Changing the Mindset of Education: Every Learner is Unique | Getting Smart

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 10:45
Changing the Mindset of Education: Every Learner is Unique Blog Series, Learning, PreK-12, Smart Parents May 24, 2015


Arina Bokas & Rod Rock

Imagine a student who hears things once and knows them forever. She is a good reader. She is self-aware and can articulate her learning challenges and successes. Despite the fact that the student is smart, she struggles on written work and in group projects. How does our school system help encourage a student with her potential, and her challenges?

Stanford researcher Carol Dweck, in studying motivation and perseverance, found that children can be separated into two categories: those with a fixed mindset believe that their successes are a result of their innate talent or smarts; and those with a growth mindset believe that their successes are a result of hard work. Children with a growth mindset see intelligence as something that can be cultivated: the more learning they do, the smarter they become. Those with a fixed mindset see themselves as either smart or not smart and believe that their intelligence cannot grow; no matter how hard they work. When children with fixed mindsets fail, they feel trapped and start thinking that they must not be as talented or smart as their peers.

Too often, formal education begins with a preconception that biology determines the intellectual characteristics with which children are born; they are fixed and unfold independent of experience. Children’s social and cultural experiences, including their schooling, reflect these biological predispositions and cannot be influenced. With this fixed mindset, we cannot grow children’s minds, but can only hope to help them to achieve their predetermined potential.

Research in neuroscience, however, shows that children’s experiences shape their biology as much as biology shapes their experiences. Learning is not limited to one area or side of the brain. Rather, it involves constructing neural networks that connect many brain areas; thus, as stated in Neuroscience Bases of Learning, “Different learners’ networks may differ, in accordance with the person’s neuropsychological strengths and predispositions, and with the cultural, physical, and social context in which the skills are built.” Intelligence, as Howard Gardner defines it, is a, “Biopsychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in that culture.”

This means that individuals are not equally smart in all settings; instead, they have different intelligences, activated according to cultural values, opportunities, experiences, and decisions made by the individual. Howard Gardner conceptualized the idea of multiple intelligences as, “The extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways.”

Gardner’s research demonstrated that there are many ways to be smart and one particular way is not necessarily better or more valuable. The world can be understood linguistically, mathematically, musically; through spatial representations, the use of the body, an understanding of other individuals, and self-awareness. Every person possesses each of theses intelligences; differences come in the form of strengths of intelligences, their combination, and how we apply them in our lives.

It is definitely time for a mindset change in our educational systems – to a growth mindset. Kids are different. In a growth-mindset system that is focused on strengths, aptitudes, and individual differences in children, we would refer to a child as mathematically, intra-personally, or linguistically intelligent. We would notice each child’s natural proclivities and strengths, and we would use this knowledge to help individual children learn math, science, social studies, art, music, and communication skills in ways that work best for each one of them.

Each child is unique and uniquely smart, as parents know. We must expect and require our school systems to figure out how and to help each child to use his or her smarts to live a happy life and to achieve at the highest levels possible. Today’s world no longer accepts one-size-fits-all. It calls for one-size-fits-one.


This blog is part of our Smart Parents Series in partnership with the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. We would love to have your voice in the Smart Parents conversations. For more information about the project see Parents, Tell Your Story: How You Empower Student Learning as well as other blogs:


Arina Bokas is Clarkson PTA President and host of The Future of Learning TV series. Follow her on Twitter, @arinabokas.


Rod Rock is the superintendent of the Clarkston Community Schools in Clarkston, MI. Follow Rod on Twitter, @RodRock1.

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NewSchools is Sponsoring Innovative New Schools | Getting Smart

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 10:45
NewSchools is Sponsoring Innovative New Schools Community, Leadership May 24, 2015


Kim Smith launched NewSchools Venture Fund in 1998 to capitalize on the new school opportunity presented by charter school laws sweeping the country. With widespread philanthropic support, what the country lacked was technical assistance for teams interested in launching new school networks.

Smith secured a broad base of early support including venture capitalist John Doer who agreed to cover the overhead. She attracted top talent including Joanne Weiss, Jim Shelton, and Shivam Shah.

From 2000 to 2005 The Gates Foundation contributed over $30 million to the first two funds. After networks matured and grew to four or five schools, the Gates Foundation made direct investments.

Ted Mitchell led NewSchools from 2005 until being confirmed as Under Secretary of Education in 2014.

NewSchools has raised and invested more than $150 million, sponsoring over 300 charter schools around the country serving 157,000 students.

Former Harvard business professor Stacey Childress left the Gates Foundation in 2014 to lead the next generation of NewSchools. Early in 2015, Childress released a strategy update, a major pillar of which is to build a national portfolio of Innovative Schools.

Liz Arney, former head of blended learning at Aspire Public Schools and author of Go Blended, leads the innovative new schools program. Arney said, “We are encouraged by emerging innovations in blended, personalized and competency-based learning that provide students with greater agency and ownership of their learning path and pace, not just in core academic subjects but in all of the skills, mindsets and knowledge they need to succeed.”

The new grant program will support teams that plan to open a new school by 2018 or innovate on key dimensions of an existing, high-performing school. Arney said, “We will partner with teams of educators who take the best of what already exists and further innovate on the student experience in compelling ways.”

Later this year NewSchools will release a formal request for proposal. In the mean time you can fill out a Pre-Application Survey and share information about your plans.

For more information on new schools, check out:

Images via facebook.com/newschools

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Homework: An unnecessary evil? … Surprising findings from new research - The Washington Post

Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 10:30

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    Sections The Washington Post Homework: An unnecessary evil? … Surprising findings from new research Username Answer Sheet Homework: An unnecessary evil? … Surprising findings from new research .hideText{position:absolute;left:-10000px} Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share via Email More Options Share on Whatsapp Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Share on Tumblr Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on Tumblr Resize Text Print Article Comments By Valerie Strauss November 26, 2012

    Alfie Kohn writes about what a new homework study really says — and what it doesn’t say. He is the author of 12 books about education and human behavior, including “The Schools Our Children Deserve,” “The Homework Myth,” and “Feel-Bad Education… And Other Contrarian Essays on Children & Schooling.” He lives (actually) in the Boston area and (virtually) at www.alfiekohn.org.

    By Alfie Kohn

     A brand-new study on the academic effects of homework offers not only some intriguing results but also a lesson on how to read a study — and a reminder of the importance of doing just that:  reading studies (carefully) rather than relying on summaries by journalists or even by the researchers themselves.

     Let’s start by reviewing what we know from earlier investigations.[1]  First, no research has ever found a benefit to assigning homework (of any kind or in any amount) in elementary school.  In fact, there isn’t even a positive correlation between, on the one hand, having younger children do some homework (vs. none), or more (vs. less), and, on the other hand, any measure of achievement.  If we’re making 12-year-olds, much less five-year-olds, do homework, it’s either because we’re misinformed about what the evidence says or because we think kids ought to have to do homework despite what the evidence says.

     Second, even at the high school level, the research supporting homework hasn’t been particularly persuasive.  There does seem to be a correlation between homework and standardized test scores, but (a) it isn’t strong, meaning that homework doesn’t explain much of the variance in scores, (b) one prominent researcher, Timothy Keith, who did find a solid correlation, returned to the topic a decade later to enter more variables into the equation simultaneously, only to discover that the improved study showed that homework had no effect after all[2], and (c) at best we’re only talking about a correlation — things that go together — without having proved that doing more homework causes test scores to go up.  (Take 10 seconds to see if you can come up with other variables that might be driving both of these things.)

     Third, when homework is related to test scores, the connection tends to be strongest — or, actually, least tenuous — with math.  If homework turns out to be unnecessary for students to succeed in that subject, it’s probably unnecessary everywhere.

     Along comes a new study, then, that focuses on the neighborhood where you’d be most likely to find a positive effect if one was there to be found:  math and science homework in high school.  Like most recent studies, this one by Adam Maltese and his colleagues[3] doesn’t provide rich descriptive analyses of what students and teachers are doing.  Rather, it offers an aerial view, the kind preferred by economists, relying on two large datasets (from the National Education Longitudinal Study [NELS] and the Education Longitudinal Study [ELS]).  Thousands of students are asked one question — How much time do you spend on homework? — and statistical tests are then performed to discover if there’s a relationship between that number and how they fared in their classes and on standardized tests.

     It’s easy to miss one interesting result in this study that appears in a one-sentence aside.  When kids in these two similar datasets were asked how much time they spent on math homework each day, those in the NELS study said 37 minutes, whereas those in the ELS study said 60 minutes.  There’s no good reason for such a striking discrepancy, nor do the authors offer any explanation.  They just move right along — even though those estimates raise troubling questions about the whole project, and about all homework studies that are based on self-report.  Which number is more accurate?  Or are both of them way off?  There’s no way of knowing.  And because all the conclusions are tied to that number, all the conclusions may be completely invalid.[4]

     But let’s pretend that we really do know how much homework students do.  Did doing it make any difference?  The Maltese et al. study looked at the effect on test scores and on grades.  They emphasized the latter, but let’s get the former out of the way first.

     Was there a correlation between the amount of homework that high school students reported doing and their scores on standardized math and science tests?  Yes, and it was statistically significant but “very modest”:  Even assuming the existence of a causal relationship, which is by no means clear, one or two hours’ worth of homework every day buys you two or three points on a test.  Is that really worth the frustration, exhaustion, family conflict, loss of time for other activities, and potential diminution of interest in learning?  And how meaningful a measure were those tests in the first place, since, as the authors concede, they’re timed measures of mostly mechanical skills?  (Thus, a headline that reads “Study finds homework boosts achievement” can be translated as “A relentless regimen of after-school drill-and-skill can raise scores a wee bit on tests of rote learning.”)

     But it was grades, not tests, that Maltese and his colleagues really cared about.  They were proud of having looked at transcript data in order to figure out “the exact grade a student received in each class [that he or she] completed” so they could compare that to how much homework the student did.  Previous research has looked only at students’ overall grade-point averages.

     And the result of this fine-tuned investigation?  There was no relationship whatsoever between time spent on homework and course grade, and “no substantive difference in grades between students who complete homework and those who do not.”

     This result clearly caught the researchers off-guard.  Frankly, it surprised me, too.  When you measure “achievement” in terms of grades, you expect to see a positive result — not because homework is academically beneficial but because the same teacher who gives the assignments evaluates the students who complete them, and the final grade is often based at least partly on whether, and to what extent, students did the homework.  Even if homework were a complete waste of time, how could it not be positively related to course grades?

    And yet it wasn’t.  Again.  Even in high school.  Even in math.  The study zeroed in on specific course grades, which represents a methodological improvement, and the moral may be: The better the research, the less likely one is to find any benefits from homework.  (That’s not a surprising proposition for a careful reader of reports in this field.  We got a hint of that from Timothy Keith’s reanalysis and also from the fact that longer homework studies tend to find less of an effect.[5])

    Maltese and his colleagues did their best to reframe these results to minimize the stunning implications.[6]  Like others in this field, they seem to have approached the topic already convinced that homework is necessary and potentially beneficial, so the only question we should ask is How — not whether — to assign it.  But if you read the results rather than just the authors’ spin on them — which you really need to do with the work of others working in this field as well[7] — you’ll find that there’s not much to prop up the belief that students must be made to work a second shift after they get home from school.  The assumption that teachers are just assigning homework badly, that we’d start to see meaningful results if only it were improved, is harder and harder to justify with each study that’s published.

    If experience is any guide, however, many people will respond to these results by repeating platitudes about the importance of practice[8], or by complaining that anyone who doesn’t think kids need homework is coddling them and failing to prepare them for the “real world” (read:  the pointless tasks they’ll be forced to do after they leave school).  Those open to evidence, however, have been presented this fall with yet another finding that fails to find any meaningful benefit even when the study is set up to give homework every benefit of the doubt.



    1.  It’s important to remember that some people object to homework for reasons that aren’t related to the dispute about whether research might show that homework provides academic benefits.  They argue that (a) six hours a day of academics are enough, and kids should have the chance after school to explore other interests and develop in other ways — or be able simply to relax in the same way that most adults like to relax after work; and (b) the decision about what kids do during family time should be made by families, not schools.  Let’s put these arguments aside for now, even though they ought to be (but rarely are) included in any discussion of the topic.

    2.  Valerie A. Cool and Timothy Z. Keith, “Testing a Model of School Learning: Direct and Indirect Effects on Academic Achievement,” Contemporary Educational Psychology 16 (1991): 28-44.

    3.  Adam V. Maltese, Robert H. Tai, and Xitao Fan, “When Is Homework Worth the Time?  Evaluating the Association Between Homework and Achievement in High School Science and Math,” The High School Journal, October/November 2012: 52-72.  Abstract at http://ow.ly/fxhOV.

    4.  Other research has found little or no correlation between how much homework students report doing and how much homework their parents say they do.  When you use the parents’ estimates, the correlation between homework and achievement disappears.  See Harris Cooper, Jorgianne Civey Robinson, and Erika A. Patall, “Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement?: A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003,” Review of Educational Research 76 (2006): 1-62.

    5.  To put it the other way around, studies finding the biggest effect are those that capture less of what goes on in the real world by virtue of being so brief.  View a small, unrepresentative slice of a child’s life and it may appear that homework makes a contribution to achievement; keep watching, and that contribution is eventually revealed to be illusory. See data provided — but not interpreted this way — by Cooper, The Battle Over Homework, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA:  Corwin, 2001).

    6.  Even the title of their article reflects this: They ask “When Is Homework Worth the Time?” rather than “Is Homework Worth the Time?”  This bias might seem a bit surprising in the case of the study’s second author, Robert H. Tai.  He had contributed earlier to another study whose results similarly ended up raising questions about the value of homework.  Students enrolled in college physics courses were surveyed to determine whether any features of their high schoolphysics courses were now of use to them.  At first a very small relationship was found between the amount of homework that students had had in high school and how well they were currently faring.  But once the researchers controlled for other variables, such as the type of classes they had taken, that relationship disappeared, just as it had for Keith (see note 2).  The researchers then studied a much larger population of students in college science classes – and found the same thing:  Homework simply didn’t help.  See Philip M. Sadler and Robert H. Tai, “Success in Introductory College Physics:  The Role of High School Preparation,” Science Education 85 [2001]: 111-36.


