * so you know ahead of time they are longer.  I also liked that my son could go back to the passage to verify what he had read before submitting the answers to the questions.  This gave him a “double check” that helped him feel more confident in his answers.  I also really liked that the scorecard was emailed to me so we could identify areas that we might need to focus more on – and I could share it with his teacher to demonstrate that he was doing reading homework nightly.

iPad Screenshot 4

In terms of improvements, I would like to see more than 15 chapters or passages contained within the app.  At this point, my son has used it quite a bit and has “memorized” some of the stories since we have done them over and over again.  I would like to see some additional passages so we could use it on a more routine basis for reading homework.

Overall, this is a great reading app that has a lot of potential for kids who may struggle with reading.  For my son one of the biggest challenges to reading is finding a topic that he likes along with being able to understand it.  He is now able to do both with this app!

Boys only reading comprehension

Boys Only Reading Comprehension
Boys Only Reading Comprehension
by Reinvent Recess Digital, LLC

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 8.44 MB

$2.99USD

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 MightySat™ Fingertip Pulse Oximeter by Masimo Corporation – Review

MightySat™ Fingertip Pulse Oximeter by Masimo Corporation – Review



Section Image

 

What we love…

easy to use pulse oximeter that allows you access to a variety of measures which help to ensure you are on track with your breathing before going out and being active.  The MightySat™ in conjunction with a wearable fitness tracker can help you understand where your breathing is and track trend over time.

Summary

Overall, I love how easy it is to track over time using the MightySat™ Fingertip Pulse Oximeter to see trends and see when I can push my body harder.  It has fantastic battery life – I have yet to change the batteries and I use it a few times a week.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

The MightySat™ Fingertip Pulse Oximeter by Masimo Corporation is a Bluetooth enabled pulse Oximeter which uses hospital grade technology to measure Oxygen Saturation, Pulse Rate, Perfusion Index, Respiration Rate, and Pleth Variability Index.  It is measured by placing the pulse Oximeter on your fingertip and within seconds the information begins to pop up.  It can be used with a companion iOS or Android app, or standalone.

Below is a description from Masimo about each of the types of measurements done by the device which are obtained in moments after placing it on your finger.  You can pair your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth so you can track trend over time, or you can simply use the Pulse Ox standalone.  There is no setup other than downloading the app to your device.  It also supports multiple profiles and can be used on those that weigh over 66 lbs.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Measurements:

Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) – the oxygen level in the arterial blood to indicate changes due to heart or lung function, oxygen use by your body, or altitude

Pulse Rate (PR) – the number of pulses per minute to indicate overall fitness as well as exertion levels at a particular moment in time

Perfusion Index (PI) – the strength of blood flow to your finger to indicate changes in blood circulation

Respiration Rate (RRp) – the number of breaths you are taking each minute to indicate how well your heart and lungs are functioning as well as how quickly you can recover after exercise.

Pleth Variability Index (PVI) – the variation in perfusion index over your breathing cycle. Changes in PVI may indicate changes in hydration, breathing effort, perfusion, or other factors. ¹ ² ³ *

One of my favorite features of the device is the ability to pair it with your device and see trend over time.  It’s important for me to make sure I take my medications before exercising and to stay on point without overdoing it.  I am also admittedly a data person and I enjoy looking at my trend over time when exercising to see how my numbers compare from the Pulse Ox to my level of activity and performance.  It helps me know when I can push harder, or when I might need to take a break from exercise.  Combined with a wearable fitness tracker, MightySat™ Fingertip Pulse Oximeter provides a more comprehensive overview of you in the moment as well as helping make decisions on how hard you can push your body.

Overall, I love how easy it is to track over time using the MightySat™ Fingertip Pulse Oximeter to see trends and see when I can push my body harder.  It has fantastic battery life – I have yet to change the batteries and I use it a few times a week.

RRP $299 and available from a variety of retailers including Masimo MightySat Fingertip Pulse Oximeter (Bluetooth + Pleth Variability Index + Respiration Rate)“>Amazon.

Masimo Personal Health

Masimo Personal Health
Masimo Personal Health
by Masimo Corporation

Category: Health & Fitness
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 67.62 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
Article: Character and Kids in a Digital Media World

Article: Character and Kids in a Digital Media World

 

digital_character

Build Character Strengths with Quality Media

How to support kids’ character and life-skills development through media — and parenting. By Caroline Knorr

How to support kids’ character and life-skills development through media — and parenting.

Every parent wants to raise kids with strong character. Grateful, humble, compassionate, brave: We know these strengths lead to improved well-being, better relationships, and sound communities.

