Dr. Julie M. Wood (left) and Nicole Ponsford (right) are the founders of TechnoTeachers, an international edtech consultancy. Despite living on different sides of the pond, Nicole and Julie's book TechnoTeaching: Taking Practice to the Next Level in a Digital World was published by Harvard Educational Press in summer 2014.
A former faculty member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Dr. Wood consults with companies such as PBS Interactive, Disney, Scholastic, HarperCollins, and WestEd to help create outstanding transmedia products for children. She has also authored a series of children’s books, Learn to Read with Tug the Pup and Friends, illustrated by UK artist Sebastien Braun (HarperCollins).
Based in the UK, Nicole works alongside a range of international online organisations, such as the eSafety scheme eCadets and as a MamaBean. She also writes for a range of publications, including The Guardian and Harvard Family Research Project.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the road and if you don't keep your feet there's no telling where you'll be swept off to. Do you realize that this is the very path that goes through Mirkwood, and if you let it, it might take you to the Lonely Mountains or even further or to worse places?” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (Frodo Baggins about Bilbo)
Smart phones. Web browsers. Social media. Instagram. Keeping children safe has become increasingly difficult in today’s hyper-wired world. While each of these digital tools has earned its place in society, each one poses a particular challenge for young people, especially teens and tweens who spend more time online than their younger peers.
Imagine this scenario. You wear a wristwatch-like device to track the number of miles you walk; you monitor each day’s progress and sync the data to your smart phone and computer. You watch your favourite TV shows on your tablet, whenever you can catch a few minutes. You keep up with your friends near and far using Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
Imagine Mr Jones, an urban schoolteacher who has been teaching eight-and nine-year-olds for the past five years. The few times he has introduced his students to a learning app or digital game, they have nearly levitated off their chairs with excitement. But he couldn’t get past the gee-whiz factor. The feeling that edtech was entertaining, but not germane to his teaching.