    7.  See chapter 4 (“’Studies Show…’ — Or Do They?”) of my book The Homework Myth (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2006), an adaptation of which appears as “Abusing Research: The Study of Homework and Other Examples,” Phi Delta Kappan, September 2006 [www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/research.htm].


    8.  On the alleged value of practice, see The Homework Myth, pp. 106-18, also available at http://bit.ly/9dXqCj.

    Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog. Continue reading Comments .pb-feature.pb-f-page-comments .pb-comment-wrapper{padding-right:0;border-bottom:none}.pb-feature.pb-f-page-comments{border-right:1px solid #d5d5d5;padding-right:50px} Show Comments Discussion Policy Comments

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    Share this: Like this: Like Loading... Related This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Responses to I’ll Huffman and I’ll Puffman and I’ll Blow Your District Down
    1. Momma Bears (@MommaBears4edu) says: May 22, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      About those NAEP scores Tennessee politicians keep bragging about… they never mention the brand new law that was implemented the year before the last NAEP test. The new law prohibited 3rd graders from being promoted to 4th grade if they were not proficient. Nobody knows how many 3rd graders were held back in 3rd grade the year the NAEP test was taken, but it makes sense that keeping the low-scoring children out of 4th grade, and thus unable to take the NAEP, lifted the state’s average to make Tennessee the “fastest improving state in the nation on the NAEP.”

    2. Meghan Vaziri says: May 23, 2015 at 8:16 am

      I suggest taking Peter Greene’s nomenclature and hereafter referring to them as “reformsters.” “Reformers” certainly isn’t an accurate term. And thanks for doing this article on my state. Huffman also didn’t mention the growing opposition to the ASD by parents here. Here’s an article written by one of the leaders of ASD opposition: http://tsdmemphis.com/news/2015/jan/30/stench-education-reform-and-need-respond-now/?page=1

    3. Amy Frogge says: May 23, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Hi, Gary-

      I am a member of the Nashville school board. The existing (pre-conversion) grade levels at Brick Church outperform the new charter school grade levels. It’s also interesting to note that data from Brick Church indicates a likely change in students: There was a spike in achievement along with corresponding negative growth. Email me if you’d like to see the data.

      Thank you for your work.

      Amy Frogge

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      Categories: Miscellaneous

      Student Mobile Workspaces Infographic - e-Learning Infographics

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 09:46
      r g Search 54,891 Get 1st The BEST Education Infographics at your Email - Spam Free

      Recent Posts © 2013 e-Learning Industry LLC
      SubmitAbout | Contact | Community Guidelines | Terms of ServicePrivacy Policy Mobile Learning Infographics Student Infographics Student Mobile Workspaces Infographic Posted on May 15, 2015
      Student Mobile Workspaces Infographic

      Having a powerful mobile workspace has become a crucial component in higher education. The Student Mobile Workspaces Infographic gathers mobile device statistics from 2013–2014, showing how the challenges of the mobile campus can be transformed into new opportunities for learning!

      The wide variety of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices used on campus by students and faculty create a significant opportunity for anytime, anywhere learning.

      • 58% of students own three or more mobile devices.
      • 89% of students own a laptop
      • 43% of students own a desktop computer
      • 31% of students own a tablet
      • 76% of students own a smartphone
      • 16% of students own an e-reader

      Students say they value technology because it helps them:

      • achieve academic outcomes 76%,
      • prepare for future educational plans 76%, and
      • prepare for the workplace 61%.

      Students also say that technology makes them feel more connected to:

      • their institution 64%,
      • their professors 60%, and
      • other students 53%.

      But despite owning and valuing these devices, 74% of students say the use of smartphones in class is banned or discouraged at their institution.

      The challenge for colleges and universities is to bridge the gap between the expectations of campus users and the capabilities of the institution. 94% of higher ed leaders agree that students today should be able to remotely access all the information, data and software they need, on any device, at any time, and with a consistent user experience. But 55% said their institution 55% does not provide remote access to students.


      • 61% no budget or staff to provide this level of service
      • 38% some software simply cannot be used remotely
      • 12% too difficult to adopt new major technology
      • 34% we don’t have the network infrastructure
      • 21% we don’t have the expertise

      At most schools, a significant portion of students and faculty require access to resource-intensive software applications for cad, statistical analysis, art, photography, etc.

      • Institution-owned computers in labs, libraries, etc. 89%
      • Personal computers in certain campus locations 54%
      • Personal computers anywhere 52%
      • Tablets via wifi 42%
      • Smartphones via wifi or cellular data network 36%

      What percentage of your students and faculty require access to resource-intensive, on-campus-only software?

      • less than 50 percent: 39%
      • 50 to 60 percent: 15%
      • 60 to 80 percent: 9%
      • more than 80 percent: 6%

      The inability to easily access all software, including resource-intensive applications, from any personal computing device is frustrating to higher ed leaders, 97% of whom said it would be helpful to be able to provide all students and faculty with secure, seamless access to these applications anytime, anywhere and from any device or operating system.

      The rapid evolution of technology is changing the way we learn, work and educate. Students want the freedom to learn and study using the latest software or applications on any device, in the location where they feel most productive and inspired. As the leader in mobile workspaces, citrix provides students, faculty and staff with on-demand, secure access to the apps, data and services they require, expanding beyond traditional methods to promote independent and exploratory learning – without compromising security or compliance. For more information on citrix solutions for education, please visit citrix.com/education.

      Via: www.citrix.com

      Embed This Education Infographic on your Site or Blog! Copy and Paste the following code!

      Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics
      Categories: Miscellaneous

      Can We Make Twitter More Consumable For Teachers? |

      Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 09:45
      Media From An Educator's Viewpoint Can We Make Twitter More Consumable For Teachers? 05/23/2015 by

      There was a time a few years ago when, for the tech-education zealots, Twitter was the thing. Every conference had its own hashtag (and still does), and the promise of sharing- the ease of sharing using Twitter was hard to resist. For many- it was addictive.

      Did the Twitter bubble pop?  Perhaps, looking through our own goggles, there never was a bubble.

      These “techucators” jumped on Twitter, connected, shared, and waited in droves for their school Personal Learning Networks (PLN) to explode. They did workshops, created all-school hashtags. And they waited. And waited. And…. today? Many of them are still waiting for the movement to take hold.

      Earlier in the year I posted real data about how little educators actually make a dent in Twitter and social networking. My colleague Josh Stumpenhorst likes to ask people in local conferences to “raise your hands if you’re on Twitter.” Since I’ve seen him speak a number of times, the responses over the years have grown from a handful of people to now- it’s usually a chuckle or a punchline as a few people raise their hands. I’ve personally seen more abandoned educator Twitter and Google+ accounts than used ones.

      Did the Twitter bubble pop?  Perhaps, looking through our own goggles, there never was a bubble.

      If, after this many years, we’re still hearing educators say, “I don’t get Twitter,” then maybe the problem is not the educator- but the tool.  Some of these are quite talented educators, so they’re no slouches. Since the #edchat hashtag explosion- Twitter (for some) has become a bullet train to chaos. Though, you might get it (I’ve been on Twitter since 2007), I’ve seen educators respond to Twitter chats as if they were looking at static on a television, circa 1983. Twitter has grown to a confusing mess that is even more challenging for the uninitiated to wrap their mind around.

      It can take a couple years to build a decent PLN, and I’m not sure most teachers would say that was an efficient use of their time.

      Is it Time For a New Tool? 

      What if there was a way to discover what’s happening on Twitter, the usefulness of the sharing there, the connectedness of the people we meet there, without the confusion? What if we could check out useful news, or education events in a way that was uncluttered, less noisy, and gave education content the way educators wanted to get it: either in their email, or through social media, or from discovery through an engaging website or mobile experience.

      I think for those teachers that “don’t get Twitter,” this is a way for them to make sense of it all.

      I’ve been experimenting with a new way to curate and publish content- to gather many of the content gems in one basket, as well as publish original content. It’s called The Department. It’s a running stream of content that is curated by myself and guest editors in the education realm. I think for those teachers that “don’t get Twitter,” this is a way for them to make sense of it all. Or, at the least, engage in it. It’s a place of education content discovery. It’s also a way for us to introduce and share social media tools (like Twitter) to educators that makes the first few steps- simple. Instead of static, it’s more like, HBO.

      We actually publish on other places on the Web (like this blog), and highlight those posts using hashtags. Now for the non-technical, don’t worry, that’s not really important, because what you end up getting is a curated stream of some of the best education news (EdNews), student and teacher projects (MakerEd), tools for teachers (EdTools), and custom curated Twitter chats like we did Saturday morning with #satchatwc (our custom page here). It’s digestible. It’s sharable. It’s simple.

      Over the years, I, as other teachers in technology education want as well, desire to help educators find great tools, find great resources without the clutter. As the education web has grown, there have only been more and more resources- which has made the Twitter chat phenomenon a love it or hate it experience.

      Let’s streamline that.

      Over the next few months, The Department will be inviting guest Editors, starting in June with Kevin Brookhouser. Kevin will be highlighting his favorite educators on Twitter, and The Department will be featuring his favorite hashtags, and pushing out their great content and tweets in a fun, palatable, engaging way.  We’ll also bring in some of our favorite education brands to highlight the best of education tools and products.

      Can do more with education and social media? Can we help education hit a tipping point in the media? Can we truly make education trend (and I mean nationally)?

      Let’s find out. Go to The Department to subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter or Facebook, and enjoy a streamlined, uncluttered education content experience.

      --> If you like this post, please share it along: About Daniel Rezac

      I'm an educator. I'm the Editor in Chief of The EdReach Network, passionate about how education is portrayed in the media. I teach. I publish. I play.

      Related Posts About Me.

      I'm the Director of Academic Tech for Quest Academy. I'm responsible for The Department, and frequently experiment on the web with education and social media. Find me on Twitter @drezac Read More…

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        Coding Bootcamps Emerge as Fast Tracks to 6 Figure Salaries | MindShift | KQED News

        Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 09:00
        We notice that you're currently using Internet Explorer version 8 or earlier. To ensure a better experience on our site, we recommend using a recent version of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. >KQED Menu Go Close Popular Sections KQED Public Media for Northern California MindShift Search Search for: Digital Tools Coding Bootcamps Emerge as Fast Tracks to 6 Figure Salaries By Anya Kamenetz Dec. 22, 2014
        At Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco, group lectures focus on teaching students to teach themselves.
        (Claudine Gossett/Dev Bootcamp)

        By Anya Kamenetz, NPR

        Marlon Frausto is in pursuit of the new American dream. Just a few weeks ago he left his job, in Hispanic marketing for the legal industry, and moved to San Francisco.

        Every day he wakes at 5:30 a.m., commutes 45 minutes by train, and studies until 9 or 10 at night. He’s spending down his savings and says he’s getting help from “my loving family.”

        At age 26, Frausto has gone back to school. Sort of. He’s enrolled in a brand-new kind of trade school: the immersive web-development program, also known as a “coder boot camp.” These programs promise, for several thousand dollars, to take people like Frausto and, in a manner of weeks, turn them into job-ready web developers.

        Virtually unknown just four years ago, today at least 50 of these programs have sprung up around the country and overseas. Collectively, the sector has taken in an estimated $73 million in tuition since 2011.

        And the top programs say they are placing the vast majority of their graduates into jobs earning just under six figures in a rapidly expanding field — filling a need for practical, hands-on skills that traditional college programs, in many cases, don’t.

        “The main portion [that attracted me] was the empowerment — being able to create something in terms of technology,” says Frausto, a slight man in a baseball cap with a mustache waxed straight out to sharp points. “That, and obtaining a trade.”

        Coder boot camps are poised to get much, much bigger. This past summer, Kaplan, one of the largest education companies, acquired Dev Bootcamp, where Frausto is enrolled. These programs constitute nothing less than a new business model for for-profit vocational education. But their creators believe their greatest innovation may actually be in the realm of learning itself.

        “This was a chance to think about education in a very different way, and the way I think education should be,” says Anne Spalding, the director of Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco.

        Spalding left a tenured position as a computer science professor at Colorado Mesa University to take this job just under two years ago. Her new “campus” is a well-worn floor of offices in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco’s central business district.

        There’s a space for daily yoga sessions for the 75-odd students, as required by the California vibe police. (Life coaches are also available, as are weekly sessions on social and emotional skills like empathy and giving and receiving feedback). There are rows of Macs everywhere and a kitchen where students keep bins of groceries — they’re usually working straight through breakfast, lunch and dinner.

        Spalding originally came to the city on sabbatical. She wound up helping with the very first cohort of Dev Bootcamp.

        “The primary difference [from a university] is the intensity of the program,” she says. That and the changed role of teachers, from being the “sole source of knowledge,” she explains, “to creating a guided learning environment where knowledge comes from everyone and is shared by everyone.”

        At Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco, students spend most of the day in the “lab,” pairing with one another on coding challenges.
        (Claudine Gossett/Dev Bootcamp)

        So, how do these programs work? I spent an afternoon at the San Francisco site to find out.

        Students have two quick lectures or Q&A sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, that focus on teaching them how to teach themselves. I heard one lecturer explain to brand-new students how to debug a program by Googling for help.

        Each lecture is followed by a coding challenge. Usually this is completed through a method called “pair programming”, a common industry practice where two programmers share duplicate screens, correcting each others’ mistakes as they go. In the final weeks, students propose and build a project. Then they spend a career week” working on their portfolios and interviewing skills.

        Uniting ‘Practice and Theory’

        Frausto is in the third three-week module of the program. On the day that I visit he is paired with Murat Gocmen, 35, originally from Turkey. The two of them are tasked with building a “clone” of a web site called Stack Overflow — a question-and-answer site where users can submit answers and vote them up or down.

        The two students put a yellow Post-it note atop their monitor, signaling that they’re stuck. A teacher, another student or a paid alumni mentor may come around to assist.

        “Practice and theory are one and the same here,” Frausto says. “I just thought it was a very integrated approach to education that isn’t available anywhere else.”

