Thursday, June 15, 2006
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Six Jobs That Won't Exist In 2016 What an interesting concept - much like the Wired Magazine article on CrowdSourcing - I wonder how many jobs will be created and lost through the evolution of technology. Are we preparing students with the right skills?
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Chris Lehmann really hit this on the head - good reading! Talking to 49 Superintendents - Practical Theory: "Talking to 49 Superintendents Will Richardson has a great opportunity tomorrow -- he's got a captive audience made up of 49 Superintendents, and he asked for input about what to say to them. I was grappling with this one for a while, and I finally hit on what I wanted to say when I talked to Will on the phone today. Tell them that our schools have to change or die. Tell them that there are more and more people arguing that the classroom... the very thing that we have spent our professional career in love with... is becoming obsolete. Tell them that those people are right unless we learn to change. Tell them that our kids already have changed. Tell them that our kids need us to teach even more. Our kids have more access to a more varied level of information than ever before in human history and our kids need us to teach them how to navigate that space more than ever. Tell them that locking out the sites and tools of this new world our kids live in will render us irrelevant and useless when our students need us most. Tell them that this new world means that teaching skills -- cognitive and meta-cognitive -- is now more important than memorizing content. Tell them that multiple choice tests can't possibly measure the new skills our kids must master. Tell them that our students can be content producers now as much as content consumers. Tell them that many of our students know how to reach a larger audience more quickly than any school district memo could ever hope to. Tell them that"
This captures the essence of the friction between good instruction and how technology can uproot poor instruction quickly. Teach42 - Education and Technology, by Steve Dembo » Cheating? Of course it is but….: "Cheating? Of course it is but…. Filed under: Musings — Steve @ May 31, 06 | 1:22 pm Via Dan Mitchell NY Times At the University of California at Los Angeles, a student loaded his class notes into a handheld e-mail device and tried to read them during an exam; a classmate turned him in. At the journalism school at San Jose State University, students were caught using spell check on their laptops when part of the exam was designed to test their ability to spell. And at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, after students photographed test questions with their cellphone cameras, transmitted them to classmates outside the exam room and got the answers back in text messages, the university put in place a new proctoring system. Yes, it’s cheating. I know it is and it’s wrong. But let’s look beyond that for a minute and abandon our stranglehood on traditional means of testing. Let’s take an alternate look at the UofNevada students. Pretend that they’re in a world history class. One of the questions is 'Who won the war of 1812?' They message the question to a friend, and a friend messages the answer back. Problem solved. I know that the intent was to get the student to memorize the answer, but is memorizing a fact really more important than being able to find the necessary answers under adverse conditions? Let’s say the quesiton was, 'Why was the War of 1812 inevitiable?' That requires much more than a simple one word answer. Nobody is going to text in that one. They could text in a couple of conditions, but the student is still going to have to synthesize the information and compse an answer. And isn’t that what we want them to do? When I was working on my B.A. at UofIowa, there were more than a few times that I had open book tests. I hated them. Why? Because without fail they were always much harder than ‘close book’ tests. They rarely asked easy questions. They required you to really think critically and prove your ideas with facts. I’d love to see professors make more tests open book, open PDA, open Wikipedia and open cell phone. Let students use every resource available, but still make them prove that they understand what they’re talking about. Which prepares them more realistically for the world they’re going to encounter when they leave school?"
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Some teachers have been complaining about cell phones in schools - here is an interesting different view. Spiral Notebook » The Ringing!: "The Ringing! By Ron Smith When I started experimenting with text messaging, I would text this student or that student, usually one or two at a time. Once I got all my seniors’ numbers, though, I decided to try a broadcast. During my class, second period, I talked with the seniors about a variety of topics, so I thought I would follow up on one topic in a text message to all of them. During third period, I thought of some points I wanted to make, so I gave them a blast. It turns out that the coordinator of our academy has all the seniors during third period. Around the midpoint of her class, every student’s cell phone went off, almost simultaneously! She cried out, “The ringing! The ringing!” After she climbed down from the ceiling, she called my classroom and gave me a dressing down. By the end of the period, though, when she came over to my classroom, she had been thinking about the potential of being able to contact every student at once. To her credit, instead of chewing me out, she walked in with lots of questions about how it worked. Now, I regularly “ping” our students with updates on schedules, assignment reminders, even wake-up calls, and they answer with questions of their own. They even send me messages regularly to let me know what they are up to. My phone vibrates, though, so I never get “the ringing!”"
Best education software: "A surprising number responded with variations of 'Don't use it.' But Inspiration (along with its junior version, Kidspiration), designed specifically for students to organize and research projects, was the clear winner. The second- and third-place finishers were PowerPoint and Microsoft Office, software packages essentially for business applications. Many other readers mentioned Internet browsers, word processing programs, Photoshop, even classic books available for MP3 players. One reader responded simply, 'Can't afford any.' OUR TAKE 'PowerPoint?' we asked, slightly stunned at its runner-up ranking. 'Isn't PowerPoint fairly high on the list of quintessentially ineffectual modes of instruction?' Well, yes, in some ways, answers Peter Norvig, director of research at Google and author of the famed mockery 'The Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation' (available online at www.norvig.com/Gettysburg/index.htm). Norvig's joke presentation was inspired, he says, by attending one too many PowerPoint presentations that just weren't, well, getting to the point. Presenters too frequently use the slides to display lists of text-based bullet points that perfunctorily summarize their speeches rather than offer additional, meaningful visual information, he adds. To make matters worse, many end up sticking so diligently to the lists they've created."