Year after year, we debate numerous reforms to improve our educational system. Yet we are continually hampered by the conventions of our thinking about -- well, everything. We fall into the same old trap of tinkering around the margins and trying to reform an education system with an ever-increasing number of policies, programs, and regulations piled on top of each other. Even the words we use to talk about improving schools -- school reform -- seem worn and out-of-date.
Last summer, during a conference session I was doing in Tennessee, we were discussing those kids who come into schools without book sense -- five-year-olds who, sadly, don't know how to operate a book. A participant spoke up and said, "Jim, I'm a kindergarten teacher, and I'm getting worried about the number of kids coming into my classroom who don't know how scissors work."
As summer approaches, many of us plan to attend educational conferences of all kinds. Some of the best ones are in our own backyards. Others are international in nature, and, because of budget or travel constraints, are available to us only every once in a while.
Several of us have chatted here before about wikis. As an educational-technology person who spends lots of time online, I can tell you it really does take a lot to win me over as far as new technology and its worthiness in education are concerned. Wikis, however, have done just that.
Once upon a time . . . sound familiar? Remind you of a fairy tale? And don't we learn valuable lessons from fairy tales? Of course! The story I am about to share with you is a real-life fairy tale about a Harvard-educated woman who wanted children to learn to speak to each other around the world.
Imagine a high tech, state-of-the-art science lab on wheels, one that provides teachers with tools for coordinating school programs and projects and allows them to share with kids the fun and mystery of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
The nation's governors, who met in Washington, DC, in February, voiced their support for educating our students for a globally competitive world. Here's what the recent National Governors Association newsletter reported.