The film Won't Back Down is scheduled to open in wide release on September 28. Yet, weeks in advance of this date, there has been a veritable deluge of extremely strong emotional and critical responses. Both the film and the responses deserve our attention, because they are each symptomatic of the polarization that is plaguing both public education and national politics in this country. Every teacher and parent should see the film, but should also be fully prepared to view it critically.
Though I've long been intrigued by the idea of design thinking, it was the recent launch of a "Design Thinking for Educators" workshop here at Edutopia that compelled me to learn more about it. What I found is that design thinking can be a powerful tool for problem-solving in any discipline -- and what's more, it's hands-on, creative, collaborative, optimistic, and fun.
According to a study by the National School Supply & Equipment Association, teachers spend an average of $356 out-of-pocket on school supplies and resources (NSSEA, 2011).
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce these costs. If you're in need of supplies and the school year is either looming or already begun, here are some ways you can save money while supplying your learning environment with the (stunningly wide) variety of items that are needed over the course of a semester or school year.
We exist in a world where almost everything in real time is streaming online -- from concerts and sporting events to breaking world news eight time zones away. Technology has truly made the world a smaller place. Yet schools are slow to catch the technologies available for streaming, due to shrinking budgets, personnel cutbacks and training voids.
I was a college student the first time I remember hearing about Juneteenth, the annual holiday established to commemorate and celebrate the emancipation of the last African chattel slaves in the United States in the state of Texas.
Teachers who love hands-on learning and the DIY movement are a match made in heaven -- and nowhere is this better represented than the Maker Faire. I'm lucky enough to have participated in this event three times, as both a visitor and a maker, and it's still challenging to describe this celebration of people-powered technology, art, science and ingenuity, where you are as likely to encounter fire-breathing robots as you are fluffy electric cupcake cars. Since 2006, Maker Faires have been held annually in the San Francisco Bay Area, and there have been Maker Faires in Austin, Detroit and New York, with community-organized Mini Maker Faires sprouting up around the country. And the 7th annual Bay Area Maker Faire is this weekend, May 19th and 20th -- get tickets now!
Whether you can experience a Maker Faire in person or not, you can certainly take inspiration from the boundless enthusiasm and creative risk-taking of everyone who participates -- and don't forget to be a maker yourself. Here are some videos to inspire you.
Technology executive Blake Lewin could be sending his sons to a high school within walking distance of their home in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Instead, they're up at 5:30 each morning -- without complaining -- for the 20-mile commute to the Center for Design and Technology.