Category Archives: Educational Reform

I wanted to share the letter I sent to my US Senator.

I have great concerns over Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and here is what I sent my Senator.

To the Honorable Senator Johnson,

I have been a life long Republican and put my first GOP sign up in 3rd grade. I have lived in Wisconsin for 15 years now and have been proud to vote for you a couple times. I am writing to express my concern over Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. I believe this person has no qualifications to serve in this role. I have worked in Higher Education for more than 20 years and I do see a need for change in both the K12 system and Higher Education. I do believe that placing a person in the role of Secretary of Education with no personal experience with public education is a mistake.

I do support both Charter Schools and Voucher programs, both can be a benefit to a number of students. But I don’t believe these are the solutions to our struggling education systems. Much better examples of educational reform can be found in the ideas presented by Jeb Bush or Sir Ken Robins.

Further, I believe her views on main streaming students with disabilities will hamper the improvement of the public classroom. I say this as a person with dyslexia and having spent a great deal of time in special education classes. Teachers in the classroom already struggle to engage our best students when they are contently trying to help those struggling. Placing more students in a classroom that require even more attention will further hinder those students at the top and wishing to be challenged.

One final thought and I quote Benjamin Franklin “Genius without education is like silver in a mine.” I believe a vote for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education is a vote squash the potential and the dreams of the genius that exists in our public school systems. Thank you for your excellent representation.

Thank you for your time,
Russel Pearson

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15 Questions To Ask About Tech Integration In Your Classroom

*this blog was originally published at TeachThought PD

by Drew Perkins, Director of TeachThought PD

For professional development around integrating technology in your school visit our technology integration workshops page.

As I watched Christmas, and the corresponding break from school for my daughters, come and go I was reminded of the fun that technology toys can provide. I was gifted the new Google Home device and it’s quite entertaining for my daughters to ask it to make funny sounds, play silly games, set timers, and even ask it for help on their homework. For me it’s a great way to start my day asking it to tell me the news or play music throughout the house.

Read here

Which comes first? Pedagogy or technology?

Miranda picks up on a common point around the combination of technology and pedagogy with this post titled Pedagogy First then Technology. I disagree. If you have to think in simple sequential terms, then I think pedagogy should be the last consideration, not the first. The broader problem though is our tendency to want limit ourselves to the sequential

Here’s why.

 

Stop Teaching, So Students Can Start Learning

Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal Professor of Mechanical Engineering California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

I have an issue with the use of the word ‘teaching.’ We often use ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ synonymously. In reality, learning is distinctly different from teaching: teaching is about teachers, and learning is about students. In traditional education, teaching is like a teacher giving a student a cup of water, and learning is like a student drinking the entire cup. If this were true, however, every student would be an “A” student, as this transfer of knowledge would be full and complete. Unfortunately, learning is not an information-transfer process akin to drinking water from a cup or copying files from a high-speed USB drive.

But why am I hung up on the word ‘teaching’? Why must we make this differentiation between ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’? We often use words to convey messages and express feelings but tend to forget that we also use words to develop understanding and to control our mind. Our belief system controls our actions. If you believe your responsibility is to teach, then you focus on your presentation of the material, your ….

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Seema Bansal: How to fix a broken education system … without any more money

Seema Bansal forged a path to public education reform for 15,000 schools in Haryana, India, by setting an ambitious goal: by 2020, 80 percent of children should have grade-level knowledge. She’s looking to meet this goal by seeking reforms that will work in every school without additional resources. Bansal and her team have found success using creative, straightforward techniques such as communicating with teachers using SMS group chats, and they have already measurably improved learning and engagement in Haryana’s schools.

Idea to retire: Technology alone can improve student learning

Ellen Lettvin, Joseph South and Katrina Stevens/Mar 18, 2016

Nearly every aspect of the world is being transformed by digital tools.  Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2015, more people shopped online than braved the aisles of brick and mortar stores fighting for highly discounted items. Globally, there are 2.6 billion active smartphone subscriptions. And self-driving cars have already clocked over 1 million miles on public roads.  There is no doubt that technology is impacting how we educate our children and ourselves as well.  Over 21 million post-secondary students are enrolled in online courses. Computers are in virtually every school in the country and more of those computers are connected to the Internet than ever before.  In fact, the number of students with broadband at school increased by 20 million over just the last two years. Because technology is widely perceived to improve our day-to-day experiences, it is logical to conclude that technology will improve learning outcomes in our nation’s schools by itself.  This is an idea that must die.

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Meron Gribetz: A glimpse of the future through an augmented reality headset

TED2016 · 10:54 · Filmed Feb 2016

What if technology could connect us more deeply with our surroundings instead of distracting us from the real world? With the Meta 2, an augmented reality headset that makes it possible for users to see, grab and move holograms just like physical objects, Meron Gribetz hopes to extend our senses through a more natural machine. Join Gribetz as he takes the TED stage to demonstrate the reality-shifting Meta 2 for the first time. (Featuring Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson)