The death of blogging has been predicted for many years. Blogging isn't dying it is just evolving. The success of platforms such as Tumblr over the last 2 years with 90 million visitors a month shows that blogging is indeed booming!
"Bold schools are steeped in cultures where everyone, both educators and students, are seen as learners first. To be fully able to seize the opportunities that access provides, the adults need to be engaged in the learning process as much if not more than the kids in our classrooms.
Bold schools are innovating and inventing in the classroom and curriculum, poking the box of traditional education in ways that make sense for kids. Morristown (N.J.) High School’s Classics Academy is a great example of how we can deepen student learning by giving students agency over their education.
Finally, bold schools are those that are actively educating around and advocating for meaningful change in their local and state communities. Just like the 400 Long Island high school principals who last fall organized to protest to the N.Y. state Regents board about the connection of standardized test scores to teacher evaluations, bold schools are talking about how learning is shifting and how our thinking about education must shift with it.
In this new year, it’s more important than ever that we go bold school instead of old school. If we don’t, we risk losing much of the absolute goodness and value our classrooms bring to our kids—value that test scores simply can’t measure."
"Last year, I [Larry Ferlazzo] began a new regular interview series. There are always lots of “hot spots” around the world — places where there are natural disasters, political upheavals, etc. And English teachers can be found in most of those places. If you are an EFL/ESL teacher in one of those areas, please let me know.
Today, I’m pleased to interview Anna Loseva from Russia. Elections and protests there (see The Best Resources For Learning About Protests In Russia) have been in the news."
"How have your students reacted to the election and protests?
Anna Loseva: We’ve been discussing the events since some minor relevant political stories occurred. I encouraged my students to go and vote, the United Russia representatives came to the dorms and lectured (threatened?) the innocent young adults on how their lives and studies could inevitably change for the worse if the ruling party lost its domineering position.
Here are some of the opinions of my students, quoted from feedback sheets we did after the end of the term.
'Our country isn’t honest itself. People give money to policemen and doctors. We can’t change it, it’s our nature… It was obvious that everything would go like this. We don’t need to protest, we should change ourselves first. '
'I’ve taken part in elections but I’ve ignored protests absolutely, because firstly I don’t think the protest will have a success, and secondly I really don’t want to be captured by police… as it was with some people who just passed the place of protest.'
'I have controversial feelings about these events. No doubt there was cheating during elections. But on the other hand, government has done some really beneficial improvements… I haven’t taken part in protest movement, I think it’s too dangerous.'
'In my opinion, the ruling party tries to strengthen its power and uses dishonest methods for this. People don’t approve of this fact and go to protests, I think it’s normal for every country.'
'I’ve been on two protests and I was really scared on December 26th, because there were a lot of militaries and police arrested everyone who said something loudly. The first meeting on Bolotnaya Square was very boring and I felt like a donkey on the walk. Today there is nothing we can do with that situation, because opposition hasn’t got its leader. '
'The result of elections and the following protests was expected, so all I have to say – politics is a dirty affair.'"
"Effects on students’ lives beyond academics, in areas as varied as teenage-pregnancy and adult earnings, are cited."
"Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students’ standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years.
The paper, by Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia, all economists, examines a larger number of students over a longer period of time with more in-depth data than many earlier studies, allowing for a deeper look at how much the quality of individual teachers matters over the long term.
"The study, which the economics professors have presented to colleagues in more than a dozen seminars over the past year and plan to submit to a journal, is the largest look yet at the controversial 'value-added ratings,' which measure the impact individual teachers have on student test scores. It is likely to influence the roiling national debates about the importance of quality teachers and how best to measure that quality."
"Far fewer of them are proving proficient on standardized tests compared with their peers in other privately managed charter schools and in traditional public schools."
"The number of students in virtual schools run by educational management organizations rose sharply last year, according to a new report being published Friday, and far fewer of them are proving proficient on standardized tests compared with their peers in other privately managed charter schools and in traditional public schools.
