Sunday, May 31, 2015
Compliance remains the central goal - Dangerously Irrelevant
Alfie Kohn said: Whether or not it’s stated explicitly, compliance remains the central goal of most classroom management programs, character education initiatives, and parenting resources. Sure, we stress the virtues of independent thinking and assertiveness, but mostly in the context of getting kids to resist peer pressure. If a child has the temerity to resist [...]
Mississippi to open first early college program styled after schools in North Carolina - The Hechinger Report
SMITHFIELD, N.C. – When Aaron Penny first arrived here on the campus of Johnston Community College as a high school freshman, he was terrified. He had no idea if he could succeed in this early college program that sought out at-risk minority teens with promise who were also likely the first in their families to […]
The post Mississippi to open first early college program styled after schools in North Carolina appeared first on The Hechinger Report.
Interested in Teaching with Mobile Tech? Read This Month's Ed Leadership - Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator
Marc Tucker: Time for the Civil Rights Community to Rethink Its Support for Annual Testing - Diane Ravitch's blog
In this brilliant article, Marc Tucker explains why the civil rights community is making an error by supporting annual testing as a “civil right.” He knows their leaders believe that poor and minority children will be overlooked in the absence of annual testing. But he demonstrates persuasively that annual testing has done nothing to improve […]
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
New education stats show higher education climb has slowed - The Hechinger Report
The percentage of Americans with bachelor’s degrees has remained unchanged in spite of public policies to push this number up, and other trends portend more trouble ahead, new figures from the Department of Education show. A third of 25- to 64-year-olds had bachelor’s degrees last year, the same as the year before, the department reports. […]
The post New education stats show higher education climb has slowed appeared first on The Hechinger Report.
Why ‘WD-40′ Is Not Known As ‘WD-1′ - Taking Note by John Merrow
Students need to know that adults try and fail and fail and fail--and keep on trying. More than that, they need to experience failure.
[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Washington Study Further Ties Quality Library Programs to Student Success | School Library Journal
'via Blog this'
Well-Known Trick To Boost Attention Works — But Not For The Reason You Think
Interesting to think about with regard to learning and attention expectations.
Monday, May 25, 2015
An Open Letter To Principals (Before You Hire A New School Librarian) - The Adventures of Library Girl
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Taking an advanced course should not be synonymous with copious amounts of homework - Dangerously Irrelevant
High school student Carolyn Walworth said: It is time to rethink the way we teach students. It is time to reevaluate and enforce our homework policy. It is time to impose harsher punishments upon teachers who do not comply with district standards such as not assigning homework during finals review time. It is time we [...]
“We Have Gone Mad, and Our Children Are Paying the Price” - Diane Ravitch's blog
A reader posted this comment, in response to the story about Vietnamese students getting higher scores on PISA tests of math and science than U.S. students; “According to the United Nations Statistics, only 77% of Vietnamese students are enrolled in secondary school, which means that the bottom 23% of test scores are eliminated for the […]
A Teacher of Reading: Today’s “Reforms” Conflict with How Children Learn - Diane Ravitch's blog
Anna Jacopetti recently retired after a career in education of 50 years. She taught every grade from 1-14, she was an administrator, and she taught teachers. In this article, she shows the contrast between today’s emphasis on high-stakes testing and deep learning. She reflects on a different approach to education, one that is definitely […]
Is There a Good Standardized Test? - CURMUDGUCATION
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google - AlterNet.org Main RSS Feed
If you were airdropped, blindfolded, into a strange town and given nothing but a bus ticket, to where would you ride that bus? You might be surprised to learn that there’s only one good answer, and that’s the public library. The library is the public living room, and if ever you are stripped of everything private—money, friends and orientation—you can go there and become a human again.
Of course, you don’t have to be homeless to use a library, but that’s the point. You don’t have to be anyone in particular to go inside and stay as long as you want, sit in its armchairs, read the news, write your dissertation, charge your phone, use the bathroom, check your email, find the address of a hotel or homeless shelter. Of all the institutions we have, both public and private, the public library is the truest democratic space.
The library’s value isn’t lost on us. A Gallup survey from 2013 found that libraries are not just popular, they’re extremely popular. Over 90 percent of Americans feel that libraries are a vital part of their communities. Compare this to 53 percent for the police, 27 percent for public schools, and just 7 percent for Congress, and you’re looking at perhaps the greatest success of the public sector.