Still, figuring out which characteristics to teach, how to reinforce them, and even whose job it is to do it (parent, teacher, coach?) is a thorny issue. And when kids are spending several hours a day glued to a screen — possibly on a personal device with earbuds in — it can be difficult to find opportunities to reinforce character lessons. Here’s the good news: Media — from video games to TV shows to movies — can help teach character. But it doesn’t just happen. Parents have to make it happen by choosing quality media, focusing on character-building ideas, and talking about the messages.

You’re probably already doing some of this, by watching TV with your kid and asking why a character made certain choices; playing a video game and helping your kid learn to take turns and be a good sport; and discussing responsible online behavior.

You’re on the right track. The days of simply restricting kids’ media use for fear that it hinders character growth are over. With kids using media for everything from playtime to learning to creating to communicating, it’s essential that parents use these opportunities to strengthen kids’ social-emotional development.

Why It Matters

In today’s digital world, many parents worry about the loss of character as more kids spend time alone on a computer or communicating through a screen. But research shows that kids can and do learn from media — what matters is which messages they’re absorbing and how those messages get reinforced.

Whether it’s from a preschool show about sharing or a teen video game about war, lessons about character can positively affect kids’ behavior and self-esteem. Most importantly, parents who are involved in their kids’ media lives — parents who co-view, co-play, and talk about TV shows, movies, books, and games — reinforce their own values as well as the media’s pro-social messages.

Character-Trait and Life-Skills Media Advice by Age

As former FCC commissioner Nicholas Johnson put it, “All television is educational television. The question is, what is it teaching?” You can apply this question to all media. By choosing shows, movies, apps, games, and books geared toward your kid’s age and developmental stage, you can better support character lessons.

Tips for Parents of Little Kids
Tips for Parents of Big Kids
Tips for Parents of Tweens and Teens

Character Traits, Life Skills, and Media Picks That Support Them


Tips for Parents of Little Kids
Watch, play, read, and talk. Simply enjoying a show, a book, or a game together and discussing a character’s behavior and actions helps kids better understand the internal motivation behind character traits. At this age, kids will soak up whatever they see and hear, so look for media with positive role models, messages about sharing and being a good friend, and managing feelings. These tips can help:

Books, TV, Movies

  • Keep things simple. Stories with one main idea that’s supported by the action are most effective for preschoolers. Look for short TV shows that stick to pro-social messages. Little kids often think that it’s the threat of punishment that makes a protagonist behave a certain way. Help them understand that it’s important to do the right thing even when, for example, you won’t get caught.
  • Don’t expect young kids to understand the moral of the story. Folktales and fables are fun, but their messages don’t necessarily get through to preschoolers (especially when the characters aren’t human). No need to push it if the moral is lost on your kid.
  • Look for characters and situations your kid can relate to. Kids who see themselves in a protagonist are more likely to understand and copy their pro-social behavior. A show about the importance of honesty, for example, will go over better if your kid has something in common with the character — say, a new baby sister or a dislike of broccoli.

Interactive, Digital Media

  • Model digital citizenship. Put your phone away when you’re not using it — and explain that you don’t want your phone to get in the way of your time with your kids. When you go online, explain to your kids exactly what you’re doing. Tell them that you’re respectful of people you’re talking to and texting with. (Get more screen-time tips.)
  • Set limits around screen time. Establish rules about when kids can play with your phone to help develop self-control.

Tips for Parents of Big Kids
Help kids translate positive media messages to their own behavior. Co-viewing, co-playing, and modeling good digital citizenship continue to be important. Once kids can read, write, and go online independently, character lessons can extend to how you expect your kids to act in the online world. These tips can help:

Books, Movies, TV

  • Simple is still better. This age group still has some difficulty understanding character lessons in complex stories. They need to see the basic cause-and-effect sequence of how a character’s motives are connected to actions and consequences.
  • Fables can wait. Children are typically unable to extract lessons from fables until fourth grade. Younger children tend to retell specific parts of the story instead of absorbing a more general principle. Enjoy them if you want to — just don’t expect kids to learn the morality message.

Interactive, Digital Media

  • Teach digital citizenship. Explain your rules about responsible online behavior.
  • Choose cooperative games. Find games that depend on players working together to solve a problem.
  • Failing is OK. Look for apps that reward you for trying and trying again.
  • Think outside the box. Introduce games and apps that emphasize creativity and curiosity vs. those that are simply goal-oriented.