About 116,000 students were educated in 93 virtual schools — those where instruction is entirely or mainly provided over the Internet — run by private management companies in the 2010-11 school year, up 43 percent from the previous year, according to the report being published by the National Education Policy Center, a research center at the University of Colorado. About 27 percent of these schools achieved 'adequate yearly progress,' the key federal standard set forth under the No Child Left Behind act to measure academic progress. By comparison, nearly 52 percent of all privately managed brick-and-mortar schools reached that goal, a figure comparable to all public schools nationally.
'There’s a pretty large gap between virtual and brick-and-mortar,' said Gary Miron, a professor of evaluation, measurement and research at Western Michigan University and a co-author of the study."
"Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much of Western Europe in part because of the depth of poverty, family background and the gaps between the rich and the rest."
"... many researchers have reached a conclusion that turns conventional wisdom on its head: Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much of Western Europe. The mobility gap has been widely discussed in academic circles, but a sour season of mass unemployment and street protests has moved the discussion toward center stage.
Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a Republican candidate for president, warned this fall that movement 'up into the middle income is actually greater, ... in Europe, than it is in America.' National Review, a conservative thought leader, wrote that 'most Western European and English-speaking nations have higher rates of mobility.' Even Representative Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who argues that overall mobility remains high, recently wrote that 'mobility from the very bottom up' is 'where the United States lags behind.'
Liberal commentators have long emphasized class, but the attention on the right is largely new.
'It’s becoming conventional wisdom that the U.S. does not have as much mobility as most other advanced countries,' said Isabel V. Sawhill, an economist at the Brookings Institution. 'I don’t think you’ll find too many people who will argue with that.'
""Aspects of creative thinking that are not usually taught.
1. You are creative. 2. Creative thinking is work. 3. You must go through the motions of being creative. 4. Your brain is not a computer. 5. There is no one right answer. 6. Never stop with your first good idea. 7. Expect the experts to be negative. 8. Trust your instincts. 9. There is no such thing as failure. 10. You do not see things as they are; you see them as you are. 11. Always approach a problem on its own terms. 12. Learn to think unconventionally.
In the Brevia section of the 9 August 2002 issue of Science, Weir et al. report a remarkable observation: The toolmaking behavior of New Caledonian crows. In the experiments, a captive female crow, confronted with a task that required a curved tool (retrieving a food-containing bucket from a vertical pipe), spontaneously bent a piece of straight wire into a hooked shape -- and then repeated the behavior in nine out of ten subsequent trials.
"President Hu Jintao of China has said that the West is trying to dominate China by spreading its culture and ideology and that China must strengthen its cultural production to defend against the assault, according to an essay in a Communist Party policy magazine published this week.
Mr. Hu’s words signaled that a major policy initiative announced last October would continue well into 2012.
The essay, which was signed by Mr. Hu and based on a speech he gave in October, drew a sharp line between the cultures of the West and China and effectively said the two sides were engaged in an escalating culture war. It was published in Seeking Truth, a magazine founded by Mao Zedong as a platform for establishing Communist Party principles.
'We must clearly see that international hostile forces are intensifying the strategic plot of westernizing and dividing China, and ideological and cultural fields are the focal areas of their long-term infiltration,' Mr. Hu said, according to a translation by Reuters.
'We should deeply understand the seriousness and complexity of the ideological struggle, always sound the alarms and remain vigilant and take forceful measures to be on guard and respond,' he added.
Those measures, Mr. Hu said, should be centered on developing cultural products that can draw the interest of the Chinese and meet the “growing spiritual and cultural demands of the people.”
Chinese leaders have long lamented the fact that Western expressions of popular culture and art seem to overshadow those from China. The top grossing films in China have been 'Avatar' and 'Transformers 3,' and the music of Lady Gaga is as popular here as that of any that of any Chinese pop singer. In October, at the annual plenum of the party’s Central Committee, where Mr. Hu gave his speech, officials discussed the need for bolstering the 'cultural security' of China."