James Palfrey, in his new book BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, gives some truly bummer statistics on what’s happening to this beloved institution. A government report showed that while the nation’s public libraries served 298 million people in 2010 (that’s 96 percent of the U.S. population), states had cut funding by 38 percent and the federal government by 19 percent between 2000 and 2010. “It seems extraordinary that a public service with such reach should be, in effect, punished despite its success,” writes Palfrey.
Of necessity, he cites these tough economic times as a reason for this “punishment.” But according to Palfrey, one of the greatest threats to libraries is nostalgia—the way that we, the loving public, associate libraries with the pleasures of a bygone era, and assume that the growth of the Internet is slowly draining libraries of their usefulness.
“Nostalgia is too thin a reed for librarians to cling to in a time of such transition,” Palfrey writes. “Thinking of libraries as they were ages ago and wanting them to remain the same is the last thing we should want for them.”
In our heartfelt but naïve fondness for “quiet, inviting spaces” full of books and nothing else, we fail to realize that libraries are becoming more important, not less, to our communities and our democracy.
Humans are producing such quantities of data—2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, to be precise—and on such a steep curve, that 90 percent of all existing data is less than two years old. An overwhelming amount of information, access to which is marked by the same stark inequality that exists between economic classes, demands to be moderated for the public good, and libraries are the institutions that do that.
The giant tech companies have insinuated themselves into this role through outsize capital investments and help from favorable government policy, overseeing the way we communicate and carry out research. Private companies have even become the “key intermediary” in the lending of e-books, a service offered by libraries but supervised by publishers or third parties. As Palfrey argues, we need to defend the “public option” in information management:
“The risk of a small number of technically savvy, for-profit companies determining the bulk of what we read and how we read it is enormous. The great beauty of the rich, diverse library system that has developed over past century and a half has been the role of librarians in selecting and making available a range of material for people to consult and enjoy. No one pressing an ideology can co-opt this system; no single commercial entity can do an end run around the library system in the interest of profit.”
It’s not a mystery why 10-year-old tech firms sometimes have more credit in the information world than 100-year-old libraries. “The shift in the information practices of library users,” writes Palfrey, “is far outpacing the digital shift in libraries.”
BiblioTech is packed with proposals for what libraries can become, all the roles they can play in public life: networks of digital media that can be loaned for free, not purchased; “maker-spaces” that offer equipment so that people can make instead of simply consume culture; easily accessible and networked archives of national heritage; job-search centers; clinics for the technologically illiterate and refuges for those who cannot afford new media—all of this in addition to their current functions.
At times, Palfrey’s voice has too much Mr. Rogers about it. “The Boston Public Library[’s]… inspiring efforts are only the beginning of what will be possible when libraries seize the opportunities of the networked digital age.” It reads sometimes like the book version of a Power Point presentation preparing us for the digital age. Palfrey exercises a bit of novelty, though, with the term “the digital plus age”—which is still vapid, but at least acknowledges that our world is not, and never will be, entirely defined by digits.
Palfrey takes the middle ground while coaxing libraries into the future, as he sees it. He is adamant about the importance of maintaining print archives of information since physical ink and paper is much more stable than digital. He also highlights the importance of physical, communal space in education and communication. And librarians as physical people will always have a unique purpose in his vision of the future library.
These arguments, however, rely too heavily on the humans-are-better-than-technology rationale where “better” is measured by technological rather than humanistic standards. If librarians have a higher success rate than Amazon’s algorithm at recommending books, this might not be true forever. Does that mean we won’t need librarians at some point? No, the dilemma of disappearing libraries is not just about efficiency, it’s also about values. Librarians recommend books because they are part of a community and want to start a discussion among the people they see around them—to solve the world’s problems, but also just to have a conversation, because people want to be near each other. The faster technology improves and surpasses human capability, the more obvious it becomes that being human is not merely about being capable, it’s about relating to other humans.
What gets short shrift in BiblioTech, then, is the importance of retaining some kind of monastery of dusty knowledge, a church of books. Print has been around since human ancestors drew tracks in the dust and is still the only form of durable information that requires no mediation—that is, no device to interpret it. Reading a book is the most direct relationship a person can have with information apart from listening to someone speak and there must be some kind of common cultural institution filled with pews of comfy chairs and the musk of paper. Like the bicycle, the book is the best thing for what it does and will likely be around as long as humans are around because, as James Bennet wrote in the Atlantic, “technologies have a way of supplementing, rather than simply replacing, one another.”
