Saturday, March 29, 2008

The best 18 minutes I have spent in a long time

I watch a TED Talk video and I am ready to get back and teach on Monday. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. Take the time to watch this one, but put your mind in neutral and hang on for the ride.

Clifford Stoll: 18 minutes with an agile mind

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Einstein and the Other Spears

Okay I read this and had to drop everything.

Spears trumps Stephen Hawking. Worse, nearly half of Americans couldn’t name Einstein, Hawking, or any other current scientist as a science role model for today’s youth, according to a new study on “The State of Science in America,” by Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, conducted by Harris Interactive. The survey reveals for the first time what average Americans think about science, science education, and our nation’s leadership in science. Most (70 percent) believe America is not the world leader in science, and only 35 percent think the U.S. will be the world leader in science in the next 20 years. Among those adults pessimistic about America’s prospects in science, 79 percent agree science is not receiving the attention it deserves in our nation’s schools. The survey found strong support for a range of ways to improve science education, including more support for teachers, more time spent learning science, increasing parental involvement and finding more ways to teach kids about science. You can read more about the survey at www.stateofscience.org.

So I went and read the entire survey and here what I think:

  1. Scientists are not seen as role models, well I am not use they ever were. When only 4% of adults could name a living scientist why would kids have them as role models.
  2. Adults are not impressed with how seriously America is taking science education. Well we are not taking it seriously. Science has been pushed out because it is not tested for AYP, but next year....
  3. Adults think science education is falling short and deserves increased funding and attention. Then ask if their taxes should go up to provide this funding and see what the answer is. Do more just don't cost me more. How about this idea, send a little bit of money on early science education and reap the benefits in the years to come.
  4. The idea for improving science education contained no earth shattering or revolutionary ideas, just things we know would help.
Bottom line time. A vast majority of people in the survey (87%) feel science is important. 79% thinks science does not receive the attention needed. 87% agree that more funding is needed. Hey this is a mandate from the people. Science needs to be put back in the forefront of education. From the survey 87% say they personally benefit from science everyday (I think it is 100%). It is science that put a man on the moon and launch us into this new age of instant accessibility and global connection. The understanding of science is essential to Pink's New Mind and the ever flattening world we live in.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Yah Mon

Well there I was minding my own business relaxing in Jamaica just doing a little shopping when bam; education runs straight into me. It took the form of the three youngsters pictured above and their classmates. They were working on a project, interviewing tourists that were shopping in the local craft market. They had a set of scripted questions and depending on the answer there would be follow-up questions. The young boy was asking the questions and his classmates were assisting him. He was struggling a bit with the English and the girls were more than willing to help him out.

I could not help but wonder what kind of project or presentation they were going to produce and how they would use the answers they were gathering. How would I have kids do this same activity? The basic concepts of identifying a question to research, coming up with questions to ask to get data, conducting the interviews to gather the data, compiling and reporting the data and then drawing conclusions from the data, that would be a good project and almost any level. Now incorporate some tech for the data crunching and presentation and you are all set.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Every Teacher Needs to Watch This

video
I forget where I saw this, it may have been on a Twitter. Anyway I watched it on YouTube, but since it is blocked at school I used Zamzar to convert it. But how the video got on my blog is not what this post is about. It's about the content of the video. If any teacher watches this and it does not impact the way they teach they are either teacher of the year or need to think about retiring. I think of my own son in kindergarten the class of 2020. What will he do when he grows up. It very may well be a job that has not even been thought of yet, and will he be prepared by the educators he encounters during the next 12 years? I hope so. After watching this I will redouble my efforts to help teachers that wants to learn and incorporate technology into their practice so they can help students like my son.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cheating?

The following came to me via ASCD news brief. After reading the entire story I left the comment at the bottom of the post.

More students admit to cheating amid pressure to win better grades
As the college admissions process grows more competitive, two of three U.S. high school students admit to "serious" cheating and 90% say they cheat on homework, according to a Rutgers' Management Education Center national survey. "These kids are desensitized in a culture that values the bottom line," says Jason Stephens, an assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Connecticut who recently won a $400,000 grant to study classroom ethics. ABC News

My comment:
The norms of society are changing. The idea of "coping in not cheating" is taught at the home, school and by peers. Here the point, look at you CD/music and DVD library. Are all the items in your collection originals, or do you have a few burned copies of something? Guess what, your cheating and most teachers even feel that using a "copy" of a DVD for class purposes is OK. I know as a teacher I see it all the time and when I question it boy do I hear it. So what are students to think, coping is OK for my parents, teachers and other adults, but no OK for me. We need to take a hard look in the mirror in this new digital age about this whole idea and what we "teach" to our children.