"'Bloom’s Taxonomy' is one of those teacher terms that a parent may not necessarily be familiar with, however, it is very important. It is a central concept to know how to use it at home in conjunction with learning activities to help your child expand their critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills allow a child to thinking independently, find and fix mistakes, solve problems, evaluate alternatives, and reflect on their own beliefs. It’s not something that can be learned from reading a book or completing a worksheet, however the skills are built through hands-on lessons that build beyond basic rote memorization of facts.
Bloom’s Taxonomy http://tinyurl.com/7v8qrot provides learning levels to increase higher order thinking skills for children of all ages. The levels include remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create. The way a parent or teacher talks to a child, engaging them in learning, and activities that they provide for learning should have a basis on Bloom’s Taxonomy."
"Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can follow to maintain, and improve, our vibrant brains."
1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don’t need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don’t stuff yourself with the 'bad stuff.'"
The EdAdmin show is your place for the latest educational leadership news, legal headlines, legislative updates, and deep discussions over best practices in education. Our goal is to take educational leadership forward.
"I would like my future instructional leader to read this short article, and then lead our faculty in a meaningful discussion around some of the issues it raises. This, of course, would need to be in the context of a larger staff discussion surrounding the purpose of school, and the purpose of our school, but I think it would be a good starting point.
In our current age of data-driven, accountability-above-all-else schools, I'm realistic enough to understand that our new principal will need to be able to navigate in those waters. But is it too much to ask that we also get a principal that has a bold vision for what our school can become, that can not only retain what is great about our current school (and there is much that is great), but can also lead us to someplace better, to reinvent ourselves and create, as Will [Richardson] says,
'[S]chools [that] are steeped in cultures where everyone, both educators and students, are seen as learners first.'
I want both my new principal and my school to be bold. I think our students deserve nothing less."
This December, in a surprisingly simple yet ridiculously amazing installation for the Queensland Gallery of Modern Ar, artist Yayoi Kusama constructed a large domestic environment, painting every wall, chair, table, piano, and household decoration a brilliant white, effectively serving as a giant white canvas. Over the course of two weeks, the museum’s smallest visitors were given thousands upon thousands of colored dot stickers and were invited to collaborate in the transformation of the space, turning the house into a vibrantly mottled explosion of color. How great is this? Given the opportunity my son could probably cover the entire piano alone in about fifteen minutes. The installation, entitled The Obliteration Room, is part of Kusama’s Look Now, See Forever exhibition that runs through March 12.
"... early responses are encouraging: Teaching evaluations for the 'flipped' version of the class (CS229A) were comparable to those for the traditional class (CS229). So, too, were students performances on the final project, which was graded based on the same criteria for both the traditional class and the new 'applied' version of it.
'This was surprising, because even though CS229A had fewer prerequisites and thus many students in CS229A had come in to the class with a weaker mathematical background, this shows that they nonetheless learned enough to perform essentially identically to CS229 students in terms of getting machine-learning algorithms to work,' Mr. Ng says. The professor sees this as evidence that “the flipped classroom medium in CS229A is even more effective than the traditional lecture-based CS229 one for teaching students machine learning.'
Another student, Kevin Khoa Nguyen, agrees with Mr. Rudolph that the new class had been one of the easiest computer-science courses in his time at Stanford. Mr. Nguyen tells Wired Campus that he is a big fan of the online lecture format, however.
'I think this is the future of education,' he says. 'The videos save a lot of time in going to class and the use of efficiently displayed diagrams takes away the overhead in drawing diagrams on a whiteboard. Obviously, this approach comes at a cost of classroom interactivity, which can be remedied with sites like Piazza,' an online forum where students can ask questions.
What do you think? Is this the future of education? Or a misguided innovation?"
"The Tea Party dominated New Hampshire Legislature on Wednesday overrode the governor's veto to enact a new law allowing parents to object to any part of the school curriculum.
The state House voted 255-112 and Senate 17-5 to enact H.B. 542, which will allow parents to request an alternative school curriculum for any subject to which they register an objection. Gov. John Lynch (D) vetoed the measure in July, saying the bill would harm education quality and give parents control over lesson plans.
