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Category Archives: Education Reform

Over at edSurge comes word of a project to craft a “Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age.” The current version is a work in progress, with thoughts and contributions actively sought. The document currently focuses on what students should expect from others. It would be nice to detail what others should expect from students. Maybe it should be about rights, principles and responsibilities.

One of the things I like about digital citizenship, and a reason we at Cable in the Classroom support digital citizenship education, is its focus on rights and responsibilities.

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Sometimes the patterns in a data set or in an artwork are more easily discerned when we change the orientation from which we view it. And sometimes flipping accepted practice upside down lets us see things in a fresh, new way. There has been a lot written about flipped classrooms, but this is about something different: flipping Bloom’s Taxonomy.

When I was in graduate school, Bloom’s Taxonomy ruled. Created in the 1950’s, the taxonomy was a framework to describe and classify different learning objectives teachers might set for students.

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By Belinha De Abreu

In a recent article, Larry Rosen noted that technology was making kids “driven to distraction.” The buzz of an incoming text or the desire to check Facebook was keeping students from extended concentration and deep thinking. In my own practice, I’ve noticed that it’s getting more difficult to get students to think deeply about an idea. From my perspective students are not routinely asked to do much original thinking. For assignments, they are usually given a topic and then told which technology tool to use, and what the expected result should look like.

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Education Week calls it a great “Khan troversy.”

Is Khan Academy a ground-breaking innovation or “one of the most dangerous phenomena in education today,” as Karim Kai Ani of Mathalicious put it? Does Khan Academy help kids who would otherwise be lost learn math or does it reflect a focus on discrete tasks and formulae (rather a deeper understanding of mathematics) that is symptomatic of a Silicon Valley approach, as Dan Meyers argues?

The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet Blog is the site of the first debate, between Karim Kai Ani and Sal Khan.

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Is the American education system doing a better job than news stories would indicate? Paul Farhi thinks so and, in the Spring 2012 issue of the American Journalism Review, lays out a case that the media is “Flunking the Test” when reporting about education.

The popular narrative is our schools are failing—failing to educate children and prepare them for a hypercompetitive, global economy. Our scores in international tests are mediocre. Too many students drop out and more graduate without being prepared for college or career.

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In a recent TEDx talk called “Igniting the Hope of Knowing,” Randy Wilhelm, CEO of Knovation, talks about tapping into kids’ innate curiosity to inspire learning. It’s an obvious approach—helping kids ask the right questions to learn what they need to learn. Kids are “living in questions,” constantly asking about things they don’t understand.

The problem in schools, however, is that adults are asking the wrong questions, he says. We ask “how intelligent are you” and measure that with tests.

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“I think we’re kind of one of the first generations to have too much information as opposed to too little.”

That’s one of the most interesting remarks in a new video, “It’s Complicated: What college students say about research & writing assignments,” from Project Information Literacy (PIL). When there is a superabundance of information, some of it is useful and some not. Some of it is factual and timely and some not. Some is relevant and some a distraction.

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One of my take-aways from the Encore 2011 conference came during a keynote speech by Peter Sims, entrepreneur and author of Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.

Through his research, he’s found that the great thinkers, innovators, creators take a methodical course of small steps, making “affordable little bets,” rather than beginning with a fully formed great idea. They fail quickly and learn fast. They make adaptations and improvements. They take ideas and experiment with them in incremental steps, analyzing what went right and wrong.

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