Is Blended Learning a silver bullet?

Diane Ravitch refers to a recent decision by Indianapolis to open 19 new charter schools based on the concept of blended learning. She questions the decisions which refer to both the cost savings involved and how test scores were more positive.  She believes that a good teacher is the best of all technologies

My old-fashioned brain says that what matters most in a classroom is a teacher who engages in a deeply human way with students: to encourage them, enlighten them, inspire them, teach them. There is a place in every classroom for technology. I use it every day. And certainly students can use their computers to do research and writing and explore.

But in the current environment of high-stakes testing, computers are geared to passing the tests

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Science Education: Where Values Go To Live

Pecier Decierdo from Filipino Free Thinkers, reflects on a decision made earlier in the year by the Filipino Education department to remove ‘Science’ from the first and second grade education, based on a view that Science is not child-friendly enough for young learners. He provides stories of where science has been taught well and badly. He reflects on whether things should be ‘taught’ to children or whether they are able to be curious and explore for themselves

Science is difficult, yes. Science does not end in being amazed and awed, indeed. Science is not all about the happy-happy-joy-joy, true. That is why when science is taught, you do not simply teach it as a body of knowledge and not even as a body of theories. When science is taught, it must be taught as a human activity. And like all human activities worth pursuing, it requires a certain set of attitudes.

Among the virtues required by science are curiosity, attentiveness to detail, ambition, and intellectual honesty, all of which can be taught to kids as early as possible. In fact, for many kids these virtues need not be taught but only encouraged and reinforced

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Preparing for jobs that do not yet exist …

On the Lifelong Learning in Palestine blog, they note the difference between the most popular jobs in 2010 compared to 2004. They wonder about the changes in Palestinian experiences in recent years and how things are beginning to change, in an interesting video.

How do we prepare young people and those not-so-young for future work?  What sort of technology will be involved?

In Palestine people are preparing for full, autonomous and meaningful work that will be nothing like the existent conditions

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Both Sides of Technology

Donna Jodhan thoughtfully reviews some pros and cons of technology as she experiences it as a blind person.  She has found amazing gadgets that she says have greatly improved the quality of her life. She is sometimes able to find assistance when she runs into technical issues but in some cases she has to go out and get a new gadget because she cannot source appropriate technical expertise.

You may be thinking that it is no different for a sighted person and this is very true but for a blind person it is much more difficult, and why? Because there are fewer people around who possess the knowledge to troubleshoot and problem solve in the access technology arena as well as to fix talking devices whenever they fail to work.

Perhaps in addition to Teach Parents Tech there should be a site / community to help people fix their own devices and software

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Making the Connection, or Doing the Learning

Mercer Hall and Patricia Russell refer to a recent class where a specialist came to teach Arabic calligraphy where the children learnt about the calligraphy then had opportunities to practice it as well. There are some beautiful illustrations on the blog post. The lady teaching was a parent of one of the children.

We are extremely fortunate and grateful to have such a wonderful parent volunteer her time to help the students understand a writing system less familiar than their own. In addition, it brings the heritage of our Muslim students into the classroom to better bridge the multicultural views of the world.

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An interesting online calligraphy tool

Do you know of any other good visual design tools?

Learning how to be citizens in a digital world

Rebekah Madrid shares a wonderful video in her post that she created about her students’ responses to what they thought digital citizenship means. She shares how she has learnt about Japan and Japanese culture and finds similarities to learning about digital culture. She notes that her students are learning about the internet by observing and making mistakes.

We want our students to make connections between online space and offline space (be nice to others, we are a community, don’t steal). But the internet has it’s own rules and language. Our kids are starting to understand it, but it is not a smooth path all the time. We teach the digital citizenship because it’s a new space and culture for them to experience. Our students will make mistakes, but as a new citizens of this digital world, they are getting it

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What if school was more like Twitter?

Tom Whitby wonders what would happen if the discussion and sharing that forms part of a twitter learning network was tried out in a traditional school environment. He mentions the importance of being able to share ideas such as papers with links on them appearing in staff pigeon holes / mailboxes;  and how the breadth of opinions on twitter can help to understand more about a global perspective.Does this help bridge a digital gap?

The idea of being a “Connected Educator” is too foreign to too many educators. If this post is to be effective it will have to be printed out, reproduced, and circulated in teachers’ mailboxes in order to reach them. In this age of technology, that should be an embarrassment to the most educated people this country or any country has to offer

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Rural Achievement Mostly Better Than 40 Years Ago

Diette Courrege reports on a project at   , which looks at achievement in rural America over the last 40 years.

they point out a couple of areas where statistics aren’t in rural communities’ favor, specifically the widening gap between rural and urban areas for the percentage of adults with college degrees. Rural areas have improved that percentage to 15.4, but they’re further behind the national average (27.9 percent) and urban areas (30 percent) than they’ve been in the past 40 years

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Is effective schooling being delivered by efficient schools? New-Age vs Traditional Schools

Ravi Lochan Singh questions what is a good school or a good education

There are other questions about the readiness to step into the world of higher learning. It is being said that the new college entrant today is able to voice opinions but is not able to justify them in a reasoned manner. In their schools, the students who have been identified as promising public speakers are trained to speak at structured public debates. But making scintillating public speeches is quite different from arguing rationally on a daily basis in real life.

He mentions a new project which will be focused on quality in education and hopes for an open dialogue about what this could mean.

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