'For example, under this bill, parents could object to a teacher's plan to: teach the history of France or the history of the civil or women's rights movements,' Lynch wrote in his veto message. 'Under this bill, a parent could find 'objectionable' how a teacher instructs on the basics of algebra. In each of those cases, the school district would have to develop an alternative educational plan for the student. Even though the law requires the parents to pay the cost of alternative, the school district will still have to bear the burden of helping develop and approve the alternative. Classrooms will be disrupted by students coming and going, and lacking shared knowledge.'
Under the terms of the bill, which was sponsored by state Rep. J.R. Hoell (R-Dunbarton), a parent could object to any curriculum or course material in the classroom. The parent and school district would then determine a new curriculum or texts for the child to meet any state educational requirements for the subject matter. The parent would be responsible for paying the cost of developing the new curriculum. The bill also allows for the parent's name and reason for objection to be sealed by the state."
"In the battle to lose weight, and keep it off, our bodies are fighting against us."
"While researchers have known for decades that the body undergoes various metabolic and hormonal changes while it’s losing weight, the Australian team detected something new. A full year after significant weight loss, these men and women remained in what could be described as a biologically altered state. Their still-plump bodies were acting as if they were starving and were working overtime to regain the pounds they lost. For instance, a gastric hormone called ghrelin, often dubbed the “hunger hormone,” was about 20 percent higher than at the start of the study. Another hormone associated with suppressing hunger, peptide YY, was also abnormally low. Levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses hunger and increases metabolism, also remained lower than expected. A cocktail of other hormones associated with hunger and metabolism all remained significantly changed compared to pre-dieting levels. It was almost as if weight loss had put their bodies into a unique metabolic state, a sort of post-dieting syndrome that set them apart from people who hadn’t tried to lose weight in the first place.
'What we see here is a coordinated defense mechanism with multiple components all directed toward making us put on weight,' Proietto says. 'This, I think, explains the high failure rate in obesity treatment.'"
"The Palm Beach School System has an incredible wiki where members of the community share their favorite apps for specific disciplines. Below I’ve [Jeff Dunn, Executive Editor, edudemic.com] embedded their list for the top high school apps but they also have a curated list of apps for middle school and elementary school.
I wanted to give a mention to the people behind the project. Be sure to reach out to them if you have any questions or just want to let them know that you are benefiting from their hard work:
- John Shoemaker (John.Shoemaker@palmbeachschools.org) - Melissa Lander (Melissa.Lander@palmbeachschools.org) - John Long (John.Long.firstname.lastname@example.org)
(H/T to @rmbyrne for introducing me to this wiki! Be sure to follow him at the always wonderful Free Tech 4 Teachers site.) Most of the links below are to the iTunes store. It may open up iTunes on your computer."
"Once, animals at the university were the province of science. Rats ran through mazes in the psychology lab, cows mooed in the veterinary barns, the monkeys of neuroscience chattered in their cages. And on the dissecting tables of undergraduates, preserved frogs kept a deathly silence.
On the other side of campus, in the seminar rooms and lecture halls of the liberal arts and social sciences, where monkey chow is never served and all the mazes are made of words, the attention of scholars was firmly fixed on humans.
This spring, freshmen at Harvard can take “Human, Animals and Cyborgs.” Last year Dartmouth offered “Animals and Women in Western Literature: Nags, Bitches and Shrews.” New York University offers “Animals, People and Those in Between.”
The courses are part of the growing, but still undefined, field of animal studies. So far, according to Marc Bekoff, an emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, the field includes 'anything that has to do with the way humans and animals interact.' Art, literature, sociology, anthropology, film, theater, philosophy, religion — there are animals in all of them."
"Trying to escape the constant stream of too much information."
"About a year ago, I [This essay's author, Pico Iyer] flew to Singapore to join the writer Malcolm Gladwell, the fashion designer Marc Ecko and the graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister in addressing a group of advertising people on 'Marketing to the Child of Tomorrow.' Soon after I arrived, the chief executive of the agency that had invited us took me aside. What he was most interested in, he began — I braced myself for mention of some next-generation stealth campaign — was stillness.
