Guest Blog by – Holly Rosen Fink of Outthink, Inc.
Current standardized test scores in math and science make it clear that our kids need better STEM instruction. But as more and more is asked of our kids, they also need support. They need strategies, resources, and individualized attention.
Enter mobile technology. With today’s tablets and smartphones, we can finally tailor instruction so that each child learns at his or her own pace, and give differentiated feedback so that they can master even the most complicated subject matter. And with customized progress reports and diagnostic dashboards for each student, teachers can adjust and intervene accordingly.
Besides changing the way kids learn, today’s technology can integrate fun game mechanics to inspire kids and social networking to connect them meaningfully. Together, these elements give kids a sense of autonomy, mastery, purpose, and connection.
But none of this matters if the instruction isn’t right. A proven methodology grounded in learning science called Generative Instruction focuses on breaking complex concepts into the key components that—when mastered—will lead to creative insight. It has been used successfully with more than 18,000 kids and has taken youngsters from knowing their ABCs to reading on a second-grade level within one summer.
At Outthink Inc. we believe that if we create learning products that encompass all of the above, children will succeed. So we brought together teachers, scientists, gamers, instructional designers, and kids to show what is possible.
Outthink’s first mobile app, Tornado Maker, teaches the basic ingredients of a storm (such as mass, volume, density, buoyancy, air pressure, and wind speed) and equips kids to build and manipulate a tornado right on their tablet. In the following app, Tornado Master, they take on the role of storm scientist and tackle tornado prediction.
Right now, Outthink is running a Kickstarter campaign in order to unite parents and teachers who want to see publishers deliver these kinds of assured learning experiences. Please stand up and join our alliance by supporting us on Kickstarter. Together we can set a new standard for instructional products.