        Coder boot camps arose as an elegant solution to a problem of supply and demand.

        This is one of the fastest-growing areas of the job market, and average salaries are high: from $62,500 for a web developer to $93,350 for a software developer, and even higher in competitive cities like San Francisco. Outside the traditional tech fields, a basic familiarity with code is helpful in design, journalism, education, marketing, business, finance, scientific research, and many more.

        At the same time, in just the past five years, the nature of coding itself has changed. Programming languages like JavaScript and Ruby, essential for websites and web browser-based applications, are evolving to be increasingly powerful, even for novices.

        When you compare today’s toolkits, frameworks, and scripts to the earlier days of programming, it’s like the difference between hand-carving a set of wooden blocks to build a model house, and snapping together some Legos.

        It’s that technological progress that makes it plausible, just barely, for these programs to advertise that, in just 10 to 19 weeks: “We are teaching them enough to be able to get a job and get paid to keep learning,” in Spalding’s words.

        Patrick Sarnacke has hired many Dev Bootcamp and other “boot camp” graduates at ThoughtWorks. It’s a global software consultancy headquartered in Chicago and Sarnacke is head of the associate consultant program.

        “Just because someone has a four-year computer science degree doesn’t mean they’re going to be great coders in the business world,” he says. “A lot of traditional programs aren’t teaching the skills people need.”

        On the other hand, Sarnacke says, “The boot camps cut right to the chase.” While graduates generally have some weaknesses in the area of computer-science theory, “They have experience. They know the engineering practices and the software methodologies that we use.”

        Students learning to code at General Assembly in New York City.
        (Courtesy of General Assembly)

        Selling Access

        There are as many different ways to learn coding today as there are people who want to study it: free online tutorials like Codecademy; paid online communities like Treehouse; nonprofit, in-person mentoring groups like Black Girls Code; and of course traditional and online university programs.

        The coder boot camp is a hybrid of all of these that sprang up almost by accident. In the beginning of 2011, entrepreneur Shereef Bishay was teaching one of his best friends how to code. He thought it would be more fun in a group, so he posted on an online community called HackerNews that he was thinking of holding a 10-week intensive training to share what he knew about programming.

        In the first week he had over 200 applications, and Dev Bootcamp was off and running in San Francisco. They’ve since expanded to Chicago and New York. At about the same time, General Assembly, a co-working space in downtown Manhattan founded in 2010, began adding evening classes and workshops in design, technology, and entrepreneurship. In response to requests, they introduced their own full-time immersive web development program, which now has locations in Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong.

        These programs tend to claim that nine out of 10 of their graduates get hired, with starting salaries between $75,000 and $110,000. It’s difficult to independently verify these numbers.

        In exchange, Dev Bootcamp charges $12,200. General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive is $11,500. And don’t go looking for a Pell Grant or even a student loan. Coder boot camps are not accredited by any federal or state education agency, and they’re not interested in doing so. They will vouch that you’ve successfully completed the program, but that’s it.

        “We’re not selling a degree. We’re selling an experience, a job, and access to our community,” says Jake Schwartz, co-founder of General Assembly. (General Assembly has begun work on a set of alternative credentials that it hopes will be recognized by industry partners like GE.)

        Regulatory Questions

        In January, a division of the California Office of Consumer Affairs that regulates trade schools warned General Assembly and several other boot camps that they could face fines up of to $50,000 and a shutdown if they didn’t come into compliance with the regulations that govern such schools.

        But Schwartz says the state was asking for little more than basic measures, like an enrollment agreement that clearly discloses all terms of the program. “At the end of the day their goal is not regulating what we teach, it’s consumer protection, which we are very much in favor of.”

        Somewhat paradoxically, Schwartz argues that this lack of regulation is part of what keeps his business honest, and sets it apart from the bulk of the for-profit education industry.

        “The problem with for-profits has been that they evolved to become machines for gobs of Title IV funding,” he says, referring to the category that covers federal higher-education aid. Indeed, for-profit technical schools get as much as 90 percent of their money from these sources. In response to increased regulatory pressure and bad publicity, enrollment across the sector has fallen sharply in recent years.

        By contrast, at a coder boot camp, students are paying out of pocket, which should in theory make them more attentive to the question of return on investment. “Our students are taking on a significant risk here,” says Spalding. “They’re looking to change their lives.”

        Boot camps demand a full-time, if short, commitment, and offer few scholarships (Dev Bootcamp has a $500 discount for veterans, minorities and women). That makes them more elite than, say, a community college or typical online program.

        Participants tend to have resources, and at least some college and work experience. They are not much more diverse than the predominantly white, male tech workforce in general.

        The application process for Dev Bootcamp is similar to a job application, and people complete a 9-week, part-time introduction online before they come to campus. And, Dev Bootcamp says, about 95 percent complete the program — that includes those who repeat the first six weeks, which you can do for free.

        All this helps explain their stellar reported job-placement rates. But it also would seem to place a limit on growth.

        Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down

        If you comb comment threads on websites, you’ll find some disgruntled boot camp participants.

        “I quit my job, emptied my bank account and essentially abandoned my family for almost three months pursuing my education at Dev Bootcamp. All of this for training which was far less effective than the website made it out to be, and a promised career as a developer which has yet to materialize, and I don’t expect will ever materialize,” wrote a user named “ingbird” on a site called techendo.com.

        “It’s really the Wild Wild West of education,” says Dan Gailey. He started techendo to collect independent reviews of boot camps after being unable to get verifiable information on job-placement rates from the schools themselves. “Some people really loved [their experience], and learned a lot. Some people don’t. They feel like they were taken.”

        The top coder boot camps have lots of happy graduates too.

        Laura Mead graduated from UCLA in June 2013 as an English major and went to Dev Bootcamp that fall. As she was completing the program, she was recruited by the sales software company Salesforce; and a few weeks ago, Twitter hired her away from there, into a six-figure engineering position.

        “I’m not afraid to say I can learn whatever you need me to learn,” says the 23-year-old. “That’s the way a lot of DBC people get hired.”

        Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Explore: Digital Tools, Show Comments (4) Hide Comments Sponsored by Become a KQED sponsor Post navigation About MindShift MindShift explores the future of learning in all its dimensions. Learn more about MindShift here. About KQED Copyright © 2015 KQED Inc. All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us Send to Email Address Your Name Your Email Address Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Email check failed, please try again Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. CONCAT via Grunt. -> --> -->
        Categories: Miscellaneous

        School Buses add WiFi to Bring Internet to Homes of Poor Students | MindShift | KQED News

        Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 09:00
        We notice that you're currently using Internet Explorer version 8 or earlier. To ensure a better experience on our site, we recommend using a recent version of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. >KQED Menu Go Close Popular Sections KQED Public Media for Northern California MindShift Search Search for: Digital Tools School Buses add WiFi to Bring Internet to Homes of Poor Students By Dec. 24, 2014

        By Nichole Dobo, The Hechinger Report

        Near the shore of the murky Salton Sea in this southern California desert, a bus drives up to West Shores High School each day with a critical connection: A Wi-Fi router mounted behind an interior mirror, providing Internet access for students whose homes aren’t wired.

        At night, the bus driver parks on a sand driveway in a trailer park. There, the hotspot is available to students as long as the battery lasts. On most nights, it fades after one hour.

        “I had kids sitting outside my office yesterday because they want to connect to the Internet at, like, 6 o’clock at night,” said Darryl Adams, superintendent of schools of the Coachella Valley Unified District.

        Unlike the wired and wealthy Silicon Valley in northern California, many homes in the former resort town, about 65 miles north of the Mexican border do not have high-speed Internet. The school bus Wi-Fi program the district started this fall is one example of how a poor and underserved community is trying to help students get better connected.

        President Barack Obama mentioned the district’s efforts in a in a recent speech in Washington, D.C., calling the effort “really smart. You’ve got underutilized resources — buses in the evening — so you put the routers on, disperse them, and suddenly everybody is connected.”

        A Wi-Fi router is mounted behind the interior driver’s mirror inside this Coachella Valley Unified School District bus. (Credit: Nichole Dobo, The Hechinger Report)

        The effort comes at a time when a lack of internet access in homes and schools remains a huge challenge. Earlier this month the Federal Communications Commission voted to increase funding for the federal e-rate program, which provides money for school districts to access the Internet, by $1.5 billion for a total of $3.9 billion annually. But the money goes to schools, not home Internet access, and roughly half of low-income families nationwide lack Internet service.

        “Come on. We can do better than that as a nation, especially for our low-income families and our disadvantaged families,’’ said Adams of Coachella, where the school district is one of the nation’s poorest.

        The district spans about 1,220 square miles of craggy mountains and sandy valleys; nearly nine out of ten students in the district qualify for free or reduced price lunches. More than half of the children are not fluent in English. About 2,000 students are the children of migrant farm workers. Date groves, citrus trees and grapes vines flourish on irrigated land.

        Last year, district leaders gave every child a tablet computer to use in the classroom and at home. They trained teachers and set up in-house teams to improve lessons. This fall, they started the school bus Wi-Fi program, but so far only two buses have been fitted with Wi-Fi routers; the district has about 90 buses.

        Many children ride buses more than an hour each way to school. Their ride weaves through an unfinished housing development near the salty, man-made lake. Modest houses, RVs and trailers provide affordable homes for people who live here.

        At school, students use the tablets and the Internet to tap into a variety of educational resources, including self-paced lessons. After students got the tablet computers, completion rates for a required online health class increased, said Richard Pimentel, the West Shores principal.

        Jasmine Jimenez, 13, said she sometimes stays after school to finish her schoolwork. Her Internet connection at home is not reliable. If she could get online during her long ride home on the bus, she wouldn’t have to worry about getting someone to come late to school to pick her up.

        “It won’t be a big bug to ask your parents to pick you up,” she said.

        As more schools get online, and teachers develop lessons that make use of new technology, more people are paying attention to at-home access.

        “I think that’s the last frontier, the biggest divide,” said Sara Schapiro, the director of the League of Innovative Schools, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that works with districts to develop and share effective school technology plans.

        The educators at Coachella Unified still haven’t figured out all the logistics for the Wi-Fi school buses. Trailer parks are on private land, so each location requires cooperation from owners. And they need to find a way to keep the connection on longer than the hour of battery life available at night. The latest idea is mounting a solar panel on the bus, said Michelle Murphy, the district’s chief technology officer.

        The district must also carve out money to pay for this. They estimate it will cost about $290,000 for 90 buses, district officials said. Lacking that money, they started with what they could do now. The first wired bus went to West Shores High School because the need is greatest there.

        Jose Leon, 17, senior, said he is glad his school is investing in the Wi-Fi on school buses. He could have used it a few years earlier.

        “At that time, I didn’t have the Internet at home,” Leon said, “so, I mean, that would have been really helpful.”

        This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news website focused on inequality and innovation in education. 

        Explore: Digital Tools, , , Show Comments (2) Hide Comments
        • brianmiller

          This is a great. I was curious about how the wireless routers are accessing the internet. Most likely by searching for cell towers, as was done in busses in Arizona as reported in this story from 2010: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126888193

        • http://yourchildwillread.com Online ReadingTeacher

          If schools start doing this, tech will be created to make the access last longer…because the need is there. All lower income areas deserve this. One small step to lessening the gap.

        Sponsored by Become a KQED sponsor Post navigation About MindShift MindShift explores the future of learning in all its dimensions. Learn more about MindShift here. About KQED Copyright © 2015 KQED Inc. All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us Send to Email Address Your Name Your Email Address Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Email check failed, please try again Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. CONCAT via Grunt. -> --> -->
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        Researchers Examine Impact of Emerging Technologies on Education

        Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 08:30
        #cont_btn a { background-color: #F47421; } MENU Govtech.com Center for Digital Government Center for Digital Education Digital Communities Future Structure Public CIO Innovation Nation SUBSCRIB/su News / Events / Reports / Magazine / More --> Magazine / Subscribe / Newsletters / News / Events / Webinars / Papers / Advertise / About / More Close California Assemblyman Mike Gatto Talks Data Security, Tech Education How to Successfully Harvest Value from Open Data New Jersey Turns to Internet of Things to Improve Roadway Safety Why Skills Matter More than Ever in Our Data-Driven Economy Will New State Health-Care Mandates Stifle Telemedicine Progress? Baby Data: California Bill Seeks to Secure Newborns' DNA Close EDITORIAL COLUMNS DIGITAL MEDIA RESOURCES OUR NETWORK COMMUNITIES PROGRAMS INDUSTRY COMPANY Education Researchers Examine Impact of Emerging Technologies on Education Various studies conducted by universities across the U.S. shed light on approaches to incorporating tech in teaching and learning. by Benjamin Herold, Education Week / May 7, 2015 Flickr/Brad Flickinger #mail .box .share span {background: none !important;}

        (TNS) -- Academic researchers have begun formally examining the latest frontiers in educational technology use.

        Their focus: studying how emerging technologies that facilitate new types of hands-on student learning impact teaching, learning and classroom engagement. They're also looking at tech-enabled instructional practices that provide new windows in children's mental problem-solving processes.

        "We are exploring new territory," said Michael Tscholl, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He recently helped conduct a study of MEteor, a "whole-body, mixed-reality immersive simulation" funded by the National Science Foundation in the hope of improving students' grasp of commonly misunderstood concepts in planetary physics.

        RELATED Other research presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, held here April 16-20, examined "connected gardening," the use of digital-tablet screen-casting technology to plumb students' often-invisible strategies for solving math problems, and the push to get children creating their own digital learning games.

        What follows are descriptions of four different researchers' explorations of such new uses of ed tech, as presented at the AERA gathering.

        Merging Physical Movement and Virtual Understanding

        Most students harbor fundamental misunderstandings about how forces such as gravity and acceleration operate in outer space, said Michael Tscholl, the University of Wisconsin researcher.

        That's because their beliefs about physics tend to be based on their experiences in their own bodies, he said. A 7th grader living on earth, for example, needs energy and force in order to move. But the opposite is true for an object in space, which, once launched, will continue moving forever, until a countervailing force provides the energy to stop it.