A few months later, I read an interview with the perennially cutting-edge designer Philippe Starck. What allowed him to remain so consistently ahead of the curve? 'I never read any magazines or watch TV,' he said, perhaps a little hyperbolically. 'Nor do I go to cocktail parties, dinners or anything like that.” He lived outside conventional ideas, he implied, because “I live alone mostly, in the middle of nowhere.'
Around the same time, I noticed that those who part with $2,285 a night to stay in a cliff-top room at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur pay partly for the privilege of not having a TV in their rooms; the future of travel, I’m reliably told, lies in 'black-hole resorts,' which charge high prices precisely because you can’t get online in their rooms.
A Brief, Wondrous Tour of Earth (From Outer Space) - Video - Recorded from August to October, 2011 at the International Space Station, this HD footage offers a brilliant tour of our planet and stunning views of the aurora borealis.
A Universe from Nothing - Video – In 53 minutes, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss answers some big enchilada questions, including how the universe came from nothing.
A Year of the Moon in 2.5 Minutes – Video – The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been orbiting the moon for over a year. The footage gets compressed into 2 slick minutes.
A Day on Earth (as Seen From Space) – Video – Astronaut Don Pettit trained his camera on planet Earth, took a photo once every 15 seconds, and then created a brilliant time-lapse film.
Atlantis’s Final Landing at Kennedy Space Center - Video - After more than 30 years, the space shuttle era comes to a close. Video runs 30 minutes. July, 2011."
"Giving its first major public sign that it may be ready for peace talks, the Taliban announced Tuesday that it had struck a deal to open a peace mission in Qatar.
The step was a sharp reversal of the Taliban’s longstanding public denials that it was involved or interested in any negotiations to end its insurgency in Afghanistan.
In a statement, Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said that along with agreeing to set up the office in Qatar, the group was asking that Taliban detainees held at the American prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, be released. Mr. Mujahid did not say when the Qatar office would be opened, or give specifics about the prisoners the Taliban wanted freed.
American officials have said in recent months that the opening of a Taliban mission would be the single biggest step forward for peace efforts that have been plagued by false starts. The most embarrassing came in November 2010, when it emerged that an impostor had fooled Western officials into thinking he represented the Taliban and then had disappeared with hundreds of thousands of dollars used to woo him.
If all goes as planned, the opening of an office in Qatar will give Afghan and Western peace negotiators an 'address' where they can openly contact legitimate Taliban intermediaries."
"...I’m still around, and this all comes around to what got me up this morning, an article posted by Tim Holt in his HOLT THINK tumblr blog. It’s number six of his 10 Bad Trends in Ed Tech 2011. He wrote it on the 21st, but I caught up yesterday, thanks to Stephanie Sandifer’s Tweet. His sixth bad trend is 'Ed tech gurus not offering solutions.'
I agree with some of what Holt says, but take exception with a great deal of it. Scott McLeod expresses much of what I would add to the conversation and brings a great deal of balance. Be sure to read the comments, to which I may add something after I’ve finished this post.
For 2¢ Worth, I’d like to turn it into a challenge, “What solutions would you have, David, if you were back in that rural North Carolina school district you left 22 years ago?” I would consider the following ten-action plan is based on my past and current knowledge of that school districts, and would almost surely be altered by a closer association. But here are the solutions that this challenge brings to mind."
1. Eliminate paper from the budget and remove all copiers and computer printers from schools and the central office (with exceptions of essential need). 'On this date, everything goes digital.'
2. Create a professional development plan where all faculty and staff learn to teach themselves within a networked, digital, and info-abundant environment — it’s about Learning-Literacy. Although workshops would not completely disappear, the goal would be a culture where casual, daily, and self-directed professional development is engaged, shared, and celebrated — everyday! Then extend the learning-literacy workshops to the greater adult community."