Palfrey suggests that, while temporarily maintaining their print collections, librarians should “create new nostalgia” by way of an overdue update: optimizing their facilities as public information centers in this exciting new age of digital screens and flying machines. But why should we have to demolish contemplative reading rooms to make space for data exchange centers? Why should all of these necessary services get shoehorned into one institution with a flagging budget? Because the brash obtuseness and anti-communitarianism of today’s mainstream politics means that only established and universally beloved institutions like libraries stand a chance against the austerity-crazed slashings of the “bipartisan” government, and therefore new ideas must seek shelter in old houses. That’s the cold truth Palfrey glosses over—that libraries aren’t lagging behind the digital revolution because of a lack of inspiration and gumption. Instead, it’s because the government refuses to create new institutions to solve new problems as it once did. Thus libraries have become the ad hoc receptacle for all of our country’s gaps in social services—with shrinking funds.
Take the old gripe about homeless people in libraries—that college kids can’t get their work done because people with social, psychological and hygienic disorders are overrepresented among the stacks. But when libraries have become the only quiet indoor place for those who otherwise live on the street, there’s no way around it.
Because Palfrey is transfixed by the rationale of austerity, he talks about financial shortfall as if it were plate tectonics. “Too many mayors, and town managers, forced to make hard budget choices,” he explains, “are slashing library budgets to save other essential services.” The key word in this sentence is “forced,” but Palfrey doesn’t make a big deal about who is doing the forcing.
Really, the scarcity is ideological. Palfrey hints at it, but it needs to be dealt with head on. Libraries are at risk for the same reason as food stamps—not because there’s no demand or taxpayers can’t afford it, but because Republicans and Democrats alike are divesting from the public good, favoring private enterprise and making conditions ripe for a Google-Apple-Amazon-Facebook oligopoly on information.
“It’s not too much of a stretch to say that the fate of well-informed, open, free republics could hinge on the future of libraries,” Palfrey writes in his conclusion. In fact, the fate of our republic hinges on the vitality of all public life, and libraries should not be required—even on double or triple budget—to take on the whole burden.
BiblioTech is a start toward maintaining a public intellectual life in the digital future, but we’re in grave need of a view of the whole thing; how people regardless of their circumstances access information, as well as how they get access to formal education, communication technology, employment, shelter, green space, art, performance, and entertainment, among other things. Too much of our culture is invitation-only or curated by private companies with profit in mind. Meanwhile Congress, undeterred by its 15 percent approval rating, continues its campaign of privatization and austerity.
We certainly need a free and open institution, prepped for the 21st century, where people can engage themselves in democracy. But then, of course, we also need a democracy.
- Love Songs: The Hidden History
- The Happiness Industry: How Government and Big Businesses Manipulate Your Moods For Profit
- How Cats Are Actually Telling Humans What to Do
Friday, May 22, 2015
How to Run a Library Volunteer Program that Students Love - School Library Journal
On an average day, at least ten students help Laura Gardner run the Dartmouth (MA) Middle School library. Altogether, over 40 seventh and eighth-grade students work there each year. She couldn’t do it without them.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Robert Reich: Restore the Love of Learning - Diane Ravitch's blog
Robert Reich is concerned about over testing and the cost of higher education. MoveOn pledges to promote the idea with the most votes. Vote for this one! Here are Reich’s ideas: “Make public higher education completely free, as it was in many states in the 1950s and 1960s. “Stop the wall-to-wall testing that is destroying […]
Serving Wall Street - Teacher Tom
Saturday, May 16, 2015
I'm opting for a 'slow parenting' summer - Latest Items from TreeHugger
Rather than fill my kids' eight short weeks of vacation with extracurricular activities to keep them busy, I'm going to keep the calendar as empty as possible, leaving room for adventure, spontaneity, and even boredom.
Survey by AFT and BATs Finds Massive Stress Among Teachers - Diane Ravitch's blog
The American Federation of Teachers and the Badass Teachers Association collaborated on a survey of teachers that revealed enormous stress among teachers. Says the article in Yahoo: “It sounds like the worst job ever. Employees complain about little autonomy, constant stress, being forced to implement new workplace demands without adequate training or institutional support to […]
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Vindication For Fidgeters: Movement May Help Students With ADHD Concentrate - News
There's a correlation between physical movement and mental work, new research suggests. For kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, that may mean bouncing a knee helps sharpen their focus.
UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World - Stephen's Web ~ OLDaily
Nick Meyer, TechnologyWater, May 14, 2015
This article is really useful in helping me understand the scepticism people have about the sort of view of learning I espouse. When I looked at the headline my reaction was that there is no way small-scale individual food production could be sustainable, let along feed the world....
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Michael Hynes: US Education in Perspective - Diane Ravitch's blog
This comes from Michael Hynes, one of the best superintendents on Long Island, Néw York, epicenter of the Opt Out movement: Public Schools Work- We Need to Focus Below the Iceberg Everyone in American education hears the relentless and consistent criticism of our schools: Compared to schools in other nations, we come up short. But […]
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
How to Ensure that Making Leads to Learning - School Library Journal
Making is clearly an engaging activity for students. But are they actually learning anything? Annie Murphy Paul presents a compelling case based on cognitive research.
The Future of Live Tutoring on the Internet - EDUKWEST
The Internet opened up huge opportunities for tech savvy tutors not that long ago. If you had a basic understanding of how to set up a website, a bit of SEO and online marketing knowledge, chances were high to grow a tutoring business from a local customer base into an international operation. Skype, tutoring platforms and marketplaces, YouTube and social media represent only a handful of the new tools tutors had at their disposal. Glory days.
Unfortunately, the Internet gives and the Internet takes away. This could be in the form of Google changing its algorithm, leading to the death of education marketplaces, like TeachStreet and countless other small businesses, because of a drop in organic traffic. But nowadays the biggest threat to human tutors are their technology driven counterparts and a growing crowd of interconnected learners.
Gates Foundation pours millions more into Common Core
Such philanthropy has sparked a debate about whether American democracy is well-served by wealthy people who pour part of their fortunes into their pet projects — regardless of whether they are grounded in research — to such a degree that public policy and funding follow.
Monday, May 11, 2015
The Golden Lasso of Education Technology - Hack Education by Audrey Watters
'via Blog this'
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Becoming a Lifelong Maker: Start Young - User Generated Education
I was recently asked what is was about my childhood that led to me being an adult who makes and who advocates that everyone should make in one form or another. I believe there were several childhood experiences that contributed to me becoming a lifelong maker. I was born a very curious and creative kid. […]
Choose Privacy Week 2015: Toward A Set of Best Practices to Protect Patron Privacy in Library 2.0 - Choose Privacy Week
by Michael Zimmer In today’s information ecosystem, libraries increasingly incorporate interactive, collaborative, and user-centered features of the so-called “Web 2.0” world into traditional library services, thereby creating “Library 2.0”. Examples include: providing patrons the ability to evaluate and comment on particular items in a library’s collection through discussion forums or comment threads; creating dynamic and […]
Expecting More From Our Libraries - R. David Lankes
“Expecting More From Our Libraries” New York Library Trustees Association. Syracuse, NY. Abstract: Wondering how your library’s expansion into broader programs, technology classes, Maker Spaces and more relate to the library’s role in your community? Get a better feel for the big picture as our libraries play a vital role in community engagement. Slides: http://quartz.syr.edu/rdlankes/Presentations/2015/Trustees.pdf Here…
Friday, May 8, 2015
These schools graduate English learners at a rate nearly 75 percent higher than other schools. What are they doing right? - The Hechinger Report
Students at the International Network for Public Schools come from 119 countries and speak 93 different languages. About 90 percent of them live in low-income households, 70 percent have been separated from a parent during the immigration process, and 30 percent have significantly interrupted or limited formal education. And yet, they are performing remarkably well. […]
The post These schools graduate English learners at a rate nearly 75 percent higher than other schools. What are they doing right? appeared first on The Hechinger Report.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Learning What’s It Like To Be a Student: Ellen Glanz, 1978-1979 (Part 1) - Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice
Typical of that group of experienced teachers who work in suburban affluent, white districts, Ellen Glanz spent a year as a student in the high school in which she taught. In becoming a student she took her teacher perspective and … Continue reading →
Education doesn’t need Common Core reform, teachers need the time and resources to build great schools - The Hechinger Report
Dear Jayne, In my last letter, I asked a question that I think lies at the heart of the Common Core debate. I was disappointed that you did not respond to it. Here it is again, with context: Jayne, there was nothing to prevent you from challenging all children before the Common Core arrived. I […]
The post Education doesn’t need Common Core reform, teachers need the time and resources to build great schools appeared first on The Hechinger Report.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Craft Work: the value of making by hand | The Maker Issue - School Library Journal
Quilting, knitting, and creating by hand foster collective learning. Plus: Top 10 crafting tips; Five outstanding crafting programs
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm - Freedom to Learn
Many preschool and kindergarten teachers are extremely upset by the increased pressure to teach literary and numerical skills to little children and test them regularly. They can see firsthand the unhappiness generated, and they suspect that the children would be learning much more useful lessons by playing. Their suspicions are well validated by research studies.