        For decades, Mr. Tscholl said, teachers have tried to overcome their students' misunderstandings around such concepts by having them manipulate symbols on paper, or on computer screens.

        But now, he said, that approach is often regarded as ineffective. A superior strategy, some researchers believe, would encourage educators to embrace "embodied cognition," in which students are provided with opportunities for physical activities specifically designed to get them moving in ways that will help them to learn new ideas—and to unlearn some of what they already (incorrectly) believe.

        For example: MEteor, a room-size "simulation environment" that calls to mind a space-age version of the popular arcade video game Dance Dance Revolution.

        In MEteor, planets and other space objects are projected on the floor and walls. The students must predict the trajectory of an object moving through space by physically moving along the path they think a meteor (projected on the floor) will travel. Laser-scanning technology tracks their movements, offering real-time feedback on whether their predictions are correct. Based on that feedback, students adapt their beliefs about scientific principles, then adjust their movements to reflect what they are learning.

        In an experimental study involving 113 middle schoolers, the students who used the simulator (as opposed to a desktop-computer version of the same task) demonstrated greater gains in their understanding of physics concepts such as gravitational acceleration.

        They also were significantly more engaged, concentrated better on the task at hand, and reported a greater sense of feeling like a scientist themselves.

        And they had more fun.

        "What is quite clear is that students are scared of symbolic representations," Mr. Tscholl said. "We are trying to achieve something really big."

        The study is currently under review for publication.

        Designing a Novel Way to Peek Inside Students' Mathematical Thinking

        Many teachers already use screen-casting technology to capture the work displayed on digital devices and create lectures and tutorials for their students.

        But researchers at San Diego State University and the University of California, Davis, believe formative assessment could be an even more powerful use of such technology. One potential use: getting students to create a multilayered record of their thinking while attempting to solve math problems.

        Such an approach could help teachers "go beyond determining whether students correctly solved the problem, to understand why students solved the problem the way they did," wrote Melissa M. Soto and Rebecca Ambrose in an as-yet unpublished paper, presented at the research conference.

        To test these beliefs, Ms. Soto and Ms. Ambrose are conducting an ongoing study. During an early experiment, 10 students in grades 3-6 in California and Florida were asked to solve several multiplication, division, and fraction problems using an app called Explain Everything. The children generated screencasts of their problem-solving processes. They also recorded themselves as they verbally explained their work.

        The researchers observed and interviewed the students, then analyzed the resulting data and the student screencasts using an original rubric. Their focus was on determining whether the students' verbal explanations of their thinking reflected the problem-solving strategies they actually used, and whether those strategies led to a correct solution.

        Particularly noteworthy, Ms. Soto and Ms. Ambrose wrote, were those instances when "students' thinking went astray, or when their verbalizations and notations did not align." One student, for example, incorrectly solved a word problem that required division. By reviewing the screencast of the student's work in conjunction with her audio-recorded narration, the researchers were able to ascertain that the student had used a sound problem-solving strategy, but made an arithmetic error caused in part by her haste to finish quickly (and thus demonstrate that she was "good at math").

        Without the screencast, the authors wrote, "it would have been difficult to pinpoint where exactly the mismatch took place, and it could have been incorrectly concluded that [the student] did not understand the problem from the start."

        Expanded use of screen-casting for formative assessment, Ms. Soto and Ms. Ambrose concluded, has "the potential to transform the learning environment by allowing teachers to gain more insight into their students' mathematical thinking."

        They hope to submit their study for publication later this year.

        Blurring the Lines Between Playing and Making Digital Learning Games

        Over the past two decades, dozens of research studies have concluded that there is educational value in having students create and develop their own video games.

        Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the College of Charleston, in South Carolina, are working to synthesize that research into a coherent theoretical framework in support of "constructionist gaming." Their hope is to influence the growing "serious games" movement, which to date has focused primarily on the development of games for, rather than by, students.

        "We need [to] embrace a broader agenda that recognizes that opening access and participation in serious games is not solely a matter of making better games for learning, but allowing students themselves to make the games they would like to see and play," write Yasmin B. Kafai and Quinn Burke in a paper presented at the AERA meeting.

        From commercial video games that allow users to alter their avatars' experience, to the open-sandbox world of the hugely popular Minecraft, which includes both a "play" and a "create" mode, the world of digital games offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to create, make, and modify digital worlds.

        Such work, in both classroom and informal settings, has been demonstrated to help students increase their knowledge of both coding and academic content. In one study, for example, 4th graders who developed digital games to teach fractions to younger students better understood both fractions and the computer programming language Logo than a comparison group of students.

        Constructionist gaming also involves valuable opportunities for collaboration, Ms. Kafai and Mr. Burke wrote. They cited the online communities that have sprung up around such tools as Scratch (a student-friendly computer-programming language) and Arduino (small, inexpensive microprocessors that can be programmed like a computer).

        And making their own video games also offers students new outlets for creative expression and new opportunities to critically examine popular media, the researchers contend.

        Ms. Kafai and Mr. Burke are currently working on a book, Connected Gaming: What Video Game Making Can Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, that is to be published by MIT Press in fall 2016.

        "For children in the 21st century, encountering video games is no longer a novel experience in and of itself," they write in a draft of the book's introduction.

        In order to take serious gaming to the next level, the authors suggest, educators need to provide students with "a dual sense of being both 'player' and 'maker.' "

        'Connected Gardening'

        Through iPads and sensor-based "probeware" technology, along with a new curriculum and student-run gardens, researchers at Arizona State University in Tempe aim to help 4th graders become practicing scientists.

        Their "connected gardening" initiative allows students to design and develop their own garden plots, then operate technology that provides a constant stream of real-time data about soil-moisture levels, sunlight exposure, temperature, and more.

        In a related set of classroom lessons, students also learn about data visualization, data analysis, and plant-growth cycles—skills and information that allow them to adjust the design and operation of their gardens as they go.

        Through qualitative research methods, including observations, interviews, and analysis of student work, assistant professor of learning sciences Steven J. Zuiker and graduate student Kyle Wright concluded that such "cyber-physical systems" hold great potential for increasing student engagement and use of scientific practices.

        "Typically, garden-based learning has involved very discrete lessons, or powerful after-school programs unrelated to the curriculum," Mr. Zuiker said in an interview.

        But the "connected gardening" approach allows for interdisciplinary, project-based instruction, he said. It also "brings the classroom outside the school, with the potential to link with the community."

        The researchers are seeking to establish a network of school-based connected-gardening sites in Southwestern states.

        Their paper has been accepted for publication in the academic journal Interactive Learning Environments later this year.

        Coverage of "deeper learning" that will prepare students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world is supported in part by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, at www.hewlett.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.

        ©2015 Education Week (Bethesda, Md.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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        Critical Reflection – To Game or Not To Game | Another Byte of Knowledge

        Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 08:15
        Another Byte of Knowledge One Idea At A Time. Menu Skip to content May 24 2015 Critical Reflection – To Game or Not To Game Posted on May 24, 2015 by

        As I started INF 541 – Game-Based Learning, I was fairly naive.  The only personal understanding I had of games was that they were something that people do on an iPhone, iPad or a game console.  I had never really played any games on my laptop apart from Solitaire or Chess and really the games I engaged in were time wasters or for entertainment.  I had observed my own children playing Minecraft with their friends whilst on Skype and strategising over how to become the best clan in Clash of Clans and I was curious about the role of games in education.  How do games provide learning?

        Professionally, I had an experience a few years ago in implementing Gamestar Mechanic into the library to introduce the students to the idea of game design as another form of text and using their learning in a creative way.  Little did I know that there has been a whole lot of research being done in this area of game-based learning.

        That is definitely one of the big learning moments I have had this session in that I realised that research is vital before effective implementation of game-based learning can take place.  It was very frustrating as a primary school teacher librarian though as I soon discovered that there was very little research into game-based learning in the primary school. I noted this from the outset in our Module 1 discussions. My observation is that games are being used in primary schools but I could hardly find the information relevant to my learning context.  This was supported by research I found and used in my first assessment where “Caponetto, Earp & Ott (2013) where they searched for papers that dealt with the actual integration of games into classrooms, of the 753 papers their search discovered and after application of the criteria for their purpose, only 78 papers were returned.”

        It also became apparent in my participation on Twitter ( a new experience for me this session) that the use of games in education is a ‘hot topic’ right now.  There is so much being shared through this platform and one learning I have also made is that while I retweeted some of these articles, I really wanted to discuss some of the ideas within them.  Games as advancing education, ways to use Minecraft, how to choose the best games for learning? it was all there on Twitter.  Those that lacked research and those that matched the research we had been accessing within this subject.  This is an area for self-improvement for me to focus on next session as I need to take the initiative to perhaps reflect on these using the affordances of the reflective blog that I have set up.

        Another major point of learning for me during this session is that there is more involved in using games than what can be seen on the screen (Gee, 2012).  I was starting to form a definition of what game-based learning is and thankfully the title of my reflective post mentioned that this definition was evolving. I would suggest now that I still agree with this initial definition but I would now include that just as there are different types and genres of books, the same can be said about games.  It is the teachers role to design learning practices after they have actively assessed and evaluated the potential and limitations of the game so that they can know: 1) how the game can assist in the learning; 2) rules/goals, characters, settings, how the game can be differentiated for different levels of play – or the mechanics of the game; 3) what other learning activities need to be incorporated alongside the game? (Routledge, 2009).  So, the game is not a replacement for the teacher and just as any other resource would be utilised in the classroom, so should the game intended for learning be scrutinised and selected according to the learners needs.

        My knowledge base has definitely been expanded by undertaking this unit of study and I can definitely see that the adoption of game-based learning needs to be strategic.  The affordances of game-based learning are so much more than being fun, engaging and motivating.  These can be seen in my Compendium chapter.  For me, there is still much more reading to be done and time to synthesise what has been read and shared away from the pressure of deadlines is needed.


        Caponetto, I., Earp, J., & Ott, M. (2013). Aspects of the Integration of Games into Educational Processes. International Journal of Knowledge Society Research (IJKSR), 3(4), 11-21. doi:10.4018/ijksr.2013070102

        Routledge, H. (2009). Games-based learning in the classroom and how it can work!. In T. Connolly, M. Stansfield, & L. Boyle (Eds.) Games-Based Learning Advancements for Multi-Sensory Human Computer Interfaces: Techniques and Effective Practices (pp. 274-286). Hershey, PA: . doi:10.4018/978-1-60566-360-9.ch016


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        The 8 Skills Students Must Have For The Future | Edudemic

        Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 08:00
        Menu Home Featured -Education & Teaching Degrees Online -30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Special Education -Online Colleges That Offer Laptops For Students The Teacher’s Guides For Students -Online Learning -Startups -Social Media -Tools For Teachers -How To -News -Online Learning -Startups -Social Media -Tools -Trends -Videos Home / Articles / The 8 Skills Students Must Have For The Future The 8 Skills Students Must Have For The Future By on April 2, 2015

        Editor’s note: This is a revised version of an article written by Katie Lepi that originally appeared on June 7th, 2014. We believe this information is still highly relevant, but we wanted to update it with the latest thinking. To do that, we invited writer Michael Sledd to take the reins.

        Education has traditionally focused on the basic “3Rs” of reading, writing and arithmetic. However, as the ever increasing pace of technological innovation drives changes in the world, educators must re-evaluate whether the skills they teach truly provide their students with the best opportunities to succeed in school, the workforce, and in life overall.

        This naturally leads to the question of what those skills are or will be, and while there are other excellent suggestions out there, Pearson’s 2014 edition of “The Learning Curve” report lists the 8 skills below as those most necessary to succeed in the 21st century.

        Understanding and Teaching These Skills

        In order to incorporate these skills into their lessons and to develop student ability in each area, teachers must first understand what these things truly mean.


        People have discussed leadership for centuries, and generated a wide array of different definitions and theories about what it means. While anyone interested in the field should of course explore further on their own, one good place to start working towards a basic understanding of current ideas about any topic is a contemporary review of the subject by scholars in the field.

        Perhaps even more importantly for educators than dogmatically fixating on a specific concept of leadership though, is to effectively teach it to students. Similar to above, there are many proposed methods for teaching leadership, and while sometimes expensive, once again it is often helpful to consult a comprehensive reference on the subject written by experts in the field.

        Overall, one common theme runs through most modern theories, which is that leadership is no longer necessarily about powerful individuals directing others. Rather, it is about fostering collaboration, working towards common goals, and acting as a leader in any role assumed, regardless of whether it meets the classical definition of a leader.

        Digital Literacy

        Digital literacy is the ability to use digital technology to locate, review, utilize and create new information. Unlike teaching leadership skills, which can be abstruse and subjective in nature, improving students’ digital literacy is generally a much more concrete process, with a wide variety of tools readily available, including an online Digital Literacy portal funded by the U.S. Federal government.

        In fact, for many educators, the difficulty in teaching some of these skills may stem from a lack of knowledge by the educators themselves relative to their pupils. Because of this, it is not only vital for instructors to ensure they incorporate digital literacy into their lessons in order to connect with their students, but that they keep up to speed and engage in lifelong learning themselves as well.

        Going along with this, creatively incorporating digital learning into lesson plans and maintaining student interest is also highly important. Strategies could include things that many educators may have never considered, such as utilizing Skype, texting, Twitter, or possibly even games.


        Fundamentally, regardless of language or medium, truly effective communication is about openly and honestly sharing information in a way that creates mutual understanding between all parties involved about the others’ thoughts, intentions and ideas, whether they agree or not.

        There are various barriers to effective communication, and teaching students techniques to overcome them will be more difficult for some of these barriers than others. Oftentimes, it helps to reflect on strategies you yourself can use to improve your own communication skills, and incorporate those into your less plans.

        Overcoming a physical impediment, including geographic and technological ones, is fairly simple and typically will require little instruction beyond the use of basic technology, although there may be monetary costs involved. Likewise, organizational barriers are often as easy to solve as asking around to determine who the best person is to approach concerning the issue.

        While significantly more complex than the above, helping students overcome language barriers and even communication problems facing students with certain disabilities can sometimes also be fairly straight-forward assuming those are the only issues involved and the necessary tools are available.

