Education

tweet I saw this morning and a news article I read last night got me thinking about YouTube and schools. With our recent SpaceLab collaboration with YouTube I have been wrestling with the challenge that faces many schools and districts: To Block YouTube or Not To Block YouTube?   In previous years, when there was some focus on getting educational content from TV programming, due to the regulation of cable companies and the availability of Public Television, it was relatively simple to manage the content such that inappropriate content did not find its way in to classrooms.  However, when we look at modern media, the gateways to content are largely unregulated and not easy to manage.  As a result, many schools simply block them (or attempt to block them).  The most prominent example is YouTube.  While there is certainly a lot of content on YouTube that has no place in a classroom, there are also incredible resources and it allows access to wonderful content there. Obviously, the devil is in the detail, but it will be interesting to see to what extent schools currently blocking YouTube content are willing to use this feature to allow...

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Quite recently there has been a surge in articles about schools keeping computers and technology out of their classrooms.  A recent New York Times article, “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute,” focuses on the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, an independent school in the American technology heartland, which does not use computers.  In fact, “the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud.” In particular the article emphasized the apparent disconnect between the day-to-day work of the parents, many in technology fields, and their children’s school experience. In a spin-off article on the Huffington Post, Meryl Ain, Ed.D. asks “Are Schools Getting Too Carried Away With Technology?” While the article is mostly a shotgun blast, casting pellets at many hot-button topics around technology in schools, there is at least one worthy conversation starter.  Referencing the NYTimes article, the author summarizes the perspective of the Waldorf parents: They [the parents] think it’s easy enough to pick up computer skills, and that what’s really important is great teaching...

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When I remember back to my days as a student, and I think of the lasting “academic” memories, one of the few specifics that remains as a strong visual is a science fair project I did. It is curious to me that of all the memories that could be this permanent, the one I remember has nothing to do with math or even more so the teacher. As a student I was very passionate about math and beyond math there were many teachers of whom I have great memories, but this particular science project was neither. So I often wonder why I can remember it so clearly. The project I had created was a computer program that would display the night sky based on the date. (I wonder if I should talk to some IP lawyers about Google’s SkyMap, wink.) Sure it was computer-related, but I have had many other computer “hobbies” that are not so fresh in my mind. So what was it about that project that has etched itself into my mind? One plausible answer is the lure of space. There is something special about that deep darkness that creates a passion for exploration and investigation. In our history there have been many amazing accomplishments, but very few create as much wonder and excitement as those beyond our atmosphere. Hopefully the Space Lab competition will foster similar experiences to mine, and that today’s generation of...

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We believe the tablet will be instrumental in changing how students learn and influencing teacher-student interactions in and out of class. Michael Schmendlen WW Education, Lenovo As I read the recent release about Seton Hall's ThinkPad Tablet pilot, a few ideas came to my mind about the role of the slate form factor in higher education. Having spent 10 years on a college campus, half as student and half as a faculty member, I wondered how my days long ago might have been different with the technology of today. While my thoughts here may not be the immediate reality for teachers and students today, hopefully they will be soon realized, or better yet exceeded. As a student (and still as an adult) one of my greatest challenges was organization and preparedness. Too often in college, I'd set out for the day only to realize I'd forgotten a text, some notes, or a coursepak in my dorm. Today, I'd have universal access to all my critical learning materials. My notes would be synced to the cloud, possibly with Evernote. Because I'd be renting all my text from Amazon or other vendors, I'd be able to carry all my reference and reading material with me. Now those often wasted chunks of time between classes or meetings could be more productive. If I happened to forget...

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Curriculum Pathways

Curriculum Pathways

As I introduce my first teacher tip, I am thinking back to the days when I first landed in a classroom where every kid had access to technology. While at Duke University, my use of technology was confined more to a prescriptive lab setting with a particular software application or calculator device. However at Cary Academy, the flood gates were wide open, and I could explore virtually without bounds. On first glance this may seem easy, but the reality is one can become quickly overwhelmed and spend countless hours searching the internet for the perfect “it,” only to find out later that “it” does not exist. During those early years, I was fortunate to work with some really great people at SAS who were not only helping build Cary Academy, but they were also working on online curriculum tools from which they hoped others beyond Cary Academy would benefit. Now some fourteen plus years later, the product of their efforts is Curriculum Pathways, an online curriculum resource free to US educators. The content, which is aligned to state and Common Core standards, covers both middle and high school grade levels and focuses on English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish. Curriculum Pathways is a wonderful asset...

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