Back in 2011, I wrote a post about the "New Digital Divide." Based on Pew Research data from 2011, it was apparent that, while many previously marginalized populations now had more access to the Internet, these populations were accessing the Internet mostly through mobile devices, which are limiting, especially when trying to build and create online or access job applications or opportunities. Just this past week, Pew released a new study called How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms. It explores how teachers use the Internet for their own professional learning, with their students and for communicating with families.
Although House of Cards on Netflix, the fictional Elmer Gantry and the preposterous Watergate cover-up all provide ammunition to those who view rhetoric pejoratively, rhetoric should be studied as a powerful tool for good. Winston Churchill composing speeches from bed comes to mind, as does the Gettysburg Address, a marvel of brevity more poignant than Winter Aconite, a speech that redefined the Civil War as a national fight for equality. The Gettysburg Address, composed by that hipster Abraham Lincoln, has never been more relevant, especially to the framers of the Common Core Curriculum Standards who appropriated Lincoln's address because of its literary rhetorical characteristics.
We hear so many negative things about public education in America -- most notably, that our schools are failing. And the reasons often cited involve educator shortcomings, for example, that colleges of education are doing a terrible job of preparing new teachers, or that the students in those colleges are not the high quality individuals we want teaching our children. We also hear that teachers unions care only about adult interests and that as a general rule the professional development teachers receive is a waste of resources.
I have a 45-minute commute to Knapp Elementary School each morning. Aside from sipping on my coffee, I'll tune into Philly sports radio, some Mumford & Sons or maybe even some local news. However, in December, my commute took a more reflective turn when I discovered an edu-podcast called #EdChat Radio that is now helping me think deeper in a quiet space away from the presence of students, teachers, parents and community members. As an educator and learner, making time to reflect on where your learning community is hitting or missing the mark is invaluable.
As full implementation of Common Core State Standards nears, educators are searching for answers to three questions: 1) What are the CC State Standards? 2) How will they change what I do? and 3) Why are they here? Some of the details are frustratingly elusive as various groups -- publishers, school districts, states, and universities -- jockey for positions in the first post-NCLB initiative.
The 21st century requires a new kind of learner -- not someone who can simply churn out answers by rote, but a student who can think expansively and solve problems resourcefully. As a scientist and inventor, a longtime professor at Yale University, and a woman who has always been passionate about getting kids excited about science, I believe that the key to this goal is to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. These disciplines are rooted in the kind of thinking that is now critical. One of the most important aspects of this shift is to fix the false presumption that girls are not as good as boys in science and math.
Innovate 2013, hosted by Graded School in São Paulo, ended last Sunday, and now hundreds of freshly-charged innovators are heading back to their schools from as close as Sampa itself to as far away as Mumbai. Reactions to the conference were overwhelmingly positive and the sessions I attended were first class.
Following the previous post about teaching programming languages to kids, here are five more strategies which we are using in our trials at feynlabs. Our goal is to maintain young people's interest in learning programming so that the participants will acquire enough depth to take independent steps beyond what they learn. As usual, I welcome comments and feedback
Today, there is a grassroots movement for teaching programming languages to kids.
Some of the factors driving this movement include new devices like the Raspberry Pi1, initiatives like Khan Academy2, and a greater global emphasis on math and science education. For policy makers, the stakes are high because computing skills are now seen as an indicator for a nation's economic competitiveness.