        The most difficult barriers to overcome though are going to be cultural, and even more so, psychological/attitudinal. In these cases, active listening is probably the most fundamental skill to develop for dealing with these type of communication issues, and will help greatly with most of the others as well.

        While a great deal of time is spent in education practicing information output, and static input such as reading or listening to lectures, less is spent engaging in open dialogue where students have to practice listening and engaging in discussions of ideas with one another or simply practice listening to what each other are saying non-judgmentally.

        The closest many students will come to this is playing “telephone” in elementary school, after which this skill will largely go un-nurtured. Some might point to debate activities, but these are geared towards winning an argument, which while developing other valuable skills, by its nature will never be a truly open dialogue. Teachers who can successfully devise activities that educate their students on active listening techniques will provide those students with a useful skill throughout life.

        Emotional Intelligence

        The U.S. Office of Personnel Management defines emotional intelligence (EI) as “a type of social competence involving the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” (Source)

        Many educators already implement strategies to promote emotional intelligence, with “Social Emotional Learning” or SEL being perhaps the best regarded.

        Overall, emotional intelligence provides a strong support to a well-balanced student. Educators would be remiss to neglect this aspect of growth and development, particularly given the wealth of scholarly research and guidance readily available on the internet regarding the topic. Together with communication, emotional intelligence is essential in building and maintaining relationships in both the classroom and the workplace.


        Most people are familiar with the concept of entrepreneurship as it relates to business, and in fact, Merriam-Webster defines it as “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money.”

        That said, fundamentals of entrepreneurship such as creativity, drive, innovation, and passion, can apply to any venture, whether it is in the business or entertainment worlds, or the non-profit and public sectors. Some would say that at its real core, entrepreneurial spirit is about people having a unique vision for their place in the world and sacrificing and striving towards making it a reality, regardless of whether a financial profit is involved.

        Regardless of the specifics of the definition, instilling or cultivating this sort of active, motivated mindset in students regarding education is guaranteed to lead to improved success rates. There are many ideas out there concerning entrepreneurship classroom activities that could be adopted, modified or simply used as springboards for ideas by teachers to suit their specific needs.

        Global Citizenship

        With digital connectivity and modern transportation shrinking the figurative distances between people more and more, and global economies binding different nations closer and closer together, it is increasingly difficult for even the most resistant to ignore or not accept that we are all citizens of the same planet and must work together to ensure its continuance as a livable place.

        As part of this, it is essential to begin educating students about this fact at a young age so that they can understand their place in the world around them. One way to get started in creating a globalized classroom is to look around at other teachers’ experiences, as detailed in this Edudemic article we published earlier this year.

        For a more in-depth, academic look at the issue, it is also useful to explore journal publications specifically on the subject of global citizenship education.

        Problem-solving and Team-working

        Of all the skills discussed, problem solving and team-working are the most closely aligned with traditional educational methods. This does not however mean that there are not innovative methods of involving problem solving and team-work in curricula. Perhaps most importantly, rather than seeking out problem solving projects that are exceptionally difficult in one way or another, or where team-work is simply a method for educating a larger group more efficiently, look to create projects where the solution will require a the use of all the skills mentioned, with problem solving and team-working skills being improved organically while acting as a nexus for the entire classroom to develop.


        Do you already incorporate these ideas into all of your classes? Which do you find hardest? What other skills not mentioned do you think are becoming just as important as the traditional “3Rs”? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.



        Related Items ← Previous Story Next Story → You may also like... 5 Comments
        1. Essay Thinker

          April 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm

          With the expansion of time, competition in every field of life is increasing so students must have some skills to fulfill their dreams and win good career opportunity as well. You’re motivating students to possess these skills to have worthy future. Among all, the most necessary are communication, entrepreneurship, and intelligence because these skills are always tested while interview.

        2. Kyle

          April 13, 2015 at 8:19 pm

          Great list!

        3. Esther Mildenhall

          April 26, 2015 at 12:27 pm

          The idea of a basic set of skills that education should be teaching students is fundamental to a lot of discussions about education. I like this new way of thinking about it, with more communication/team-based skills rather than academic skills. This list of skills is much more of a list of important skills to have for success in life than the traditional reading, writing, and arithmetic. Reading, writing, and arithmetic seem like more basic knowledge that should be background skills underlying the others. One can use reading and writing to help with communication and leadership, and arithmetic to help with problem solving, for example.

          These skills, especially emotional intelligence, team-working, and communication, are things that don’t seem like very classroom teachable things. At least, there is no lecture that can be set up to simply deposit the knowledge like there could be for a fact-based academic subject. Thus they show the importance of experiential learning and non-traditional classroom setups and perhaps require a change in the way classrooms are thought of.

          Including digital literacy and global citizenship in this list shows the importance of adapting education to the changing world. Digital literacy becomes more and more important as technology becomes more integrated in society, and global citizenship is connected to this increase in technology.

        4. Stunited

          April 28, 2015 at 11:05 pm

          Amazing article..thanks for sharing such an useful informative.With the growing time we need to have skills above mentioned skill for getting success in future.

        5. Ford

          May 18, 2015 at 1:19 pm

          Please clean up the typos. They work against the intended message.

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        Categories: Miscellaneous

        How to Get Free Classroom Supplies and Teaching Materials | Edudemic

        Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 08:00
        Menu Home Featured -Education & Teaching Degrees Online -30 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Special Education -Online Colleges That Offer Laptops For Students The Teacher’s Guides For Students -Online Learning -Startups -Social Media -Tools For Teachers -How To -News -Online Learning -Startups -Social Media -Tools -Trends -Videos Home / Articles / How to Get Free Classroom Supplies and Teaching Materials How to Get Free Classroom Supplies and Teaching Materials By on May 23, 2015

        Increasingly, Lilliputian budgets force teachers to reach into their own pockets to buy school supplies and teaching materials. In fact, according to a recent Forbes article, teachers spent an average of $513 of their own money on classroom materials in the 2013-2014 school year. While that amount may seem paltry in other professions, it’s a hefty chunk of a teacher’s salary. The good news is that educators don’t have to choose between paying their bills and supplying their classrooms.  Read on to learn about alternative sources of funding for educational materials.

        Past Solutions to Ill-Equipped Classrooms

        Image via Flickr by stevendepolo

        To teachers, it’s no revelation to hear that a lack of school funding places creates inordinate burdens. Millions of teachers have resigned themselves to the fact that purchasing school supplies out of pocket is just a hazard of the trade. One teacher spending study by the National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA) found that 99.5 percent of public school teachers spent some of their own money on classroom materials for the 2013 school year. All told, teachers paid $1.6 billion out of pocket for supplies.

        With a problem this widespread, someone surely must have thought of a few solutions by now. Indeed, Edutopia offered an insightful article addressing this issue in 2009. The article suggested six ways that teachers can access free classroom supplies, including organizing materials drives and posting gift registries. Building on Edutopia’s foundation, the following list offers updated resources for teachers looking for free educational materials.


        Classroom Crowdfunding

        As our very own Amanda Ronan wrote in her March 2015 article on this very subject, Crowdfunding is a novel concept that leverages the Internet’s expansive reach to raise money for endeavors that otherwise would perish in unfunded obscurity. Crowdfunding has financed everything from award-winning, amateur-made documentaries to the development of video game system prototypes.

        Now, through sites like DonorsChoose.org, teachers can tap into the crowdfunding craze as well. Here, teachers can request specific items and explain how they will benefit their students. Individuals, businesses, and non-profits help fill the requests, and Donors Choose sends the supplies directly to the classroom. To raise 36 percent more from your crowdfunding campaign, be sure that you follow the advice of the National Education Association (NEA) and incorporate social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Social media neophytes can consult our Teacher’s Guide to Twitter for additional help.


        Local Businesses

        Partnering with local businesses to equip classrooms can prove lucrative, especially if teachers properly incentivize companies. Of course, partnering with the primary purveyors of supplies is the first order of business: Reach out to grocery stores, office supply stores, and superstores with your requests. Remind reluctant businesses that their donations to your school qualify as a tax write-off. If a business won’t provide you with supplies for free, try to at least negotiate a discount.

        Don’t underestimate the value of partnering with other businesses as well. For instance, an NEA article on getting materials for free tells the story of teachers who approach local restaurants for free gift cards. They then use the cards in the classroom as rewards for students. Likewise, you might be able to partner with a restaurant to sponsor a fundraiser. Explore the possibility of inviting members of the community to a restaurant for a fundraising dinner and then having the owner donate a portion of the proceeds to your school supply fund.


        The same NEA article urges teachers not to overlook larger companies either. The article relates the stories of several teachers who have received free electronic equipment, comic books, and other materials simply by writing to the company. In your letter, describe the population of your school and how you want to use the item. If the business declines your request, follow up by asking if they know of anyone who could help fill the need.


        Contests and Sweepstakes

        Companies like 3M, OfficeMax and Quill Corporation routinely offer contests, giveaways, grants, and more for classrooms in need. For example, 3M sponsors the Science of Everday Life Sweepstakes in which one teacher receives a classroom gift box worth $60 every month. To find out about contests like these, teachers can visit websites like PennilessTeacher.com and WeAreTeachers.com.

        Right now, Penniless Teacher has contests like the Hotspot Giveaway, the prize for which is a device that allows classroom tablets to connect to the Internet from anywhere. Similarly, on We Are Teachers, last year Bearitos Food Company ran a contest that awarded a $2,500 classroom grant while runners-up won two classroom mini-tablets.



        Involve Your Students

        Getting your students involved in contests serves a dual purpose: They get an opportunity to showcase their talents, and your school can benefit from the rewards. For example, No Kid Hungry recently sponsored a contest encouraging teens to speak out against childhood hunger. The contest solicited film, art, essays, and poetry from students in 7th through 12th grades. The grand prizewinners received a $500 scholarship as well as a $200 donation to their schools. Both of the sites recommended earlier also advertise contests for students, so check back regularly for new opportunities.

        NEA’s 10 Free Things

        Every month, the NEA posts a list of 10 things available online for free that educators might find useful. This site does the work of combing through the Web for you, posting 10 new resources every 30 days. In January 2015, the resources included materials for a simulated crime lab for grades 5-7. The activity had students collect and analyze evidence by following the instructions on the lesson extensions and worksheets. Teachers can also find free resources available from other government agencies and institutions through the NEA’s 10 Free Things page.

        In Short

        Funding a classroom on a teacher’s salary is as untenable as it is unfair. With so many alternative funding options available, teachers can access the supplies that they need without dipping into their own pockets.

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        Categories: Miscellaneous

        The Times Unloads On Cuomo's Awful Education Tax Credit

        Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 07:45
        Menu Home Andrew Cuomo Education Legislature The Times Unloads On Cuomo’s Awful Education Tax Credit Andrew Cuomo, Education, Legislature The Times Unloads On Cuomo’s Awful Education Tax Credit Phillip Anderson 17 hours ago No Comments


        The New York Times is not a fan of Andrew Cuomo’s latest giveaway to his fat cat donors, the so-called education tax credit.

        Gov. Andrew Cuomo can talk passionately about improving New York’s “failing public schools,” but when he made that point at churches and a yeshiva last Sunday it was, at best, disingenuous. He was there to sell his bill that would help private and parochial schools, by offering big tax credits to their donors. This energetic effort for an expensive and possibly unconstitutional bill that Mr. Cuomo has named the Parental Choice in Education Act could cost the state more than $150 million a year. That money should be used to help almost 2.7 million public school students in the state, not given to wealthy donors subsidizing mainly private or religious schools.

        Elizabeth Lynam, a budget expert for New York’s Citizens Budget Commission, called the bill “an extremely lucrative benefit likely to serve the state’s wealthiest taxpayers.” Many of the people who would get the credit already support their favorite private or parochial schools, she said. A tax credit to encourage them isn’t needed.

        The bill would allow a 75 percent credit on donations of up to $1 million for each individual or corporation contributing to funds for students in private or parochial schools. That is a huge change from existing law, which offers far less lucrative tax deductions. Typically, for the wealthiest taxpayers, the maximum state tax deduction on $1 million is about $22,000. The Cuomo plan would cap the number of tax credits it gives out and create a complicated system of deadlines and requirements before donors could get the full benefits. Those difficulties add to the suspicion that only someone with a fancy accountant could easily take advantage of this tax bonus.


        With this misguided bill, Mr. Cuomo may have found plenty of support from religious leaders and private school donors. But his efforts seems jarring, given his record of seeking more accountability in schools. The state has little say in private and parochial schools over testing, the teaching of basic subjects or other data collection required for assessing a good education.

        Moreover, taxpayer support for religious education has been banned by the state Constitution for over a century. Exceptions were made long ago for universal needs like transportation and special education, but there are questions as to whether the kind of public support for religious schools the bill proposes would be prohibited.

        The Times is right. This is bad policy. It’s bad governance. It further neglects public schools. It’s almost certainly unconstitutional. It seems oddly at odds with Cuomo’s push for more accountability from public schools. And it appears specifically engineered to mostly benefit deep pocketed political donors, as Strong Economy For All Coalition’s Mike Kink points out:

        According to Michael Kink, executive director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition, seven multimillionaires who donated the most to schools — a combined $600,000 — also gave more than $4 million in campaign funds to state leaders including Gov. Andrew Cuomo who received a combined $80,000.

        “This is a dangerous mash-up of right-wing tax policy and business-as-usual in Albany,” Kink said. “[Major donors] used the ‘educational fund’ to educate candidates for public office about why they should use their public office to benefit the billionaires.”

        John Flanagan, new state Senate majority leader and former chair of the Education Committee is firmly in support of the tax credit, as is his entire conference. The only hope of stopping this truly terrible proposal before it reaches Cuomo’s desk is the Carl Heastie’s Democratic conference in the Assembly. I’ve heard nothing from the Assembly Democrats that would suggest that they are interested in passing this in the waning days of the legislative session.

        Here’s to hoping that doesn’t change.