Tips for Parents of Tweens and Teens
At this age, kids can make clearer distinctions between right and wrong. As digital savvy increases, tweens and teens appreciate what they have — and the responsibility that they have to make the digital world a positive environment. These tips can help:

Books, Movies, TV

  • Seek out complexity. Tweens are emotionally and mentally mature enough to understand others’ perspectives and to engage in abstract reasoning. At this age, you can discuss how a character acts when he’s conflicted.
  • Stay involved. The ability to summarize the gist or main theme of a story develops late, often not until age 14. Tweens and teens still need parents to guide them through the intended moral takeaway.
  • Don’t be obvious. Tweens and teens often reject moralistic messages to protect their sense of freedom and/or reassert their independence. Offer titles in which there’s a moral dilemma and no clear-cut choice. When older kids interpret books, movies, or shows as agenda-less, absorbing, and relevant, they are most likely to really get the moral lessons they model. Instead of pointing out the lesson, ask them what they think and engage them in critical thinking.

Interactive, Digital Media

  • Discuss online ethics. Talk about the importance of staying true to yourself even in seemingly consequence-free situations. It’s easy to cheat or copy work, for example, but that damages your integrity.
  • Teach kids to be upstanders. Help them develop compassion and empathy by talking about the importance of standing up for people who are victimized online or in person.
  • Talk about anonymity. At this age, kids may not yet understand how their seemingly anonymous behavior can have a real effect on real people. Help them develop a sense of empathy with their online relationships.
  • Stress respectful communication. Kindness is only part of it. Explain how to comment constructively and contribute productively on social media.
  • Help them protect their and others’ privacy. Discuss what should remain private and what’s OK to put out there.
  • Put “likes” in perspective. It’s not necessarily a bad thing when kids compete for followers on Instagram or other social media. But help tweens and teens realize that their self-worth isn’t determined by how many likes they get — and that a little humility is a positive virtue.
  • Remind them of the value of their devices. However it works for you — whether it’s having your kid contribute money or chores or making them pay outright for downloads — it’s important for kids to develop gratitude by understanding that these things are a privilege.
  • Encourage your kid’s school to teach digital literacy. So much of what happens at school is mirrored in the online world. It benefits the entire community when kids learn to be responsible digital citizens.

Character Traits, Life Skills, and Media Picks That Support Them

Common Sense Media worked with researchers and educators to identify and define 11 key characteristics that embody life skills, moral choices, and personal virtues. We then mapped each trait to movies and TV shows so you can easily find shows and use our reviews to start conversations.

Communication
Listening attentively and appreciatively, expressing yourself clearly and sensitively, and honoring differences.
Movies That Promote Communication
TV That Promotes Communication

Compassion
Caring about others and behaving toward others with affection, generosity, and concern.
Movies That Inspire Compassion
TV That Inspires Compassion

Courage
Taking on challenges even when there’s risk. Speaking up for what’s right even if there’s opposition; acting on your convictions.
Movies That Inspire Courage
TV That Inspires Courage

Curiosity
Having a strong desire to learn or know something — a search for information for its own sake. Actively seeking out challenges and new experiences.
Movies That Inspire Curiosity
TV That Inspires Curiosity

Empathy
Understanding the feelings and perspective of another person; putting yourself “in their shoes.”
Movies That Inspire Empathy
TV That Inspires Empathy

Gratitude
Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen in your life and taking the time to express appreciation and return kindness.
Movies That Inspire Gratitude
TV That Inspires Gratitude

Humility
Not regarding yourself as more special or better than others.
Movies That Promote Humility
TV That Promotes Humility

Integrity
Speaking the truth. Acting in a sincere way. Treating people equally and taking responsibility for your feelings and actions.
Movies That Inspire Integrity
TV That Inspires Integrity

Perseverance
Persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles. Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
Movies That Promote Perseverance
TV That Promotes Perseverance

Self-Control
Being able to appropriately manage your thoughts, feelings, and impulses. Requires paying attention to your emotions and feelings.
Movies That Promote Self-Control
TV That Promotes Self-Control

Teamwork
Working respectfully and effectively with a group and doing your share.
Movies That Promote Teamwork
TV That Promotes Teamwork

About the Author: Caroline Knorr

As Common Sense Media’s parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids’ media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you’re wondering “what’s the right age for…?” Caroline can help you make the decision that works best for your family. She has more than 20 years of editorial and creative marketing writing experience and has held senior-level positions at Walmart.com, Walmart stores, Cnet, and Bay Area Parent magazine. She specializes in translating complex information into bite-sized chunks to help families make informed choices about what their kids watch, play, read, and do. And she’s the proud mom of a teenage son whose media passions include Star Wars, StarCraft,graphic novels, and the radio program This American Life.

 

Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsensemedia.org.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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