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SXSWedu Speakers: Using technology to motivate students

Editor's note: If you’re in the Austin area for SXSWedu, come visit the Google Fiber Space (201 Colorado Street) to attend a range of sessions on innovation in the classroom today, Monday, March 7 and tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8. See the full schedule of sessions at the Google Fiber Space. 

The audience today at SXSWedu has a lofty task in front of them: inspiring and motivating the future generations to innovate, create and make a positive impact on the world. Today, we’re introducing three of the many educational technologists who are hosting sessions at the Google Fiber Space on how technology can help students excel in the classroom and in their future careers.

Jason Carroll, Global Products Manager at Texthelp, will discuss how literacy, accessibility and dyslexia tools help students learn to love reading. Erin Mindell Cannon, Research Education Program Manager at Google, and Abby Bouchon, K12 Education Outreach Specialist at Google, will share tools and resources computer science educators can use to inspire a passion for technology in the classroom. Here’s a brief snapshot of what these speakers will be sharing. If you won’t be at SXSWedu, all presentations will be linked to the schedule after the event.

Technology inspires struggling students to be confident

While children are naturally curious about the world, they often lose this love of learning when they feel frustrated. “The biggest barriers to students achieving academic success is lack of effective strategies to help students when they are struggling,” Carroll says. It can be tricky for teachers to create individual lesson plans when they have classrooms of 30 or more students, all with different learning styles. Tools like Texthelp make it easier for educators to provide personalized learning plans and help students gain confidence.

Reading proficiency is an important building block for academic success, but mastering the skill can be frustrating for students of all levels. Technology can help students improve their reading proficiency fast and practice reading aloud at their own pace. With Texthelp’s Fluency Tutor, for example, students can record themselves reading, practice until they feel confident about their effort and share the recording with their teacher. “My daughter loves using it. She’ll record herself reading a passage then listen to it. If she’s not satisfied with it, she’ll re-record it until she’s happy,” Carroll says.
Student dashboard in Fluency Tutor from Texthelp

Tools like these keep students engaged and allow teachers to measure progress over time, but ”it’s more than just handing over the device,” Carroll says. When you combine hands-on instruction with technology, each student gets personalized attention and encouragement.

Help Struggling Learners Succeed with Texthelp's Read&Write for Google Chrome

Presenter: Jason Carroll, Global Products Manager, Texthelp

When: Monday, March 7th, 9:30 - 10:00 am

Topic: Discover the Future of Reading Supports with Texthelp's Fluency Tutor for Google 
Presenter: Jason Carroll, Global Products Manager, Texthelp

When: Monday, March 7th, 1:15 - 2:00 pm Confidence in the classroom is everything 

Confidence in the classroom is everything

Erin Mindell Cannon and Abby Bouchon, who work with Google to inspire students of all backgrounds to learn computer science, believe educators play a critical role in boosting confidence. Google has published three studies on K-12 CS education and found that a key factor for guiding women to major in computer science (CS) in college is encouragement from parents, educators and peers. On the flip side, students can be discouraged from exploring CS because of the lack of diverse role models. “In another research study, we found that parents and students associate computer scientists with the stereotype of white males who wear glasses,” Bouchon says. Educators can promote a diverse range of role models and make sure the school subject is accessible and engaging for students and teachers from different backgrounds.

Google igniteCS students from Colorado School of Mines' Discover Technology group use binary cards to get middle school students excited about Computer Science

Students can be inspired if they feel that the work they are doing benefits society. “If a student believes she’s capable of creating a new technology that can make a positive impact on the world, that’s a motivator,” Cannon says. Students who understand the practical applications of the technology skills and the positive impact they can have in their community -- such as designing a mobile app that geotags local graffiti and organizes a volunteer event to clean it up -- are more likely to excel in the classroom.

Celebrating Computer Science Educators 

Presenters: Erin Mindell Cannon, Research Education Program Manager at Google, and Abby Bouchon, K-12 Education Outreach Specialist

When: Monday, March 7th, 3:45 - 4:30 pm 

Interested in learning more about how technology motivates students to succeed? Stop by the Google Fiber Space at 201 Colorado Street to check out these sessions and more today, March 7th.

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