        You may also like Cuomo Blinks, Reverses Terrible Email Purge Policy Phillip Anderson 2 months ago Lots of Cuomo Admin Departures, No Replacements. What Gives? Phillip Anderson 5 months ago Whoopi for WFP as Cuomo Sharpens Knives Phillip Anderson 7 months ago Cuomo, Lawmakers Should Dread Bharara And Dinapoli’s Working Lunch Phillip Anderson 5 months ago How Much Is Cuomo Stealing From Your Kids? Michael Bouldin 3 months ago Shelly Doesn’t Actually Like Public Graft Michael Bouldin 4 months ago About The Author Phillip Anderson More from this Author

        I'm the co-founder and Publisher of The Albany Project. I live in Brooklyn with two rescue dogs, Molly and another "dog shaped" entity of unknown provenance named The Stew. I was once going to be a documentary filmmaker before George W. Bush, the Iraq War and Howard Dean sucked me into politics. I once served, for some reason, as the New Media Director for the New York State Senate. I like cooking food for people. And Rock and Roll. And Doctor Who.

        The Albany Project Copyright © 2015.
        Categories: Miscellaneous

        Resistance to High Stakes Tests Serves the Cause of Equity in Education: A Reply to “We Oppose Anti-Testing Efforts” – The Network For Public Education

        Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 07:45
        The Network For Public Education | Resistance to High Stakes Tests Serves the Cause of Equity in Education: A Reply to “We Oppose Anti-Testing Efforts” Resistance to High Stakes Tests Serves the Cause of Equity in Education: A Reply to “We Oppose Anti-Testing Efforts” May 5, 2015 Civil Rights, NPE, Testing / Opting Out

        Authored by Jesse Hagopian and the NPE Board of Directors

        Today several important civil rights organizations released a statement that is critical of the decision by many parents and students to opt out of high stakes standardized tests. Though we understand the concerns expressed in this statement, we believe high stakes tests are doing more harm than good to the interests of students of color, and for that reason, we respectfully disagree.

        The United States is currently experiencing the largest uprising against high-stakes standardized testing in the nation’s history. Never before have more parents, students, and educators participated in acts of defiance against these tests than they are today.  In New York State some 200,000 families have decided to opt their children out of the state test.  The largest walkout against standardized tests in U.S. history occurred in Colorado earlier this school year when thousands refused to take the end of course exams.  In cities from Seattle, to Chicago, to Toledo, to New York City, teachers have organized boycotts of the exam and have refused to administer particularly flawed and punitive exams.

        Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attempted to dismiss this uprising by saying that opposition to the Common Core tests has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.” Secretary Duncan’s comment is offensive for many reasons. To begin, suburban white moms have a right not to have their child over tested and the curriculum narrowed to what’s on the test without being ridiculed. But the truth is his comment serves to hide the fact that increasing numbers of people from communities of color are leading this movement around the nation, including:


        You would expect the multi-billion dollar testing industry not to celebrate this resistance. Conglomerates such as Pearson, the over 9 billion dollar per year corporation that produces the PARCC test, could stand to lose market share and profits if the protests continue to intensify. But it is unfortunate that more civil rights groups have not come to the aid of communities resisting the test-and-punish model of education. In a recent statement issued by the national leadership of some of the nation’s most prominent civil rights organizations, they wrote:

        Data obtained through some standardized tests are particularly important to the civil rights community because they are the only available, consistent, and objective source of data about disparities in educational outcomes even while vigilance is always required to ensure tests are not misused.

        We agree that it is vital to understand the disparities that exist in education and to detail the opportunity gap that exists between students of color and white students, between lower income students and students from more affluent families. There is a long and troubling history of schools serving children of color not receiving equitable access to resources and not providing these students with culturally competent empowering curriculum. Moreover, the schools are more segregated today than they were in the 1960s—a fact that must be particularly troubling to the NAACP that fought and won the Brown vs Board of Education desegregation decision. For these reasons, we understand why national civil rights organizations are committed to exposing the neglect of students of color.

        Yet we know that high-stakes standardized tests, rather than reducing the opportunity gap, have been used to rank, sort, label, and punish students of color.  This fact has been amply demonstrated through the experience of the past thirteen years of NCLB’s mandate of national testing in grades 3-8 and once in high school. The outcomes of the NCLB policy shows that test score achievement gaps between African American and white students have only increased, not decreased. If the point of the testing is to highlight inequality and fix it, so far it has only increased inequality. Further, the focus on test score data has allowed policy makers to rationalize the demonization of schools and educators, while simultaneously avoiding the more critically necessary structural changes that need to be made in our education system and the broader society.

        We also know that standardized testing is not the only, or the most important, method to know that students of color are being underserved; student graduation rates, college attendants rates, studies showing that wealthier and predominantly white schools receiving a disproportionate amount of funding are all important measures of the opportunity gap that don’t require the use of high-stakes standardized tests.

        The civil rights organizations go on to write in their recent statement on assessment,

        That’s why we’re troubled by the rhetoric that some opponents of testing have appropriated from our movement. The anti-testing effort has called assessments anti-Black and compared them to the discriminatory tests used to suppress African-American voters during Jim Crow segregation. They’ve raised the specter of White supremacists who employed biased tests to ‘prove’ that people of color were inferior to Whites.

        There are some legitimate concerns about testing in schools that must be addressed. But instead of stimulating worthy discussions about over-testing, cultural bias in tests, and the misuse of test data, these activists would rather claim a false mantle of civil rights activism.

        To begin, we agree with these civil rights organizations when they write that over-testing, cultural bias in tests, and misuse of test data are “legitimate concerns about testing in schools that must be addressed”—and in fact we hope to hear more from these civil rights organizations about these very real and destructive aspects of high-stakes standardized testing.  Moreover, we believe that when these civil rights organizations fully confront just how pervasive over-testing, cultural bias and misuse of data is in the public education system, these facts alone will be enough to convince them join the mass civil rights opt out uprising that is happening around the nation. Let us take each one of these points in turn.

        • Over testing

        The American Federation of Teachers (AFT, the second largest teacher’s union in the nation) conducted a 2013 study based on a analysis of two mid-size urban school districts that found the time students spent taking tests claimed up to 50 hours per year. In addition, the study found that students spent from between 60 to more than 110 hours per year directly engaged in test preparation activities. The immense amount of time devoted to testing has resulted in students in a constant state of preparation for the next high-stakes exam rather than learning the many skills that aren’t measured by standardized tests such as critical thinking, collaboration, civic courage, creativity, empathy, and leadership. The new Common Core tests are only in math and language arts and thus have served to skew the curriculum away from the arts, physical education, civics, social studies, science, music, and a myriad of other subjects that students of color are too often denied access to.

        • Cultural bias

        Standardized tests have repeatedly been found to contain cultural biases. The process by which test questions are “normed” tends to eliminate questions that non-white students answer correctly in higher numbers. In New York, the number of Black students rated “below standard” jumped from 15.5% to 50% with the introduction of new Common Core tests. English learners did even worse – 84% tested “below standard” on the new tests. This sort of failure has devastating effects on students, and does not reflect their true abilities.

        • Violations of student privacy

        Common Core tests are associated with the collection of unprecedented levels of data from individual students, with few safeguards for student privacy. These systems allow for-profit testing companies, and third party companies, access to information that could be used against the interests of students in the future.

        However, if those problems weren’t enough there are a myriad of other ways that these high-stakes standardized tests are being used to perpetuate institutional racism.  Perhaps the most curious omission from their letter is the fact that they assert that, “The anti-testing effort has called assessments anti-Black and compared them to the discriminatory tests used to suppress African-American voters during Jim Crow segregation,” yet they offer no rebuttal of the assertion that the standardized tests today share many of the characteristics of the discriminatory exams of the past.  As a recent editorial by the social justice periodical Rethinking Schools asserted:

        The United States has a long history of using intelligence tests to support white supremacy and class stratification. Standardized tests first entered the public schools in the 1920s, pushed by eugenicists whose pseudoscience promoted the “natural superiority” of wealthy, white, U.S.-born males. High-stakes standardized tests have disguised class and race privilege as merit ever since. The consistent use of test scores to demonstrate first a “mental ability” gap and now an “achievement” gap exposes the intrinsic nature of these tests: They are built to maintain inequality, not to serve as an antidote to educational disparities.

        This is why some of the most prominent early voices of opposition to standardized testing in schools came from leading African American scholars such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Horace Mann Bond, and Howard Long. Du Bois, one of the most important Black intellectuals in the history of the United States and a founding member of the NAACP, recalled in 1940, “It was not until I was long out of school and indeed after the [first] World War that there came the hurried use of the new technique of psychological tests, which were quickly adjusted so as to put black folk absolutely beyond the possibility of civilization.”

        The great educator and historian Horace Mann Bond, in his work “Intelligence Tests and Propaganda,” wrote this statement that so clearly reveals one of the primary flaws of standardized testing that persist to this day:

        But so long as any group of men attempts to use these tests as funds of information for the approximation of crude and inaccurate generalizations, so long must we continue to cry, “Hold!” To compare the crowded millions of New York’s East Side with the children of Morningside Heights [an upper-class neighborhood at the time] indeed involves a great contradiction; and to claim that the results of the tests given to such diverse groups, drawn from such varying strata of the social complex, are in any wise accurate, is to expose a fatuous sense of unfairness and lack of appreciation of the great environmental factors of modern urban life.

        Bond was expressing then what is today known as the “Zip Code Effect,”—the fact that what standardized tests really measure is a student’s proximity to wealth and the dominant culture, resulting in wealthier, and predominately whiter, districts scoring better on tests. Their scores do not reflect the intelligence of wealthier, mostly white students when compared to those of lower-income students and students of color, but do reflect the advantages that wealthier children have—books in the home, parents with more time to read with them, private tutoring, access to test-prep agencies, high-quality health care, and access to good food, to name a few. This is why attaching high-stakes to these exams only serves to exacerbate racial and class inequality.

        This point was recently driven home by Boston University economics professors Olesya Baker and Kevin Lang’s 2013 study, “The School to Prison Pipeline Exposed.” In this peer-reviewed study they reveal that the increases in the use of high-stakes standardized high school exit exams are linked to higher incarceration rates. This landmark study should be a clarion call to everyone interested in ending mass incarceration to end the practice of high-stakes exit exams in high school and work towards authentic assessments.

        A July, 2010 statement authored by many of the same civil rights organizations that penned the aforementioned letter titled, “Framework for Providing All Students an Opportunity to Learn through Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” stated:

        The practice of tracking students by perceived ability is a major civil rights obstacle…Ideally, we must provide opportunities for all students to prepare for college and careers without creating systems that lead to racially and regionally identifiable tracks, which offer unequal access to high-quality.

        We agree with this statement and thank these civil rights organizations for raising concerns about the terrible effects of tracking on the public schools and the detriment that tracking has been to Black students, other students of color, and low-income students.  We only want to emphasize that the standardized exams they are now defending are one of the most significant contributing factors to the tracking and racial segregation of students into separate and unequal programs and schools.

        In that same “Framework” document the civil rights groups write:

        Because public schools are critical community institutions especially in urban and rural areas, they should be closed only as a measure of last resort. And where a school district deems school closure necessary solely for budgetary or population reasons, the burdens cannot be allowed to fall disproportionately on our most vulnerable communities.

        Again, we agree, but we want to point out that it is the use of test scores in labeling schools as “failing” that have contributed to clear cutting of schools that serve students of color in cities around the nation—most notably the closing of 50 schools in Chicago last year all in Black and Brown neighborhoods.

        We call on the civil rights community to support the work of educators around the nation who are working to develop authentic forms of assessment that can be used to help support students to develop critical thinking. Innovative programs like the New York Performance Standards Consortium have a waiver from state standardized tests and instead use performance based assessments that have produced dramatically better outcomes for all students, even though they have more special needs students than the general population—and have demonstrated higher graduation rates, better college attendance rates, and smaller racial divides in achievement than the rest of New York’s public schools.

        Finally, we ask that you consider the rousing call to action against the new Common Core tests that was recently issued by the Seattle/King County NAACP chapter in the following statement:

        It is the position of the Seattle King County Branch of the NAACP to come out against the Smarter Balanced Assessment tests, commonly referred to as SBAC. Seattle and Washington State public schools are not supplied with proper resources and a lack of equity within our schools continue to exist.

        The State of Washington cannot hold teachers responsible for the outcome of students test results; when these very students are attending schools in a State that ranks 47th out of 50 States in the Nation when it comes to funding education. Furthermore, Washington State cannot expect the majority of students to perform well on increased targeted performance assessments while the State continues to underfund education in direct violation of a Washington State Supreme Court Order. We also know that our students of color are disproportionately underfunded and will disproportionately be labeled failing by the new SBAC test.

        For this reason, we view the opt out movement as a vital component of the Black Lives Matter movement and other struggles for social justice.  Using standardized tests to label Black people and immigrants as lesser—while systematically underfunding their schools—has a long and ugly history.

        It is true we need accountability measures, but that should start with politicians being accountable to fully funding education and ending the opportunity gap. The costs tied to the test this year will run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. If the State really wants students to achieve academic performance at higher levels these dollars should be put in our classrooms and used for our children’s academic achievement, instead of putting dollars in the pockets of test developers.

        We urge families to opt out of the SBAC test and to contact their local and state officials to advise them to abide by the State Supreme Court McCleary decision to fully fund education.

        –Rita Green, MBA; Seattle King County NAACP Education Chair

        We join the Seattle NAACP in calling for true accountability for educational opportunities. For too long, our nation has labored under the illusion that “shining a light” on inequities is an adequate remedy. Inequitable opportunities are manifestly evident to anyone who cares to look. The use of tests for this purpose has become part of the problem, rather than a solution. We reiterate our support for parents and students who make the difficult choice to opt out of high stakes tests, and call on our nation’s leaders to shift policies away from these tests.