Choose Privacy Week Brief: Tell Congress to Support Real Privacy and Surveillance Law Reform - Choose Privacy Week
The time is long past for Section 215 to be meaningfully reformed to restore the civil liberties massively and unjustifiably compromised by the USA PATRIOT Act. ~~ALA President Courtney Young Very nearly from the day the USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law in 2001, librarians raised concerns about the scope of surveillance authorized under […]
Do We Really Need Libraries? - News
Between 1886 and 1919, Andrew Carnegie planted nearly 1,700 libraries across America. Over the years they grew. Now they are trying to survive.
Carol Burris: Why The Opt Out Movement is Terrifying Our Leaders - Diane Ravitch's blog
Carol Burris, a leader in the Opt Out movement in New York and a respected high school principal, explains here who is responsible for the mass opting out in New York State and why the movement is not going away. The State Education Department has thus far refused to release official numbers for opt […]
Choose Privacy Week 2015: What You Should Know About “Anonymous” Aggregate Data About You - Choose Privacy Week
By Gretchen McCord Today more than ever, we appreciate that raw data has great financial value. The owners of websites, social media tools, and cell phone applications make billions of dollars annually on “targeted,” or “behavioral,” advertising. They attempt to ensure us that although they collect, share, and use data about us in countless ways, […]
3-D Printing: Worth the Hype? | The Maker Issue - School Library Journal
What is 3-D printing exactly, and how does it serve kids? Here’s a walk-through.
Monday, May 4, 2015
How can we fix U.S. high schools? Stop using ‘covered wagon’ model - The Hechinger Report
Ted Dintersmith spent most of his career as a venture capitalist, but became both fascinated and outraged by education when he watched what was happening to his own children in school. “I felt it was almost as if school was designed to crush the creativity out of my kids,” said Dintersmith, who decided to devote […]
The post How can we fix U.S. high schools? Stop using ‘covered wagon’ model appeared first on The Hechinger Report.
Whipping people into line - Dangerously Irrelevant
Sir Ken Robinson said: It’s not the need for standards. It’s the way they play out. . . . testing is not some benign educational process. It is a multibillion-dollar industry that is absorbing massive time, resources and cash that could be used for other things. Its a massive profit-making machine. . . . You [...]
Let’s be honest about annual testing - Dangerously Irrelevant
Let’s be honest: students and parents obtain no tangible benefit from large-scale annual testing. Kids and families give up numerous days of learning time – both for the tests themselves and for the test prep sessions whose sole purpose is to get ready for the tests – and for what? The data come back too late [...]
Saturday, May 2, 2015
There’s no diagnostic value in locked-down summative assessments - Dangerously Irrelevant
Diane Ravitch said: It’s totally inappropriate to compare opting out of testing to opting out of immunization. One has a scientific basis, the other has none. The tests that kids take today have nothing to do with the tests that we took when we were kids. When we were kids, we took an hour test [...]
Newark: Students Stand Up Again - CURMUDGUCATION
Are government officials trying to intimidate parents who resist testing? - Answer Sheet
Tens of thousands of parents in a number of states have decided this spring to opt their children out of high-stakes standardized tests aligned to the Common Core and similar standards, and as that movement has grown, so has pushback from administrators. Now, government officials, both state and federal, are sounding off on the issue, […]
Choose Privacy Week 2015: CPW Activities Around the United States - Choose Privacy Week
Libraries and schools around the country are observing Choose Privacy Week 2015 with a variety of activities. Here’s a sampling of what libraries are doing: The Multnomah Public Library will observe Choose Privacy Week on Saturday, May 2 with “Is Privacy an Option?” a talk led by Mark Alfino, professor of philosophy at Gonzaga University. […]