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        PRESS RELEASE: Network for Public Education Response to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Statement on Opting Out

        For Immediate Release Robin Hiller Executive Director, Network for Public Education Phone (520) 668-4634 Email  robin@networkforpubliceducation.org   Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and... »

        Resistance to High Stakes Tests Serves the Cause of Equity in Education: A Reply to “We Oppose Anti-Testing Efforts”

        Authored by Jesse Hagopian and the NPE Board of Directors Today several important civil rights organizations released a statement that is critical of the decision by many parents and students to opt o... »

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          Categories: Miscellaneous

          *If Any Charter School Needs a Union, It’s Urban Prep* | EduShyster

          Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 07:45

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          Follow EduShyster on Facebook Search EduShyster Search for: y May 23, 2015 by edushyster2012 *If Any Charter School Needs a Union, It’s Urban Prep*

          A former teacher weighs in on teaching and learning conditions at a Chicago charter school…

          Editor’s note: A few weeks ago, I ran a post by Urban Prep teacher Dave Woo about why he and his colleagues at a Chicago charter school are organizing a union. Teachers at the school will vote on June 3rd on whether they want to be part of the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff. In the meantime, Urban Prep administrators are making the case that having a union is antithetical to the charter’s mission—which, according to one former teacher, appears to be *promoting the Urban Prep brand with an eye towards national expansion.* The teacher, whose testimony I’m sharing here, urges all of us to stand with his former Urban Prep colleagues. 

          I am a former Urban Prep teacher and colleague of Dave Woo’s. Every word he says is true. Urban Prep’s slogan is *we believe.* I know for a fact that the teachers I worked with believe in their students and dedicate long, hard hours to providing them with the best possible educational experience, the administrators who operate Urban Prep seem to believe in promoting their brand with an eye toward national expansion; providing themselves with palatial offices across the street from the Trump Tower; maintaining a posse of lobbyists and consultants; and paying themselves six figure salaries.

          Meanwhile, primarily young and inexperienced teachers struggle to deliver a rigorous college preparatory curriculum without computers, without projectors, without textbooks and frequently, without the paper required to make copies. Teachers are forced to purchase these items with their own personal funds, or solicit donations on such websites as DonorsChoose.org (until Tim King personally banned educators from utilizing the site, once he learned many of us were doing so).

          The working conditions I experienced at Urban Prep were the worst of my career, which has been spent entirely in the inner city.

          The working conditions I experienced at Urban Prep were the worst of my career, which has been spent entirely in the inner city. I used my personal resources to make copies because Urban Prep would not purchase sufficient amounts of paper; I brought my personal laptop to school since a computer was not provided; lessons came from the Internet because no textbooks were purchased. Like all Urban Prep teachers, I was frequently forced to give up at least one of my two *prep* periods – time I needed to grade, tutor students in need of extra help, and eat my own lunch – to substitute for my colleagues who were absent. The reason? Urban Prep, with its $70,000 staff retreat and $250,000 downtown office space, claimed it could not afford to hire substitute teachers.

          While students attempt to prepare for college without books or computers (let alone a research based curriculum that would truly help to close the gap between themselves and their more affluent peers), and teachers attempt to deliver lessons without paper (while also going without lunch), Mr. Tim King pays himself six figures and enjoys spectacular views from his office across from the Trump Tower. Yet somehow, nobody is supposed to have this information. We’re all supposed to swallow the mythology that Mr. King is the benevolent Pied Piper of Chicago’s African American adolescent male population. If that were true, each of the three Urban Prep campuses would have resources to rival affluent suburban districts. But instead, Mr. King has an awesome downtown office to throw poker parties for his rich friends, and the teachers and students of Urban Prep work and learn in a very typical inner city environment devoid of paper, textbooks, and rigor.

          If any charter school in Chicago needs a union it’s Urban Prep. I stand with my former colleagues and encourage all teachers, everywhere, to do the same.

          Post navigation One Comment
          1. BDH May 23, 2015 at 5:33 pm

            Urban Prep management used PD time on Wednesday for yet another anti-union captive audience meeting, showing them a PPT about all the things they “might” lose if they unionize. At at least one campus, management compared the union campaign to children questioning the better judgment of the parents, to which one teacher said, “So, if I’m a child with holes in my shoes and my father is driving a Mercedes, I can’t question that?”


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          Categories: Miscellaneous

          Suggestions for Better Testing | CTQ

          Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 07:45
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          Suggestions for Better Testing

          This year, I was on maternity leave during "testing season." For the first time, I had no contact whatsoever with the NY State ELA exam. When I returned to work, I was curious about how things went, and I caught up with some of my NYC colleagues both at my school and in other schools. The consensus seemed to be that this year's Common Core State ELA test was not significantly different than the ones we've seen in the previous two years. What struck me from the conversations, though, was the chorus of common (heh, heh) criticisms of the test itself and the conditions under which we administer it to students.

          "I'm vehemently against these standardized tests and all that they are used for," a veteran humanities teacher tells me. "But I'm willing to meet them half way if the test is at least reasonable." A lot of teachers I know feel this way. We know standardized tests don't measure the scope of our teaching or our students' learning in a meaningful way. We see them being used to scare, label and punish children and educators, and we oppose these practices on principle and for the sake of our students and profession.  However, we are not totally against giving a reasonable yearly standardized test in reading and writing. There are a few key changes that might make the tests themselves a bit more reasonable. (I'm not touching how they are used in this post--just talking about the design of the tests.)

          "First of all," the same teacher says, "Stop timing students. So many students run out of time, and do poorly on the later portions of the test each day." This means students' scores don't even accurately show what they can do with these passages and questions. Instead they represent a combination of reading and writing skills and speed. Is speed-reading a standard? No, it is not. So either stop timing the test or at least give ample enough time so as to take it off the table as a significant factor in performance in a supposedly common core-aligned test.

          Second, let's consider the length and number of reading passages. In the old NY state ELA exams, the seven or so reading passages tended to be about a page long. Now they are often three pages long. There's nothing wrong with longer passages, since students need to be able to read texts much longer than that--but if the passages are longer, we need to limit the number of passages students must read in a single sitting. This isn't just about the amount of time provided--it's about what's reasonable for a child's concentration in the inauthentic context of a test. After reading one or two of those longer passages myself, I'm bored and losing steam. Reading one after another of these long texts without the connection and purpose one has when reading voluntarily is unnecessarily painful. If volume of texts is important, keep them short. If longer texts are needed, pick just a few.  

          While we're at it, can we get rid of the extra set of reading passaged with multiple choice questions on day two of the three day test? It's just confusing and unnecessary. Each day should assess students in a coherent way, just like we expect of ourselves in our classroom. Day one can be multiple choice, day two can be writing. I'm not sure why we even need three days... 

          Finally, enough with the tricky questions and the beta-testing of tricky questions on students during the actual test. Many of these are so *challenging* that even I cannot determine a correct answer, and I am actually a good test taker. If the testing company can't do a decent job with test creation, just show the new questions to some teachers in advance and we'll tell you if they are fair for our students.  Do not add stress to children with poorly constructed questions.

          Educators, what else would make the tests themselves more reasonable and humane for our students?


          standardized testing, NY State ELA exam 1 Comment Christi Carpenter commented on May 22, 2015 at 1:35pm: Considering two broad types

          Considering two broad types of standardized tests:

          Norm-Referenced Assessment: A test or other type of assessment designed to provide a measure of performance that is interpretable in terms of an individual's relative standing in some known group. 
          Criterion-Referenced Assessment: A test or other type of assessment designed to provide a measure of performance that is interpretable in terms of a clearly defined and delimited domain of learning tasks.

          ( Linn, R. L., & Gronlund, N. E. (2000). Measurement and assessment in teaching (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.)

          I wish those creating the tests would prioritize criterion-referenced assessments, so the focus would be on creating clear questions that allow students to show what they know, not questions that "trick" and confuse students so they can be ranked against each other.  

          Unlike many of my colleagues, I believe in the necessity of standardized tests.  Having taught in Detroit Public Schools for five years, I saw scandalous things happening to students at school: very little teaching and learning was taking place and students were being blamed for the conditions of which they were victims.  Standardized testing, at its best, creates an element of transparency and, ultimately, accountability so conditions can change. 

          But, of course, we need to make high-quality tests that seek to illuminate student progress and align with the skills and knowledge they will need post-secondary.

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          "Students: once again, I am faced with the bittersweet ending of our time together." @Teaching_Keigan - ow.ly/Ni5ua

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          Blogs What Is Necessary: Did I fail my students this year?

          Take a look at these darlings in their pajamas, then try to guess: Which six children did I fail?

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          News A new vision for teacher leadership in Greece School District


          CTQ continued to support and advance a bold new brand of teacher leadership last week in Rochester, NY, where Teacher in Residence Lori Nazareno, consultant Kim Farris-Berg, and CEO and founder Barnett Berry presented a design-thinking workshop for teachers and administrators from Greece School District.

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          Categories: Miscellaneous

          What Moms and Teachers Said at McDonald’s Shareholders Meeting | US Healthy Kids

          Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 04:15
          US Healthy Kids Finding ways to make a healthier food environment for children Search Menu Skip to content Menu Skip to content Advocacy / Fast Food / Marketing What Moms and Teachers Said at McDonald’s Shareholders Meeting Posted on May 22, 2015 by 2 Comments

            For the second year in a row I attended the McDonald’s shareholders meeting to speak about the corporation’s unethical marketing to children.  I was part of a team organized by Corporate Accountability International which included mothers, teachers and advocates.  This was the first shareholders meeting for McDonald’s new CEO Steve Easterbrook who was under pressure because of their slipping sales, protests over wages, and criticism for aggressively marketing fast food to children.  The pressure was so intense that media was banned from attending and as reported in the Guardian, McDonald’s suggestion that there would not be room to accommodate the media was “the lamest of lame excuses.”  This “lack of space” pretense rang hollow seeing that the meeting room we were in had been partitioned off with a divider.

          Like last year, pictures of the Big Mac, fries and sugary drinks were front and center next to the golden arches logo reminding us that this is an unhealthy brand.  They played a video during the meeting touting BURGER$ and included two of their marketing efforts that were widely panned: “Day of Joy” and the “Signs” commercial.  It felt like McDonald’s had designed the meeting as a way to market to their shareholders instead of addressing the tough issues.   We changed that dynamic by bringing up the real challenges facing the corporation.  This is what I said:

          My name is Casey Hinds, and I am here today as both a veteran and a mother. Last year at this meeting I asked for you to stop sending Ronald McDonald into schools under the guise of education. Your predecessor Don Thompson lied and told us, “We don’t put Ronald out in schools.” So this year, I came prepared with photos, like these.

          Lying to the public is the kind of disrespect that makes us see McDonald’s as the Philip Morris of fast food. It’s the kind of disrespect that results in a loss of brand trust and it’s why moms and millennials are leaving the corporation behind. Your reputation as a bad corporate actor is reflected in slipping sales and your turnaround plan addresses none of the substantial issues. You want to be seen as a “modern, progressive burger company” but progressive corporations don’t use schools as ads, or tell kids that fast food is lovin’.  

          CEO Easterbrook, when will you end your exploitive practice of marketing to children and retire Ronald McDonald — the Joe Camel of fast food?

          In response to my question, CEO Easterbrook claimed that teachers are the ones asking McDonald’s for help which prompted teacher Charlie Feick to speak up about the importance of schools as commercial-free zones. She said:

          As an educator, I know the importance of keeping marketing out of schools, — especially when the brand promoted is fueling today’s health epidemic.  More than that, it is wrong to exploit developmentally vulnerable children with sophisticated marketing that seeks to create lifelong customers.

          McDonald’s also heard from Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, who said:

          While McDonald’s works hard to convince families that it cares about their well-being, we’ve seen how McDonald’s will stop at nothing to get in front of kids. McDonald’s exploits tight school budgets to incentivize schools to host “McTeacher’s Nights,” where teachers become brand ambassadors, and inadvertently market junk food to trusting students. While McDonald’s gets free labor and the kind of marketing money cannot buy, children and families pay the costs of diet-related disease for years to come. There’s only one word to describe this kind of exploitation of children, schools and families, and that is “egregious.”

          CEO Easterbrook responded to our concerns by saying “Ronald isn’t going anywhere” which reminded me of how RJ Reynolds dug in when facing criticism over Joe Camel.

          When McDonald’s ignored health professionals calling for an end to kid-targeted marketing, mothers spoke up.  When McDonald’s ignored us, teachers spoke up.  Health professionals, parents and teachers know that fast food isn’t lovin’ and it is our responsibility to stop McDonald’s from using schools to tell kids this lie. You can join this effort by signing the petition to tell McDonald’s this clown doesn’t belong in schools:

          Please tell Steve Easterbrook to stop putting Ronald McDonald into schools.

          Share this: Like this: Like Loading... Related Tags: , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post navigation 2 thoughts on “What Moms and Teachers Said at McDonald’s Shareholders Meeting”
          1. Chrisitne Murphy says: May 23, 2015 at 8:03 pm

            Here’s cut/paste of my email:

            Dear Mr. Easterbrook,

            I am a public school cafeteria manage of 3 schools (intermediate and 2 elementary) in the Davenport (Iowa) Community School District and former Food Services Coordinator for the Payson (Arizona) Unified School District. EVERY aspect of my food service program is regulated. Most of it is very good, some of it not very good. My participation goes down every year. While you’d think I love when parents come to eat with their children, I don’t: I cringe. Parents bring “fast food” and super duper large soda drinks for themselves and their student into the lunch area. You’ll love this, McDonalds being the fast food most brought into the school lunchroom. It is considered a “special treat”. It’s a “celebration”. It undermines the efforts I put into the National School Lunch Program. Every student looks googley eyed at the “special students” fast food lunch. Then frowns when they look down at the whole grain, fruit and vegetable meal I’ve just served. And then MY staff paid with public school miniscule funds has to clean up the wrappers left behind from your fast food meal. I am working hard to teach nutrition and better food choices to my students. I don’t have a “brand”. I don’t have a “mascot”. I get advise like renaming food: “carrot coins”. I only have cents reimbursement per meal that I serve. I can not compete with your millions of advertising dollars. My greatest joy is seeing a 2nd grader actually eat the red pepper sticks my staff freshly cut that morning. We compete with the same labor force. I also offer paid training, free meals and uniforms. From the labor point of view working in a school cafeteria is looked down upon while working at McDonalds is looked upon as a desirable job! Please leave your marketing to adults. I know you know your marketing to children will result in adult customers. It is not right, it is wrong. Someone, somewhere in your Corporate offices must be parents. Do you deep down sleep well with your marketing choices? Does your child beg for a “happy meal” but not for a “school meal”. Christine Murphy, (deleted my school district and personal home address for the purpose of this post) NOT that I’m hiding. :)

          2. caseyhinds says: May 23, 2015 at 8:20 pm

            Thank you for your comment and sharing this letter. To ensure my readers see it, I plan to include it in a future post. I appreciate your hard work on behalf of children and hope more school nutrition experts will join us in letting McDonald’s know schools aren’t to be used for fast food marketing.

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            Categories: Miscellaneous


            Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 03:45

            Cybrary Man's Educational Web Sites
            The internet catalogue for students, teachers, administrators & parents.

            Over 20,000 relevant links personally selected by an educator/author with over 30 years of experience.


            Educators         Parents        Students       General     Home


            Cybrary Man grew up with an appreciation for all types of music.  Unfortunately he flunked out of college because of music!
            Of course, he was only eight years old at that time and could not handle the recorder. 
            He did have a Music assist for a while when he taught in Middle School. 

            The picture above left  is one I took of Itzhak Perlman. 
            While conducting a practice with a student orchestra he stated: "Get enthusiastic with great control!"

             #musedchat on Twitter on Mondays at 8 pm EST

            #mpln   #musiced    #mustech

            Careers in Music

            This Day in Music History

            Band History Lyrics & Sheet Music Reference Childrens' Music Instruments
            Music Teachers Rock ‘n Roll Choral JAZZ Online Activities Songs Composers &
            Classical Music
            Lesson Plans Piano Other Sites
            Music Tech

            BAND School Band

            Free CD's and Tapes
            From the United States Service Bands

            Bolivar High School Band

            CHS Band Program

            Back to the Index

            CHILDREN’S MUSIC Children's Music Web

            Children's Music Workshop

            Best Childrens Music

            Children's Songs & Lyrics from Kids' Music Town

            Animated Song Books & Story Books for Children – Puppy Readers

            The Teacher's Guide Children's Songs

            Back to the Index

            CHORAL MUSIC Choral Net

            Choral Wiki - Choral Public Domain Library

            A Virtual Choir

            The Middle School Choral Forum - Online Resources Page

            Back to the Index

            COMPOSERS &

            A Guide to Western Composers and their Music from the Middle Ages to the Present

            George & Ira Gershwin

            The Mozart Project

            The MozartForum

             Sphinx Kids! Classical Music Interactive Learning & Games

            San Francisco Symphony Keeping Score

            Mutopia: Classical Music Free Downloads

            Classical Music in the Classroom | Lesson Plan

            Classics for Kids | Teachers: Classical Music in the Classroom

            Classical Music Links

            85,000 Classical Music Scores (and Free MP3s) on the Web

            Aria Database

            Back to the Index

            HISTORY This Day in Music History

            Music History

            Best Instructional Videos History of Music

            Oldies Music -- history, trivia and charts of Fifties, Sixties and Seventies music

            TV Theme Music and Songs

            Playa Cofi Jukebox - Top 100 Songs 1950-1984

             Music Theory and History Online Contents
            Dolmetsch Online

            African Music Encyclopedia  

            AfriClassical - African Heritage in Classical Music

            African-American Sacred Music from the Florida Folklife Collection

            The Boombox - Rap, R&B and Hip Hop Music News, Videos, Interviews

            Jazz sites - Cybrary Man

            YouTube - String Fever (History of Music)

            History of Country Music

            Classics for Kids Musical Dictionary

            Worldwide Internet Music Resources

            Back to the Index

            INSTRUMENTS &

            Virtual Instrument Museum

            Learn about instruments

            Atlas of Plucked Instruments

            Mr. Young's Bouncy A  SmartBoard Resources & Educational Activities
            Instrument Links

            Musical Craft Projects

            9 Easy to Make Musical Instruments for Kids

            The Orchestra: A User's Manual

            Orchestra Seating Chart

            New York Philharmonic Kidzone

            Instrument Storage Room

            San Francisco Symphony Kids' Site

            Boston Symphony Orchestra Resources for Teachers

            Dallas Symphony Orchestra: DSO Kids

            Back to the Index


            Jazz PBS Kids Go

            PBS - JAZZ A Film By Ken Burns: Classroom

            Nicky the jazz cat :: jazz for kids

            Free Jamey Aebersold Jazz Handbook
            Play-Along Song Index - Rapid Reference
            Jazz Nomenclature

            Duke Ellington

            Jazz Music Links

            Back to the Index

            LESSON PLANS

            Music Activities and Lesson Plans (The Teachers Corner)

            Music Education Lesson Plans (teAchnology)

            Music Lesson Plans Page(Lesson Plans Page)

            Music Lesson Plans (Teachers.Net)

            Music Lesson Plans - LessonCorner

            How to Make Your Musical Improvisation More Interesting

            Music Teacher Resources, Online Music Lesson Plans: Educational CyberPlayGround

            Music Lesson Plans, Elementary Worksheets
            General Education Teaching Lessons

            How to Teach Music to Children: Video Series

            Music Composition Lesson Plans

            Teaching Music Composition

            Ricci Adams' Musictheory - Lessons

            Ricci Adams' Musictheory - Exercises

            Ricci Adams' Musictheory - Tools

            Happy Note: Learn Music Theory With Computer Games

             Music Theory and History Online Contents
            Dolmetsch Online

            Music Theory Worksheets for Music Lessons

            Free Technology for Teachers: Interactive Music Theory Lessons

            Music Education Resources Idea Library

            Music and Drama - Grades, Theme, Lessons, Class Management, Books
            Subjects TeacherVision

            Music lesson plans, resources. and links

            Music Tech Tutorials

            Professional Development for Music Educators

            Resources for Teachers - The Children's Music Web

            Back to the Index

            LYRICS &
            SHEET MUSIC

            Reading Music

            American Sheet Music

            8 Notes: Free Sheet Music

            Sheet Music

            The Mutopia Project Free Sheet Music

            Lyrical Legacy: 400 Years of American Song and Poetry

            Schoolhouse Rock Lyrics

             Lyrics from LyricWiki

            Music and Guitar

            Folk Music

            Folk Music Links

            Pandora Internet Radio - Find New Music, Listen to Free Web Radio

            Music Acoustics

            MuseScore | Free music composition & notation software

            Free printable staff paper @ Blank Sheet Music

            Staff Paper Generator

            Back to the Index

            MUSIC TEACHERS

            Teacher Appreciation Song: A Song for Teachers
            You Have Made A Difference

            MusEdChat | MusicEdMajor.net

            #MusEdChat | Facebook

            Music Education News Online

             Music Teachers - twitter4teachers

            Music Educators to Follow on Twitter

            Music (Education World ® Technology in the Classroom

            Classroom Management for the Music Teacher

            Free Technology for Teachers: PBS Activity Pack - Music in Every Classroom

            Bulletin Boards for the Music Classroom

            Alan Coady's Musical Blog

            Andy Zweibel - Music Musings & other randoms  

            A Teacher's Coda

            Band Nerd from Oz

            Mrs. Bennett

            Bluff Park Music

             Amy Burns

            Martin Anthony (Tony) Burrage

            Business Musician's Blog
            The Universal Messages of Music Education

             Choir Teachers

            Confessions of a Band Director

            Dee's Place Online


             Harmonious.ly - Connecting music teachers and students

            iPad and Technology in Music Education

            James Frankel- Music Educator

            Joanna's Music Blog

            Just a Little More

            Dr. Haskett's Music Education Site

            William Kuhn - Electronic Music and Art

            Lagos Music

            Learn Me Music

            Learning and Loving Music Blog

            Life in Coquitlam

            LindsayMorelli - Musician, Songwriter, Composer

             Casey McCann's Blog - An Eclectic Musician

            Michael Medvinsky

            Charlie Menghini's Blog

            meyersmusic: Ideas for the Music Classroom

            MS Music Now - Symbaloo

            Music at Greystone Elementary School

            Music Teach.n.Tech
            A Resource Blog for Music Education and Technology

            Music & Technology Special Interest Group

            Music Solo Performance at Braemar  

            Music Teachers 911

            Music Tech Teacher

            Music, Music Education, Music Technology: MusTech.Net


            Musings of a Maestro

            Northeast Elementary - Northeast Music Overview

            Piano and Life

            Piece of Mind

            Adam Pontefract

            Re-imagining "School Music"

            Sarah B Music Studio

            Seymour High School Music

            Brad Sharp Music

            Sing Imagination Blog

            Sutherland Secondary Music

            Teach Music to Kids!  


            Teaching Music in the 21st Century

            Technology in Music Education

            The Band Ed Tool Shed

            The Musician's Way Blog

            The Orff-Schulwerk Classroom

            The Virtual Podium

            Thomas J. West Music

            Thoughts from Inverness

            Mr. Van's Music Room

            Back to the Index


            Elementary Music Games: Online Resources for Music Teachers

            Top 10 Sites for Creating Digital Music

            Virtual Keyboard

            Touch Pianist

            Online Drum Machine

            Drum Kit

            Beatlab - make music together

            Soundation - Create music on the web

            Free Technology for Teachers: 5 Sources of Free Sound Effects and Music

            See also: Instruments & Music Section

            Jam Studio Create Music Beats
            The online music factory - Jam, remix, chords, loops

            Muziic DJ - Create fun & easy DJ mix playlists with YouTube videos
            Crossfade and DJ music online - YouTube Music

            Audio Tool

            Good Ear: The Online, Free Ear Training

            Resources for Kids - The Children's Music Web

            Classics for Kids

            National Jukebox LOC.gov

            Creating Music

            iKnowthat.com Music Maker Game
            Online Multimedia Educational Games for Kids in Preschool, Kindergarten,
            andElementary Grades

            ACIDplanet.com: Free Downloads: ACID Xpress

            The Music Lab - Make a Tune

            Online Audio Editor - Aviary's  Myna

            i l e a r n m u s i c

            synchtube - Enjoy synchronized Videos With Friends

            The Science of Music

            Music Theory

            Online Music Theory Tutor

            Back to the Index

            PIANO The Piano Player - FunBrain

            Virtual Keyboard

            Jam Studio Create Music Beats
            The online music factory - Jam, remix, chords, loops

            Piano on the Net


            PIANO PAGE - Piano Technicians Guild
            Everything about Pianos, Tuning, Service, Repair, History, Find a Technician

            Back to the Index

            REFERENCE A-Z Glossary of Music Terms

            Musipedia The Open Music Encyclopedia

            Science of Music

            Vintage Phonograph Recordings 1900-1939

            Classics for Kids Musical Dictionary

            Worldwide Internet Music Resources

            African Music Encyclopedia

            NPR - Music

            Back to the Index

            ROCK ‘n ROLL  Oldies Music

            Rock 'n Roll Music Links

            Rock 'n Roll Biographies

            Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Lesson Plans

            Back to the Index


            Songs for Teaching: Using Music to Promote Learning

            Music Playlist | Search & Listen to Free Music Online - MixPod

            Classics for Kids

            Children's Songs with free lyrics, music and printable SongSheets from KIDiddles

            Lullabies, Children's Songs - Lyrics, Words to Songs, Lullaby for Baby, Child

            Hunt4Tunes - 100% Free Audio and Music Downloads

            TV Theme Music and Songs

            Playa Cofi Jukebox - Top 100 Songs 1950-1984

            Mr. Young's Bouncy A  SmartBoard Resources & Educational Activities - Song Links

            British Library Archival Sound Recordings

            Mama Rocks

            Second Hand Songs

            Songs for Classroom Transitions

            The Teacher's Guide Children's Songs

            Back to the Index


            MUSIC TECH

            Technology & Music Education-Kyle Pace - Classroom 2.0 LIVE!

            Music Tech Tutorials

            Technology in Music Education

            TI:ME Technology In Music Education

            How the Web and Mobile Tech Are Changing How People Learn Music

            Music and Tech: Harmony In The Making

            Music Tech Page Lee Summitt

            History of Recorded Music Technology

            Music Technology and Concept Development

            Freeplay Music, Broadcast Production Music Library, Mp3 Music

            Free Music Directory | Socialbrite

            Free Technology for Teachers: PBS Activity Pack - Music in Every Classroom

            Music & Technology Special Interest Group

            The Best Online Sites For Creating Music | Larry Ferlazzo

            Music Tech Teacher

            Music Web 2.0 Tools and Applications on Go2Web20

            Teaching Music in the 21st Century

            Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder

            iPad For Music Education

            YouTube - ‪iBand HD | Amazing! 24 Piece
            iPad Performance In School | #SVMiPad‬‏

            See also: Music Teachers

            My Online Music Sites

            The Case for Music Education - Video

            Support Music

            Speed Note Reading

            Guitar Chords

            How to Play Beginner Guitar Chords

            Free Printable Staff Paper & Tab for Guitarists -- Staff Notes

            Chord Find

            Best Books for Teaching About Music

            Music Lessons Videos

            How iTunes Works

            Music, Theater and Dance

            Vermilion Parish Music Interactive Sites

            Goggles Music Manager

            Database of Melodies and Texts of Gregorian Chants

            Musician Tips

            Back to the Index





            Categories: Miscellaneous

            All Australian Lecture: Sir Michael Barber on ‘Joy and Data’.

            Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 03:22
            On Thursday May 21st, the inaugural All Australian Lecture was delivered by Sir Michael Barber on the topic of ‘Joy and Data‘. The event was attended by many leading educationalists and has been initiated as a joint project of the Koshland Innovation Fund and the State Library of Victoria. Their aim is “to bring big […]
            Categories: Miscellaneous

            Printable: Book Bingo | Scholastic.com

            Education (Spigot Aggregator) - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 03:00
            .uNav-item7{display:none;} TEACHERS Where Teachers Come First
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            Printable: Book Bingo

            Turn summer reading into a game that will have kids reaching for the books.

            • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

            Make summer reading even more of a blast by handing out this colorful bingo board to help students track their achievements. Just print the board and offer students a prize when they return in the fall. They’ll do the rest!

            Download and print our Book Bingo templates:

            Book Bingo


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            Photo: Adam Chinitz



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            Categories: Miscellaneous
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